Care to sample a life of champagne and caviar? Be sure to pack your designer luggage for this fun countdown of the world’s most luxurious (and expensive) hotels.
1. Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi
When it comes to luxurious hotels, this one is at the top. Costing approximately $3 billion to build, Emirates Palace has 394 rooms and suites, 40 meeting and conference rooms, a white sand beach, a myriad of pools and fountains, a sumptuous spa, marble imported from 13 different countries and over 1,000 crystal chandeliers. It’s like a small pleasure fortress that also boasts the most prestigious marina development in the Middle East. Royalty, or those who want to feel like it, can luxuriate in one of the many palace suites, all with lavish surroundings that would befit a Sultan of old yet with enough modern amenities to please today’s top tycoons.
2. Mardan Palace Hotel, Turkey
Built by Russian Billionaire Telman Ismailov in 2009 to the tune of $1.65 billion, the Mardan Palace Hotel in Antalya, Turkey boasts the largest swimming pool in the Mediterranean (fits 1,000 guests) and is touted as one of the most elite luxury hotels in Europe. Beyond the sinfully sumptuous suites and jaw-dropping interiors of gold leaf, crystal, and Italian marble, there are also ten dining spots, 17 bars, a lavish spa and a sunken aquarium full of exotic fish. 9,000 tons of white sand was flown in from Egypt for the beach alone. 24/7 personal butler service is also included.
3. The Westin Excelsior, Rome
Built in 1906, The Westin Excelsior Rome has an impressive pedigree in the Via Veneto district. Though most rooms are affordable, their piece de resistance is the Villa La Cupola Suite that has recently been “refreshed” with a $7 million renovation. This signature luxury cocoon spans two full floors making it the largest suite in Italy. Furnished in grand old style with modern high tech gadgets, hand-frescoed cathedral style domes, its own private fitness room, sauna, steam bath and Jacuzzi, and a formal dining room, it’s a perennial favourite for those who deem money to be no object.
4. Burj Al Arab Hotel, Dubai
Built to resemble a billowing sail, the stunning architecture of Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai makes it one of the most photographed in the world. All rooms are luxurious suites spanning two floors with state-of-the art everything and incredible views. And beyond the unique over-the-top amenities like the attached heliport and hovering tennis courts, there is a vast array of futuristic dining and nightlife options. Their guest care is also seriously intensive. Upscale extras include in-suite check-in, 24/7 personal on call butlers, and a chauffeur driven Rolls Royce fleet, all catering to an extremely well-heeled VIP clientele that often includes royalty.
5. The Plaza, New York City
Though the Big Apple has many legendary and swanky hotels, The Plaza is often the top choice for visiting VIPs-especially for its Royal Plaza Suite that boasts the best views of Manhattan. The three-bedroom/three-bathroom suite is styled in the most opulent of old world charm with a formal dining room, a library, a gymnasium, a grand piano, full kitchen (for personal chefs), and a butler’s pantry, and is serviced by its own private elevator. Butler service is also included. Built in 1907, the iconic structure was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1969.
6. Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas
Built in tribute to the legendary lost city, Atlantis Paradise Island is a 141-acre facility touted as the premier luxury resort destination in the Bahamas. It’s the resort’s Royal Towers Bridge Suiteon the 23rd floor that really pulls out ALL the swanky stops. It spans ten plush rooms topped by 12-ft. ceilings and full length windows and includes a grand piano, twin entertainment centers, a formal dining room with a 22-karat gold chandelier, whirlpool tubs, and more… Plus a permanent staff of seven to cater to your every whim.
7. Palms, Las Vegas
The Las Vegas Palms is famous for high-roller living, and what better way to really indulge in Sin City than cavorting in one of their luxury rooftop suites like the Hugh Hefner Sky Villa. The suite accommodates up to 250 people for a get-together and boasts a massive rooftop Jacuzzi hanging over The Strip. A private glass elevator, rotating bed, gym, sauna, media room and full bar make these swanky digs the perfect spot to fulfill the fantasy of living in the style the world’s most famous playboy is accustomed to. (Did anyone say bachelor or bachelorette party?)
8. The Boulders, Arizona
The wow-factor is left to Mother Nature at The Boulders, and it’s just as well, as no man-made decor could possibly compete with the resort’s surreal 12-million-year-old rock formations. Spanning 1,300 acres of the Sonoran Desert, the massive spa compound promises the ultimate in natural rejuvenation treatments, and the two golf courses are world class. There’s also an über private gated Villa Retreat for celebs seeking anonymity. PR rep Deborah Bridges says, “Our clientele is among the wealthiest in the world, but we’re not allowed to talk about who our VIP guests are until they’re dead.” That says it all.
9. CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa, Anguilla
Brought to you by the same folks that created the famous food processor, CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa was originally built as a tropical playground for its owner, but later expanded to include guests. Luxury guest rooms and Moorish-inspired villas dot the massive grounds cresting Anguilla’s world class beaches. The resort’s Venus Spa & Fitness complex has been rejuvenated to the tune of ten million dollars, and they have just acquired a $50 million dollar Greg Norman-designed golf course next door. This luxe hideaway is very popular among celebrities seeking barefoot luxury far from the spotlight.
10. Marquis Los Cabos, Los Cabos
Inspired by a celestial legend of two angels seeking paradise on earth, the spectacular lobby of Marquis Los Cabos opens out onto the wildly restless sea like a temple to its creation. Gorgeous specially-commissioned sculptures, massive waterfalls, spectacular infinity pools, and a lovely serene spa set the stage for vacationing VIPs. (George Clooney’s beach villa is next door.) Luxurious rooms boast balconies where you can often spot migrating whales, and there are also private villas with personal dipping pools.