For those lucky enough to have the money to splurge on a high end hotel, service and quality are everything. Whether you want a chic hotel in the middle of Paris or a luxurious hidden retreat in the South American jungle, these resorts deliver consistently across all properties. Here’s how the top nine luxury hotel brands in the world stack up.
This luxury chain began in Asia with the opening of the Mandarin Hong Kong in 1963. At the time, it was the tallest building on the island and quickly built a reputation for service and quality. It’s one of Hong Kong’s most famous landmarks. Mandarin Oriental expanded to become the global brand that it is today, with 31 hotels and seven residences spanning 21 countries. Each showcases the brand’s oriental heritage in its decor and ethos. People matter and attentive service remains at the heart of the business.
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The St Regis brand started out over a century ago when John Jacob Astor IV opened a hotel on New York’s 55th Street. Bespoke service is key here and in the rest of the group, which currently numbers over 40 luxury hotels and resorts worldwide. From Moscow to Mauritius, Bangkok to Bora Bora, each location has one thing in common – the guest comes first. Tradition and timeless class go hand in hand with modern technology and sophistication to create something very special indeed.
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Only the best is good enough for those behind the deluxe One&Only resorts. You’ll find them in the best locations, with the best rooms and the best food – say their regular guests. And with properties in their collection like the One&Only Reethi Rah in the beautiful Maldives and the Palm, Dubai, it’s not hard to fault such loyalty. These are private sanctuaries offering the rich and famous respite from the outside world, with fine dining, breathtaking views and carefully curated experiences as standard.
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For such a prominent luxury brand, the Four Seasons has surprisingly modest origins. The story began in Toronto in 1961 with the opening of what looked, on the face at least, to be an unremarkable motel. Yet over the intervening years, the company’s exceptional standards ensured its rise to today’s industry-leader position, redefining hospitality along the way. The Golden Rule, according to the Four Seasons is “to treat others as we’d wish to be treated ourselves”. A longstanding commitment to innovation also singles it out. It was the first to introduce hair dryers in its rooms, offered dry cleaning long before any other hotel figured that could be useful and in 2015 transported guests in the hotel industry’s first fully-branded private jet.
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A rising star at the top end of the market, Rosewood now has over 3000 rooms in their one-of-a-kind properties around the world. The chain was founded in 1979 in Dallas, Texas but you’ll now find it as far afield as Cambodia, Italy, China and the UK. Each property reflects the underlying “Sense of Place” philosophy which draws on the destination’s unique history, architecture and traditions. A key feature at select resorts is the Sense spa whose treatments draw heavily on local ingredients and practices.
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The first Aman retreat took shape in Phuket, Thailand, in 1988. Named Amanpuri, or “place of peace”, it laid the foundation for the 33 resorts, hotels and private residences that today grace 21 countries including the USA, Bhutan, Morocco and Japan. Each one tries to ensure that the visitor feels like they are staying at a close friend’s house, offering space, privacy and the opportunity to unwind. Meticulously designed, they enhance their exquisite natural settings.
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From remote island paradises to sophisticated urban retreats, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas pride themselves on offering a package which stimulates, energizes and revitalizes their guests. It began in 1995 with a single resort but quickly became an industry leader in sustainable luxury. Today, the group comprises 15 resorts and 31 spas. Wellbeing is at the heart of each, backed up by anticipative service and a commitment to excellence.
The Ritz-Carlton was the brainchild of celebrated hotelier Cesar Ritz, who managed the Ritz in Paris and the Carlton in London. After his death in 1918, his legacy remained, revolutionizing hospitality in America with the opening of the Boston Ritz-Carlton in 1927. The Ritz-Carlton group was born in 1983 with the purchase of that Boston hotel and the rights to the name. These days, it is well-known as a luxury hotel brand and part-owned by Marriott, and operates in 91 locations across 30 countries.
The brand InterContinental is synonymous with quality. This exclusive hotel group offers lavish facilities, sumptuously designed rooms and suites, fine dining and decadent spas. Whether you’re traveling for business or for pleasure, seeing the name above the door is a reliable indicator of the luxury that is to come. With hotels in all the top locations – New York, Paris, London and all the rest – the only difficult thing will be to choose which to book.