The 24 Most Pinch-Me-Worthy Luxury Resorts Around the World

And the can't-miss attraction at each.
Last Updated
Jul 14, 2022

If there’s one thing we know for certain, it’s that we all deserve a vacation. After far too many months of quarantine and far too little movement, we’ve finally rounded a corner, and found that making our way around the world is—once again—available. Travel is back in full force, and whether you’re looking for an escape from the city, a reprieve from the sun, or a jaunt to an island, there are luxury resorts from Bora Bora to Botswana (and everywhere in between) just waiting to be discovered. 

In this list, you'll find both fabulous hotels in unexpected cities and luxurious resorts in exotic destinations. Whichever you choose, one thing's for certain: these beautiful accommodations are more than suitable to provide you with a home away from home, whether for a couple days or a few weeks. We’ve rounded up some of the most celebrated hotels and resorts across the country and around the world—plus what you have to check out at each property—so that you can plan your next vacation in style.

1 / 24

Birkenhead House

Location: Hermanus, South Africa

Award: Indagare Index 2021: Top 10 Hotels for Food & Wine

Must do: Go shark cage diving with some of the most dangerous predators in the world (and feel safe while doing it). 

The details: There are beach houses and then there are beach houses, and Birkenhead House is the latter. This resort has consistently made the list of the best resorts not only in Africa but also in the world thanks to its beautiful rooms and even more beautiful location. If you’re keen on whale watching and surf lessons, you’ve come to the right place. All meals and drinks are included in the price of your stay, and you should certainly check out the spa while you’re at it.

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2 / 24

Anantara Chiang Mai Resort

Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand

Award: Named best one resort in Southeast Asia in the Travel + Leisure 2020 World's Best Awards

Must do: Engage in a Lanna spa ritual while taking in the natural beauty of your surroundings. You’ll feel more relaxed than you have in years. 

The details: You'll find just 84 rooms in this beautiful Chiang Mai resort, which somehow manages to drown out the city noise as you gaze at the beautiful Mae Ping River while soaking in some vitamin D. The entire hotel surrounds a delightful open-air restaurant where you can get some of the best food Thailand has to offer. And you can even take advantage of unique activities like a Muay Thai kickboxing class as well.

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3 / 24

The Mulia & Mulia Villas

Location: Bali, Indonesia

Award: TripAdvisor's top 15 hotels in the world 

Must stay: Check out the truly unparalleled Mulia Mansion, a two-story, 6-bedroom property with a private butler. 

The details: Consistently rated one of the best escapes in all of Asia (and indeed, the world), this beautiful hotel is truly seconds away from the Indian Ocean. The property is home to Bali’s first and only (for the time being) ice fountain room, which maintains a cool temperature of 30 degrees Fahrenheit. But if that gets too cold for you, just head over to the Finnish wood sauna or steam room.

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4 / 24

Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa

Location: Champillon, France

Award: Top resort in Europe from Conde Nast’s Reader’s Choice Awards 

Must eat: Try the Royal Menu at Michelin-starred restaurant Le Royal, and yes, you simply must get the wine pairing. 

The details: There is no such thing as too much at Royal Champagne. The name of the resort takes inspiration from the village of Hautvillers, where Dom Perignon (yes, that Dom Perignon) lived. The property itself is a rebuilt inn where Napoleon Bonaparte allegedly once spent the night. The bar at the property naturally carries 257 different Champagnes, as well as a stunning view of the vineyards that surround the property.

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5 / 24

Coco Collection

Location: The Maldives

Award: Top Global Luxury Brand, 2017 World Luxury Hotel Awards 

Must stay: Check out one of 44 Maldive Island Villas built directly on fine white sand beaches. They’re set within lush vegetation so you’ll stay in a picture-perfect private paradise. 

The details: Comprised of two different boutique island resorts, Coco Bodu Hithi and Coco Palm Dhuni Kohlhu, each create a unique Maldivian experience ranging from luxe amenities to eco-forward initiatives to begin your indulgent experience from the moment you arrive. If you want an educational component to your vacation, take advantage of the resort's guided marine biologist adventures, which will let you take a peek at the progress of Coco Bodu Hithi’s coral nurseries.

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6 / 24

Bora Bora One

Location: Bora Bora

Award: Best Private Villa in Australia, Boutique Hotel Awards 

Must do: Round out a day of jet skiing and paddleboarding around your private island with your own band and dance party—your 24-hour concierge can book just about any experience you can dream of.

The details: If you’re looking for resort amenities with a luxury residential feel, Bora Bora One is a private estate that celebrates local artisans and has an eco-luxury design. The secluded, five-bedroom villa is situated on 7.5 idyllic acres and completely surrounded by clear blue waters. Perfect for active vacationers, this resort offers a boxing area and massage table; a tennis court designed to U.S. Open specs; and an on-site organic vegetable garden.

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7 / 24

Il Sereno Lago di Como

Location: Lake Como, Italy

Award: Conde Nast Reader’s Choice Award winner 

Must stay: Book the penthouse suite, with its grand outdoor terrace, private hot tub, and floors inlaid with Venetian terrazzo for a truly unparalleled experience. All interiors and furnishings are by Patricia Urquiola.

The details: Located in two of the most coveted vacations destinations in the world, Sereno Hotels is the mastermind behind award-winning properties including Le Sereno St. Barth and Il Sereno Lago di Como. We’re partial to the Lake Como property, as you can pair incomparable views with a Michelin-starred restaurant, Berton Al Lago.

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8 / 24

Casa de Campo, La Romana, Dominican Republic

Location: La Romana, Dominican Republic

Award: Dominican Republic's Leading Resort, World Travel Awards 2017

Must do: As the world’s premier golf resort, you would be truly remiss to leave Casa de Campo without playing at least 18 holes. Book your tee time and then unwind in your oceanfront villa. 

The details: Named to the prestigious Leading Hotels of the World list, Casa de Campo offers guests a choice of spacious hotel rooms, suites, and luxury villas. Expect gourmet cuisine and fine wines and spirits throughout the destination’s restaurants and bars, a 370-slip Marina & Yacht Club, Polo & Equestrian Club, La Terraza Tennis Centre, and 245-acre Shooting Club.

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9 / 24

Hotel Cala Di Volpe

Location: Costa Smeralda, Porto Cervo, Italy 

Award: 2019 World Luxury Hotel Awards winner 

Must do: Book a private cooking class with Executive Chef Maurizio Locatelli to explore Sardinian cuisine. You’ll utilize fresh ingredients and learn about the surprising Middle-Eastern influences of this region. 

The details: Costa Smeralda is both sophisticated and charming at once, and nothing plays into this architectural paradigm quite like its iconic Hotel, the Hotel Cala di Volpe. Be sure to stay at the all-new Harrods Suite, which has been recently redesigned by Harrods Interior Design Studio. The stunning suite features a 250-square-meter roof terrace featuring an alfresco dining area and a beautiful infinity pool with a breathtaking view of the Cala di Volpe Bay.

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10 / 24

Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa

Location: Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Award: World Travel Awards winner

Must stay: Pick a beachfront bungalow for the ultimate in both luxury and privacy. All bungalows come with a luxury kitchenette as well as a dining room for six so you can truly entertain during your stay. 

The details: Opened in late 2016 on the world-famous Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman, Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa is marked by its stunning contemporary architecture that dramatically unfolds to the grounds, beach, and sea. Every one of its 266 guest rooms features water views of the Caribbean Sea or North Sound and a private balcony. Stay active with access to cruiser bikes, kayaks, paddleboards, water sports equipment, and daily fitness classes. Or, treat yourself to some R&R at the 8,500-square-foot spa.

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11 / 24

Nobu Hotel

Location: Ibiza Bay, Spain 

Award: World Travel Awards winner

Must eat: Sure, you could go to Nobu restaurant when you’re at a Nobu Hotel, but when in Ibiza Bay, there’s another restaurant on the property that should draw your eye: Bibo by Michelin-Starred Spanish Chef Dani Garcia. Get the oxtail brioche and the whole fried marinated sea bass. 

The details: If your vacation centers around food, check out Nobu's Ibiza Bay Hotel (or one of its 13 other locations). As the name suggests, the big draw of this stunning property comes in its epicurean delights. But that doesn’t mean that the property itself leaves you wanting. Set in the stunning island of Ibiza, it's our favorite Nobu location, hands down.

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12 / 24

Velaa Private Island

Location: The Maldives 

Award: Indian Ocean's Leading Luxury Island Resort 2020

Must eat: Given that the signature restaurant Aragu has been voted Top 100 in Asia's 50 Best Restaurants for 2021, you’ll definitely need to pay a visit. Go for the five-course rather than the three-course menu; after all, you’re here to have a good time. 

The details: If your idea of a dream vacation includes a private island with a private butler service, then look no further than Velaa. Inspired, quite literally, by a dream, the experience at Velaa Private Island is meant to be second to none. With a never ending list of amenities for adults and your (very lucky) children alike, this is sure to be a vacation made of your imagination.

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13 / 24

NIZUC Resort & Spa

Location: Cancun, Mexico

Award: Travel +Leisure 500 Best Hotels in the World 2021

Must stay: At well over 5,500 square feet, the Presidential Suite Villa has over 2,000 square feet of outdoor space, including an expansive patio and rooftop deck. We can’t get over the infinity pool, the outdoor shower, or the freestanding soaking tub. 

The details: Cancun isn’t just for college-aged spring-breakers. If you’re looking to escape from the ordinary without traveling too far, check out the stunning Nizuc resort in Cancun, Mexico. This five-star resort is consistently rated one of the best resorts in Cancun, with its five-star status and all-inclusive perks.

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14 / 24

Cayo Espanto, Belize

Location: Belize 

Award: Condé Nast Johansens: Awards for Excellence 2021

Must stay: Absolutely book Casa Ventanas—the one bedroom, over-the-water bungalow is located at the end of a dock that stretches more than 150 feet off the island for the ultimate in privacy (and paradise). You'll observe sea life swimming right past (or under) your bungalow at all hours. 

The details: With seven secluded villas total, Cayo Espanto is about as personalized a paradise as you’ll find. Each of the resort’s villas, including Casa Ventanas, includes a private dock, a butler, and personalized meals handcrafted by the on-island chef (using local and fresh ingredients). And by all means, book yourself a full body scrub at the spa.

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15 / 24

Kahala Hotel & Resort

Location: Honolulu, Hawaii

Award: Hawaii’s Best – People’s Choice Awards – First Place Hotel/Resort

Must eat: Locals and tourists alike flock to Kahala’s fabulous brunch at Hoku’s, a modernized take on Hawaiian cuisine. Its Sunday brunch is served Teishoku—or set—style, which means you can try a little bit of everything all at once. 

The details: Kahala Hotel & Resort always cleans up when it comes to hotel awards season, and once you’ve stepped foot on this luxurious Hawaiian resort, it’s no wonder why. Foodies can enjoy a luxurious eight-course tasting menu, whereas the environmentally conscious can take advantage of the property’s unique green experiences that help you connect with Hawaii’s ecosystem.

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16 / 24

North Block

Location: Yountville, CA

Award: Travel + Leisure World's Best Awards 2020

Must do: Given the beautiful surroundings of this boutique hotel, you’ll definitely want to explore as quickly (and as much) as possible. Luckily, North Block provides complimentary GenZe bicycles for just that purpose. 

The details: North Block is a Napa Valley gem for lodging and drinks (it is wine country, after all). But with the recent opening of its restaurant, Chef Nick Tamburo (formerly Momofuku), you'll find a menu built for curious palates, featuring smoky dishes cooked on a Japanese grill and naturally-leavened pizzas. The wine list spotlights rising star winemakers in Napa and Sonoma alongside longtime favorite wines from the region, as well as a selection of European wines. Find yourself in wine country as a non-vino drinker? You're in luck, because the craft cocktails are also excellent.

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17 / 24

Montage Healdsburg

Location: Healdsburg, CA

Award: Travel + Leisure Best New Hotels in the World 

Must do: When in California, you simply must go on a wine tour. Luckily, there are vineyards a stone’s throw away from this swanky resort. Or, if you want to go further away, take advantage of Montage’s exclusive partnership with Cadillac to drive to your destination.

The details: Montage Healdsburg recently opened as Montage’s first Northern California resort. Situated among 22,000 carefully preserved oak trees and vine-covered hills, the 130 bungalow-style guest rooms feature a contemporary, wine country aesthetic on the inside, while the modern-yet-rustic exterior blends in seamlessly with the surrounding landscape. You'll look out to 15.5 acres of vineyards (overseen by internationally renowned winemaker, Jesse Katz) from your private balcony with an outdoor fireplace. During your stay, you'll have the exclusive opportunity to join Katz for tastings at his nearby winery, Aperture Cellars.

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18 / 24

andBeyond Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge

Location: Okavango Delta, Botswana

Award: World Travel Award’s Leading Tented Safari Camp 

Must do: While going on safari is an obvious bucket list item, a more surprising must-do comes in the form of the resort’s catch-and-release fishing excursions. Check out the Panhandle region, where the Okavango River feeds into the maze of lagoons, and see if you can catch a tiger fish.

The details: If taking a trip to Botswana is on your bucket list, then surely, a stay at andBeyond must be as well. This all-inclusive resort is located in the northern Okavango Delta, offering an unparalleled opportunity for guests to see rhinos, giraffes, lions, and other wild fauna directly from the property. The hotel also offers safari and river boat tours, in addition to meals and drinks (all delicious, of course).

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19 / 24

Timber Cove Resort

Location: Sonoma, CA

Award: Conde Nast Reader’s Choice award winner

Must do: It’s not often that you get to experience fire and water in immediate concert, but thanks to Timber Cove’s oceanside fire pit, you can do just that. Order a drink, take a seat, and let your worries fade. 

The details: Located on the idyllic Sonoma coastline where the redwoods meet the sea, Timber Cove Resort is a one-of-a-kind destination presenting 46 design-forward guest rooms including eight premium suites, a full-service restaurant and bar, and panoramic views. Situated on a bluff high above the Pacific Ocean across 23-acres, the property offers three miles of private hiking trails, access to more than 55 miles of dramatic coastline, and 400 award-winning wineries.

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20 / 24

Isla Palenque

Location: Boca Chica, Panama

Award: World Travel Award’s Panama's Leading Resort 2020

Must stay: The singular beachfront villa estate sits among the ancient trees of Boca Chica and looks out onto the waters of Playa Primera. You’ll get the best of both the rainforest and the beach at this property, which houses up to 14 guests.

The details: For those vacationing in Central America, the Cayuga Collection is a familiar name. One of the gems in its collection is this beautiful property in Panama, which allows you to access both the ocean and the jungle. The 400-acre private island offers all-inclusive meals and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as morning yoga sessions, wildlife tours, and a whopping seven beaches to enjoy.

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21 / 24

Tongabezi Lodge

Location: Simonga, Zambia

Award: Top 20 Hotels in the World, Conde Nast 

Must eat: It’s less about what you eat and more about where you’re eating it when you indulge in a sampan dinner. You’ll float in the middle of the Zambezi River as you have one of the most romantic (and delicious) meals of your life with locally sourced ingredients. 

The details: Take a trip to Victoria Falls (it’s twice as high as Niagara), and stay at the Tongabezi Lodge for an equally magnificent experience. This five-star property offers early morning safaris as well as guided tours of the falls, and a delicious assortment of food and drink. And whether you’d like to stay at your own house or at a more modest cottage, the world (or at least this part of the country) is your oyster with your private valet.

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22 / 24

Lizard Island

Location: Great Barrier Reef, Australia 

Award: Travel + Leisure World’s Best Award 2020

Must eat: While there are plenty of delightful restaurants to visit at Lizard Island, the absolute must-do is the sunset beachside dining experience, where you’ll enjoy a private degustation menu. Bonus: the seven course dinner comes with complementary wines. 

The details: Stay on a private island in order to make the most out of your scuba diving vacation. This all-inclusive resort on the Great Barrier Reef is complete with 24 beaches and 40 luxury suites, which means that you can truly immerse yourself in Mother Nature. Charter your own private yacht for a water excursion, and foodies, note that just about every meal is accented by a fresh catch of the day.

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Twin Farms

Location: Barnard, Vermont 

Award: Forbes Hotel of the Year 

Must do: It’s not often that you’ll find a bee tour at a five-star hotel, but when you do, it’s an undeniable delight. The bee tour at Twin Farms is hosted by resident apiarist Dave, who will teach you about pollen, the pallet process, and Twin Farms’ unique honey. 

The details: No list of the best retreats would be complete without this charming, luxurious getaway in Vermont. This adults-only culinary hotspot is Vermont’s only five-star property, but easily one of the best in the world. All meals feature innovative menus that change daily, and the spa treatments are the stuff of legends. And if you’re really looking to go all out, stay in a cottage (of about 1,000 square feet) which includes a fireplace and stone hot tub.

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Pikaia Lodge, Galapagos Islands

Location: Galapagos Islands 

Award: ​​Relais & Chateaux Sustainability Trophy 2021 

Must stay: Get closer to the great outdoors in the Garden Suite, with panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows with access to a private shaded terrace. Designed with natural cross ventilation in mind, as well as bamboo floors, this suite embodies the resort’s eco-friendly ethos. 

The details: There is no shortage of breathtaking beauty in the Galapagos Islands, and that includes the stunning Pikaia Lodge. This all-inclusive resort is built completely from recycled materials, and is carbon neutral to boot. With 14 beautiful suites and its very own giant tortoise reserve, those looking to truly connect with the natural world are sure to find it in the lap of luxury at this lodge, which by the way, comes complete with a 105-foot luxury yacht.

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