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Four Seasons Hotel George V: A Paris Legend, and With Good Reason

Four Seasons Hotel George V: A Paris Legend, and With Good Reason

The Four Seasons Hotel George V is one of the most legendary and renowned in all of Paris, and the world. And even though a hotel with such a sparkling a reputation can easily rest on its laurels, a recent stay at the invitation of the hotel confirmed that this gem really is something special.

Since it first opened in 1928, Le George V has set the gold standard for luxury in the City of Lights. And since taking it over in 1997, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has served as a faithful steward. Upon setting foot in the spacious marble lobby, you’re greeted with a stunning floral display by artistic director Jeff Leatham; 12,000 flowers in total, driven in from Amsterdam, are arranged by Leatham and his team weekly throughout the entire hotel. Meticulously restored eighteenth-century tapestries line the walls, and a central courtyard allows natural light to permeate the entire ground floor and its restaurants. It’s the height of elegance, constantly buzzing with energy yet exuding a relaxing and tranquil air.


Our room, one of 224 guest rooms and suites, was big, bright, and spacious, with a small balcony overlooking the courtyard. The light color palate was accented with eighteenth-century-inspired furniture and high-end fixtures including a massive chandelier, and the large marble bathroom had a deep vanity, soaking tub, and separate rain shower.

At Le George V, it’s the attention to small details that really sets it apart. For example, while being escorted to our room, I mentioned that I’d picked up some cheese from a local fromagerie; 15 minutes later, room service arrived with a large table and a complimentary selection of breads, pastries, and fruit preserves to complement the cheese, making for a perfect impromptu lunch. Now that’s hospitality.

Le George V is also home to some of Paris’ finest dining experiences, two of which we had the opportunity to experience.

The first, Le George, focuses on light, Mediterranean-inspired cuisine designed for sharing. Menu standouts include yellowtail crudo with lemon; roasted Dublin Bay prawns with citrus and mustard sauce; a play on tarte tatin with roasted onions and Parmesan sorbet; fresh-made ricotta tortelli with lemon and fresh mint; and roasted sole with a bright basil and vinegar sauce. The high-ceilinged space is elegant, upscale, and very Parisian, but dim lighting and thumping music (not too loud) make it anything but stuffy.

The second, Le Cinq, is the jewel in the hotel’s culinary crown. Presided over by chef Christian Le Squer, this three-Michelin-starred masterpiece is a stunning achievement, and our lunch there was wonderful from start to finish. The opulent room is hushed and peaceful, and the staff is friendly and unpretentious, leading to an overall relaxed and even fun environment. Every detail has been meticulously planned and is perfectly executed, from the arrival of the Champagne cart at the beginning of the meal to the arrival of the (very luxuriously appointed) cheese cart at the end (below). In between, the team allows your meal to progress at an ideal pace, giving you plenty of time to appreciate standout dishes like Le Squer’s signature gratinated onions, a modern take on French onion soup, with the soup contained in edible orbs that burst in your mouth; roasted Dublin Bay prawns with a fresh, warm mayonnaise (above) and crunchy buckwheat tuiles; perfectly cooked filet of Australian beef served inside a dome of fresh mozzarella; and grilled fresh ceps (porcini) mushrooms. Each dish gives you plenty do discover and savor, and restaurant director Eric Beaumard does a fantastic job selecting wine pairings from the hotel’s 50,000-bottle strong wine cellar. (He should know; he was named the best sommelier in Europe by Ruinart in 1994).

Other culinary options at the hotel include L’Orangerie, an intimate 20-seat space inside a glass and steel structure overlooking the courtyard, which specializes in seasonal French cuisine; La Galerie, an ideal spot for a light lunch and cocktails located in the heart of the hotel (the din of the crowd combined with piano music daily from 3 p.m. makes guests feel as if they’ve happened upon an elegant soirée); and Le Bar, a wood-paneled classic bar that’s one of the city’s best spots for a cocktail or afternoon tea. The ground floor is also home to a collection of high-end shops, and though the spa is currently undergoing a thorough renovation, a “pop up spa” offers all the old spa’s services in a lavish fourth-floor suite.

Located just steps from the Champs-Élysées, the elegant Four Seasons Hotel George V strives for perfection at every turn, and — as far as I can tell after spending an evening there and having the opportunity to dine at two of its restaurants — it achieves it. It’s really as magical as it’s made out to be.


Top 10 hotels that hold a significant place in history

Located in the heart of London’s Piccadilly, right on Regent Street, the Café Royal has been one of the places to see – and be seen – since the 1890s, when it quickly established a reputation for French gourmet cuisine, first-class entertainment and excellent hospitality. Among the luminaries who frequented the Café Royal were Oscar Wilde, Elizabeth Taylor, Muhammad Ali and Diana, Princess of Wales. Rock star David Bowie famously held a party there in 1973 to say goodbye to his alter ego Ziggy Stardust, with music legends including Mick Jagger and Lou Reed in attendance.

The Hotel Café Royal only opened on the site of the original café in 2012, but has already become known as one of the most luxurious hotels in London, offering 160 guest rooms, including 49 suites and six signature suites, as well as a selection of restaurants, continuing the café’s culinary legacy.

Guestrooms – some of the most luxurious and largest we’ve seen in a London hotel – are elegant and serene, with Portland stone or fumed oak panels, parquet floors and copperlight doors. Double doors lead on to Italian Carrara marble bathrooms with heated floors, and all guestrooms and suites have good-sized beds with Frette bed linen and Bang & Olufsen media systems. And for that extra sense of heritage, six of the suites have their own aesthetic character and story – ours even had a terrace overlooking Piccadilly Circus.

For dining, the Ten Room is particularly excellent. Overseen by executive chef Andrew Turner, it offers contemporary flavours for breakfast, lunch and dinner highly recommended for dinner are the Dover sole meunière and lobster Pompadour, but the entire menu is a feast for the senses. And the London Royal Tea with Union Jack decorations, and Underground macaroons, is a deliciously British affair served in the gilded Oscar Wilde bar.

Its proximity to some of London’s best shopping (including Hamleys and Selfridges) makes the Hotel Café Royal ideal for shopaholics, and it’s in easy reach of all the main sights, including Trafalgar Square, the London Eye and Buckingham Palace but if you need some relaxation after exploring then the hotel’s spa is simply exquisite, with an 18m long lap pool, steam room, sauna and jacuzzi, and nine treatment rooms offering innovative Western treatments fused with ancient Eastern traditions. There’s also a private hammam and London’s first Watsu (aquatic therapy) pool. Rooms from Dh2,438 per night (www.hotelcaferoyal.com).

The Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai

Opened originally as the Cathay Hotel in 1929, the most famous hotel in China was known even then as the Number One mansion in the Far East, welcoming notable figures like Charlie Chaplin and George Bernard Shaw. Its outstanding location on the Bund, facing the Pudong area over the Huangpu River, and stunning copper-sheathed roof, white Italian marble floors and priceless Lalique glass artwork made it the must-stay place for politicians, celebrities and businessmen alike.

However, it was occupied by the Japanese army during the Second World War, and after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, some of the offices were used by the Municipal Finance Committee in 1952 the building was taken over by the government, and it wasn’t until 1956 that it resumed trading as a hotel under the name Peace Hotel.

Following extensive refurbishment in 2007, the original interiors and exteriors were renewed, creating a sophisticated, glamorous hotel, the perfect retreat from the frenetic pace of Shanghai. As part of the Canadian Fairmont hotel group (owners of The Savoy), it offers the award-winning Willow Stream spa (and superb sky-lit swimming pool), and the Fairmont Gold club floor with its own private concierge. Rooms are elegantly appointed, with state-of-the-art amenities and marble bathrooms. From Dh1,088 per night, fairmont.com.

The Peninsula, Hong Kong

There are lots of reasons to stay at the Peninsula Hong Kong – the helipad, Rolls-Royce transfer service and extraordinary Philippe Starck-designed restaurant Felix with panoramic views of the Blade Runner-esque-skyline to name just a few. But the ‘Grande Dame of the Far East’ also has an illustrious history.

Opened in 1928, it’s still one of the most prestigious hotels in the city you can stay in the original building or the soaring tower, with its astonishing views of Victoria Harbour and beyond, but even if you don’t stay here, it’s well worth visiting for the afternoon tea alone, a Hong Kong tradition. Rooms effortlessly blend chinoiserie-style textiles with modern luxury. From Dh1,744 per night, peninsula.com.

Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris

Established in 1928 and renovated in 1997, the Four Seasons Hotel George V is a Parisian landmark. Now owned by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, it boasts exemplary service and lavish interiors – think sparkling crystal, mirror-finish marble, as well as the original ironwork, including art deco balustrades. The hotel’s restaurant, Le Cinq, is Michelin-starred. Rooms are furnished in light, refreshing colours, with crystal chandeliers, 18th-century inspired furniture, deep soaking bathtubs. From Dh5,055 per night, fourseasons.com.

The Hotel Astoria, St Petersburg

Ignore the slightly unexpected muddy brown-exterior – the Astoria is St Petersburg’s most famous and luxurious hotel, and has also been acclaimed as one of the most romantic hotels in the world.

Opened in 1912, five years before the Russian revolution, and a favourite with friends and relatives of the Tsar, it was renowned for its art nouveau interiors, and the building is Grade 1 listed. There’s a grand white marble lobby and Olga Polizzi-designed suites, but its views of the famous gold-domed roof of St Isaac’s Cathedral are particularly impressive. Lenin famously spoke from the balcony in 1919 other guests have included ballerina Isadora Duncan, and more recently, Madonna. Rooms have parquet floors, hand-embroidered bedspreads with Russian linen and Italian marble bathrooms. From Dh999 per night, www.roccofortehotels.com.

The Plaza, New York

It was once said that ‘Nothing unimportant ever happens at The Plaza,’ and since its opening in 1907 it has been one of the most famous addresses in the Big Apple, with an outstanding location on Central Park South, right opposite the park, and within skipping distance of Fifth Avenue, with its glorious shopping. In fact it was so esteemed that legendary writer Ernest Hemingway once advised F Scott Fitzgerald to give his liver to Princeton and his heart to The Plaza. Kings, presidents, ambassadors and movie stars have stayed at this extraordinary hotel, and it’s featured in movies ranging from Hitchcock’s North by Northwest to The Way We Were, The Great Gatsby and Home Alone II.

It’s considered so important to New York that it’s one of only two hotels in the city to be designated as a National Historic Landmark. Fully renovated in 2008, rooms offer Beaux-Arts-inspired decor and white-glove butler service the bathrooms are particularly lavish, with 24-carat gold-plated taps. From Dh3,599 per night, www.fairmont.com.

The Palais Sheherazade and Spa, Fez, Morocco

With its lush Moorish-style gardens and view of the Medina, the Palais Sheherazade certainly feels palatial. And so it should – the building was originally an actual 19th-century palace. Suites are sumptuous, as you’d expect, but for total indulgence check out the Anne Semonin Signature Spa, with its indoor aquatonic pool and 12 treatment rooms. From Dh579 per night, www.sheheraz.com.

Raffles, Singapore

Raffles first opened its doors in 1887 as a 10-bedroom colonial hotel. Since then there has been extensive development around it, but the essence of the hotel remains the same, and entering the lobby with its iconic ceiling fans feels like going back to a calmer, more simple time. Famous guests have included Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad, as well as more recently the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Rooms have high ceilings, and opulent soft furnishings. From Dh4,532 per night, www.raffles.com.

Hotel Alfonso XIII, Seville

Seville is a spectacularly beautiful city, brimming with stunning architecture, enchanting plazas and breathtaking gardens, and the Hotel Alfonso XIII is one of the best addresses here, within easy reach of the Santa Cruz quarter and Guadalquivir River. With its Mudéjar-style architecture it has been considered one of the most prestigious hotels in Spain (and the world) since its opening (attended by the then King and Queen) in 1929, and although it has been extensively renovated it has maintained its aura of glamour, as befits a Spanish icon.


Top 10 hotels that hold a significant place in history

Located in the heart of London’s Piccadilly, right on Regent Street, the Café Royal has been one of the places to see – and be seen – since the 1890s, when it quickly established a reputation for French gourmet cuisine, first-class entertainment and excellent hospitality. Among the luminaries who frequented the Café Royal were Oscar Wilde, Elizabeth Taylor, Muhammad Ali and Diana, Princess of Wales. Rock star David Bowie famously held a party there in 1973 to say goodbye to his alter ego Ziggy Stardust, with music legends including Mick Jagger and Lou Reed in attendance.

The Hotel Café Royal only opened on the site of the original café in 2012, but has already become known as one of the most luxurious hotels in London, offering 160 guest rooms, including 49 suites and six signature suites, as well as a selection of restaurants, continuing the café’s culinary legacy.

Guestrooms – some of the most luxurious and largest we’ve seen in a London hotel – are elegant and serene, with Portland stone or fumed oak panels, parquet floors and copperlight doors. Double doors lead on to Italian Carrara marble bathrooms with heated floors, and all guestrooms and suites have good-sized beds with Frette bed linen and Bang & Olufsen media systems. And for that extra sense of heritage, six of the suites have their own aesthetic character and story – ours even had a terrace overlooking Piccadilly Circus.

For dining, the Ten Room is particularly excellent. Overseen by executive chef Andrew Turner, it offers contemporary flavours for breakfast, lunch and dinner highly recommended for dinner are the Dover sole meunière and lobster Pompadour, but the entire menu is a feast for the senses. And the London Royal Tea with Union Jack decorations, and Underground macaroons, is a deliciously British affair served in the gilded Oscar Wilde bar.

Its proximity to some of London’s best shopping (including Hamleys and Selfridges) makes the Hotel Café Royal ideal for shopaholics, and it’s in easy reach of all the main sights, including Trafalgar Square, the London Eye and Buckingham Palace but if you need some relaxation after exploring then the hotel’s spa is simply exquisite, with an 18m long lap pool, steam room, sauna and jacuzzi, and nine treatment rooms offering innovative Western treatments fused with ancient Eastern traditions. There’s also a private hammam and London’s first Watsu (aquatic therapy) pool. Rooms from Dh2,438 per night (www.hotelcaferoyal.com).

The Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai

Opened originally as the Cathay Hotel in 1929, the most famous hotel in China was known even then as the Number One mansion in the Far East, welcoming notable figures like Charlie Chaplin and George Bernard Shaw. Its outstanding location on the Bund, facing the Pudong area over the Huangpu River, and stunning copper-sheathed roof, white Italian marble floors and priceless Lalique glass artwork made it the must-stay place for politicians, celebrities and businessmen alike.

However, it was occupied by the Japanese army during the Second World War, and after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, some of the offices were used by the Municipal Finance Committee in 1952 the building was taken over by the government, and it wasn’t until 1956 that it resumed trading as a hotel under the name Peace Hotel.

Following extensive refurbishment in 2007, the original interiors and exteriors were renewed, creating a sophisticated, glamorous hotel, the perfect retreat from the frenetic pace of Shanghai. As part of the Canadian Fairmont hotel group (owners of The Savoy), it offers the award-winning Willow Stream spa (and superb sky-lit swimming pool), and the Fairmont Gold club floor with its own private concierge. Rooms are elegantly appointed, with state-of-the-art amenities and marble bathrooms. From Dh1,088 per night, fairmont.com.

The Peninsula, Hong Kong

There are lots of reasons to stay at the Peninsula Hong Kong – the helipad, Rolls-Royce transfer service and extraordinary Philippe Starck-designed restaurant Felix with panoramic views of the Blade Runner-esque-skyline to name just a few. But the ‘Grande Dame of the Far East’ also has an illustrious history.

Opened in 1928, it’s still one of the most prestigious hotels in the city you can stay in the original building or the soaring tower, with its astonishing views of Victoria Harbour and beyond, but even if you don’t stay here, it’s well worth visiting for the afternoon tea alone, a Hong Kong tradition. Rooms effortlessly blend chinoiserie-style textiles with modern luxury. From Dh1,744 per night, peninsula.com.

Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris

Established in 1928 and renovated in 1997, the Four Seasons Hotel George V is a Parisian landmark. Now owned by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, it boasts exemplary service and lavish interiors – think sparkling crystal, mirror-finish marble, as well as the original ironwork, including art deco balustrades. The hotel’s restaurant, Le Cinq, is Michelin-starred. Rooms are furnished in light, refreshing colours, with crystal chandeliers, 18th-century inspired furniture, deep soaking bathtubs. From Dh5,055 per night, fourseasons.com.

The Hotel Astoria, St Petersburg

Ignore the slightly unexpected muddy brown-exterior – the Astoria is St Petersburg’s most famous and luxurious hotel, and has also been acclaimed as one of the most romantic hotels in the world.

Opened in 1912, five years before the Russian revolution, and a favourite with friends and relatives of the Tsar, it was renowned for its art nouveau interiors, and the building is Grade 1 listed. There’s a grand white marble lobby and Olga Polizzi-designed suites, but its views of the famous gold-domed roof of St Isaac’s Cathedral are particularly impressive. Lenin famously spoke from the balcony in 1919 other guests have included ballerina Isadora Duncan, and more recently, Madonna. Rooms have parquet floors, hand-embroidered bedspreads with Russian linen and Italian marble bathrooms. From Dh999 per night, www.roccofortehotels.com.

The Plaza, New York

It was once said that ‘Nothing unimportant ever happens at The Plaza,’ and since its opening in 1907 it has been one of the most famous addresses in the Big Apple, with an outstanding location on Central Park South, right opposite the park, and within skipping distance of Fifth Avenue, with its glorious shopping. In fact it was so esteemed that legendary writer Ernest Hemingway once advised F Scott Fitzgerald to give his liver to Princeton and his heart to The Plaza. Kings, presidents, ambassadors and movie stars have stayed at this extraordinary hotel, and it’s featured in movies ranging from Hitchcock’s North by Northwest to The Way We Were, The Great Gatsby and Home Alone II.

It’s considered so important to New York that it’s one of only two hotels in the city to be designated as a National Historic Landmark. Fully renovated in 2008, rooms offer Beaux-Arts-inspired decor and white-glove butler service the bathrooms are particularly lavish, with 24-carat gold-plated taps. From Dh3,599 per night, www.fairmont.com.

The Palais Sheherazade and Spa, Fez, Morocco

With its lush Moorish-style gardens and view of the Medina, the Palais Sheherazade certainly feels palatial. And so it should – the building was originally an actual 19th-century palace. Suites are sumptuous, as you’d expect, but for total indulgence check out the Anne Semonin Signature Spa, with its indoor aquatonic pool and 12 treatment rooms. From Dh579 per night, www.sheheraz.com.

Raffles, Singapore

Raffles first opened its doors in 1887 as a 10-bedroom colonial hotel. Since then there has been extensive development around it, but the essence of the hotel remains the same, and entering the lobby with its iconic ceiling fans feels like going back to a calmer, more simple time. Famous guests have included Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad, as well as more recently the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Rooms have high ceilings, and opulent soft furnishings. From Dh4,532 per night, www.raffles.com.

Hotel Alfonso XIII, Seville

Seville is a spectacularly beautiful city, brimming with stunning architecture, enchanting plazas and breathtaking gardens, and the Hotel Alfonso XIII is one of the best addresses here, within easy reach of the Santa Cruz quarter and Guadalquivir River. With its Mudéjar-style architecture it has been considered one of the most prestigious hotels in Spain (and the world) since its opening (attended by the then King and Queen) in 1929, and although it has been extensively renovated it has maintained its aura of glamour, as befits a Spanish icon.


Top 10 hotels that hold a significant place in history

Located in the heart of London’s Piccadilly, right on Regent Street, the Café Royal has been one of the places to see – and be seen – since the 1890s, when it quickly established a reputation for French gourmet cuisine, first-class entertainment and excellent hospitality. Among the luminaries who frequented the Café Royal were Oscar Wilde, Elizabeth Taylor, Muhammad Ali and Diana, Princess of Wales. Rock star David Bowie famously held a party there in 1973 to say goodbye to his alter ego Ziggy Stardust, with music legends including Mick Jagger and Lou Reed in attendance.

The Hotel Café Royal only opened on the site of the original café in 2012, but has already become known as one of the most luxurious hotels in London, offering 160 guest rooms, including 49 suites and six signature suites, as well as a selection of restaurants, continuing the café’s culinary legacy.

Guestrooms – some of the most luxurious and largest we’ve seen in a London hotel – are elegant and serene, with Portland stone or fumed oak panels, parquet floors and copperlight doors. Double doors lead on to Italian Carrara marble bathrooms with heated floors, and all guestrooms and suites have good-sized beds with Frette bed linen and Bang & Olufsen media systems. And for that extra sense of heritage, six of the suites have their own aesthetic character and story – ours even had a terrace overlooking Piccadilly Circus.

For dining, the Ten Room is particularly excellent. Overseen by executive chef Andrew Turner, it offers contemporary flavours for breakfast, lunch and dinner highly recommended for dinner are the Dover sole meunière and lobster Pompadour, but the entire menu is a feast for the senses. And the London Royal Tea with Union Jack decorations, and Underground macaroons, is a deliciously British affair served in the gilded Oscar Wilde bar.

Its proximity to some of London’s best shopping (including Hamleys and Selfridges) makes the Hotel Café Royal ideal for shopaholics, and it’s in easy reach of all the main sights, including Trafalgar Square, the London Eye and Buckingham Palace but if you need some relaxation after exploring then the hotel’s spa is simply exquisite, with an 18m long lap pool, steam room, sauna and jacuzzi, and nine treatment rooms offering innovative Western treatments fused with ancient Eastern traditions. There’s also a private hammam and London’s first Watsu (aquatic therapy) pool. Rooms from Dh2,438 per night (www.hotelcaferoyal.com).

The Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai

Opened originally as the Cathay Hotel in 1929, the most famous hotel in China was known even then as the Number One mansion in the Far East, welcoming notable figures like Charlie Chaplin and George Bernard Shaw. Its outstanding location on the Bund, facing the Pudong area over the Huangpu River, and stunning copper-sheathed roof, white Italian marble floors and priceless Lalique glass artwork made it the must-stay place for politicians, celebrities and businessmen alike.

However, it was occupied by the Japanese army during the Second World War, and after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, some of the offices were used by the Municipal Finance Committee in 1952 the building was taken over by the government, and it wasn’t until 1956 that it resumed trading as a hotel under the name Peace Hotel.

Following extensive refurbishment in 2007, the original interiors and exteriors were renewed, creating a sophisticated, glamorous hotel, the perfect retreat from the frenetic pace of Shanghai. As part of the Canadian Fairmont hotel group (owners of The Savoy), it offers the award-winning Willow Stream spa (and superb sky-lit swimming pool), and the Fairmont Gold club floor with its own private concierge. Rooms are elegantly appointed, with state-of-the-art amenities and marble bathrooms. From Dh1,088 per night, fairmont.com.

The Peninsula, Hong Kong

There are lots of reasons to stay at the Peninsula Hong Kong – the helipad, Rolls-Royce transfer service and extraordinary Philippe Starck-designed restaurant Felix with panoramic views of the Blade Runner-esque-skyline to name just a few. But the ‘Grande Dame of the Far East’ also has an illustrious history.

Opened in 1928, it’s still one of the most prestigious hotels in the city you can stay in the original building or the soaring tower, with its astonishing views of Victoria Harbour and beyond, but even if you don’t stay here, it’s well worth visiting for the afternoon tea alone, a Hong Kong tradition. Rooms effortlessly blend chinoiserie-style textiles with modern luxury. From Dh1,744 per night, peninsula.com.

Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris

Established in 1928 and renovated in 1997, the Four Seasons Hotel George V is a Parisian landmark. Now owned by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, it boasts exemplary service and lavish interiors – think sparkling crystal, mirror-finish marble, as well as the original ironwork, including art deco balustrades. The hotel’s restaurant, Le Cinq, is Michelin-starred. Rooms are furnished in light, refreshing colours, with crystal chandeliers, 18th-century inspired furniture, deep soaking bathtubs. From Dh5,055 per night, fourseasons.com.

The Hotel Astoria, St Petersburg

Ignore the slightly unexpected muddy brown-exterior – the Astoria is St Petersburg’s most famous and luxurious hotel, and has also been acclaimed as one of the most romantic hotels in the world.

Opened in 1912, five years before the Russian revolution, and a favourite with friends and relatives of the Tsar, it was renowned for its art nouveau interiors, and the building is Grade 1 listed. There’s a grand white marble lobby and Olga Polizzi-designed suites, but its views of the famous gold-domed roof of St Isaac’s Cathedral are particularly impressive. Lenin famously spoke from the balcony in 1919 other guests have included ballerina Isadora Duncan, and more recently, Madonna. Rooms have parquet floors, hand-embroidered bedspreads with Russian linen and Italian marble bathrooms. From Dh999 per night, www.roccofortehotels.com.

The Plaza, New York

It was once said that ‘Nothing unimportant ever happens at The Plaza,’ and since its opening in 1907 it has been one of the most famous addresses in the Big Apple, with an outstanding location on Central Park South, right opposite the park, and within skipping distance of Fifth Avenue, with its glorious shopping. In fact it was so esteemed that legendary writer Ernest Hemingway once advised F Scott Fitzgerald to give his liver to Princeton and his heart to The Plaza. Kings, presidents, ambassadors and movie stars have stayed at this extraordinary hotel, and it’s featured in movies ranging from Hitchcock’s North by Northwest to The Way We Were, The Great Gatsby and Home Alone II.

It’s considered so important to New York that it’s one of only two hotels in the city to be designated as a National Historic Landmark. Fully renovated in 2008, rooms offer Beaux-Arts-inspired decor and white-glove butler service the bathrooms are particularly lavish, with 24-carat gold-plated taps. From Dh3,599 per night, www.fairmont.com.

The Palais Sheherazade and Spa, Fez, Morocco

With its lush Moorish-style gardens and view of the Medina, the Palais Sheherazade certainly feels palatial. And so it should – the building was originally an actual 19th-century palace. Suites are sumptuous, as you’d expect, but for total indulgence check out the Anne Semonin Signature Spa, with its indoor aquatonic pool and 12 treatment rooms. From Dh579 per night, www.sheheraz.com.

Raffles, Singapore

Raffles first opened its doors in 1887 as a 10-bedroom colonial hotel. Since then there has been extensive development around it, but the essence of the hotel remains the same, and entering the lobby with its iconic ceiling fans feels like going back to a calmer, more simple time. Famous guests have included Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad, as well as more recently the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Rooms have high ceilings, and opulent soft furnishings. From Dh4,532 per night, www.raffles.com.

Hotel Alfonso XIII, Seville

Seville is a spectacularly beautiful city, brimming with stunning architecture, enchanting plazas and breathtaking gardens, and the Hotel Alfonso XIII is one of the best addresses here, within easy reach of the Santa Cruz quarter and Guadalquivir River. With its Mudéjar-style architecture it has been considered one of the most prestigious hotels in Spain (and the world) since its opening (attended by the then King and Queen) in 1929, and although it has been extensively renovated it has maintained its aura of glamour, as befits a Spanish icon.


Top 10 hotels that hold a significant place in history

Located in the heart of London’s Piccadilly, right on Regent Street, the Café Royal has been one of the places to see – and be seen – since the 1890s, when it quickly established a reputation for French gourmet cuisine, first-class entertainment and excellent hospitality. Among the luminaries who frequented the Café Royal were Oscar Wilde, Elizabeth Taylor, Muhammad Ali and Diana, Princess of Wales. Rock star David Bowie famously held a party there in 1973 to say goodbye to his alter ego Ziggy Stardust, with music legends including Mick Jagger and Lou Reed in attendance.

The Hotel Café Royal only opened on the site of the original café in 2012, but has already become known as one of the most luxurious hotels in London, offering 160 guest rooms, including 49 suites and six signature suites, as well as a selection of restaurants, continuing the café’s culinary legacy.

Guestrooms – some of the most luxurious and largest we’ve seen in a London hotel – are elegant and serene, with Portland stone or fumed oak panels, parquet floors and copperlight doors. Double doors lead on to Italian Carrara marble bathrooms with heated floors, and all guestrooms and suites have good-sized beds with Frette bed linen and Bang & Olufsen media systems. And for that extra sense of heritage, six of the suites have their own aesthetic character and story – ours even had a terrace overlooking Piccadilly Circus.

For dining, the Ten Room is particularly excellent. Overseen by executive chef Andrew Turner, it offers contemporary flavours for breakfast, lunch and dinner highly recommended for dinner are the Dover sole meunière and lobster Pompadour, but the entire menu is a feast for the senses. And the London Royal Tea with Union Jack decorations, and Underground macaroons, is a deliciously British affair served in the gilded Oscar Wilde bar.

Its proximity to some of London’s best shopping (including Hamleys and Selfridges) makes the Hotel Café Royal ideal for shopaholics, and it’s in easy reach of all the main sights, including Trafalgar Square, the London Eye and Buckingham Palace but if you need some relaxation after exploring then the hotel’s spa is simply exquisite, with an 18m long lap pool, steam room, sauna and jacuzzi, and nine treatment rooms offering innovative Western treatments fused with ancient Eastern traditions. There’s also a private hammam and London’s first Watsu (aquatic therapy) pool. Rooms from Dh2,438 per night (www.hotelcaferoyal.com).

The Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai

Opened originally as the Cathay Hotel in 1929, the most famous hotel in China was known even then as the Number One mansion in the Far East, welcoming notable figures like Charlie Chaplin and George Bernard Shaw. Its outstanding location on the Bund, facing the Pudong area over the Huangpu River, and stunning copper-sheathed roof, white Italian marble floors and priceless Lalique glass artwork made it the must-stay place for politicians, celebrities and businessmen alike.

However, it was occupied by the Japanese army during the Second World War, and after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, some of the offices were used by the Municipal Finance Committee in 1952 the building was taken over by the government, and it wasn’t until 1956 that it resumed trading as a hotel under the name Peace Hotel.

Following extensive refurbishment in 2007, the original interiors and exteriors were renewed, creating a sophisticated, glamorous hotel, the perfect retreat from the frenetic pace of Shanghai. As part of the Canadian Fairmont hotel group (owners of The Savoy), it offers the award-winning Willow Stream spa (and superb sky-lit swimming pool), and the Fairmont Gold club floor with its own private concierge. Rooms are elegantly appointed, with state-of-the-art amenities and marble bathrooms. From Dh1,088 per night, fairmont.com.

The Peninsula, Hong Kong

There are lots of reasons to stay at the Peninsula Hong Kong – the helipad, Rolls-Royce transfer service and extraordinary Philippe Starck-designed restaurant Felix with panoramic views of the Blade Runner-esque-skyline to name just a few. But the ‘Grande Dame of the Far East’ also has an illustrious history.

Opened in 1928, it’s still one of the most prestigious hotels in the city you can stay in the original building or the soaring tower, with its astonishing views of Victoria Harbour and beyond, but even if you don’t stay here, it’s well worth visiting for the afternoon tea alone, a Hong Kong tradition. Rooms effortlessly blend chinoiserie-style textiles with modern luxury. From Dh1,744 per night, peninsula.com.

Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris

Established in 1928 and renovated in 1997, the Four Seasons Hotel George V is a Parisian landmark. Now owned by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, it boasts exemplary service and lavish interiors – think sparkling crystal, mirror-finish marble, as well as the original ironwork, including art deco balustrades. The hotel’s restaurant, Le Cinq, is Michelin-starred. Rooms are furnished in light, refreshing colours, with crystal chandeliers, 18th-century inspired furniture, deep soaking bathtubs. From Dh5,055 per night, fourseasons.com.

The Hotel Astoria, St Petersburg

Ignore the slightly unexpected muddy brown-exterior – the Astoria is St Petersburg’s most famous and luxurious hotel, and has also been acclaimed as one of the most romantic hotels in the world.

Opened in 1912, five years before the Russian revolution, and a favourite with friends and relatives of the Tsar, it was renowned for its art nouveau interiors, and the building is Grade 1 listed. There’s a grand white marble lobby and Olga Polizzi-designed suites, but its views of the famous gold-domed roof of St Isaac’s Cathedral are particularly impressive. Lenin famously spoke from the balcony in 1919 other guests have included ballerina Isadora Duncan, and more recently, Madonna. Rooms have parquet floors, hand-embroidered bedspreads with Russian linen and Italian marble bathrooms. From Dh999 per night, www.roccofortehotels.com.

The Plaza, New York

It was once said that ‘Nothing unimportant ever happens at The Plaza,’ and since its opening in 1907 it has been one of the most famous addresses in the Big Apple, with an outstanding location on Central Park South, right opposite the park, and within skipping distance of Fifth Avenue, with its glorious shopping. In fact it was so esteemed that legendary writer Ernest Hemingway once advised F Scott Fitzgerald to give his liver to Princeton and his heart to The Plaza. Kings, presidents, ambassadors and movie stars have stayed at this extraordinary hotel, and it’s featured in movies ranging from Hitchcock’s North by Northwest to The Way We Were, The Great Gatsby and Home Alone II.

It’s considered so important to New York that it’s one of only two hotels in the city to be designated as a National Historic Landmark. Fully renovated in 2008, rooms offer Beaux-Arts-inspired decor and white-glove butler service the bathrooms are particularly lavish, with 24-carat gold-plated taps. From Dh3,599 per night, www.fairmont.com.

The Palais Sheherazade and Spa, Fez, Morocco

With its lush Moorish-style gardens and view of the Medina, the Palais Sheherazade certainly feels palatial. And so it should – the building was originally an actual 19th-century palace. Suites are sumptuous, as you’d expect, but for total indulgence check out the Anne Semonin Signature Spa, with its indoor aquatonic pool and 12 treatment rooms. From Dh579 per night, www.sheheraz.com.

Raffles, Singapore

Raffles first opened its doors in 1887 as a 10-bedroom colonial hotel. Since then there has been extensive development around it, but the essence of the hotel remains the same, and entering the lobby with its iconic ceiling fans feels like going back to a calmer, more simple time. Famous guests have included Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad, as well as more recently the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Rooms have high ceilings, and opulent soft furnishings. From Dh4,532 per night, www.raffles.com.

Hotel Alfonso XIII, Seville

Seville is a spectacularly beautiful city, brimming with stunning architecture, enchanting plazas and breathtaking gardens, and the Hotel Alfonso XIII is one of the best addresses here, within easy reach of the Santa Cruz quarter and Guadalquivir River. With its Mudéjar-style architecture it has been considered one of the most prestigious hotels in Spain (and the world) since its opening (attended by the then King and Queen) in 1929, and although it has been extensively renovated it has maintained its aura of glamour, as befits a Spanish icon.


Top 10 hotels that hold a significant place in history

Located in the heart of London’s Piccadilly, right on Regent Street, the Café Royal has been one of the places to see – and be seen – since the 1890s, when it quickly established a reputation for French gourmet cuisine, first-class entertainment and excellent hospitality. Among the luminaries who frequented the Café Royal were Oscar Wilde, Elizabeth Taylor, Muhammad Ali and Diana, Princess of Wales. Rock star David Bowie famously held a party there in 1973 to say goodbye to his alter ego Ziggy Stardust, with music legends including Mick Jagger and Lou Reed in attendance.

The Hotel Café Royal only opened on the site of the original café in 2012, but has already become known as one of the most luxurious hotels in London, offering 160 guest rooms, including 49 suites and six signature suites, as well as a selection of restaurants, continuing the café’s culinary legacy.

Guestrooms – some of the most luxurious and largest we’ve seen in a London hotel – are elegant and serene, with Portland stone or fumed oak panels, parquet floors and copperlight doors. Double doors lead on to Italian Carrara marble bathrooms with heated floors, and all guestrooms and suites have good-sized beds with Frette bed linen and Bang & Olufsen media systems. And for that extra sense of heritage, six of the suites have their own aesthetic character and story – ours even had a terrace overlooking Piccadilly Circus.

For dining, the Ten Room is particularly excellent. Overseen by executive chef Andrew Turner, it offers contemporary flavours for breakfast, lunch and dinner highly recommended for dinner are the Dover sole meunière and lobster Pompadour, but the entire menu is a feast for the senses. And the London Royal Tea with Union Jack decorations, and Underground macaroons, is a deliciously British affair served in the gilded Oscar Wilde bar.

Its proximity to some of London’s best shopping (including Hamleys and Selfridges) makes the Hotel Café Royal ideal for shopaholics, and it’s in easy reach of all the main sights, including Trafalgar Square, the London Eye and Buckingham Palace but if you need some relaxation after exploring then the hotel’s spa is simply exquisite, with an 18m long lap pool, steam room, sauna and jacuzzi, and nine treatment rooms offering innovative Western treatments fused with ancient Eastern traditions. There’s also a private hammam and London’s first Watsu (aquatic therapy) pool. Rooms from Dh2,438 per night (www.hotelcaferoyal.com).

The Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai

Opened originally as the Cathay Hotel in 1929, the most famous hotel in China was known even then as the Number One mansion in the Far East, welcoming notable figures like Charlie Chaplin and George Bernard Shaw. Its outstanding location on the Bund, facing the Pudong area over the Huangpu River, and stunning copper-sheathed roof, white Italian marble floors and priceless Lalique glass artwork made it the must-stay place for politicians, celebrities and businessmen alike.

However, it was occupied by the Japanese army during the Second World War, and after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, some of the offices were used by the Municipal Finance Committee in 1952 the building was taken over by the government, and it wasn’t until 1956 that it resumed trading as a hotel under the name Peace Hotel.

Following extensive refurbishment in 2007, the original interiors and exteriors were renewed, creating a sophisticated, glamorous hotel, the perfect retreat from the frenetic pace of Shanghai. As part of the Canadian Fairmont hotel group (owners of The Savoy), it offers the award-winning Willow Stream spa (and superb sky-lit swimming pool), and the Fairmont Gold club floor with its own private concierge. Rooms are elegantly appointed, with state-of-the-art amenities and marble bathrooms. From Dh1,088 per night, fairmont.com.

The Peninsula, Hong Kong

There are lots of reasons to stay at the Peninsula Hong Kong – the helipad, Rolls-Royce transfer service and extraordinary Philippe Starck-designed restaurant Felix with panoramic views of the Blade Runner-esque-skyline to name just a few. But the ‘Grande Dame of the Far East’ also has an illustrious history.

Opened in 1928, it’s still one of the most prestigious hotels in the city you can stay in the original building or the soaring tower, with its astonishing views of Victoria Harbour and beyond, but even if you don’t stay here, it’s well worth visiting for the afternoon tea alone, a Hong Kong tradition. Rooms effortlessly blend chinoiserie-style textiles with modern luxury. From Dh1,744 per night, peninsula.com.

Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris

Established in 1928 and renovated in 1997, the Four Seasons Hotel George V is a Parisian landmark. Now owned by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, it boasts exemplary service and lavish interiors – think sparkling crystal, mirror-finish marble, as well as the original ironwork, including art deco balustrades. The hotel’s restaurant, Le Cinq, is Michelin-starred. Rooms are furnished in light, refreshing colours, with crystal chandeliers, 18th-century inspired furniture, deep soaking bathtubs. From Dh5,055 per night, fourseasons.com.

The Hotel Astoria, St Petersburg

Ignore the slightly unexpected muddy brown-exterior – the Astoria is St Petersburg’s most famous and luxurious hotel, and has also been acclaimed as one of the most romantic hotels in the world.

Opened in 1912, five years before the Russian revolution, and a favourite with friends and relatives of the Tsar, it was renowned for its art nouveau interiors, and the building is Grade 1 listed. There’s a grand white marble lobby and Olga Polizzi-designed suites, but its views of the famous gold-domed roof of St Isaac’s Cathedral are particularly impressive. Lenin famously spoke from the balcony in 1919 other guests have included ballerina Isadora Duncan, and more recently, Madonna. Rooms have parquet floors, hand-embroidered bedspreads with Russian linen and Italian marble bathrooms. From Dh999 per night, www.roccofortehotels.com.

The Plaza, New York

It was once said that ‘Nothing unimportant ever happens at The Plaza,’ and since its opening in 1907 it has been one of the most famous addresses in the Big Apple, with an outstanding location on Central Park South, right opposite the park, and within skipping distance of Fifth Avenue, with its glorious shopping. In fact it was so esteemed that legendary writer Ernest Hemingway once advised F Scott Fitzgerald to give his liver to Princeton and his heart to The Plaza. Kings, presidents, ambassadors and movie stars have stayed at this extraordinary hotel, and it’s featured in movies ranging from Hitchcock’s North by Northwest to The Way We Were, The Great Gatsby and Home Alone II.

It’s considered so important to New York that it’s one of only two hotels in the city to be designated as a National Historic Landmark. Fully renovated in 2008, rooms offer Beaux-Arts-inspired decor and white-glove butler service the bathrooms are particularly lavish, with 24-carat gold-plated taps. From Dh3,599 per night, www.fairmont.com.

The Palais Sheherazade and Spa, Fez, Morocco

With its lush Moorish-style gardens and view of the Medina, the Palais Sheherazade certainly feels palatial. And so it should – the building was originally an actual 19th-century palace. Suites are sumptuous, as you’d expect, but for total indulgence check out the Anne Semonin Signature Spa, with its indoor aquatonic pool and 12 treatment rooms. From Dh579 per night, www.sheheraz.com.

Raffles, Singapore

Raffles first opened its doors in 1887 as a 10-bedroom colonial hotel. Since then there has been extensive development around it, but the essence of the hotel remains the same, and entering the lobby with its iconic ceiling fans feels like going back to a calmer, more simple time. Famous guests have included Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad, as well as more recently the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Rooms have high ceilings, and opulent soft furnishings. From Dh4,532 per night, www.raffles.com.

Hotel Alfonso XIII, Seville

Seville is a spectacularly beautiful city, brimming with stunning architecture, enchanting plazas and breathtaking gardens, and the Hotel Alfonso XIII is one of the best addresses here, within easy reach of the Santa Cruz quarter and Guadalquivir River. With its Mudéjar-style architecture it has been considered one of the most prestigious hotels in Spain (and the world) since its opening (attended by the then King and Queen) in 1929, and although it has been extensively renovated it has maintained its aura of glamour, as befits a Spanish icon.


Top 10 hotels that hold a significant place in history

Located in the heart of London’s Piccadilly, right on Regent Street, the Café Royal has been one of the places to see – and be seen – since the 1890s, when it quickly established a reputation for French gourmet cuisine, first-class entertainment and excellent hospitality. Among the luminaries who frequented the Café Royal were Oscar Wilde, Elizabeth Taylor, Muhammad Ali and Diana, Princess of Wales. Rock star David Bowie famously held a party there in 1973 to say goodbye to his alter ego Ziggy Stardust, with music legends including Mick Jagger and Lou Reed in attendance.

The Hotel Café Royal only opened on the site of the original café in 2012, but has already become known as one of the most luxurious hotels in London, offering 160 guest rooms, including 49 suites and six signature suites, as well as a selection of restaurants, continuing the café’s culinary legacy.

Guestrooms – some of the most luxurious and largest we’ve seen in a London hotel – are elegant and serene, with Portland stone or fumed oak panels, parquet floors and copperlight doors. Double doors lead on to Italian Carrara marble bathrooms with heated floors, and all guestrooms and suites have good-sized beds with Frette bed linen and Bang & Olufsen media systems. And for that extra sense of heritage, six of the suites have their own aesthetic character and story – ours even had a terrace overlooking Piccadilly Circus.

For dining, the Ten Room is particularly excellent. Overseen by executive chef Andrew Turner, it offers contemporary flavours for breakfast, lunch and dinner highly recommended for dinner are the Dover sole meunière and lobster Pompadour, but the entire menu is a feast for the senses. And the London Royal Tea with Union Jack decorations, and Underground macaroons, is a deliciously British affair served in the gilded Oscar Wilde bar.

Its proximity to some of London’s best shopping (including Hamleys and Selfridges) makes the Hotel Café Royal ideal for shopaholics, and it’s in easy reach of all the main sights, including Trafalgar Square, the London Eye and Buckingham Palace but if you need some relaxation after exploring then the hotel’s spa is simply exquisite, with an 18m long lap pool, steam room, sauna and jacuzzi, and nine treatment rooms offering innovative Western treatments fused with ancient Eastern traditions. There’s also a private hammam and London’s first Watsu (aquatic therapy) pool. Rooms from Dh2,438 per night (www.hotelcaferoyal.com).

The Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai

Opened originally as the Cathay Hotel in 1929, the most famous hotel in China was known even then as the Number One mansion in the Far East, welcoming notable figures like Charlie Chaplin and George Bernard Shaw. Its outstanding location on the Bund, facing the Pudong area over the Huangpu River, and stunning copper-sheathed roof, white Italian marble floors and priceless Lalique glass artwork made it the must-stay place for politicians, celebrities and businessmen alike.

However, it was occupied by the Japanese army during the Second World War, and after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, some of the offices were used by the Municipal Finance Committee in 1952 the building was taken over by the government, and it wasn’t until 1956 that it resumed trading as a hotel under the name Peace Hotel.

Following extensive refurbishment in 2007, the original interiors and exteriors were renewed, creating a sophisticated, glamorous hotel, the perfect retreat from the frenetic pace of Shanghai. As part of the Canadian Fairmont hotel group (owners of The Savoy), it offers the award-winning Willow Stream spa (and superb sky-lit swimming pool), and the Fairmont Gold club floor with its own private concierge. Rooms are elegantly appointed, with state-of-the-art amenities and marble bathrooms. From Dh1,088 per night, fairmont.com.

The Peninsula, Hong Kong

There are lots of reasons to stay at the Peninsula Hong Kong – the helipad, Rolls-Royce transfer service and extraordinary Philippe Starck-designed restaurant Felix with panoramic views of the Blade Runner-esque-skyline to name just a few. But the ‘Grande Dame of the Far East’ also has an illustrious history.

Opened in 1928, it’s still one of the most prestigious hotels in the city you can stay in the original building or the soaring tower, with its astonishing views of Victoria Harbour and beyond, but even if you don’t stay here, it’s well worth visiting for the afternoon tea alone, a Hong Kong tradition. Rooms effortlessly blend chinoiserie-style textiles with modern luxury. From Dh1,744 per night, peninsula.com.

Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris

Established in 1928 and renovated in 1997, the Four Seasons Hotel George V is a Parisian landmark. Now owned by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, it boasts exemplary service and lavish interiors – think sparkling crystal, mirror-finish marble, as well as the original ironwork, including art deco balustrades. The hotel’s restaurant, Le Cinq, is Michelin-starred. Rooms are furnished in light, refreshing colours, with crystal chandeliers, 18th-century inspired furniture, deep soaking bathtubs. From Dh5,055 per night, fourseasons.com.

The Hotel Astoria, St Petersburg

Ignore the slightly unexpected muddy brown-exterior – the Astoria is St Petersburg’s most famous and luxurious hotel, and has also been acclaimed as one of the most romantic hotels in the world.

Opened in 1912, five years before the Russian revolution, and a favourite with friends and relatives of the Tsar, it was renowned for its art nouveau interiors, and the building is Grade 1 listed. There’s a grand white marble lobby and Olga Polizzi-designed suites, but its views of the famous gold-domed roof of St Isaac’s Cathedral are particularly impressive. Lenin famously spoke from the balcony in 1919 other guests have included ballerina Isadora Duncan, and more recently, Madonna. Rooms have parquet floors, hand-embroidered bedspreads with Russian linen and Italian marble bathrooms. From Dh999 per night, www.roccofortehotels.com.

The Plaza, New York

It was once said that ‘Nothing unimportant ever happens at The Plaza,’ and since its opening in 1907 it has been one of the most famous addresses in the Big Apple, with an outstanding location on Central Park South, right opposite the park, and within skipping distance of Fifth Avenue, with its glorious shopping. In fact it was so esteemed that legendary writer Ernest Hemingway once advised F Scott Fitzgerald to give his liver to Princeton and his heart to The Plaza. Kings, presidents, ambassadors and movie stars have stayed at this extraordinary hotel, and it’s featured in movies ranging from Hitchcock’s North by Northwest to The Way We Were, The Great Gatsby and Home Alone II.

It’s considered so important to New York that it’s one of only two hotels in the city to be designated as a National Historic Landmark. Fully renovated in 2008, rooms offer Beaux-Arts-inspired decor and white-glove butler service the bathrooms are particularly lavish, with 24-carat gold-plated taps. From Dh3,599 per night, www.fairmont.com.

The Palais Sheherazade and Spa, Fez, Morocco

With its lush Moorish-style gardens and view of the Medina, the Palais Sheherazade certainly feels palatial. And so it should – the building was originally an actual 19th-century palace. Suites are sumptuous, as you’d expect, but for total indulgence check out the Anne Semonin Signature Spa, with its indoor aquatonic pool and 12 treatment rooms. From Dh579 per night, www.sheheraz.com.

Raffles, Singapore

Raffles first opened its doors in 1887 as a 10-bedroom colonial hotel. Since then there has been extensive development around it, but the essence of the hotel remains the same, and entering the lobby with its iconic ceiling fans feels like going back to a calmer, more simple time. Famous guests have included Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad, as well as more recently the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Rooms have high ceilings, and opulent soft furnishings. From Dh4,532 per night, www.raffles.com.

Hotel Alfonso XIII, Seville

Seville is a spectacularly beautiful city, brimming with stunning architecture, enchanting plazas and breathtaking gardens, and the Hotel Alfonso XIII is one of the best addresses here, within easy reach of the Santa Cruz quarter and Guadalquivir River. With its Mudéjar-style architecture it has been considered one of the most prestigious hotels in Spain (and the world) since its opening (attended by the then King and Queen) in 1929, and although it has been extensively renovated it has maintained its aura of glamour, as befits a Spanish icon.


Top 10 hotels that hold a significant place in history

Located in the heart of London’s Piccadilly, right on Regent Street, the Café Royal has been one of the places to see – and be seen – since the 1890s, when it quickly established a reputation for French gourmet cuisine, first-class entertainment and excellent hospitality. Among the luminaries who frequented the Café Royal were Oscar Wilde, Elizabeth Taylor, Muhammad Ali and Diana, Princess of Wales. Rock star David Bowie famously held a party there in 1973 to say goodbye to his alter ego Ziggy Stardust, with music legends including Mick Jagger and Lou Reed in attendance.

The Hotel Café Royal only opened on the site of the original café in 2012, but has already become known as one of the most luxurious hotels in London, offering 160 guest rooms, including 49 suites and six signature suites, as well as a selection of restaurants, continuing the café’s culinary legacy.

Guestrooms – some of the most luxurious and largest we’ve seen in a London hotel – are elegant and serene, with Portland stone or fumed oak panels, parquet floors and copperlight doors. Double doors lead on to Italian Carrara marble bathrooms with heated floors, and all guestrooms and suites have good-sized beds with Frette bed linen and Bang & Olufsen media systems. And for that extra sense of heritage, six of the suites have their own aesthetic character and story – ours even had a terrace overlooking Piccadilly Circus.

For dining, the Ten Room is particularly excellent. Overseen by executive chef Andrew Turner, it offers contemporary flavours for breakfast, lunch and dinner highly recommended for dinner are the Dover sole meunière and lobster Pompadour, but the entire menu is a feast for the senses. And the London Royal Tea with Union Jack decorations, and Underground macaroons, is a deliciously British affair served in the gilded Oscar Wilde bar.

Its proximity to some of London’s best shopping (including Hamleys and Selfridges) makes the Hotel Café Royal ideal for shopaholics, and it’s in easy reach of all the main sights, including Trafalgar Square, the London Eye and Buckingham Palace but if you need some relaxation after exploring then the hotel’s spa is simply exquisite, with an 18m long lap pool, steam room, sauna and jacuzzi, and nine treatment rooms offering innovative Western treatments fused with ancient Eastern traditions. There’s also a private hammam and London’s first Watsu (aquatic therapy) pool. Rooms from Dh2,438 per night (www.hotelcaferoyal.com).

The Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai

Opened originally as the Cathay Hotel in 1929, the most famous hotel in China was known even then as the Number One mansion in the Far East, welcoming notable figures like Charlie Chaplin and George Bernard Shaw. Its outstanding location on the Bund, facing the Pudong area over the Huangpu River, and stunning copper-sheathed roof, white Italian marble floors and priceless Lalique glass artwork made it the must-stay place for politicians, celebrities and businessmen alike.

However, it was occupied by the Japanese army during the Second World War, and after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, some of the offices were used by the Municipal Finance Committee in 1952 the building was taken over by the government, and it wasn’t until 1956 that it resumed trading as a hotel under the name Peace Hotel.

Following extensive refurbishment in 2007, the original interiors and exteriors were renewed, creating a sophisticated, glamorous hotel, the perfect retreat from the frenetic pace of Shanghai. As part of the Canadian Fairmont hotel group (owners of The Savoy), it offers the award-winning Willow Stream spa (and superb sky-lit swimming pool), and the Fairmont Gold club floor with its own private concierge. Rooms are elegantly appointed, with state-of-the-art amenities and marble bathrooms. From Dh1,088 per night, fairmont.com.

The Peninsula, Hong Kong

There are lots of reasons to stay at the Peninsula Hong Kong – the helipad, Rolls-Royce transfer service and extraordinary Philippe Starck-designed restaurant Felix with panoramic views of the Blade Runner-esque-skyline to name just a few. But the ‘Grande Dame of the Far East’ also has an illustrious history.

Opened in 1928, it’s still one of the most prestigious hotels in the city you can stay in the original building or the soaring tower, with its astonishing views of Victoria Harbour and beyond, but even if you don’t stay here, it’s well worth visiting for the afternoon tea alone, a Hong Kong tradition. Rooms effortlessly blend chinoiserie-style textiles with modern luxury. From Dh1,744 per night, peninsula.com.

Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris

Established in 1928 and renovated in 1997, the Four Seasons Hotel George V is a Parisian landmark. Now owned by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, it boasts exemplary service and lavish interiors – think sparkling crystal, mirror-finish marble, as well as the original ironwork, including art deco balustrades. The hotel’s restaurant, Le Cinq, is Michelin-starred. Rooms are furnished in light, refreshing colours, with crystal chandeliers, 18th-century inspired furniture, deep soaking bathtubs. From Dh5,055 per night, fourseasons.com.

The Hotel Astoria, St Petersburg

Ignore the slightly unexpected muddy brown-exterior – the Astoria is St Petersburg’s most famous and luxurious hotel, and has also been acclaimed as one of the most romantic hotels in the world.

Opened in 1912, five years before the Russian revolution, and a favourite with friends and relatives of the Tsar, it was renowned for its art nouveau interiors, and the building is Grade 1 listed. There’s a grand white marble lobby and Olga Polizzi-designed suites, but its views of the famous gold-domed roof of St Isaac’s Cathedral are particularly impressive. Lenin famously spoke from the balcony in 1919 other guests have included ballerina Isadora Duncan, and more recently, Madonna. Rooms have parquet floors, hand-embroidered bedspreads with Russian linen and Italian marble bathrooms. From Dh999 per night, www.roccofortehotels.com.

The Plaza, New York

It was once said that ‘Nothing unimportant ever happens at The Plaza,’ and since its opening in 1907 it has been one of the most famous addresses in the Big Apple, with an outstanding location on Central Park South, right opposite the park, and within skipping distance of Fifth Avenue, with its glorious shopping. In fact it was so esteemed that legendary writer Ernest Hemingway once advised F Scott Fitzgerald to give his liver to Princeton and his heart to The Plaza. Kings, presidents, ambassadors and movie stars have stayed at this extraordinary hotel, and it’s featured in movies ranging from Hitchcock’s North by Northwest to The Way We Were, The Great Gatsby and Home Alone II.

It’s considered so important to New York that it’s one of only two hotels in the city to be designated as a National Historic Landmark. Fully renovated in 2008, rooms offer Beaux-Arts-inspired decor and white-glove butler service the bathrooms are particularly lavish, with 24-carat gold-plated taps. From Dh3,599 per night, www.fairmont.com.

The Palais Sheherazade and Spa, Fez, Morocco

With its lush Moorish-style gardens and view of the Medina, the Palais Sheherazade certainly feels palatial. And so it should – the building was originally an actual 19th-century palace. Suites are sumptuous, as you’d expect, but for total indulgence check out the Anne Semonin Signature Spa, with its indoor aquatonic pool and 12 treatment rooms. From Dh579 per night, www.sheheraz.com.

Raffles, Singapore

Raffles first opened its doors in 1887 as a 10-bedroom colonial hotel. Since then there has been extensive development around it, but the essence of the hotel remains the same, and entering the lobby with its iconic ceiling fans feels like going back to a calmer, more simple time. Famous guests have included Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad, as well as more recently the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Rooms have high ceilings, and opulent soft furnishings. From Dh4,532 per night, www.raffles.com.

Hotel Alfonso XIII, Seville

Seville is a spectacularly beautiful city, brimming with stunning architecture, enchanting plazas and breathtaking gardens, and the Hotel Alfonso XIII is one of the best addresses here, within easy reach of the Santa Cruz quarter and Guadalquivir River. With its Mudéjar-style architecture it has been considered one of the most prestigious hotels in Spain (and the world) since its opening (attended by the then King and Queen) in 1929, and although it has been extensively renovated it has maintained its aura of glamour, as befits a Spanish icon.


Top 10 hotels that hold a significant place in history

Located in the heart of London’s Piccadilly, right on Regent Street, the Café Royal has been one of the places to see – and be seen – since the 1890s, when it quickly established a reputation for French gourmet cuisine, first-class entertainment and excellent hospitality. Among the luminaries who frequented the Café Royal were Oscar Wilde, Elizabeth Taylor, Muhammad Ali and Diana, Princess of Wales. Rock star David Bowie famously held a party there in 1973 to say goodbye to his alter ego Ziggy Stardust, with music legends including Mick Jagger and Lou Reed in attendance.

The Hotel Café Royal only opened on the site of the original café in 2012, but has already become known as one of the most luxurious hotels in London, offering 160 guest rooms, including 49 suites and six signature suites, as well as a selection of restaurants, continuing the café’s culinary legacy.

Guestrooms – some of the most luxurious and largest we’ve seen in a London hotel – are elegant and serene, with Portland stone or fumed oak panels, parquet floors and copperlight doors. Double doors lead on to Italian Carrara marble bathrooms with heated floors, and all guestrooms and suites have good-sized beds with Frette bed linen and Bang & Olufsen media systems. And for that extra sense of heritage, six of the suites have their own aesthetic character and story – ours even had a terrace overlooking Piccadilly Circus.

For dining, the Ten Room is particularly excellent. Overseen by executive chef Andrew Turner, it offers contemporary flavours for breakfast, lunch and dinner highly recommended for dinner are the Dover sole meunière and lobster Pompadour, but the entire menu is a feast for the senses. And the London Royal Tea with Union Jack decorations, and Underground macaroons, is a deliciously British affair served in the gilded Oscar Wilde bar.

Its proximity to some of London’s best shopping (including Hamleys and Selfridges) makes the Hotel Café Royal ideal for shopaholics, and it’s in easy reach of all the main sights, including Trafalgar Square, the London Eye and Buckingham Palace but if you need some relaxation after exploring then the hotel’s spa is simply exquisite, with an 18m long lap pool, steam room, sauna and jacuzzi, and nine treatment rooms offering innovative Western treatments fused with ancient Eastern traditions. There’s also a private hammam and London’s first Watsu (aquatic therapy) pool. Rooms from Dh2,438 per night (www.hotelcaferoyal.com).

The Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai

Opened originally as the Cathay Hotel in 1929, the most famous hotel in China was known even then as the Number One mansion in the Far East, welcoming notable figures like Charlie Chaplin and George Bernard Shaw. Its outstanding location on the Bund, facing the Pudong area over the Huangpu River, and stunning copper-sheathed roof, white Italian marble floors and priceless Lalique glass artwork made it the must-stay place for politicians, celebrities and businessmen alike.

However, it was occupied by the Japanese army during the Second World War, and after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, some of the offices were used by the Municipal Finance Committee in 1952 the building was taken over by the government, and it wasn’t until 1956 that it resumed trading as a hotel under the name Peace Hotel.

Following extensive refurbishment in 2007, the original interiors and exteriors were renewed, creating a sophisticated, glamorous hotel, the perfect retreat from the frenetic pace of Shanghai. As part of the Canadian Fairmont hotel group (owners of The Savoy), it offers the award-winning Willow Stream spa (and superb sky-lit swimming pool), and the Fairmont Gold club floor with its own private concierge. Rooms are elegantly appointed, with state-of-the-art amenities and marble bathrooms. From Dh1,088 per night, fairmont.com.

The Peninsula, Hong Kong

There are lots of reasons to stay at the Peninsula Hong Kong – the helipad, Rolls-Royce transfer service and extraordinary Philippe Starck-designed restaurant Felix with panoramic views of the Blade Runner-esque-skyline to name just a few. But the ‘Grande Dame of the Far East’ also has an illustrious history.

Opened in 1928, it’s still one of the most prestigious hotels in the city you can stay in the original building or the soaring tower, with its astonishing views of Victoria Harbour and beyond, but even if you don’t stay here, it’s well worth visiting for the afternoon tea alone, a Hong Kong tradition. Rooms effortlessly blend chinoiserie-style textiles with modern luxury. From Dh1,744 per night, peninsula.com.

Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris

Established in 1928 and renovated in 1997, the Four Seasons Hotel George V is a Parisian landmark. Now owned by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, it boasts exemplary service and lavish interiors – think sparkling crystal, mirror-finish marble, as well as the original ironwork, including art deco balustrades. The hotel’s restaurant, Le Cinq, is Michelin-starred. Rooms are furnished in light, refreshing colours, with crystal chandeliers, 18th-century inspired furniture, deep soaking bathtubs. From Dh5,055 per night, fourseasons.com.

The Hotel Astoria, St Petersburg

Ignore the slightly unexpected muddy brown-exterior – the Astoria is St Petersburg’s most famous and luxurious hotel, and has also been acclaimed as one of the most romantic hotels in the world.

Opened in 1912, five years before the Russian revolution, and a favourite with friends and relatives of the Tsar, it was renowned for its art nouveau interiors, and the building is Grade 1 listed. There’s a grand white marble lobby and Olga Polizzi-designed suites, but its views of the famous gold-domed roof of St Isaac’s Cathedral are particularly impressive. Lenin famously spoke from the balcony in 1919 other guests have included ballerina Isadora Duncan, and more recently, Madonna. Rooms have parquet floors, hand-embroidered bedspreads with Russian linen and Italian marble bathrooms. From Dh999 per night, www.roccofortehotels.com.

The Plaza, New York

It was once said that ‘Nothing unimportant ever happens at The Plaza,’ and since its opening in 1907 it has been one of the most famous addresses in the Big Apple, with an outstanding location on Central Park South, right opposite the park, and within skipping distance of Fifth Avenue, with its glorious shopping. In fact it was so esteemed that legendary writer Ernest Hemingway once advised F Scott Fitzgerald to give his liver to Princeton and his heart to The Plaza. Kings, presidents, ambassadors and movie stars have stayed at this extraordinary hotel, and it’s featured in movies ranging from Hitchcock’s North by Northwest to The Way We Were, The Great Gatsby and Home Alone II.

It’s considered so important to New York that it’s one of only two hotels in the city to be designated as a National Historic Landmark. Fully renovated in 2008, rooms offer Beaux-Arts-inspired decor and white-glove butler service the bathrooms are particularly lavish, with 24-carat gold-plated taps. From Dh3,599 per night, www.fairmont.com.

The Palais Sheherazade and Spa, Fez, Morocco

With its lush Moorish-style gardens and view of the Medina, the Palais Sheherazade certainly feels palatial. And so it should – the building was originally an actual 19th-century palace. Suites are sumptuous, as you’d expect, but for total indulgence check out the Anne Semonin Signature Spa, with its indoor aquatonic pool and 12 treatment rooms. From Dh579 per night, www.sheheraz.com.

Raffles, Singapore

Raffles first opened its doors in 1887 as a 10-bedroom colonial hotel. Since then there has been extensive development around it, but the essence of the hotel remains the same, and entering the lobby with its iconic ceiling fans feels like going back to a calmer, more simple time. Famous guests have included Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad, as well as more recently the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Rooms have high ceilings, and opulent soft furnishings. From Dh4,532 per night, www.raffles.com.

Hotel Alfonso XIII, Seville

Seville is a spectacularly beautiful city, brimming with stunning architecture, enchanting plazas and breathtaking gardens, and the Hotel Alfonso XIII is one of the best addresses here, within easy reach of the Santa Cruz quarter and Guadalquivir River. With its Mudéjar-style architecture it has been considered one of the most prestigious hotels in Spain (and the world) since its opening (attended by the then King and Queen) in 1929, and although it has been extensively renovated it has maintained its aura of glamour, as befits a Spanish icon.


Top 10 hotels that hold a significant place in history

Located in the heart of London’s Piccadilly, right on Regent Street, the Café Royal has been one of the places to see – and be seen – since the 1890s, when it quickly established a reputation for French gourmet cuisine, first-class entertainment and excellent hospitality. Among the luminaries who frequented the Café Royal were Oscar Wilde, Elizabeth Taylor, Muhammad Ali and Diana, Princess of Wales. Rock star David Bowie famously held a party there in 1973 to say goodbye to his alter ego Ziggy Stardust, with music legends including Mick Jagger and Lou Reed in attendance.

The Hotel Café Royal only opened on the site of the original café in 2012, but has already become known as one of the most luxurious hotels in London, offering 160 guest rooms, including 49 suites and six signature suites, as well as a selection of restaurants, continuing the café’s culinary legacy.

Guestrooms – some of the most luxurious and largest we’ve seen in a London hotel – are elegant and serene, with Portland stone or fumed oak panels, parquet floors and copperlight doors. Double doors lead on to Italian Carrara marble bathrooms with heated floors, and all guestrooms and suites have good-sized beds with Frette bed linen and Bang & Olufsen media systems. And for that extra sense of heritage, six of the suites have their own aesthetic character and story – ours even had a terrace overlooking Piccadilly Circus.

For dining, the Ten Room is particularly excellent. Overseen by executive chef Andrew Turner, it offers contemporary flavours for breakfast, lunch and dinner highly recommended for dinner are the Dover sole meunière and lobster Pompadour, but the entire menu is a feast for the senses. And the London Royal Tea with Union Jack decorations, and Underground macaroons, is a deliciously British affair served in the gilded Oscar Wilde bar.

Its proximity to some of London’s best shopping (including Hamleys and Selfridges) makes the Hotel Café Royal ideal for shopaholics, and it’s in easy reach of all the main sights, including Trafalgar Square, the London Eye and Buckingham Palace but if you need some relaxation after exploring then the hotel’s spa is simply exquisite, with an 18m long lap pool, steam room, sauna and jacuzzi, and nine treatment rooms offering innovative Western treatments fused with ancient Eastern traditions. There’s also a private hammam and London’s first Watsu (aquatic therapy) pool. Rooms from Dh2,438 per night (www.hotelcaferoyal.com).

The Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai

Opened originally as the Cathay Hotel in 1929, the most famous hotel in China was known even then as the Number One mansion in the Far East, welcoming notable figures like Charlie Chaplin and George Bernard Shaw. Its outstanding location on the Bund, facing the Pudong area over the Huangpu River, and stunning copper-sheathed roof, white Italian marble floors and priceless Lalique glass artwork made it the must-stay place for politicians, celebrities and businessmen alike.

However, it was occupied by the Japanese army during the Second World War, and after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, some of the offices were used by the Municipal Finance Committee in 1952 the building was taken over by the government, and it wasn’t until 1956 that it resumed trading as a hotel under the name Peace Hotel.

Following extensive refurbishment in 2007, the original interiors and exteriors were renewed, creating a sophisticated, glamorous hotel, the perfect retreat from the frenetic pace of Shanghai. As part of the Canadian Fairmont hotel group (owners of The Savoy), it offers the award-winning Willow Stream spa (and superb sky-lit swimming pool), and the Fairmont Gold club floor with its own private concierge. Rooms are elegantly appointed, with state-of-the-art amenities and marble bathrooms. From Dh1,088 per night, fairmont.com.

The Peninsula, Hong Kong

There are lots of reasons to stay at the Peninsula Hong Kong – the helipad, Rolls-Royce transfer service and extraordinary Philippe Starck-designed restaurant Felix with panoramic views of the Blade Runner-esque-skyline to name just a few. But the ‘Grande Dame of the Far East’ also has an illustrious history.

Opened in 1928, it’s still one of the most prestigious hotels in the city you can stay in the original building or the soaring tower, with its astonishing views of Victoria Harbour and beyond, but even if you don’t stay here, it’s well worth visiting for the afternoon tea alone, a Hong Kong tradition. Rooms effortlessly blend chinoiserie-style textiles with modern luxury. From Dh1,744 per night, peninsula.com.

Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris

Established in 1928 and renovated in 1997, the Four Seasons Hotel George V is a Parisian landmark. Now owned by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, it boasts exemplary service and lavish interiors – think sparkling crystal, mirror-finish marble, as well as the original ironwork, including art deco balustrades. The hotel’s restaurant, Le Cinq, is Michelin-starred. Rooms are furnished in light, refreshing colours, with crystal chandeliers, 18th-century inspired furniture, deep soaking bathtubs. From Dh5,055 per night, fourseasons.com.

The Hotel Astoria, St Petersburg

Ignore the slightly unexpected muddy brown-exterior – the Astoria is St Petersburg’s most famous and luxurious hotel, and has also been acclaimed as one of the most romantic hotels in the world.

Opened in 1912, five years before the Russian revolution, and a favourite with friends and relatives of the Tsar, it was renowned for its art nouveau interiors, and the building is Grade 1 listed. There’s a grand white marble lobby and Olga Polizzi-designed suites, but its views of the famous gold-domed roof of St Isaac’s Cathedral are particularly impressive. Lenin famously spoke from the balcony in 1919 other guests have included ballerina Isadora Duncan, and more recently, Madonna. Rooms have parquet floors, hand-embroidered bedspreads with Russian linen and Italian marble bathrooms. From Dh999 per night, www.roccofortehotels.com.

The Plaza, New York

It was once said that ‘Nothing unimportant ever happens at The Plaza,’ and since its opening in 1907 it has been one of the most famous addresses in the Big Apple, with an outstanding location on Central Park South, right opposite the park, and within skipping distance of Fifth Avenue, with its glorious shopping. In fact it was so esteemed that legendary writer Ernest Hemingway once advised F Scott Fitzgerald to give his liver to Princeton and his heart to The Plaza. Kings, presidents, ambassadors and movie stars have stayed at this extraordinary hotel, and it’s featured in movies ranging from Hitchcock’s North by Northwest to The Way We Were, The Great Gatsby and Home Alone II.

It’s considered so important to New York that it’s one of only two hotels in the city to be designated as a National Historic Landmark. Fully renovated in 2008, rooms offer Beaux-Arts-inspired decor and white-glove butler service the bathrooms are particularly lavish, with 24-carat gold-plated taps. From Dh3,599 per night, www.fairmont.com.

The Palais Sheherazade and Spa, Fez, Morocco

With its lush Moorish-style gardens and view of the Medina, the Palais Sheherazade certainly feels palatial. And so it should – the building was originally an actual 19th-century palace. Suites are sumptuous, as you’d expect, but for total indulgence check out the Anne Semonin Signature Spa, with its indoor aquatonic pool and 12 treatment rooms. From Dh579 per night, www.sheheraz.com.

Raffles, Singapore

Raffles first opened its doors in 1887 as a 10-bedroom colonial hotel. Since then there has been extensive development around it, but the essence of the hotel remains the same, and entering the lobby with its iconic ceiling fans feels like going back to a calmer, more simple time. Famous guests have included Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad, as well as more recently the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Rooms have high ceilings, and opulent soft furnishings. From Dh4,532 per night, www.raffles.com.

Hotel Alfonso XIII, Seville

Seville is a spectacularly beautiful city, brimming with stunning architecture, enchanting plazas and breathtaking gardens, and the Hotel Alfonso XIII is one of the best addresses here, within easy reach of the Santa Cruz quarter and Guadalquivir River. With its Mudéjar-style architecture it has been considered one of the most prestigious hotels in Spain (and the world) since its opening (attended by the then King and Queen) in 1929, and although it has been extensively renovated it has maintained its aura of glamour, as befits a Spanish icon.


Top 10 hotels that hold a significant place in history

Located in the heart of London’s Piccadilly, right on Regent Street, the Café Royal has been one of the places to see – and be seen – since the 1890s, when it quickly established a reputation for French gourmet cuisine, first-class entertainment and excellent hospitality. Among the luminaries who frequented the Café Royal were Oscar Wilde, Elizabeth Taylor, Muhammad Ali and Diana, Princess of Wales. Rock star David Bowie famously held a party there in 1973 to say goodbye to his alter ego Ziggy Stardust, with music legends including Mick Jagger and Lou Reed in attendance.

The Hotel Café Royal only opened on the site of the original café in 2012, but has already become known as one of the most luxurious hotels in London, offering 160 guest rooms, including 49 suites and six signature suites, as well as a selection of restaurants, continuing the café’s culinary legacy.

Guestrooms – some of the most luxurious and largest we’ve seen in a London hotel – are elegant and serene, with Portland stone or fumed oak panels, parquet floors and copperlight doors. Double doors lead on to Italian Carrara marble bathrooms with heated floors, and all guestrooms and suites have good-sized beds with Frette bed linen and Bang & Olufsen media systems. And for that extra sense of heritage, six of the suites have their own aesthetic character and story – ours even had a terrace overlooking Piccadilly Circus.

For dining, the Ten Room is particularly excellent. Overseen by executive chef Andrew Turner, it offers contemporary flavours for breakfast, lunch and dinner highly recommended for dinner are the Dover sole meunière and lobster Pompadour, but the entire menu is a feast for the senses. And the London Royal Tea with Union Jack decorations, and Underground macaroons, is a deliciously British affair served in the gilded Oscar Wilde bar.

Its proximity to some of London’s best shopping (including Hamleys and Selfridges) makes the Hotel Café Royal ideal for shopaholics, and it’s in easy reach of all the main sights, including Trafalgar Square, the London Eye and Buckingham Palace but if you need some relaxation after exploring then the hotel’s spa is simply exquisite, with an 18m long lap pool, steam room, sauna and jacuzzi, and nine treatment rooms offering innovative Western treatments fused with ancient Eastern traditions. There’s also a private hammam and London’s first Watsu (aquatic therapy) pool. Rooms from Dh2,438 per night (www.hotelcaferoyal.com).

The Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai

Opened originally as the Cathay Hotel in 1929, the most famous hotel in China was known even then as the Number One mansion in the Far East, welcoming notable figures like Charlie Chaplin and George Bernard Shaw. Its outstanding location on the Bund, facing the Pudong area over the Huangpu River, and stunning copper-sheathed roof, white Italian marble floors and priceless Lalique glass artwork made it the must-stay place for politicians, celebrities and businessmen alike.

However, it was occupied by the Japanese army during the Second World War, and after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, some of the offices were used by the Municipal Finance Committee in 1952 the building was taken over by the government, and it wasn’t until 1956 that it resumed trading as a hotel under the name Peace Hotel.

Following extensive refurbishment in 2007, the original interiors and exteriors were renewed, creating a sophisticated, glamorous hotel, the perfect retreat from the frenetic pace of Shanghai. As part of the Canadian Fairmont hotel group (owners of The Savoy), it offers the award-winning Willow Stream spa (and superb sky-lit swimming pool), and the Fairmont Gold club floor with its own private concierge. Rooms are elegantly appointed, with state-of-the-art amenities and marble bathrooms. From Dh1,088 per night, fairmont.com.

The Peninsula, Hong Kong

There are lots of reasons to stay at the Peninsula Hong Kong – the helipad, Rolls-Royce transfer service and extraordinary Philippe Starck-designed restaurant Felix with panoramic views of the Blade Runner-esque-skyline to name just a few. But the ‘Grande Dame of the Far East’ also has an illustrious history.

Opened in 1928, it’s still one of the most prestigious hotels in the city you can stay in the original building or the soaring tower, with its astonishing views of Victoria Harbour and beyond, but even if you don’t stay here, it’s well worth visiting for the afternoon tea alone, a Hong Kong tradition. Rooms effortlessly blend chinoiserie-style textiles with modern luxury. From Dh1,744 per night, peninsula.com.

Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris

Established in 1928 and renovated in 1997, the Four Seasons Hotel George V is a Parisian landmark. Now owned by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, it boasts exemplary service and lavish interiors – think sparkling crystal, mirror-finish marble, as well as the original ironwork, including art deco balustrades. The hotel’s restaurant, Le Cinq, is Michelin-starred. Rooms are furnished in light, refreshing colours, with crystal chandeliers, 18th-century inspired furniture, deep soaking bathtubs. From Dh5,055 per night, fourseasons.com.

The Hotel Astoria, St Petersburg

Ignore the slightly unexpected muddy brown-exterior – the Astoria is St Petersburg’s most famous and luxurious hotel, and has also been acclaimed as one of the most romantic hotels in the world.

Opened in 1912, five years before the Russian revolution, and a favourite with friends and relatives of the Tsar, it was renowned for its art nouveau interiors, and the building is Grade 1 listed. There’s a grand white marble lobby and Olga Polizzi-designed suites, but its views of the famous gold-domed roof of St Isaac’s Cathedral are particularly impressive. Lenin famously spoke from the balcony in 1919 other guests have included ballerina Isadora Duncan, and more recently, Madonna. Rooms have parquet floors, hand-embroidered bedspreads with Russian linen and Italian marble bathrooms. From Dh999 per night, www.roccofortehotels.com.

The Plaza, New York

It was once said that ‘Nothing unimportant ever happens at The Plaza,’ and since its opening in 1907 it has been one of the most famous addresses in the Big Apple, with an outstanding location on Central Park South, right opposite the park, and within skipping distance of Fifth Avenue, with its glorious shopping. In fact it was so esteemed that legendary writer Ernest Hemingway once advised F Scott Fitzgerald to give his liver to Princeton and his heart to The Plaza. Kings, presidents, ambassadors and movie stars have stayed at this extraordinary hotel, and it’s featured in movies ranging from Hitchcock’s North by Northwest to The Way We Were, The Great Gatsby and Home Alone II.

It’s considered so important to New York that it’s one of only two hotels in the city to be designated as a National Historic Landmark. Fully renovated in 2008, rooms offer Beaux-Arts-inspired decor and white-glove butler service the bathrooms are particularly lavish, with 24-carat gold-plated taps. From Dh3,599 per night, www.fairmont.com.

The Palais Sheherazade and Spa, Fez, Morocco

With its lush Moorish-style gardens and view of the Medina, the Palais Sheherazade certainly feels palatial. And so it should – the building was originally an actual 19th-century palace. Suites are sumptuous, as you’d expect, but for total indulgence check out the Anne Semonin Signature Spa, with its indoor aquatonic pool and 12 treatment rooms. From Dh579 per night, www.sheheraz.com.

Raffles, Singapore

Raffles first opened its doors in 1887 as a 10-bedroom colonial hotel. Since then there has been extensive development around it, but the essence of the hotel remains the same, and entering the lobby with its iconic ceiling fans feels like going back to a calmer, more simple time. Famous guests have included Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad, as well as more recently the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Rooms have high ceilings, and opulent soft furnishings. From Dh4,532 per night, www.raffles.com.

Hotel Alfonso XIII, Seville

Seville is a spectacularly beautiful city, brimming with stunning architecture, enchanting plazas and breathtaking gardens, and the Hotel Alfonso XIII is one of the best addresses here, within easy reach of the Santa Cruz quarter and Guadalquivir River. With its Mudéjar-style architecture it has been considered one of the most prestigious hotels in Spain (and the world) since its opening (attended by the then King and Queen) in 1929, and although it has been extensively renovated it has maintained its aura of glamour, as befits a Spanish icon.


Watch the video: Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris (January 2022).