Monday, January 3, 2011

The Best Luxury Hotels in the World

Perhaps you never thought you'd be lucky enough to stay in a hotel that's ranked as one of the best in the world, but the opportunity is closer than you might have imagined. Travel + Leisure picked their highest-ranking lodgings in the world, and each one has its own take on hospitality, from the interior design, to guest perks, to guest dining options.

Travel + Leisure creates an annual collection of these international gems, and their compendium release only comes after asking their public to vote on their top selections.

Travel + Leisure's No. 4 Pick
California: San Ysidro Ranch

If you're the type who travels with pets, then you should consider going to San Ysidro in Santa Barbara, California. Since the 1930s, animals have been welcome at San Ysidro, and your loyal friend can look forward to VIP treatment, too—pets receive food and water dishes, toys, and can even get an in-room massage. The accommodation at San Ysidro Ranch is exclusive, only catering to 90 guests at a time, and the charming clapboard cottage accommodations on 500 acres of land have been renovated to meet guests' exacting standards.

Travel + Leisure's No. 8 Pick
Italy: Palazzo Sasso

Besides placing number 8 on Travel + Leisure's list of top hotels worldwide, the Palazzo Sasso was named the leading resort in Europe for 2010. This stunning five-star destination is situated on the Amalfi coast, and it's far from the mega-resorts we see along waterways worldwide. This hotel is actually a 12th-century villa decorated with furniture from the XVIII and XIX centuries, antique carpets, and brass accessories. Travel + Leisure reminds travelers to go to the Renaissance-style Villa Cimbrone, just a 20-minute walk away, with gardens, cloisters, and a promontory that peeks out over the Mediterranean.

Travel + Leisure's No. 9 Pick
Mexico: Four Seasons Hotel Mexico, D.F.

What to experience colonial-style Mexico in the heart of the city? The Four Seasons Hotel Mexico, D.F. features some of the city's most spacious accommodations, and you should try to book the deluxe rooms, which overlook the courtyard and give you additional quiet time. The hotel is located near Chapultepec Park and business centers, but you'll be able to escape to a quieter world after a busy day exploring. Travel + Leisure recommends going on a tour of the house of Luis Barragán, an influential architect, while in Mexico City.

Travel + Leisure's No. 11 Pick
Caribbean: Jade Mountain

With just 28 open-air suites complete with infinity pools or private Jacuzzis, Jade Mountain in St. Lucia is going to book full up this year. While the “Rooms to Book,” according to Travel + Leisure, are the Galaxy Sanctuaries (they offer sunset views and private pools), any of the stunning spots in Jade Mountain will please. After all, the Celestial Terrace is open to all guests and delivers perfect opportunities for star-gazing and cocktail-sipping at sunset. If you can tear yourself away from your room, Jade Mountain offers adventurous hiking trips, shopping and dining, plus nearby soft sand beaches.

The top 25 hotels tabulated by Travel + Leisure are just the beginning of your world of options. Their expanded list branches out to 500 high-ranking hotels in the world, with 218 in the United States alone. Whether you aim to travel to another corner of the planet in 2011 or stick closer to home, you will find options available to you.

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