The best part of my hotel travels happens between 7:00 and 8:00 am. When I wake up, in that delicate moment between asleep and awake, where the initial surprise of finding myself in a new bedroom turns to realization and eventually, bliss. Underneath these sheets, normal life can wait for a while.
It’s a feel good moment travelers love. But it’s only half of the package. The other part is seeing what’s outside.
To open the window curtains and become a silent observer of an unfamiliar scene is a moment of magic that happens only once per destination. Drink in every detail, and commit it to memory: the morning light shining on a skyscraper, a fisherman rowing out for the morning catch, pedestrians starting their daily routine…let it sink in because it won’t feel the same tomorrow.
And we’ve got the hotels with the best views to wake up to right here. Because the beauty of discovery can happen anywhere, we’ve tried to be as diverse as possible. Our only criteria: a “wow factor” at your window sill every morning.
The Mandarin Oriental, New York can be found on the upper floors of the Time Warner Center in Manhattan’s Colombus Circle. Central Park and Manhattan hold no secrets from the floor to ceiling windows of this luxury nest.
Watching the sun rise and set over the sands of the Rub Al Kahli is a powerful experience, and the Qasr Al Sarab lets you appreciate the majesty of the largest continuous sand desert in the world, right from your balcony.
The Shangri-La serves incredible vistas of Paris on a golden platter every morning. Best enjoyed on your room terrace or right from your bed sheets, the sights of the Eiffel Tower and the Seine are a joy to wake up to every day.
Positano comes to life at dawn. The sun shines on the Amalfi Coast and on the colorful homes dotting the cliff side, and on the waters of the Mediterranean Sea, fishermen head out into the vast expanse of blue for their daily catch, and it can all be seen from your window at Le Sirenuse.
9 minutes from the Machu Picchu, and set in acres of exotic garden, the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge offers a unique hotel experience that will have your inner Indiana Jones smiling from ear to ear. Exclusive access of the Incan ruins are available to guests before and after regular viewing hours, and having breakfast with the mist shrouded Andes as a backdrop is bucket list material.
The view outside your window at The St. Regis Florence is captivating. Boats filled with wide-eyed tourists float along the waters of the Arno river until their little frames are swallowed by the Ponte Vecchio, and disappear from sight into in the distance. In the streets below, Florentians shelter from the summer sun in street side cafés and high end boutiques of the city’s most fashionable quarter.
The “East meets West” interiors of the Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong are sculpted from the best materials known to man, and are parlors of comfort in the skies. But no matter how beautiful, or comfortable, you’ll no doubt be spending your time glued to the floor to ceiling windows looking out, rather than in.
Waking up to the sun shining on the turquoise waters and limestone karsts of Phang Nga Bay is a horrible experience, which you ought to delay for as long as possible. Because once you’ve seen the beauty on this side of Phuket, nothing else will ever compare.