Dim the lights and get ready to close the curtains, because 2016, is about to take its final bow.
If traveling is on your to-do list for 2017 and you’re facing a hotel selection headache, this list of our most booked hotels for 2016 is a great place to start looking.
Ranked from 10-1, the hotels listed here are our most booked for the past year but their quality is timeless so if you’re looking for a place to lay your bags on your next trip, these come with our highest recommendations.
If there’s one hotel in the world that never fails to deliver a sense of wonder to its guests – even the ones that return whenever they have the opportunity- it has to be our tenth entry, the Claridge’s.
The hotel’s history reads like a well-written novel or fairy tale for adults. The fact that it’s all true, only adds to the hotel’s legendary status.
Part of the hotel was declared Yugoslavian territory so that a prince to be could be born on home soil, a Japanese pop star wanted a Jacuzzi in her room and the hotel duly obliged, ripping out a bathtub in the process, while a Middle Eastern princess booked all 40 rooms on the third floor, converting some into kitchens and dining rooms. It all sounds too incredible to be true, but it is.
To quote the words of Hollywood actor Spencer Tracy, ” When I die I don’t want to go to heaven, I want to go to the Claridge’s”
9. Hotel Ritz Madrid
Only minutes from the Prado, Reina Sofia, and Thyssen-Bornemisza museums, our ninth spot is a hotel that’s perfect for art lovers.
The Ritz Madrid is ideally located for guests who want to soak in the culture of this vibrant city while staying in a hotel redolent in classic luxury. Despite extensive renovations, many of the hotel’s original features were left intact and since it was always meant to accommodate the world’s most discerning travelers, that’s a good thing indeed.
All of the hotel’s 167 rooms boast original designs and are clad with original artworks and antiques. For a taste of pure decadence make sure to taste the hotel’s afternoon tea, one of the best in Madrid by far.
8. La Mamounia
You have to step away from Morocco’s bustling souks, crumbling Kasbahs and your stereotypes to find the hotel that holds the number eigth spot on our list.
With the snow-capped Atlas mountains in the background and acres of lush royal gardens all around it, it’s impossible not to think of La Mamounia as anything but a luxury oasis blessed with a tinge of magic.
Because even if La Mamounia delivers an above par luxury experience that you can touch, smell, and taste… its true power, lies in the imaginary world it weaves behind its doors and which you won’t leave without a heavy heart.
During the day, the 17 acres of walled gardens shine with the colors of jacarandas, bougainvilleas, and amaranths while the scents of its 700 orange trees and 5000 rose bushes are simply intoxicating. And, in the evenings, the whole setting is magically lit up by warm lights as staff members dart to and fro with the grace and power to please of jinnis.
What’s inside is just as impressive. A recent redesign by Jacques Garcia has left the hotel ready for 21st-century guests but the methods used, never stray far from tradition.
Morocco’s best Maleem (master craftsmen) toiled on every bit of La Mamounia’s intricate marble, wood and copper carvings, to create a hotel that is a work of art in its own right.
Even among the greats of Europe, few hotels can claim a legacy as rich as that of the Grand Dame of Marrakech 93 year history, and based on the number of you that have chosen it to call it home this year, that legacy isn’t stopping anytime soon.
7. Hotel Alfonso XIII, a Luxury Collection Hotel
Seville’s landmark hotel holds our seventh spot and the hearts of many travelers throughout the years.
Built to welcome VIP guests bound for the 1929 Expo, the hotel was made with grandeur and elegance in mind and that spirit has never faded throughout the years.
Located by the Giralda tower and Cathedral, the Alfonso XIII puts you at the heart of the city’s historical quarter, and the hotel itself is a fine example of old-world glamor with its Andalusian designs and gardens which surround a typical Sevillan courtyard. As for the service, well it’s nothing short of flawless.
6. The Connaught
Located right in the heart of Mayfair and overflowing with British charm, our sixth entry, The Connaught, is the kind of hotel you’ll find yourself returning to whenever you have the chance.
A blend of contemporary designs and the traditional, it’s undeniable that it looks good.
A grandiose staircase runs through the middle of the hotel, a black granite swimming pool graces the spa area, and the lobby feels like it’s taken straight from a Downton Abbey set. But where the hotel really shines, is in the comfortable and personalized experience it delivers.
With only 119 rooms and Butler service, you’ll never feel like a number, and it’s hard not to feel a certain sense of belonging while you’re there. The cherries on the cake, come in the form of a two Michelin Star restaurant by Hélène Darroze, and an Aman spa, the only one to be built outside of an Aman resort.
5 Gramercy Park Hotel
Hotel mogul Ian Schrager and artist/director Julian Schnabel might have created the Big Apple’s – not to say the world’s – hippest hotel when they joined forces to create the Gramercy Park.
Because even though New York has plenty of top notch hotels to choose from none, are quite like this gem.
One of the city’s most exclusive addresses, the Gramercy Park Hotel juggles its reputation as a select celebrity hangout and cozy hotel much better than other hotels who pretend to do the same.
Lovers of art and design will be hard pressed to find better, and if you’re looking for a peaceful stay in the Big Apple, the Gramercy lets you enjoy as much of it as an inner city hotel can allow.
Here, you’re always within walking distance of Times Square and Fifth Avenue, but the hotel’s quiet tree-lined neighborhood means you can experience the exhilarating madness of New York at your will and not be faced with when you walk through the door.
But what makes it truly special, are the quirky and evocative designs imagined by lead designer Julian Schnabel.
A curated selection of artwork – which includes originals from Basquiat and Warhol – grace the walls of the hotel and beautifully compliment its unique design composed of everything from Moroccan floor tiles to Venetian Chandeliers. Truly unique and worthy of our number five spot.
4. Villa d’Este
Our fourth entry is found on the sunny shores of Lake Como Italy. And if it were open all year, it might have been able to nab the top spot.
With its picturesque setting, UNESCO heritage listed gardens, and beautiful Mediterranean climate, many consider the Villa d’Este to be the most beautiful hotel in the world.
To make the most of Cernobbio’s dramatic landscape and water sports on lake Como, the hotel is open only during the warmer months, so you’re pretty much guaranteed the best weather whenever you decide to go. A good thing, because there is a lot to see and do around the hotel.
The Villa d’Este’s gardens have singlehandedly influenced landscaping in Europe and taking a stroll through its gardens during spring is an incredible experience. For an additional wow factor the hotel’s expansive pool – perched right on the waters of the lake – is one of the Villa d’Este’s most photographed features and jumping in those warm waters is a pure joy.
3. Hotel Arts Barcelona
Our third entry is located by the Barceloneta beach and is the best seat in the house from which to appreciate Barcelona’s beachfront lifestyle.
But since it’s a safe 10 minutes drive from the city center, it’s one of the more quiet hotels you can choose in the city.
The Hotel Arts Barcelona is a contemporary hotel that justifies its name with an impressive collection of Spanish art and a landmark design that regularly turns heads on the Barceloneta. The brainchild of Architect Bruce Graham, the hotel’s design is synonymous with the city’s cultural renaissance of 1992 and boasts refinement and elegance down to the smallest detail. A great choice for your next Catalan trip.
2. Hotel Principe di Savoia
Milan’s first luxury hotel, the Principe di Savoia retains the 1920’s elegance that made it popular with the likes of Josephine Baker and Edward VIII. A favorite of luxury hotel aficionado’s, this Grand Dame effortlessly combines old world charm with modern luxury for your pleasure.
The hotel is a short distance from the city center with its designer boutiques and Milanese landmarks such as the Duomo and La Scala Opera house but removed enough to avoid the hustle and bustle of city life all reachable thanks to the hotel’s complimentary limousine service.
The hotel also includes a rooftop spa and gym with indoor pool and if you want to taste the finer side of Milanese nightlife the Principe Bar is a veritable celebrity magnet and the place to see and be seen.
1. Ham Yard
Time for the grand finale. The number one spot on our list goes to the Ham Yard Hotel. One of London Soho’s best hotels, the same flair and quirkiness of the Crosby Street can be found here, but the Ham Yard offers some unique elements that give it a bit of an edge over its siblings.
The hotel is home to an authentic 1950’s style bowling alley flown in straight from texas, the rooftop garden’s vegetable patch and bee hives supply the hotel’s kitchens, and a whole shopping village filled with hard to find luxury brands is located in the hotel’s courtyard. Try as you might, there’s no other hotel like it.
Located within minutes of the theater district and slap bang in the middle of Soho’s vibrant lifestyle, what the Ham Yard lacks in tradition, it more than makes up for in style and if you want to try something offbeat but of incredible quality on your next trip, this is it.