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The Destination Luxury Hotels You Need to Visit Now

The best destination luxury hotels that are the worth the trip

Are there destination hotels in the world that are so special they’re worth the really tough trip to get to? Why, yes, there are. Our correspondent Jillian Tangen has curated a list of the top 12 destination luxury hotels you need to visit now.

are there destination hotels so special they’re worth the tough trip to get to?

Most of us venture to a new destination to explore the location.  We want to see the sights, visit the monuments and taste the local cuisine that make it special. 

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Admittedly, some of us also travel to explore more specific things such remote art islands and museums or even groundbreaking, wanderlust worthy restaurants.  But what about travelling specifically to visit a resort or hotel?

The best destination luxury hotels that are the worth the trip: Hoshinoya Fuji in Japan.

As you can imagine, there are a number of hotel properties that serve as amazing destinations on their own.  But we’re not talking about the Ritz in Paris or the Peninsula in Hong Kong, as lovely as they both are.  Rather, we are talking about some of the world’s most spectacular and out there, be it in location or concept, destination luxury hotels. 

Room 22 at the Fogo Island Inn. Courtesy Photo.

From places that feature perfect views of the Aurora Borealis from glass and snow igloos to an overnight surrounded by tropical fish in the middle of the ocean, to living in a modern shipwreck along the world’s most dangerous coast, we found 12 destination hotels and resorts worth planning your next vacation around. 

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the destination luxury hotels you need to visit now

Forget about just finding a room to sleep in on your next trip. After you read this list, you may end up rethinking the way you travel going forward – so don’t say we didn’t warn you. Here are the top destination luxury hotels around the globe that will make for a vacation you won’t soon forget.

1. Arctic Bath Hotel & Spa, Sweden

After a long wait, Sweden’s highly anticipated, Arctic Bath Hotel & Spa is finally accepting reservations for its official opening in January 2020.  Arctic Bath isn’t just your typical Scandinavian sauna and hotel though. It’s a floating hotel and spa. 

The destination luxury hotels that are worth the trip

The destination luxury hotels that are worth the trip: the Arctic Bath Hotel. Courtesy Photo.

During winter the hotel freezes into the ice, while in  summer it floats on top of the Lapland’s Lule River. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime luxury overnight spa experience. In a prime spot to experience the Northern Lights or Midnight Sun

The destination luxury hotels that are worth the trip: the Arctic Bath Hotel. Courtesy Photo.

There are six floating cabins and six additional land-based cabins. That’s in addition to the main circular-shaped Arctic Bath where treatments take place. The open central patio area of the bath invites guests to sunbathe, ice bathe or just sit back and take in the surrounding wide-open skies.

2. Hoshinoya Fuji, Japan

After you’ve gotten your fill of the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, head 70 miles west to Hoshinoya Fuji for a glamping experience unlike any other.  Nestled on a slope overlooking beautiful Lake Kawaguchi, you can admire Japan’s most iconic mountain, Mount Fuji, from an elegant yet minimalist cabin. 

The destination luxury hotels that are worth the trip

The destination luxury hotels that are worth the trip: Hoshinoya Fuji. Courtesy Photo.

Outside of your cabin, you can explore the scenic mountains, book guided trekking trips, go forest bathing, enjoy early morning canoeing on the nearby lake or get in the saddle and horseback ride along the lake’s shores

The destination luxury hotels you need to visit now: Hoshinoya Fuji. Courtesy Photo.

While inside, you can order room service or opt to embark on a unique culinary experience and learn how to prepare delicious Japanese dishes under the eye of an onsite glamping master chef. 

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3. Shipwreck Lodge, Namibia

Nestled in the heart of the African wilderness, Shipwreck Lodge is located between the Hoarusib and Hoanib Rivers, in the Skeleton Coast National Park.  There you will find ten shipwreck-shaped chalets that lay among the sand dunes

hotels worth the trip

The destination luxury hotels that are worth the trip: The Shipwreck Lodge in Namibia. Courtesy Photo.

In addition to game drives where you can capture sightings of desert dwelling lions, kudu and elephants, you can explore the marine life that prospers along the African coast for a safari-cum-beach vacation experience.

hotels worth the trip

The destination luxury hotels that are worth the trip: The Shipwreck Lodge in Namibia. Courtesy Photo.

The coastline off the hotel is known as one of the most rough in the world – hence the amount of shipwrecks.  That shouldn’t stop you, though, from taking an exhilarating dip in the water. Or taking a guided tour of some of the region’s most famous shipwrecks just down the shore.

4. The Muraka at the Conrad Maldives

Looking to live like Ariel from The Little Mermaid?  Then head to The Muraka Residence at the Conrad Maldives. It’s a two-story, three bedroom glass undersea residence with views into the ocean and sea life. Plus 24-hour butler service.

hotels worth the trip

The destination luxury hotels that are worth the trip: The Muraka. Courtesy Photo.

World class architects and engineers teamed up to construct the unique hotel room in Singapore before transporting it to the Maldives and anchoring it in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

The destination luxury hotels that are worth the trip: The Muraka. Courtesy Photo.

The only catch: The Muraka costs $40,000 per night.

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5. Treehotel, Sweden

Relive the childhood magic of sleeping in a tree house with a stay at Sweden’s Treehotel. The property consists of seven pods suspended in tall pines up to 32 feet above the forest floor. 

The destination luxury hotels that are worth the trip: the Mirror Cube cabin at Treehotel, Sweden. Courtesy Photo.

Pod styles include a mirror cube, a birds nest and a UFO to name a few. Each offers sky-high views of the woods, the Lule River (the hotel is located just inland from the nearby Arctic Bath), and the Aurora Borealis.

The destination luxury hotels that are worth the trip: View from 7th Room Pod at the Treehotel, Sweden. Courtesy Photo.

From September to March, the hotel’s employees give guided Northern Lights tours. All year long, you can eat at the on-site restaurant, which specializes in northern Swedish cuisine. And explore the nearby 600-person village of Harads.

6. Giraffe Manor, Nairobi, Kenya

We all like to meet new friends while traveling, but it’s not everyday you brunch and bond with giraffes.  At the Giraffe Manor in Kenya you will not only get a chance to look at these majestic creatures. You will, without a doubt, get up close and personal with them. 

The destination luxury hotels that are worth the trip: Giraffe Manor, Nairobi, Kenya. Courtesy Photo.

At the 12-room manor, the staff teaches each guest how to feed the resident giraffes. This is because the property, built in 1932 at an elevation of almost 6,000 feet, is home to a herd of endangered Rothschild’s giraffes who are fond of stretching their long necks into the hotel’s large windows for a snack. As a result every guest room is stocked with giraffe food, so that when you receive the inevitable long-necked visitor, you can nourish it appropriately before it ambles away.

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7. Taj Lake Palace, India

Live like a 16th-century Indian aristocrat at the Taj Lake Palace, a secluded architectural marvel located in the middle of Lake Pichola on the island of Jag Niwas.

destination luxury hotels worth the trip

The destination luxury hotels that are worth the trip: The Taj Lake Palace. Courtesy Photo.

Sure, the majestic exterior and lavish interior makes for a remarkable retreat. Even better, though, couple that with the fact that the hotel appears to be floating on the surface of the lake.

The destination luxury hotels that are worth the trip: The Taj Lake Palace. Courtesy Photo.

And you need a speed boat – like James Bond – to get to and from the hotel. It all adds up and makes this spot a rare and romantic find.

8. Fogo Island Inn, Canada

For those who truly want to get away, like far, far away, there is Fogo Island Inn.  After all the island’s slogan says it all: Far Away from Far Away.  The island, off the north coast of Newfoundland, is accessible only by helicopter or ferry from Farewell Harbor. 

The destination luxury hotels that are worth the trip: The Fogo Island Inn. Courtesy Photo.

Every one of the 29 suites has a view, via floor-to-ceiling windows, over the Labrador Current of the Atlantic Ocean. 

The destination luxury hotels that are worth the trip: The Fogo Island Inn. Courtesy Photo.

The design is minimalist but welcoming. During the winter months you can see the Atlantic Ocean freeze. And in spring, gigantic icebergs float by, making it the perfect place to truly get away from the every day.

destination luxury hotels worth the trip

The destination luxury hotels that are worth the trip: The Fogo Island Inn. Courtesy Photo.

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9. InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland, China

An abandoned quarry on the outskirts of Shanghai hardly seems like a promising site for a new resort. But the InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland is a sight to behold.

The destination luxury hotels that are worth the trip: InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland. Courtesy Photo.

The 18 story, 5 star resort seamlessly hugs the surrounding rock face, re-imagining the relationship between man and nature.  16 of the hotel’s 18 floors are underground, and two floors are underwater.

The destination luxury hotels that are worth the trip: InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland. Courtesy Photo.

Six underwater suites have their own saltwater aquariums. And every room has a balcony, which becomes a cozy theater box from where you can watch the nightly water show that is said to rival the one held at Las Vegas’s Bellagio.

10. Amangiri, Utah 

Set deep within Canyon Point, Utah – close to the border with Arizona – the Amangiri resort blends discreetly into its dramatic, windswept surroundings.

The destination luxury hotels that are worth the trip: Amangiri. Courtesy Photo.

A stone’s throw from the famous Lake Powell and the enigmatic Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Amangiri makes for the ultimate peaceful desert retreat. 

destination luxury hotels worth the trip

The destination luxury hotels that are worth the trip: Amangiri. Courtesy Photo.

The hotel’s centerpiece is a dramatic pool built around a jutting rock formation at the base of a mesa, perfect for cooling off in at the end of the day. Amangiri’s Aman Spa features a flotation therapy pavilion, and a water pavilion with sauna, steam room, cold plunge pool and step pool. As well as indulgent Navajo-inspired spa treatments to experience, too.

11. Anantara Tozeur Resort, Tunisia

Taking inspiration from the oasis villages that surround it, the Anantara Tozeur Resort rises up out of the surrounding shimmering desert with lush palm trees and meandering swimming pools.

The destination luxury hotels that are worth the trip

The amazing luxury hotels that are worth the trip: Anantara Tozeur Resort. Courtesy Photo.

Located in the southwest of Tunisia on the edge of the Sahara, the resort is just outside the nearby city of Tozeur, a 14th century oasis city.

At the resort you can enjoy local cuisine under the stars, partake in luxury hammam rituals or head offsite to explore the Sahara’s largest salt lake or the nearby 1977 film set of the original Star WarsThe hotel is expected to open before the end of 2019.

12. Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, Finland

What better way to take in the northern lights than from the inside of a glass igloo in the middle of the wilderness at Finland’s Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort 150 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

The destination luxury hotels that are worth the trip: Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort. Courtesy Photo.

Given its northerly location, it offers views of the green-lit skies eight months out of the year.  If you are looking for a true igloo experience you can opt for one of the property’s dozens of actual snow igloos, where you’ll find calm, quiet and a sleeping bag to keep you toasty in the room’s below-freezing temperatures.

destination luxury hotels worth the trip

The destination luxury hotels that are worth the trip: Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort. Courtesy Photo.

13. andBeyond Ngala Treehouse

The travel company andBeyond is taking its South African offerings to new heights – literally. The brand has created the andBeyond Ngala Treehouse, a one-off, completely private accommodation nestled just a short drive away from the brand’s Tented Camp and Safari Lodge

The destination luxury hotels that are worth the trip: andBeyond Ngala Treehouse. Courtesy Photo.

Both properties are located in the wild bush of the 36,000-acre Ngala Private Game Reserve, which sits adjacent to Kruger National Park. The Treehouse features four levels, including a covered and weatherproof space with a king-size bed and hot running water. An elevated sleep-out platform allows guests to slumber al fresco under a retractable screen. If you’re hoping to get completely off the grid, or perhaps to star-gaze under a truly dark sky, this is the place.

14. Skylodge Adventure Suites, Peru

At the Skylodge Adventure Suites, created by adventure company Natura Vive, guests arrive either by hiking over 1,300 feet or 400 meters up, or by zipping in like a superhero on a series of zip lines. The rooms themselves are transparent capsules hanging on the side of a mountain with panoramic views of the Sacred Valley.

The destination luxury hotels that are worth the trip: the Skylodge Adventure Suites, Peru. Courtesy Photo.

Once you settle down for the night, you’re treated to impressive panoramic views of the wild valley below and, at night, the Milky Way. 

the amazing luxury hotels you need to visit now

There you have it, our list of the top crazy and most over-the-top luxury hotels that are definitely worth traveling to.  Which one is at the top of your list?  Something tells me the Fogo Island Inn is going to be a top pick after all the family time that comes with the holiday season.

join our community

For access to insider ideas and information on the world of luxury, sign up for our Dandelion Chandelier newsletter here. And see luxury in a new light.

 Jillian Tangen is the Head of Research at Dandelion Chandelier and a former Senior Research Analyst at McKinsey & Co and Analyst at Shearman & Sterling. She is an avid fan of Nordic design, having owned an independent lifestyle store and sales agency focused on emerging Scandinavian design. Jillian lives in New York and is married with three young children. She loves cross-country skiing, the New York Rangers, reading, travel and discovering new brands.

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