The World’s Best Hotels Aren’t Just For Travelers

best hotels

Whether you want to indulge in luxe spas, subterranean nightclubs or Michelin-starred restaurants, hoteliers go all out with design and amenities. The world’s best hotels, however, offer something more elusive than a ping-pong table or free cocktails: the ability to transport guests to another time and place. And it’s not just travelers who benefit from a well-chosen stay: locals are increasingly drawn to the best hotels in their cities, too.

So what sets a truly exceptional hotel apart? It might be an old-world charm in a villa on the edge of Lake Como, or a sleek, modern suite that’s as enticing as it is spacious. The 50 Best organization released its inaugural list of the world’s top hotels on Tuesday, and its winning properties are as diverse as their locations. The Italian villa Passalacqua took the top spot, while the New York City boutique The Beekman and a former medical complex in Brisbane rounded out the top 10 (and were each awarded three crowns). London was well represented with stalwarts Claridge’s and The Connaught as well as the more recent NoMad London making the cut.

New York City is home to several of the world’s best hotels, from a century-old landmark with gold-plated bathroom fixtures to a swanky newcomer with a rooftop pool and a boundary-pushing restaurant. Many first-time visitors to the city are tempted by the convenience of a Manhattan location, but locals recommend staying outside the soulless tourist trap of Midtown for a true taste of New York’s many personalities, such as The Carlyle on the Upper East Side or the sleek and sophisticated Mercer in Soho.

As for those who prefer to get out and explore, the discovery-friendly Discovery Primea in Manila provides a home base near Ortigas Center, where you’ll find plenty of bars and restaurants to discover from al fresco drinking spots packed with stylish professionals to tiny watering holes serving artisanal cocktails. And the rooms have the added perk of stunning city views.

In contrast, the secluded Badian Island Wellness Resort in Cebu offers a tranquil escape with neatly landscaped gardens and private beaches surrounded by azure waters teeming with marine life. Guests can enjoy a range of wellness activities, including yoga and massages, at the on-site spa.

Whether you want to relax in a suite that feels like your own apartment or indulge in Moroccan-French-fusion cuisine in the Majorelle garden restaurant, this is one hotel where the service shines. Located near Fifth Avenue and Madison Square Park, the Lowell is a fashionista favorite for its discreet but warm approach to hospitality. Indulge in high-thread-count linen and cashmere in the rooms, which feature flat-screen HDTVs and oversized bathrooms with showers that are practically their own rooms. You’ll also be within easy reach of the best shopping and dining in the city. The best part: Rates start at $380 a night.