Travel+Leisure names the world’s top 50 hotels.Whether you’re seeking a luxe, European palace or a cozy coastal retreat a bit closer to home, this is the list to consult. The Oberoi is the leading hotel brand, with two properties in the top 5.
1. The Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India
A palace fit for a maharaja, The Oberoi Udaivilas is nothing short of an oasis amidst the country’s frenetic energy. The hotel sits on its own private island in Udaipur—consequently, the former hunting grounds of India’s kings—and guests are transported to the property via private boat.
After crossing Lake Pichola and the hotel’s main courtyard (with a white marble lotus floating in a reflecting pool), enter your accommodations. Book one of nine Premier rooms for a semi-private pool, terrace, and views of wildlife such as peacocks and white-spotted deer. Visit the on-site Bada Mahal, an 18th-century former palace with delicate frescoes, or take a camel ride to Devigarh Fort Palace for lunch. Visitors will love the departure gifts the property bestows, such as traditional mirror-work coasters or jewelry boxes.
2. Castello di Casole, Tuscany, Italy
Amidst the olive trees and knotted grapevines dotting this 4,200-acre Tuscan estate is a castle that dates to the 10th century. An extensive renovation has transformed this historic site into a 41-suite resort, complete with classic oil paintings, exposed wooden beams, and reclaimed terracotta.
At Castello di Casole book a local oil- or wine-based treatment at Essere Spa (originally the wine cellar) and finish off the evening with a bottle of the estate’s exclusive Dodici wine, gifted to all guests upon arrival.
3. Ashford Castle, County Mayo, Ireland
This Medieval castle, the oldest in Ireland, has hosted dignified guests throughout its nearly 800-year history: Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness (the Guinness), who once owned the dazzling space, John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara (who stayed there during the filming of John Ford’s The Quiet Man) and, most recently, Ireland’s Prime Minister, who visited to celebrate the property’s reopening in April after a $75 million renovation.
While thoughtful restorations were made to the building’s stonework and infrastructure, it’s the modern new additions getting all the attention—a billiards room, a 32-seat movie theater, and, this month, a full spa with a heated, indoor pool. Read more about Ashford Castle here.
4. Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, Montana
It’s easy to conjure romance at this retreat tucked away in the Bitterroot Mountains among 600 sprawling acres of kid-free forests. This World’s Best mainstay was No. 1 in the world last year, thanks to its Relais & Châteaux service and luxurious accommodations. The 23 rustic log cabins are elevated by cozy touches such as wood-burning stoves, steam showers, and private hot tubs.
Get a taste of the wild west with tailored itineraries that include everything from horseback riding to cattle drives, helicopter tours above Glacier or Yellowstone National Parks, and even sapphire panning. When you’re ready to come indoors, you’ll find staffers on hand to welcome you with fresh-baked cookies—or recommend a bottle from the glass-and-mahogany wine cellar, now home to more than 700 wines and champagnes. Don’t be shocked if you feel one stay wasn’t enough; approximately half of all visitors are repeat guests.
5. The Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
Majesty and modernity coexist perfectly at this tranquil resort in Jaipur, where guests can explore the 32-acre property on an elephant ride to Naila Fort, or lounge poolside while dedicated staffers shoo away pesky pigeons. Standard rooms feature teak bars with bone inlay and white marble baths, while air-conditioned tents completely redefine your notions of camping. Royal and Luxury tents come outfitted with Burmese teakwood floors, claw-footed tubs, and hand block-printed canopies woven with gold thread.
During the coolest months, from October to April, rare Indian delicacies can be enjoyed at Raj Mahal restaurant. Order one of the aromatic biryani rice dishes that feature herbs grown in the on-site garden, and sip a signature Gulkand martini with rose marmalade and lime. Retreat to the 18th-century haveli for an indigenous spa ritual (chakra balancing, Ayurveda massage) and specialty baths filled with rose water, milk, and marigolds. Balance your chi with daily morning yoga asanas and meditations in the Shiva temple.