This resort compound of modern, sea-facing mansions (each holding six to nine guest rooms), private villas, and a restaurant wing (called the Manor, with additional accommodations) backed by a beautiful pool garden occupies the best position on the man-made Palm Jumeirah island. The 103 rooms come with calming beige and dark-wood decor, freestanding tubs, excellent South African wine in the minibar, and thoughtful, not just token, high-tech fixtures such as bedside headphone jacks so insomniacs can watch TV without disturbing a partner. At the tip of the outer breakwater, the beach feels authentic, with starfish and swaying palms, yet also with arresting scenes of Dubai’s coastal skyscrapers.
Upon arriving at this ecological enclave "where there is never a rush to get anywhere," guests are "immediately transported into relaxation mode." "The architecture is stunning": Rooms have wooden lattices, glass doors, and earth-toned contemporary decor, and some suites come with private plunge pools and roof decks. Yucatán limestone and renewable woods make rooms "warm, gorgeous, and private." The "incredible and huge spa" is on a private island overlooking limestone lagoons and offers "unique Mayan-influenced treatments," including the couples' Sun & Moon Journey. Expect "a fun and unique ambience" at the Agave Azul Sushi Bar & Tequila Library, which serves tequila and traditional bites like shitake gyozas, octopus sunomono, and miso butter Kobe beef with "a gourmet twist."
"Nothing compares" to this beachfront re- sort where "the amazing rooms" have iron-studded doors, travertine floors, and painted sinks. Staffs—especially the private butlers—”treat you like a celebrity." Expect poolside foot massages and margarita ice pops. After a day on the seaside links, unwind in a hammock. The open-air palapa-style Agua serves Mexican-inflected Mediterranean fare. On Friday nights, an astronomer takes guests stargazing in the Baja Desert
Sunrise views over the Pacific and sunsets over the lagoon and Mount Otemanu make this Polynesian village resort with a perfect-scoring location "the most beautiful place on earth." Surrounded by coconut palms, buildings have leaf-thatched roofs and walls made of volcanic stone with mother-of-pearl accents. Perfect-scoring rooms include overwater bungalows that are "beyond words," allowing guests to spot schools of fish below or gaze at the sky. Enjoy an outing on the resort's catamaran and a passion fruit mojito at the pool bar. The food is "magnificently prepared" at the four restaurants, including Arii Moana, which serves French and Polynesian cuisine. "Every detail is addressed by the very friendly and efficient staff. "
"It doesn't get any better" than this: It's the only property on this year's Gold List to get all perfect scores. "I had high expectations, and they were all surpassed." Pronounced kwa-lee-ah, which in Latin means "a deeper sensory experience," this property is on the northernmost tip of Hamilton Island. "Relaxation kicks in upon arrival, with the first sip of champagne taken with a view of the other Whitsundays." Hillside pavilions are spread over 30 acres of tropical bushland above the Coral Sea, and are designed to reflect Aussie style using local hardwoods and quarried stone. "The attention to detail is exceptional," and some pavilions have sundecks and private pools. The Pebble Beach restaurant serves casual Australian lunches, while the more formal Long Pavilion is all about seven-course meals that include dishes such as the organic chicken with autumn vegetables and the Tasmanian salmon with whiting and enoki. "No request is too difficult" for the "super-friendly, super-efficient staff." "Once you stay at Qualia, it's difficult to stay anywhere else."
A teak bridge suspended over a gorge makes for "a standout arrival" at this resort on 18 acres in the Ayung River Valley. "You can't get a more stunning setting." "Everywhere you look, you see beauty." "To-die-for Balinese villas" are done in dark teak and Indonesian stone and have plunge pools, outdoor living rooms, and floor-to-ceiling windows. Dine on contemporary Indonesian cuisine at the Ayung Terrace, or sip a passion fruit martini overlooking the valley at Jati Bar. "Staying here is a once-in-a-lifetime experience."
"The view is breathtaking when you open the curtains" at this "truly inspiring resort" set amid palm and olive trees and jasmine and bougainvillea plants, in Elounda, opposite the isle of Spinalonga. The low-rise property blends into the landscape with clay roof tiles, wooden shutters, and traditional pebble mosaics, while the lobby's design evokes the local shipyard. Guest rooms are arranged in clusters along a slope overlooking the sea—"definitely splurge on one with a private infinity pool." Vegetables handpicked by the chef accompany Flame’s locally sourced steak. Decorated in white-and-blue tablecloths, Blue Door focuses on the daily catch from local fishermen. Sample typical Cretan pastries and egg dishes for breakfast at Olea. "The highly qualified staff provides royal service."
Comprising cliff top sand-hued casitas and suites and three- and four-bedroom villas, this resort has rooms that all face the Sea of Cortés, some with private balconies with infinity-edge hot tubs. "It's the perfect mix of luxury and beachside casual." "Staff are unbelievably fantastic," even providing complimentary shoulder massages upon arrival. Some find the food "delicious and beautifully presented"; others say, "it's too pricey." Cocina del Mar, which spills over three terraces, serves fresh local seafood. "Whale-watching from the pool" and "one of the most beautiful spas" are among the experiences guests can anticipate.
This first foray into the Americas by the Asian hotel chain is set amid dunes, mangroves, and freshwater lagoons. Freestanding villas are decorated with handcrafted Mayan furnishings and modern amenities. All with private pools, they curve around their own garden areas, creating "nirvana on earth." Dishes at the adults-only Tamarind, next to the "wonderful spa," are Mediterranean influenced, while Saffron serves Thai food. Private dining can be arranged for parties of up to 14 at La Cava, in the hotel's wine cellar. "Staff are attentive without hovering."
“Can’t wait to come back, and we haven’t even left yet!” cried a pair over the “beyond and above” assortment of perfect scoring digs in the middle of the Indian Ocean. “Luxury life starts here,” at “heaven on earth for couples and families” with a choice of 50 ultra-private suites and villas on Rangalifinolhu Island, or 79 on livelier Rangali Island itself. In addition, there are 21 over-water retreats with private spa rooms and 1 quite literally “breathtaking” surprise; a special request conversion of one of the resort’s subaquatic dining spaces with dinner and breakfast in bed. Service is “out of this world” on land and at sea, dining and diving in multiple restaurants or onboard Nemo, a three-person mini-sub. “Wow! One word says it all.”