Valley Trunk, British Virgin Islands

The Best Hotels in the World

Plan your next trip around these amazing accommodations.

January 2017

Many travelers have destination bucket lists, but some of the best hotels in the world are destinations unto themselves, with incredible service, historic accommodations and brilliant extras. Some of the following fabulous hotels are, indeed, in wildly desirable locations—but some define the destination in amazing ways. Try planning a trip around one of these hot hotels this year.

Ksar Char-Bagh, Marrakech

A bumpy ride through the desert plains of the Palmeraie district east of Marrakech, Morocco, takes you to the 14th-century-inspired Moorish tower that is Ksar Char-Bagh. As an undulating plain of blooming tiny succulents unfolds, the approach couldn’t be more dramatic. Inside the monumental silver doors is an enclosed courtyard holding 13 luxurious suites, a billiard room, a library, heated pools, a vaulted hammam and a refined restaurant that serves produce grown on the nearly 10 acres of gardens and olive trees. Persian-style gardens use water to great effect, crossing to symbolize the rivers of paradise. Amid them you’ll find the kitchen garden and a roofless pis (earth-walled hut) where you can plan a romantic dinner. But it’s the tranquil suites that make this spot perfect for a quiet escape. In the perfect balance of simplicity and grandeur, every detail has been hand-picked by Ksar Char-Bagh’s chic owners—down to the carefully curated jewelry, caftans and furniture inconspicuously sold in the garden rooms at the property’s edge. ksarcharbagh.fr; +212 5243-29244

Upper House, Hong Kong

If bustling Hong Kong wears you out, the perfect antidote is calm Upper House, a high-rise hotel that soars 38 floors above the Pacific Place retail complex in the city’s Admiralty financial district. Absolutely graceful service complements the incredible natural design by architect Andre Fu, in bamboo and shoji glass, with wall-to-wall windows in each room that have incredible views over Victoria Harbour or The Peak. No detail is too small (think REN Moroccan bath oil and a free “maxi bar” with beer, juices, soda and snacks). The best table in town—the ultimate see-and-be-seen restaurant—is Café Gray Deluxe, Chef Gray Kunz’s new home after gaining a Michelin star for Café Gray in New York City. Ask for a corner window table and gawk. upperhouse.com; +852 2918 1838

Valley Trunk, British Virgin Islands

Virgin Gorda—the magnificent, third-largest island in the BVI—is being called the new Mustique by some. But one of the island’s most fiercely protected, decades-old private villas gives a rare glimpse into its old-money roots. Valley Trunk Estate, the vacation home built over 19 acres by the Wildenstein family (renowned for horse racing and as art dealers), was used strictly as a private getaway for 30 years. Eight suites in five villas scatter the property so unobtrusively that its gardens—and its teak “Bali House,” relocated piece-by-piece from Indonesia—are the standout features from Sir Francis Drake Bay below. And while BVI’s beaches are technically public, because of its natural inaccessibility, Valley Trunk’s powder-soft beach, dotted with granite boulders, forms an exclusive idyll for anyone lucky enough to stay here. Fancy a jaunt on the Xanadu motor yacht, sushi crafted by a master Japanese chef or in-suite spa treatments? Done. The family’s private chef, Bernard Guilhaudin, has returned after gathering two Michelin stars in Paris. Have an aperitif next to the 17th-century Dutch West India Company bronze cannon, or a nightcap by a roaring fire on the beach. 
valleytrunk.com; info@valleytrunk.com

Amangiri, Canyon Point, Utah

The Aman Resorts specialize in creating incredible oases in remote destinations and Amangiri, opened in 2009 in the center of 600 acres surrounded by Monument Valley, Grand Staircase-Escalante and the Grand Canyon, exemplifies the concept. Arriving at Amangiri is a journey in itself: You’ll take an unpaved road through an iron farm gate and descend 5 miles into a natural rock bowl. Amangiri, built so it naturally blends into the desert landscape, sits on the canyon floor. Glass walls look out at looming rock formations and a pool built around the desert’s rock features. Even the walls’ concrete was mixed to resemble the local sandstone and will eventually take on a natural desert varnish. Minimal-chic rooms open up to vast desert nothingness: Expect to do the best stargazing of your life. And reverence has been paid to the area’s Navajo population, since the country’s largest American Indian reservation is right on its border. Have an indigenous-inspired treatment in the Navajo hogan-style spa, then settle in for elegant, elevated Southwestern cuisine—much of it cooked in the wood-fired oven. amanresorts.com; 877-695-3999

Baccarat Hotel and Residences, New York

It’s true that Manhattan offers a million other amusements outside this peerless hotel (which is just feet from the Museum of Modern Art and within walking distance of virtually all the fabulous shopping in Midtown). But these opulent accommodations may have you deciding to save Manhattan’s attractions for another visit. Gorgeous suites in a palette of champagnes, chocolate browns and platinum—glowing with Baccarat sconces and chandeliers—that house four-poster beds with Mascioni jacquard linens and cashmere throws will make you want to settle in for the long haul, but the red-lacquer minibar, filled with Baccarat stemware, will entice you to fill your marble bath with La Mer products, your stemware with Ruinart from the minibar, and decompress like never before. Don’t miss the “Champagne” button on the in-room telephone, which produces crucial refills. baccarathotels.com; 212-790-8800