Best hotels in the world – A Bucket List for lodging (Page 1 of 2)

As a professional travel blogger, I get an opportunity to stay in some of the best hotels in the world each year. I thought it would be fun to put together a bucket list for lodging of the best hotels that I have personally stayed. There are many, many  incredible hotels around the world, so I am not suggesting these are the best-of-the-best, but simply the best hotels I have experienced and recommend. 

Best Hotels in the world - A bucket list for lodging..Bucket List for Lodging - Best Hotels in the World.

I created categories for each hotel to provide a bit more insight into the character of the property, however, each of these best hotels are all-around fantastic places to stay. It is difficult to rank these properties as they all differ greatly, this is why I given each one a category. I have however loosely numbered the list, so continue scrolling to see who got the #1 slot.

Best hotels in the world – A Bucket List for Lodging

#30 BEST TEMPORARY HOTEL – SnowCastle Hotel in Kemi, Finland.

Hotels Bucket List - Snow Castle in Kemi, Finland by

If you’re like me and are enamored by the idea of a seasonal and temporary hotel made of snow and ice, the SnowCastle Hotel in Kemi, Finland should be on your best hotels bucket list for lodging. It’s not until you enter the SnowCastle that you really appreciate just how large the snow structure is. You’ll be amazed by the level of artistry that is around every corner—from relief-art in the walls, to ice sculptures throughout. At one end of the Castle there are two large halls with dozens of tables made of ice, each with wooden stools and reindeer hides for restaurant patrons to sit. On the opposite end is the SnowHotel where guests sleep.

While there is no question the freezing temperatures make it a bit uncomfortable getting in and out of bed, it’s actually quite a cozy experience. The thick snow walls create massive insulation, and therefore, the rooms are extremely quiet and peaceful. Once you get situated inside your arctic sleeping bag, which lies atop a layer of lambskin, it’s very warm and comfy. Be sure to opt for a wake-up knock at the door, otherwise you may sleep much longer than you expect. Click the following link to see more photos and read all about the SnowCastle Hotel.

#29 BEST AIRPORT HOTEL – Alt Hotel at Halifax Airport in Nova Scotia Canada.

Alt Hotel sign at Halifax terminal Photo by Mike Shubic of - this is one of the best hotels at an airport

Airports with integrated hotels seem to popping up around the world this past decade, and for travelers, there is no denying the convenience. Most airport hotels are located off-site, near the airport, but not actually at an airport terminal. Eliminating that gap transportation is quite nice, saving both time and stress. What makes the Alt Hotel so special is not merely its proximity to the airport, but rather its posh and sophisticated decor, and, attention to detail.

The staff is incredibly friendly, while the lobby is furnished in a bold and contemporary design. The rooms are a mix of exposed concrete and modern materials. My room had views of one of the runways with a chic black leather chair in which I could sit to watch the planes take off. Click the following link to see more photos and read all about the Alt Hotel in Halifax, one of the best hotels in the world at an airport.

#28 BEST RURAL INN – Grey Cliffs Ranch in Bozeman, Montana.

lodging Bucket list - Grey Cliffs Ranch by

The State of Montana is a capacious place where the wild still roam, the rivers flow unabated, and the hills roll into the horizon. Montana is one of the last places where you can experience nature as it was intended. Staying at the Grey Cliffs Ranch epitomizes the Montana experience.  The Ranch is flanked by the Madison River and encompasses more than 5000 acres, and, it is located just thirty minutes west of Bozeman in the Madison Valley.

The lodge at Grey Cliffs Ranch is over 8000 square feet with an abundance of deck and patio space. The exposed post beam construction and open floor plan provides soaring ceilings and spectacular views from the main floor. No expense was spared in the construction or furnishing of this lodge. There are five distinctly furnished guest rooms with a cornucopia of on-site outdoor activities. Click here to read about my experience at the Grey Cliffs Ranch.

#27 BEST CITY VIEW HOTEL – Wyndham Grand Plaza Royal in Hangzhou, China is one of the best hotels in the world.

Wyndham Grand Plaza Royal in Hangzhou, China

The lobby and the accommodations are best described as contemporary Asian modern, with rich and luxurious accents throughout. The location is pretty good too, within walking distance of the famed West Lake, which attracts millions of visitors each year. As a matter of fact, many of the rooms have balcony views of the lake, and, the view from the rooftop deck and garden is something to behold. The international staff is extremely attentive and accommodating. Click the following link to see more photos and read all about the Wyndham Grand Plaza in Hangzhou.

Also in Hangzhou is the Banyan Tree, which would have been included on this list, but I have not stayed there. I have however toured the hotel and can tell you that it is an extraordinary property.

#26 BEST URBAN RETREAT HOTEL – Orania in Berlin, Germany is one of the best hotels in an urban area.

Room at Orania Hotel in Berlin by

Orania is a new boutique property located in an up-and-coming part of East Berlin. The furniture is modern but not overly contemporary with a flare of Indian influences. Live music is available in the lobby lounge some nights, complete with a grand piano, which takes center stage. This luxury urban retreat blends casual elegance with warm undertones and natural materials. Orania has a vibe that is full of positive energy.

#25 MOST RELAXING SETTING – Sorrel Lodge, Moab Utah is one of the best hotels in the world providing a most relaxing experience.

Soreal ranch is one of the best hotels in the world. Photo by

The accommodations are amazing with plenty of space. The views from the room are memorizing. Dining on the patio at night with live music playing and then going to the fire-pit to make smores for dessert is true Americana. Whether you want to just relax during your stay, or have a vacation full of fun, the activity center at Sorrel Lodge can accommodate your every desire.

#24 BEST BOUTIQUE HOTEL IN THE WORLD – The Phoenix in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

The Phoenix in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

The initial steps of walking into this hotel are like stepping back in time, to a place where luxury blends perfectly with the old Colonial days. Expect a feeling of grandeur and nourish yourself with all the hotel has to offer, like the beautiful spa and pool (one of the best massages I experienced in Indonesia [about 450,000 Rupiah, or $35 U.S. dollars]. The hotel also offers tours of the city in beautiful vintage cars. Whether breakfast, lunch or dinner, the dining experience is amazing!

#23 BEST SECLUDED HOTEL FOR ROMANCE – Chateau Mcely in Mcely, Czech Republic is one of the best hotels for romance.

Chateau Mcely is one of the best hotels in the world for romance - photo by:

An amazing hideaway from the city rush of Prague is the picturesque central Bohemian village of Mcely. Resting upon a bluff, overlooking Mcely, is the five-star hotel owned by James and Inez Cusumano. The Chateau is a perfect destination for romantic getaways, a spa break, or weddings. The hotel’s interior is impeccably furnished in “modern château” style, with each of its 23 rooms individually and uniquely decorated.

The beautiful park on the property covers five acres, offering space for croquet, badminton or tennis. The Château restaurant, Piano Nobile, was recognized in 2014 as the best restaurant in the country. Click the following link to see more photos, video and read all about Chateau Mcely.

#22 -BEST CONTEMPORARY HOTEL – The Mamilla in Jerusalem, Israel is one of the best hotels in the country.

The Mamilla in Jerusalem is one of the best hotels in the world - Photo by:

The Mamilla Hotel in Jerusalem captivates guests the moment they enter the lobby. Most five star hotels have nice and often elaborate lobbies, but what sets the Mamilla Hotel apart is that the space feels like a designer showroom. The modernistic decor almost contradicts its historic and conservative location near Old Jerusalem.

I am a huge fan of mid-century modern and contemporary design, so I felt right at home at the Mamilla. While some fine hotels feel stuffy, the Mamilla made me feel like I wanted to envelop every square inch of the space. Click the following link to see more photos and read all about the Mamilla Hotel in Jerusalem, which is certainly one of the best hotels in Israel, if not the world.

#21 BEST HOTEL ARCHITECTURE – Westin Hamburg in Hamburg, Germany.

The Westin Hamburg is worthy of being on this bucket list for lodging of the best hotels. Photo by

The glacier-inspired Westin Hamburg hotel is fast becoming one of the most recognizable buildings in the world. This hotel is not just a place to stay, but rather an experience that showcases a sophisticated ensemble of architecture, service, comfort and style, leaving the guest yearning for an encore. It’s the remarkable windows that make this structure truly one-of-a-kind. The floor-to-ceiling windows were custom made in Italy and are five panes thick. Each window has both curves and waves, providing a dramatic design element that defies physics. The outward curvature is so significant that guests are able to step to the very edge of the floor and look straight down to the ground; in my case, 19 floors.

Another feature within the rooms is the ship-like port windows. There is a beam that separates one window from the next. Where one window is dramatically curved out, the next is curved inward, creating a gap which is closed by a support beam of sorts. A small oddly shaped novelty window carved out of the beam allows guests to open and peer out. Click the following link to see more photos and read all about the Westin Hamburg, a hotel worth of being on this bucket list for lodging.

#20 BEST CHIC LODGE – Edgewood in South Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

Edgewood resort is one of the best hotels in the world: Arial photo by

The Edgewood is a stupendous 5-star resort located right on the banks of South Lake Tahoe. The decor is a modern, without being over the top contemporary. With a lodge look, the interior has some hints of mid-century modern elements, and an air of sophistication you would expect from a top-tier hotel. Beautiful wood furniture in the rooms with a gas fireplace and deck looking out at the lake greeted me from my accommodations. Most of the cabinetry is off the floor and mounted to the walls, giving the space a very clean look. Up-and-down lighting highlights the subtle accents throughout the space. The bathroom is just as beautiful with a separate soaking tub and a pair of large sliding doors open the bathroom up to the bedroom.

#19 BEST MID-CENTURY MODERN HOTEL – Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale, Arizona

The Hotel Valley Ho was originally constructed in 1956, however it was completely renovated in 2005, paying tribute to its mid-century roots. Painstaking effort went into preserving many of the architectural elements, so the exterior of the hotel remains as it was in the 50s. The interior, however, is a cornucopia of retro-redesign at its finest. All of the furnishings and decor are current contemporary, but thoroughly influenced by the design of the 1950s and 60s. Just to the right of the lobby is a comfortable area for guests to meet and congregate around a stone fireplace, while relaxing within a series of seating configurations that look to be straight out of the lobby of a Mad Men episode.

In its original heyday, the Hotel Valley Ho played host to many Hollywood film stars who wanted to escape the paparazzi, who would not follow them to Scottsdale as it was too far for them to travel. Today, the hotel is just as hip as it was back in the 50s and 60s, while embracing its past which is now serving its future. Click the following link to see more photos, watch a video and read all about the Hotel Valley Ho, a property worthy of being on this best hotels bucket list.

#18 BEST CHIC INN – Camden Harbor Inn Camden, Maine.

bucket list for lodging - Camden Harbour Inn exterior by

Perched atop a bluff overlooking the harbor in Camden, Maine, rests an inn of uncompromising quality and service. Obliging guests for well over a century, the Camden Harbour Inn was rejuvenated in the late 2000s, maintaining the historic charm of the structure while infusing a modern flair. The refined contemporary feel balances perfectly with the classic architecture of this local landmark. When you enter the Inn, your attention is drawn to the vibrant colors and warm textures. The focal point of the common area is chic sofas with au courant fireplace. In the opposite direction is the on-site fine dining restaurant, Natalie’s, which is where breakfast is served for guests, as well as dinner for both the public and guests. Many of the rooms have bay views, which provide quite a sight on those amber lit, sky-filled evenings when the harbor is full of boats. Click the following link to see more photos and read all about the Camden Harbor Inn.

#17 BEST CASINO LODGING OUTSIDE OF VEGAS – L’auberge Casino Resort in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

bucket list for lodging of best hotels in the world - L’auberge Casino Resort in Lake Charles, Louisiana by

L’auberge Casino Resort is a retreat that captivates guests, many of whom may never want to leave due to the abundance of activities and luxuriousness of the property. Beyond the amazing bed and other typical features you’d expect in a luxurious room, the suites have some incredible amenities, such as a remote control that takes care of just about everything—from dimming the lights, adjusting the thermostat, to controlling a T.V. embedded in one of the bathroom vanity mirrors. The bathrooms are fit for royalty, with a focal point being a huge claw foot bathtub that fills from the ceiling. Yes, the ceiling! A gushing stream of water falls some ten feet into the middle of the tub. To one side of the bathtub is a large marble shower; to the other, a frosted glass enclosure with high-end loo and bidet.

While the accommodations are spectacular, so too is the entire property at L’auberge: The casino floor, nicely manicured golf course, spa, shopping, to the lazy river swimming pool and on-site restaurants. Click here to see a video I produced on the property.


FOUND:RE in Phoenix, Arizona

Located in the Roosevelt Arts District of downtown Phoenix, The FOUND:RE is one of the more unique properties I’ve stayed. Not just urban contemporary, the FOUND:RE is industrial chic!. This one-of-a-kind boutique hotel is so much more than a place to lay your head—it’s a hotel that evokes your senses. The massive art collection, design elements, wonderfully abstruse materials, to the playful gestures will keep you thinking, and smiling, throughout your stay. For example, when guests walk into the lobby, a laser is activated and displays a colorful array of images on the floor, which disappears seconds later. In the suite I occupied, the shower had two heads, which were separated by clear and frosted glass. Etched in the clear glass was the word, “sexy.” The frosted glass side said, “not so sexy.” These are just a couple of the lighthearted elements you’ll notice whiles staying in this hotel worthy of being on this bucket list for lodging.

Click here to continue reading this bucket list of the best hotels in the world and find out what property was listed  as #1. (list #15-#1)

Mike Shubic

Mike Shubic is a seasoned road trip travel video blogger, traversing the byways of the world looking for those hidden gems of the road. From unique destinations, unexpected discoveries, creative cuisine, intriguing inns to exciting attractions…the road is his page. The experiences are his ink. And every 300 miles, a new chapter begins. Whether you live vicariously or by example, Mike will do the exploring so you can have an adventure.


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