Still unsure where to head for Eid? We round up an inspiring selection of hotel options across the globe from theme park favourites to island idylls
The island hideaways
Wooden walkways, colonial-style buildings and an obligatory palm-fringed beach define the barefoot paradise of Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives, where you can choose a villa that’s either aside powder-soft sand or over water. Making that decision is as stressful as it gets here, with the resort’s all-inclusive concept caressing all other cares away. A taste of the tropical awaits in Seychelles, where Constance Ephelia welcomes guests to its beautiful location on Mahé – shrouded by lush landscape and home to two beautiful beaches. Families are particularly well catered to here, with a two-bedroom Family Villa and the grander still Presidential Villa (room for the full Swiss Family Robinson) heading the accommodation options. Our trinity of island escape options is completed by Mauritius, and the marvellous Shanti Maurice Resort & Spa. It’s home to what are arguably the island’s finest villas, and an equally impressive wellness spa. Relaxation guaranteed.
The grand dames
For over 140 years, the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok has stood majestically beside the Chao Phraya River: an oasis of calm in one of the world’s most thrilling cities. Bangkok has no finer place to stay: its restaurants are five-star, its service legendary, and its elegant rooms matchless for their front-row river views. With 90 years under its belt, The Peninsula Hong Kong is a baby in comparison, but is just as remarkable for its Michelin-starred fare and suites overlooking the harbour. Its signature ‘Peninsula Moments’ – such as art exhibitions, cooking classes with its celebrated chefs, and jaunts in the hotel’s own helicopter – set it apart from the (admittedly stiff) HK competition. The same can be said of The St. Regis New York, which has welcomed the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Salvador Dalí and John Lennon since it opened in 1904. And who can blame them? In a city full of landmark hotels, the St. Regis is – quite simply – the best.
The new kids on the block
A little luxurious idyll on Bali’s beachy south coast, COMO Uma Canggu Bali is so in tune with its wild and wonderful surroundings that you’d never guess it was just a few months old. With a handful of sea-facing suites, a glorious spa, and two restaurants serving super-fresh bites, it’s the perfect fusion of barefoot chic and all-out indulgence. As is fellow newbie Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island, which occupies its very own coral isle. Retreat here for a five-star castaway experience: bathing on your own stretch of sugary sand (the beach is 14km long) and cooling off in the sapphire waters of the Indian Ocean. Even further under the radar is Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Andaman Islands, which opened in March – one of the few hotels on this little-visited archipelago in the Bay of Bengal. Come for the pearl-white beaches and opulent villas, but stay for the amazing experiences: snorkelling with turtles, kayaking through mangrove forests, and relishing the joy of falling utterly off-grid.
The theme park favourites
With the likes of Legoland, Motiongate and Bollywood Parks on its doorstep, there’s no finer place to flop after an action-packed day than Lapita, Dubai Parks and Resorts – a full-on family-friendly hotel. Kids will love the lazy river and swimming pools, while grown-ups will relish the fantastic service and on-site spa. Fancy Florida’s theme parks instead? Head to the luxurious Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, which has its own water slides and lazy river, kids’ club, and exclusive out-of-hours access for guests. Grown-ups can retreat to the adults-only pool and spa, and enjoy fine dining overlooking Disney’s nightly fireworks. Just an hour from Barcelona, PortAventura World is one of Europe’s hottest theme parks with its newly-opened Ferrari Land and white-knuckle rides aplenty. Book Hotel PortAventura for unlimited entry, themed rooms, and discounted access to Spain’s premiere waterpark – perfect for cooling off in the summer.
The clinchers for kids
Animal lovers will stampede towards Ole Sereni Hotel. Set in Nairobi National Park, this charming hotel is surrounded by wildlife, offering the chance to view a variety of animals including Masai giraffes and the endangered black rhinoceros. Family-friendly fun is also top of mind at Soneva Fushi, which has a fabulous programme of dolphin watching, al fresco movie nights, beach picnics and guided snorkelling in the Maldives. Its kids’ club, The Den, is the best of the best – a true paradisiacal playground. For a city break that the whole family will enjoy, look no further than Le Royal Monceau, Raffles Paris, which combines plush suites and Michelin-starred dining with a fun and inventive children’s programme, including treasure hunts through the Louvre.
The romantic escapes
Château de Bagnols is not your average five-star hotel. For over 800 years, this French castle has towered over the Lyonnaise countryside – all Gothic turrets and majestic stone archways, surrounded by beautiful Beaujolais vineyards. Today, with its four-poster beds, pretty gardens and divine locally-sourced cuisine, it’s the perfect romantic retreat. In Morocco, the Royal Mansour Marrakech is also a remarkable work of art – adorned with traditional tile work, silks, and exquisite antiques. Instead of bedrooms, it has riads: private residences offering the utmost seclusion, with their own swimming pools, courtyard gardens, and roof terraces overlooking the city. In Bali, you won’t find a more private hideaway than Komaneka Tanggayuda Hotel, where self contained suites and villas open up to their own courtyard and plunge pool overlooking the valley. The residences are well designed to give you that secluded feeling with helpful and friendly staff.
The country manors
Follow in the footsteps of Britain’s royals, to Cliveden House – a handsome Berkshire estate just an hour from London. This five-star manor is set amid acres of glorious woodland and gardens, with rooms overlooking the famous River Thames. Its afternoon teas are legendary – as is its roll call of famous guests: William Churchill and Joseph Kennedy among them. In Ireland, surrounded by the emerald-coloured countryside of Country Mayo, Ashford Castle is also renowned for its rural razzmatazz. Celebrities and dignitaries – far too many to count – have rested their heads on its velvet pillows, and sipped sundowners in its sumptuous drawing room. In Tuscany, meanwhile, Castel Porrona offers more understated countryside chic. For five centuries, this Italian castle was passed down through Siena’s most noble families before being transformed into a gorgeous five-star boutique hotel – with a magnificent three-level spa and 25 beautiful suites.
The foodie havens
For gourmand vegetarians, Country House Montali – a five-star farmhouse in Umbria, Italy – boasts an exquisite meat-free menu that changes every day. Syrupy baked figs, sheep’s cheese ravioli, golden olive oil from the hotel’s own groves… every dish is packed with local flavours. Meanwhile, in Paris, guests of the Four Seasons Hotel George V will find a constellation of Michelin stars on their doorstep: its three magnificent restaurants hold five of the accolades between them. Le Cinq – with three stars to its name – has Christian Le Squer at its helm: an artist and chef extraordinaire. In historic Oxford, England, you can explore the picturesque countryside and tour Blenheim Palace before satisfying your appetite at The Punch Bowl, a quaint and understand inn in Woodstock that serves a large variety of dishes prepared using locally sourced produce. It’s famous for its goats’ cheese and spinach satin and homemade steak burgers.
The shoppers’ delights
The Dubai Mall needs no introduction – and nor does its glamorous neighbouring hotel, The Address Downtown Dubai. If shopping is on the agenda, this is the place to stay: with its private entrance to the world’s biggest and best shopping mall, exquisite suites with The Dubai Fountain views, and a clutch of fabulous restaurants in which to debut the day’s purchases. Fancy a quieter, more curated collection of shops in Dubai? Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates is located next door to its fashionable namesake – with almost 700 high street and designer names, plus Magic Planet, Ski Dubai, VOX Cinemas (and much more) just a few steps away. For more far-flung retail therapy, immerse yourself in Singapore’s luxury malls, independent boutiques and colourful bazaars – with JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach as your base. From Little India to Suntec City mall, the city’s best shopping areas are within walking distance – as are the glitzy restaurants and nightspots of Marina Bay.
The style set
Is it a hotel? Is it an art gallery? However you define it, The Mandrake is one of London’s most exciting places to stay. In its open studio, an ever-changing line-up of international artists create contemporary pieces within full view of guests – a thrilling experience for art aficionados. The haute cuisine bites at Serge et Le Phoque (sister of the Michelin-starred Hong Kong restaurant) are also works of art. Heading to LA? Rest your head at Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles – though this hipster-meets-Hollywood joint is more about parties than snoozing, with in-room DJ turntables, eclectic artwork, and rooftop pool crammed with fashion-forward beauties. For more discreet digs, JK Place Roma – in the heart of Rome – is a masterpiece of understated opulence, and feels more like an exclusive club. Rooms are decorated with one-off pieces of art – a marble sculpture here, an oil painting there – amid super-stylish furniture and luxe beds. A sumptuous slice of la dolce vita.
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Words by Hazel Plush