I’ve always said that luxury travel is about the experience, it’s not about the flashiest hotel or the most expensive restaurant. As I said in my roundup, 2016 has been full of incredible travel experiences in some wonderful hotels. And so, here they all are, laid down in a list: the top ten luxury hotels of 2016 based on the best experiences I’ve had this year.
1. The Whole Experience: The Dorchester, London
Staying in a beautiful suite at The Dorchester was, well, breathtaking. I’m not sure I could have fallen in love with a suite so much and that’s before I’d even explored the rest of the hotel.
My 24 hours at The Dorchester was made so special by spending some time with Colleen for afternoon tea, a little time on my own at the spa to have my nails done before a date night dinner at The Grill and a romantic stay with Andy.
2. The One With The View: The Scarlet, Cornwall
I know, there’s still a full two posts to write on this, but I want to make them as perfect as this stay was. The hotel itself takes care of everything and you want for absolutely nothing.
I loved that every morning the breakfast is served from a different menu to make it feel more homely. But what I’ll never forget is the incredible experience of being in a hot tub, overlooking the Cornish coast with Andy and a glass of champagne…
3. The Suite Life: Grand Hotel du Palais Royal, Paris
Grand Hotel du Palais Royal is home to one of the most beautiful suties I’ve seen and has a terrace that will leave you short of words. Waking up there, in a beautifully scented room, and looking over the rooftops of La Louvre is a moment I’ll never forget. In fact, in Paris, I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to leave a hotel room less!
4. The Special Celebration: The Langham, London
Anniversaries are always special, but this year I made sure that our celebration had an extra special touch and organised a staycation at The Langham. We stayed in a beautifully newly redecorated Grand Executive Room in the Regent Wing, which made the perfect, romantic base.
The Langham isn’t just a hotel full of beautiful rooms – especially if you have access to The Club, as we did. In The Club an afternoon tea tasting, nibbles and aperatifs before dinner and and post dinner drink, it was wonderful staycation – and a magical anniversay experience.
5. The Unique One: Wriggly Tins, South Downs
Luxury travel, to me, is all about unique experiences, and doesn’t always have to have a marble bathroom. And this year, The Unique One for me was Wriggly Tins. Our converted Shepherd’s Hut, Beacon, played home for a couple of nights as we switched off (with no electricity and no phone signal it was necessary!), toasted marshmallows, explored the South Downs and enjoyed each other’s company.
6. The Best Boutique: Le Pavillon des Lettres, Paris
We did a bit of a hotel hop in Paris this year, and our last hotel of the trip was Le Pavillon des Lettres, which takes the top spot for the best boutique hotel this year. I fell in love with the literary theme and how it was reflected in every little detail of the hotel. Our stay in ‘James’ made the perfect end to our Parisian long weekend.
7. The Home Away from Home: Longueville Manor, Jersey
When I went to Jersey this summer to visit Becca, we spent an amazing afternoon at Longueville Manor with the owner, Malcolm. The beautifully decorated rooms we saw, the incredible lunch that we had and then the drinks by the pool after made for the perfect setting to catch up and enjoy some summer sun. With a beautiful spa and the fact I didn’t get to take a dip in the pool, it’s a hotel I can’t wait to go back to when I’m next in Jersey.
The feeling of being right at home in a hotel is one I love, and it always makes me smile when I remember it.
8. The One To Return To: Four Seasons at Park Lane, London
This year I’ve had some amazing experiences at Four Seasons at Park Lane. From a delicious lunch at Amaranto with Angie, a journey through British summertime afternoon tea with Jing and a lunch in the Veuve Cliquot Secret Garden with mum, it was a wonderful summer at this iconic hotel.
Fast forward to winter and Andy and I celebrated an early Christmas at the Four Seasons Winter Garden as we cosied up with hot chocolates, mulled wine and truffle croque monsieurs; it couldn’t have been a better ending to a wonderful year of experiences at the Four Seasons.
Next year? I have my eye on their spa which has the most incredible view over Hyde Park and a private room that looks perfect for a couples massage. And even more exciting, Four Seasons at Ten Trinity Square is opening at the end of January and I can’t wait to visit!
9. The Location and The Awnings: Hotel de la Trémoille, Paris
When I’m staying in Paris there are a few things that are key to my hotel choice and one of them is the location. I love staying in the 8th arrondisement since it’s so close to Avenue Champs Elysees (and all the shops on it!) and so Hotel de la Trémoille was perfect for exploring our favourite Parisian haunts.
10. The City Pad: The Mirror, Barcelona
In June, we headed to Barcelona for a weekend to celebrate Andy’s birthday and booked our chic city stay at The Mirror. With all white everywhere and a clean finish it was a great city pad for our Spanish adventure, and even more fun as it was a style of hotel I wouldn’t normally pick.
So those, are my top ten luxury hotels of 2016, what are yours?
I’ve had quite a year, and already have a more exciting year planned for 2017! What are you favourite travel memories of 2016?