All this talk about the Mayan calendar and the end of the world got our editors thinking about the hotels we’d most like to visit before we, well, kick the bucket. Thankfully the Mayans were wrong and we’re all still breathing (phew!), but nonetheless, our well-traveled staff members each compiled a list of his or her five must-visit dream hotels. From an ice hotel in Sweden and eco pods in the Alps to the white sand beaches of Bora Bora and the Maldives, we hope our hotel bucket lists inspire your own wanderlust within.
1. Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur. Not only do I want to stay at this Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel before I die, it’s where I would want to spend my final days. The peaceful, out-of-the-way hotel stuns with prime views of the Big Sur coast from the wall of windows that line your rustic-luxe tree house (with a wood-burning fireplace, private deck and outdoor hot tub). I could also spend my last days eating every meal at the Four-Star Sierra Mar Restaurant and luxuriating at the small but top-notch Post Ranch Spa (don’t worry about privacy — the elevated spa puts you in the midst of trees). With vistas this gorgeous, Post Ranch Inn is my heaven.
2. Laucala Island, Taveuni, Fiji. As if Fiji weren’t already a dream destination, Laucala makes it to die for. The remote hotel sits on its own island (once home to Malcolm Forbes). Fly into the island’s private airport and a truly welcoming amenity awaits: a complimentary 90-minute spa treatment. While Laucala offers an 18-hole golf course, horseback riding, boats to explore the surrounding coral (some of the best in the country), five restaurants, a manmade lagoon and more, I’d never leave my tropical-chic thatched-roof bure with its own pool, outdoor hot tub and endless views of the volcanic cliffs and those turquoise waters.
3. Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi, Chiang Mai, Thailand. Its moat, fortified walls, marketplace and ornate, otherworldly multi-tiered-roofed buildings make Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi, Chiang Mai look like a Thai palace. The extraordinary architecture is, in fact, inspired by the Lanna Kingdom, an ancient city from the Chiang Mai region. I’d live like royalty in the teak-filled hotel (the wood is native to the area), especially in the luxurious two-story villas on stilts. They come with their own plunge pools and inviting decks, where I’d take in the striking surroundings.
4. Amangiri, Canyon Point, Utah. The desert is a great place to seek solace from the impending apocalypse, and this Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel is a literal and stylish oasis. Amangiri’s minimalistic canyon-chic design seamlessly blends into the stark landscape. Rooms have neutral hues, stone floors and floor-to-ceiling windows with sweeping desert views. I’d spend my end of days relaxing in the Pool Suite’s sky terrace day bed or lounging by the gorgeous resort pool, built around a gigantic rock that juts into the middle.
5. Il San Pietro di Positano, Positano, Italy. This hideaway hotel hugs the cliffs along the Amalfi Coast and makes the most of its location — every room comes with its own terrace and romantic sea vistas. Inside, no two guest rooms look the same, though all are drenched in white with terra cotta and ceramic floors, frescoed doors and Mediterranean-influenced pops of color like azure and turquoise. The view alone makes the Positano hotel a destination, but its La Prairie spa, private beach (the only one in the area) and chef Alois Vanlangenaeker’s housemade pasta dishes make it a must-visit-before-you-die spot.
Photos Courtesy of Post Ranch Inn, Laucala Island and Amangiri