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. Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru. Located in the Baa Atoll UNESCO World Biosphere Preserve, Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru (there’s a sister property at Kuda Huraa) is extraordinary. Because it’s a Four Seasons hotel, I’m certain the service is impeccable and the cuisine is delectable. One other thing I’m sure of is that there isn’t another room within the brand (or any other hotel company, for that matter) that’s more beautiful than Landaa Giraavaru’s airy, contemporary-styled Sunrise Water Villa. Pure. Ecstasy.
2. Hippo Point Wildlife Sanctuary, Kenya. Despite its name, this exclusive place may be known more for its screensaver-worthy views of Kenya’s Great Rift Valley than its animal sightings. The Hippo House provides the main accommodations, but I want to see what the 360-degree views from Dodo’s Tower, another structure with five guest rooms, are like. That I can experience all of this while eating organically farmed veggies and Indian Ocean-sourced seafood makes it even more enticing.
3. Montaña Mágica Lodge, Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve, Chile. Like something out of Peter Jackson’s wildest dream, this jaw-dropping hotel in Chile’s Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve awes me in every way imaginable. Inside, 13 subtly decorated rooms let the flora and fauna do most of the work. As for the exterior, I’m guessing I’ll be awed over the waterfall that cascades from the unique structure’s roof.
4. Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur. My wife and I went to Aruba for our honeymoon and we had a great time, too. Still, had I known about this Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Big Sur beauty then, I probably would have changed our reservations. This place exudes a subtle elegance and natural warmth that you simply can’t fake. The rustic room designs are eye-catching. The green initiatives are commendable. I guess I know where we’re going for our five-year anniversary.
5. Elounda Gulf Villas, Crete. To me, there has always been something magical about the Greek Isles. I don’t know if it’s the history or the aesthetics that are most appealing but when I do make it there, the secluded, beautifully appointed Elounda is where I’ll be staying. As I imagine myself resting high atop the Sea of Crete — not to mention swimming in the bluest of waters and eating the finest of Mediterranean dishes — I can’t help but think Zeus once had a similar experience.
Photos Courtesy of Four Seasons, Montana Magica and Elounda