Discover the Most Iconic Luxury Hotels in the World

Overhead or drone shot of the sand dunes at Longitude 131° Hotel in Australia

For couples seeking a truly unforgettable experience, these luxury hotels are a must-visit. Known worldwide for their exceptional service and breathtaking designs, these iconic resorts and hotels offer a truly timeless experience. Beyond just a place to stay, these legendary establishments are destinations in themselves, each offering a distinct atmosphere and a sense of discovery that will elevate your journey and create memories to last a lifetime. The pillows are fluffed, the door staff are gloved, and the Champagne corks are popped — step inside these famous iconic hotels with us for a once-in-a-lifetime escape!

La Mamounia, Morocco

La Mamounia, Morocco
Patio Andalous, La Mamounia Hotel, Marrakech, Morocco. Photo by Alan Keohane for La Mamounia

The word ‘oasis’ gets thrown around a lot, but for Morocco’s La Mamounia it’s totally justified. Situated in the heart of Morocco’s buzzing centre, the palace-turned-hotel still feels blissfully tranquil. Walled manicured gardens dotted with ancient olive trees surround La Mamounia, making guests feel as if they’ve entered a destination within a destination. And there’s oh-so much to see and experience within its ochre-hued walls.

Four acclaimed restaurants, a traditional Moroccan spa, a palm-shaded pool and private riads are hedonistic delights worth discovering, but the hotel’s Arabic-Andalusian architecture alone is enough to — quite literally — stop you in your tracks. A living tribute to the skills of Morocco’s craftsmen and women, La Mamounia is adorned with intricate tiled mosaics and gebs (carved plaster) — a throwback to its regal past. No wonder Churchill told Roosevelt in 1943 that it was “one of the most beautiful places in the world”.

Couples will love: La Mamounia is just moments from Morocco’s most spectacular sights, including the Medina and Jemaa el Fna square. Guests can easily venture out or enjoy one of the hotel’s exclusive Marrakech day-trips to experience it all for themselves.

Related: The Complete Travel Guide to Morocco for Couples

Hôtel de Crillon, France

Hotel de Crillon
Hotel de Crillon | Photo: Eric Cuivillier

The hotel de jour for generations of royalty (Marie Antoinette even took music lessons here), presidents, prime ministers and film stars, Paris’s Hôtel de Crillon has won over luxury-lovers once again after receiving a €200 million face-lift in 2017. In true Parisian style, the hotel’s authentic character remains, just refreshed.

Now home to fashionable rooms and suites (some designed by Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld) and all the mod cons, Hôtel de Crillon is an icon reborn. With postcard-ready views of the Eiffel Tower, it’s all class — expect Michelin-star cuisine (what else?), private butler service, a Rosewood spa and all the romance of a Parisian escape. And with a location that’s hard to beat (the hotel is just around the corner from the Élysée Palace, the Champs-Élysée and the Tuileries Garden), Hôtel de Crillon isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

Couples will love: Can’t fathom leaving home without your fur-baby? Pets are welcome at the hotel, with a team of butlers on hand to look after furry friends. Getting away, just the two of you? Lounging around in your own gilded hideaway is enough to make you feel like French royalty… pre-revolution, of course.

Related: The Ultimate Travel Guide to Paris for Couples

Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund, China

Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund
Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund | Photo: Derryck Menere

A reminder of Shanghai’s fabled history, the Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund is as sophisticated as hotels get, fusing timeless elegance with modern convenience (its central location makes a stay totally hassle-free). But it’s the unexpected touches — such as complimentary homemade in-room sweets and digitally controlled drapes — that will have guests returning time and again.

Much like the city’s new and old districts, the hotel is split into two buildings — a stylish new tower and a century-old heritage tower. A stay in either is a totally lavish experience (book one of the Heritage Tower’s 20 suites to live it up like the Crown Princes of Luxembourg and Belgium), with exquisite late-Victorian-style architecture featuring throughout. Don’t spend your whole stay here, though, lounging around in luxury. There’s a vibrant city just outside waiting for you to explore, plus a renowned spa, indoor pool and six dining options to enjoy. And we highly recommend that you do.

Couples will love: Couples looking to indulge in a little retail therapy will be in their element at Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund. A reflection of the city’s cosmopolitan lifestyle, the hotel offers its own personal shopping assistant service for guests. And with China’s top shopping street, Nanjing Road, just around the corner, there’s plenty of opportunity to pick up a souvenir.

Related: Top 5 Icons to See in China

Ritz Paris, France

The Ritz Paris
The Ritz Paris | Photo: Adrien Dirand

This hotel isn’t putting on anything — the Ritz Paris is all soul. Decked out with plush patterned carpets, canopied beds, rococo desks, period oil paintings and the occasional gold swan tap, it’s exactly what you picture when you think ‘Paris in its heyday’. So, it’s no surprise Coco Chanel called the Ritz her home for over 30 years and why names like Marcel Proust, F.Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway were regulars.

An icon in a city of icons, the Ritz was Paris’s most innovative hotel when it opened in 1898 (it was the first to offer lifts, electricity and private bathrooms) and the standards certainly haven’t slipped. Like Hôtel de Crillon, it has been revitalised after extensive updates, adding eyebrow-raising features like a retractable glass roof above an outdoor dining area and the world’s first — and only — Chanel spa.

Couples will love: Food-lovers, you’re in the right place. Step inside the hotel’s kitchens and master the art of French cuisine (or attempt to) with a workshop at the Ritz’s cooking school. Open to guests, École Ritz Escoffier will have you skilled-up on everything from classic French fare to pastry- and cocktail-making. Cést magnifique!

The Beverly Hills Hotel, USA

The Beverly Hills Hotel
The Beverly Hills Hotel

Few addresses are as closely linked with Old Hollywood as Dorchester Collection’s The Beverly Hills Hotel — even its entrance features a red carpet walkway. Taking up 12 landscaped acres on Sunset Boulevard, ‘The Pink Palace’ has seen its fair share of famous faces. John and Yoko held a bed-in in one of the bungalows, Marilyn Monroe was a frequent guest, and Sidney Poitier celebrated his 1964 Oscar win by dancing barefoot in the lobby. If these banana palm-printed walls could talk…

Tinsel Town’s finest had good reason for favouring The Beverly Hills Hotel. With sumptuous private hideaways, sensational dining, an outstanding spa, one of the world’s most famous pools and just the right amount of nostalgia, it’s one for the bucket list.

Couples will love: A stay here really wouldn’t be complete without enjoying dinner at the Polo Lounge’s bougainvillea-dotted patio. Undeniably pretty, it’s where you just might casually spot some of Hollywood’s most well-known stars.

Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental

Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi
Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental Abu Dhabi

In a city of opulence, Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi stands out from the crowd. Calling the Royal Palace its neighbour, the seven-star hotel is extravagance at its best. From its walls to the staff’s tailcoats and even the cafe’s cappuccinos, nearly everything here is gilded. Serious about your luxury? You can also get a 24-karat gold facial. Why not?

There are simple pleasures to be found here too, such as sunbathing on Emirates Palace’s pristine private beach and taking in sigh-inducing views of the vast gardens. Of course, touches like attentive butlers, whirlpool baths and iPad control stations don’t hurt.

Couples will love: As enchanting as the hotel’s interiors are, the beach is the place to be. Watch the world pass by from your own canopied beach cabana. Or, experience a taste of traditional Arabian hospitality by sipping tea in a Bedouin tent before navigating the coastline on the back of a camel.

The Plaza Hotel, USA

The Plaza Hotel
The Plaza Hotel

The Plaza — they’re two words that instantly evoke a sense of tasteful luxury and undeniable prestige. Almost countless cultural icons have visited (including Elizabeth Taylor and the Kennedys), and some of history’s most notable moments happened inside its walls, including possibly the best party ever, Truman Capote’s infamous Black and White Ball.

The hotel itself is worthy of the hype, though. The rooms and suites are divine; the Guerlain Spa hard to resist. And the dining? Enough to make you feel like an A-lister couple escaping the paparazzi… even if just for a night.

Couples will love: You’re in New York City (baby) — in fact, you’re in one of the city’s top locations. Located on Fifth Avenue and across the road from Central Park, The Plaza makes discovering the City that Never Sleeps almost too easy. If you can tear yourselves away, get out and see it all for yourselves after enjoying a Manhattan tradition — afternoon tea at the hotel’s Palm Court.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to New York for Couples

Belmond Grand Hotel Europe, Russia

Belmond Grand Hotel
Belmond Grand Hotel

Excellent food, wine, theatre, art, music — there’s a lot to be said about enjoying the finer things in life. A place where all this comes together, St Petersburg’s Belmond Grand Hotel Europe, really is the stuff of legends.

Standing among some of Russia’s grandest monuments on the Nevsky Prospekt, this illustrious hotel has seen it all. Enduring Russia’s illustrious history from rise and fall (and rise again), it’s where Tchaikovsky honeymooned, where Dostoevsky found inspiration for Crime and Punishment, and where Rasputin wined, dined and charmed St Petersburg’s elite. Paying homage to its past, the hotel features a collection of individually themed historic suites, each with jaw-droppingly high ceilings, restored antiques and Italian marble bathrooms. Unsurprisingly, the Romanovs loved it here.

Couples will love: The Belmond Grand Hotel’s L’Europe restaurant is almost as famous as the hotel itself, having hosted names like Queen Elizabeth II, Jimmy Carter and Elton John. Still a hub for St Petersburg’s social scene, the restaurant offers not-to-be-missed Tchaikovsky Nights on a Friday where couples can dine by candlelit and watch a live ballet performance — very romantic.



Not all iconic hotels boast a city-central location or are steeped in history. In fact, this unique ‘seasonal’ offering is deconstructed and reconstructed each year, and calls a tiny Swedish village home. Oh, this is no normal hotel.

An architectural wonder built from the ice of Sweden’s Torne River, ICEHOTEL Sweden has earned its reputation as one of the world’s most fascinating places to stay since first ‘opening’ in 1990. Each room in this whimsical hideaway is carved out of ice by artists from around the world every year, making the hotel like one big creative exhibition. The climate may be cool here, but the hospitality is very warm, with an aptly named ICEBAR and an award-winning restaurant completing the winter wonderland idyll.

Couples will love: You can (and should) live out your Arctic-adventure dreams here, with an array of unbelievable experiences on offer at ICEHOTEL. Dog-sledding through the wilderness, spotting the illusive Northern Lights, feeding reindeer, and exclusive dinners in the woodlands — they’re all pinch-me-now moments that will have you feeling like an overexcited kid again.

Longitude 131°, Australia

Longitude 131°
Longitude 131°

From one extreme to the other. Sprawling across the scarlet-sand desert of Australia’s Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Longitude 131° seems to effortlessly blend into its dramatic surroundings. And that’s exactly how it should be here, with the captivating Uluru and untouched horizon demanding your attention from right outside your window.

Sixteen tented pavilions make up Longitude 131°, each with simple (but still incredibly luxe) custom furnishings, indigenous artworks and expansive decks that overlook the spellbinding Red Centre. Indulgent treatments using native Australian ingredients at the onsite spa help guests connect with the local culture, while the retreat’s Table 131° showcases the very best in modern outback cuisine. If this is going bush, we’d never want to go back.

Couples will love: Guided tours to the Kantju and Walpa Gorges with Longitude 131° are truly unforgettable, but if you do one thing, make it seeing Bruce Munro’s majestic Field of Light before it finishes in 2020. Comprised of 50,000 tiny lights that blanket the land in colour, the installation is like nothing else you’ll ever witness.

The Peninsula Hong Kong, Hong Kong

The Peninsula Hong Kong
The Peninsula Hong Kong

There’s a reason why this superb hotel is referred to as the ‘Grand Dame of the Far East’. Setting the standard for east-meets-west hospitality for the last 90-odd years, The Peninsula Hong Kong is the place to go to live out your über-glamorous travel fantasies. You know, the one where you arrive by helicopter (there’s a helipad on the rooftop, just in case).

Don’t be fooled by the gloved pageboys or the Rolls Royce in the forecourt, though — The Peninsula certainly doesn’t feel aged. Combing the appeal of yesteryear with the vibrancy of the present, the hotel is right in the middle of Hong Kong’s metropolitan scene. Towering over the Tsim Sha Tsui shopping and nightlife district, it’s only a short stroll or a ferry ride across the harbour from Hong Kong’s high-end haunts and world-class museums.

Couples will love: Just a stone’s throw from Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour, The Peninsula offers a special City of Lights Cruise aboard its own luxury yacht (no less). Settle in for a leisurely two-hour journey and enjoy cocktails and canapés before watching the skyline come alive with the famous Symphony of Lights multimedia show.

The Shelbourne Hotel, Ireland

The Shelbourne Hotel
The Shelbourne Hotel

You’ll feel as if you’ve been blessed with the luck of the Irish when you call the stately Shelbourne Hotel your home-away-from-home. Situated near leafy St. Stephens Green and just moments from some of the city’s most remarkable attractions, the historic spa hotel offers a sumptuous sanctuary in the heart of Dublin.

All of life’s luxuries are right at your fingertips here — from simple delights like super-plush bedding and very generous baths to an exceptional full-service spa and award-winning restaurants. Well, one has to eat. What makes it such a prestigious address, though? Built in 1824, The Shelbourne is known for its romantic interiors and warm Irish hospitality. Ain’t it grand?

Couples will love: History buffs will be won over by this illustrious hotel’s past. The place where the Irish constitution was drafted in 1922 (one of the two original copies can still be found in the Constitution Suite), The Shelbourne is also steps from landmarks such as Dáil Éireann, Trinity College and the National Gallery, Museum and Library.

Related: A Romantic Driving Holiday in Ireland

The Victoria Falls Hotel, Zimbabwe

The Victoria Falls Hotel
The Victoria Falls Hotel

If you’re looking to mix a cosmopolitan escape with an unforgettable African adventure, Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls Hotel doesn’t disappoint. Affording views of the magical Victoria Falls that will — quite literally — render you speechless, the Edwardian-style hotel really is like nowhere else on Earth.

Originally built in the early 1900s to provide accommodation for workers on the Cape-to-Cairo railway, the historic retreat is where you can still partake in traditions like golf and high tea. It’s not all ‘G&Ts on the verandah’ here, though. Thrill-seekers, there’s everything from walks with lions and white-water rafting on the gorges to bungee jumping over the Falls on offer.

Couples will love: However you do it, seeing the Victoria Falls is an unmissable experience while at The Victoria Falls Hotel. After all, it is one of the world’s Seven Natural Wonders. Enjoy a dreamy sunset cruise, zipline over its gorges or marvel at its beauty on a ‘Flight of the Angels’ helicopter ride. Want to keep things simple? Follow the path that winds from the hotel, passing deep gorges and the famous Victoria Falls Bridge along the way.

The King David Jerusalem Hotel, Israel

The King David Jerusalem Hotel
The King David Jerusalem Hotel

The hotel of choice for visiting world leaders and royalty (53 kings have walked its red carpet), Israel’s King David Jerusalem Hotel seems like a fantasy brought to life. Clad in pink limestone and fringed by soaring pines, it combines an array of ancient cultural influences — Assyrian, Hittite, Phoenician and Muslim — that all have one thing in common: unashamed opulence. The result? A uniquely luxurious setting in one of the world’s most spellbinding destinations.

Adding to the list of lavish touches is the city’s largest pool (don’t miss taking a dip in its expanse), plus views of Jerusalem’s Old City walls from every suite — that’s a standard we could get used to.

Couples will love: Exploring the fabled Old City and its four quarters — Armenian, Muslim, Jewish and Christian — is a must-do, with the King David Jerusalem Hotel just a short walk away. Here, tick off sights including the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock for a soul-enriching sojourn.

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Canada

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

Few hotels are as instantly recognisable as the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise — and for good reason. Set right on the shoreline of glistening Lake Louise and surrounded by the snow-capped Canadian Rockies in Alberta’s Banff National Park, this legendary retreat takes alpine romance to a whole other level.

A haven for adventure seekers, the Fairmont offers an almost endless list of amazing experiences that change with the seasons. In the warmer months, there’s canoeing, horseback riding, hiking and white-water rafting (to name a few) to get your heart racing. But it’s in the winter when the hotel really puts on a show — skate on the frozen lake, dogsled with huskies, hit the ski slopes or cuddle up on a sleigh ride. We’d be happy just sipping mulled wine at the aptly named Ice Bar or feasting on fresh local produce at one of the hotel’s many dining options.

Couples will love: Built over 100 years ago with outdoor enthusiasts in mind, the Fairmont is like a massive alpine playground. Avid-skiers, you’ll find world-class slopes and cross-country tracks here. Wanting to really spoil yourselves? See the vast snowfields and powder-covered mountains on a helicopter flight, complete with sparkling wine and dessert.

Raffles Singapore, Singapore

Raffles Hotel Singapore
Raffles Hotel

It’s been on the lips of travel insiders for a while now, after closing its doors for extensive renovations back in 2017. Now, the famous Raffles Singapore is back, promising travellers the quintessential ‘Raffles experience’, but refreshed — we’re talking swish suites and unrivalled service.

The same colonial charms (think lofty ceilings, polished teakwood floors and grand verandas overlooking verdant gardens) remain, while restored private retreats with state-of-the-art technology and redesigned amenities will attract a new generation of visitors. Five restaurants, six bars (including the inimitable Long Bar) and a new spa make up the list of reasons to book a stay — like, right now.

Couples will love: You really can’t come to Raffles Singapore without pulling up a chair at the Long Bar’s sleek counter and ordering a Singapore Sling — this is where it was invented, after all. For a memorable travel experience, join one of the bar’s expert mixologists and learn how to create the classic cocktail at home. Cheers to you two!

Related: Here’s how to spend four days in Singapore – the ultimate couples’ itinerary to the Lion City!

Taj Lake Palace, India

Taj Lake Palace
Taj Lake Palace

Seeming to float above Udaipur’s majestic Lake Pichola, the marble-clad Taj Lake Palace is pure romance. Built by the young Maharana Jagat Sing II in 1746 after being caught frolicking at moonlight picnics with ladies of the private chambers of the court, this former pleasure palace is still an oasis for luxury-loving couples.

If the digs here look familiar, chances are you’ve seen them in the 1983 James Bond film Octopussy — it seems only fitting for one of fiction’s most notorious romancers to have stayed here. Creating a truly ethereal atmosphere, the palace’s original fountains and heritage architectural features make visitors feel like guests of royalty (if not royalty themselves). And inside, each of the hotel’s splendid rooms and suites reveals views of Udaipur’s City Palace, Aravalli and Machla Magra Hills and Jag Mandir. Of course, the VIP treatment doesn’t stop there, with an array of fine dining options and a floating spa available for your enjoyment. Life’s tough.

Couples will love: The hotel’s Jiva Spa celebrates India’s renowned wellness traditions with an array of time-tested therapies. Unwind with popular treatments such as pada mardana (a traditional Indian foot massage) and champi (a centuries-old head massage) for a transcendent experience.

Related: Bollywood Romance – 6 Luxury Stays in India

Claridge’s, UK


“Not that I intend to die, but when I do, I don’t want to go to heaven — I want to go to Claridge’s.” It’s hard not to agree with Spencer Tracy there. With a dedication to excellence (the hotel’s staff have been known to fly in a guest’s favourite cookies from New York and hand-wash each piece of fruit in every suite), this London institution is truly divine.

Beautifully styled in glamorous art deco splendour, Claridge’s in the centre of lively Mayfair takes its luxury seriously. Guests here can be whisked around the mega-city in a chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce before dining at the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant and settling into their courtyard-view guest room. Yes, heaven is a place on Earth.

Couples will love: Conveniently located near London’s West End, Claridge’s will organise tickets to the hottest musicals, plays, comedies, operas and ballets at its Theatre Desk. Be sure to fit in time for a Champagne afternoon tea first.

Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Italy

Grand Hotel Tremezzo
Grand Hotel Tremezzo

If you asked us to name the world’s prettiest destination, Italy’s Lake Como would be a fierce contender. Easily the loveliest spot there, the Grand Hotel Tremezzo on the western shore looks out at a panorama of dazzling waters framed by forested mountains. A 20-acre garden blossoming with geraniums, azaleas, rhododendron and hydrangea complete the idyllic scene, surrounding the art nouveau villa-turned-hotel in fairytale-like beauty. Greto Garbo nailed it when she labelled it “that happy, sunny place” in Grand Hotel.

There’s a real sense of familia at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo. Owned and run by a local family for the past four decades, the boutique hotel is beloved for its cheerful decor, made-with-love Italian fare and personal service. And who wouldn’t want to be part of this family, with features like a private lakeside beach and an ESPA spa here for you to savour.

Couples will love: Channel your inner George and Amal when you hop from one gorgeous lakeside spot to another with Grand Hotel Tremezzo’s water limousine service. Mandatory stops include Bellagio’s high-end boutiques and the ancient town of Varenna.

Related: The Ultimate Holiday & Honeymoon Guide to Italy

Four Seasons Hotel Sydney, Australia

Four Seasons Hotel Sydney
Four Seasons Hotel

Also cherished for its hard-to-beat location, the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney makes icon-spotting incredibly easy. With uninterrupted views of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, the city-central hotel is right on the doorstep of swish Circular Quay and history-rich The Rocks. Whether you’re new to Sydney or seasoned regulars, this is where you’ll want to be.

Upholding the Four Seasons’ standards, devilishly plush beds, chic decor, a brilliant spa and impressive service makes for the ultimate city escape. Gourmands will also love the dining options, ranging from casual to fine and all serving inventive modern Australian flavours. Welcome to the big smoke.

Couples will love: Named ‘Hotel Bar of the Year’ by both Australian Bartender and Whisky Magazine last year, Grain at The Four Seasons Sydney is a haven for those who are serious about their drinks. Whisky connoisseurs, there are over 200 single-malt and blended options available, sourced locally and from across the globe. Consider yourselves novices? The cocktail bar’s knowledgeable bartenders are only too happy to lead you through a tasting.

Related: City of Dreams – How To Have The Perfect Romantic Short Break in Sydney

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