There are select hotels that are so spectacular that they have become destinations in and of themselves. These are the properties that we dream of on rainy days and flag for future celebrations. They are coveted for their exceptional level of service, beautiful architecture and interiors, enchanting history, pampering amenities and the unparalleled access that they provide to out-of-this-world adventures, untouched landscapes or monumental works of man. These are our Indagare staff’s top 55 bucket list hotels, to help inspire your next epic getaway.Contact Indagare to book a stay at one of the most luxurious hotels in the world, with special amenities and behind-the-scenes access arranged by our expert team.
The drive through the nature reserve in the snow-peaked Bavarian Alps that leads to Schloss Elmau is straight out of a fairy tale. Rolling hills, forests and sheep-dotted meadows give way to Elmau, which sits, like Sleeping Beauty’s castle, in a valley. Unlike so many European castle hotels that are trapped in another time, however, Elmau’s owning family has done an admirable job of turning the historic property into a contemporary showstopper, with a strong focus on 21st-century pampering, wellness and culture.
La Réserve Paris, France: Housed in a Haussmannian mansion on a quiet street overlooking the tree-lined Elysée gardens, this elegant Jacques Garcia-designed retreat has just 40 rooms (26 of which are suites) and delivers understated elegance in traditional Belle Époque style.
Le Bristol Paris, France: With its superb location close to the art galleries and shopping of the 8th and 1st arrondissements, Le Bristol is one of the top palace properties in Paris. From the uniformed valets who greet you to the delicate china upon which breakfast is served, Le Bristol is a model of Old World service and sophistication.
Situated behind an unmarked doorway and surrounded by a private garden, the Aman Venice is one of the city’s most discreet properties (it’s a favorite for under-the-radar celebrities). The former Palazzo Papadopoli has been transformed into a hideaway with 24 rooms that showcase the brand’s signature Asian-inspired aesthetic, with open floor plans, a subdued color scheme and dark-wood furnishings. But it’s the museum-worthy common spaces that remain in a guest’s imagination: the former ballroom-now-sitting-room, with soaring ceilings and gargantuan mirrors, chandeliers, Cesare Rotta frescoes and Marmorino stucco, thick as freshly swirled frosting; the Neo-Baroque library, with lacquered leather wallpaper from Córdoba, Spain. Somehow, the historic opulence works stylishly with the Aman’s contemporary touches and terrific service. And pleasures like breakfast in the garden overlooking the Grand Canal are simply timeless.
Rosa Alpina, Italian Dolomites, Italy: Rosa Alpina is a family-owned hideaway where tasteful design and heartfelt hospitality combine to create a place that feels like a stylish friend’s home, rather than a hotel. Come here in the summer and fall for excellent hiking and in the winter for one of Europe’s top ski scenes—plus, a wonderful spa and a three-Michelin-starred restaurant.
Grand Hotel a Villa Feltrinelli, Lake Garda, Italy: Set on eight acres on the edge of Lake Garda, Villa Feltrinelli was originally built in 1892 as an extravagant family palazzo, and it was lavishly restored and transformed into a jewel of hotel in 2001. The property’s romantic atmosphere and attentive staff are unmatched.
Just over a two-hour drive from Athens, Amanzoe commands a position atop a hill like a modern-day acropolis—a complex so striking it would impress Alexander the Great. Hills planted with olive groves lead up to the property, which is more in keeping with the Parthenon than a hotel. Spotless columns and arcades line a central agora that steps down to aqua pools and sun-soaked terraces—as well as the 38 pavilion rooms, 10 villas and private beach club. Here, one moment invites daydreams of Helen and Achilles, and the next skips to modern-day luxuries, including sunrise yoga and herb-forward cocktails around the perfectly circular fire pit. Amanzoe is well-located for day trips to some of the country’s most significant ancient sites, as well as for exploring lesser-known gems, like the healing center of Asclepius. For a last-night splurge, reserve a private beach dinner besides a bonfire that concludes with fireworks, a dramatic spectacle worthy of ancient Greece.
The December 2014 opening of the Aman Tokyo was a much-awaited affair—and it did not disappoint. Aman Tokyo not only raises the bar, but it is one of the world’s best hotels. The architecture alone is some of the most visually striking in all of Tokyo. Built above the Otemachi Tower on floors 33 to 38, the Aman has the height one wants from a stay in this densely-packed metropolis—and it capitalizes on its Mt. Fuji view with glass windows at every turn. Overall, the hotel exudes a light, Zen quality that can be described as both Aman and Japanese—a minimalist marriage of true luxury.
Cheval Blanc Randheli, Maldives: Set in the Noonu Atoll, the 46-villa Cheval Blanc Randheli is an intimate and contemporary haven. LVMH Hotel Management developed the property in harmony with the island’s lush surroundings and lagoon views. In addition to water sports like diving, snorkeling, dolphin cruises and yacht trips, don’t miss the tennis courts and the Cheval Blanc Spa—with exclusive treatments from Guerlain—both on their own islands.
Capella Ubud, Bali, Indonesia: The Bill Bensley-designed Capella Ubud opened in 2019 and offers a luxurious take on what it would have felt like to be an explorer at the turn of the last century in Bali, transporting guests in stilted tents (some of which sit 200 feet above the ground and have hanging rope walkways) filled with antiques and equipped with plunge pools.
Nihi Sumba, Sumba Island, Indonesia: The only resort on an undeveloped island, Nihi Sumba sits on 560 acres of unspoiled land, with 1.5 miles of private beach. Originally built for surfers seeking Sumba’s exclusive wave break, the property was transformed under the helm of Chris Burch into a villa-style resort with exciting beach activities and a deep connection to the local community, with chances for cultural immersion that cannot be found elsewhere.
In its post-Hurricane Irma incarnation, this legendary resort, an Oetker Collection property, has been rebuilt by its owners, David and Jane Matthews (a.k.a. Pippa Middleton’s in-laws), as a 21st-century retreat that’s the place to come for an island scene within steps to sand and sea. A Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant and the British Colonial-style Rémy Bar—plus a spot for drinks on the beach—make it impossible to lack for food (or drink) for long. To be sure you’re well attended through it all, Eden Rock villas on- and off-property come with VIP butlers and access to many of the resort’s amenities and beachside services.
Belmond Cap Juluca, Anguilla: Since opening in the 1980s, Cap Juluca has gained a steady following among well-heeled travelers who appreciate its authentically Anguillan feel. Situated on 179 acres of land, the 108-room Cap Juluca has one of the island’s most beautiful beaches and a warm staff, some of whom have been on property for decades.
Necker Island, British Virgin Islands: The private estate of billionaire entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, Necker Island is a famously exclusive hideaway in the British Virgin Islands. The 74-acre property, which can be rented as a takeover for up to 30 guests, includes multiple private beaches, exotic wildlife (including flamingos and ring-tailed lemurs), infinity pools, beachside hot tubs, tennis courts and a spa. The staff of 100 is top notch, including a private chef, a tennis pro, and kiteboarding instructors.
COMO Parrot Cay, Turks and Caicos: COMO Parrot Cay is exclusive (located on its own cay, a 35-minute boat ride from Provo) and expensive, but in design and ambience, the resort evokes the castaway beach feel more readily associated with resorts in the Maldives or Bali. COMO Parrot Cay is one of the most recognizable names in the Caribbean, with a loyal following of longtime guests including high-profile celebrities.
We only feature hotels that we can vouch for first-hand. At many of them, Indagare members receive special amenities.Get In Touch