Parrot Cay, Turks & Caicos
What’s so special?
It’s a favourite with the A-list – Donna Karan, a purveyor of handbags, and actor Bruce Willis have both owned villas here. Presumably they come for the white beaches and complete privacy, and they’re not the only ones. Parrot Cay was named best hotel in the world in Condé Nast Traveller’s Readers’ Travel Awards.
How they rate it
Readers “raved about absolutely everything”, says Condé Nast Traveller, “but decided to single out its beach-front location and relaxed atmosphere for special mention”. The resort has 72 suites and villas, 23 of which have private pools and butler service. In a separate review, the magazine describes the accommodation as “the ultimate in pared-down glamour, with whitewashed walls, beamed, cathedral-high ceilings, and huge, dream-like beds swathed in white netting.”
The Terrace restaurant specialises in Mediterranean cuisine, while the Lotus restaurant serves Caribbean-inspired food at lunch, and Japanese and Thai dishes at dinner.
Double rooms start from £280. For more, visit www.parrotcay.como.bz or call 00 1 649 946 7788.
The Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok
What’s so special
This hotel has been attracting the world’s jet set since it opened in 1876 and it regularly wins awards for its magnificent service and luxury. The latest award comes from readers of The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, who have voted it the best hotel in the world.
How they rate it
“When The Oriental opened in 1876, it contained such luxury as had never been seen outside of any of the country’s royal palaces,” says Lesley Thomas in The Times. “Visitors were awestruck at the sheer fabulousness of the city’s first luxury hotel.” The hotel has changed greatly since then, of course, but it has managed to maintain the same high standards it became famous for back then. “The rooms are gorgeous, with quietly luxurious décor; the food is world-class and the spa is one of the best I’ve visited (and I have visited many),” says Thomas. But the stand out-reason behind the hotel’s many awards is the welcoming staff. “You feel as though you are staying with the world’s most generous and charming hosts.”
There are nine restaurants and bars in the hotel, serving everything from French fine dining to traditional Thai food.
From £272 a night, with breakfast (www.mandarinoriental.com/bangkok; 00 66 2 659 9000).
Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons (www.manoir.com) in Oxfordshire was named Britain’s top hotel by Times readers. “I’ve stayed several times and I haven’t found a single thing wrong in any bedroom – rare in even the best hotels,” says Jane Knight in the newspaper.
Chef and owner Raymond Blanc (pictured) “clearly lavishes as much care on the 32 rooms as he does his superb dishes in the restaurant.” British readers of Condé Nast Traveller magazine agreed, voting Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons their favourite UK hotel too.
The Hotel Arts in Barcelona (www.hotelartsbarcelona.com) was picked as the best hotel in Europe by readers of The Times. It has cracking views of the Mediterranean, the city and the mountains behind it, and, sitting on the waterfront in the Port Olímpic, it has the best location in Barcelona, says JuliaBrookes in The Times.
“Stay on the upper floors of this 44-storey glass and exposed-steel skyscraper and you’ll feel like you’re suspended between sea and sky.” To be completely spoiled, book a room on the Club floor, where there are free cava tastings every afternoon and a spa, plus an electric Smart car put at your disposal.
Condé Nast Traveller’s favourite hotel in Europe was France’s Le Bristol Paris (www.lebristolparis.com). The magazine was “bowled over by its restaurants (and who wouldn’t be, with four Michelin stars between them?) and the updated classic atmosphere”.