'It blew me away': the hotels that have wowed the stars

The hotels favoured around the world by the rich and famous.

Where do celebrities go on holiday? If you're in New York, Choirmaster Gareth Malone recommends a visit to The Dream Downtown (www.dreamhotels.com; 00 1 887 753 7326).

"They have a pool above the lobby, with a transparent floor, so you can look up and see people swimming above you," he tells The Independent. "It felt very sophisticated. You walk out and you're right in Chelsea too."

Alternatively, Doctor Who actress Jenna Coleman likes The Bowery (www.theboweryhotel.com; 001 212 505 9100). "The bathrooms are amazing, all black-and-white tiles, and the bar has a good vibe. It was near Christmas when I stayed, so I've got memories of Frank Sinatra songs playing in the rooms," she tells The Independent. And for food, she loves August on Bleecker Street (www.augustny.com; 00 1 212 929 8727).

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Cricket commentator Henry Blofeld loved the Grand Hotel Europe (www.grandhoteleurope.com; 0845-0772 222) in St Petersburg.

A friend invited him to stay and "we had the most unbelievable week, being fed astonishing food and wine the hotel's restaurant is possibly one of the finest in Russia", he told The Sunday Times. "We stayed in the Romanov Suite which has a bathroom that resembles a marble palace."

The Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees

(www.borromees.it; 00 39 0323 938938) on Lake Maggiore in Italy impressed sports presenterJeff Stelling.

"It was like living in an art gallery," he said in The Independent. One of his favourite restaurants is in Barcelona.Botafumeirodoes "fantastic food: ham, anchovies, you name it, they have absolutely everything".(www.botafumeiro.es; 00 34 932 184 230)

The Soneva Fushi resort (www.soneva.com; 00 960 660 0304) in the Maldives won actor Martin Clunes' seal of approval. "We've been six times," he told The Daily Telegraph. "It's an island resort and the rooms have little gardens with their own pools and a little path to the beach." But "it's very expensive, you might need to sell a car to go there".

Former England footballer Michael Owen told The Independent his favourite hotel is the Guangzhou Marriott Hotel Tianhe in China (www.marriott.co.uk; 00 86 20 6108 8888). "It blew me away. I've stayed in quite a few nice hotels over the years, but this was fabulous. The restaurants were the main feature, but it had lovely pools and gyms too."

TV presenter Lorraine Kelly has two hot tips. The Taj Mahal Palace hotel (www.tajhotels.com; 00 91 22 6665 3366) in Mumbai enjoys an "extraordinary" location, and "the service is brilliant absolutely the right balance", she told The Daily Telegraph.

Closer to home, Kelly recommends The Foveran (www.foveranhotel.co.uk; 01856-872389) in Orkney. It's "basic but very comfortable. The food is fantastic: lobster and fresh seafood that has just been caught".

Three songs of praise


Katherine Jenkins

The Pangkor Laut Resort

In South Africa, she lovesEllerman House(Ellerman.co.za;00 27 21 430 3200) in Cape Town.

It has a private villa "one of themost gorgeous villas I've ever seen". Closer to home, "Babington House(Babingtonhouse.co.uk; 01373-812266) in Somerset is where I spentmy 30th birthday and somewhere I return to for a luxury weekend inthe country".

Ruth Jackson-Kirby

Ruth Jackson-Kirby is a freelance personal finance journalist with 17 years’ experience, writing about everything from savings and credit cards to pensions, property and pet insurance. 

Ruth started her career at MoneyWeek after graduating with an MA from the University of St Andrews, and she continues to contribute regular articles to our personal finance section. After leaving MoneyWeek she went on to become deputy editor of Moneywise before becoming a freelance journalist.

Ruth writes regularly for national publications including The Sunday Times, The Times, The Mail on Sunday and Good Housekeeping among many other titles both online and offline.