The five best hotels in the world

Checking in to a 'luxury' hotel only to find it fails to meet your expectations is a real holiday let-down. So avoid disappointment with five of the world's best-rated hotels.

Treating yourself to a stay in a luxury hotel, only to find it fails to meet your expectations, is one of the worst holiday let-downs. So remove the risk of being disappointed by checking into one of these five top hotels, rated the best in the world by readers of The Daily Telegraph's Ultratravel magazine.

The Plaza, New York

Best Americas hotel

Throughout the 20th century, this New York icon (above)has been the hotel of choice for everyone from presidents to The Beatles. Its major selling point is its location, on the end of Fifth Avenue overlooking Central Park. "The refurbished rooms are luxurious, the butler service is good and the doormen are among the snappiest in New York," says Ultratravel.

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From $645 for B&B for two.; 00 800 0441 1414

Mount Nelson, Cape Town

Best African hotel


"Set in lush grounds in the shadow of Table Mountain, this 110-year-old colonial hotel represents the languid splendour of another time," says Ultratravel. In its first year of opening, Winston Churchill was a regular guest while he was reporting on the Boer War. "Watching clouds curl over Table Mountain, as you lounge by the pool, is unforgettable," says The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, which last year voted Mount Nelson one of the world's ten best classic city hotels.

From £305 per night.; 00 27 21 483 1000

One&Only Le Saint Gran, Mauritius

Best Indian Ocean hotel


The One&Only Le Saint Gran's location on a white, sandy beach, stretching for over a mile, combined with luxurious rooms and staff who have perfected the art of attentive but unintrusive service, make it easy to see why the hotel is so popular. Last year, The Daily Telegraph voted the hotel's beach the best in Mauritius, thanks to its wealth of free activities including pedalos, windsurfing, water-skiing and a glass-bottomed boat.

Perhaps unusually for a top-end location, the hotel is also very child-friendly, complete with children's club and food to suit all ages. Harry Potter star Jason Isaacs describes the hotel as "perfection" in the Daily Mail.

From €694 per person per night.; 01753-899800

Burj Al Arab, Dubai

Best Middle East hotel


Dubai's first seven-star hotel still evokes hushed awe from those who see it. The glass building designed to look like a sail houses rooms opulent enough to please even the most demanding of oil barons. Guests can enjoy all sorts of services, from a chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce to chartering a private yacht complete with butler and on-board spa therapist. It's no surprise that Claudia Schiffer says it's her favourite hotel.

From around £1,165 per night.; 0800 082 8000

Raffles, Singapore

Best Asia/Australia hotel


The home of the Singapore Sling first opened its doors in 1887. Since then it has played host to a who's who of heads of state and celebrities, including Rudyard Kipling, Ava Gardner, and the Queen. It is "one of the few hotels in the world that is probably better known than the city in which it is located", says Frank Barrett in The Mail on Sunday. The impressive colonial architecture is reason enough to visit in itself, as are its 14 restaurants and lounges serving everything from New York-style deli food to afternoon tea.

From around £240 per night.; 00 800 1 7233537

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.