Four luxury hotels to start the New Year

The pick of luxury hotels from around the world, to suit almost any type of trip.

Planning your holidays for 2009? We've picked out four luxury hotels, all rated highly by travel writers, which should suit almost any type of trip.

The Gleneagles Hotel, UK

Best for a sporting weekend

This Scottish legend (above) has 232 rooms; top-floor suites have a more contemporary feel than other rooms after refurbishment in 2007. But forget the rooms it's the facilites that give the hotel its X-factor, says Cond Naste Traveller. It has three 18-hole golf courses, a nine-hole "Wee Course", a new spa, beauty salon, two pools and tennis courts. Or you can get lost in the maze, or visit the hotel's schools for lessons in shooting, falconry, horse-riding or off-road driving.

Doubles from £385 a night. Call 01764-662231, or see

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Four Seasons Hotel, Milan

Best for a European city break


Call 00 39 027 7088, or see

Southern Ocean Lodge, Australia

Best for long-haul nature lovers


Doubles from £740 full-board, minimum two-night stay. Call 00 61 2 9571 6677, or visit

Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa, UAE

Best for honeymooners


You can eat at the "excellent" Al Diwaan restaurant, a Bedouin-style camp in a quiet corner of the reserve, or on your private veranda. A 3:1 staff-to-guest ratio ensures great service, and while "many Dubai hotels are let down by visibly disgruntled staff, Al Maha's are cheery and enthusiastic". With each villa having its own private infinity pool, it's great for couples, says Lee. "Nowhere in the Gulf is better suited to marriage proposals, honeymoons and anniversaries."

Rooms from $1,680 a night full board, including activities during high season (November-April). Call 00 971 4 303 4222, or visit

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.