This year, RealClearLife covered a plethora of international hotels, including boutiques, getaways for art lovers, and places that will stick you in a private jet and whisk you around the world. But at some point, you have to separate the wheat from the chaff. There are certain hotels out there that don’t care if you’re an aesthetician or obstetrician—they want to sock you with extravagance, and they’re not ashamed to do it.
While we could just regurgitate a list of the most expensive hotels in the world and call it a day, that wouldn’t be fair to you. What we set out to do with this list is provide you with a number of options—they all cater to a high-end audience, but each one brings a different definition of “extravagant” to the table.
The 13 – Macau, China – Thirteen might be an unlucky number in the U.S., but here in Macau, it’s a calling card for ultra-luxury. Currently offering guests access to the 2,000-square-foot La Villa Du Comte room (with six other room options in the works), the hotel doesn’t spare any expense—and you won’t either, with the villas coming in at a whopping $7 million per night. What do you get in return? Each villa comes with a private room elevator and lobby (à la New York City penthouses); 24-hour butler service; a marble Roman Bath, and transportation hither and yon in the hotel’s fleet of Rolls-Royce Phantoms. With six different onsite restaurants to choose, you may never want to leave. That is, until you hear from your bank. For more on The 13, click here.
Hotel President Wilson – Geneva, Switzerland – We have a soft place in our heart for any international hotel that tips its cap to U.S. history, and you probably guessed by now that this hotel is named for Woodrow Wilson the 28th president of the United States (if you’re wondering why, it’s because it’s located near the UN building in Geneva). While we could regale you with stories of the hotel’s regular suites—none of which come cheap or let you down in the least bit—we wanted to get right to the reason why this place is on our list: the $80,000-plus per night, 12-bedroom, 12-bathroom Royal Penthouse Suite. It comes equipped with its own Steinway grand piano, Brunschwig billiards table, and private fitness center. And maybe best of all, the windows are bulletproof, and there are alarm buttons placed around the room. You know, just in case. For more on the hotel and the suite, click here.
The Boulders – Scottsdale, Arizona – If you’ve ever had the chance to visit Scottsdale, you’ll know that, aesthetically speaking, it might as well be the ultra-high-end version of The Flintstones‘ Bedrock. We’d be remiss to mention that, at least for the purposes of this list, you should try to avoid hitting the Boulders mid-summer, because temperatures are in the 100s pretty much every day and Biblical thunderstorms tend to hit without warning.
That said, The Boulders offers guests the peak of luxury, and the best place to find this is in their “villa retreat” experiences. Inspired by the Zen capital of Bali, these five-bedroom mini-homes come with six-and-a-half baths, two kitchens, a negative-edge pool, Japanese soaking tub, and private yoga studio. Ommmmmmm. For more on The Boulders, click here.
The Mark – New York City – Far away from the honking horns, whistling construction workers, and F-bombs floating on the breeze is Madison Avenue’s The Mark hotel, designed by Jacques Grange (who counts Princess Caroline of Monaco and Karl Lagerfeld among his clients) to be a private and–dare we say–quiet spot in the City That Never Sleeps. Each of the hotel’s accommodations is basically a standalone luxury NYC apartment, and as you climb the tiered ladder, the amenities become more and more extravagant. While you’d be more than comfortable in the 4,788-square-foot five-bedroom terrace suite, the Mark gives the President Wilson a run for its money with its $86,000-plus per night Grand Penthouse. Providing 12,000 square feet of space, the five-bedroom, six-bathroom suite includes a library lounge, full size chef’s kitchen, and a living room that doubles as a ballroom. Did we mention the private terrace that overlooks the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Central Park? For more on the hotel, click here.
Little Palm Island Resort and Spa – Little Torch Key, Florida – Let us get this out of the way up front: Florida isn’t the cultural capital of the world by any means. But if you visit the right parts, it could be the experience of a lifetime. One such place exhibits all the tell-tale signs of extravagance that got these other great hotels on this list: Little Palm Island Resort and Spa in the Florida Keys. You or a group could “own” the resort’s private island for an extended stay, with motoryacht transportation, 30 suites, gourmet meals for up to 60 guests, dock space for 10 yachts, and access to a pair of seaplanes, if that’s how you want to roll. The only recount you’ll need here is maybe the bills you’ll be handing over to pay for this experience. For more information, click here.
Taj Lake Palace – Udaipur, India – We’re a little biased here, but any hotel that’s hosted British super spy James Bond is on our list of the world’s most extravagant. The Taj Lake Palace hosted Roger Moore’s Bond back in 1983, when he starred in Octopussy. Although we can’t promise the place will be inhabited by acrobatic, spandex-wearing models like it was in the movie, you’ll still be in the lap of luxury. If you want the best of the best, stay in the Grand Presidential Suite and make sure to keep that Walther PPK under your pillow. For more on the hotel, click here.
The Brando – French Polynesia – Rounding out our list is The Brando—which is about as far away from Apocalypse Now as you can get. Think palm trees, crystal blue water, bikinis, and sandy beaches. Located on the private island of Tetiaroa—a 20-minute private plane ride from Tahiti—The Brando gets its name from the Marlon who once owned the whole shebang. Now sporting a pair of restaurants that source ingredients from gardens on the island itself, a spa and wellness center, and its own three-mile-wide lagoon, you could say that this resort is “on the waterfront.” As far as accommodations are concerned, the way to go, in our opinion, is the three-bedroom villa, which offers 2,648 square feet of space, including its own private outdoor space and 236 square foot pool. For more on The Brando, click here.
—Will Levith for RealClearLife