Sometimes it’s the destination that lures you in. At other times, a hotel or resort may offer something so spectacular that it alone is worth the journey.

I have several properties already on my life bucket list. While some shine in exotic locales, others are steeped in history or provide an unusually close look at nature. I’m sure some of these choices will speak to you, too.

Post Ranch Inn

Location: Big Sur, CA

Post Ranch Inn is located on the cliffs of Big Surr

Perched on a rocky cliff 1200 feet above sea level, this exclusive getaway has only 39 rooms. But some accommodations are actually houses cantilevered off the side of the cliff or even intricately curved around existing trees using nine-foot stilts to avoid damaging them.

Structures are made from reclaimed wood, glass, steel, and stone and the luxury hotel has over 1000 solar panels–the most of any hotel in California. Here, one can watch the fog roll in and out over the expansive Pacific in almost complete silence. Post Ranch Inn is an adults-only property and often hailed as one of the best hotels in the world.


Constance Moofushi

Location: Maldives

Constance Moofushi, a luxury resort in the Maldives

As if just going to the Maldives isn’t good enough, Constance Moofushi takes exclusivity up a notch with a location on its own private island in the South Ari Atoll, considered the best diving spot in the world. The food is said to be amazing, and I love the mix of simplicity and luxury of this resort. Plus, it’s all-inclusive.


Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge

Location: Chobe National Park, Chobe, Botswana

Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge in Botswana

Situated within the Chobe National Park, Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge was specifically designed to maximize contact with wildlife. In fact, your arrival involves landing at the lodge via Cessna due to its remote location.

There are twelve tented residences on raised platforms here with outdoor lounges, thatched roofs, and beautifully-appointed interiors. While watching elephants pass by from the comfort of your room is quite spectacular, you should see the excursions guests can take advantage of.


The Peninsula Hong Kong

Location: Kowloon, Hong Kong

One of The Peninsula Hong Kong's Rolls-Royce Phantoms

The very first hotel ever to open in Hong Kong continues to set luxury standards worldwide. There is just something about other than being one of the best luxury hotels in Hong Kong. I’ve eaten in almost every restaurant and enjoyed afternoon tea here many times–but haven’t yet stayed overnight.

The Peninsula, Hong Kong offers guests exclusive experiences through The Peninsula Academy where guests can learn to make dim sum in the hotel kitchen, study caviar, take private local art tours and much more. The hotel has a helicopter that can take guests on tours of the UNESCO Geoparks and also a fleet of Rolls Royce Phantoms, perfect for an airport pick-up, no?


Wentworth Mansion

Location: Charleston, SC

Wentworth Mansion in Charleston

First built as a residence in the 19th century for a wealthy cotton merchant, this historic inn remains full of Southern charm. Stained glass windows, marble fireplaces, intricate woodwork and fancy chandeliers reflect period grandeur and even the old horse stables have been converted into a luxury spa. With impeccable service and some of the best food in the region, the Wentworth Mansion makes a perfect base for a Charleston vacation.


Jade Mountain at Anse Chastenet

Location: St. Lucia

An open-air room at Jade Mountain Resort on St. Lucia

Each “sanctuary” (accommodation) at Jade Mountain has an entire fourth wall that is completely open to nature with views of the Piti and Gros Piton mountains (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) reaching up to the sky from the Caribbean sea!

This southwest coast of St. Lucia is particularly remote with a combination of lush jungle and pristine beach. The resort also has a mix of interesting architecture, but I was immediately sold by the open room aspect.


Burj Al Arab

Location: Dubai, UAE

The seven-star Burj al Arab in Dubai

Located on its own artificial island, this hotel receives worldwide recognition for seven-star luxury in a manner that oozes over-the-top opulence. A butler is assigned to each suite and as an all-suite property, that’s all there is for accommodations.

Imagine the views over the Arabian Sea. If the hotel’s Rolls Royce doesn’t suit you, arrive via helicopter from the airport. While the decor isn’t likely to be to my taste, Burj Al Arab is a place I would love to visit once, just to experience it.


The Savoy

Location: London, England

The Savoy, an iconic luxury hotel in London

The number of royalty, dignitaries, and Hollywood elite who have passed through The Savoy’s doors is staggering. While it used to be a go-to spot that I’d take friends for tea when we lived in London, I haven’t yet stayed overnight. The rooms—refreshed after a major renovation a few years ago—are exquisite.

The Savoy is truly a glamorous icon that stands out in a city full of historic luxury hotels. Its location on the Thames River near Covent Garden, which means there are many of the best things to do in London within walking distance.


Amangani

Location: Jackson Hole, WY

Amangani Jackson Hole Whirlpool

Talk about magnificent views. A stay at Amangani means gazing over the Teton Mountains and Snake River Valley in an all-season location. There is skiing in the winter and the ability to explore both the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks in spring, summer and fall.

The resort is surrounded by wilderness while its entirely appropriate name means “peaceful home” in the language of the Shoshone.


explora Patagonia Chile

Location: Patagonia, Chile

The amazing explora Patagonia in Chile sits in a UNESCO biosphere

Why not sleep in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve? All-inclusive explora Patagonia is set inside the beautiful Torres del Paine National Park, in the heart of Patagonia and on the shores of Lake Pehoe.

From here, guests may choose from over 50 different guided hikes and horseback rides through this amazing, largely uninhabited part of the world. It is said that guests who stay here feel cut off from civilization but protected by natural barriers: ice fields, the sea, and mountains.

Wow, that’s quite a list, isn’t it?

[Photo credits (in order of appearance): Jade Mountain, Post Ranch Inn, Constance Hotels, Belmond, The Peninsula Hotels, Wentworth Mansion, Jade Mountain, Jumierah Hotels and Resorts, The Savoy, Aman Resorts, explora Patagonia]

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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