The 50 greatest hotels in the world – Telegraph

The 50 greatest hotels in the world – Telegraph

T he George V, Carlyle, Cipriani, Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, Sandy Lane… the fabulous properties that have not made our final cut reads like someone else’s hot hotel list. But here at Telegraph Travel we maintain that absence makes the list grow stronger. Starting with a clean slate, our team of writers, luxury travel writers, hotel specialists and destination experts have scoured the globe to bring you only the very best. We have not accepted the status quo, the grande dames have not enjoyed their usual seat at the top table and nor have we added new properties simply for the sake of freshness.
So what do these hotel have in common? Firstly, they have each earned their place. Every hotel has been tried, tested, rated and cross-compared – and that was just to make the long-list. Secondly, they offer something extraordinary – be it location, service, style, soul, design, seclusion, facilities or romance. But above all, these are properties that will affect the way you feel. Life should be better when you check in. Welcome to Telegraph Travel’s guide to the greatest hotels on Earth.
Europe Cotton House Hotel Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain 8 Telegraph expert rating
Renowned designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán has worked his theatrical, baroque magic on this neoclassical, 19th-century building, once home to the cotton-makers’ guild. Artfully desilvered floor-to-ceiling mirrors reflect vast sprays of cotton bolls and white sofas, and a majestic 1950s suspended spiral staircase rises from the vestibule. In a year, the Cotton House has set a new benchmark for hotel design and immaculate service. In L’Atelier, a salon lined with bolts of cotton, guests can choose from swatches of super-soft fabric and ask that a tailor measure them up for a shirt. Next door, in the coffered, frescoed library, they can pull up a turquoise armchair by the fire and request a cocktail from a discreet navy-clad waitress. The Batuar restaurant does not disappoint, either, with Catalan-inspired dishes given creative pizzazz and served, in summer, on a colonial-styled terrace shaded by date palms and parasols. Upstairs, a plunge pool and daybeds offer an oasis from which to admire the spires of the Sagrada Família. Double rooms from £175. Read expert review From £ 235 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best places and cities to visit in England
Lime Wood New Forest, Hampshire, England 9 Telegraph expert rating
It’s all about attention to detail at this ravishing, deeply luxurious New Forest lair. Oak doors are thick; paint finishes rich; floor lights come on as you walk into the bathroom from your quietly opulent bedroom; stylised sitting rooms, one with billiard table, melt one into another, pale lemon into lilac into sage green, each with an open fire. In the sybaritic Herb House spa, guests can take in the forest views from the massive sauna and eat inspired raw food in the Raw & Cured café. Lime Wood is also home to Hartnett Holder & Co, a heaven-sent partnership between that most grounded of celebrity chefs, Angela Hartnett, and Lime Wood’s own Luke Holder. Their Italian-influenced forest dishes and sharing plates are served in a richly coloured velvety dining room that’s as glam as it’s laid-back. It’s how we want to live today, and Lime Wood has captured the mood. Its setting at the heart of 145 square miles of ancient heath and woodland only enhances its standing as the epitome of chic rural luxury. Double rooms from £315. Read expert review From £ 345 per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The world’s most expensive hotel rooms
Ett Hem Stockholm, Sweden 9 Telegraph expert rating
It’s not easy to offer immaculate service and be disarmingly down to earth at the same time, but staff at the 12 -room Ett Hem in Stockholm’s leafy embassy district manage the trick with aplomb. The name means “home” – in this case, a stylish temple to Nordic cosiness. Housed in a mansion built in 1910, the hotel’s design shows how it might have looked in its day, with candlelit, parquet-floored drawing rooms furnished with contemporary and vintage Scandinavian furniture – one with a grand piano for all to play – that lead into a book-lined dining room. There are plenty of places to curl up, dine or both. The food is exceptional: the chefs – several escapees from Michelin-starred restaurants – rustle up local, seasonal meals on request (beef tartare kimchi was a favourite) in front of guests at the kitchen table. There’s also a pretty conservatory, terraced garden and Swedish sauna. Each bedroom is decadent and unique, with an antique porcelain-tiled wood burner here, a vast free-standing tub there. Double rooms from £300. Read expert review From £ 313 per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best spa hotels in the South of England
Les Fermes de Marie Megève, Rhône-Alpes, France 8 Telegraph expert rating
As Jean-Louis and Jocelyne Sibuet strolled in the mountains above stylish Megève, they were captivated by the rustic charm of the ancient timber chalets peppering the Alpine pastures. Several years later, in 1989, the duo launched their first Megève hotel, Les Fermes de Marie, made of materials from those very chalets, transported a short walk from the heart of Megève and painstakingly restored. Reminiscent of a rural hamlet, linked by meandering footpaths and burbling streams, the nine chalets contain 70 cosy rooms and suites, three restaurants, a ski shop and the original cowshed-chic spa. In the outdoor hot tub, guests soak ski-tired legs, contemplating the blanket of snow settled over wide timber eaves, the fragrant pine swags and neatly stacked logs cut for the countless open fires that warm the hotel’s restaurants, inviting snugs and free-standing chalets. The smallest of the chalets, Mont Blanc, is surely one of the world’s finest suites: picture-perfect, with its own garden, a homely sitting room with a vast open fire and a romantic double room. Double rooms from £298. Read expert review From £ 219 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels for spa breaks in Europe
Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc Cap d’Antibes, Côte d’Azur, France 9 Telegraph expert rating
A throwback to the F Scott Fitzgerald era, this grand 19th-century mansion on Cap d’Antibes has 117 rooms and two villas with sumptuous Louis XV and XVI furnishings, gilded mirrors and chandeliers. The gastronomic Eden-Roc Restaurant has just been renovated and serves classics such as roasted sea bass and lobster with tarragon; the Grill offers Provençal-style gambas at the seafront pavilion. Set among nine hectares of landscaped gardens, there are five clay tennis courts, a Sisley spa and a seawater pool cut into the natural rock. A seafront diving board and overwater trapeze launch bathers into the Mediterranean and there is a jetty for guests arriving by boat. Best of all are the 33 beach cabins where the illustrious and notorious come to hide: Marc Chagall used to paint on these clifftops, Roger Moore waterskied here and Johnny Weissmuller used to do his signature Tarzan yell as he dived into the sea. Double rooms from £400. Read expert review From £ 595 per night • The world’s best honeymoon hotels
Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest, Hungary 8 Telegraph expert rating
If service is a hallmark of a great hotel, then Gresham Palace can be said to deliver. A guest wanting to propose to his girlfriend in style asked for her to be given a wake-up call by a bell boy dressed as a Hungarian Hussar. (She said yes.) If style is another criterion, this magnificent building, originally the creation of the London-based Gresham Life Assurance Society and a meeting place for Budapest’s affluent and arty, has it in abundance. A €100m renovation in 2004 brought the building back to its fin-de-siècle prime, complete with art-nouveau flourishes, zsolnay tiles and wrought-iron Peacock Gates, and added some extra Four Seasons pizzazz. When it comes to location, Gresham Palace’s position on the Danube, directly overlooking the twinkling lights of the Chain Bridge, also earns it 10 out of 10. The wow factor begins the moment guests set foot in the hotel’s spectacular lobby, extends to the Kollázs Brasserie & Bar and continues right through to the wake-up call the following morn. Double rooms from £240. Read expert review From £ 383 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The world’s best palace hotels
Ballyfin County Laois, Ireland 10 Telegraph expert rating
One of Ireland’s most lavish neoclassical houses, Ballyfin stands in its own 614-acre demesne, full of delights, including lake (with glorious new water feature), water cascade, Victorian fernery, Edwardian rockery and walled garden, not to mention the tower, which has panoramic views of the Slieve Bloom mountains from the top. A Downton-esque knot of neatly uniformed staff awaits each arriving guest, setting the tone for service that is old school, yet full of Irish warmth. The reception rooms are filled with superb antiques and paintings and there is a classically styled indoor pool and two treatment rooms . Every bedroom is gorgeous, in classic Irish country-house style. Perhaps the loveliest is Lady Caroline Coote, with its graceful Empire-style ceiling, but it’s hard to choose. Five more have recently been added, making 20, from the lake-view Lady Kildare, with its delicate chinoiserie, to the subtle Indian accents of Lady Mornington. As for the food, it lives up to the surroundings. Standards are sky-high; this is the sort of place where one jarring note would spoil the show – but it never does. Double rooms from £407. Read expert review From £ 700 per night • The world’s most romantic hotels
The Gritti Palace Venice, Veneto, Italy 10 Telegraph expert rating
“If we want everything to stay as it is, everything needs to change.” So says Tancredi in the great twilight-of-the-aristocracy novel Il Gattopardo. It could be the motto of historic Venetian grande dame The Gritti Palace, whose recent £36.5m top-to-toe restoration was designed to make everything look the same – just even more opulently stylish. One example: every sparkling teardrop pendant of every vintage chandelier was detached, repaired or replaced and polished by Murano artisans. The upgrade is most keenly felt in the 82 rooms, their antique décor and fine Rubelli silk fabrics freshened up by designer Chuck Chewning, without forfeiting any romance. Personable GM Paolo Lorenzoni is one of the best in the country – courteous, ever-present, quick to respond to problems – and the staff, in their impeccable vintage liveries, are role models in a city that doesn’t always get service right. A waterside breakfast on the terrace overlooking the shimmering Grand Canal has to be one of the great Venetian experiences – it knocks a Bellini in Harry’s Bar into a cocked hat. Double rooms from £310. Read expert review From £ 728 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Europe’s best hotels for wedding venues
Belmond Castello di Casole Casole d’Elsa, Tuscany, Italy 8 Telegraph expert rating
Luchino Visconti knew a spectacular set when he saw one, and in the 1960s, at the height of his film-making fame, he choose this 10th-century hilltop Tuscan estate as his country retreat. In a land of sublime views, the 360-degree prospect over the countryside between San Gimignano and Siena is unparalleled. Four years ago, the castle and the cluster of buildings around it were converted into a hotel, while the old farmhouses scattered around the surrounding vineyards, olive groves and flower meadows have been restored as luxury villas. The owners – Timbers Resorts – have done a superb job: the 50-odd bedrooms retain their original beamed ceilings, terracotta floors and exposed stonework, while antique furniture is combined with sumptuous Italian fabrics and topnotch facilities. Ristorante Tosca – which spills into the central courtyard – hits the right note with outstanding regionally inspired dishes, homemade pastas, local meats and estate-produced olive oils and wine. An Essere Spa and a lavish pool top the list of facilities in this idyllic, immaculately run hotel. Double rooms from £382. Read expert review From £ 712 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels for wedding venues in the UK
La Bastide de Gordes Gordes, Provence, France 9 Telegraph expert rating
Provençal’s tough past has long provided the setting for the well-heeled and tasteful. Hill-topping villages. Castles. Ramparts. Rip out the ruffians and they’re ripe for luxury. Thus, the Bastide de Gordes, clamped to the cliff-side of France’s most fashionable perched village. Here, among tight streets and steep stairways, be French media stars, the more discreet billionaires, and visitors for whom Provence needs cushioning into a five-star experience. The Bastide is their place. Last year’s £18-million re-fit transformed a fine hotel into a world beater. It’s old façades unfold down the drop, where once the ramparts were, in a series of stone terraces bearing grey-green Med vegetation, two swimming pools and sunlit hideaways. Views to the Luberon hills mesmerise. Within, 40 rooms and suites recall the sumptuous side of the 18th-century. Corridors and stairs, rich with treasures, rarely arrive at the same place twice. Manorial salons impose elegance. Young staff, dressed as if for a fête c.1912, have the bounce and smiles of a US musical comedy. And down below there is the Sisley spa. Posh eating is in the hands of Michelin-man Pierre Gagnaire; there’s a cheaper brasserie along the same terrace. As you finish the rosé, replete, Provence is at your feet. It’s been there a long time. It will wait. Double rooms from £141. Read expert review From £ 504 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The world’s best hotel pools
Belmond Hotel Splendido Portofino, Liguria, Italy 9 Telegraph expert rating
Portofino is a theatrically pretty fishing village on the Ligurian Riviera, where traditional wooden boats and venerable churches sit beside mighty superyachts and shiny outposts of Pucci and Gucci. Lording over this tripperish scene is the indisputably splendid Belmond Hotel Splendido, set high on a hillside, with a glorious wisteria-cloaked façade, terraced gardens with infinity pool, and an abiding sense that this really is one of the great hotels of Italy. Rex Harrison started it all when he bought a villa nearby in the 1950s, and although this former Benedictine monastery is now filled with photographs of its many glamorous guests, there’s little stuffiness. Life here is all about a lazy lunch on the panoramic terrace, with its lemon trees and views over Portofino Bay, as genial, long-serving staff in café-crème jackets deliver dreamy dishes such as ravioli with walnut sauce and baked sea bream. The 67 charming rooms and suites are spread over five floors. Most have a balcony and sea view – perfect for throwing open the shutters on a sunny morning and feeling in love with life. Double rooms from £407. Read expert review From £ 1,088 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Underwater hotels: the fab five
D-Maris Bay Marmaris, Turquoise Coast, Turkey 9 Telegraph expert rating
Surrounded by dramatic volcanic rocks and hillsides lush with almond trees, D-Hotel Maris stands in an unblemished nature reserve and looks towards the Aegean and Mediterranean. Repeat guests know to request a harbour-facing room for the best views and to make a point of sailing those turquoise-tinted waters aboard the resort’s 100ft yacht Pasa. Kayaking, diving and more can also be arranged at the watersports centre, five beaches provide variety and a spa offers refuge on rare rainy days. On summer evenings, dinner can be taken at an alfresco outpost of London’s Japanese restaurant Zuma or one of five other dining options. Wherever guests end up, service is sincere, the crowd sophisticated and the atmosphere carefree. An additional bonus is that it’s just a two-hour drive, or 25-minute helicopter transfer, from Dalaman airport. Double rooms from £220. Read expert review From £ 589 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best beach holidays in Italy
Grand Hotel a Villa Feltrinelli Lake Garda, Italy 9 Telegraph expert rating
Lake Como is perhaps the best known of the Italian lakes, but it’s Garda that is home to the region’s finest hotel. Formerly the retreat of lumber magnate Faustino Feltrinelli’s sons, Villa Feltrinelli was home to Mussolini from 1943 to 1945 during the Republic of Salò. The turreted wedding-cake pink villa is immersed in eight acres of gardens shaded by olive, oak and magnolia trees on the lake’s western shore. With only 21 rooms, decorated with antiques and historic prints, overnighting here is like staying at a friend’s country home. On a summer’s afternoon there’s nothing like a game of croquet on the green, unwinding by the pool or strolling in the lemon garden. With a staff ratio of three to one, service is second to none. And with two Michelin stars, Stefano Baiocco makes creative dishes that blend prized ingredients with food from Italy’s cucina povera. There’s no need to dash to breakfast as it’s served all day, and can be enjoyed anywhere, just as it would be at a friend’s house. Double rooms from £798. Read expert review From £ 957 per night • The best hotels in Moscow
Four Seasons Hotel Moscow Moscow, Russia 9 Telegraph expert rating
A mixture of Stalin-era design, cinematic views and contemporary Western styling have transformed this 21st-century reimagining of the former Hotel Moskva (1935-2004 ) into a world-class wonder. Four Seasons took over the landmark building in 2014 after a multimillion-pound reconstruction, thereby securing one of the most exclusive addresses – between the Kremlin and State Duma – in the city. This proximity to power adds to the illusion of living like a moneyed local, a notion fuelled by shimmering chandeliers, spa treatments that feature flakes of 24-carat gold, and marble-clad corridors that echo to the click of killer heels en route to the low-lit cocktail bar. The sense of hedonism reaches a climax in the Kremlin-facing suites, where the views of Red Square and St Basil’s Cathedral make these the ultimate post-clubbing party pads. Double rooms from £213. Read expert review From £ 481 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best luxury hotels in London
Claridge’s Mayfair, London, England 9 Telegraph expert rating
If there’s one hotel that would make a perfect, spoiling gift, it’s Claridge’s. Once the staid and stately base for royalty and dowager duchesses, it is today at a pinnacle in its 160-year history. Slip past the celebrity-spotters outside, through the revolving door and into the glacial marble-floored Front Hall, once a turning circle for horse-drawn carriages. Take the wrought-iron lift, with sofa and attendant, to your room or suite, perhaps designed by David Linley or Diane von Fürstenberg. In the wonderful chrome and marble art-deco bathroom, luxuriate in the sunken tub, which fills in seconds. See and be seen at breakfast or tea in the ravishing foyer or for champagne in the showy Claridge’s Bar, or slip into Simon Rogan’s sylvan restaurant, Fera, or the shadowy Fumoir for cocktails. Underpinned by continuity and depth of service, Claridge’s is a ribbon-tied gift box of a gorgeous, glamorous hotel. Double rooms from £420. Read expert review From £ 540 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The most romantic Paris hotels
La Réserve Paris Hotel and Spa Paris, France 9 Telegraph expert rating
This Jacques Garcia-designed hotel feels more like the palatial home of a Parisian millionaire (such as its last owner, Pierre Cardin) than a hotel. Located in the eighth arrondissement, in a row of grand Haussman-era houses, it oozes bourgeois decadence, its antique-filled living spaces walled in ruby silk, its gilded library adorned with leather-bound tomes, its floors scattered with Persian rugs. Its rooms, though, are light, luxe and considered. Walls and doors are solid and soundproofed. Lights can be turned off with one simple switch. Beds are swathed in crisp Quagliotti linen and bathrooms lined in white Carerra marble. The views, from wrought-iron balconies, are as romantic as the best in Paris: over the copper Pantheon domes towards the Eiffel Tower. Should any guest consider leaving their suite, there’s a candelit spa downstairs, slick, elegantly attired staff to arrange excursions, and fine-dining menus by hot chef Jerome Banctel to sample. It’s the discreet place for high society to meet, so prices are high. But it’s so deliciously French that that only response is a Gallic shrug. Doubles from £547. Read expert review From £ 942 per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • Top 10: the best beach holidays in Spain
Abadía Retuerta LeDomaine Valladolid, Castilla y Léon, Spain 9 Telegraph expert rating
Lying in the bath, gazing across vineyards to the mountains beyond while sipping a glass of velvety Abadía Retuerta wine, is a pretty good way to sink into the LeDomaine experience. A Romanesque abbey in the Ribera del Duero region is the spectacular setting for one of Spain’s most sumptuous hotels. Although it dates back to the 12th century, this is very much a 21st-century place, with a Michelin-starred restaurant in the former refectory and a spa where treatments are based on a guest’s taste in wine. Although the building and the surrounding estate are vast, there are only 30 rooms and suites, mostly created from the former monks’ cells, with newer options in the stables. Members of staff outnumber guests but are invariably unobtrusive. Personal butlers are on call whenever anything is needed. The former cloister garden is now a soothing spot for languid breakfasts, while the chapter house has been turned into a bar for after-dinner drinks. The church is an intimate venue for a wedding – and no one would want to go anywhere else for a honeymoon. Double rooms from £310. Read expert review From £ 352 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best Lake Como hotels
Finca Cortesin Hotel Golf & Spa Malaga, Andalucia, Spain 9 Telegraph expert rating
It is all about cool calmness at Finca Cortesín, an Andalusian idyll where jasmine and roses scent the air. In the foothills of the Sierra Bermeja, between Marbella and Sotogrande, this is the Costa del Sol without the glitz but with a lot of understated glamour. Set in a vast estate with one of the best golf courses in Spain and a superb spa, it is actually less than a decade old but looks like a traditional country house, thanks to the renowned interior designer Duarte Pinto Coelho, who sourced antiques from Spain, Portugal, Morocco and beyond. There are 67 suites and villas with four bedrooms, all with plenty of space and peace. From the moment guests arrive, they sense that everything will be taken care of as they sink into a chair in the shade of an ancient olive tree or dive into one of the pools – there are four, including one down at the Beach Club. The Kabuki Raw restaurant has just gained a Michelin star and the Mediterranean cuisine at El Jardín de Lutz deserves one too. Double rooms from £280. Read expert review From £ 807 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Asia & Australia Laucala Island Fiji 8 Telegraph expert rating
This 3,500-acre private island has been owned by two multi-millionaires (Malcolm Forbes and Red Bull’s Dietrich Mateschitz) who have turned a natural paradise into a holiday heaven. Amid flower-strewn forests, there’s a David McLay Kidd golf course, a thatched spa in the cool jungly forest, stables of thoroughbred horses, a panoply of pools, and a dive centre with 14 boats and a submarine. Five restaurants serve delicious dishes from teppanyaki wagyu beef to exquisite morsels created using ingredients from the island’s farm. With only 25 villas – the most romantic perched above crashing waves and the biggest set atop the island’s peak – each guest feels as if they have the island to themselves. Every inch is looked after by 350 Fijian staff who, when they aren’t smiling or proffering fresh fruit juice or a martini, are delivering warm banana cake or just-cleaned shoes before vanishing to leave you watching distant waves phosphoresce in the moonlight. Double rooms from £4,000. Read expert review From £ 3,600 per night • 50 of the world’s most unusual hotels
Qualia Whitsundays, Queensland, Australia 9 Telegraph expert rating
When architect Chris Beckingham designed Qualia, the 60-pavilion resort perched on the northernmost point of Hamilton Island, his brief was to “draw the outside in”. When “outside” is the tip of the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, home to the world’s largest coral-reef ecosystem, this meant capturing the glorious natural profusion of the island. Handcrafted from wood and stone, the buildings blend into the natural terrain as effortlessly as a koala curled in a gumtree. All the exquisitely appointed pavilions face the water, with uninterrupted views over the Coral Sea, and some have their own private plunge pools. This is a self-contained haven with relaxation at its heart, so guests are provided with their own golf buggies to move around the manicured grounds between two restaurants serving fine Australian cuisine, a cocktail bar, two pools and a private beach, library and spa with a wide range of treatments. Slow mornings might be spent strolling on the beach by a glittering sea or just lying in on soft, downy beds. Double rooms from £500. Read expert review From £ 764 per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Australia
Amansara Siem Reap, Cambodia 8 Telegraph expert rating
Amansara was originally a 1960s French modernist villa commissioned by King Sihanouk as a summer retreat for his VIP guests. The Aman group restored the building in 2002 and later brought its signature minimalist style to bear on a spa, a lap pool and 12 new suites furnished with terrazzo floors, hardwood fittings, sandstone reliefs and private courtyard plunge pools. This refreshed architectural gem is now run with sparkling efficiency by Sally Baughen and her staff and provides a perfect sanctuary from the booming streets of downtown Siem Reap. More importantly, the hotel lies on the threshold of the Unesco World Heritage Site, home to Angkor Wat and the jungle-clad ruins of the Khmer Empire. Guests are provided with their own tuk-tuk and driver to explore the rich heritage on their minimalistic doorstep. After a day of temple-trotting, visitors are welcomed back by the cheery hotel staff with afternoon tea served to the sounds of traditional Khmer music in the swish Sixties dining room. Mid-century architecture meets 10th-century culture – a heavenly combination. Double rooms from £609. Read expert review From £ 1,274 per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Cambodia
Asaba Shuzenji, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan 9 Telegraph expert rating
Bamboo forests, lakes, blossoming trees, hot-spring baths, dancing fireflies, the scent of tatami… If there is one place where the unpoetic might feel inspired to write a haiku, it’s Asaba. The 15th-century family-run ryokan, on the edge of the hot-spring town Shuzenji, is just two hours south of Tokyo by train. The entrance is marked by a split cotton noren curtain hanging above a monochrome pebble entrance, behind which elegant kimono-clad staff usher guests to one of 17 minimal guestrooms. Each is designed in signature ryokan style, with tatami mat floors, sliding screens, deep cypress baths, futons, paper lanterns and asymmetric flower arrangements, as well as windows with views of pretty lakes and gardens. Guests can soak in the restorative outdoor hot-spring baths before indulging in a private in-room kaiseki dinner: a banquet of a dozen dishes fit for an emperor. The Harry Bertoia chairs in the lounge best sum up the Asaba experience – it may be rooted in heritage, but the atmosphere is fresh and modern. Double rooms from £660. Read expert review From £ 510 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Tokyo
Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo Tokyo, Japan 9 Telegraph expert rating
While the Mandarin Oriental offers sleek design mixed with cutting-edge technology and an astonishing level of intelligent service, it is the feeling of being in an aerial cocoon of calm that distinguishes this hotel. It occupies the top floors of the Nihonbashi Mitsui Tower in Tokyo’s business and shopping district, with astounding views from floor-to-ceiling windows in all 179 rooms and suites. Among a dozen bars and restaurants, the classy Mandarin Bar is a favourite, while gourmands struggle to choose between Cantonese cuisine at Sense and the Tapas Molecular Bar, where cutlery is swapped for pipettes and syringes. In the meditative 37th-floor spa and its pool, nothing but glass comes between swimmer and the sight of snow-capped Mount Fuji bathed in the red glow of sunset. Double rooms from £317. Read expert review From £ 354 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The world’s kinkiest, sexiest and strangest hotels
The Peninsula Shanghai Shanghai, China 10 Telegraph expert rating
The Peninsula experience starts at the airport, where a customised BMW whisks guests downtown to this handsome modern take on art-deco design. Attention to detail is evident everywhere, from the beautiful mosaic floor of the 82ft indoor pool to the free international calls at the press of a button. The usual chocolate-on-the-pillow is here a multi-drawered lacquered box filled with different treats. An intuitive iPad controls lights, curtains and much else. The River Rooms are sensational: a wall of glass provides views across the busy Huangpu River to sleek towers designed by the world’s leading architects. On balmy nights, there is nowhere better in the city for cocktails than Sir Elly’s bar on the rooftop terrace, watching the evening light show play across buildings old and new. Unless, that is, it’s time for a spin on the river aboard the hotel’s own motor yacht. Double rooms from £247. Read expert review From £ 268 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Britain’s best seaside hotels
COMO Uma Punakha Bhutan 8 Telegraph expert rating
Peeling back the layers of this hotel is much like discovering Bhutan itself. Uma’s ochre walls, broken by grand double doors, are reminiscent of the country’s dzongs, or fortresses, albeit softened by bougainvillea, poinsettias and camellias. Pass through doors and courtyards, past smiling staff in traditional Bhutanese dress, and views of densely forested hills unfold, with terraced rice paddies cascading to the meandering Mo Chu river below. Throughout the eight-bedroom, two-villa property, floor-to-ceiling windows and low-slung cream furnishings retain the focus on the views. Traditional Bhutanese art, hand-knotted rugs from Nepal and Indian cotton bed linens complete the simple, authentic aesthetic. While the menu at the intimate restaurant is global, spanning local specialities, gnocchi, cassoulet and wagyu beef burgers, dishes are crafted from local organic produce. Best of all, the property is also available on an exclusive-use basis. Double rooms from £440. Read expert review From £ 375 per night • The best hotels in Bali
Alila Villas Uluwatu Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia 8 Telegraph expert rating
New arrivals here find it nigh on impossible not to whip out their smartphones and immediately try to capture the hotel’s phenomenal modernist architecture and Indian Ocean views. Perched atop cliffs on Bali’s peaceful Bukit Peninsula, Alila Uluwatu is all straight lines, vivid whites, shimmering blues and black lava rocks. Villas are stylish and soothing, with private pools and butlers who, depending on requests for private, discreet or indulgent service, either lavish attention or flit around like genies, leaving treats on the table or geranium face masks by the bathtub. Morning yoga sessions are invigorating, as are laps of the 164ft cliff-hanging infinity pool. At the spa, warm coconut-oil massages leave guests suspended somewhere between nodding off and nirvana. An added feel-good factor comes from knowing that this is the first hotel in Bali to receive the highest level of certification for environmentally sustainable design. Double rooms from £615. Read expert review From £ 683 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best five-star hotels in Hong Kong
The Upper House Hong Kong 9 Telegraph expert rating
The clue’s in the name. This is about ascending into a realm that’s more supremely stylish abode than hotel. The city’s babble ceases at the Stone Curtain, an entrance wall designed by Thomas Heatherwick. Beyond, two flickering lanterns (good feng shui) light guests’ path up, up, up… via escalator and lift, past scattered artworks of sinuous curve and tempting texture. Rooms – wonderfully spacious, filled with sky – begin on the 38th floor. At this height, Hong Kong’s harbour is a glittering distant necklace and, depending on the room, the reach-out-and-touch mountains a vision of tranquillity. Forget the usual trimmings: there’s no check-in desk, no pool or spa and the gym’s tiny; there isn’t even paper – guest information arrives via an iPod Touch. Elsewhere, though, the amenity bags burst with REN skincare products, there’s a hidden lawn, a library with flickering fireplace, and an enveloping sense of urban respite. And, on the 49th floor, is a single, perfect restaurant called Café Gray Deluxe, a gem set in the clouds. Double rooms from £400. Read expert review From £ 293 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Indonesia
Nihi Sumba Sumba, Indonesia 9 Telegraph expert rating
An hour’s flight east of Bali is Sumba: an island of ancestral villages, tribal traditions and, on a forested fringe of long golden beach, Nihiwatu. Originally a surf resort, it reopened in 2014 under James McBride, formerly of The Carlyle in New York, and soon became known for its simple luxuries and eco approach. Its villas – the largest of which has its own pavilions, kitchen and library – have pointed thatched roofs that are typically Sumbanese, private infinity pools and bales set in gardens of banana and frangipani trees. Butlers who attend to the villas are happy to reveal their animist culture to guests, whether that’s the symbols woven into local ikat cloth or the importance of the island’s spear-throwing festival. Experiences include riding ponies into the surf, nudging a paddleboard down-river, diving, and surfing one of the world’s most famous left-hand breaks. It’s a place in which, somewhere between the sea spray and lost-world traditions, it’s possible to lose yourself completely. Double rooms from £435. Read expert review From £ 1,013 per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in India
The Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai, India 9 Telegraph expert rating
When Indian industrialist Jamsetji Tata built this glorious Indian Gothic confection in 1903, he wanted it to be the finest hotel in India, a place of glamour and faultless service that was open to all. And it was – and it is. It may host a stream of A-list celebrities but everyone experiences the same genuine warmth and courtesy from its devoted staff. Rooms with a sea view in the original Palace Wing are the finest, reached via a magnificent cantilevered staircase that climbs five floors to the dome. Butlers arrive in a trice and never hover in the hope of a tip. The concierges have all of Mumbai at their fingertips, from the best guided tours (my tip: Mumbai by Dawn) to seats at the art deco Regal for the latest Bollywood blockbuster. And when the city and its traffic become too much, there’s no better retreat than the Sea Lounge for Mumbai street-food (in particular, bhelpuri), cucumber sandwiches for tea, or a cold glass of Indian wine as the sun sets over the Arabian Sea. Double rooms from £160. Read expert review From £ 98 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Rajasthan
Oberoi Vanyavilas Rajasthan, India 8 Telegraph expert rating
The Oberoi’s bush outpost lies just outside Ranthambhore National Park, where tigers sunbathe on old Raj ruins beneath a towering 1,000-year-old fort. Although the bedrooms are made from canvas, this is no jungle camp. Rather, it’s the grandest spot in India from which to watch wildlife while being looked after by some of the country’s most gracious hoteliers. Beturbaned staff, in jewel-coloured kurtas, are on hand when needed (invisible when not) to serve Indian feasts in candlelit courtyards, proffer orange-flower-scented face-towels after a safari or serve rosewater iced tea by the fringed colonial-style pool umbrellas. Naturalists offer lectures and take private safaris through the park’s loveliest areas to see spotted chital deer, rich birdlife and – with luck – tigers. And the rooms are so sumptuous that it’s criminal not to take time to recline on the carved four-posters, soak amid rose-petals in lion-claw baths or take tea on a silver tray while watching kingfishers diving into waterlily-strewn ponds. Double rooms from £645. Read expert review Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Australia
Southern Ocean Lodge Kangaroo Island, South Australia, Australia 8 Telegraph expert rating
Perched above Hanson Bay, this Kangaroo Island retreat offers a ringside seat to witness the South Ocean in all its elemental glory. With no land mass between here and Antarctica to dampen the swell, waves pound its sugar-white sands – a fact that did not escape the designers of this low-rise, sensitively crafted luxe resort. The limestone-clad lobby has a wraparound screen of floor-to-ceiling glass, while views from the 21 contemporary suites, named after shipwrecks, are equally impressive. Cantilevered, with glass-walled bathrooms and sunken lounges, the design directs you to the wild exterior. The lavish 1,290sq ft Osprey Pavilion is the pick, with a hand-crafted free-standing bath offering a panorama that takes some beating. Add to this the fauna of Australia’s answer to the Galápagos, fresh native produce (foraged samphire, free-range lamb), friendly service and a fine wine list and there can be few better places to be shipwrecked. Double rooms from £1,050. Read expert review From £ 1,005 per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Thailand
Iniala Beach House Natai Beach, Phuket, Thailand 9 Telegraph expert rating
Two years after its opening on the sands of Natai Beach, just north of Phuket, this refined designer property has established itself as one of the most sought-after hotels in Asia. And not just because of its fantastical design – there are beds which drop from the ceiling and appear to hover above the floor, turquoise starfish-shaped sofas and Swarovski crystal-encrusted pool tables – or its exquisite dining, which is masterminded by Eneko Atxa, the youngest Spanish chef to be awarded three Michelin stars. No, it’s because Iniala delivers the kind of privacy that Saudi princesses, Russian oligarchs, Californian tech giants and Hollywood royalty require. With just three three-bedroom villas, a penthouse suite and associated children’s hotel, fronted by plenty of private sand, it’s ideal for an exclusive buy-out. Not that the four-villa mini hotel is a gilded cage. Activities include everything from Muay Thai boxing classes with world-class coaches and otherworldly spa treatments in mother-of-pearl-clad cocoons to yachting around the ancient sea-stacks that scatter the waters of the glass-green Andaman Sea. Double rooms from £1,765. Read expert review From £ 1,346 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com The Americas & Caribbean Alto Atacama San Pedro de Atacama, Chile 9 Telegraph expert rating
An adobe-walled wilderness lodge that is a haven of cool interiors, warm service and gourmet cooking in the heart of the Atacama, the world’s highest and driest desert. Veronica Poblete, a botanist and former lecturer at Stanford University in the USA, designed the gardens around the concept of an Andean Park. The result is a calming oasis of centuries-old ceramics, modern-day geoglyphs, indigenous plants, a salt-water pool and hand-carved rock beds. Facilities include a restful spa with outdoor baths heated by water from deep underground. There are also six plunge pools dotted about the grounds, sun-loungers and a llama enclosure. The Atacama is one of the best places on Earth for stargazing and the hotel is home to an astronomical telescope atop a nearby hill. Expect top-notch gourmet cooking that embraces local produce such as guanaco, socaire potatoes, native quinoa or chanar berries. Double rooms from £535. Read expert review From £ 441 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Chile
Mashpi Lodge Mashpi, Ecuador 9 Telegraph expert rating
When this modern, minimalist, glass-walled jungle lodge opened in 2012, it changed the accommodation game in South America. Architect Alfredo Ribadeneira’s “protective cocoon” would impress in a modern city; in the depths of the Andean cloudforest, it is wild, audacious and beautiful. Though only 70 miles from Quito, Mashpi Lodge sits in splendid isolation, perched on a cliff at the end of an unsealed road. Sensitively tucked into the canopy, you don’t see it till you arrive. Inside, grey tiled floors and natural hues mean nothing detracts from what guests are here to experience: the greenery that wraps around the hotel’s huge walls of clear tempered glass. The 24 rooms maintain the clean design lines, featuring bamboo-and-glass décor, soft rugs and plush armchairs. Three Yaku suites are more spacious, and come with Philippe Starck baths. Days kick off with pre-breakfast birdwatching, before heading to the butterfly sanctuary, observation tower, aerial canopy ride and jungle trails. Biodiversity is breathtaking in the Chocó-Darien region; adventures completed and species ticked, a whirlpool tub, cocktail and Ecuadorian fusion food await. Double rooms from US $1,340 (£1031) based on two sharing, including activities, meals, guiding and return shared transfers from main Quito hotels. Read expert review From £ 443 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Peru
Inkaterra La Casona Cusco, Peru 9 Telegraph expert rating
Cuzco, imperial capital of the Inca, was adopted by the conquering Spanish as the ideal location for their grandest palaces, churches and mansions. La Casona, on a beautiful plaza in the San Blas district, is thought to be the oldest colonial building in the city and was briefly the home of liberator Simón Bolívar. Carefully restored before opening in 2008 – it became Peru’s first Relais & Châteaux hotel a year later – it still feels like a conquistador’s private residence. The Old World dark-wood furniture, faded frescoes and antiques harmonise well with the earthy hues of Andean throws and exposed stonework. Eleven sumptuous and spacious suites overlook the plaza or inner courtyards, and all have private dining spaces as well as stone fireplaces, heated wooden floors and marble bathrooms. Plaza Suite Two, the largest, was occupied by conquistador Diego de Almagro. The in-house restaurant serves quinoa pancakes and coca tea for breakfast and Peruvian fusion food (guinea pig confit, Andean trout in Brazil-nut tempura) for lunch and dinner. The small Yacu spa has an ecclesiastical calm. Staff are low-key, courteous to a fault, and speak impeccable English. On the doorstep is the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art and most major sights as well as many of Cuzco’s best restaurants. Double rooms from £280. Read expert review From £ 353 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The most unusual hotels in the United States
Amangiri Utah, United States 9 Telegraph expert rating
A stone’s throw from the famous Lake Powell and the invisible border between Arizona and Utah, the almost secret location of Amangiri at Canyon Point is not easy to find in this extreme desert landscape. The clever design is inspired by the rugged nature of the Utah landscape and the distinctive Entrada sandstone. Guests come here to relax around the swimming pool that curves around a rock formation or to recharge in the 25,000sq ft Aman spa with sweeping desert views and unique Navajo-inspired treatments. Executive chef Jacob Anaya translates the regional new American cuisine into an agreeable mix of light but hearty dishes, such as fish tacos, served on a private terrace with a glass of chilled Californian white. All 34 rooms and suites extend from the main building like an eagle’s wing, with views over the untamed landscape from the bath or bed. The large folding windows can be completely opened on to the private terrace, with low chairs and fireplace – the perfect spot from which to marvel at the starry skies in the intensely black nights of southern Utah. Double rooms from £1,000. Read expert review From £ 1,766 per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best Northern Lights hotels
Fogo Island Inn 9 Telegraph expert rating
Dusk, when the windows glow through the sub-Arctic gloom, is when it looks most extraordinary – like a visitation from Planet Hip. Perched on a rocky island foreshore off Newfoundland, on Canada’s Atlantic seaboard, the Fogo Island Inn draws inspiration from the remote fishing community that surrounds it. Its oblong exterior may look like a boho slice of London or New York, but is modelled on Fogo Island’s clapboard houses, while the minimalist décor is handcrafted on the island to the designs of top North American and European designers who were in turn inspired by local traditions. In the kitchen, chef Murray McDonald puts Newfoundland on a plate by using foraged berries and greens and “wild things from the North Atlantic”, and every one of the 29 suites has an ocean view and a woodburning stove. It may stand on stilts but the inn is far from aloof. In a unique example of social entrepreneurship, pioneered by local woman-made-good Zita Cobb, all profits are ploughed back into the local community. Double rooms from £468. Read expert review From £ 1,290 per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • Top 10: the best luxury hotels in New York
Crosby Street Hotel New York, United States 9 Telegraph expert rating
In the heart of fabulously fashionable SoHo, but on a discreet cobblestone street, this red-brick façade and blue-lit exterior promises a flashy boutique hotel. Inside, though, it’s all sumptuous elegance: soaring ceilings, dark-wood furniture, subtle grey, mauve, red and white tones, and contemporary art on the walls. The English influence in the only American hotel of the UK’s Firmdale group is evident in the popular afternoon teas – steak and stilton Cornish pasties, spiced gingerbread English trifle – and in the floral-patterned wallpaper and decorative sofas of designer Kit Kemp’s fresh, light-filled interiors. The 86 rooms all have floor-to-ceiling warehouse windows (the upper floors with stunning Lower Manhattan views); the second-floor Meadow Suite also has a private terrace garden. Downstairs, the spacious Crosby Bar goes from serving English breakfasts and those teas to cocktails and dinner, some ingredients coming from chef Anthony Paris’s 12th-floor rooftop garden and urban chicken coop. Another highlight is the swanky state-of-the-art 99-seat cinema used for film-festival screenings and a Sunday-night film club. Doubles from £400. Read expert review From £ 502 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Rio de Janeiro
Hotel Fasano Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 9 Telegraph expert rating
When you hotel occupies the most fashionable corner of Rio, where the sugary sands of Ipanema and Arpoador meet, there is some pressure to do justice to its location. Fortunately, it was to São Paulo’s master of luxury hospitality, Rogério Fasano, that the opportunity fell to inject some much needed pizzazz into a tired Rio hotel scene. Today, the Fasano is the hotel to which everyone flocks, to witness invigorating sunrises and sunsets, to take front-row seats to the most outrageous carnival blocos and to witness action on the world’s most beautiful urban beach. Inside, the sophisticated gloom of Philippe Starck’s corridors is punctuated by Gaetano Pesce’s voluptuous, spotlit La Mamma chairs, while designer touches in the rooms are rendered almost obsolete by the flawless views. The hotel is crowned by a rooftop bar so in demand that Paulistanos book rooms for whole weekends to sip the moreish caipirinhas and, downstairs, enjoy the best restaurant in town, Fasano al Mare, helmed by award-winning chef Paolo Lavezzini. Doubles from £480. Read expert review From £ 294 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best all-inclusive Caribbean hotels
Belle Mont Farm St Kitts 8 Telegraph expert rating
Set a thousand foot up in the rainforested hills of northern St Kitts, Belle Mont Farm opened just over a year ago and strives to be a game-changer in the world of sustainable luxury. Created by the charismatic Trinidadian entrepreneur Val Kempadoo, and built and staffed by islanders, it sits on a 400-acre organic farm, with uplifting views across to the neighbouring island of St Eustatius. The 84 wooden guesthouses designed by star architect Bill Bensley come in a grand, Caribbean-colonial style with a majestic four-poster bed, private plunge pool and outdoor bath. Activities include mountain hikes and golf (on a pioneering organic course), but the most compelling reason to visit is the groundbreaking cuisine served in The Kitchen restaurant. Here, French chef Christophe Letard is not only rethinking ways to use local ingredients such as sorrel, christophene and guava, he’s also teaching Kittitians how to follow his innovative style. The result is a banquet of farm-to-table treats, including a delightful tropical breakfast served in the nursery gardens and a Sunday brunch served with free-flowing Bollinger. Double rooms from £731. Read expert review From £ 189 per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in St Kitts
Shutters on the Beach Santa Monica, Los Angeles, United States 9 Telegraph expert rating
This is the hotel where every celebratory event could be spent, with the same cocktail in hand (a dirty martini; hold the vermouth). From the moment guests pull into the famous Santa Monica hotel driveway there’s an old-school attention to service that, unlike so many Californian hotels, never borders on overfamiliarity. A preposterously handsome, preppy young valet helps guests out of their cars and carries their bags past the collection of Hockney, Lichtenstein and Jasper Johns art works lining the walls of the living room and up to one of the 186 guest rooms. Unless they book one of the hotel’s 33 ocean-view suites, some visitors may find the view disappointing. But interior decorator Michael S Smith (who also decorated the White House) has made up for this by turning even the smallest room into a miniature beach house, complete with oak floors and hand-stitched Indian throws. In any case, the best view is accessible to all, from the bar balcony, where brunch, lunch or tea can be ordered from the hotel restaurant, 1 Pico (the homemade corned beef with biscuits and gravy is out of this world) and watch the sun go down over Santa Monica Pier. Double rooms from £382. Read expert review From £ 480 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Fifty of Britain’s cosiest hotels
The Ranch at Rock Creek Montana, United States 8 Telegraph expert rating
Investment banker James Manley saw 500 ranches before he found one that matched his wishlist. A valley to ensure privacy: check. A mountain he could ski on: check. “A cool Western town” nearby: check. He didn’t want grizzlies, rattlesnakes or cougars (though there are elk, moose, deer, less dangerous bears and wolves). The altitude needed to be not so elevated as to cause mountain sickness. And he wanted a river teeming with trout. Eventually he settled on 6,800 acres of the Anaconda-Pintler wilderness, restored its 19th-century buildings and added a granite lodge, some long cabins (the loveliest are Bluebird and Eagle’s Perch) and a row of riverfront tents. The real appeal, however, is the activities: all the riding, shooting, fishing, archery, mountain biking and, in winter, skiing, skating, snowmobiling, sledding and sleigh rides you have the energy for are included, as are three meals a day and drinks, even in its Silver Dollar Saloon, where you sit on swivelling saddles at a bar encrusted with real silver dollars. There’s nowhere better to connect with your inner Jesse James. Doubles from £1,290. Read expert review From £ 2,019 per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith The Middle East, Africa & Indian Ocean Qasr Al Sarab Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates 9 Telegraph expert rating
Thanks in no small part to its location on the edge of the Empty Quarter, a 250,000sq mile expanse of dramatic desert , this ambitious property (imagine building a five-star hotel’s foundations in sand, and the logistics of water and electricity) leaves visitors with a real sense of the romance of Arabia. This is also achieved by the architecture and attention to detail shown both in the hotel’s main building (beautifully lit at night) and in the fine individual villas, which command soul-enhancing views. The fortress-style structure appears like a mirage, from which one can take in the stillness and silence, momentous sunsets and black, starry nights. There are five excellent restaurants, a full-service Anantara spa and plenty of activities to choose from. Guests can also arrive by helicopter. Double rooms from £233. Read expert review From £ 199 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Abu Dhabi
Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru Maldives 9 Telegraph expert rating
The first thing you notice is the scale, as this Maldivian island resort in the remote Baa Atoll is unusual in offering nearly two million square foot of exotic tranquillity. Plenty of room for the wide palm-lined boulevard leading to the heart of the hotel and beyond to extensive cycle paths cocooned by mature gardenia and lantern trees. Plenty of scope for privacy in the coral-fronted villas complete with traditional open-air rooms, a 39ft pool and a secluded walkway to the sugar-soft beach. Then there is the award-winning three-acre spa – a serious health centre with an Ayurvedic retreat providing up to three-week holistic programmes. Best of all are the resort’s sustainable initiatives, including a well-established turtle conservation scheme, a coral-reef regeneration programme (4,500 coral frames to date) and a pioneering manta-ray research project – all managed by a team of marine scientists. Add to this an exemplary service style led by the Zen-like calm of general manager Armando Kraenzlin and you have perfect hospitality in one of the world’s most alluring environments. Double rooms from £756. Read expert review From £ 1,084 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the most romantic Maldives hotels
Royal Mansour Marrakech Marrakech, Morocco 9 Telegraph expert rating
People don’t come to this hotel for a buzz or to be part of a scene. It was built at the behest of Morocco’s king, Mohammed VI, as a garden oasis and a showcase for Moroccan craftsmanship, and is a palace of calm. What sings out loud, though, is the beauty of the buildings: intricately carved domed ceilings, walls adorned with zellij tiles, elaborate stucco detail and charming, homely mud-walled riads with fireplaces, characterful bedrooms and roof terraces for sundowners. For those who do want to see other people, there’s a glam cigar lounge and a cocktail bar, the best hotel boutique in Marrakech, and a cathedral-sized white spa and hammam in which to steam. Or there is exquisite food to savour: French and Moroccan morsels by the Parisian Michelin-starred chef Yannick Alléno, and a perfect breakfast served outdoors beside lemon trees, from thick orange juice and crisp French pastries to sweet Moroccan figs and honey. If you ever wanted to know how kings lived, this is where you find out. Double rooms from £550. Read expert review From £ 818 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best riad hotels in Marrakech
Burj Al Arab Jumeirah Dubai, United Arab Emirates 9 Telegraph expert rating
Ever wanted to live like an oligarch? There’s nothing subtle about the Burj Al Arab, from its name (meaning “tower of the Arabs”) to its bold 1,053ft -high sail-shaped structure (still, at 15 years old, this is the third tallest hotel in the world) built on its own small artificial island. Inside, all 202 rooms are duplex suites; the smallest is 1,819sq ft. The 590ft -high atrium is a showstopper. It’s a combination of the luxurious rooms (with thick, heavy doors, marble floors, winding staircase, personal office with an iMac, Burj Al Arab-branded wine, massive bathrooms with whirlpool tub baths, unique and panoramic views of Dubai) and the service that makes this an exceptional place to stay. There’s a staff-to-suite ratio of eight to one and every floor is equipped with a desk of two butlers, staffed 24 hours a day. They’ll address you by name and escort you through the gold-plated lifts and corridors. There are nine bars and restaurants; breakfast is a choice of three enormous but very different buffets. And all the time you feel wonderfully and exhilaratingly insulated from reality. Double rooms from £1,076. Read expert review From £ 738 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Dubai
&Beyond Mnemba Island Mnemba Island, Tanzania 8 Telegraph expert rating
It takes just 15 minutes to circumnavigate this tiny island, a mile off the northeast coast of Unguja, known to most as Zanzibar. After the first lap – a blissful stroll on powder-soft sands encircling a casuarina forest that sticks up like a tuft of unruly hair – one starts to feel proprietary: a bizarre emotion but one, so staff assure, that is normal. Each of the 10 large bandas – castaway shacks hidden in the dappled forest shade, with a sandy walkway to the beach and striated blue horizon – is open to the breeze and ocean sounds. Comprising an enormous raised bedroom with steps down into a coir-carpeted lounge-cum-dining room with plush sofas, the luxury in this context feels decadent, as does the privacy – the only visitors are the delicately boned suni antelopes and, at sundown, a barefoot butler who brings cocktails and lanterns to light the walkway. Delicious meals are served while you dig your toes into the sand, and snorkelling amid gem-like fish is a few strokes from the shore. Mnemba is punted as a perfect honeymoon spot – I think it’s even better for couples seeking to reignite smouldering embers. This island is one powerful aphrodisiac. Double rooms from £1,052. Read expert review From £ 620 per night • Top 10: romantic Mauritius hotels
Singita Sasakwa Serengeti National Park, Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania 9 Telegraph expert rating
There are dozens of safari camps as romantic as this, and sited in places as rich in wildlife. But Sasakwa isn’t a camp. It’s the most elegant boutique bush hotel on the African continent: a glamorous colonial-style, no-expense-spared Tanzanian outpost for those who want to see wildlife without giving up an ounce of comfort. Rooms are little villas, with plunge pools and sumptuous modern interiors by South African style gurus Cécile & Boyd. Food is as delicate and fresh as any fine-dining establishment (orange-yolked eggs benedict, Norwegian smoked salmon, mango crème brûlée), but served under trees, on lamplit verandas or in silver-strewn dining rooms. When guests don’t fancy going on safari with expert guides, there are spa rooms, tennis courts, infinity pools and, for proficient riders, fine horses on which to gallop alongside giraffe or mingle with tens of thousands of wildebeest as they snort and chomp. Or there are planters’ chairs, festooned with feather cushions, from which to soak up the spectacular views of the Serengeti, and the privilege of being one of only 98 guests within 350,000 hectares of private reserve. Double rooms from £1,895. Read expert review From £ 1,915 per night • The best hotels in Africa
Ellerman House Cape Town, South Africa 9 Telegraph expert rating
Perched high above the Atlantic, in a 1.5-acre terraced garden carved out of the Bantry Bay cliffs, Ellerman House enjoys perhaps the most spectacular location in Cape Town, a city not short on views. With just 13 rooms and suites sharing the sprawling grounds, and outsiders welcome by prior arrangement or guest invitation only, Ellerman House is also the most private hotel in the city, a secluded retreat with the kind of hushed atmosphere that suits the many regular visitors who treat it as their Cape Town home. Urbane owner Paul Harris is also one of the foremost collectors of South African art: every wall here is testament to his great eye and deep pockets. Even Harris’s enormous wine collection, displayed in an innovative “wine gallery” and described by many as a work of art in its own right, is – along with the 24-hour guest pantry (chock-full with delectable home-baked savoury and sweet treats), sumptuous rooms, Cape Riviera views and intuitive service – part of the sum that sets this house apart. Double rooms from £310. Read expert review From £ 566 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cape Town
North Island Seychelles Seychelles 9 Telegraph expert rating
It’s no coincidence that Hollywood chose North as the real incarnation of Thunderbirds’ Tracy Island for the film. Guests, a mixture of potentates, oligarchs, celebrities and royals, arrive by helicopter from Mahé to stay in just 11 totally private villas. They’re so spacious that 10 are labelled Presidential and the biggest simply called Villa North Island. North redefines beach chic, with sumptuous natural fabrics and acres of polished driftwood furniture and doors. Guests set their own dress code, and order whatever they like from the chef. This isn’t simply a smart hotel and spa beside a beach covered in fine sand the colour of spun sugar. It has some of Seychelles’ best diving and fishing, kite-surfing and hiking. Nesting turtles regularly come ashore, and on the long west beach there are flying foxes, fairy terns, whimbrels and crab plovers: evidence of the owners’ pledge to make it a Noah’s Ark. Double rooms from £4,435. Read expert review From £ 6,000 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com C ontributions from Ariela Bard, Rosemary Behan, Annie Bennett, Adrian Bridge, Michelle Jana Chan, Gill Charlton, Lee Cobaj, Sally Davies, Pippa de Bruyn, Kiki Deere, Danielle Demetriou, Fiona Duncan, Tim Ecott, Lisa Grainger, Doug Gray, Gabriella Le Breton, Lee Marshall, Fred Mawer, Fionnuala McHugh, Johnny Morris, Chris Moss, John O’Ceallaigh, Natalie Paris, Debbie Pappyn, Anthony Peregrine, Douglas Rogers, Nigel Richardson, Caroline Shearing, Charles Starmer-Smith, Francesca Syz, Nigel Tisdall, Nick Trend, Celia Walden and Claire Wrathall

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Heart Stew

The movie “Ramen Shop” celebrates food and family – emphasis on the food. By – July 9, 2019
Considering it’s universal appeal, it’s a wonder there aren’t more movies about food. The ongoing trend toward conscious consumption has made gourmet cuisine ubiquitous in major cities, social media spreads artisanal dishes and streaming services are awash in cooking shows – yet aside from perennial classics like the 1985 Japanese “ramen western” Tampopo , Ang Lee’s 1994 Eat Drink Man Woman or Pixar’s more recent Ratatouille , not many films come to mind.
Fortunately for foodies everywhere, prolific Singaporean director Eric Khoo has added one more to that list with Ramen Shop, a love letter to his hometown’s cuisine disguised as a family drama. Sadly, while Khoo certainly nailed the food part, the drama could have used a bit more work.
After the death of his emotionally distant father, Masato, a young ramen chef from Takasaki, Japan, finds the diaries of his Singaporean mother, who passed away when he was a child. Discovering recipes she saved for him and her innermost thoughts, he’s filled with long-forgotten memories of his childhood in Singapore and embarks on a trip to find his roots. © Filmladen Filmverleih
With the help of a Japanese expat food blogger, he tracks down his maternal family and pieces together the courtship of his parents, who bonded over their mutual appreciation of food – particularly the Singaporean dish bak kut teh, a pork rib stew served with oolong tea. But he is unable to connect with his grandmother, the family matriarch, who opposed his parent’s union: A survivor of the brutal Japanese occupation during WWII, she forbade the marriage and disowned his defiant mother; now, she refuses to even speak to Masato. Determined to heal the old wound, Masato creates a fusion of ramen and bak kut teh in the hope that food will succeed where words have failed. The Great Communicator
At times oversentimental, Ramen Shop nonetheless tells its tale of familial reconciliation with a straightforward sincerity that is hard to fault. But the food steals the show: Presenting Singaporean cuisine, a heady mix of Indian, Chinese and southeast Asian traditions, in a delicious light, the real stars are on the plate. In fact, the dishes often have more personality and depth than the protagonists: each character is taciturn bordering on curt – unless they’re discussing food. Then, they transform into gushing waterfalls, going on at length about making your own chili sauce (use fresh kalamansi juice instead of vinegar) or the finer points of making noodles in a high humidity environment.
Gradually, you realize how this family became estranged – everyone is terrible at expressing themselves outside the kitchen. But that is precisely the point: One character remarks that Masato himself is like ramen, the Chinese noodle soup adapted to Japanese tastes – a hybrid combining the very best traits of two cultures. When he fuses Japanese and Singaporean cuisine, he demonstrates that food can bring people together.
Indeed, Ramen Shop’s metaphor for multiculturalism is a powerful one, but unless you’re an unabashed foodie yourself, its one-dimensional characters may go right over your head instead of straight to your gut.
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From avocado kopi to cheap street food: Here are the highlights of this year’s Singapore Food Festival

Reblog Returning for its 26th year, the Singapore Food Festival takes over dining calendars for three weeks from July 12 to 28, with a spotlight on Singaporean flavors, hawker heroes, food tours, and home cooks. Besides the myriad events taking place across the island, this year’s fest also features for the first time Liho, 7-Eleven, and Glico, the company behind Pocky. As a result, they’re introducing unusual snacks and drinks like Liho’s avocado kopi, a fusion of avocado shake and coffee, which will be made available at the brand’s selected outlets. Plus, the typical Singaporean breakfast of kaya and kopi appears in the form of kaya toast and kopi-o Pocky packs, which you can get at Ya Kun outlets while stocks last. Kaya toast and kopi-o Pocky flavors. Photos: Singapore Food Festival More At 7-Eleven stores, the Japanese-Singaporean ready-to-eat snacks include chicken satay onigiri, salted egg tamagoyaki, and takoyaki with chilli crab sauce and egg mayo. Oh, and Ippudo and No Signboard Seafood are collaborating on a chilli crab ramen for those interested in trying it out. 7-Eleven’s satay origiri. Photo: Singapore Food Festival More Now that you’ve nibbled your way through the tidbits, here’s the lowdown on the top food-centric events happening over the next couple weeks. P.S. If you’re looking for discounts, try getting tickets via Klook. Four local chefs host four different dinners over two weekends, taking on diverse cuisines for each meal. Chef Evelyn Yap of Happivore focuses on plant-driven “New American Philosophy” food, while Ivan Yeo of The 1925 Brewing Company whips up modern Teochew dishes. Then there’s Lynnette Seah of Lynnette’s Kitchen , who spotlights Peranakan cuisine, and Anuar Abu of Lagenda , who dishes out traditional Malay plates. July 21-20 & 27-28 at various locations. $65-$128/person. Photo: Telok Ayer Arts Club More This culinary session by Telok Ayer Arts Club and artist collective The Picnic reimagines the act of eating through a subversive seven-course meal that presents food as an artful experience. The event spans three Saturdays over lunch and dinner, with 15 participants at a time in the dining room, and includes a welcome tea ceremony and cocktail pairing. July 13, 20 & 27, 1pm-4pm & 7pm-10pm at Telok Ayer Arts Club. $128/person. Kueh Appreciation Day It’s all about sweet and savory kuehs at this event, with ondeh ondeh by HarriAnns Nonya Table, soon kueh by Kuehs & Snacks, ang ku kueh by Poh Cheu Kitchen, and even rare kuehs brought in for the day. Also look out for kueh demonstration sessions by chef Damien D’Silva of Folklore and more. July 28, 10am-4pm at OUE Social Kitchen, #03-02/03 Downtown Gallery. Free entry. Story continues Open Air Film Club: Republic of Food This edition of The Hive’s Open Air Film Club screens local movie Republic of Food , a light-hearted comedy about Singaporeans’ favorite pasttime: Food. Naturally, there’ll be snacks to accompany the flick, with local offerings like satay and BBQ chicken wings from well-known hawkers at Lau Pa Sat and Newton Food Centre. July 19 & 26, 7pm-9:30pm at The Hive New Bridge Road. Free entry with purchase of food coupon. Photo: Singapore Food Festival More This month, one Michelin-starred resto Candlenut joins forces with Park Bench Deli to create a buah keluak burger sandwiching a beef patty, the black nut, and a fried egg between potato buns. The item goes for $26.75, but $1 from each order will go to a charity of the chef’s choice. Until July 31 at Park Bench Deli. Last year’s tea fest. Photo: Singapore Food Festival More Tea enthusiasts will enjoy this one, with over 50 brands displaying their tea and tea-related wares at Jewel . Highlights include a tea market with all sorts of blends by local and international brands, a tea room for workshops on tea pairings and kombucha making, and plenty of snacks to go along with your brews. July 19-21, Fri 2pm-10pm, Sat-Sun 10am-10pm at Jewel Changi Airport B1 Atrium. Free entry; $35 for VIP tickets. Singapore Vegan Street Food Crawl You may not think Singapore has much to offer on the vegan side of things, but this trail is hoping to prove naysayers wrong with its tours of Geylang Serai, Chinatown, and Little India. Each group will sample six to eight local vegan offerings, from Peranakan kuehs, Indian snacks, and Malay desserts to street food like char kway teow, rojak, chendol, and more. Participants will also get a hands-on chance to try making treats like popiah and jackfruit dumplings. July 13, 20 & 27 at various locations and timings. $45/person. The 2018 edition. Photo: Singapore Food Festival More With price tags starting from $3, this outdoor food fair highlights the dishes of 12 F&B stalls, alongside a pop-up counter by Origin Bar, a retail corner by Naiise, and workshops run by local chefs. Vendors such as Restaurant Ibid, Salted & Hung, Artichoke, and Meat Smith will be doling out everything from salted egg chicken chop and chicken rice kueh pie tee to beef curry bowl and watermelon Yakult ice pop. You can also bop to the beats of music acts like Astronauts and Charlie Lim and attend sessions on beer appreciation and cocktail making. July 12-13, 5pm-11pm at The Promontory at Marina Bay. Free entry. Photo: Singapore Food Festival More The 2019 edition of this cheap and cheery fest focuses on Hokkien heritage and food, with eateries like Beng Hiang and Kim Choo Kueh Chang on the line-up. Just like years past, the food street will offer dishes starting from $0.50, with traditional Hokkien items like chut bee png (steamed glutinous rice), ang ku kueh, and cha gay ah (tapioca noodles) on the menu. There’ll also be a “hidden” roadside stall by the corner of the road selling fried Hokkien mee, hei zho (prawn rolls), and “Buddha Jumps Over The Wall”, a soup brimming with fish maw, abalone and ginseng. July 27-28, 11am-11pm at Chinatown Food Street. Free entry. The Great Indian Food Fest In a throwback to the ’60s, this spotlight on Indian cuisine hosts 17 street carts and bustling activities by talents like parrot fortune tellers, snake charmers, a kacang putih man, and henna artists. Plus, dance performances, music showcases, and film screenings will keep you entertained through the evening. July 19-28, 10am-10pm at Campbell Lane.

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I love Mexican (and pretty much all Latin American cuisines) but by a cruel twist of fate I developed a cumin allergy so I’m usually stuck making my own food from scratch.
Ditto with Indian food. God I miss a good lamb vindaloo.

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Hospitality major Hyatt Place Hyderabad/Banjara Hills launches Low Carb & Keto Friendly menu powered by Lo! Foods

Hospitality major Hyatt Place Hyderabad/Banjara Hills launches Low Carb & Keto Friendly menu powered by Lo! Foods 11/07/2019
Hyderabad/ Bangalore 11th July 2019: Hyatt Place Hyderabad/Banjara Hills, a property of globally renowned hospitality chain, Hyatt Hotels International Cooperation, has announced the launch of low Carb & Keto friendly menu for its customers. The menu, which consists of Low Carb &Keto friendly dishes like pastas, burgers, paninis and desserts, has been created by using Lo! Foods Atta.
Bangalore-based Lo! Foods, which has the widest range of Low Carb &Keto friendly packaged food in India, has been brought on board to launch this special menu. The entire range of dishes will be made using Lo! Atta. The specially curated Low Carb menu is available in Hyatt Place Hyderabad/Banjara Hills from 10thJuly onwards. The menu will include a range of all day eating items like Paneer Kathi Roll, Grilled vegetable Panini, Carb friendly pasta and desserts like Go Low Brownie.
SUDARSHAN GANGRADE, FOUNDER CEO Lo! Foods says, “Our Low Carb and Keto Friendly products, particularly our Atta, have been getting rave reviews from Consumers, home bakers and professionals alike. To now have Hyatt, a market leader in Fine Dining and hospitality, come on board to launch a curated Low Carb and Keto Friendly menu, further validates our thesis that in order to cut carbs from our daily diet, we don’t have compromise on taste. Our entire range of products including Snacks, Namkeen, Atta & Chocolates are seeing great traction and adoption.”
Hyatt Place Hyderabad/ Banjara Hills stays close to its mission of always listening to its patrons. As lifestyles grow more sedentary, customers want to cut down on carbs in their daily diet and prefer low carb options even when dining out. Understanding the nerve of its customer base, Hyatt Place Hyderabad/Banjara Hills takes a lead over its competition by launching a specially curated low carb menu.
SWARENDRA SAHAY, GM, HYATT PLACE HYDERABAD/BANJARA HILLS says, “Over the last few years, there has been general awareness among people about leading a healthy life. Low Carb and Keto is becoming a large trend. Our patrons on multiple occasions have inquired for such options in our menu. We evaluated Lo! and found the products to be tested and compliant with a Low Carb and Keto diet offerings. The range in the menu represents everything from starters to desserts. With one of its kind menu, we hope to wow the patrons of Hyatt. “
GAURAV RAMAKRISHNAN, HEAD CHEF, HYATT PLACE HYDERABAD/BANJARA HILLS says, “We were finding it difficult to work with traditional low carb ingredients or products since they were not suitable for commercial kitchens or fine dining setups. We tried Lo! Low Carb Atta, and found it to work very well in our kitchens – right from Tandoor to Ovens. And the taste of the dish was also excellent and something we would like to offer to our guests.”
Lo! Foods plans to scale up its online presence further and also start its offline expansion over the next 6 months, which would include ramping up presence in major retail and five-star hospitality chains.
About Lo! Foods
Lo! Foods is a Bangalore based packaged Foods brand, that has already become the widest range of Low Carb packaged Foods in India. The range covers Atta, Namkeens, Mixtures, Biscuits, and Desserts, with many of these being the only ones of their kind in a Low Carb / Keto friendly form in India. Launched in early 2019, the brand delivers tasty, nutritious and affordable range of Low Carb products for the Indian consumer.
This range is ideal for consumers on Keto / LowCarb diet, or anyone who wants to reduce Carbs from their food. It is company’s mission to reduce the incidence of diabetes and cardiac related diseases in India by 5 million by 2023. They aim to do this by reducing the overall consumption of Carbs, which has been proven to significantly help with Weight Loss AND lifestyle diseases like Diabetes. The company is leveraging the huge health trend of consumers across small and big towns reducing carbs from their diets (by cutting down sweets, sugar, maida, rice, potato etc).
About Hyatt Place Hyderabad/Banjara Hills
Hyatt Place Hyderabad/Banjara Hills, opened just a year back, is an upscale hotel located in the heart of Banjara Hills, Opposite GVK Mall. They offer 147 rooms including Suites, Free Wifi and 24/7 Stay Fit Gym for corporate and leisure guests. Indoor Meeting Spaces of approximately 5,000 sq ft, spread over two floorsare apt for small or mid-sized events.
Gallery Café- 24/7 all day dining restaurant. Enjoy unlimited deliciousness with lunch and dinner buffet spread that serves North Indian, Asian, Continental and Hyderabadi cuisine or choose from an a la carte menu for lunch, dinner or anything in between.
ZING – Sky Bar + Lounge – A high-energy social venue across the entire hotel rooftop, offering two bars, lounges, dining and event spaces with panoramic views over the city. The kitchen serves a grazing menu of simple dishes with bold flavours from India, Asia and Italy while the bar list proposes chilled beer and a curated selection of creative botanical cocktails. Operating hours – 5pm to 12 • Hyatt Place Hyderabad/Banjara Hills goes live with first of its kind in India Low Carb & Keto Friendly menu • Menu, powered by Lo! Foods, to have Low Carb food and desserts • Menu to include low Carb pasta, paranthas, paninis and brownies • Entire food range created using Lo! Foods Low Carb & Keto Friendly atta • Lo! Foods has the widest range of Low Carb &Keto friendly packaged foods in India Related Posts BBQ Monsoons- Culinary masterclass at Sofitel Mumbai BKC Zomato works with Feeding India to serve one lakh meals in a day Explore Flavours of the World at Renaissance Mumbai

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This weekend in Toronto just roars fun

Every corner of the city will be buzzing this weekend with fun events, so have a good one!
As you make your plans, keep in mind there will be TTC and road closures to navigate around — scroll below for details. Events
Honda Indy The 33rd edition of the Honda Indy roars into town for three days starting with “Fan Friday.” The free event on Friday, with a donation to Make-A-Wish Canada, allows spectators to experience the Indy up close. Some of the fun includes a pancake breakfast, testing your racing skills at the Acura NSX Virtual Reality Race or the Honda Virtual Reality Hockey Shootout, taking part in a scavenger hunt, and taking a photo with James Hinchcliffe’s No. 5 IndyCar show car replica. On the racing side, practice and qualifying runs take place over the weekend with the main race at 3:40 p.m. Sunday.
Festival of South Asia Bring some spice and flavour to your weekend with the 17th annual TD Festival of South Asia . For two days (Saturday and Sunday) you can devour irresistible Indian and world cuisine, let live music fill your soul and take in exhilarating dance performances. Plus, there’s plenty of shopping to be had. Fashion fanatics will want to check out the fabulous array of colours and fabrics in Indian clothing for sale in the booths — not to mention the jewellery, henna, balayage and lash extensions. Your little ones will love all the activities, including face painting and arts and crafts.
Ontario Vintage Market There’s nothing like fashion and art from the past to add a little pizzazz to your personal style. This Sunday, open the doors to everything you never knew you always wanted in your life. From fascinating furniture and art pieces that are sure to spark interesting conversation in your home to fabulous fashion that’ll make any Mad Men fan swoon. The Ontario Vintage Market has it all and more this Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Evergreen Brickworks.
Bloor West Street Fest A section of Bloor Street West, from Jane Street to Runnymede Road, will be turned into a all-day street festival on Saturday. From 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the Bloor West Street Fest , enjoy live music, carnival rides, an interactive musical ride called the Zoosemobile, busker show, food, and other sidewalk vendors. The area will be lined with tents, which will help provide event-goers with some shade from the hot sun while they browse the outdoor marketplace. There will also be themed side streets that will house several children’s activities.
Toronto Outdoor Art Fair Love supporting local artists or just looking for that distinctly ‘Toronto’ piece? Well head on down to Nathan Phillips Square this Friday through Sunday for the 58th Toronto Outdoor Art Fair — Canada’s leading contemporary outdoor art fair. More than 360 artists and makers will be there to discuss their work and even collaborate on a project that’s unique and distinctly you. This year’s theme is ‘Art: Unwalled’ — a nod to the fair’s dedication to being inclusive, accessible and radically welcoming to all artists and art enthusiasts. The event is free but the art isn’t so bring your wallet and pick up something that’s sure to add some flair to your home. Transit
Once again this weekend, subway riders will have to deal with a partial subway closure on Line 1 and a late opening on Line 2.
On Saturday and Sunday, trains won’t be running between Lawrence and St. Clair stations due to work on the Eglinton Crosstown.
Then on Sunday, subway service on Line 2 between St. George and Broadview stations will start at noon, so that work can take place on the Prince Edward Viaduct.
Shuttle buses and Wheels-Tran service will be running. Riders travelling south on Line 1 who need an elevator should exit at York Mills Station. Road closures
Honda Indy: The eastbound and westbound lanes of Lake Shore Boulevard West are shut down from Strachan Avenue to British Columbia Drive. Southbound Strachan Avenue is also closed from Fleet Street to Lake Shore. Strachan is expected to reopen at midnight Sunday while Lake Shore is closed until 5:30 a.m. Monday, city officials said.
Festival of South Asia: Gerrard Street East between Coxwell and Glenside avenues will be closed from 8 a.m. Saturday until 2 a.m. Monday. There will also be closures on portions of the following roads at Gerrard Street East including Woodfield Road, Hiawatha Road, Ashdale Avenue, Rhodes Avenue, Highfield Road, Woodfield Road, Ashdale Avenue and Craven Roa.
Bloor West Street Fest: Bloor Street West will be closed between Jane Street and Runnymede Road from 6 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Saturday.

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Bar Ware Will Open Downtown July 12

Guests got a sneak peek of Bar Ware and JuiceBrothers at a preview party, which was held July 10th at 276 South Front. Both businesses will open to the public on July 12th. Founder Libby Wunderlich says she wants Bar Ware to be “a neighborhood bar. Casual. Stop in for a drink.” Bar Ware, which serves a late-night menu as well as the regular menu, will be a great place for people who’ve been to the “Orpheum, a game, or (want) a nightcap on their way home.” Wunderlich describes the decor as “eclectic, comfortable, loungey.” The lounge/bar also includes a patio on the North side. Food includes small plates as well as larger larger portions made with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Kevin Quinnell, formerly of Itta Bena and Southern Social, is Bar Ware’s head chef. The cuisine, he says, will be “upscale food you would not expect in a bar environment. Quality and creative without being too pretentious. We’ll focus mostly on shareables and small plates.” Guests were treated to menu items, including BW2 (sliced beef wellington with bordelaise), deviled eggs, and watermelon with goat cheese. They also got samples of Bar Ware’s steamed sandwiches. Jacob Leonard and Sam Hendricks are bar co-managers. Hendricks describes their drinks as “crafty cocktails without being too crazy pretentious or over the top.” Among the cocktails are “Green Goddess,” which is made with Uncle Val’s gin, honeydew melon, sugar, mint, lemon and soda water on top; and “Indian Summer,” which is made of Wild Turkey Longbranch bourbon, lemoncello, lemon juice, apricot preserves and garnished with star anise. But, Hendricks, says, in addition to cocktails, they also have “ice-cold PBR bottles, too.” Bar Ware’s bar also will feature FRO-BEER, which keeps craft beers cold from the time they’re poured until they’re completely consumed. David Boone is Bar Ware general manager. JuiceBrothers, an international juice and smoothie bar from Amsterdam, is housed on the south side of 276 South Front. It will feature fresh juices, smoothies, acai bowls, and tonics. They make immunity-boosting, antioxidant rich, anti-inflammatory blends from organic fruits and vegetables. JuiceBrothers also will feature freshly-brewed coffee from J. Brooks Premium Roasters. Bibi Janus, a fashion designer now based in New York, is JuiceBrothers founder. She and Wunderlich have known each other for years. She discovered Memphis was a perfect fit for JuiceBrothers when she visited Memphis last May. “The city itself is so charming,” she says. She loved the city’s hospitality – the way people greet her on the street. In Amsterdam and New York “isn’t like that.” Bar Ware will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. after a special lunch menu on Sunday. It will be closed on Monday. JuiceBrothers also will be closed on Monday. They will be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Sunday. click to enlarge

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ITC Royal Bengal: Kolkata’s soul spelled with luxury

Read More The room in itself was sprawling, featuring classic, understated furnishings, and divided into the work area and bedroom (each had its own television and temperature control). I particularly liked the space given to the walk-in wardrobe and bathroom area featuring large mirrors. All services could be accessed through the e-butler iPad, which easily allowed me to customise meal preferances. There’s also the more compact Towers Exclusive rooms, service apartments, and suites, all together making up 456 rooms across the 30 floors. And the yet to be opened is the Grand Presidential Suite, which will span 6620 sq. ft., making it one of the most expansive luxury suites in the country. Banquet Lobby The hotel has five restaurants, of which Royal Vega was the one I enjoyed the most. A pure vegetarian restaurant, the second one after ITC Grand Chola in the chain’s repertoire, even the chefs here are vegetarian. Its opulent couches, jharokhas, and silverware make for a regal setting for their four tasting thalis – there is one from Bengal, Punjab, and Rajasthan, and a fourth serving the star dishes from all three. The menu has been keenly researched and curated to bring out the local cultures. If you like your Indian cuisine authentic, you’re bound to appreciate these. Another notable introduction is the Northeastern section at the Grand Market Pavilion, the buffet restaurant. Along with Indian and international delicacies, the focus here on preparations from the Seven Sisters is commendable, the first of its kind at a hotel. From different kinds of pork, pasta soup, bamboo chicken, fish stews, pickles, and the signature spice element of the Northeast, it’s a refreshing addition to a buffet. Darjeeling Lounge Chef Vittorio Greco returns with his iconic Italian restaurant, Ottimo, here – the tiramisu cannot be missed! It is connected to The Brass Room downstairs, which is reminiscent of Kolkata’s famous jazz bar culture. Live music performances every weekend hosted by the tapa s bar make the place come alive, and classic cocktails flanked by bite-sized Indian dishes made using international techniques (think chicken tikka pockets, paneer arancini) have a comfort food theme going. When looking for a lighter bite or have a working lunch or dinner, the Darjeeling Lounge is ideal. With specialty teas and coffees from India and around the world and nibbles keep you company, I most enjoyed the local bandel cheese and meethi dana tart.

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Resort advice needed please!

Hi guys
So after some time and consideration we have amended our search and requirements for our honeymoon to the following:
– 5 nights (Oct 12th to 17th)
– Water villa with private pool (modern style decor)
– All inclusive
– Resort type – aimed at adults/honeymooners, little or no children if poss
– Island size – doesn’t matter to us
– Food options – several restaurants rather than one buffet option (cuisines we like inc Thai, Chinese, Mexican, Italian, Indian, etc)
– Distance from airport – doesn’t matter now
– Water sports/snorkelling – not needed
– Options – would be nice for the option to have romantic/private excursions if possible
– Budget – less than £5000 (£4000 would be great!)
I’m finding it really difficult/confusing with the different advice from travel agents (who have their own resorts they partner with and offers) regarding resorts and the different prices (on different websites) and so i’m finding more options rather than narrowing down.
But yes, I would really appreciate your recommendations please.
Also, i’m assuming after we chose a resort, that it will be better to compare prices rather than stick to the prices of a travel agent? Has anyone found that one tends to be cheaper than the other (travel agents, hotel/flight sites, direct resort websites)?
Thank you!

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7 Must-Try Disney World Restaurants

Home » Seasonal » Summer Travel » 7 Must-Try Disney World Restaurants 7 Must-Try Disney World Restaurants 07/08/19 Yummly Looking for the best restaurants in Disney World ? These are seven of the best Disney World restaurants that offer service signature dining full of creative menus, delicious drinks, and of course amazing food. They are definitely some of the best places to eat at Disney World ! I was provided with free meals and experiences by Disney in exchange for this post. All opinions and thoughts are 100% honest and my own. The Best Places to Eat at Disney World?
Do you know how many Disney World restaurants there are across the parks, resorts, and Disney Springs? I don’t, but I know there are a ton.
Most of the time when I’m at Disney World, we eat at one of the restaurants that offers Disney character dining meals because we’re there with my kids.
On my last trip, I went with my husband on a eat all the things press trip and Disney was kind enough to feed us at a number of their signature dining restaurants. I hadn’t eaten at a single one of these restaurants prior to this trip, and I’m still craving half of the things I tried.
There’s a reason these restaurants were all on our itinerary – they’re all delicious. Definitely some of the best places to eat at Disney World, for adults or kids! And on par and even better than the Disney cruise dining I’ve tried!
All of these restaurants are outside of the parks either in one of the Walt Disney World resorts or other areas so you can make a reservation anytime and go without a park ticket. Just another reason I always recommend renting a car at Disney World – makes it so much easier to get to resorts!
Pretty sure if I lived in Orlando I’d likely be heading to Grand Floridian for truffle fries weekly. Can’t Miss Disney World Restaurants
There are so many more Disney World restaurants I haven’t tried yet that are still on my Disney food bucket list but if you’re looking for good Disney World restaurants to start with, these are all winners.
I’ve included details about where each of these restaurants is located, what type of meal (buffet, sit-down, etc.), whether they accept Disney dining plans or not, what kind of food they serve, a few must-try items from the menu, and my opinion on the food.
I will tell you now I liked all of the food – they wouldn’t be on my best Disney World dining list if I didn’t! Any of these would make a great dinner spot before heading to a Disney After Hours event – just skip dessert!
Here’s the list – keep reading for details on each! Jiko – The Cooking Place at Animal Kingdom Lodge Ale & Compass at Yacht Club Sebastian’s Bistro at Caribbean Beach Resort Flying Fish at BoardWalk Inn Boma – Flavors of Africa at Animal Kingdom Lodge Citricos at Grand Floridian Resort & Spa Trader Sam’s at Polynesian Village Resort
Three quick notes about these Disney World restaurants.
First, I have a no-onion preference (they make me sick) and all of these restaurants were amazing with it and finding out what I could and couldn’t eat.
At some of the restaurants the chefs actually came out and talked to me and at others the servers were able to just tell me which things I could and couldn’t eat – or the chef made me a version without onions.
Second, there were actually four of us that were pregnant on this trip. I don’t ever drink alcohol but because we were all pregnant, they went out of their way to make us speciality mocktails of signature cocktails on the menus being offered to everyone else.
I’m including the mocktails that we drank, but it’s likely they’re not actually on the normal menus. Ask and ye shall receive – Disney is great that way!
And third, sorry for the quality of the photos. Signature dining also means dark intimate rooms, which doesn’t lend itself to great photos. Hopefully the pictures I have will still give you an idea of the quality of the food through the plating and food items! 1 – Jiko The Cooking Place at Animal Kingdom Lodge
Location: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Type of Restaurant: Sit-Down Table Service
What Meals : Dinner only
Disney Dining Plan : 2 entitlements required on Disney Dining Plan + Disney Deluxe Dining Plan
Animal Kingdom Lodge has easily some of the most interesting food in all of Walt Disney World. Jiko has a menu that blends traditional African, Indian, and Mediterranean culture in upscale cuisine. From Wild Boar tenderloin to cocoa-crusted bison, you’ll find dishes here you won’t find anywhere else in the parks. You can see the entire dinner menu here.
It’s great for adults but if your kids aren’t adventurous, I’d skip Jiko and try out one of Animal Kingdom Lodge’s other delicious restaurants instead.
Another cool thing about Jiko is that Animal Kingdom Lodge actually offers on-property safaris that end with a four-course meal in Jiko. More to come on that when I write about our experience with the Animal Kingdom Lodge safari!
We had the Jiko salad, Peri Peri Chicken, and the Grilled Wild Boar Tenderloin along with some fruity mocktail that I wish I could remember. Other than regretting that I didn’t have more salad to eat, the whole meal was delicious. 2 – Ale & Compass at Yacht Club Resort
Location: Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
Type of Restaurant: Buffet + Table Service
What Meals : Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Disney Dining Plan : 1 entitlement on Disney dining plan and Disney deluxe dining plan
Must-Try Menu Items: Blueberry-bacon pancakes and salted caramel-apple French toast
We went to Ale & Compass for breakfast, and I was surprised that they offered both a delicious breakfast buffet full of hot and cold items but also a full-service menu. Even more exciting? If you order the breakfast buffet – it came with your choice of an entree from the breakfast menu as well, included in the buffet cost.
That’s huge, especially if you’re feeding a large family. The buffet was not huge, especially in comparison to say Boma’s huge buffet, but it had tons of fresh fruit, smoked salmon, eggs, pastries, and more. I easily could have just eaten from the breakfast buffet but then I wouldn’t have been able to try the blueberry-bacon pancakes.
And those pancakes were something special. I’m looking at the photo and craving them again.
Other menu hits from other people in our group including the salted caramel apple french toast, the breakfast flatbread, and eggs Benedict.
I have yet to try Ale & Compass for lunch or dinner, but it’s definitely on my list of places to go back to since the breakfast food was so yummy! And I’m always a big fan of New England style food – right up my alley! You can check out all three menus here . 3 – Sebastian’s Bistro at Caribbean Beach Resort
Location: Caribbean Beach Resort
Type of Restaurant: Sit-Down Table Service
What Meals : Dinner only
Disney Dining Plan : 1 entitlement for Disney dining plan and Disney Deluxe Dining Plan
Must-Try Menu Items: Guava-rita, jerk chicken
Out of all of the Disney World restaurants we ate at, Sebastian’s Bistro was probably my personal favorite. Not sure if it was the bold colors, the flavorful Caribbean inspired menu , or the beautiful view out over the water – but I just loved everything about it.
Sebastian’s Bistro is one of the more recent Disney World restaurants, and I’m guessing it’ll become a favorite of anyone who enjoys good Caribbean fare.
We had the chance to sample an arepa topped with slow-cooked pork, the crab cake, jerk chicken, and a trio of mini desserts (full-sizes are on the regular menu) and though I was a bit skeptical, the flavors were all amazing. Both the pork and the jerk chicken were moist and paired great with their sauces.
And the bartender made me and my pregnant friend a non-alcoholic version of the guava-rita and it was so good I might’ve ordered three. I’m guessing the regular guava-rita is delicious as well because people all around us definitely seemed to be enjoying them.
We also had a trio of mini desserts that included warm chocolate pudding, an iced key lime pop, and a banana custard tart but only the warm chocolate pudding is actually on the menu, and it was my least favorite of the three. If you’re going for dessert, I can tell you the iced key lime pop was my favorite of the three mini desserts, so I’m guessing the mile high key lime pie on the current dessert menu is a safe choice! 4 – Flying Fish at Boardwalk Inn
Location: BoardWalk Inn
Type of Restaurant: Sit-Down Table Service
What Meals : Dinner only
Disney Dining Plan : 2 entitlements required on Disney Dining Plan and Disney Deluxe Dining Plan
Must-Try Menu Items : Wisconsin Burrata salad
If you’ve never been to Flying Fish before, you’re missing out solely because the decor inside is so amazing. From a glass bubble chandelier to understated under the sea theming throughout the restaurant, it’s just magical. It also happens to be in the middle of the bustling Disney boardwalk, which is always a fun place to be.
Flying Fish’s menu is full of, you guessed it, seafood. But it also has other gourmet staples like artisan cheeses, chicken, and filet mignon for people like me who don’t love seafood. You can see the entire menu here .
And my favorite thing I tried from the menu was the Wisconsin Burrata salad – burrata combined with apples, figs, and a delicious walnut vinaigrette. Way better than the traditional grilled baby romaine salad that most people tried.
I’m not a huge seafood fan but my husband said that his swordfish was well-cooked and the sides (vegetables and potato beurre blanc) were standouts. A number of people also raved about the New York strip steak if you want something other than seafood. 5 – Boma – Flavors of Africa at Animal Kingdom Lodge
Location: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Type of Restaurant: Buffet
What Meals : Breakfast and Dinner
Disney Dining Plan : 1 entitlements required on Disney Dining Plan and Disney Deluxe Dining Plan
Must-Try Menu Items : French toast bread pudding with vanilla sauce
We went to Boma for breakfast and if we didn’t have an entire day of eating ahead of us, I could have stayed at Boma for hours and tried out everything they had to offer. This menu has just a small sample of the full offerings.
From the most delicious french toast bread pudding – do not forget to top it with the vanilla sauce – to every regular breakfast menu item imaginable, Boma’s breakfast buffet is hard to beat. They even have cute little Simba waffles that aren’t just for the kids. They’re not quite as yummy as Mickey Waffles, but they’re themed and totally worth trying.
Oh and of course potato barrels, aka tater tots. You could totally make your own breakfast tochos similar to these ones offered at Toy Story Land !
The buffet has both traditional American breakfast foods as well as tons of multi-cultural breakfast options as well – similar to how Tusker House’s buffet is setup. So take your time, enjoy the food, and wash it all down with the guava juice. It’s my favorite Walt Disney World juice!
If the dinner buffet is anything like Tusker House or anything like the Boma breakfast buffet, I’m totally in. 6 – Citricos at Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Location: Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Type of Restaurant: Sit-Down Table Service
What Meals : Dinner only
Disney Dining Plan : 2 entitlements required on Disney Dining Plan and Disney Deluxe Dining Plan
Must-Try Menu Items : Truffle fries
Citricos is located on one of the top floors of Disney’s Grand Floridian & Spa Resort and unlike many of the other restaurants on this list, has a bright and airy feeling. And not a bad view either since it’s so close to Magic Kingdom. I can imagine getting reservations during fireworks isn’t the easiest thing to do.
I don’t honestly know how to describe the menu at Citricos. It says that the menu is full of Mediterranean-style dishes but most of the things I tried weren’t necessarily what I’d call Mediterranean. They were delicious but not Mediterranean – and maybe I just ordered the wrong menu items.
Or right menu items because seriously, so good!
Each of the main entrees comes with its own sides but I highly recommend getting a bowl of truffle fries for the table to share. They’re salty, crisp, and topped with shaved black truffles – the best truffles fries I’ve ever had!
My husband also raved about the oak-grilled beef filet and the plate of macarons and custom chocolates they gave us to finish off the meal had me wishing we’d had the chance to try one of the signature dessert items!
And of course, I can’t forget my signature mocktail. This strawberry faux-jito tasted even better than it looks. And it was beautiful!
Like most Disney World restaurants that fall into the Disney signature dining category, the prices at Citricos are high, but it’s a meal worth splurging on, especially if you can time it right for a great sunset view! 7 – Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Polynesian Village Resort
Location: Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Type of Restaurant: Lounge
Disney Dining Plan : No Disney dining plans accepted
Must-Try Menu Items : All?
Okay so I’ll be the first to admit that Trader Sam’s is kind of out of place on this list, but it’s one of the most unique places to eat in all of Disney World, so I had to add it.
And I’m on a roll with mocktails in this post and Trader Sam’s actually has no-booze items on the menu that are absolutely delicious. You can see the full menu here .
See? It had to be included!
If you don’t know what Trader Sam’s is, it’s a lounge in Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort that is dark, intimate, and serves Polynesian style drinks and food. Think Hawaiian poke, sushi rolls, and speciality drinks. There’s a similar one at Disneyland that’s the location of some of the best Disneyland food .
The coolest thing though is what happens when you order a drink. Cast members chant, lights flash, and things just get all out crazy. It’s loud and probably not fit for babies who can’t handle the noise, but I saw a number of kids in there who were loving every second of it.
Be forewarned – it’s small inside and unless you’re very lucky, you’ll likely wait for your turn to experience Trader Sam’s. There was a pretty big line outside when we got there and reservations aren’t available.
I tried both the Polynesian punch and Schweitzer Falls and both were fantastic. I only wish I’d ordered one in a Souvenir Sipper to take home but it wouldn’t have taken as pretty of pictures as a glass!
If you just want to try the food and drinks, head just outside to Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace instead. Same food and drink menu, totally different atmosphere. Disney World Dining FAQs
As we were eating our way through the best of the best Disney World restaurants, I had a number of questions from my readers I thought I’d answer here instead of individually. If you have any other questions about these signature dining experiences or Disney World dining in general, leave me a commet and I’ll do my best to respond quickly!
And if I don’t know the answer, I’ll find out when we head back to Disney World in August! What are the Disney signature restaurants?
I mentioned numerous times throughout my post (and in my social media posts) that we were eating at Disney signature restaurants. These are Disney’s top of the line, upscale, and most expensive restaurant offerings. There are only a handful of them and from my experience so far, they’re worth the cost. You could swap signature dining with fine dining and be pretty accurate.
As of writing this post, Disney has 35 signature/fine dining restaurants listed on their website. I’m not going to list them all but you can find the full list here . If the link doesn’t work, simply go to the Disney World website and filter the dining search for fine/signature dining. Is there a dress code at Disney World restaurants?
No, as far as I have seen and heard there is not an official dress code at Disney World restaurants. A lot of the time people are coming straight from parks or are dressed in Disney family shirts or what not. But know that at some of these signature dining restaurants, you may see people dressed up – especially if they’re local and coming from home rather than from the parks.
Wear something casual and comfortable but don’t stress out about changing if you’re wearing these Lion King shirts and headed to Jiko for dinner. It might actually be a fun themed outfit!
Now if you’re at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party and your kids are dressed in full costume, you may want to bring a change of clothes just so they’re a bit more comfortable. But otherwise, anything should be fine as long as you’re wearing clothes and shoes! Which Disney World restaurants have mobile ordering?
None of the restaurants in this post have mobile ordering as they’re table service signature dining establishments and mobile ordering is mostly left to restaurants in the parks. If you want to know more about which restaurants have mobile ordering, check out this Disney World food post that has a spreadsheet of all food in the parks and if you can get it via mobile ordering! Which Disney World restaurants are included in the dining plan?
If you’re looking at the restaurants in this post, I’ve indicated if they’re included in the dining plan (and which dining plan) or not. If you want to know about restaurants in the parks, check out the best Disney snacks post I mentioned above.
And if you’re not looking for any of the above, check out the Disney World website. Each restaurant is listed with its menu and which dining plans (if any) that restaurant accepts.
You can also see how many entitlements (aka credits) each restaurant requires. A number of the signature restaurants in this post for instance require two. Make sure if you’re going somewhere that requires two that you’re getting the best bang for your buck! Which Disney World character dining is best?
That’s a topic for another post – this Disney character dining post ! My family has been to all but two of the Disney character dining experiences, and I rank my favorites over there in that post.
And make sure to come back in September after I update the post with our experience at the Bon Voyage Breakfast and Cape May Cafe character dining experience! Which Disney World restaurants need reservations?
If a restaurant accepts reservations, I recommend making reservations. And make them as far in advance as you can plan – Disney World restaurants reservations book up fast.
Most table service restaurants accept reservations, including all but Trader Sam’s in this post.
If you can’t find reservations to the best places to eat at Disney World, I recommend checking the night before you want to go. Most reservations have to be cancelled the day before to avoid a cancellation fee, so you can scoop up tough to get reservations this way. It’s how I got a coveted Be Our Guest reservation a few years ago! More Disney World Travel Tips
Planning a trip to Disney World? Make sure to check out these posts first!

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