asia – india, sri lanka & the maldives

Worlds 100 Most Beautiful Hotels 2016

our pick of the world’s most beautiful hotels in the Indian subcontinent

The Maldives is, of course, famous for top-end luxury resorts. Some of those resorts are beautiful, and have made it onto our list. Sri Lanka has some fabulous boutique hotels as well as some world-class luxury resorts. And when I think of India in this context I think of the amazing palace hotels, principally centred around Rajasthan.

cheval blanc randheli

* featured in: Hotel Lust List World’s 100 Most Beautiful Hotels 2016, Conde Nast Hot List 2014, Tatler Travel Guide 2015

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Cheval Blanc Randheli is situated in Noonu Atoll which includes a handful of unspoiled green islands protected from the ocean by a large coral reef. The design, courtesy of architect Jean-Michel Gathy, is simply stunning – a contemporary and understated blend of modern architecture and traditional inspiration. The interior design features materials from the Indian Ocean and natural textures – rattan, bamboo, mother-of-pearl, coral or shagreen – enhanced by a vivid palette of colours with splashes of pop yellow and green. I love the cathedral ceilings of the Island Villas, but I’m torn…. I think I’d have to go with one of the Water Villas with their 12m infinity pool. Yum.

Dining and drinking options include the absolutely gorgeous The White and The White Bar although the Le 1947 Bar (named, apparently, after Chateau Cheval Blanc’s most sought-after vintage also looks very attractive.

The Guerlain Spa is located on a separate island – guests can be ferried there on a local dhoni. Alongside treatments, guests can enjoy a traditional hammam bath or a yoga session in the dedicated pavilions as a prelude or interlude to their treatments.

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* location: Maldives

* hotel category: luxury

* designers: Denniston

* hotel lust list world’s best resorts: best design resorts in the Maldives

* hotel’s website

* for more gorgeous hotels in The Maldives, click here >>>


four seasons maldives landaa giraavaru

Four Seasons Maldives

I’m finding it difficult to decide which is the better of the two Four Seasons resorts in the Maldives: Four Seasons Maldives Landaa Giraavaru or Four Seasons Maldives Maldives at Kuda Huraa, they both look fabulous. No need to suffer from too much FOMO though, Four Seasons operates a luxury catamaran which travels between the two resorts. Problem solved!

Four Seasons Maldives Landaa Giraavaru is set on a tropical island, and offers 103 thatched bungalows and villas of contemporary Maldivian design. Some accommodation is set on the island itself – these have their own pool and private garden – Beach Villas have a 12 metre private lap pool. But my pick would be one of the over-water Villas which include nets for over-water lazing. Yum.

I love the look of the beachfront Italian restaurant, Blu, resplendent in mediterranean blue and white, and the over-water Seabar looks like a fabulous place for a sunset cocktail. The resort also has a spa with treatment pavilions set in tropical gardens or on stilts over the lagoon.

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* featured in: Hotel Lust List World’s 100 Most Beautiful Hotels 2016

* hotel category: luxury

* hotel lust list world’s best resorts: best luxury resorts in the Maldives

* hotel’s website

* for more gorgeous hotels in The Maldives, click here >>>


umaid bhawan palace

Perched high above the desert capital of Jodhpur, Umaid Bhawan Palace was completed in 1943 and has served as the principal residence of the Jodhpur royal family since. It was designed by Edwardian architect Henry Lanchester, and is a blend of eastern and western architectural influences. Its majestic 105-foot high cupola is influenced by the Renaissance, while the towers draw inspiration from Rajput tradition. The lavish interiors with gilt furniture and elegant artwork follow the Art Deco style, complemented by the exotic murals of the self-exiled Polish artist Stefan Norblin. My choice of rooms would be The Maharani Suite, which has a large balcony with a spectacular view of the palace gardens and the Mehrangarh Fort,, as well as a bath carved out of a single piece of pink Italian marble or The Maharaja Suite with its verandah overlooking the courtyard and a steam room. Which one to choose!? There is also a gorgeous indoor pool, with more murals from Stefan Norblin on the walls.

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* location: Jodhpur

* featured in Travel+Leisure It List 2008, Hotel Lust List World’s 100 Most Beautiful Hotels 2016

* hotel category: luxury

* hotel lust list world’s best hotels: best luxury hotel in Rajasthan

* hotel’s website

* for more gorgeous hotels in Rajasthan, click here >>>


amanwella

Amanwella takes its architectural inspiration from famed Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa. Natural materials are used in hand-hewn stone walls, timber and distinctive terracotta roof tiles, emulating a sense of oneness with nature. Clean vertical lines contrast with the rugged landscape and the colour palette is a soothing beige, cream, honey and wood. Every suite features its own plunge pool and there is a generously sized 47m long swimming pool with uninterrupted views of the palms, beach and ocean.

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* location: Tangalle

* featured in Conde Nast Traveller Hot List 2005, The World’s Coolest Hotel Rooms, Hotel Lust List World’s 100 Most Beautiful Hotels 2016

* hotel category: luxury

* hotel lust list world’s best hotels: best luxury hotel in Sri Lanka

* hotel’s website 

* for more gorgeous hotels in Sri Lanka, click here >>>


shangri-la's villingili resort and spa, maldives

* featured in Conde Nast Hot List 2010, Tatler 101 Best Hotels 2011, Hotel Lust List World’s 100 Most Beautiful Hotels 2016

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Shangri-La’s Villingili’s Resort & Spa Maldives has an accommodation option to suit every taste. Want an over-water villa? take one of the Water Villas, a pool villa? – the Deluxe Pool Villas offer fabulous ocean views from their private infinity pool and sun deck, a spacious garden and intimate coral beach front. How about a private villa set in the tree tops? The Tree House VIllas as perched on stilts among the treetop and offer panoramic views.

Finally, if you want, and can afford, the ultimate luxury experience you have two awesome options: the 570m2 Villa Muthee or the spectacular 957m2 Villa Laalu – the jewel in the resort’s crown. This has two large, high-ceilinged bedrooms, an extensive garden, carefully selected artworks, precious, high-end Asian artefacts, sculptures and urns from Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand and a luxurious tub for two which has been raised from the floor on textured stone, with an adjacent cascading water feature and a spa pavilion

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* hotel category: luxury

* hotel lust list world’s best resorts: best luxury resort in the Maldives

* hotel’s website

* for more gorgeous hotels in The Maldives, click here >>>


one&only reethi rah

* featured in Best Hotels for Food – Conde Nast Gold List 2009, Tatler 101 Best Hotels 2011, Asian Pacific Hotels, Hotel Lust List World’s 100 Most Beautiful Hotels 2016

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One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives is an all-villa resort consisting of 98 Beach Villas set along the shore and 32 Water Villas set over a lagoon. The Beach Villas are very attractive – I’d go for either one of the Beach Villas with Pool – the clue is in the name – a very generous 165m2, including the pool itself, or the even larger Grand Beach Villas with their private stretch of beach, one or two bedrooms, luxurious soaking tub for two and huge 50m2 private pool – the pool is bigger than my apartment! Apart from having some of the largest resort villas in the world, One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives also has the distinction of being a One&Only resort, with all of the implications this has: quality and classically contemporary decor, a fabulous 9,500m2 spa with views of the ocean and some great dining experiences including the stylish over-water Japanese restaurant Tapasake.

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* hotel category: luxury

* designer: Denniston, pools and restaurants being refurbished by Bill Bensley @ April 2016

* hotel lust list world’s best resorts: best luxury resort in the Maldives, romantic resorts in the Maldives

* hotel’s website

* for more gorgeous hotels in The Maldives, click here >>>


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