Sunday, January 3

Top 10 World's Best|Most Exclusive Hotels

The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa (Capetown, South Africa)

The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa

If gazing at whales and dolphins while getting a massage in your private gazebo sounds divine, consider this deluxe resort at the foot of majestic Table Mountain and hugging a marine sanctuary. The views of the Twelve Apostles mountain range are so exquisite you'll have trouble deciding between an ocean- or mountain-view room.

Clayoquot Wilderness Camp (Tofino, B.C.)Clayoquot Wilderness Camp

Named one of the top luxury wilderness experiences in the world, this resort--accessible only by plane or boat--has perfected the art of glamour camping. Ultra-chic white canvas tents boast ample fireplaces, Persian rugs and four-poster beds with feather duvets--perfect for relaxing after a day river kayaking and surfing. A seven-night stay will set you back $11,000 but includes five hours of massage.

Casa Palmero (Pebble Beach, Calif.) Casa Palmero (Pebble Beach, Calif.)

Golfers who travel in style are familiar with the Lodge at Pebble Beach. For discriminating golfers who want something a little more intimate, there's Casa Palmero, the Lodge's sister property, housed in a former mansion. Casa Palmero provides an oasis of tranquility, personal attention and comfort just steps from the links.

Curtain Bluff (Antigua) Curtain Bluff (Antigua)

Enjoy unlimited deep-sea fishing and diving, waterskiing, kayaking, yoga classes and bracing gin and tonics courtesy of your $1,000-$3,000 per-night rate. “We have the most huggable staff in the Caribbean” boasts Michelle Hulford, who has owned the resort (with her late husband, Howard) for over 45 years. Every Friday she personally invites guests--honeymooners and hedge funders alike--up to her terrace on the bluff for a cocktail.

The Oberoi Udaivilas (Udaipur, India) The Oberoi Udaivilas (Udaipur, India)

It's no surprise this hotel, on the banks of Lake Pichola in the heart of romantic Rajasthan, keeps making “top hotel” lists: Every detail--from the suites' silken parasols and private courtyards to the ceremonial welcome all guests receive upon arrival by boat--evokes the splendor of the Maharajas. The views of the City Palace are breathtaking, and each suite has its personal butler.

The Four Seasons (Punta Mita, Mexico) The Four Seasons (Punta Mita, Mexico)

The room to book here is the $13,000-a-night Coral Suite, a five-bedroom beachfront “casita” designed by renowned Mexican architect Diego Vilasenor, complete with a rain shower and Vichy jets, as well a media room, private gym and full kitchen. Guests get their own poolside cabana (with daybed), where they are plied with cool fruit smoothies on the hour.

The Old Course Hotel (Scotland) HAMILTONHALLdec09-720850

Located on the most famous hole in the world of golf, this resort is a golfer's paradise. Not only do most rooms offer panoramic views, this is the only hotel on the revered 600-year-old St. Andrews Links golf course. It also boasts a new Kohler Water Spa featuring a state-of-the-art swimming pool complete with waterfall, a thermal suite and hydro pools to unwind after a tough round. Deluxe suites with marble bathrooms go for $1,800 a night

Jade Mountain (St. Lucia) Jade Mountain

The view of St. Lucia's dramatic twin Pitons is so striking from this part of the island that architect Nick Troubetzko designed suites with one wall completely open to the views while still allowing for complete privacy. Each techno-free “sanctuary” room boasts its own sprawling infinity pool, a perfect place to take in the infinite beauty of the bay. Rooms average $1,600 a might, without meals.

The Ritz (Paris) The Ritz (Paris)

No place knows how to pamper like this Parisian classic. Sleep in a royal bed surrounded by Louis XV furnishings and tug on one of those fancy velvet cords to summon maids and valets in the lush bathrooms with yawning tubs. The fawning service--the staff-guest ratio is three to one--is almost as legendary as the Sidecar, which was invented in the hotel's Hemingway Bar.

Auberge du Soleil (Rutherford, Calif.) Auberge du Soleil (Rutherford, Calif.)

Auberge du Soleil brings a bit of the sunny Cote d'Azur to the Napa Valley with its chic Mediterranean rooms nestled among vines and mustard greens. In addition to its inspired location, the inn boasts a Michelin-starred restaurant and, now, a state-of-the-art spa and an outdoor terrace for sipping wine at sunset.

The One Hotel Angkor in Siem Reap (Cambodia)The One Hotel Angkor

This renovated French 1930s colonial townhouse has only one suite--a very nice one: Frette sheets and hip "silk fur" pillows adorn the custom sleigh bed, and amenities include an iBook laptop, iPod and mobile phone. A Jacuzzi, rain shower and dining nook on the roof complete the personal space package. It's a steal at $250 per night.Thanks


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