Pavilion & Swimming Pool Dusk
Ken Hayden—Aman Resorts
By Travel + Leisure
February 16, 2018

As travel editors, there are two questions we’re asked on a consistent basis: “Do you travel a lot?” (Yes, and it’s wonderful.) and, “Where are you going next?” In many cases, we answer the latter with a city or country, but on occasion, it’s a hotel. Some truly standout properties are destinations in their own right.

To inspire your 2018 bucket list, we’re sharing the stays worth traveling for. Our picks dot the globe, hopping from Marrakech to Hong Kong to Chicago to Maui. The variety reaches beyond geography, too. We’re heading for floating bungalows, design-forward skyline perches, so-remote-they’re-otherworldly resorts, and everything in between.

There are buzzy recent openings (hello, NoMad L.A.) and iconic household names like The Plaza. Intimate 12-room properties contrast with 300-key skyscrapers. And the amenities run the gamut from calligraphy lessons to breakfast with giraffes.

You’ll also find few of our World’s Best Awards winners woven throughout — like the two-years-running Best Hotel in the World, Indonesia’s Nihi Sumba — and former It List pickslike Barcelona’s amenity-packed Soho House. A mere scroll through the images is a delightful five-minute mental escape.

Elizabeth Pointe Lodge

Amelia Island, Florida

“I was completely charmed by this hotel (and the nearby town of Fernandina Beach) a few years ago during a short stay, and it’s past time for me to return. Each day of that trip, I did little more than roll out of my cozy bed onto a beach chair, sip glasses of wine from the lodge’s huge porch overlooking the ocean, and make quick trips into town for meals at fantastic local restaurants. It’s the perfect place to book for a little low-key, easy-access R&R — exactly what I need this year.” — Skye Senterfeit, Photo Editor

To book: expedia.com, from $350/night

The Murray, Hong Kong, a Niccolo Hotel

Hong Kong

“I go to Hong Kong at least once a year, and it’s a city of great hotels. I’m excited to try the just-opened Murray, set in a beautiful 1960s building which has been given a glamour makeover by Foster + Partners. The rooms look sleek and serene, and there are places for drinking and dining on outdoor terraces — a relative rarity in the city. And it’s in a great location in Central.” — Nathan Lump, Editor in Chief

To book: expedia.com, from $520/night

Royal Mansour

Marrakech, Morocco

“My husband and I are going on a belated honeymoon to Morocco this spring, and it’s been particularly agonizing to choose where to stay. Royal Mansour, though, is a no-brainer — it’s like being in your own private mini-riad, complete with a rooftop fireplace and plunge pool. There’s a palatial spa and an outdoor pool surrounded by gardens where we can kick back after a day of exploring Marrakech.” — Lila Battis, Food & Travel Editor

To book: expedia.com, from $1,342/night

Hôtel de Crillon, a Rosewood Hotel

Paris, France

“I’ve been dying to see this landmark Paris hotel, which was closed for four long years, and finally reopened last summer. By all accounts, it’s even more beautiful than before, with a lobby that still shines with historic 18th-century details, but now buzzes with a more youthful energy. I just want to sit there and sip champagne and people-watch!” — Jacqueline Gifford, Travel Director

To book: expedia.com, from $1,293/night

The Plaza Hotel

New York, New York

“Perhaps the most famous hotel in the world, The Plaza will always have a place in my heart — because of all the movies it has been featured in. It’s the backdrop of a bittersweet love story in ‘The Way We Were,’ a cosmopolitan dream in ‘Big Business,’ the site where a dangerous case of mistaken identity begins in ‘North by Northwest,’ and where Michael J. ‘Crocodile’ Dundee learns what a bidet is. Overexposed as it may be, The Plaza is a classic — and I can’t imagine a better staycation.” — Jessica Plautz, Deputy Digital Editor

To book: booking.com, from $821/night

Amanyangyun

Shanghai, China

“Of all the hotels I’m dying to check out in 2018, Aman’s new Shanghai resort is at the top of the list. Designed by architect Kerry Hill, Amanyangyun is made up of 50 Ming and Qing dynasty-era homes that were saved from destruction and carefully transported 400 miles from the Jiangxi province. These ancient dwellings are now ‘antique villas’ with intricate woodcarvings and serene courtyards. While it’s hard to imagine ever wanting to leave such swanky digs, I’m sure I’d be lured away by all the cool activities on offer, from calligraphy lessons and traditional tea ceremonies to Chinese painting.” — Siobhan Reid, Associate Editor

To book: aman.com, from $1,100/night

Freehand Chicago

Chicago, Illinois

“The next best thing to taking a vacation is finding an inspiring place to stay that not only allows you to feel at home but also reflects the city you’re in. Freehand Chicago (really, the whole collection) has a fun design aesthetic that feels welcoming and young while offering unique cocktails and food at the Broken Shaker. I look forward to booking a stay here where it has a local influence, especially since I’ll be exploring the city for the first time with a former Chicago resident.” — Mariah Tyler, Associate Digital Photo Editor

To book: booking.com, from $209/night

Soho House Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain

“In April, I’m celebrating my birthday — and my long overdue return to Europe — with a trip to Spain. Before renting a car and driving along the Costa Brava region, I’ll be looking for a chic, comfortable place to bed down in Barcelona. Since Soho House Barcelona landed on our 2017 It List, I’ve wanted to call this reimagined 18th-century apartment block home. I’m a real sucker for a beach-view rooftop pool and cool, Catalonian architecture and textiles.” — Melanie Lieberman, Associate Digital Editor

To book: sohohousebarcelona.com, $322/night

Giraffe Manor

Nairobi, Kenya

“You’ve undoubtedly seen pictures of this aptly named manor on Instagram — a paradise where breakfast is spent with the namesake wildlife. I dream of spending a day or two at the estate before starting a weeklong safari in the area.” — Chelsea Schiff, Senior Designer

To book: thesafaricollection.com, from $770/night

NoMad Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California

“Superstar hospitality team Daniel Humm and Will Guidara hit it out of the park with the food and beverage service at the NoMad New York, their first foray into the hotel world. Now, five years and a Michelin star later, they’re helping to transport the NoMad concept to one of the hottest markets in the country: DTLA. The just-opened property has 241 rooms with luxe touches like clawfoot tubs and custom-made Persian rugs. Honestly, I’m most excited about the food. Front and center will be The Mezzanine, a formal dining room with favorites from the NoMad NYC menu and some Angeleno twists. But I’m really looking forward to drinks at The Giannini Bar, from the team behind the New York property’s award-winning cocktail menu.” — Hannah Walhout, Assistant Editor

To book: hotels.com, from $295/night

Hotel Eden

Rome, Italy

“Rome is forever on my return list; after an unforgettable semester there in college it still feels like home anytime I visit. I haven’t been back in a few years, but when I get there, I dream of waking up at Hotel Eden. Like the city it’s in, the Dorchester Collection hotel — first opened in 1889 — has an endlessly fascinating history filled with international royalty and movie stars. It went through an extensive, 17-month renovation and reopened last April, and according to the photos I’ve pored over, it’s more elegant than ever.” — Nina Ruggiero, Senior Digital Editor

To book: booking.com, from $852/night

The Dreamcatcher

San Juan, Puerto Rico

“Last year, Hurricane Maria canceled my solo stay at this 12-room oasis, and I’m so looking forward to rebooking now that San Juan is back on its feet for tourism (and in need of the financial support it provides). Though much of the Puerto Rican population is still working toward recovery, the Dreamcatcher staff reports the restaurants and shops in the neighborhood have reopened and the nearby beach is as beautiful as ever. The rooms have so much personality, the food gets rave reviews, and the activities on offer range from moonlight yoga to rainforest hikes to hands-on volunteer projects.” — Richelle Szypulski, Assistant Digital Editor

To book: expedia.com, from $161/night

Amangiri

Canyon Point, Utah

“Now that we have two young kids, my husband and I dream of leaving them behind for a few nights and checking in somewhere totally child-inappropriate. The hushed atmosphere, wide, empty spaces, and neutral palette of this classic Aman property in Canyon Point, Utah, would be perfect.” — Flora Stubbs, Features Director

To book: hotels.com, from $1,697/night

Hotel Wailea, Relais & Châteaux

Maui, Hawaii

“If anything could prove stronger than the desire to visit the islands of Hawaii for the first time, it might be the neverending longing to go back. Were I lucky enough to find myself in Maui again, I’d do anything to stay at this lush and luxurious retreat. Located on a stunning cliff overlooking the ocean, Hotel Wailea offers the perfect mix of authentic Hawaiian culture and indulgent, adults-only relaxation.” — Bailey Bennett, Audience Engagement Editor

To book: booking.com, from $489/night

Relais Christine

Paris, France

“I’ve walked by and wondered about this charming hotel in Saint-Germain so many times. It always beckons like a well-kept secret, so I’m excited to check it out after a recent renovation. The decor is so personal and unique that it feels more like a private residence than a hotel. I will wake up each morning dreaming the Le Manach draperies are mine!” — Melissa Ventosa Martin, Fashion Director

To book: hotels.com, from $535/night

El Fenn

Marrakech, Morocco

“Morocco, and specifically Marrakech, has been on my bucket list since college — our mascot was a camel! When El Fenn opened its doors, I immediately started following it on Instagram and ogling the Moorish-meets-modern design. I’m a sucker for stylish and small boutique hotels and this one ticks all of the boxes for me. Jewel-toned walls, eclectic artwork dotted around the property, lush berber carpets and intricate iron-wrought lanterns — what more could you ask for in a riad? It seems like the perfect home base after a day of haggling with merchants at the souks, sniffing aromatic spices around the food markets, and visiting the new YSL museum.” — Kira Turnbull, Assistant Photo Editor

To book: expedia.com, from $548/night

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0103.JPG
Marco Fugazzola/Soneva Jani

Soneva Jani

Maldives

“The Maldives is basically my definition of paradise: balmy temps in the 80s and blindingly white beaches surrounded by clear, tranquil, cerulean water (no big waves for me, please). If I’m ever lucky enough to go, the dream pad would be an overwater villa at Soneva Jani. From the private infinity pools outfitted with catamaran nets for lounging to the water slides that plunge from the upper decks straight into the ocean, this place is every sun worshipper’s dream. But my favorite feature is for when the sun sets: Bedrooms have retractable roofs, so you can stargaze from the comfort of your five-star bed (and we all know how amazing luxe hotel beds can be).” — Karen Chen, Digital Producer

To book: expedia.com, from $3,070/night

Tambo del Inka, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa

Sacred Valley, Peru

“For years, I’ve wanted to visit Peru to explore the archeological sites and hike at least part of the Inca Trail. In my mind, I can already see myself kicking back in the wood-paneled spa or savoring a plate of tuna ceviche after a day spent wandering around Machu Picchu.” — Sarah Bruning, Senior Editor

To book: expedia.com, from $329/night

ION Adventure Hotel

Nesjavellir, Iceland

“I have been dreaming of a trip to Iceland for years now, and its recent popularity has naturally moved it to the top of my destination bucket list. Because ION Adventure Hotel is within easy driving distance to Reykjavík, Thingvellir National Park, and Gulfoss Falls, it’s easy to get a lovely mix of city life and Icelandic nature without the hassle of shuffling from hotel to hotel. And, as a Travel + Leisure–recommended hotel for seeing the Northern Lights, I look forward to relaxing with a glass of wine and breathtaking views of the night sky at the end of an adventure-filled day.” — Elizabeth Preske, Digital Editorial Assistant

To book: booking.com, from $366/night

Nihi Sumba

Indonesia

“There’s a reason (lots of them, in fact) that this hotel has been named T+L’s number one hotel two years running. This luxurious, secluded resort has just 33 villas and offers guests the opportunity to try fun activities like horseback riding, surfing, snorkeling, and spearfishing. As a beach person, I would love to experience the surf and sand in such a serene environment — away from the typical tourist hotspots.” — Julia Warren, Editorial Producer

To book: expedia.com, from $750/night

The Opposite House

Beijing, China

“Made for the architecture lover, The Opposite House — designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma — marries dramatic contemporary style and traditional Chinese design in this 99-room hotel set in Taikoo Li Sanlitun, Beijing.” — Mary Robnett, Associate Photo Editor

To book: hotels.com, from $251/night

This article originally appeared on TravelandLeisure.com

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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