The World's Most... Sinfully Indulgent Hotels
Last month, we brought Polo Lifestyles readers “The World’s Most... Luxurious Automobiles.” For our “The World’s Most…” content this month, our senior global style curator Trystanne Cunningham researched The World’s Most... Sinfully Indulgent Hotels. The Hôtel Plaza Athénée, perhaps the most famous hotel in the world, is befitting of its mention in the first spot. An ultra-luxury submarine that docks in Caribbean ports is unlike anything you’ve ever imagined; truly the experience of a lifetime. A palace-turned-hotel in Jaipur will transport you to another era and the beloved Hotel President Wilson in Geneva.
Hotel Plaza Athénée - Paris, France Those distinctive red awnings. The unparalleled view of the Eiffel Tower from your room balcony. A grand dame in Paris, the Hôtel Plaza Athénée stands out among the City of Light’s luxury destinations for its location on famed shopping street Avenue Montaigne. Built in 1913, the lodging, with its distinctive red awnings, opulent decor, and unparalleled service, has been a home away from home for fashion designers, models, movie stars, and other A-listers. A series of renovations, including new decor by designer Marie-José Pommereau, has kept the Dorchester Collection hotel as relevant as the day it opened. The beloved restaurant Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée draws foodies from around the world, and at night the cocktail bar is the place to be. Not to mention, the legendary hostelry has been featured in TV shows and films like Sex and the City and The Devil Wears Prada.
The décor in Hôtel Plaza Athénée fall into two main design categories: Art Deco interiors and a classic Louis XVI style that recalls the same aesthetic as Dior boutiques (which happens to be an haute couture brand that closely interlinked with the hotel: in 1947, Monsieur Christian Dior showed his inaugural collection at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée, and his famous Bar suit was named after the hotel’s popular cocktail bar). And then there are the occasional pop-up themed suites for the littlest guests. Previous themed suites include Barbie and Hot Wheels bedrooms, flanking all pink furniture and a custom car bed respectively.
There are indulgent breakfasts, and then there is the exceptional breakfast at Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée that is perfectly elegant and well, simply incomparable. Designed by Jouin Manku, the restaurant space is a sublime fantasy come true: dripping in crystal chandeliers, shell-like booths and mirrored domes that line the entrance. The three-Michelin starred restaurant opens to hotel guests for breakfast service. Everything, from the food to the service—as expected—is a fine-dining affair. Upon being seated, before the mains are even ordered, a decadent mountain of French pastries, together with every jam imaginable arrives. Absolute decadence!
Guests staying at the hotel adore the suites that command a view of the Eiffel Tower—these are undeniably the crème de la crème. Of all of them, Eiffel Suites 361 and 878 are the most requested. While 878 sports an Art Deco–inspired contemporary design with modern furnishings in browns, beiges, and baby blues, 361 features a more classical French-palace ambience. The latter offers 1,400 square feet comprising a living room, bedroom, dressing room, and marble-clad bathroom. In the living room, gray walls and elaborate moldings form the backdrop for Louis XIV chairs upholstered in rose-pink fabric, two dark gray velvet sofas, a glass-top cocktail table with silver-leaf details, a chandelier decorated with black tassels, and silk curtains. A grand piano and a writing desk with a view of the Eiffel Tower add an extra touch of elegance. Natalie Portman and Jude Law are just two of the notable guests who have stayed in Suite 361, and you can join their ranks for $4,000 per night.
One of the most expensive hotels in the world currently is Lovers Deep Submarine. OK, so it’s not yellow... It is located near the coral reef off the coast of St. Lucia - one of the boarding ports. The price of one night’s stay at this hotel is $150,000. Lover’s Deep is a submarine hotel for sea lovers. This hotel gives you a peaceful sleep in the depth of the ocean. You will enjoy the excellent views of marine life. The submarine travels the beautiful waters of the Caribbean including the islands of Montserrat, Martinique, St. Lucia and Barbados among others. The submarine is equipped with the utmost luxury down to the smallest details. Hardwoods, leather sofas and armchairs, are part of the decor. The vessel features luxurious living rooms, a minibar, bathroom for two and a bedroom with stunning views of the underwater habitat. A staff of three is assigned to each guest room: a captain, a chef and a personal butler, who share accommodations at the opposite end of the ship to safeguard your privacy. Guests receive speedboat transfers and optional add-ons that include helicopter transfers, beach landing, two-person shower, and champagne-soaked breakfast. In addition, the tours can be customized to suit your desires, which may include visits to the beautiful coral reefs or the remains of an old and forgotten shipwreck from the time when these waters were frequented by pirates and buccaneers. For good measure, the agency will throw in a rose petal scattering service. The mega luxurious experience is complemented by a specially designed aphrodisiac menu that includes oysters, caviar and chocolate fondant with essence of royal pomegranate, amongst other delights. This menu is offered at no charge for guests who book the submarine as part of their honeymoon package. After you’ve spent a night in this luxurious hotel you surely would have had the opportunity to join the mile low club.
Cala di Volpe Hotel, on the island of Sardinia, boasts Europe’s most expensive three-bedroom presidential suite: $32,750. Cala di Volpe Hotel is all terracotta shades outside, with a white stucco interior that artfully blends traditional rustic with contemporary dashes, sporting curvy corridors, swirly staircases, modern sculptures and stained glass. Jacques Couelle’s expressive architecture dominates its beauty characteristic of Costa Smeralda. The reception area is cool, almost cave-like, and the atmosphere feels hushed and superbly exclusive. Overlooking a cove of lapping turquoise waters, it’s the sort of place where time takes a break. There’s a huge pool and a private beach reachable by a private boat service. Tennis courts and a fitness center complement the relaxing areas, just in case you feel like swinging a racket or hitting the weights. The nearby Pevero Golf Club is stunning. The hotel’s culinary offerings feature indigenous ingredients from Sardinia’s best producers, as well as international classic dishes to please gourmands from all over the world. Costa Smeralda was established in 1962 when the first hotels, Hotel Cervo and Hotel Cala di Volpe, were built. Hotel Pitrizza opened its doors in 1963 and Hotel Romazzino in 1965. This marked the start of a whole new era for the Costa Smeralda: members of the international nobility, Hollywood celebrities and business leaders began pouring in, turning it into a chic, jet-set destination, a natural paradise just a two-hour flight from mainland Europe. Fifty years later, the Costa Smeralda remains an incomparably beautiful corner of unspoiled Sardinia. Now world-renowned for the exceptional standard of its hospitality, it is a second home to the international jet-set, who fill the lobbies, suites, swimming pools and private beaches of four of the world’s most prestigious hotels. Featuring artistically arranged porticos, juniper wood doors, arches and steps, Hotel Cala di Volpe was designed in the style of a traditional fishing village, and remains the Mediterranean’s most glamorous hideaway. Hotel Pitrizza, on the other hand, is a triumph of understated sophistication, a haven where space, in the form of gardens that separate its villas om the private beach, is the real luxury. It boasts a selection of exclusive suites guaranteed to meet the needs of even the most discerning guests. Hotel Romazzino’s own white stucco lines are reminiscent of those of a traditional Mediterranean village and blend effortlessly with the expansive white beach that separates it from the famous emerald sea. Last but not least, Hotel Cervo remains the very living, beating heart of the village of Porto Cervo. It brilliantly combines beach life and chic glamour, thanks to its famous Tennis Club, five restaurants and special partnership with the Pevero Golf Club, which is also open all year round. Luxury and simplicity, sea and glamour, privacy and jet-set socializing: in the attraction of opposites lies the secret to the enduring success of the glittering Costa Smeralda.
Hotel President Wilson Switzerland Overlooking Lake Geneva Situated on the Leman Lake shore, just steps from the most beautiful parks and boutiques of the renowned Rue du Rhône, Hotel President Wilson is one of the most contemporary addresses in Geneva, facing the magnificent panorama of the Mont-Blanc, a culture of service reflecting the Genevan lifestyle and a fine Swiss heritage. With large bay-windows offering a panoramic view over Lake Leman, the hotel pool or Geneva city, all 204 rooms and 22 suites of the luxury hotel combine comfort and elegance. Live an exclusive experience at Spa La Mer and its outdoor pool overlooking the lake, and succumb to the delicacy of the Michelin-starred cuisine from famous Chef Michel Roth. Inside one of the world’s most expensive hotels is the plush Royal Penthouse suite and officially one of the most expensive in the world – setting guests back an astounding $1.1 million per night for a luxury stay. The 12-bedroom penthouse covers the entire eighth floor of the hotel. Opened in May 1962, the hotel is dedicated the 28th President of the United States Woodrow Wilson for his role in creating the League of Nations. History aside, just to give you an idea as to how fancy this place is – the likes of Richard Branson, Rihanna and Bill Gates are all said to have stayed in the pricey pad, which boasts a personal chef, a butler and a team of security. Alongside being the most expensive suite, it is also famous for being the largest suite in Europe, measuring around 19,000 square feet. But the huge space isn’t the most impressive thing about this penthouse. The bathrooms are made from marble, with products from top designer Hermes featured inside for anyone who doesn’t fancy bringing along their own shampoo and conditioner. There are two master bedrooms which have vast walk-in dressing rooms and a jacuzzi, and the lounge features a Steinway Grand piano. Guests can also enjoy perfumed wardrobes and panoramic views of the lake, and you can get around the hotel in your own private elevator. Sujan Rajmahal Palace Starting at $500 per night
The Royal Standard of the House of Amber still flutters above Rajmahal Palace, one of the oldest and most treasured palaces in the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur. Only the City Palace and the royal family’s private forts hold this distinction. Home to the Maharaja of Jaipur, this exquisite royal palace is located at the heart of Rajasthan’s bustling capital. An enclosed oasis, secluded in verdant gardens, Rajmahal Palace is the repository of a celebrated history. Tall bay windows, mirrored doors and meticulously appointed interiors allow guests to be transported to a new era of 21st century regal living. Conceived by H.H Sawai Jai Singh II as a private palace and a garden retreat built for his beloved wife, Chandra Kanwar Ranawat ji, the daughter of the Maharana of Mewar, Rajmahal Palace has stood witness to over 250 years of history. In 1821, Rajmahal became the official residence of the British Resident Political Officer of Rajputana and in 1958, His Highness Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II of Jaipur – the celebrated and dashing ‘Jai’ – chose it as his personal private residence. Over the decades this remarkable palace has hosted Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, and eminent international celebrities such as Jackie O., Lord and Lady Mountbatten, and the Shah of Iran. Following a carefully orchestrated restoration by the prodigious designer Adil Ahmad, this palace continues to embody the heritage of its past, maintaining the original, stunning marble staircase, elaborate chandeliers, and treasured family possessions.