Discerning travelers expect a lot from their vacations and will go to great lengths to choose hotels that offer bespoke service and exquisite accommodations. According to Allied Market Research, the global luxury travel market is expected to reach $1,614 billion by 2026. Emergence of new tourist destinations and increase in standards of service providers in these destinations are anticipated to further increase the overall demand for luxury travel. To meet the demand of the sizeable luxury travel market, hotels are upping the ante in terms of over-the-top service and opulent amenities. Each of these hotels has a “wow” factor that appeals to guests who desire an elegant hospitality experience.
Lowell Hotel, New York, New York
Tucked away discreetly on a tree-lined street in the center of New York’s most exclusive and fashionable Upper East Side, the Lowell Hotel welcomes guests with a serene residential atmosphere reminiscent of a private townhouse. Established in 1927, this charming boutique hotel is the setting for one of the country’s most exquisite afternoon tea venues, which “wows” guests with pampering service and delectable selections. Located on the hotel's second floor, its Pembroke Room is a secluded oasis and peaceful setting that takes guests back in time to an era of grace and civility. The striking decor of this intimate room is accented by plush chairs, heavily draped windows, eye catching artwork, lovely potted orchards, crystal chandeliers and adorned mirrors.
Royal Hideaway Playacar, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
This all-inclusive, adults-only resort features 201 villa accommodations surrounded by sumptuous gardens with 24-hour room service and a Villa Concierge. Bask in the sun around one of six pools or beachside. Indulge in treatments at the full-service spa. The most “wow-worthy” element of the property is its Chef’s Table experience at Las Ventanas. Set in a stylish private dining room, participants have the opportunity to converse one-on-one with a Michelin-starred chef, Executive Chef Alejandro Sanchez, as well as his team. You’ll enjoy a delectable multi-course gourmet tasting menu. The hotel is just moments away from Playa del Carmen’s world-renowned 5th Avenue, where you’ll find 20 blocks of boutiques and shops.
Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, Grand Cayman, Caribbean Islands
Kimpton’s first luxury property and Caribbean hotel, this property is located on Grand Cayman’s famed Seven Mile Beach. The design-centric property features three distinct culinary outlets, including a chef’s tasting bar, locally influenced Mediterranean restaurant and a Mexican inspired taco joint right on the beach. Be prepared to be “wowed” by the exceptional spa with the island’s first Hammam, an authentic Turkish steam room. Each hotel room has a view of the beautiful Caribbean Sea, many with amazing balconies for catching the sunset. The only conundrum guests will have is whether to take a dip in the ocean or one of the two amazing pools on property.
Naia Resort and Spa, Placencia, Belize
Sprawled along a mile of a secluded beach dotted with coconut palms, sea grape and gumbo limbo trees, sits Naïa Resort and Spa - 19 acres of tranquility nestled within a 200-acre private residential reserve. The “wow” factor here lies in the Naïa Spa and Wellness Center which is spread over six acres of serene forest with six separate treatment suites all set in cottage in a lagoon, including a couple’s private island retreat, a well-appointed fitness center, yoga and meditation studio with three classes scheduled a day and salt water pool. The spa offers a wide range of wraps, body treatments and facials, many using techniques native to Belize. The Naïa Spa and Wellness Center is a tranquil haven with its own sense of time and space.
Our Heritage Guest Ranch, Crawford, Nebraska
Surrounded by the Oglala National Grasslands, this guest ranch has premier access to some of Nebraska’s most incredible scenic landscapes and active pursuits. As if that wasn’t enough, the most “wow-worthy” feature of the property is its array of unique programming, including a pioneer family journey package where you literally experience life as a pioneer with travel by horseback/wagon, eating like them, pioneer social activities; Lakota vacations (a week-long taste of Native American life and culture); guided fossil hunting and art retreats.
Hotel X Toronto, Toronto, Canada
Located on the shore of Lake Ontario and offering incredible city and lake views from every room, Hotel X is an urban resort and the perfect starting point to explore downtown Toronto. The most “wow-worthy” element of the property includes its 250-seat cinema, four indoor tennis courts or nine squash courts. The property also features a tri-level rooftop SkyBar, rooftop pool, an art gallery and spa, pilates, spinning and yoga studio, as well as multiple restaurants. There’s no need to leave the hotel at all but you’ll want to get out and see the fabulous city none the less.
The Ivy Hotel, Baltimore, Maryland
The Ivy Hotel, a converted mansion from the 1800’s, is Baltimore’s most expensive room (per average price), and is so exclusive that even locals have not seen the property. The wow factor lies in the fact that it’s completely private except to the guests staying in one of the 18 ornate suites that are often filled with celebrities and politicians. The general public isn’t even allowed to enter the building. As a guest, the property is yours. Take your coffee in the garden, choose a book from the library, try your hand at the piano, play a game of billiards table, or pour your own drink at your leisure from the curated bar.
Four Seasons Resort at Oahu, Oahu, Hawaii
A recent hotel project by de Reus Architects that incorporates natural elements such as wood throughout the exterior and interior to reflect the overall spirit of Hawaii’s Ko Olina will “wow” guests from the moment they arrive. The use of traditional Koa wood elements also demonstrates timeless classism in design, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. An arrival experience brings in the warmth of wood panels to the exterior entry on walls and on the ceiling creating a sustainable plantation. The central lobby was left open with the classic Four Seasons flower arrangement in the middle of the space, and large openings with windows that fold back these lobby lanai spaces are essentially garden lanais with ocean views.