Photo: @ilsalviatino on Instagram.
International trips are likely the most memorable ones you’ll take. Guarantee those memories are positive by staying in a place that is as extraordinary as your arrival city. These six luxury hotels pull out all the stops, pairing superb service and jaw-dropping decor that will constantly remind you that you’re not in Kansas (or California or New York) anymore.
6 Must-See Luxury Hotels Abroad:
Chiltern Firehouse (London, England)
These London quarters are fit for a king! The Chiltern Firehouse dates back to 1889 and houses 26 rooms, lofts, and suites. Owned by hotelier André Balazs, these fancy digs are part of the hospitality family that includes Los Angeles’ Chateau Marmont and New York’s Mercer hotel. Picture wood-burning fireplaces, mahogany paneled headboards, freestanding pewter bathtubs, and lots of natural light.
Experiences you must have while staying at the Chiltern: 1) See a celebrity. Everyone from Madonna to Natalie Portman to Lindsay Lohan to Rihanna and Drake have been spotted on the premises. 2) Order the crab-stuffed doughnuts with coral dusting off the brunch menu. Devour. 3) Instagram the kissing canine salt-and-pepper shakers adorning each table in the restaurant. Instagram the circular bar. Instagram everything. 4) Visit the “secret” smoking terrace, accessible through the basement bathrooms. Look for the mirrored door labeled “Women and Wine” in the men’s room or “Cigarettes and Men” in the ladies’.
Casa Cook Rhodes (Kolimbia, Greece)
The serene Aegean sea. Blue-and-white architecture. Bohemian millennials in hammocks. One of these things does not belong–or didn’t, before Casa Cook Rhodes established itself as the adults-only destination for trend-conscious tourists in Greece. This 90-room oasis of calm offers private terraces, yoga instruction, and exotic Mediterranean fare like seafood meze (small plates), spetsofai (spicy Greek sausage with peppers), and grilled ostrich fillet. If you just can’t stand to spend every day indulging poolside, guest services can arrange an excursion to Seven Springs, a sail along the coast with native skippers, a hike up the Tsambika mountain, or a walking tour of the Old Town.
Il Salviatino (Fiesole, Italy)
Step back in time at the historic, charming 15th century villa Il Salviatino. This tucked-away Fiesole refuge is a splurge worth every cent with its lush grounds, majestic architecture, and sumptuous furnishings. Stroll through the immaculate garden, lounge by the outdoor pool, browse the onsite library, and enjoy gourmet meals like house-made ravioli, crispy pigeon, or suckling pig on the patio overlooking Florence. If you’re in need of more action, walk or take the hotel shuttle downtown. You won’t even care if you get lost in this paradiso.
The Thief Hotel (Oslo, Norway)
If you have any doubts about Norway’s coolness, The Thief is about to dispel them all. The 118-room hotel–said to be the first luxury accommodations of its kind in Oslo–is a magnet for art lovers, musicians, and the hipster elite. The dark, curated decor fits in well with its surroundings: the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art is its next-door neighbor. (Though there’s so much art happening inside the hotel you might not feel the need to venture over there.)
Located on the Oslofjord and the Tjuvholmen canals, a walk by the water is only steps away. During the summer season, make sure you visit The FoodBar On The Roof for spectacular views and hearty fare that’ll be familiar to Americans: gourmet burgers, hot dogs, and fries. Time your stay right and you’ll also enjoy the Thief Music Unplugged Festival, which brings some of the best electronic, pop, and rap artists you’ve never heard to this Scandinavian hot spot.
Hôtel Plaza Athénée (Paris, France)
You might not know the Hôtel Plaza Athénée by name, but your female friends will recognize it from the series finale of Sex and the City. For the uninitiated, this 1913 hotel underwent a $268 million restoration in 2014 and boasts 154 rooms and 54 suites decorated in French Regency and Art Deco styles. Elegant ambiance comes courtesy of damask, silk, taffeta, velvet, and marble details. Whether looking out over Avenue Montaigne or with a view of the Eiffel Tower, this hotel with its signature red awnings is the epitome of romanticism.
Nibble on haute cuisine in the curvaceous, silver-and-white color-schemed Alain Ducasse, the star of the hotel’s five restaurants. Indulge in tea time (read: cake and pastries) to the sounds of live harp beneath glowing chandeliers at La Galerie. Or treat yourself to spa services designed with men in mind at the Dior Institut.
Overall, this might be a bit frou-frou for the average man (i.e. there’s a pillow menu!) but if you’re staying here, you’re likely not staying solo—and this is the place to spoil that special someone rotten.
Park Hyatt Tokyo (Tokyo, Japan)
Taking another page from the life-imitates-art playbook, the Park Hyatt Tokyo is the hotel Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson got quietly, intimately acquainted in for Sofia Coppola’s 2003 flick Lost in Translation. Rumor has it you can even request the suite the superstars used for filming. Hollywood legacy aside, the Park Hyatt Tokyo is downright posh–and ridiculously high in the sky, housed above the 41st floor of a skyscraper. Stunning city views, deep bathtubs, walk-in closets, a private library, and a binge-worthy selection of sweets at the Pastry Boutique make booking a room here a no-brainer.