From New York’s The Carlyle to Raffles in Singapore, these are the hotels that combine tradition with luxury in jaw-dropping fashion.
Welcome to a world of classic cocktails, 24-carat gold-leaf ceilings and designer decor…
The Goring, London
The Goring in London, which is the first choice for any foreign royal visiting the city. The 69-bedroom hotel is tucked behind Buckingham Palace
Kate Middleton stayed here the night before she married Prince William, and The Goring is the first choice for any foreign royal visiting London.
Opened in 1910 and still in the ownership of the Goring family, the 69-bedroom hotel is tucked behind Buckingham Palace.
Unlike some hotels in London, afternoon tea is only ever served in the afternoon, and staff wouldn’t dream of serving Yorkshire puddings with anything other than roast beef at Sunday lunch.
Designer Russell Sage makes sure that any updates are subtle and the luxury levels are kept high.
Room-only doubles cost from £378 a night (thegoring.com).
The Carlyle, New York
The entrance to The Carlyle on the Upper East Side in New York. It opened in 1930 and John F. Kennedy kept an apartment there
The Upper East Side is New York’s old money haven, and this hotel on East 76th Street keeps them happy, with lifts that are operated by bellboys, starched linen tablecloths in the dining room and plenty of Art Deco finesse.
Bemelmans Bar (named after artist Ludwig Bemelmans) is the Carlyle’s secret heart, with leather banquettes, a 24-carat gold-leaf ceiling and classic cocktails.
The Carlyle opened in 1930 and some people are lucky enough to call it home – John F. Kennedy kept an apartment here when he was US President, and Sir Mick Jagger still has one today.
There is a network of tunnels that allows guests to leave without being noticed (or smuggled in, as was the case with Marilyn Monroe).
Room-only doubles from £350 a night (rosewoodhotels.com).
Windamere Hotel, India
The Windamere Hotel in Darjeeling was designed in 1841 and at first glance looks like a collection of suburban houses
The best hotels have a sense of individuality and nowhere is that more true than with this hotel in the hills above Darjeeling. At first glance it looks like a collection of suburban houses because it was designed in 1841 to be soothing for its first guests – unmarried tea-planters from Britain.
The vintage Surrey-style charm is still intact, and if you opt to stay in Ada Villa, you’ll still be without the modern distractions of telephones and televisions, although other rooms have them.
Wherever you stay, guests get white-gloved waiters, admirable curries, jam roly-poly for pudding and plenty of freshly brewed tea.
Full-board doubles cost from £132 a night (windamerehotel.com).
Poseidonion Grand, Greece
The Poseidonion Grand, pictured, on the island of Spetses in Greece has 66 rooms and suites. It was built in 1914 to woo the glitterati from the Cote d’Azur
This is a wedding-cake construction on the island of Spetses that was built in 1914 to woo the glitterati from the Cote d’Azur.
Today, this Belle Epoque glamourpuss still has plenty of original charm, including palms and libraries, marble floors and the original spa, and is set right on the seafront (the oldest hotels always occupy the best positions).
A few touches of modernity have arrived over the years, including swimming pools, some new artworks, and air-conditioning in the 66 rooms and suites.
The setting allows guests to island-hop around the Aegean. This is one of the prettiest, least-spoiled parts of Greece.
B&B doubles cost from £163 a night (poseidonion.com).
Raffles Singapore, pictured, which has just reopened after a two-year renovation project. It was the epitome of colonial elegance when it opened in 1887
The epitome of colonial elegance when it opened in 1887 and the proud inventor of the Singapore Sling cocktail.
Raffles was originally a beach club for wealthy expats, and Somerset Maugham was a particularly enthusiastic habitue.
In the Second World War, staff buried the hotel silver in the garden to prevent it from falling into the hands of the Japanese.
Famous for having the first electric fans in Singapore, the hotel has just reopened after a two-year renovation project. The fans are still in place, and so are the Long Bar and the Tiffin Room, which serves North Indian food, but a collection of new restaurants have joined them, including a steakhouse and a restaurant run by the acclaimed Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse.
Room-only doubles cost from £520 a night (raffles.com).
Hotel Hassler, Rome
Hotel Hassler in Rome is a seven-storey enclave of marble and complete with a roof terrace. It has been owned by the same family since it opened over 125 years ago
Perched at the top of the Spanish Steps, the Hassler has been owned by the same family since it opened over 125 years ago.
The hotel, a seven-storey enclave of marble and complete with a roof terrace, now has 87 rooms and suites, including the one Audrey Hepburn occupied while filming Roman Holiday.
The Palm Court restaurant is a haven in summer – the tables are moved out to the garden. In winter, the restaurant’s classic Italian dishes are served in the book- filled Salone Eva instead, while the Michelin-starred Imago offers incredible vistas of the Eternal City from the sixth floor.
B&B doubles cost from £495 a night (hotelhasslerroma.com).
Grand Hotel, Stockholm
The Grand Hotel in Stockholm, which overlooks the city’s harbour. It may seem quintessentially Scandinavian, but it was actually built by a Frenchman in 1872
With a green copper roof and the Swedish flag flying above, the Grand may seem quintessentially Scandinavian, but it was actually built by a Frenchman in 1872. Greta Garbo was a regular guest, so was actress Ingrid Bergman, while Nobel winners always stay here before receiving their prizes.
The bedrooms have been subtly updated with a calm, clean Scandinavian style, but there is still plenty of grandeur throughout the hotel, especially in the public rooms, with gilding and graciousness.
Michelin-starred chef Mathias Dahlgren is in charge of the restaurants; The Veranda, overlooking Stockholm’s harbour, serves the most acclaimed smorgasbord in the city every weekend.
B&B doubles cost from £210 a night (grandhotel.se).
Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok
The riverside restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok. The hotel has been patronised by royals, including Tsar Nicholas II, from its earliest days
The serene exterior of Bangkok’s oldest – and most famous – hotel gives little clue to its colourful history. Built in 1881 by a Danish businessman, it has been patronised by royals, including Tsar Nicholas II, from its earliest days.
It was requisitioned as a club for officers in the Second World War, while in the late 1940s and 1950s, the glamour levels were ramped up when the jazz-minded Bamboo Bar opened.
Purists should stay in the Author’s Wing, the original part of the hotel which once housed Graham Greene and Noel Coward.
B&B doubles cost from £488 a night (mandarinoriental.com/bangkok).
Pera Palace, Istanbul
The lobby of the Pera Palace, Istanbul, which has played host to Ernest Hemingway, Graham Greene and Agatha Christie
When passengers of the Orient Express at the end of the 19th Century alighted at Istanbul, they wanted somewhere nice to stay.
Ernest Hemingway and Graham Greene checked in here, and Agatha Christie loved this hotel so much that the owners have dedicated a room to her, complete with books and a typewriter, and also a restaurant serving classic Turkish, Italian and French dishes.
The rest of the hotel would also seem familiar to Poirot’s creator. With chandeliers hanging from the ceilings, and with Turkish carpets underfoot, the Pera Palace stays true to its roots.
Room-only doubles cost from £148 a night (perapalace.com).
La Mamounia, Marrakech
A cool courtyard at La Mamounia in Marrakech. The hotel is covered in intricate tiles, and has many fountains and courtyards
Winston Churchill appreciated a great hotel, and La Mamounia returned the compliment by naming one of its bars after him.
The hotel is covered in intricate tiles, and has many fountains and courtyards. It may have been updated in recent years, but it’s still a lofty, airy palace that’s an oasis of calm in Marrakech, even though the city’s most famous sites, including the market place of Jemaa el-Fna, are only a short stroll away.
Even if you’re not staying here, come for a drink and wander around the vast gardens, where roses mingle with palm trees. La Mamounia’s bars and restaurants are also the finest in the city.
Room-only doubles cost from £308 a night (mamounia.com).
Le Sirenuse, Italy
The pool at the Le Sirenuse on the Amalfi Coast in Italy. The hotel has been open since 1951 and has 58 rooms and suites
The Sersale family turned their holiday home on the Amalfi Coast into a hotel in 1951, and it’s been keeping the rich and famous happy ever since.
In the ridiculously beautiful, gravity-defying village of Positano, Le Sirenuse majors in gracious Mediterranean living in accents of pastel colours, while the 58 rooms and suites combine crisp bed linen and hand-made tiled floors.
Lemon trees share space with sunloungers around the pool and terraces. The locally sourced food is showcased in the lovely La Sponda restaurant.
B&B doubles cost from £270 a night (sirenuse.it).
Round Hill, Jamaica
Round Hill in Jamaica, pictured, which is made up of a hotel and 27 luxury villas. Household names own many of the villas including designer Ralph Lauren
On its own peninsula near Montego Bay, this resort is made up of a hotel and 27 luxury villas. Ian Fleming and Noel Coward used to hobnob around the bar, and the Kennedys came for winter sun. You’ll still find royalty and pop stars at the pool. Household names own many of the villas.
One is designer Ralph Lauren, who has also overseen the updating of Round Hill’s hotel.
Expect quiet good taste, white-sand beaches and seductive comfort levels across 110 acres of lush Jamaican countryside, with restaurants, bars and a spa.
Doubles from £310 with Mr and Mrs Smith (mrandmrssmith.com).