When it comes to booking a hotel, don’t settle for bronze or silver – go for gold every time.
And don’t waste time hunting around for top properties on the internet, simply consult Condé Nast Traveller’s Gold List 2021.
The guide pinpoints ‘classic and exceptional’ hotels from around the world and ‘provides inspiration and authoritative critiques for discerning travellers on where to stay’.
Among the 33 hotels making The Gold List 2021 are a ‘delightfully homey’ Paris property, a Marrakech venue with ‘head-turning rooms’, a ‘gold standard’ safari lodge in South Africa and a ‘bright and cheery, but restrained’ Beverly Hills legend.
Melinda Stevens, editor-in-chief of Condé Nast Traveller, said: ‘This year it feels even more vital to share our recommendations and support the truly trustworthy classics that can be relied upon again and again. We work with the best people in the business to give the best quality travel recommendations and we hope that The Gold List 2021 will inspire our readers to dream, plan their next adventure, and explore new places as soon as we are able to do so.’
Scroll down to see a selection of the hotels making the new list, from swanky city properties to beach escapes…
GRAND HÔTEL DE CALA ROSSA, PORTO-VECCHIO, CORSICA: Run by the Canarelli family since the late 1970s, this hotel has ‘the lively, everyone-knows-everyone vibe of a sprawling beachfront villa with white-stucco domed ceilings and plenty of inviting linen sofas to curl up on’, says Condé Nast Traveller. It adds: ‘The hotel has its own lick of sandy beach dotted with sunbeds and parasols, and its gardens hum with the sound of birds and insects in the summer months.’ Pictured is the hotel’s beachfront restaurant. Rooms from £163 per night. Visit hotel-calarossa.com/fr
LE BRISTOL PARIS: ‘Fresh from a summer spruce, everyone’s favourite hotel in Paris is in irrefutably fine fettle,’ writes Condé Nast Traveller. It continues: ‘Despite being classified as worthy of having even more than five stars, the twinkling edifice manages to feel delightfully homely.’ Pictured is the Elysee Suite. Rooms from £892 per night, see oetkercollection.com/hotels/le-bristol-paris/
TENUTA DI MURLO, UMBRIA, ITALY: The accommodation here ranges from ‘B&B-style rooms and one-bedroom cottages to Castiglione Ugolino, a gorgeous castle that sleeps 20’. Condé Nast Traveller says: ‘The first thing you notice is the space. In every direction are rolling hills of deep emerald – and almost nothing else.’ Rooms from £104 per night. Visit murlo.com
THE ALBATROZ HOTEL, CASCAIS, PORTUGAL: This hotel first started operating as a tiny inn in the 1960s and has ‘blossomed to become one of the first five-stars in town’. Condé Nast Traveller says its buildings ‘jut out on a rocky promontory, close enough for the pounding waves to weave through any pillow talk with the beach of Conceicao just steps away’ and that inside ‘there is an enduring sense of elegance’. Rooms from £118 per night. Visit thealbatrozcollection.com/albatrozhotel/m/
HOTEL ASTORIA, ST PETERSBURG: ‘The 21st-century version of this hotel could not be more contemporary or refined – and the rooms are supremely comfortable,’ says Condé Nast Traveller. ‘Ask for one with a view of the towering church to feel as if you could reach out of the window and touch its golden dome.’ Pictured is the hotel’s restaurant. Rooms start from £130 per night. See roccofortehotels.com/hotels-and-resorts/hotel-astoria/ for more information
MACAKIZI, BODRUM, TURKEY: This hotel has 74 rooms ‘spread across four bougainvillaea-bright terraces on a sweeping site overlooking a beryl-blue bay’. Condé Nast Traveller writes: ‘The white and taupe bedrooms are lovely but most of the action takes place outside: the beach deck, the breezy restaurant, the waterside bar for Bellinis.’ Rooms from £380, visit macakizi.com
ANGAMA MARA, GREAT RIFT VALLEY, KENYA: This unique location is 985ft above the Maasai Mara’s plains and it’s ‘hard to imagine how heady the views here are until you flop into one of the Fermob metal armchairs’, says Condé Nast Traveller. It adds: ‘The property is split into two camps of 15 glass-fronted tents, balanced on the rim of the valley. This place will leave you speechless, just like the views.’ Stays start from £925 per person per night. Visit angama.com
EL FENN, MARRAKECH: Co-owned by Vanessa Branson, sister of Richard, this hotel ‘is an enfilade of acid-bright spaces that launched with six bedrooms in 2004 on the edge of the Medina’. Condé Nast Traveller adds: ‘Now it sprawls across 12 riads in its latest expanded incarnation, set to open in January 2021, revealing a spectacular new rooftop pool.’ Pictured is one of the ’31 head-turning rooms’. Stays start from £225 per night. See el-fenn.com
&BEYOND BENGUERRA ISLAND, BAZARUTO ARCHIPELAGO, MOZAMBIQUE: At this lodge, ‘cool, dark interiors in the 12 thatched-roof bungalows meld the region’s Arabic-African roots with Portuguese influences’, writes Condé Nast Traveller. The bungalows include ‘gleaming mahogany four-posters with block-printed bed linen, carved wooden doors and antique chests’. Stays start from £581 per person per night. Visit andbeyond.com
LONDOLOZI, SABI SANDS, SOUTH AFRICA: ‘This family-owned property is one of the oldest private concessions in the Sabi Sands – still considered the gold standard for safaris in South Africa,’ explains Condé Nast Traveller. It adds: ‘Simply put, there is no better place to tick off Africa’s most famous species in record time. Suspend any preconceived notions of a typical safari to become hooked on the power of silent, meditative game drives or waking early to squeeze in a yoga class outdoors while elephants splash in the river below.’ A five-day retreat here in August that includes game drives starts from £6,325 per person. For more information see londolozi.com
SINGITA PAMUSHANA LODGE, MALILANGWE WILDLIFE RESERVE, ZIMBABWE: According to Condé Nast Traveller, ‘with its food, wine, dedicated staff and prime locations, Singita has rightfully earned its stellar reputation for running the slickest safari properties in Africa, and Pamushana Lodge is no exception’. It adds: ‘It may not be as high profile as the ones in the Serengeti or South Africa, but insiders choose the untrammelled, biologically diverse reaches of Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve’s 130,000 hectares over and over again for long, immersive stays and private animal sightings.’ Pictured is the plunge pool overlooking the lake. Doubles start from £1,407 per person per night. Visit singita.com/lodge/singita-pamushana-lodge
ZANNIER HOTELS PHUM BAITANG, CAMBODIA: ‘Set on 20 acres of lemongrass-scented land on the south-western edges of Siem Reap, 25 minutes from the wondrous ruins of Angkor Wat, Phum Baitang looks as if it’s been torn from one of the great temple’s murals,’ says Condé Nast Traveller. It explains: ‘A grand old farmhouse and 45 stilted villas are spread between tropical gardens and bright-green rice fields, resembling the most idyllic of rural scenes.’ Rooms from £322 per night. For more information see zannierhotels.com/phumbaitang/en
HOSHINOYA BALI: This resort is ‘a 25-minute drive from the clutter of Ubud, on a hilltop amid rice fields and dense jungle’. Condé Nast Traveller explains: ‘Rie Azuma, the architect behind all Hoshinoya properties, blended the simplicity of Japanese styling with local tradition, creating earthy-hued, low-slung structures bearing thatched roofs designed to fade into the lush landscape.’ Doubles from £105. Visit hoshinoya.com/bali/en
MANDARIN ORIENTAL TOKYO: According to Condé Nast Traveller, tip-top service can be expected in Japan but ‘nowhere does it better than the Mandarin Oriental’. It says: ‘The bedrooms shed any stuffiness during a 2019 refurb in favour of fresh textiles by Reiko Sudo and a wrapping of washi paper, granite and lacquered wood. It’s the sum of these parts, and the absence of stiffness, that makes this place stand out high above the competition.’ Pictured is the hotel’s Oriental Lounge. Rooms from £415 per night. Visit mandarinoriental.com
THE NAUTILUS, MALDIVES: ‘A no-expense-spared, what-you-want, when-you-want-it hotel in the Maldives’ is how Condé Nast Traveller describes The Nautilus. It says: ‘There are 26 villas – and the overwater ones have a distinct advantage over their land-based counterparts in the theatrical glass flooring, beneath which turtles play tag.’ Exsus Travel (exsus.com) offers seven nights from £12,090, including flights and transfers
RAYA HERITAGE, CHIANG MAI, THAILAND: This hotel is a ‘celebration of the ancient culture of Lanna, the cross-border kingdom of which Chiang Mai was the capital some 700 years ago’, says Condé Nast Traveller. It explains: ‘Not Disney-fied but fresh and bright, it’s the sort of place where only your conscience holds you back from stuffing your suitcase with hand-dyed throws or lacquered bamboo catchalls.’ Rooms from £238. Visit rayaheritage.com/en
COMO THE TREASURY, PERTH: The Como Treasury in Perth opened in 2015 and ‘occupies a group of 19th-century government buildings in the centre’. Condé Nast Traveller describes its 48 bedrooms as ‘radiant, pale and serene’ and says its ‘expansive ground and lower-ground floors house several of the best restaurants, cafés and bars in town’. Rooms from £333. Visit comohotels.com/en/thetreasury
COBBLERS COVE, BARBADOS: Located on the island’s Caribbean coast, Cobblers Cove is ‘filled with millennial-pink accents, from the retro, candy-cane-striped pool umbrellas to the Forties-style main building dubbed The Great House, where afternoon tea is served’, says Condé Nast Traveller. It declares that ‘despite the many turbo-charged properties that dot this sweep of shore, Cobblers Cove remains cosy, family-owned and downright lovely’. Rooms from £342. Visit cobblerscove.com
ROSEWOOD LITTLE DIX BAY, BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS: An ‘eye-watering’ £140million has been spent rebuilding this hotel following the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma in 2017. Condé Nast Traveller writes: ‘Arrival by catamaran from Tortola airport shows off the wide bay in which hawksbill turtles feed, the half-mile of powder sands and the gardens throughout which 80 rooms are scattered. The beach is never more than a few steps away.’ Rooms from £583 per night. Visit rosewoodhotels.com
SENSEI LANAI, A FOUR SEASONS RESORT, HAWAII: According to Condé Nast Traveller, ‘there’s a decided snap to the morning air at Hawaii’s first proper destination spa, set at the base of the forested Koloiki Ridge’. It explains: ‘Upon arrival (by sleek private jet from Honolulu), guests meet with their Sensei guides, postgrads in nutrition, fitness and stress management, and come up with a plan.’ Rooms start from £481 per night and include flight transfers to the hotel. Visit fourseasons.com/sensei
THE BEVERLY HILLS HOTEL: Condé Nast Traveller says ‘there’s nowhere as blue-blooded but simultaneously relaxed as the Pink Palace’. It adds: ‘Pull up at the entrance on the crest of the semi-circular drive, saunter down that impossibly long red carpet and, hey presto – you know this is the right spot.’ The magazine explains that the rooms are ‘bright and cheery but restrained, never flashy’ and that you can enjoy the ‘freshest Californian salads at the poolside Cabana Cafe’. Rooms start from £477. Visit dorchestercollection.com
A curated version of the Gold List 2021 is featured in Condé Nast Traveller’s January/February 2021 issue, pictured, on newsstands now