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ROAD & TRAVEL Luxury Travel: Top Ten World Resorts


athed in beauty and peddling in pure decadence, these international resorts have garnered acclaim as being rated the world's top hotels, hosting the exquisitely elite and daydreamers among all of us. From fine dining to first-class accommodations to outrageous spa pampering, these resorts have it all. And when we say all, we mean all.

ROAD & TRAVEL Luxury Travel: Top Ten World Resorts - Four Seasons Punta Mita

1. Four Seasons Punta Mita (Mexico)
Set on Mexico’s idyllic west coast, Punta Mita is considered one of the area’s best spots for scuba diving, snorkeling and surfing. The Four Seasons Punta Mita is atop the northern tip of one of the Pacific Coast’s largest natural white sand bays.

Offering 164 guest rooms and 29 suites in beautiful tile-roofed casitas, the resort looks out upon clear blue waters and the stunning Sierra Madre Mountains. Guests can indulge at the Apuane Spa, one of the resort’s three restaurants, or the Nicklaus-designed golf course that covers 200 acres and sits on the shore.

ROAD & TRAVEL Luxury Travel: Top Ten World Resorts - Villa d'Este

2. Villa d’Este (Lake Como, Italy)
Less than an hour from Milan by car, Villa d’Este sits amidst the flowers, terraces, fountains and gardens of a lovely park overlooking Italy’s famed Lake Como. Built in 1568 as a summer residence for Cardinal Tolome Gallio, the Villa continues to exude nothing short of pure, decadent European elegance.

A heated swimming pool floats atop the lake, Turkish baths sooth tired muscles, and botanical gardens inspire. A favorite spot for romance, the hotel has been the honeymoon destination for legendary lovers Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles, Elizabeth Taylor and Nick Hilton, and Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardener.

ROAD & TRAVEL Luxury Travel: Top Ten World Resorts - Esperanza

3. Esperanza (Los Cabos, Mexico)
Situated on the Sea of Cortez, Esperanza’s casually elegant Baja style runs throughout the resort’s 50 oceanview casitas and six luxe suites. Featuring a spa, art gallery, private beach, boutique, yoga studio and gourmet dining, Esperanza envelopes every guest within the perfectly pampered environment, leaving little reason to venture off the property.

ROAD & TRAVEL Luxury Travel: Top Ten World Resorts - Las Ventanas

4. Las Ventanas (Los Cabos, Mexico)
Since its opening in 1997, Las Ventanas has met critical acclaim as one of Mexico’s most exceptional resorts. Featuring 71 spacious suites that welcome guests with in-room tequila, fresh fruit, and personal butler service, Las Ventanas pampers until one’s heart is content.

From luxury tennis, sailing, golfing, yachting to whale-watching, there is something for everyone. For guests who on a romantic escape, Las Ventanas' Director of Romance Services comes bearing an Aphrodisiac Dinner Menu, horse-drawn carriage ride through the desert, Sea & Star massages and much, much more.

ROAD & TRAVEL Luxury Travel: Top Ten World Resorts - One & Only Palmilla

5. Hotel Palmilla (Los Cabos, Mexico)
A jewel set on the Sea of Cortez, the One & Only Palmilla resort is a luxury property that any guest would love to call home, if even for a night. Boasting 172 grand, spacious guest rooms with private patio or balcony, sunning beds and 24-hour butler service, Palmilla woos patrons relentlessly. Little touches like personalized sewing kits upon arrival, slippers, and complimentary in-room tequila make for a completely carefree, comfortable stay.

During their stay, guests can take advantage of the One & Only Spa, exquisite culinary delight at one of three restaurants, or plenty of activities offered on both land and water.

ROAD & TRAVEL Luxury Travel: Top Ten World Resorts - Cap Juluca

6. Cap Juluca (Anguilla, West Indies)
Situated on the southwest coast of Anguilla and overlooking Maundays Bay and the mountains of St. Maarten, Cap Juluca blends the international flavors of Dutch and French St. Maarten – transcending simple tranquility with eighteen Moorish-style beachfront villas.

White tile floors, louvered doors and open windows maximize sea breezes while marble bathrooms and glass-encased baths melt stress with ease. Two award-winning restaurants sit on the beach, offering unique and inventive fare, impeccable service and enchanting scenery. Cap Juluca Spa sooths guests with an ancient wisdom rooted in tradition — connecting mind, body and soul in the beauty of the West Indies.

ROAD & TRAVEL Luxury Travel: Top Ten World Resorts - Villa Feltrinelli

7. Villa Feltrinelli (Lake Garda, Italy)
Built in 1892, the Grand Hotel a Villa Feltrinelli consists of 21 distinctive guest rooms and suites individually decorated and featuring fresh flowers, hand-printed Venetian paper, in-room music panel and heated marble bathroom floors, restored from its original splendor by Bob Burns in 1997. Tour the ancient home from the Library to the Salon, garnering dramatic views over Lake Garda. The Villa, in essence, is where history and luxury, style and serenity combine, forming one of the world’s greatest resorts.

ROAD & TRAVEL Luxury Travel: Top Ten World Resorts - Hotel San Pietro

8. Hotel San Pietro (Pasitano, Italy)
Overlooking the bay of Positano and surrounded by scented gardens, Hotel San Pietro encompasses elegance at first glance. With the atmosphere of a noble mansion, the delicate touches of precious furniture, San Pietro is more private home than luxe hotel, mixing comfort with simple luxury.

Spend the day lounging at the pool, at the beach or the solarium. Explore the Amalfi Coast, Capri or Naples. Dine in the Restaurant for a true taste of Italy. There is no better place to soak up the experience of Italy than here.

ROAD & TRAVEL Luxury Travel: Top Ten World Resorts - Hotel Splendido

9. Hotel Splendido (Portofino, Italy)
Sixty-five rooms and suites make up this hotel draped in Old World charm. Beautifully decorated in delicate pastels, some with magical fresco paintings, guests are granted to rooms that overlook the glittering Mediterranean.

Unparalleled views along the coastline of Liguria are dramatic, giving way to a sea of cobalt blue and emerald green, bounded on one side by a private castle and the other by Punta Cajega. Long walks among aromatic herbs and grand vistas make this resort a must-see for steadfast European travelers.

ROAD & TRAVEL Luxury Travel: Top Ten World Resorts - Little Dix Bay

10. Little Dix Bay (British Virgin Islands)
Timeless and just beyond the reach of reality, Little Dix Bay in the British Virgin Islands offers guest a truly authentic escape in a personal, boutique resort atmosphere. Nestled among lush gardens and winding foot paths, spacious guest rooms blend charm, comfort and convenience, as well as great views of the resort’s half-mile crescent beach.

Whether guests crave silence or fun festivities, they’ll find what they desire at Little Dix Bay, where you’re welcomed with a bottle of rum and mixers and faced with plentiful options to keep you busy: spa, sunset cocktail cruises, Spring Bay picnics, snorkeling, glass-bottom boat tours…the possibilities are endless.

(Sources): Andrew Harper, Four Seasons Punta Mita, Villa d’Este, Esperanza, Las Ventanas, One & Only Palmilla, Cap Juluca, Villa Feltrinelli, Hotel San Pietro, Hotel Splendido, Little Dix Bay