These are the best resorts in the world, from safari lodges in South Africa to remote lodges in Chile, all winners of the 2017 Remliel’ Choice Awards. Counting down…
50. The Lodge at Sea Island Golf Club, GA
Anchoring the end of the island’s historic Avenue of Oaks, the decidedly English-style manor has tranquil views across the Sound and golf course and service more akin to an intimate European hotel, with Southern charm (think: meeting your every need without being over the top or overly effusive). Folks love the sunset bagpiper and personal butlers that can draw you a rose petal bath. Golfers consider it a nirvana, but couples looking for a romantic weekend escape will be equally enchanted.
49. Lodge on Little St. Simons Island, GA
The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island, which floats on 10,000 acres of nature reserve between Savannah and Jacksonville, is so exclusive (and secluded) that you need a reservation just to climb ashore. If this sounds like your kind of getaway, then board the resort’s private boat or strap in and hit the causeway, until you happen upon this rugged, rustic little colony.
48. Laucala Island Resort, Fiji
In 1972, Malcolm Forbes bought this green morsel as his private refuge; now its owner, Red Bull magnate Dietrich Mateschitz, has spared no expense to create a tropical hideaway of 25 villas, each with a private pool. Laucala almost feels like an independent nation, with an organic farm, armies of friendly staff, a working jetty, a hangar with mechanics to service private jets, and a James Bond–worthy dive boat for trips to fertile reefs.
47. Nayara Springs, Arenal, Costa Rica
Nayara Springs is perched at the top of a rainforest, surrounded by tropical plants and creeks with gorgeous views of the Arenal volcano. Sixteen private villas include plunge pools, gardens, and open-air showers. Located 2 ½ hours from San Jose, this adults-only hotel gets high scores for service, and the spa has indulgent treatments with volcanic mud and chocolate clay.
46. One&Only Ocean Club, Bahamas
Not only will you feel like a celebrity here, but you might just brush by a few at this beachfront resort—a 14th-century Augustinian cloister with impeccable gardens modeled on those at Versailles. The 4,400-square-foot villas have infinity lap pools and louvered hardwood doors that open onto a private patio or balcony. Food and service are excellent—especially at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Dune.
45. Singita Sabi Sand, South Africa
In 2013 Luke Bailes, founder of the renowned Singita safari lodges and camps, transformed his ancestral home, which is set on a private game reserve, into this retreat. The Cape Dutch charm, mullioned windows, antiques, expert safari guides, and longtime family staff remain—but the wine cellar, state- of-the-art kitchen, and full gym are all new.
44. Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort, Galle, Sri Lanka
A secluded stretch of beach on the southernmost coast of Sri Lanka is just one of the smart draws of this 152-room resort, where the sound of the ocean is louder than patrons’ chatter. You’d be wise to stay in one of the pool villas, which have wine humidors, butler pantries, and bicycles to use for as long as you’d like.
43. Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui, Thailand
On the secluded northwestern tip of the rapidly developing island’s glassy Laem Yai Bay, Bill Bensley, architect of the Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle in Chiang Rai, has scattered 60 gorgeous hillside villas among the coconut trees. The villas all come with expansive Gulf of Thailand views (including from the tub), as well as decks with big plunge pools, shaded daybeds, and a stocked wine fridge.
42. Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa, Riviera Maya, Mexico
The resort’s white stucco buildings with thatched-roof terraces were entirely handcrafted by one family of Mayan masons. Inside, white-walled rooms are decorated with hand-loomed bedding and rugs. Tubs are oversized with Mexican tiles. The dinner menu at El Sol includes a bouillabaisse with hints of habanero, while La Cantina, a traditional Mexican bar, serves local drinks and homestyle botanas (appetizers).
41. Four Seasons Resort Seychelles
Built like extravagant tree houses above Petite Anse, the resort’s 67 villas, each with a 302-square-foot infinity pool and outdoor rain shower, have a Creole design style with French colonial and European influences. In fact, the resort’s design was inspired by a Creole village, with the beachside Kannel restaurant and bar, and main pool representing the sociable market place.
40. Sonnenalp, Vail, CO
Old-world European charm is transported to Vail at this resort owned by a German family. The 112 suites and 15 guest rooms have custom-made Bavarian furniture in pine, paired with cozy bedspreads in plaid, gas-log fireplaces, and heated marble floors; you’d be forgiven if you forgot to hit the slopes over the weekend. Did we mention that staff dress in traditional Bavarian garb and deliver homemade cookies nightly?
39. Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa, Cebu, Philippines
An appropriately tropical vibe fills this 530-room property sprawling across 13 hectares of blooms, tropical grass, stone cranes, and deities. Rooms have a casual glamour with Filipino touches of capiz shell, mother of pearl, coral, and sea shells. The best are in the Ocean Wing with dedicated pool (one of two here). With seven restaurants serving up Chinese to Italian, and hallmark zesty mangoes around the property, you won’t go hungry.
38. Borgo Egnazia, Savalletri, Italy
Unlike many of its masserie (traditional Puglian farmhouses) counterparts, Borgo Egnazia is newly built in the traditional style, a large compound surrounded by stone-walled fields of ancient olive trees. The 63 comfortable guest rooms have white stone walls and canopy beds, and each comes with a terrace looking onto the sea, the hills, or two huge pools flanked by double-size daybeds.
37. Gateway Canyons Resorts, Gateway, CO
Located in Unaweep Canyon near the Utah border, this resort and spa is situated on 500 acres of land with majestic red rock views. In addition to its spa services and western activities like horseback riding and skeet shooting, Gateway has an auto museum featuring 60 historic cars to celebrate the American automobile.
36. Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort, Chiang Rai, Thailand
Anantara’s superb setting on a sylvan hillside above the Mekong River, an hour north of Chiang Rai, is not the only reason to love this 77-room hotel. The accommodations, all with balconies, have teak floors and are decorated with northern Thai objects and textiles. The infinity pool has superb Mekong views, and there’s a first-rate spa and two excellent restaurants.
35. Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort, Lucca, Italy
Take in views of the Serchio Valley over breakfast (which, we should add, is served on a sun drenched veranda) before exploring the Italian countryside with a scenic hike or horseback ride near this remote Tuscan getaway. The 180 rooms of the Marriott-owned resort all have luxurious marble bathrooms, heavy draperies and flat-screen TVs, perfect for winding down after a long day spent eating bowls of cacio e pepe and sipping on hearty Tuscan reds.
34. Le Soleil d’Or, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands
Started by a Manhattan businesswoman along a five-mile stretch of both beach and limestone bluff, this breezy, unbuttoned boutique resort has a cozy island vibe. Julia Child would also have felt at home here: A 20-acre farm is filled with more than 300 fruits and vegetables and a cackle of 200 chickens. You can pick an apron full of zesty tomatoes and chili peppers and head straight to the hotel’s signature Mango Restaurant to learn how to make a Fra Diavolo pizza.
33. Iniala Beach House, Phuket, Thailand
The design credentials are incredible at this collection of six villas and a penthouse, back on Phuket at Natai Beach. No matter where you stay, you’ll have a butler, driver, chef, spa therapist, and housekeeper to attend to your every need. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included–with two nights per week dining under the auspices of the three-starred Michelin chef, Eneko Axta.
32. Hacienda Hotel Vira Vira, Pucón, Chile
We’d be hard-pressed to find a hotel in a more stunning—okay, downright breathtaking—location than this one. Surrounded by nearly 60 acres of native parklands on the banks of the Liucura River, with views of the Villarrica volcano, this beautifully designed lodging is in a blissfully peaceful corner of the country’s Lake District. It even comes with its own working farm and cheese and milk dairy.
31. Aro Hā Wellness Retreat, Glenorchy, New Zealand
Overlooking the otherworldly expanse of Lake Wakatipu, in New Zealand’s Southern Alps, Aro Hā is an intimate 20-room lodge offering holistic practices (yoga, meditation) meant to sculpt the body and lift the spirit. The self-sustainable property’s biggest drawing card is definitely its epic setting between colossal sapphire lakes and snowcapped peaks.
30. Le Sereno, St. Barts
This cottage colony was utterly remade by master minimalist Christian Liaigre at the quiet end of an idyllic cove. The decor is elaborately spare—bare white walls, dark wood floors, and nary a rounded edge or flourish in sight—but with no sacrifice to comfort. The 39 rooms have buttery linens and walled gardens with giant daybeds (Grand Suites add settees and bathtubs), and cushioned banquettes make up most of the restaurant’s seating.
29. One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives
An instant favorite among honeymooners and celebrity couples, One&Only’s luxury lodging scatters 130 thatch-roofed villas (all with terrazzo bathtubs for two) along the 12 beaches of this 109-acre island in the North Male Atoll. Daybeds outside the Moroccan restaurant, Fanditha, are the best place to take your meals.
28. Kamalame Cay, Bahamas
Mercifully spared by Hurricane Matthew in 2016, this private island resort off of Andros Great Barrier Reef still feels unspoiled. Bungalows sit right on the beach, and nature calls: Hiking, diving, snorkeling, bird watching, and kayaking are just a few of the outdoor activities you can try, though we wouldn’t blame you if “napping” was a top priority.
27. Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, Chiang Rai, Thailand
The luxury chain pitches its first-ever tents, but don’t expect sing-alongs by the campfire. On 400 rugged acres along the Thai-Burmese border, with views into Laos, the camp’s 1,000-square-foot, canvas-covered designer suites are ultra-private with decks generous enough to host cocktail parties.
26. Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa, Torres del Paine, Chile
This 40-room lodge is an hour from Puerto Natales, set amid a big-sky landscape with uninterrupted views of the Torres del Paine massif. In the principal salon, a wall of glass draws the eye across Lake Sarmiento to the serried peaks beyond. Ample guest rooms are smartly outfitted in a soothing natural palette of wood, wool, and leather; all command views of pampa and peak.
25. The Sarojin, Khao Lak, Thailand
Although the 2004 tsunami sent waves through its nearly completed construction, these days The Sarojin takes full advantage of Khao Lak, a sleepy town that will surprise even experienced Thailand travelers with its uninterrupted stretches of sand, truly turquoise waters, and a selection of seashells unsurpassed throughout the Andaman Sea.
24. One&Only Royal Mirage, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Emirati opulence hits all-time highs at this positively palatial hotel, right down the glitter-paved road from the city’s International Marine Club. Details are the main draw here, from the tiny mosaic tiles patterning the massive pool floor, to the precise and satisfying symmetry that seems to regulate everything from the placement of palm trees to the space between windows.
23. L’Horizon Resort & Spa, Palm Springs, CA
“There were a lot of fun hotels in Palm Springs, but there weren’t any great ones, and I wanted to change this.” So says Steve Hermann, the L.A.–based residential designer who spent two years (and millions of dollars) turning the historic William F. Cody–designed L’Horizon into a luxurious boutique hotel. Hermann didn’t alter the footprint much—the main house and 25 bungalows were built in 1952 as a vacation spot for Hollywood producer Jack Wrather (Lassie; The Lone Ranger)—but he added an open-air spa and an alfresco restaurant and gut-renovated the interiors.
22. Tierra Chiloé Hotel & Spa, Chiloé, Chile
This might be the coolest hotel in Chile. On the remote, southern island of Chiloé—about two hours by plane from Santiago—Tierra Chiloé is an all-inclusive destination resort that does just about everything right, from scratch-made traditional apple tarts at breakfast to horseback riding along deserted stretches of coast to pisco sour cocktail hour.
21. Borgo Santo Pietro, Palazzetto, Italy
The pilgrims going to Rome who stopped at the Borgo Santo Pietro more than 800 years ago wouldn’t recognize the place today. Danish owners Claus and Jeanette Thottrup have restored the villa and added chandeliers and beautiful trompe l’oeils to the extensive public areas and 16 guest rooms (including seven garden suites).
20. Segera Retreat, Laikipia, Kenya
Most people go to an East African lodge in order to see the Big Five, but at Segera, owner Jochen Zeitz has created something that offers much more than just wildlife spotting. A visit here is like being a guest at his house: The eight villas are set on his working cattle ranch amid 50,000 acres of preserved wilderness, yet have all the comforts you could wish for.
19. Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Location is everything here: The Sofitel, situated in the elegant Old Quarter, has 201 rooms in a colonial-style building that deliver views of either the Mekong or Bassac rivers. Key city attractions—including the Royal Palace, the National Museum, and Sisowath Quay—are steps away, but it’s no great sin to just stay inside and indulge in the 1,600 square-foot Opera Suite with Hermès amenities.
18. Royal Malewane, Greater Kruger National Park, South Africa
It can be hard to make the Greater Kruger National Park—a popular destination for safaris that cover an area the size of Wales—feel exclusive, private, and intimate. But Royal Malewane, in Thornybush Private Game Reserve, manages to achieve that (and then some) with just six Luxury Suites, two Royal Suites, and the palatial six-bedroom, private chef-included Africa House. Twice daily game drives led by expert rangers far from Kruger’s crowds, means you’re almost guaranteed to be able to check off the Big Five before you leave.
17. Cheval Blanc Randheli, Noonu Atoll, Maldives
It stands to reason that the Cheval Blanc Randheli, a recent resort from luxury conglomerate LVMH (owners of Louis Vuitton, Céline, Dior, etc.), would set the bar high. The white sands and turquoise waters of the Noonu Atoll, in the northwest Maldives, are the backdrop for 45 one- and two-bedroom villas. As looks go, it doesn’t get chicer than this, but the whimsical touches—turtles drawn in the sand along the path to the villa, thoughtful little notes from my butler left alongside the pitchers of fresh juice—are what truly give this place its character.
16. The Cape, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
A mod-Mexican restaurant from Enrique Olvera, four bars with note-perfect cocktails (over 100 and counting), two pools, an amazing spa, and not a trace of hacienda-style architecture—in short, just what Cabo needed. Kudos to Thompson Hotels for introducing a place in an otherwise crowded market with uninterrupted views of El Arco and the Bahía San Lucas horizon.
15. Hamanasi Adventure & Dive Resort, Hopkins Village, Belize
One of our readers’ favorite remote hotels, Hamanasi is set on 21 acres amid a coastal forest, and it’s an excellent place to get in touch with your inner kid. Not only can you stay in one of the eco-resort’s treehouses, but it also has its own nature preserve full of turtles, fish, birds, and tropical vegetation.
14. The Mulia, Bali, Indonesia
This 745-room seaside Mulia in the southeastern tourist enclave of Nusa Dua is one of our readers’ top resorts in Asia. The ocean is just steps away, though you may be inclined to linger at the one of Mulia’s pools with a cocktail. With a spa, fitness center, and play area for kids, the resort offers a comfortable stay for singles, couples, and families alike.
13. ITC Grand Bharat (Luxury Collection), Gurgaon, India
This majestic 104-suite resort honors India’s ancient architecture with its manifold domes and intricate wall carvings in pink sandstone hues. Ayurvedic spa treatments, yoga classes, holistic food, and 300 acres of meadows bordering the Aravali mountains add to the property’s lure. Busy New Delhi may be just 30 minutes away, but guests will feel they’re in a distant, utterly serene world.
12. Unique Garden Spa & Resort, Mairiporã, Brazil
This estate 35 miles outside São Paulo is truly one-of-a-kind. The 26 accommodations—some gingerbread-style, others dramatically modern villas (all plushly done, albeit with a peculiar fusion of English country house and Brazilian fazenda, or farmhouse, design)—are set amid hilly acres of lush gardens that are in bloom year-round.
11. Cuixmala, Costa Careyes, Mexico
Cuixmala, a private estate south of Puerto Vallarta with 12 suites, three private villas, and 10 casitas, sits on a private beach backed by a 25,000-acre nature preserve. It doesn’t have a kids’ club, but who needs one when the whole family can go horseback riding and fishing, and watch sea turtles lay their eggs on the beach?
10. Makanyi Private Game Lodge, Timbavati South Africa
Makanyi is special in that it’s set in a section of the Timbavati where there are no other lodges, just a few private homes, so you really feel like you have the entire bush to yourself. The seven-room lodge is full-on luxury with the feel of a family home—conforming to a classic aesthetic of thatched-roof villas in terra cotta tones, but avoiding the more formal, Out of Africa–style nod to colonial bush experiences. This is place is relaxed, void of stodginess, and perfect for people looking for a more intimate experience.
9. Bushman’s Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat, Clanwilliam, South Africa
Located on 18,500-acres, this reserve offers light-filled contemporary rooms, a heated pool, a fitness center, and a spa. Meals at Makana draw from native fynbos herbs and local meat, and guests’ stays are elevated by the spirit and insight of an affable staff who happily share their culture and history.
8. Richard’s River Camp, Mara North Conservancy, Kenya
A traditional tented camp in in the Masai Mara National Reserve, Richard’s River Camp nevertheless springs for a few of the more modern amenities: toilets, heated showers, and 24-hour light powered by solar power.
7. Generations Riviera Maya, Mexico
Opened in 2014 by Karisma Hotels & Resorts, this 144 all-suite property has mastered the art of being family-friendly without all that elbow-jostling; with some of the largest rooms in the Mexican Caribbean, sliding walls allow guests to determine the amount of space needed, and big bathrooms have two sinks and a Jacuzzi. A dedicated butler service takes care of the unpacking and settling in, and even book local activities like kayak lessons.
6. Caresse (Luxury Collection), Bodrum, Turkey
With 76 sleek, modern rooms and suites—not forgetting the grandiose ‘King Villa’ suite—this newcomer to the area comes with everything you would expect of a lavish retreat, including sweeping views of the Aegean Sea and a private beach dotted with sunbeds. Lunch is spent at the beachfront restaurant La Plage dining on crispy fried calamari, and long afternoons melt into cocktail hour at the Glass Restaurant and Lounge Bar.
5. The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch, Saratoga, WY
Consistently rated the best resort in the U.S. by our readers, The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch—set on 30,000 acres amid the Sierra Madres—executes the luxury dude ranch concept with skill and style. Think spotted cowhide chairs in the lounge, fur throws at the edge of knotty wooden king-sized beds, and yurts decked out with antler chandeliers and leather couches. For an upscale group getaway, book the seven cabins that make up the Magee Homestead—it comes with its own concierge service.
4. El Dorado Maroma, Riviera Maya, Mexico
Fronting one of the prettiest beaches in the world, just 10 minutes north of Playa del Carmen, El Dorado Maroma is the kind of adults-only all-inclusive we’d happily visit (and re-visit). Suites are spacious and romantic—choose from overwater bungalows, beachfront villas with Jacuzzis, or our pick, the Royal Swim-Up Suites with direct access to the main pool via a lazy river.
3. Ulusaba Private Game Reserve, Sabi Sand, South Africa
One of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Limited Edition collection of retreats, this private game reserve has 21 rooms and suites spread over two lodges. At the Rock Lodge, enjoy a post-game drive cocktail with panoramic views of the Drakensberg Mountains. Just 500 meters away at the Safari Lodge, walk between treehouse-style rooms on swinging rope bridges or just watch the zebras and impala stroll by on their way to the nearby watering hole.
2. Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas, Baa Atoll, Maldives
Seventy-eight freestanding beach or overwater villas, each with its own infinity pool, on a private island of soft white sand. Recently named a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the atoll is 35 minutes by seaplane from Male. Thatched-roof luxury, with the lagoon at center stage.
1. The Brando, Tetiaroa, French Polynesia
Situated on coral-reefed Tetiaroa, surrounding a lagoon 30 miles north of Tahiti, this luxe eco-resort is the vision of late actor Marlon Brando, consisting of 35 thatch-roofed villas with plunge pools, a floating restaurant and organic garden, and a locally inspired spa—all powered through solar energy or coconut oil and air conditioned via seawater. A conservation and research center looks after native flora and fauna.