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Our Favorite Hotels in the World

We'll admit it: we're hotel nerds, through and through. Every year, we visit hundreds of properties around the globe—uncovering the hidden gems, reporting on the latest revamps, sussing out the buildings in need of touch-ups, and figuring out what makes a great hotel. From all our travels this year, these spectacular places stood out above the rest.

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Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge, South Africa

On a recent trip to South Africa, I visited Sabi Sabi Reserve, a private concession on the western border of Kruger National Park that’s home to four incredible lodges, each with their own unique character. Earth Lodge could not have been a more perfect introduction to the safari experience—a futuristic adobe structure of mud-packed walls, winding tunnels, driftwood furniture, and rock gardens, with 13 standalone suites on either side of an open-air lobby and plunge pools overlooking the Bushveld. During my stay, I spotted white rhinos lazing about by the central watering hole, a herd of elephants came to drink from my plunge pool, and a leopard was found dozing on the rooftop of Suite 6! - Lindsey Olander, Editor

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Hotel Il Pellicano, Porto Ercole, Italy

I fell in love with Il Pellicano on a trip to Italy last summer. The hotel has a ridiculous location, on a cliffside overlooking the Med, and epitomizes Italian glamour: it's stylish but understated, with 30 rooms dispersed in various Pompeii-red cottages and villas; there’s a heated saltwater pool carved from rock; a high-flying clientele; and one of the best damn restaurants I've ever eaten at. - Clara Sedlak, Executive Editor

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Hotel Paris Bastille Boutet, France

I’m an absolute sucker for Paris, and this bijou property—housed in the Bastille neighborhood, not far from the Marais—is one of the city’s best. Formerly the home of an exotic wood importer and cabinet-maker, the stay is now a design lover’s dream. While the exterior is all Art Deco mosaics, the minimalist guest rooms—reached via a commanding, six-story central staircase—are visions of sleek dark woods, high ceilings, and floor-to-ceiling windows. The style doesn’t stop there: the basement hides a petite white-and-blue pool that’s straight out of a Wes Anderson film. - Chelsea Stuart, Editorial Assistant

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Hotel Nacional de Cuba, Havana, Cuba

I had the pleasure of staying at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba—the grande dame of Havana—nearly 70 years after my grandparents honeymooned there, and the hotel has retained every bit of its old-world charm. What it lacks in modern conveniences it makes up for with amazing views of the malecón, 30s-era Art Deco architecture, and endless mojitos by the pool. - David Hattan, Photo Intern

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Palacio Belmonte, Lisbon, Portugal

I checked into Lisbon’s Palacio Belmonte on a recent trip to Portugal and it was love at first sight. The luxurious boutique hotel, originally built in 1449 as a noble family's residence, sits high on a hillside next to the Castelo de São Jorge. I loved wandering around the art-filled property, taking in its blue and white Portuguese tiles from the 1700s, enjoying the views from its many gardens and balconies, and sipping a Sagres (the local Portuguese beer) by the pool. Every detail, from the terraces dripping in bougainvillea to the amazing service, makes you feel like Portuguese royalty. - Gretchen Moosbrugger, Photo Editor

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Belmond Hotel Splendido, Portofino, Italy

Belmond Hotel Splendido is the most amazing, luxurious hotel I have ever stayed at. From your own bed, you can look out at the Ligurian Sea and watch gorgeous yachts sailing by. The hotel is intimate, the rooms are relaxing, and you get picturesque views of Portofino from all around—be it lounging by the pool, sitting on your terrace, or sipping Prosecco at dinner. - Elizabeth Mullen, Email Marketing Specialist

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Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Alibaug, India

I had the fortune of staying in a Lake View Villa at the Radisson Blu Resort & Spa in Alibaug, India, which came with its own personal entrance and garden. The hotel itself is gorgeous and vast, built around a central pool, and felt like a mini country club–I never once felt the need to step off-property, even though I was surrounded by beaches. Alibaug is often referred to as the Hamptons of Mumbai, but it’s only a 20-minute ferry ride away from the Gateway of India (quicker if you go by speedboat), which makes it that much better in my book. - Anita Ng, Photo Intern

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