Do you know that old adage ‘it’s about the journey, not the destination’? Well, that just doesn’t apply here. Each and every one of these spectacular places to stay is a destination in its own right, and each place is totally worth the journey. From glass igloos in Finnish Lapland to wooden spheres suspended in the treetops in Canada; geodesic domes in the Patagonian wilderness to old- school opulence at New York’s Plaza Hotel; these are the ultimate in overnight experiences. Not every place is a budget buster; sometimes it’s about the spectacular locations, like the gravity-defying Bivacco Gervasutti on Mont Blanc in Italy. There are places that literally disappear into their surroundings like the Mirrorcube in Harads, Sweden, and others that stand tall and command attention like the Frank Gehry-designed Hotel Marques de Riscal in Spain. We’ve only included a place if it gives us a thrill, opens our eyes, makes us catch our breath and inspires us to see the world through different eyes. We hope they make you smile, make you marvel, and that they motivate you to go on a journey to a new destination.
1 Ashford Castle, County Mayo, Ireland
We could get used to this.
Who wouldn’t be swept up in the fantasy of medieval castle life? Especially considering this place is now packed with modern five-star amenities.
This place is enormous.
Built-in 1228 by Anglo-Normans, the castle has received numerous add-ons and extensions over the years, including a French-style chateau in 1715 and Victorian buildings by the then-owners, the Guinness family, in 1852. Nowadays it’s a spectacular 83-room hotel with a cinema, spa, golf course, tennis courts, fishing, lake cruises, horse-riding, clay-shooting, archery, zip-lining, tree climbing, and of course, falconry. We’re not even kidding.
We don’t know where to start.
Considering the sumptuous, spacious and elegant design of the rooms and suites at the hotel it’s amazing anyone makes it outside to partake in all the activities. Each room has been lovingly realized with antique furnishings, be- spoke beds and carpets, chandeliers and one-of-a-kind works of art. There’s 24-hour in-room dining available, an in-room bar, cable TV with on-demand movies, as well as deluxe toiletries and plush bathrobes and slippers. You will never want to leave.