The BBC has released 3 seasons of a TV show called Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby.
In this program, Giles Coren and Monica Galetti travel the globe visiting some of the world’s most incredible hotels, in which they also work alongside staff to show what happens behind the scenes.
We have watched all the series and decided to write this post about some of those amazing hotels.
Jade Mountain, St Lucia
Jade Mountain was the most impressive hotel of the series for us.
It’s located in Saint Lucia, an Eastern Caribbean island nation with a pair of dramatically tapered mountains, the Pitons, which is also home to volcanic beaches, reef-diving sites, luxury resorts and fishing villages.
Rising majestically above the 600-acre beachfront resort of Anse Chastanet, Jade Mountain Resort on St. Lucia’s south-western Caribbean coastline is a cornucopia of organic architecture celebrating St. Lucia’s stunning scenic beauty. The hotel is really
The presenters interviewed its architect and owner Nick Troubetzkoy, who has expanded upon his philosophy of building in harmony with Caribbean nature. The bold architectural design – individual bridges leading to exceptional infinity pool sanctuaries and rugged stoned-faced columns reaching towards the sky – makes Jade Mountain St. Lucia one of the Caribbean’s most mesmerizing resort experiences.
Expect grand sweeping spaces where bedroom, living area and an extravagant private infinity pool glide into one another to form extraordinary platforms floating out into nature. With the fourth wall absent, Jade Mountain’s sanctuaries are stage-like settings from which to embrace the full glory of St. Lucia’s Pitons World Heritage Site, and of course, the eternal Caribbean Sea.
Wrapped around an infinity pool with a dazzling kaleidoscope of colours, the Jade Mountain Club celebrates James Beard Award winner Chef Allen Susser’s “Jade Cuisine.” Hovering in space above the Jade Mountain Club is the Celestial Terrace, perfect for sunset cocktails or star-gazing.
A wide range of spa services can be enjoyed in the privacy of the Jade Mountain sanctuaries or at Kai en Ciel, Jade Mountain’s boutique spa and fitness studio. The resort major domos and a dedicated resort team ensure outstanding service around the clock.
Enjoy the exclusivity and privacy of Jade Mountain with all of the sister resort Anse Chastanet’s restaurants, bars, boutiques, art gallery, spa, scuba, bike and watersports facilities as well as 2 soft sand beaches available and easily accessible to Jade Mountain guests by foot or resort shuttle at all times.
Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
Marina Bay Sands is the mosticonic hotel in Singapur and around the world. Towering over the bay, it offers the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool, 20 dining options and a world-class casino. It has direct access to Singapore’s premier shopping mall and the ArtScience Museum, which features Future World’s permanent exhibition.
At its opening in 2010, it was billed as the world’s most expensive standalone casino property at S$8 billion (US$6.88 billion), including the land cost.
Designed by Moshe Safdie, the resort includes a 2,561-room hotel, a 120,000-square-metre (1,300,000 sq ft) convention-exhibition centre, the 74,000-square-metre (800,000 sq ft) The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands mall, a museum, a large theatre, “celebrity chef” restaurants (e.g. CUT by Wolfgang Puck and Bread Street Kitchen by Gordon Ramsay), two floating crystal pavilions, art-science exhibits, and the world’s largest atrium casino with 500 tables and 1,600 slot machines. The complex includes three towers topped by a connecting 340-metre-long (1,120 ft) SkyPark with a capacity of 3,902 people and a 150 m (490 ft) infinity swimming pool, set on top of the world’s largest public cantilevered platform, which overhangs the north tower by 66.5 m (218 ft).
As of 2020, its crystal pavilions are anchored by an Apple Store and the world’s largest Louis Vuitton boutique, both located on a floating island at 1,900 m2 (20,000 sq ft), which is connected to the Shoppes via an underwater tunnel each. Marina Bay Sands is also set to have a fourth tower constructed shortly, adjacent to the existing tri-towers, at an approximate USD 3.3 billion investment, in its bid to attract more international visitors.
Prices vary along the year, but as a reference, a stay for a week (7 nights) at end of September starts at USD2,550.
Schloss Elmau, Germany
Schloss Elmau, built by the philosopher and theologian Johannes Müller between 1914 and 1916, is a four-story national monument with a hipped roof, tower and porch, situated between Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Mittenwald in a sanctuary of the Bavarian Alps, Germany. It lies at the foot of the Wetterstein mountains in a Naturschutzgebiet (nature reserve), belonging to the Krün municipality.
The five-star hotel today offers 123 rooms and suites, a concert hall, several restaurants, a high-quality spa and wellness centre, indoor and outdoorswimming pools and more. The Schloss Elmau Retreat features 47 suites. The hotel is a forum for renowned international conferences and meetings. It is a member hotel of The Leading Hotels of the World. For instance, it was the site of the 41st G7 summit in 2015.
With a very interesting history, the hotel has been through many renovations and uses. In the early hours of 7 August 2005, a fire broke out in the Schloss, caused by a faulty electric blanket belonging to the former manager, Ducci Mesirca. The fire destroyed nearly the entire top floor of the main building, although there were no serious casualties. The hotel has since been rebuilt and became even more popular.
In 1997 Dietmar Müller-Elmau, a son of Bernhard, became proprietor of Schloss Elmau. He focused on renovating the castle as well as redefining Schloss Elmau as a “Cultural Hideaway”. He set out to create a space where high art could flourish as the foremost expression of a Jewish-American ideal of individual freedom and creativity. His mission was clearly accomplished, and since 1998 Schloss Elmau has also become a regular meeting place for scholars and musicians from all over the world.
Schloss Elmau has celebrated a globally unique musical tradition for over a century now. Today, as many as 200 Classical Music and Jazz Concerts take place each year, as well as several festivals, and many CD recordings. The artists not only perform but also relax at the hotel with their families and friends. The music is mostly classical and jazz, but other genres are also available.
The Brando, French Polynesia
The Brando is a private resort located on the atoll of Tetiaroa of the Society Islands in French Polynesia. It serves as a regulated airstrip, research facility, eco-resort and spa on the islet (motu) of Onetahi. The atoll’s inside, on which The Brando is located, is on a 99-year lease contracted by Marlon Brando.
Marlon Brando boughtTetiaroa in 1996 after visiting Tahiti to film Mutiny on the Bounty, and spent many days relaxing from the stress of Hollywood. His vision was always to be able to construct a hotel without affecting the natural environment of the area. The hotel was completed in February 2014 and opened on 1 July 2014. Eight of Marlon Brando’s relatives were involved in the project along with the Brando Estate.
The buildings are made using materials that are of local or certified origin, renewable or recycled. There is a deep seawater air-conditioning system to reduce energy demands. Renewable energy sources such as solar power and coconut oil biofuel are used. The zinc-bromine flow batteries used for storing the power from the solar panels are made from recyclable materials. The resort’s vehicles are electric or human-powered.
The resort comprises 35 beachfront with thatched rooves, massive ironwood tree trunks and acres of space. Treats include a media room, an outdoor bath and a private deck with an infinity pool. Every guest gets a bicycle in a chic café-au-lait livery, and there are also two- and three-bedroom villas for larger parties.
The Silo, South Africa
The Silo is another spectacular luxury hotel, “a celebration of art, architecture, style and design”. It has been built in the grain elevator portion of the historic grain silo complex occupying six floors above Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) which houses Africa’s largest collection of contemporary African art.
The exterior of the building was designed by Heatherwick Studio. From the outside, the greatest visible change to the building’s original structure is the addition of the ingenious glass windows inserted into the geometry of the hotel floors. These multi-faceted structures glisten like diamonds during the day while at night the building transforms into a glowing beacon in the Table Bay harbour.
The hotel has 28 rooms, including a stunning one-bedroom penthouse. Each room has been individually designed and decorated, and the colourful and eclectic pieces juxtapose the modern, industrial architecture. The 6 room categories are based on the room size and the views. Each room has a private balcony and a unique collection of contemporary African art.
It also offers a number of Private Residences situated nearby along the Atlantic Seaboard
Ashford Castle, Ireland
Ashford Castle is a medieval and Victorian castle that has been expanded over the centuries and turned into a five-star luxury hotel near Cong on the Mayo-Galway border, on the Galway side of Lough Corrib in Ireland. It is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World organisation and was previously owned by the Guinness family.
The 800-year old castle is set on a 350-acre estate with landscaped gardens, ancient woodland and an emerald lake. It offers 83 traditional and elegant rooms and suites, 6 restaurants and 3 bars with a team of world-renowned chefs and sommeliers. Also an award-winning spa with 10m pool, 5 treatment rooms, sauna and steam room. Moreover, unique and special experiences and activities are available on the estate, from fishing to horse riding.
The castle has a quite long and interesting history. But multiple uses and owners over the years haven’t spoiled the beauty and sumptuosity of the building and state.
The last re-opening was in April 2015 following a major refurbishment. All 820 windows were replaced, a new lead roof installed, and its stonework repointed. Around €47m was spent on restoring the property.
Giraffe Manor, Kenya
Giraffe Manor is a small hotel in the Lang’ata suburb of Nairobi, Kenya which, together with its associated Giraffe Centre, serves as a home to a number of endangered Rothschild’s giraffes, and operates a breeding programme to reintroduce breeding pairs back into the wild to secure the future of the subspecies.
Set in a 1930s manor house with gardens and a resident herd of endangered giraffes, this luxe all-inclusive hotel is 6 km from the Karen Blixen Museum and 7 km from Bomas of Kenya, a tourist village with cultural shows. It’s 26 km from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. It comprises10 refined rooms individually decorated. Some rooms offer direct access to feeding the giraffes. There are 2 split-level suites, 1 with a patio.
Giraffe Manor is one of Nairobi’s most iconic buildings. The historic manor house has extraordinary appeal, that harks back to the 1930s when visitors first flocked to East Africa to enjoy safaris. With its stately façade, elegant interior, verdant green gardens, sunny terraces and delightful courtyards, guests often remark that it’s like walking into the film Out of Africa: indeed, one of its twelve rooms is named after the author Karen Blixen.
MGM Cotai, Macau
The hotel consists of 1,390 rooms and suites, a 2000-seat MGM Theater, a casino, meeting spaces, and a retail promenade. It also features the world’s largest art garden, Nature’s Art, which houses over 100,000 plants and more than 2,000 plant species, including several previously extinct species.
It was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates and constructed at a cost of $3.4 billion. The unique structure has the appearance of nine jewel-like boxes stacked upon each other, forming two interconnected towers. Its exterior is coloured gold, silver, and bronze similar to the MGM Macau. With a total floor area of 280,000 sqm, the hotel’s atrium connecting the main lobby to shops and restaurants, named The Spectacle, features the world’s largest free-span gridshell glazed roof that is self-supporting. 125 gaming tables have been allocated to the property’s casino, of which 100 were allocated at launch and the remaining 25 to be allocated in 2019.
There are 8 restaurants and bars, including fine dining and 24/7 options. Other amenities consist of a luxe spa, an outdoor pool, a hot tub and a gym, as well as a theatre, high-tech art space and an expansive indoor garden.