Luxury Hotels

The Elephant Four Seasons

Four Seasons hotels are known for their excellent service and exceptional luxury — their Tented Camp Golden Triangle property certainly has those qualities. But that Four Seasons — located by the village of Chiang Saen, Thailand near the borders with Burma and Laos — also has a feature not usually associate with the chain: Elephants!

Spot Cool Stuff loves the combination of animals and hotels. We’ve written before about a Kenyan hotel inundated by giraffe, a Japanese style inn where guests bathe with monkeys and an unlikely California bed and breakfast surrounded by lions and tigers. But none of those accommodations offer the pampered, high-end experience that Four Seasons does.

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Seattle to the Max

Supposedly, Seattle as a travel destination embodies the funky and artsy. Yet, surprisingly, there are only a handful of hotels that match that reputation. The majority of high-end hotels in Seattle seem stale, corporate, and predictable.

Those adjectives are light years away from the Hotel Max. This downtown, Seattle boutique hotel is all about being fun and trendy.

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The Most Luxurious Orlando Hotels with Free Wifi

One of Spot Cool Stuff’s biggest travel peeves: Hotels that charge for in-room wireless internet. We somewhat understand budget no-frills hotels adding an optional internet fee, but it is usually those very hotels that don’t. The hotels that typically charge the most for internet access are those that already charge the highest room rates. What sort of luxury experience is that? To Spot Cool Stuff it is the equivalent of a hotel putting an electricity meter outside every room and charging their guests extra for their power usage.

For whatever reason, hotels and resorts in Orlando are especially prone to charging for internet access. We’ve found hotels in Central Florida that charge up to $30 per day! Fortunately we’ve always found a few hotels that offer an upmarket experience, that are convenient to Orlando’s theme parks and attractions and that provide free wifi. Here are the three best:

Update: Amen! The Walt Disney World Resort has recently announced that it will start offering free wifi. Hopefully this means that other Orlando-area resorts will follow their lead.

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The Best View from a
Hotel Room in French Polynesia

Previously, we published a review comparison of Bora Bora’s best luxury resorts, listing the pros and cons of each. Among the pros for the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort and Thalasso Spa: It has the best views from inside a room of any resort on Bora Bora.

In fact, the more we thought it about, the InterContinental Thalasso has the best room views of any hotel in French Polynesia.

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The Jamaica Caves Where Celebrities Find Bliss

When the likes of Harrison Ford, Scarlett Johansson, Bono and the Sports Illustrated swimsuit photographers visit Jamaica they head to the caves. The Caves Resort, that is, a luxurious-rustic getaway located in Negril—Jamaica’s “capital of casual” famous for its Caribbean sunsets and Seven Mile Beach.

Celebrities are drawn to the Caves Resort partly because it is owned by one of their own, legendary music producer Chris Blackwell (who also hosts the Flashpoint Film Festival here). And partly because, well, it is one cool place to stay.

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A Comparison of Bora Bora’s Outstandingly Cool-Looking Resorts

Bora Bora has only 29 square kilometers of land. Yet, incredibly, the French Polynesian island has 9 outstandingly cool-looking luxury resorts. That gives Bora Bora a OCLR/KM (outstandingly cool-looking luxury resorts per square kilometer) value of .31, which is surely the highest of any island in the world.

Each of Bora Bora’s nine outstandingly cool-looking luxury resorts has its merits. A stay at each is also somewhere between expensive and exorbitant, especially once you account for the cost of food, activities and local transportation, all of which is pricey even before tacking on the 14% national tax. That makes choosing the optimum resort key. And, of course, if you are staying for your honeymoon you want to get it right.

For this overview, we’re listing Bora Bora’s OCLRs in the order of overall resort quality as we judge it. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the first resort on our list is the best fit with what you are seeking for your particular trip. Also, while reading our comparison, keep in mind that all these resorts have overwater bungalows. All have service that exceeds that of a typical luxury hotel. And all are set in stunning locations, Bora Bora offering nothing but. In those ways, you can’t go wrong with any of these choices:

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The Luxurious Boat-Room Resort

The Dhoni has been a central feature of life in the Maldives for nearly as long as there’s been a recorded history of people living there. Traditionally, Dhonis were small sailing vessel built from coconut palm wood. Today, a Dhoni (pronounced: “doh-nee”) comes in a variety of sizes and is as likely to be powered by an engine as it is by the gentle trade winds that grace the Maldives. Travel around that archipelago of tropical islands south of India and you’ll see Dhonis everywhere. People fish in them. Children ride to school in them. Merchants sell their goods from them. And at one hotel, the Cocoa Island Resort, Dhonis have been turned into romantic, idyllic luxury suites.

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The Best View from a
Hotel Room in Rome

There’s no more iconic sight in Rome than that of the Colosseum. And there’s no hotel with better room views of the Colosseum than the Gladiatori Palazzo Manfredi.

At this five star boutique hotel, you can literally gaze out upon the Colosseum while laying in bed or while brushing your teeth at the bathroom sink.

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