Architecture has been synonymous with luxury since ancient times. Palaces, hotels, and resorts around the world have amazed the visitors with their unparalleled opulence and set the bar high for comfortable living. Some hotels, in particular, have risen from the ground to achieve unmatched heights of splendor. 

Here, we take a trip around the world to look at some of the most spectacular hotels that redefine luxury:

1. Burj al Arab, Dubai 

Regarded as one of the most expensive hotels, this skyscraper on the Dubai skyline is all things extravagant. The third tallest hotel in the world stands on an artificial island near Jumeirah Beach. 

The Sheikh of Dubai commissioned the consultancy Atkins to create a structure that would become a symbol of UAE and Dubai. Hence, the team led by architect Tom Wright came up with a design resembling the sail of the traditional Arab ‘dhow’ or yacht.

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Burj Al Arab ©

2. Canaves Oia, Santorini, Greece 

This hotel designed by K-Studio offers unrestricted views of the beautiful island sunset. The approach was to create an open, light-filled space with villas to suit family holidays. Santorinian stone-clad structures, along with ancient olive trees, give a sense of context to the building. The strategically placed rocks help to blend the hotel with its surroundings. 

Overall, the local textures combined with luxury make a comfortable design with a sense of calm and privacy. It adds value to the special location. 

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Canaves Oia ©Canaves

3. Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur, India 

Udaipur, a princely state of Rajasthan, has had an illustrious history and a rich heritage. Udaivilas was designed by architect Nimish Patel and it embodies the grace of the royal city with perfection. Set beside Lake Pichola, the palace hotel with its numerous courtyards and reflection pools gives a feeling of serenity. 

Mewari architectural elements like domes, chhatris, cupolas, and ornamental pavilions are predominant in the design. The courtyards have black and white granite work with marble steps leading into the pools. The luxuries instill a feeling of royalty in the guests.

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The Oberoi Udaivilas ©Martin Harvey

4. Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, Finland 

Nothing seems fitting than to live in an igloo made of glass, surrounded by Arctic snow. The cabins have a glass dome to facilitate reindeer spotting and enjoying the northern lights while in the warmth of the fireplace. 

The one of a kind resort established in 1973 by Jussi Eiramo comprises two villages. The interiors have been done in the Finnish style to preserve authenticity. 

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Kakslauttanen Resort ©Kakslauttanen

5. La Mamounia, Marrakesh, Morocco 

This spectacular hotel perfectly captures the essence of luxury living in a palace. The five-star hotel boasts incredible views of its lush gardens, the Atlas Mountains, and the Koutoubia Mosque. The guests enter into a visual marvel to be greeted by water fountains and basins, the aroma of jasmine, cedar, and orange blossoms in the air. 

The Arab-Andalusian interiors with sculpted wood and tile work is a magical feast to the eyes. La Mamonia’s central pool with the surrounding palms is a perfect retreat. 

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La Mamounia ©La Mamounia

6. Amangiri, Canyon Point, Utah 

With a minimalistic design, this resort is a contemporary take on the native Indian architecture. It incorporates the magic and mystery of southern Utah’s cliff and rock formations in its design. The guests can celebrate the rawness of the surroundings accompanied by a beautiful play of light throughout the day. 

Concrete blocks are cut by movement and light to create a timelessness that blends into the sandy landscape. Water, rock, and sky are the three dominant elements emphasized in the design.

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Amangiri Resort ©Wendell Burnette Architects

7. Ritz Paris, Paris 

The Ritz ranks among some of the most spectacular hotels in the world. The hotel was established in 1898 by hotelier Cesar Ritz along with the French chef Auguste Escoffier. 

It was the first European hotel with amenities like a bathroom en suite, telephone in each room, and electricity. Hence, it became the symbol of luxury, attracting royals, movie stars, singers, and writers. Today, it gives the visitor an experience of palatial living with the best of the best. 

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Ritz Paris ©Ritz Paris

8. Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal, Cabo San Lucas, México 

With some major accolades to its name, this spectacular resort lies at the tip of the Baja Peninsula in a peaceful and secluded environment. It is separated from the village by a mountain and can be accessed via a tunnel.  

HKS designers wanted to preserve the rugged nature of the site, therefore, stone walls, sand-colored plaster, and wooden Latilla structures have been incorporated. Guests enjoy expansive views of the ocean upon exiting the tunnel. 

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Waldorf Astoria ©HKSinc

9. Plaza Hotel, New York 

Opened in 1907, The Plaza Hotel has become an icon of New York. Throughout the years, the hotel has been a host to world leaders, captains in industries, as well as Hollywood legends. 

Located on the famous Fifth Avenue, near Central Park, the hotel is designed in a French Renaissance-inspired château-style by Henry Janeway Hardenbergh. The twenty-one storey building has 282 rooms and 181 condos, providing unparalleled luxury to its guests.

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The Plaza ©PlazaNY

10. The Peninsula Shanghai, China 

Designed by HOK, this award-winning hotel is the epitome of grand urban hotel design. The 1920s and 30s Art-deco style has been given a modern spin to design the 15 storey hotel. It is set amongst the Bund and the East Nanjing Road, the busiest areas of the city. Hence, the walled courtyard gives a sense of departure from the city’s hustle and bustle. 

With stunning views of the Huangpu River and the consulate gardens, the building embodies the grace of the colonial era.

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The Peninsula ©HOK

Kriti Shah is a student of architecture with a keen interest in writing. When she’s not involved in college submissions,she can be seen reading about travel, design, art and popular culture. An eager travel-buff, she plans to sail across the oceans and write about her adventures