20 bucket list hotels worth visiting

By Lachlan Probyn,

When it comes to hotels, what’s the winning factor for you? Does your idea of the perfect hotel comprise of a dreamy overwater bungalow or would you rather settle into a medieval castle and feel like a modern-day aristocrat?

The Room5 team have had the pleasure of hand-picking 20 bucket list hotels certain to give you that once-in-a-lifetime hotel stay. From Ireland to New Zealand, here’s the world’s best. So go on, pack those bags and start ticking these gems off your list!

20. Paperbark Camp Glamping

Location: Jervis Bay, Australia

Do you fancy the idea of camping in the outdoors, but you just can’t come to terms with a night on a cold air mattress? Glamping is for you! Paperbark Camp offers 12 safari tents which are peppered throughout native eucalypts and paperbarks.

Affectionately referring to itself as camping for adults, this place offers all the essentials for a luxurious stay. Think a steaming hot shower, a dreamy free-standing bath, and a bed appointed in quality linens. Surely an experience such as this has to be ticked off your bucket list very soon!

19. Marina Bay Sands

Location: Singapore

As far as the criteria for bucket list hotels goes, an infinity pool should certainly feature. When it comes to some of the world’s best infinity pools, Marina Bay Sands is at the top of the game. A word of warning though, this place is not for the vertigo-inclined! The infinity pool rests at the top of the hotel’s 57 floors, and gives the impression of floating seamlessly into the Singapore skyline.

But Marina Bay Sands offers so much more than this. Rooms and suites are decked out in an elegant style, offering uninterrupted city views and some pretty inviting deep-soaking tubs.

18. Alila Villas Soori

Location: Bali

It goes without saying that an experience in a Balinese villa should feature on your bucket list, and when it comes to the top places to stay, we’ve fallen pretty smitten with Alila Soori. Positioned between mountains and the ocean, Alila offers 48 villas that put secluded luxury at the heart of the guest experience.

Our pick is to go for the Ocean Pool Villa which comes with its very own pool and direct beach access. With cheap flights to Bali and reasonable hotel discounts throughout the year, you can tick Alila Soori off your list pretty quickly!

View on trivago AU View on trivago NZ

17. Hotel 41

Location: London

Everyone needs to visit London at least once in their life, and if you’re looking for a bucket list worthy experience here, we suggest a night or two in the super glam Hotel 41. Positioned just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Buckingham Palace, you too can feel like royalty at Hotel 41.

Be treated to a clean aesthetic of black and white, which is tastefully paired with mahogany furnishings and plush linens. Come afternoon, retreat to the Executive Lounge and indulge in a quintessential British High Tea – think orange scented scones and red velvet cupcakes!

16. Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa

Location: Daintree Rainforest, Australia

The Daintree Rainforest is one of Australia’s most iconic destinations, so it comes a no surprise that a stay within the forest should be on most bucket lists. If you’re looking for some serene luxury, a night at the Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa goes without saying.

The weatherboard cabins are built on stilts, and blend into the forest’s lush canopy. Freshen up in your very own outdoor Jacuzzi, then head to in-house Julaymba Restaurant and tantalise your taste buds with freshly prepared gourmet delights.

15. Sofitel Legend Metropole

Location: Hanoi

If your idea of a bucket list hotel involves stately grandeur paired with timeless elegance, Hanoi’s Sofitel Legend Metropole simply beckons you. The hotel offers an elegant Parisian exterior of green shutters and black wrought iron, which is reminiscent of a 1920s French hotel.

Attracting the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Graham Greene, you can feel just as iconic as you recline in your old-world style room. Go for a suite in the historical wing of the hotel and be treated to natural wooden floors, opulent silks, and a seriously glam bathroom.

14. Tsala Treetop Lodge

Location: Plettenberg Bay, South Africa

If you thought treehouses were reserved for kids, think again. Regress to some childhood innocence with a stay in the unique Tsala Treetop Lodge, and forget the responsibilities of adult life for a night or two. But trust us, these treehouses offer all the adult luxuries you’d come to expect from a bucket list hotel.

The treetop villas and suites offer private decks and stunning infinity pools that melt into the surrounding forest. Come evening, head to the impressive glass-walled dining room and dig into some carefully prepared dishes that are inspired by local flavours and ingredients.

13. Marques de Riscal

Location: Elciego, Spain

As much of a work of art as a hotel, Marques de Riscal is an experience of the senses. Designed by renowned architect, Franck Gehry, the hotel offers a truly unique design, blending tilted walls, zigzag windows, and cathedral ceilings. Situated in Spain’s City of Wine, Elciego, it comes as no surprise that the hotel overlooks a series of rolling vineyards.

After quaffing one of two wines in the town centre, retreat to your room which is appointed with polished timber floors, a dreamy marble bathroom, and complimentary Caudalie amenities – perfection!

12. Le Meurice

Location: Paris

Paris is a destination on everyone’s travel bucket list, and what better way to celebrate your time in the city of love than with a stay at the equally fabulous, Le Meurice? Situated on the ‘oh-so-vogue’ Rue de Rivoli, in the heart of Paris’ second arrondissement, you can be treated to a luxurious experience from start to finish.

The 18th century palace hotel offers a mix of rooms which boast old-world chandeliers, French doors, and tasteful antique furnishings. If you’re lucky, you might even secure yourself a view of the Eiffel Tower!

11. JK Place

Location: Capri, Italy

The island of Capri is simply made for a bucket list, and if you’re looking for a hotel that matches Capri’s splendour, JK Place is ideal. Perched on a cliff, the hotel boasts uninterrupted views of the Gulf of Naples, and offers all the indulgent amenities you would come to expect from a five-star hotel.

The highlight of JK Place is arguably the stunning communal pool which is surrounded by lush gardens and overlooks the sea. Our tip is to book one of the massage treatments which can be performed on your own sunbed beside the pool. Just imagine ticking a hotel experience like this off your bucket list!

10. Float House River Kwai

Location: Kanchanaburi, Thailand

When you think of bucket list hotels, an overwater bungalow is likely to feature. What could be better than waking up in a private villa, suspended over flowing waters? As far as overwater bungalows go, Float House River Kwai certainly packs a punch.

The 18 bungalows are set amidst the tropical jungle and mountains of the Saiyoke Region, and showcase a Thai Folk aesthetic. Think bamboo and teakwood furnishings, overhanging sheer drapes, and soft blue and orange silks.

9. Matakauri Lodge

Location: Queenstown, New Zealand

While Queenstown may be more commonly associated with adrenaline sports, take things down a notch this time around with a stay in the bucket list worthy Matakauri Lodge. Positioned on the banks of picturesque Lake Wakatipu, the lodge offers stunning rooms, suites and cottages which all boast uninterrupted mountain views.

We’ve fallen pretty smitten with the bathrooms, which come with oversized tubs and underfloor heating. For the ultimate bucket list experience, our tip is to head to the outdoor infinity pool and Jacuzzi, champagne in hand a must!

8. Madikwe Hills Lodge

Location: Madikwe, South Africa

When it comes to staying in a hotel, we all love a good view. Some like lake views, others can’t go past alpine vistas, but what about waking up to uninterrupted views of giraffe and buffalo herds? At the unique Madikwe Safari Lodge, all this and more is possible.

The über-luxe rooms blend the outdoors with the indoors, featuring floor-to-ceiling windows, natural timbers, and private decks appointed with plunge pools. When visiting this part of South Africa, a safari goes without saying and fortunately the lodge offers a range of guided tours.

7. Saffire Freycinet

Location: Coles Bay, Tasmania

As far as bucket list hotels go, Saffire Freycinet ticks all the boxes. Uninterrupted lake and mountain views? Check. A dreamy day spa offering face and body treatments? Check. An in-house restaurant serving fresh, locally sourced ingredients? Check.

Situated in Tasmania’s Coles Bay, this hotel offers a serene experience which is perfectly paired with all the modern-day luxuries. The Instagram-worthy suites feature Tasmanian timber furnishings, bespoke king beds, and deep-soaking tubs that simply beckon a romantic night with your respective other.

6. Ashford Castle

Location: Cong, Ireland

Fancy being a Prince or Princess for a night? While the pursuit of entering the royal family may be a little challenging, booking a night in Ireland’s Ashford Castle is a touch easier. Feel like a modern-day aristocrat as you stroll through the castle’s stately grounds, then retreat to your room which is furnished with all the regal suspects.

Think vivid printed carpets, wallpaper, dazzling chandeliers, and antique furnishings. This theme even carries through to the castle’s indoor swimming pool, which features low-hanging chandeliers and a stunning mosaic fresco.

5. Icehotel

Location: Sweden
If your idea of a bucket list hotel involves something unique, you can’t get much more original than Sweden’s Icehotel. As the name would suggest, the hotel offers rooms and communal areas which are made entirely out of ice. Each of the cold rooms are unique in design, being carved by artists commissioned from around the globe.
Rooms sit at temperatures of around -5 to -8 degrees, but you can be guaranteed a toasty slumber thanks to the thermal sleeping bags provided. In the morning, wake to a piping cup of lingonberry juice beside your bed. What bucket list worthy bliss!

4. Huka Lodge

Location: Taupo, New Zealand

Huka Lodge is one of the most coveted resorts in New Zealand, and arguably the world. Winning countless awards thanks to its five-star service and breathtaking surrounds, it goes without saying that this hidden sanctuary should feature on your hotel bucket list.

Dabbled over seven hectares of lush gardens and just 300 metres from the famed Huka Falls, you can simply breathe in the country serenity here. The 20 elegantly appointed suites face out onto the Waikato River, and reveal a timeless aesthetic of antique furnishings and crisp linens.

3. Grand Hotel Tremezzo

Location: Lake Como, Italy

If Lake Como is good enough for George Clooney, then surely it’s good enough for you! While the view of towering mountains falling into the glistening lake steals the show here, the stately Grand Hotel Tremezzo comes a close second. With more than 100 years in the business, the staff at this place know what true hotel luxury is about.

Start your afternoon on the T Bar terrace, overlooking the lake with a Campari and soda in hand, then settle into your Lake View Prestige Room. Here you can enjoy a private balcony as well as a super luxe marble bathroom.

2. Taj Lake Palace

Location: Udaipur, India

Staying the night in a palace is one thing, but staying the night in a palace on its very own island is another! The very grand Taj Lake Palace Hotel is housed in an 18th century marble palace that was once the former residence of the Maharana of Mewar.

Today, it treats guests to a one-of-a-kind hotel experience, offering rooms that boast period furnishings and stunning traditional frescoes. Spend the afternoon discovering the lake by boat, or otherwise make use of the ‘royal butler’ service and indulge in a private dining experience.

1. Anantara Kihavah Villas Resort

Location: Maldives

As far as overwater bungalows go, the Maldives is home to some of the best, and among those, we have to say our favourite is Anantara Kihavah Villas Resort. After arriving at the resort by seaplane, be escorted to your very own bungalow, suspended over the azure Maldivian waters. Here you can appreciate all the bucket list luxuries: uninterrupted ocean views, a private pool, and a large sundeck with steps leading directly into the water.

But it’s not just the bungalows that will leave you smitten here. Dine with the local marine life at the resort’s award-winning underwater restaurant – trust us the view is pretty bucket list worthy.