What’s On Your Hotel Bucket List?

Thank you to Hotels.com for sponsoring this post!

luxury hotels miami

Everyone has different priorities when they are traveling, and I find it really interesting to see how other people spend their travel budget and what trade offs they would make. For example: would you rather suffer in a middle seat and stay at a luxurious hotel OR stay somewhere more middle of the road but fly first class? I’d take the middle seat any day as I adore a good luxury hotel.

I think this is partially the Libra in me (we are the chasers of beauty, after all!), so staying somewhere extra beautiful really makes me feel like I am on vacation. I have been lucky enough to stay at some incredible hotels but there’s always a running list of places I want to go. A few years ago, when I stayed at The Four Seasons Surf Club Hotel in Miami (truly a magical experience if you are able to make the trip!), I had mentioned that the property was at the top of my hotel bucket list. The term, “hotel bucket list” is one that has always floated around in my head but not something I’d ever put down on paper!

Today, in partnership with Hotels.com I thought it would be fun to share some of the hotels that are at the top of my personal hotel bucket list and available to book on Hotels.com. Some are a little cliche (but I mean – they are famous for a reason!) and some are a little more off the beaten path. They’re all places I dream of staying at sometime in my life. I would LOVE for you to share your favorites in the comments section! This list could probably be a lot longer but I chose to stick to ten!

My hotel bucket list

The Gritti Palace in Venice | Hotel Bucket List
The Gritti Palace in Venice

Last year, my boyfriend and I went to Venice for the architecture biennale. We stayed at the most beautiful boutique hotel (which fit more realistically into our budget. I LOVED it and would stay at again in a heartbeat!) but the real creme de la creme of exceptional hotels in Venice is The Gritti Palace. It’s very expensive (especially during the various biennales) but truly so special – I think it would be worth staying at for even a night… (and if you are a One Key member, you can get Member Prices on eligible stays!). The palace has such an incredible history! Originally built in the 14th century and then redesigned in 1475, it was Doge Andrea Gritti (who ruled Venice in the 16th century)’s private residence at one point. It was transformed into a hotel in 1895 and just looks utterly magical.

Hotel Casa San Agustin in Cartagena | Hotel Bucket List
Hotel Casa San Agustin in Cartagena

I have been to Cartagena twice and it is such a unique, FUN city. And Casa San Agustin has been on my list of dreamy hotels to stay in ever since having dinner at their restaurant. It just looks so beautiful in that ultra luxurious but unpretentious sort of way. Also, their pool sitch looks incredible. It’s small (just twenty rooms), well-preserved, and just seems like the dreamiest, most relaxing place ever. Fun fact: you can filter for pools when using the Hotels.com app!

Le Sirenuse in Positano
Le Sirenuse in Positano

Does it feel a little bit basic/cliche to include Positano here? Yes, absolutely. But have I ever been? No. And would I die to go, and stay at Le Sirenuse? Yes and yes. It just looks so magically special and over the top. I would die to stay here. The cliffs and winding roads, those coastal views over Positano Beach and the Tyrrhenian Sea! It’s also small (only 58 rooms) so it does book up quickly. Every single detail looks perfect.

Bulgari Hotel in Tokyo
Bulgari Hotel in Tokyo

Tokyo is probably number one on my overall travel bucket list and the Bulgari Hotel seems like the place to stay. It just opened in 2023. The design is a mashup of Italian materials (a nod to Bulgari’s heritage) and Japanese artistry. Think: a venetian glass and mosaic covered pool, bold ceilings hand-painted by Japanese craftspeople. An absolute dream.

The Ritz in Paris | Hotel Bucket List
The Ritz in Paris

Just… the dream! I haven’t been to Paris in ages and am dying to get back… and stay at The Ritz. It’s legendary – truly. The dreamiest location, the dreamiest rooms… like I said, the dream! I love that several of its suites are named in honor of famous guests of the hotel (like Coco Chanel), and the cocktail lounge Bar Hemingway pays tribute to writer Ernest Hemingway.

ICEHOTEL in Sweden
ICEHOTEL in Sweden

Oh my goodness. For someone who hates being cold, ICEHOTEL still feels like a must. While this would definitely be a little more rustic (and chilly!), it would be a true once in a lifetime experience. Part hotel, part art installation. They have more traditional rooms but the move of course is to stay in one of their hand-carved suites made out of ice and snow. They only last as long as the cold season before they melt away. You sleep in a fur-lined sleeping bag (at a temperature of -5 degrees). I probably couldn’t handle more than a night, but I am dying to do it. Just the coolest thing!

Coqui Coqui Meson de Malleville in Mexico
Coqui Coqui Meson de Malleville in Mexico

This property may seem like a more random/off the beaten path suggestion but years ago I stayed at the Coqui Coqui in Tulum and I still dream of their property (and their handmade perfumes). The property in Tulum was so special, I was devastated when it closed. It is actually the former home of Coqui Coqui’s founders, Nicolas Malleville and Francesca Bonato. Every detail is so elegant, and the smells throughout… just amazing.

Passalacqua in Lake Como
Passalacqua in Lake Como

Passalacqua is considered one of the greatest hotels in the entire world. And Lake Como… well, Lake Como in itself is top of my bucket list! It’s set in an 18th century villa, with just 24 rooms, spread out over three buildings. I’ve been told that you feel like you are in a private home. Fun fact: JJ Martin (the founder/designer of La Double J, one of my favs, designed the parasols at the pool. Every element just looks magical.

The Colony Hotel Palms in Palm Springs
The Colony Hotel Palms in Palm Springs

This adults only property was described to me as the Beverly Hills Hotel (formerly on my bucket list until I stayed there, a forever favorite!) meets the desert. I have a big soft spot for Palm Springs. I’ve been to their restaurant (The Colony Club) and sat by the pool, admiring the San Jacinto Mountains as a backdrop. Now I just need to stay there!

Claridge's in London | Hotel Bucket List
Claridge’s in London

This is another classic! I absolutely love London and Claridge’s has been on my hotel bucket list for a long time. It’s set right in the thick of things in Mayfair (near so many of my favorite galleries) and is just that perfect mix of art deco and understated elegance. I am also dying to visit their spa… the property underwent a massive excavation between 2015 and 2012 which resulted in their 7,000 square foot Japanese-inspired spa!

All of these stays can be booked via Hotels.com, which makes it so easy. I love Hotels.com’s various filters and how you can compare different properties using the comparison tool!

How about you? What hotels are on your bucket list?

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment

35 Comments

  1. erica:

    The Post Ranch Inn comes to mind!

    3.28.24 Reply
  2. Dana:

    Definitely the Gasparilla Inn on Boca Grande, FL. It’s historical and a total design dream!

    3.28.24 Reply
  3. Katie McNamee:

    Forever my favorite hotel is the Villa di Piazzano in Tuscany (well, technically just outside of Tuscany). Dying to go back.

    3.28.24 Reply
  4. Not a bucket list hotel – nor was it – prior to planning my honeymoon but I’m dying to go back to Hotel Miramalfi in Amalfi, Italy. Gorgeous, gorgeous suites with balconies overlooking the sea, a pool and chaise lounges built into the cliff, amazing staff, food and service. Just perfection!!

    3.28.24 Reply
  5. Carly:

    I have a few in common with you (Le Sirenuse in Positano, Colony PB, Ritz Paris) – but would add:
    Hôtel Plaza Athénée Paris, Solar de Vila Mea in Portugal, Manon Les Suites in Copenhagen, Juvet Landscape Hotel in Norway, Hotel Burgenstock in Switzerland . . . I could go on and on

    3.28.24 Reply
  6. EMM:

    loyal reader, favorite post in a while (!) – so fun to scroll through and learn more about a few if the hotels I was unfamiliar with + why you picked them. my hotel bucket list is long, but at the tippity top are the amans… i was lucky enough to stay for a week at the amandari in bali almost 10 years ago and i’ve dreamed of finding a way to visit another one of their properties.

    3.28.24 Reply
    • omg SAME. They aren’t available to book on Hotels.com otherwise they would have been top of the list!

      3.28.24 Reply
  7. Nancy:

    Bookmarked. Such a great post and one I will refer back to when planning a trip.

    3.28.24 Reply
  8. Hotel Du Cap Eden Roc!!

    3.28.24 Reply
  9. Ellie:

    Oh this is definitely something I think about a lot as a hospitality major haha. I interned at Charleston Place when it was a Belmond (and stayed there for my wedding) and my DREAM is to collect a sticker from stays at every Belmond property and train. I have stayed at Cap Juluca in Anguilla and had dinner at the Cipriani in Venice (dinner doesn’t count I’m told haha), so lots more to go.

    My husband and I just stayed at the Colony Palms a few months ago and it’s one of our favorites in PS!! Would 100% go back.

    I’m a mixed bag on splurging on hotels…if I’m going somewhere that we spend a lot of time on property and use the amenities, like the Caribbean or Palm Springs, then we’re much more willing to spend on the hotel. But for something like a trip in Europe where we’re really only there to sleep and shower, we take things more middle of the road and try to cap the hotel around $350 a night. If I had FU money, I would absolutely want to stay places like the Ritz Paris, The Savoy, Pulitzer in Amsterdam, etc etc.

    3.28.24 Reply
  10. Erin Larson:

    If palace vibes are what you’re chasing, may I recommend the Maison Albar Le Monumental Palace in Porto, Portugal? maison albar is a boutique hotel chain (I know of several of theirs in Paris and across china but there may be more) and they do not shirk on the details. It truly felt like staying in a palace — lush and opulent rooms in updated color ways. The most attentive service. I think it might actually be the best hotel stay ive had (that wasn’t a resort/ mostly on property trip kind of stay) while it was not cheap, it seemed VERY well priced for the experience (which might be a function of geography). Certainly the most stunning suite I’ve stayed in!

    3.28.24 Reply
  11. Margaret Gwaltney:

    Places I’ve stayed and would love to back to…worthy of any bucket list: Brenners Park Hotel and Spa in Baden-Baden Germany; Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur.

    3.28.24 Reply
  12. Cait:

    HA I have an email in my drafts to you for your newsletter asking about this! So fun to see the post and comments.

    A few years ago I would have scoffed at the idea of a hotel bucket list, because who cares? go out and explore the whole time, you’re only at hotel to sleep! But now… I am just.so.tired. and always flirting on the edge of burnout that I am way into booking a really nice hotel and lounging by nice pools or sitting on nice balconies with wonderful service and food/drinkss, visiting spa, just relaxing, soaking in the ambiance of hotel too. And of course still leaving time for things outside of hotel or just booking separate trips where I want to go-go-go-explore. All things balanced 🙂

    3.28.24 Reply
    • It’s so funny how your priorities change. When I went to Greece in my twenties, I did not care! I stayed in the least expensive (but still safe) possible options and spent my days exploring. Now, in my forties, I like amenities, soft beds, ambiance and service!

      4.1.24 Reply
  13. Sarah Cundiff:

    Any Four Seasons property! I’m all about top notch service, modern spacious bathrooms, well lit bathrooms, comfy beds, tea kettle and mini bar fridge in the room, and if the place is a little isolated – top notch food.

    I stayed at the Four Seasons Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat last year in one of their pool suites (private pool!) and it was beyond! So relaxing. Most incredible service. The food on site was some of the best I’ve ever had which I loved cause I just wanted to relax and not go anywhere.

    The Four Seasons Park Lane in London – top notch service. Best sleep I’ve ever had in their super comfy beds.

    When I go on vaca, it’s to get away from daily life where I have to do everything myself and for others. I want to be spoiled on vaca with others doing stuff for me. Hence why I prioritize staying in top notch service hotels. Last year, I traveled to Europe and the UK for 3 months and lived out of hotels – mostly luxurious ones. Almost every single one had issues with poor design, maintenance, or service. The only ones that were beyond excellent and truly worth of 5 star were the Four Seasons I stayed at. The app they have you can easily communicate with the concierge and how well they keep track of your preferences and they know when you’ve stayed at one of their properties before even if it wasn’t booked through them – just a customer loyalty process that’s unsurpassed. Only brand I’ve been upgraded for free without even asking. Even though I didn’t book direct through them.

    For that 3 month trip, I booked all my hotels through hotels.com and loved how I got free nights here and there (which was great when splurging on so many nice hotels). My only issue was when there was a significant issue with a hotel, hotels.com wasn’t so great with customer service, even though I was in their top tier of users.

    Besides Four Seasons, the other brand I could rave on and on about – is JK Place. I have stayed at many hotels in Rome, and there is nothing on this earth like a stay at the JK Place Roma! It was like staying at a secret private mansion. Literally – there’s no sign on the hotel – you have to know where the door is and they keep the door locked. I love hotels that have very private lobbies. Instead of ones that anyone can walk through. Just makes me feel safer as a woman traveling alone.

    I’ve stayed in some of the best hotels in Venice… but never at the Belmont Cipriani since it’s only open in spring/summer/fall and I usually go to Venice in winter. I’ve dined at Cipriani and it’s top of list to one day stay there if anything just for the pool – but you can also book a day pass to the pool.

    So here’s my bucketlist:

    JK Place Capri
    Four Seasons George V in Paris
    Le Sirenuse and Il San Pietro in Positano
    Hotel du Cap Eden Roc in Antibes, France
    Belmond Hotel Cipriani in Venice
    Belmond Hotel Splendido Mare in Portofino, Italy
    And – Every Four Seasons in the world 🙂

    I also prioritize flying first class by using miles for that. Airplane travel is so annoying and only way to get decent service is when traveling first class.

    Basically – flights and hotels to me are equally important to be top notch. But I could eat at McDonald’s! Don’t get me wrong – I’m a big foodie and love eating out at great restaurants. But I’d rather first class flights and 5* hotel over a Michelin star restaurant any day. I could eat street vendor food and be happy. Eat like the locals. Sleep and fly like a queen! 🙂

    Btw – jealous of your sponsorship from hotels.com! Would die for them to pay me to travel the world staying in and reviewing fancy hotels!!!

    3.28.24 Reply
    • Thank you so much for this incredible list!!! In fairness, with my partnership I do still have to pay for the trips out of pocket with my own money (they then pay me a fee for my content) but YES it is an amazing partnership, one that I really value!

      4.1.24 Reply
  14. Anon:

    Raffles Singapore was my forever dream and absolutely worth the $1000 to stay there one night.

    And I’d love to make it to The Victoria Falls Hotel.

    3.28.24 Reply
  15. nancy:

    Ashford Castle in Ireland!
    This was a bucket list item for my husband and I surprised him with a stay on our last trip to Ireland. The ultimate in luxury and simply gorgeous grounds. Our kids participated in the School of Falconry on the grounds, just a trip none of us will forget.

    3.29.24 Reply
  16. Some of my favs that I HAVE stayed at? The Omni Homestead in VA, Crystal Springs in NJ, and Samoset in Maine.. I currently have a booking for the Charleston harbor Resort beach Club side for December.. I’d welcome your feedback as a local.. I did read several of your posts on lodging in Charleston and will plan to eat at several of them.

    3.29.24 Reply