by Peter J. Bates

Monday, January 16, 2012

My Top Hotels in 2011...And My 2012 'Wish List'

During the first month of the year, I like to pause and consider all the hotels I’ve been privileged to visit – and will encounter the coming year – during my global travels. In the spirit of ‘recaps’ and ‘lists’ that celebrate the launch of a New Year, I wanted to share with you my thoughts on the top five hotels I experienced in 2011 as well as the top five properties I can’t wait to discover in 2012.

Top 5 in 2011

Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa, Maldives – Nestled 75 miles south of the equator on Villingili Island on the Addu Atoll in the Maldives, Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa is exceedingly exceptional in every regard. Fabulous accommodations (132 villas in all), a superb roster of outdoor activity (such as biking, tennis and fishing), watersports (including diving, a huge passion in the Maldives), the CHI spa, superior dining, and flawless service make this luxurious tropical resort that is truly family friendly a gem in the glorious Maldives. Created on a deserted island from scratch, Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa is a dreamy vacation getaway that is one of the few places I can confidently say allows the ‘globe-trotting road warrior’ in myself to actually relax. I visited last summer and I can’t wait to return.

Corinthia Hotel, London – Several new hotels emerged on the scene in London, and the Corinthia may be the best new property there. I’m in the city at least twice a year so new hotels are always on my radar. The Corinthia’s design is striking and impressive; bold and cutting-edge spaces (that are open and welcome tons of natural light) and spectacular workmanship enhance the stunning city views. Innovative culinary dishes and the revolutionary ESPA Life spa concept also make the Corinthia a distinct stand-out in London. It sets a new standard for luxury and style in one of the most cosmopolitan and culturally-rich cities in the world.