Global travel authority, Lonely Planet, has unveiled their list of the World’s Best Hotels.
The list of 30 extraordinary and unique places to stay was carefully curated by some of the world’s most well-traveled people.
“Our authors provide their honest opinion and never take freebies in exchange for positive coverage so you can trust our reviews,” said LonelyPlanet.com editorial director and World’s Best Hotels panelist Tom Hall.
The list was itemised into three categories: Extraordinary, Best Value and Eco hotels.
Extraordinary Hotels were defined by hotels which created “exceptional memories for travellers.” Lonely Planet recommended such sites as the Gibbon Experience Treehouse in Laos, where guests can immerse themselves in the jungle, and Mihir Gahr in Rajasthan, India also known as the Fort of the Sun – a majestic structure within a rural village.
Of the Best Value Hotels and Hostels, Lonely Planet authors looked to find locales that allow travellers to “stretch their dollar throughout their trip.”
Included on the list were the Backpack in Cape Town, South Africa, which offers a social hotel and modest accommodation from safari tents and small en-suite dorms to luxurious attic rooms, and the Old Plovdiv Guesthouse, Plovdiv in Bulgaria, which brings touch of old charm to guests who can sleep amongst antinque interiors.
The Eco list sourced the world’s most responsible hotels; those that exercise committed sustainable practices. The 10 on the list also represent author picks for “eco stays have made impressive strides to minimise their environmental impact and contribute to local communities."
The tree-houses of Chole Mjini in Tanzania made the list, as did Dana Guest House in Jordan, which offers breathtaking views.
Two Australian destinations earned a spot in Lonely Planet's rankings: Sydney Harbour YHA, which secured second place in the Lonely Planet’s Best Value Hotels and Hostels category, and Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge in Tasmania, which came fifth in the company’s “Extraordinary” category.
Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge is a stone-and-timber resort located near the entrance of World Heritage Listed Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park.
“Wildlife is best viewed from an outdoor hot tub. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy to be exhausted by long hikes in the national park and even I enjoyed Cradle Mountain’s dramatic weather,” said Lonely Planet author Anita Isalska of her stay. “But the thrill of spotting echidnas and pademelons from the silky waters of a private hot tub is hard to forget.”
Sydney design firm Pike Withers completed a complete overhaul of the interiors in 2008, refurbishing all 98 cabins and the lodge’s restaurant. Last year, the firm was also commissioned to update the lodge’s main public spaces, including the reception area, main lounge, lower bar, restaurant and conference rooms.
“The aim of the refurbishment was to maintain the rustic log cabin atmosphere while adding a contemporary edge and activate the communal guest spaces to create warmth, character and personality,” the firm says on its website.
While Sydney Harbour YHA secured second place on the Best Value Hotels and Hostels List, it also features credible sustainable elements. It may be a little more modestly designed than Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge, but the hostel did receive a $28 million overhaul in 2010.
Designed by architect Tzannes and Associates with construction by Built, the project was designed to house the Sydney Harbour YHA and The Big Dig Archaelogy Education Centre.
The four-storey building spans 4,714 square metres and offers 106 youth accommodation rooms, a two-classroom education centre and retail space.
“The YHA and The Big Dig Archaeology Education Centre are built on ‘The Dig Site' at Cumberland and Gloucester Streets, where structural remains dating from 1795 and more than one million artefacts have been found since excavation began in 1994,” Built's website states.
“To preserve and showcase these archaeological remains, the YHA is raised off the ground on pillars and an on-site archaeology education centre is available to education groups. The project is the largest archaeological urban development ever completed in the southern hemisphere and Australia's first purpose built environmentally sustainable youth hostel in a central city location.”
Lonely Planet features the full world's best hotel lists on their website with author commentary. Below are the entries in their entirety:
1. Mihir Gahr, Rajasthan, India
2. Planet Baobab, Gweta, Botswana
3. Prendiparte B&B, Bologna, Italy
4. Qasr Al Sarab, UAE
5. Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge, Tasmania, Australia
6. Free Spirit Spheres, British Columbia, Canada
7. Taskonak Hotel, Goreme, Cappadocia, Turkey
8. Thonga Beach Lodge, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa
9. Saugerties Lighthouse, New York state, USA
10. The Gibbon Experience Treehouse, Bokeo Reserve, Laos
1. The Backpack, Cape Town, South Africa
2. Sydney Harbour YHA, Sydney, Australia
3. Inkosana Lodge, Champagne Valley, Drakensberg, South Africa
4. Old Plovdiv Guesthouse, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
5. Gasthof Grüner Baum, Glorenza, Sudtirol, Italy
6. Oztel, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
7. Fauzi Azar Inn, Nazareth, Israel
8. We Hostel Design, Sao Paulo, Brazil
9. Hotel Hotel Hostel, Seattle, USA
10. On the Corner, Kolomyya, Ukraine
1. Lapa Rios, Peninsula de Osa, Costa Rica
2. Bulungula Backpackers, Dwesa Nature Reserve, South Africa
3. Chole Mjini, Chole Island, Mafia Archipelago, Tanzania
4. Inkaterra Machu Picchu Peublo Hotel, Aguas Calientes, Peru
5. EcoLodge Chepu Adventures, Chiloe, Chile
6. Maison Anglaise, Taroudant, Morocco
7. Earthship Rentals, Taos, New Mexico, USA
8. Dana Guest House, King’s Highway Jordan
9. Nuli Sapi, Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea
10. Baikaler Eco-Hostel, Listvyanka, Siberia, Russia