For those travellers who wish to heighten their holiday experience and ‘Wake Up Happy’, Hotels.com, the global hotel specialist, highlights some record-breaking hotels around the world, whether they are the biggest, tallest, oldest, greenest or most expensive.
The hotels featured on the Hotels.com list of ‘est’ factor hotels offer extraordinary accommodation which defies the norm and offers travelers a truly memorable experience. Hotels include the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, currently the world’s tallest hotel, Icehotel in Sweden, the world’s coldest, and Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa in Queensland, which is regarded as the world’s ‘greenest’ hotel.
World’s Tallest Hotel: Burj Al Arab – Dubai
Currently the tallest hotel in the world is the Burj Al Arab in Dubai (however, the Rose Tower, also in Dubai, will surpass it once opened in late 2009). Standing at 321 metres in height, the hotel is a self-rated 7 star hotel built on a man-made island 280 metres from shore. Burj Al Arab is arguably one of the most luxurious hotels in the world with its own Rolls Royce fleet, private shopper and helicopter landing platform.
All of the hotel’s 202 duplex suites, ranging from 170 to 780 square metres, are fitted with Versace bedspreads, full size Hermes products and come with a private butler. Naturally the hotel isn’t cheap, with the Burj Al Arab also having some of the most expensive rooms costing up to US$15,000 per night.
World’s Largest Hotel (number of rooms): The Palazzo Resort Hotel & Casino – Las Vegas, USA
Where else other than in Las Vegas would you find the world’s largest hotel? The Palazzo Resort Hotel & Casino, which operates under the same license as The Venetian hotel next door, has 8,108 rooms combined. The hotel is like a mini city, with a large selection of restaurants, fashion stores (including its own version of Barneys New York) and, of course, its own casino with over 139 gaming tables and 1,400 gambling machines. The hotel also has its own Lamborghini dealership, which houses the only Koenigsegg dealer in the United States.
The Palazzo is home to the Broadway smash musical Jersey Boys, while the widely acclaimed Blue Man Group is permanently on show at the Venetian. If you want to relax, there is the choice of seven pools and four hot tubs. To book, please visit http://hongkong.hotels.com/ho259462/the-palazzo-resort-hotel-casino-at-the-venetian-la-si-wei-jia-si-mei-guo/ or call 800 930 373.
World’s Oldest Hotel: Hoshi Ryokan – Komatsu, Japan
The Hoshi Ryokan hotel in Komatsu, Japan is the oldest hotel in the world. It has been in operation for over 1,300 years dating back to its opening in 718; this hotel has been run by the same family for 46 generations. The hotel has only 100 rooms, with a focus on ensuring comfort and satisfaction. Guests are welcomed with a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. For relaxation, guests can walk through the traditional Japanese gardens or slip into their ‘yukata’, a cotton kimono, provided for their use after soaking in either the indoor or outdoor hot springs.
World’s Most Expensive Hotel Room: Royal Villa at Grand Resort Lagonissi – Athens, Greece
Featuring a dedicated butler, chef and pianist, the Royal Villa at Grand Resort Lagonissi in Athens is the world’s most expensive hotel, with rooms attracting a hefty $50,000 per night. The room overlooks the Aegean Sea, which you can view from a private pool with a hydro massage device.
The room has all the luxuries you would expect for the price tag such as a marble-lined bathroom, oversized walk-in wardrobe and a private wooden terrace. If you find a reason for leaving the room, the hotel offers a spa that uses the Chenot massage method, which incorporates traditional Chinese medicine with modern technology. The hotel has ten restaurants, many of which have been awarded the five star diamond award. The resort also has a private Lear jet available to fly guests around the Greek Islands.
World’s Most Expensive Hotel to Build: Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi
The Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, which opened in 2005, cost over three billion dollars to build. Silver, gold and marble are used throughout the hotel as well as in the guest rooms; the 1002 chandeliers are made from Swarovski crystals. The hotel also includes 70 football pitches, a 1.3 kilometre private beach and its own marina offering a number of different water activities, as well as a helicopter pad.
All of the 394 rooms are decorated with acres of gold leaf and marble and come complete with a private butler service. The hotel has two large pools, one on the east wing and one on the west. The west wing pool is in fact an adventure pool equipped with a waterslide, waterfalls and a lazy river.
World’s Largest Hotel Room: Royal Suite in the Grand Hills Hotel & Spa – Broummana, Lebanon
The Royal Suite in the Grand Hills Hotel & Spa in Broummana in Lebanon is the largest hotel room in the world. The suite is set over six floors at a combined staggering size of 8,000m2, while over 4,000m2 is used with living space. The rest is made up of two swimming pools, a private garden, terrace and three pavilions.
The hotel’s other 117 suites are also spacious and luxuriously fitted. The hotel has 12 restaurants and bars, its own nightclub and three swimming pools within the hotel; the main outdoor pool has a giant jacuzzi and a fountain. The hotel also has its own shopping arcade with a number of designer boutiques.
World’s Coldest Hotel: Icehotel – Jukkasjarvi, Sweden
Icehotel represents an exciting winter experience, with rooms built entirely from ice and snow, uniquely decorated with handcrafted ice art and sculptures and with temperatures between -5 degrees and -8 degrees Centigrade. The Icehotel also houses an ice chapel, which is licensed for marriages and baptisms.
There are two restaurants serving a range of Lappish and Swedish dishes and the Absolut Icebar offers designer cocktails served from ice glasses. Activities include snowmobile excursions, northern lights tours, snow-shoe and cross-country ski excursions, and dogsled and reindeer tours.
World’s Highest Hotel (floor height): Park Hyatt – Shanghai, China
The Park Hyatt in Shanghai is currently the highest hotel in the world, occupying floors 79 to 93 of the 101 story Shanghai World Finance Centre; the hotel has magnificent views over the Huangpu River and the city skyline. Located in the heart of Lujiazui business district in Pudong, the hotel is within walking distance to some of the city’s best eateries. The hotel’s renowned Water’s Edge spa offers daily tai chi classes and an infinity swimming pool, which creates the optical illusion of continuing cascading water.
World’s Highest Hotel (altitude above sea level): Hotel Everest View, Nepal
It’s of no coincidence that the world highest hotel above sea level is set on the highest mountain in the world, Mt Everest. The Hotel Everest View is 3,880 metres above sea level and is set in the Sagarmatha National Park. Fortunately for guests, all rooms have views of the iconic Mt Everest standing at 8,848 metres and the most awe inspiring and beautiful mountain peaks.
Mountaineers can embark on a number of different treks that the hotel can arrange including an eight-day Mt Everest trek. Naturally there is no direct access to the hotel other than by chartered helicopter; guests must remember to bring walking boots as it’s a 45 minute hike from the airstrip to the hotel.
World’s Most Eco-Friendly Hotel: Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa, Queensland, Australia
Set in the world’s oldest rainforest, Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa has 15 villas nestled inside the Daintree Rainforest, allowing guests to be one with nature whilst offering all the creature comforts of a five star hotel. The hotel has received various awards for being eco friendly, including being named the Leading Eco Lodge of the World in 2007 due to its commitment to complying with sustainable tourism standards set by the United Nations, the World Tourism Organisation, World Conservation Union, the International Ecotourism Association, and the World Trade Organisation.
Some of the practices in place include using solar power, low energy lights, having an organic farm to grow its own produce, having no electrical appliances, as well as composting and recycling whatever it can.