10 of the world’s best hotels for when it’s time to splurge


We’re all more than ready for a big vacation. Yet with many international borders still closed and some countries facing another Covid-19 wave, much of the world isn’t ready for leisure travel just yet. Still, we can dream and plan, can’t we?

After more than a year of lockdowns and quarantine and social distancing, we’re all more than ready for a big, celebratory, I-just-endured-a-pandemic vacation.

Unfortunately, with many international borders still closed and some countries facing their second — or third, or fourth — Covid-19 waves, much of the world isn’t ready for leisure travel to ramp up just yet (though there are certainly signs of progress).

Still, we can plan, can’t we?

From tropical island escapes from the Maldives to Hawaii, to glamorous urban getaways in Sydney and Hollywood and Singapore, we’re dreaming of — and saving for — these post-pandemic splurges.

Starting rates are in US dollars, per night.

The Brando, French Polynesia

If you’re after an over-the-top, once-in-a-lifetime, bucket list splurge, you can’t beat The Brando, Marlon Brando’s ultra-luxurious private island resort on Tetiaroa, 30 miles north of Tahiti.

The far-flung resort is a favorite of celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Bradley Cooper and Ellen DeGeneres. Former President Barack Obama also famously escaped to the island to write his memoir there after he left office in 2017. (More recently, Kim Kardashian infamously hosted her 40th birthday party on the island in October 2020).

It’s got just 35 thatched-roof villas, each one decked out with a private infinity pool, outdoor dining area and all the creature comforts you might expect to enjoy at a five-star hotel in London or New York. But the biggest luxury of all? Your own private stretch of powder-white sand and turquoise ocean, mere steps from your bedroom.

The Brando, Tetiaroa private island, French Polynesia. Rates start at $3,500.

W Melbourne, Australia

Opened in February 2021, the W Melbourne is the first international five-star hotel to launch in Australia this year — a hopeful sign for tourism, though Australia’s borders currently remain closed to international travel.

Built inside the glittering, $1.25 billion Collins Arch precinct — also home to luxury residences and upscale retail and dining offerings — the ultramodern hotel boasts five restaurants and bars, plus a gold-roofed indoor heated pool, featuring a poolside bar and DJ booth.

Its 294 rooms are as plush and design-centric as you’d expect from any W hotel, with the addition of luxe deep-soaking tubs and sweeping views over the city or Melbourne’s Yarra River.

W Melbourne, 408 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, Australia. Rates start at $450.

Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort, Lanai, Hawaii

This adults-only wellness retreat is the epitome of post-pandemic luxury: for starters, it’s located on the Hawaiian island of Lanai, which is so peaceful and secluded it feels like you’re on…



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