The thoroughly British Firmdale Hotels first crossed the pond in 2009 to open the Crosby Street Hotel in Soho (their second NYC hotel, The Whitby, opened in 2017). Almost a decade later, the hotel, which sits off Soho’s main shopping thoroughfare, still feels like a fresh face, thanks in part to Firmdale’s design director Kit Kemp and her never-boring mix of patterns and prints. Each of the 86 rooms has floor-to-ceiling windows letting in natural light, charming fabric-covered headboards and original artwork. 

Splurging for a deluxe one-bedroom suite on the upper floors will get you not just more space and more design elements to copy for your own home, but also jaw-dropping views of downtown. The Crosby Bar is a cosy place to take in a meal or afternoon tea (especially during the winter months) while the back patio during spring and summer is an idyllic respite from the city hustle.

The Park Hyatt New York, located in Midtown across from Carnegie Hall and a block from Central Park, wowed even the most jaded of hotel observers when it opened in 2014, largely because of its gorgeous rooms (designed by Yabu Pushelberg) and its distinctive ribbon facade architecture (envisioned by Christian doe Portzamparc.) Yet this being Park Hyatt, Hyatt’s top-tier luxury brand, the high-end touches don’t stop there. A personal attendant will greet guests at the entrance and whisk them up to the second floor lounge to do the check-in process.

The 210 guest rooms and suites start at a spacious 500sq ft, and have both rainfall showers and deep-soaking tubs as well Rivolta Carmignani linens, the use of iPad minis and Nespresso machines. A treatment room at the hotel’s Spa Nalai will most likely overlook Central Park while views of the Hudson River can be glimpsed from the spa’s reception area. Guests who opt to do laps in the large indoor swimming pool will be treated to music from Carnegie Hall via underwater speakers

Vying for top spot among Koh Samui’s most luxurious pads, these 27 individual, modern villas cling to a hillside, offering stunning views across the Gulf of Thailand. All mod cons prevail, including all-weather fully-equipped kitchens and BBQs, and private infinity pools. There’s no need for a restaurant as your villa manager or chef will come and rustle up a feast in your kitchen, and if you’re too stuffed to move afterwards, fear not – the team of wellness therapists, yoga instructors and even Thai-boxing coaches will also attend to your needs in the comfort of your own villa. The airport is just 10 minutes away.

Literally a feast for the senses, or at least the olfactory system, once you light your complimentary incense. Step back in time and choose between a European, Chinese or Thai colonial-style suite (there are 15 in total), all brimming with luxury and opulence but filled with individual pieces to set them apart from eachother. It’s set on Bangrak beach, which is clean, swept and great for swimming. Restaurant food is on the pricey side, but the included breakfast is huge. The charming staff are welcoming and on hand to arrange taxis, tours and free kayaks.

Find enlightenment just a 40-minute drive away from the airport at this beachside resort that’s been sensitively constructed around a hillside and cave where monks and locals have been coming (and still do) to meditate for centuries. This is the place to switch off, reboot and reset your body and soul, and we’re not talking the odd yoga or meditation class; an individually tailored spa and wellbeing programme are planned as you check in. Rooms are basic but feature local art and woods, and two open-air restaurants focus on healthy living (don’t worry, there’s a wine list)

A lush, tropical jungle practically envelopes this family-friendly beach resort of 106 classic Thai-style rooms and suites. You’ve a choice of three eateries; the main restaurant, Full Moon Samui, specialises in chargrilled delights, the other two have a good selection of Thai and International dishes. Rooms are on the small side but chances are you’ll be in them very little; we’d suggest spending your time in the impressive infinity pool or pampering yourself in the beautifully-designed spa instead. The bars and restaurants of relaxed Fisherman’s village are within striking distance should you want to venture further afield.

A small boutique hotel in Mumbai is an exceedingly rare bird: usually the choice is between budget dives, mid-range blandness, or splendid five stars. With only 16 rooms, this is something special, a place with genuine charm and character, where rooms have plenty of space and light (though no views). The hotel is decorated by contemporary artworks that use traditional Indian motifs, reflecting the theme of each room (Krisha, Ashoka, and so on). The works are the creation of more than 150 local art students, with pieces such as sculptures set into the glass-topped coffee tables or wall niches, murals, or hand-embroidered art on the walls.

The ITC Grand Central has a palatial feel, modelled on the architectural styles of the British Raj in India. Marble floors, plush carpets and gold touches throughout provide an elegant vibe, while nods to the city’s heritage are evident in its architectural features and artworks. Spot a replica of the Rajabai Clock Tower in the courtyard between the main hotel and the restaurant, and note the old photographs and drawings of Colaba in the lobby and hallways.

Located at the top of Time Warner Center, this hotel is a 2-minute walk from Central Park. It features a 75-foot indoor pool and offers rooms with panoramic views of Manhattan.

Every room at Mandarin Oriental, New York features floor-to-ceiling windows. Guests can enjoy the 55-inch flat-screen TV. A mini-bar is included and a chocolate and bottle of water are provided each day.

The Mandarin Oriental, New York offers a full-service spa with a sauna and massage rooms. The spa features a Tea Lounge where guests can relax before or after treatment. The hotel also provides an on-site fitness center. New York City tourist information and ticket services are also available.

Restaurant Asiate, located on site, serves contemporary cuisine and has wall-to-wall views of Manhattan. The Aviary NYC bar from Chef Grant Achatz, provides an interactive journey for guests, where inventive cocktails and small food plates complement the experience. Adjacent to The Aviary NYC, The Office NYC, a speakeasy-style bar, offers classically-inspired food and cocktails.

The small scale, quiet, and personalized feeling makes it worth the lack of extras.

How did it strike you on arrival?

The Lowell is anything but flashy, tucked away on a quiet side street on the Upper East Side. And once inside, you’ll find an art- and antique-filled oasis, with nooks perfect for sinking into plush sofas and chairs while having a glass of wine by the fireplace.

The smallest rooms here are still a spacious 400 square feet, and all are designed by President Obama’s White House decorator Michael S. Smith. The color scheme is one of soft neutrals and pale blue, which complements the polished oak floors and wood burning fireplaces.