- When the ultra-rich vacation, they often stay in some of the world’s most incredible hotels.
- Here’s a closer look at the hotels they choose, according to the experts who book their travel.
- Hotels like Soneva Jani in the Maldives can cost $23,000 a night for overwater villas with slides that lead into the ocean.
Insider spoke with four travel experts who help coordinate vacations for the ultra-rich. Here’s a closer look at the over-the-top hotels they book for clients.
When celebrities and the ultra-rich travel, they often turn to luxury travel experts to plan their vacations. And at the core of every trip is often a five-star hotel.
Insider spoke to four industry experts who book trips for the ultra-wealthy. Their clients’ vacations can cost anywhere from $15,000 to a few million dollars, they said, with lodging taking up a major chunk of that budget.
Here’s a closer look at the most incredible places they’ve booked for their big-name customers.
At Soneva Jani in the Maldives, overwater villas come with slides that lead directly into the ocean.
The Maldives in South Asia is a favorite among celebrities and the ultra-rich looking for good reason — its dreamy setting and gorgeous overwater bungalows are the stuff of screensavers.
Meg Shepro, a travel consultant with luxury tour operator Scott Dunn Private, a team that books trips for clients with an average budget of $50,000 per trip, said there’s one hotel she’s most likely to recommend there: Soneva Jani.
It’s one of the Maldives’ most luxurious resorts, CNN reports, and celebrities like Brad Falchuk, Chris Martin, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Dakota Johnson have vacationed there, according to Maldive Islands Resorts.
The property, which Shepro described as “absolutely lovely,” has 51 overwater villas. The villas, which range from one bedroom to four, have access to a private lagoon and come with perks like water slides that lead into the ocean and retractable roofs for stargazing.
Soneva Jani’s appeal is in the details. Guests get to choose everything from the type of pillow on their bed to the fragrance in their room, according to CNN.
An all-inclusive stay at Soneva Jani also includes unlimited spa and massage treatments, a barefoot butler, diving, and Michelin-star dinners.
Suites on the property cost $1,700 a night, according to the villa’s website, while its nicer, all-inclusive suites cost upward of $23,000 for a single night.
This luxury lodging for African safaris takes glamping to unheard levels with personal safari guides, private swimming pools, and a wine cellar.
Before working with luxury clientele at Scott Dunn Travel, Shepro focused on helping guests book luxury trips across Africa.
Shepro said Camp Selinda in Botswana is one of the most incredible hotels in the world, even though it’s actually a glamping lodge. The camp, which has eight luxury tents, is “endemic of the 1920s safaris,” she said.
Each tent has its own private swimming pool along with access to the lodge’s wine cellar, camera rentals, and twice-daily game drives, according to andBeyond.
The camp’s nicest suite, the Selinda Suite, has private vehicle service, a personal safari guide, chef, and butler. According to Okavango Delta Explorations, it costs $15,384 a night during high season. During peak season, other tents cost $3,205 per person; this includes meals, drinks, and safari activities.
The best part of Camp Selinda is its game viewing, Shepro said. The resort sits on a 130,000-hectare reserve, where guests can view cheetahs in the open savannah, leopards in woodland thickets, as well as elephants and buffalo, according to Luxury Safari Camps.
Miavana is a remote resort only accessible by helicopter off the coast of Madagascar.
On a tiny island off the coast of Madagascar is a grouping of villas called Miavana by Time + Tide. It’s another one of Shepro’s favorites, and it’s only accessible by helicopter from Diego Suarez and Nosy Be airports in Madagascar.
It’s a lush oasis, and the hotel’s team planted over 100,000 indigenous trees before opening the property.
The hotel’s website says “conservation and community are at its core,” and the property features 14 villas with private beach access, butler service, retractable glass doors, and soaking tubs. It costs $3,000 per adult per night in a one-bedroom villa, according to the resort’s website. But that price doesn’t include the conservation, foundation, and access fee, which are charged at $300 per person per night.
Additionally, Miavana offers helicopter excursions, scuba diving trips, kite boarding, and lemur trekking. Access to the island’s helicopter is $2,500 per flying hour per helicopter, according to the resort.
The resort has welcomed A-listers like Tom Cruise, who, according to the Economic Development Board of Madagascar, brought 10 guests to the island.
Two planners mentioned Aman Hotels, which have breathtaking views and luxe amenities like in-room wine cellars and private meditation gardens.
Aman has 33 luxury resorts, hotels, and private residences in 20 countries around the world, but some of Aman’s most-loved resorts are in Asia, Catherine Heald, the co-founder and CEO of Remote Lands, told Insider.
The hotel brand is Heald’s go-to for her ultra-wealthy clients, who spend anywhere between $25,000 to $500,000 on vacation. Aman has also earned a reputation for hosting celebrities, and as Insider previously reported, Bill Gates, David Bowie, Mark Zuckerberg, Princess Diana, and the Kardashians have all stayed at Aman properties.
“In every single place, the design and the architecture match the location,” she said.
Heald said her team loved the hotel brand enough to partner with them to offer small group trips on private jets. The travelers might stay in Aman Kyoto in Japan, where suites cost around $5,329 a night and have private meditation gardens, according to Aman’s website.
Jaclyn Sienna India, the founder of the Sienna Charles luxury lifestyle company, also told Insider that Aman Tokyo is her favorite property in a major city.
India said the hotel meets the luxury standards for her clients, who expect the highest levels of service, quality, and attention to detail and who are each are worth $500 million or more. Plus, the Aman Tokyo is surprisingly serene considering its located in the heart of the world’s most populated city, she said.
Aman Tokyo rooms start at $615 a night. Its grandest option is the Aman Suite, which is listed for $2,214 a night, according to its website. The 1,689-square-foot suite has views of Japan’s Imperial Palace Gardens, a traditional Furo soaking tub, and its own mini wine cellar.
In Western China and Tibet, an independent hotel chain offers guests grand accommodations in untouched locations.
Songtsam Boutique Hotels has 11 properties in Yunnan, China, and Tibet.
Songtsam is Tibetan for “paradise,” and Heald said guests experience that the moment they arrive at a property. Many of the hotel brand’s properties are located in ultra-remote regions of China and Tibet, so you’re guaranteed marvelous views, Heald said.
Each property almost acts like a private art gallery. Guests will notice local art and decor throughout and no room is the same. Some properties, like Songtsam Tacheng, have private terraces in each room, while others like the Songtsam Shangri-La have expansive traditional spas.
Songtsam is also focused on local experience. For example, guests at Songtsam Tacheng can join the town’s farming community and hand-pick their own ingredients for meals.
In Bangkok, this decadent urban sanctuary comes with personal butlers, spacious suites, and in some instances, private pools.
The Siam Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand, is designed by landscape architect Bill Hensley and is filled with character, Heald said. And since opening in 2012, it’s welcomed familiar names like Madonna and Katy Perry, The Points Guy reported.
Tranquil fountains, leafy pathways, a serene spa, and a riverfront infinity pool combine to create an urban sanctuary that feels like guests have been transported out of Bangkok’s bustling core and into a lush jungle oasis, far removed from the city center.
Its inspiration was the grandeur period of Rama V in Bangkok and Art Deco accents and artifacts from the hotel owner’s own art collection are visible throughout, the hotel’s website states. Every room is a suite, and even standard offerings come with deep soaking tubs and a personal butler.
A night at The Siam Hotel starts at $585, but the property’s upgraded suites, some of which come with private pools, can cost closer to $1,400 a night, according to its website.
When greeted at The Grand Hotel a Villa Feltrinelli, guests can expect a bouquet of fresh flowers and complimentary wine.
The restored Grand Hotel a Villa Feltrinelli sits on Lake Garda near Gargano, Italy, and is “one of my favorite hotels around the world,” India told Insider.
The villa has hosted everyone from CEOs to oligarchs, according to Condé Nast Traveler. At the Grand Hotel a Villa Feltrinelli, guests have access to pristine gardens, two Michelin-starred restaurants, and a complimentary minibar. They can also expect a bouquet of fresh flowers upon arrival, the Telegraph reports.
According to the hotel’s website, the historic villa has remained largely unchanged since it was built in 1892 and embodies grandeur with frescoes and antiques throughout the space.
The property’s most affordable room costs $1,616 a night, according to the hotel’s website.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa has counted celebrities like Johnny Depp, Oprah, and Princess Diana as guests.
Greg Antonelle plans Disney trips for celebrities and the ultra-rich. He told Insider that the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is his go-to recommendation for these clients seeking luxury Disney properties.
The hotel has easy access to Disney World’s theme parks, and it’s filled with Victorian elegance, fine-dining restaurants, and a European-style spa, according to WDW Magazine. Guests can also watch the nightly firework show from the resort.
The hotel has a long roster of welcoming celebrities, and Antonelle said he’s helped some of his ultra-wealthy clients, who include famous musicians and professional athletes, book trips to the Grand Floridian. According to WDW Magazine Johnny Depp, Oprah, and Princess Diana have reportedly stayed at the resort.
According to Inside the Magic, the hotel’s nicest suite costs $4,800 per night during peak season.