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Gill’s Blog: My favourite hotels in the whole wide world

Selecting a favourite hotel is always a deeply personal task, and I'm frequently asked about my top picks.

Over the years, I've had the privilege of experiencing some of the world's finest accommodations, prompting me to put together a list to share with you.

However, narrowing down my selections to just a handful proved to be quite a challenge.

In pondering what defines a remarkable hotel experience, I realised that it varies greatly from person to person.

Factors such as timing, circumstances, company, and even the weather can all be an influence.

So, I have crafted a checklist based on the following criteria that hold significance for me:


The warmth of the people, impeccable service, and small gestures like a genuine smile and a friendly greeting are key. 😊


Whether nestled amidst mountains or perched overlooking the ocean, I'm drawn to places that offer an amazing view.


A unique hotel lobby always excites me and can leave a lasting first impression.

Food & Drink

There's nothing quite like starting the day with a quality breakfast buffet.

Initially, I began with a list of around 30 favourites, but I've managed to narrow it down to six that hold a special place in my heart.

In the following sections, I'll share a glimpse into each of these exceptional properties and the reasons why they've left an enduring mark on me.

I hope you enjoy this journey, and I'm eager to discuss any of these destinations further and perhaps even arrange your visit there.

1) Shangri-La Le Touessrok, Mauritius

This remarkable hotel holds a special place in my heart as it marked my first encounter with absolute luxury, at the onset of my travel career more than 20 years ago.

My highlights:

  • The impeccable service stood out for me. I vividly remember the thoughtful gesture of providing a case full of different glasses during dinner for those who struggled to read the menu.

  • Ilot Mangénie, a secluded island just a 10-minute boat ride away from the main resort, offers guests a heavenly retreat. With its exclusive luxury experience and private cabanas, it provides a day of perfect tranquillity.

  • The Butler Service epitomizes convenience, allowing you to immediately relax upon arrival without even having to worry about unpacking if you don’t want to.

Best for:

An exceptional choice for all occasions, with a particular allure for honeymooners seeking a romantic escape.

2) Raffles, Singapore

I had the pleasure of staying at this iconic hotel early in my travel career as part of a Singapore Airlines educational trip.

Steeped in history, tradition and grandeur, the Raffles Hotel is a true Singaporean landmark.

My highlights:

  • Bedrooms: The accommodations strike a perfect balance between sleek modernity and the preservation of original colonial charm - teakwood flooring, ceiling fans and state-of-the-art technology.

  • The Long Bar: This legendary establishment is where the iconic Singapore Sling cocktail was first concocted in 1915. Enjoy a Sling while embracing the tradition of throwing monkey nut shells on the floor – it’s all part of the experience!

  • La Dame de Pic: Indulge in the culinary delights of this stunning Michelin-starred restaurant.

Best for:

An ideal choice for a stopover en route to Australia or New Zealand, offering a blend of sophistication and nostalgia.

3) Hotel Palacio de Villapanés, Seville

Considered one of the main baroque manifestations of the 18th century, this hotel preserves much of its original architecture. I had the pleasure of staying here during a surprise short break in 2023.

It boasts 50 spacious rooms, exuding palatial vibes, and offers captivating views over the city. Culinary delights here are crafted by chef Jorge Cortés in the magnificent Los Rincones del Marqués restaurant.

My highlights:

  • The awe-inspiring entrance to the Courtyard of the Palace – a definite wow moment.

  • Breathtaking views of the city from the rooftop terrace, which also features a small pool and a charming space to unwind.

  • The luxurious room suites are just gorgeous. You can catch a glimpse of my enthusiasm in my review, akin to an audition for The Hotel Inspector. 😊

Best for:

Ideal for anyone seeking a luxurious retreat while exploring the enchanting city of Seville.

4) Ceylon Tea Trails, Sri Lanka

Nestled at an altitude of 1,250 metres in Sri Lanka’s historic Central Highlands, this remarkable property seamlessly blends past charm with contemporary luxury.

Situated amidst a tea estate, five meticulously preserved tea-planter bungalows epitomise the warm hospitality of this beautiful country, offering a perfect blend of relaxation and refinement.

My highlights:

  • Indulging in afternoon tea on the terrace, with breathtaking views of the majestic mountains and tea fields.

  • Enjoy the luxury of having an entire bungalow to yourselves, complete with a dedicated chef and butler, ideal for larger groups.

  • A serene kayaking adventure on Castlereagh Lake.

Best for:

Perfect for families and friends seeking privacy while immersing themselves in the authentic tea region of Sri Lanka.

5) The Twelve Apostles, Camps Bay, Cape Town

Situated along the spectacular coastal road linking Cape Town and Camps Bay with Llundudno Beach and Hout Bay, this beautiful boutique hotel is the only property in the magnificent surroundings.

Perched above the ocean, beneath the shadow of South Africa's iconic mountain range, it offers both seclusion and easy access to Cape Town's attractions.

My highlights:

  • Unrivalled views of the Atlantic Ocean and Table Mountain National Park, providing an Instagram-friendly backdrop to your stay.

  • The renowned Leopard Bar, serves exquisite cocktails and offers prime whale-watching opportunities.

  • Indulgent spa treatments in the serene mountain spa gazebos.

Best for:

Ideal for couples and families seeking relaxation in between the excitement of their South African adventure.

6) Rocco Forte Balmoral, Edinburgh

Completing the list is a tribute to my hometown's finest – my happy place. 😊

The Balmoral, nestled at 1 Princes Street, where the Old Town meets the New, and overlooked by Edinburgh Castle, stands as a legendary hotel crowned by its iconic clock tower: an emblem of the city itself.

A warm embrace in bespoke tartan; hues of Hebridean blues and heather, adorned with classic Scottish art; and whisky ambassadors boasting a collection of 500 malts – The Balmoral is a true ode to Scotland.

My highlights:

  • The epitome of Edinburgh's finest cocktails, delivered with unparalleled service in impeccable surroundings.

  • The grand lobby, graced with beautiful, daily-changing floral arrangements.

  • Indulgent afternoon tea experiences in the elegant Palm Court

Best for:

A true gem, suitable for all and cherished by everybody!


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