phxdown

Photography | Travel | Inspiration | Phoenix, AZ

My Top Ten Hotels (That I’ve actually stayed in to date)

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It seems that everyone likes top (insert number and thing) lists. I feel blessed that I had to cut some great places out and even more so that I can make this list at all. While I was editing these photos, I had those same feelings of surrealism I did when I was actually there.

I find that my tastes are refining as the number of properties I stay at increases. I have no problem staying at a budget property but I do have a propensity to stay luxe if the money is there. Naturally the more you pay the more you’d expect but that hasn’t always been the case which has worked in my favor on a few occasions. Some places are 5 star luxury properties while some are not. The more luxurious the place doesn’t necessarily make it better in my opinion.

So what do I look for in a hotel? My personal weaknesses are the location, a beautiful and full view of something natural like the ocean or a famous man made structure, a swanky and quiet bar, a built in window seat or indoor lounger to enjoy the view and listen to music. I’m usually drawn to a place that has at least one or all of those things.

So here are my choices for the top ten hotels I’ve stayed in around the world so far.

10. Hotel Novotel Phuket Kamala Beach – Phuket, Thailand

The only reason why this place isn’t rated higher is that I’m generally not much of a beach person. I like it for a two days and then I get bored. Still, the pool, curry buffet, and Kamala beach were all amazing and the open air lobby definitely made an incredible first impression. There was a rooftop patio with live acoustic music that made my nights more memorable. Every time I hear High and Dry by Radiohead, I think of this place, feel the air, and taste the drink I had. Stayed in a Superior Sea View Room.


9. Caesars Palace – Las Vegas, Nevada, United States

I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve been to Las Vegas. I’ve stayed in over half of the hotels on The Strip and even stayed in a few in the Fremont area. This stay happened by accident. Coworkers invited me to go to Las Vegas for a weekend on short notice. I was set to stay in the Best Western on The Strip but my friends ended up getting an upgrade to the Augustus Strip View Room and let me crash there. The shower was more of a rain room with multiple shower heads spouting water from above, both left and right, and the back. It’s still the best view of The Strip I’ve had to date. My latest trip to Las Vegas photos here.

Hotels

The high roller lifestyle if only for a few days.


8. The Ocean Colombo – Colombo, Sri Lanka

Situated on Marine Drive, The Ocean is a nice property albeit a bit of a misnomer as that every single room has a view of the sea instead of the ocean. Checking in on Christmas night, I had a chicken dinner looking out at the rain and darkness as the only person in the restaurant. I wasn’t able to appreciate the beauty of the view that evening as it was literally a dark and stormy night. Waking up to the view, made me feel like the world had been washed away as all I saw was water. It’s a simple hotel but it’s simplicity done right and for an affordable price. A side but important note, the bathroom was actually quite impressive.


7. Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn – Bangkok, Thailand

This place had me at “infinity pool.” I’ve been in infinity pools before but at night, their infinity pool looks out over the city lights and under the Sky Bar at the nearby Lebua. I remember sitting in one of the pool pods looking out at the metropolis beyond and listening to the music of slow, pulsing bass under a calming warmth of humidity in the air and looking up at the Sky Bar. This is probably one of the best spots to relax in Bangkok.


6. Jumeirah at Etihad Towers – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Jumeirah at Etihad Towers may be one of the most luxurious properties I’ve stayed at. It had the trifecta of an awesome view, a swanky bar, and a lounger by the window. The waters of the Persian Gulf were warm and most of the property was deserted when I stayed which made the place feel like it was all mine. My room was on the 37th floor facing the Gulf and sunset which made for great photographs. Room type: Grand Club King.


5. Park Hotel Tokyo – Tokyo, Japan

The Park Hotel was a nice property in a quiet area of Minato in Tokyo. The reason I selected this place was to take photos like the ones below for my last night in Japan. Maybe next time I’ll stay in the room that has a view Tokyo Tower and a built in window seat. The room was massive compared to other hotel rooms in Tokyo. My friend and I enjoyed our drink at the quiet bar looking out the window. I’m always mesmerized by the endless sprawl of an illuminated city with those slow, pulsing red lights that dot the horizon. It seems uniquely Tokyo. You can see more of the photos from this trip here.


4. Dusit Thani Dubai – Dubai, United Arab Emirates

As far a service goes, this place is still number one. Thai hospitality in the middle of the desert. There was even a Thai lady playing music dressed in traditional Thai dress in the lobby. I booked a room that had a view of the Burj Khalifa not expecting to be put in the exact same fancy room that they tout on the website. There was a Japanese bar where I got to share a drink with a new friend looking out at the Dubai skyline. It’s memories like those that make me smile. Room type: Executive Club Suite.


3. Hotel Gracery Shinjuku – Tokyo, Japan

First and foremost, Godzilla head. The room itself was up-to-date, average size for a single bed but oddly enough, the bathroom was huge. The walk in shower was amazing and dare I say Godzilla sized. Japanese efficiency and service that seamlessly blends into their quirky and fun culture, I will make this my preferred mid priced property when staying not only in Shinjuku but in all of Tokyo.


2. Park Hyatt Sydney – Sydney, Australia

The view I had from this room explains it all. I remember looking at this on the website long before I had any idea of going to Sydney. Thinking to myself that I’ll never experience that view but there I was. It rained the entire day so I made the best of it by enjoying the private balcony and the food while gazing at the Sydney Opera House. It was hard to leave this place. My trip to Sydney photos here.


1. Herodion Hotel – Athens, Greece

It’s hard to beat out a Park Hyatt property. Especially if you’re a family venture in an economically struggling country. But this place has been my favorite hotel in one of my top three destinations to date. I was lucky enough to stay here for a week. A view of the Acropolis and Parthenon from my bed, a quiet bar where I enjoyed a thought-provoking conversation, and probably the best location for a hotel in Athens. If I ever go to Athens again, I’ll definitely be staying here.

Honorable Mentions:

Hawaii Prince – Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
Island Pacific Hotel Hong Kong – Hong Kong, China
The Gallery Inn – Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

I hope you all enjoyed this list. I also hope that it may inspire you to someday travel somewhere you’ve always wanted to go. If anyone has any questions about the properties listed here, please let me know. Or if you have a favorite place, let me know. I’m always looking for recommendations on where to stay from other travelers. Thank you all for reading this and I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day.

Author: phxdown

My mind tends to wander. Wander far away.

2 thoughts on “My Top Ten Hotels (That I’ve actually stayed in to date)

  1. These are some awesome hotels. Definitely agreed with the Etihad Towers one!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the comment 😀 I’ve been blessed to have stayed at some of these places. Jumeirah is a lifestyle I may not experience again so tried to enjoy every second I was there. I don’t remember the price I paid but I definitely smile at the memories and cherish the ability to share the experience with others. Enjoy life, I guess it’s all we can ever do…

    Like

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