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When Only the Finest Will Do

Sip Champagne from a private hotel balcony overlooking the ocean, enjoy butler service in your sprawling suite or let sparks fly during a romantic private dinner — it's all in the name of luxury travel. Discover the finest resorts, Michelin-starred restaurants and a wealth of spas in the world's finest destinations.

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Gaia Hotel and Reserve
Free hotel breakfasts aren't exactly a rarity, but they are usually comprised of cereals, fruit, and, if you're lucky, some moderately edible scrambled eggs. Not so at Gaia Hotel and Reserve, where the free breakfast is a gourmet a la carte affair. Menu items include Eggs Benedict, Belgian Waffles, Italian Egg White Frittata, Vanilla and Mango Pancakes, a Costa Rican Breakfast, and more.
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Andaz Fifth Avenue
We adore the Andaz Fifth Avenue for its bounty of foodie freebies, including the choice of Fat Witch Baby Brownies or C.O. Bigelow Peppermints at check-out. There are other less delicious gift options as well: C.O Bigelow Lemon Lip Cream and a tube of anti-bacterial hand gel. Other free treats include minibar snacks and non-alcoholic drinks, wine in the lobby from 6 to 9 p.m. each evening, and made-to-order barista coffee in the lobby.
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Hotel Vintage Park
This Seattle hotel's focus on wine ' particularly those grown in the 500 local vineyards ' is evident from the moment you check in: The front-desk staffer (sporting a nametag that includes his or her particular favorite vintage) will explain the varieties you'll enjoy at the free reception that takes place every evening from 5 to 6 p.m.
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Rancho Valencia Resort
The Rancho Valencia's excellent freebies, including free minibar snacks, morning juice and newspaper delivery, and free breakfast, contribute to the resort's experience of exclusive pampering. This 49-room luxury resort is located in Rancho Santa Fe, a wealthy residential community in the hills of Southern California, on 40 acres of lush grounds.
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Villa d'Citta
After a long day exploring, it's nice to come back to your hotel to find free refreshments waiting in the lobby. The Villa d'Citta takes the cake on this one: This tiny Chicago boutique has a fully stocked communal kitchen where guests can prepare breakfast, snacks (such as sandwiches or hot dogs), and other light fare 24/7.
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Copley Square Hotel
The Copley Square Hotel in Boston, which offers free tea, coffee, and hot chocolate all day, is one of our favorites, partly because it's so pleasant to sit down and sip in its stylish, cozy lobby. There's also a free evening wine hour if you prefer something a little stronger.
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Westin Copley Place Hotel
Many hotels are thoughtful enough to provide basic refreshments in the lobby: ice water, coffee, and the like. Some properties take it a step further: the Westin Copley Place Boston has special seasonal drinks, like hot apple cider in the fall.
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Halekulani
Arriving in your room to find a delicious surprise waiting for you goes a long way toward making you feel like a guest, rather than a customer. The Halekulani's impressive display of tropical fruit, chocolate, and flowers will always be one of our favorites.
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The Caves
It's not that uncommon to get a check-in drink at nice hotels in warm-weather destinations, but that doesn't make us like this refreshing freebie any less. The Caves in Jamaica is a romantic all-inclusive with locally focused cuisine and a top-shelf bar, and its signature welcome drink is de-lish.
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Britt Scripps Inn
This romantic Victorian inn near Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo has many luxurious amenities, starting with butler service. On the food front, it offers a free, delicious breakfast made to order. Free wine and cheese is served each evening in the parlor.
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Bryant Park Hotel
The cavernous CellarBar at the New York art deco boutique Bryant Park hotel not only has stunning design but a free happy hour for guests. Once you're done with your pre-dinner tipple, head to Koi, a top-rated on site sushi restaurant, or take a stroll around nearby Times Square.
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Gran Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Samana Peninsula, Dominican Republic The Gran Bahia Cayo Levantado is the only resort with its own private island in the Dominican Republic. Soak up the sun at the scenic beaches and beautiful pools, and relax in the luxurious rooms with private jacuzzi tubs. Read the Gran Bahias review 960 1280

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Gran Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado
Samana Peninsula, Dominican Republic
The 2 gorgeous pools have bars nearby and plenty of lounge chairs, and both are exceptionally clean. The snack bar at the beach pool has a basic buffet with hot dogs, hamburgers, rice, salad and selected entrees.Read the Gran Bahia's review
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Ke Iki Beach Bungalows
Oahu, Hawaii
Relax in the hammocks on the quiet beach at Ke Iki Beach Bungalows, a charming but no-frills property on Oahu's picturesque North Shore. Oahu's most famous surfing spots are just down the street.Read the Ke Iki's review
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Ke Iki Beach Bungalows
Oahu, Hawaii
Location trumps luxury at these 11 beachfront bungalows. The bungalows are modest, with few amenities and minimal service, but a beautiful beach is just steps away. Read the Ke Iki's review
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Hotel Hana-Maui
Maui, Hawaii
The Hotel Hana-Maui delivers rustic luxury in the middle of Maui's lush and secluded east coast. It's not directly on the beach, but it has 2 beautiful pools. Read the Hana-Maui's review
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Hotel Hana-Maui
Maui, Hawaii
Hotel Hana-Maui has incredible service, a top-notch spa, excellent food and 77 rooms on acres of property. It may be hard to reach, but it's worth the trip.Read the Hana-Maui's review
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Jake's
South Coast, Jamaica
Jake's is a member of Island Outpost, Jamaica's trendiest hotel group. Guests come to unplug -- there's no phone, internet, or TV in the cottages. Read Jakes' review
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Jake's
South Coast, Jamaica
Jake's is a particular favorite because of the on-site painting and yoga classes, excellent food and the Driftwood Spa. The spa has several open-air treatment rooms that are built into cliffs overlooking the ocean. Read Jakes' review
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Geejam
Port Antonio, Jamaica
The setting of the Geejam is gorgeous, the service is extraordinary, and one of the Caribbean's most beautiful beaches is only 10 minutes away. The hotel offers guests peaceful isolation, but one of it's drawbacks is that there are no pool or spa facilities. Read the Geejam's review
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Geejam
Port Antonio, Jamaica
The Geejam is made up of only 5 private, high-tech cottages in the lush foothills of Port Antonio. Modern electronics in the rooms include 42-inch flat-screens, AppleTV, iPod docks and free Wi-Fi. Read the Geejam's review
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Caneel Bay, A Rosewood Resort
St. John, US Virgin Islands
Caneel Bay sits on 170 acres of a protected national park, dotted with 7 remote beaches. The largest beach also attracts non-resort guests, but the other beaches on the property are much more secluded. Read Caneel Bay's review
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Caneel Bay, A Rosewood Resort
St. John, US Virgin Islands
Caneel's attentive service and gorgeous setting make it one of the Caribbean's best secluded resorts. The most notable of the hotel's 4 restaurants is Equator-- built inside and on top of an 18th-century sugar mill. Read Caneel Bay's review
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Calivigny Island Estate
Calivigny Island Estate

Calivigny Island Estate

Relax in a chaise lounge or take a dip in this Jacuzzi, right in the middle of a room on an estate on Calivigny Island, a completely private Caribbean island off the coast of Grenada. 960 1280

  

Calivigny Island

Calivigny Island

The opulent property features 25 suites and multiple swimming pools, and guests can rent the entire private island for $140,000 per night. 960 1280

  

Villa Lilly

Villa Lilly

Even the bathroom in the pristine Villa Lilly has an unparalleled view of the Mediterranean Sea and the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast. The property, located in Praiano, Italy, features a pool, a garden and a clifftop Jacuzzi that had to be brought in by helicopter. This property can be rented for $35,000 per week. 960 1280

  

Chateau St. Tropez

Chateau St. Tropez

Entertain by the pool at Chateau St. Tropez in Cap Ferrat, France. The glamorous chateau and guesthouse, which have a combined total of 8 bedroom suites, can be rented for $172,000 per week. 960 1280

  

Chateau St. Tropez

Chateau St. Tropez

For a more informal dining experience, pull up a chair on one of the chateau’s many terraces. 960 1280

  

SoHo Townhouse

SoHo Townhouse

It may look like your average townhouse from the street, but this SoHo townhouse is anything but. For 50,000 a week, you can go for a swim in the full-size indoor heated pool, cook a meal in the industrial chef’s kitchen, soak up the sun on the outdoor terrace, or get lost on one of the home’s 5 floors. 960 1280

  

The Istana

The Istana

Lounge by one of the 2 infinity pools overlooking the ocean at The Istana, a clifftop estate in Bali, Indonesia. 960 1280

  

The Istana

The Istana

Unwind in the bathtub -- filled with scented frangipani flowers -- at The Istana in Bali. 960 1280

  

Siani Estate in Kenya

Siani Estate in Kenya

Eat at the wooden dining table at Siani Estate in Kenya, a 13-acre plantation retreat that’s also a working farm, hotel and art gallery. The entire property can be rented for only $300 per night. 960 1280

  

Sasakwa Lodge

Sasakwa Lodge

Take a dip in the infinity pool overlooking the Seregeti desert at the Sasakwa Lodge in Tanzania. 960 1280

Singita Game Reserves  

Sasakwa Lodge

Sasakwa Lodge

Watch the sun set and the animals roam over the lodge’s 350,000 acres of untouched private land. 960 1280

Singita Game Reserves  

Sasakwa Lodge

Sasakwa Lodge

Relax in the living room and look out at the Serengeti desert after a private safari tour with the lodge’s personal guide. 960 1280

Singita Game Reserves  

Aldourie Castle and Estate

Aldourie Castle and Estate

Stay at the majestic Aldourie Castle, the only inhabited castle on Loch Ness in Scotland. After a $15 million, 3-year renovation, the castle won the 2011 Sotheby’s Restoration of the Year award. 960 1280

Aldourie Castle and Estate  

Aldourie Castle and Estate

Aldourie Castle and Estate

The castle has 15 regal bedrooms, beautifully appointed with rich fabrics and historic paintings. For $39,000, you could be the king or queen of this castle for a week. 960 1280

Aldourie Castle and Estate  

Dar Liqama

Dar Liqama

Wander around the 4 acres of lush lawns and walled gardens at Dar Liqama, an 11-bedroom villa just outside Marrakesh in Morocco. 960 1280

  

Dar Liqama

Dar Liqama

Relax in the traditional sunlit courtyard in the center of the house and listen to the gentle sound of the water flowing from the marble fountain. For $19,500, the whole house can be yours for a week. 960 1280

  

Villa O

Villa O

Lounge by the pool at Villa O in Monaco. With 15,600 square feet of terraced gardens, the house is available for rent at $160,000 per week. 960 1280

  

Villa O

Villa O

Unwind in the sun-drenched living room at Villa O before relaxing in the infinity hot tub on the top deck. 960 1280

  

Villa O

Villa O

Walk up the 4 flights of spiral stairs with custom-made hand rails that connect Villa O’s 5 different levels, or just hop on the glass elevator for a spectacular view of the Mediterranean. 960 1280

  

Le Mas Des Olivier

Le Mas Des Olivier

Le Mas Des Olivier, a Provencal-style chateau on the Cote d’Azur in France, sits on a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean and is available for rent at $12,000 a week. 960 1280

  

Le Mas Des Olivier

Le Mas Des Olivier

Each of the 4 different levels of Las Mas Des Olivier opens to a large terrace. Take in the view and dine on the food prepared by the villa’s personal French chef. 960 1280

  

Villa Del Lago

Villa Del Lago

Welcome to the Villa Del Lago estate, a privately-owned property on Lake Como in Italy. 960 1280

  

Villa Del Lago

Villa Del Lago

The high-end rental is made up of 2 romantic villas. Together they have 13 bedrooms, spread across 7 acres of land -- with stunning lake views like this. 960 1280

  

Villa Del Lago

Villa Del Lago

Spacious windows provide a panoramic view of Lake Como. 960 1280

  

Hamptons

Hamptons

Welcome to the Hamptons, NY. This 6-bedroom, 8-bathroom Hamptons estate can be rented to anyone with deep pockets. It also comes with neighbors like Kelly Ripa, Christie Brinkley and Matt Lauer. 960 1280

  

Hamptons

Hamptons

The kitchen of this Hamptons estate includes French limestone floors and Italian limestone on the counter tops and kitchen islands. 960 1280

  

Hamptons

Hamptons

With serene views, the Hamptons is a chic uptown retreat from NYC's concrete jungle. 960 1280

  

Castlewood

Castlewood

Get comfy at Castlewood, a luxury ski resort in Telluride, CO. The resort has accommodated Kid Rock, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox and hockey and NFL players. 960 1280

  

Castlewood

Castlewood

In low season, Castlewood rents for $4,000 a night; in high season, $10,500 a night. Here, a view of the Colorado mountains from the comfort of a hot tub. 960 1280

  

Roughland

Roughland

The Roughland Estate in Norfolk, CT, is a 250-year-old barn converted into a home. It includes 10 rooms, a brand new kitchen, an outdoor chapel and indoor pool -- all yours for $13,000 a week. 960 1280

  

Ty Warner NYC

Ty Warner NYC

Owned by Ty Warner of the Beanie Baby empire, this penthouse suite in NYC includes this grand Bosendorfer piano. Suite's rental price tag: $35,000 a night. Non-negotiable. Oh, well. 960 1280

  

Ty Warner NYC

Ty Warner NYC

To offer a sweeping 360-degree view of NYC, the suite comes with 4 bronze bay windows at the corners of the penthouse. 960 1280

  

Ty Warner NYC

Ty Warner NYC

Enjoy a game of chess at Ty Warner's NYC penthouse suite. 960 1280

  

Villa Lucia

Villa Lucia

Villa Lucia in Tuscany is a 19th-century estate with 9 bedrooms covering 18,000 square feet. 960 1280

  

Villa Lucia

Villa Lucia

The Tuscany estate sits on 4 acres of gardens and vineyards. 960 1280

  

sp_ss_jaw-dropping-rentals_015 Villa Lucia

sp_ss_jaw-dropping-rentals_015 Villa Lucia

After soaking up the Tuscan sun, here's your crash pad for the night. 960 1280

  

Hacienda Santa Ines

Hacienda Santa Ines

Hacienda Santa Ines, in Costa Rica, includes riding stables. In all, 16 stalls, 12 horses, a full-time trainer and an assistant. 960 1280

  

Hacienda Santa Ines

Hacienda Santa Ines

With 10 beds and 12.5 baths, Hacienda Santa Ines attracts high-end guests like the president of Costa Rica. Price tag: $12,000 to $27,000 a night, depending on the season. 960 1280

  

Hacienda Santa Ines

Hacienda Santa Ines

Just 20 minutes east of San Jose, Costa Rica, Hacienda Santa Ines is tucked high in the Tres Rios Mountains. 960 1280

  

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Luxury Ahoy

Once a floating lighthouse, the Nantucket is now a massive luxury hotel.