We’ve been lucky enough to visit some incredible countries over the past few years and I wanted to put together a post sharing the best hotels I’ve ever stayed in in that time. There’s a couple from Japan, one from New York and one from the Seychelles. I apologise in advance for the wanderlust that may result from reading this post…!
We stayed in a few different hotels in Japan as we travelled around, so there are two from Japan in this list. The first is the most luxurious and beautiful hotel I’ve ever stayed in. You’ve probably heard of it as it’s the hotel that features in Lost In Translation. This was the view from our room…
As we were shown round our room I was trying to act cool and nonchalant but as soon as the man left, I started bouncing and clapping… which is when he reappeared to show me the bathroom. So awkward. The suite was enormous, with a stunning bathroom stocked with Aesop products (I can’t be the only one who immediately goes through the products when they check in?) The hotel itself is beautifully decorated and has enough to do that you wouldn’t need to leave if you didn’t want to – there is even a library! I had a massage in the spa which was wonderful after the long flight and then hung out in the spa relaxation area (I basically spent the whole time covering my whole body in the provided Aesop moisturiser. No shame). Aaron went for a run in the gym while I had a leisurely swim in the indoor pool (I think I made the best choice there). There are four restaurants and bars and a pastry boutique – we only tried one of the restaurants but the food was beautiful and the view of Tokyo was unbelievable. You could even catch a glimpse of Mount Fuji in the distance!
But of course, you can’t stay there without experiencing the bar – even if you’re not interested in the film trivia aspect, the actual bar is beautiful and the live jazz music adds so much atmosphere. We ate in the restaurant which was an experience but I wouldn’t go again as I think for the money, there are better places. However they did provide a secret birthday dessert for my husband which was very sweet! I just can’t rave about the Park Hyatt enough. The staff are so friendly and really do treat you like royalty.
Our trip to New York was for our first wedding anniversary and was also my first ever time in America so we wanted to stay somewhere special. My husband booked the Park Lane Hotel and we then upgraded our room when we arrived just so we could wake up to this view every day:
Not a bad view from our hotel room… 😍 A photo posted by talontedlex (@talontedlex) on
The hotel is *right* on the edge of Central Park and the view and location was so worth the upgrade. The hotel itself was great but we actually didn’t spend much time there. However, the bar staff were exceptionally friendly and soon learnt our drinks order, and the front desk staff were great with recommendations for places to eat. There is a fitness centre on site, including pool, and a restaurant which looked great but we had so many recommendations we didn’t get a chance to eat there. The proximity to Central Park and Fifth Avenue and the view were definitely the main selling points for me, you can’t get much more New York than that!
When we were picking where to go for our honeymoon we decided to combine a city holiday with a beach one. We’re not good at sitting around and I don’t sunbathe so we wanted a mixture of holidays. We chose to do Dubai (3 days), the Seychelles (8 days), and then go back to Dubai (5 days) and it was perfect. I didn’t know anyone else who had been to The Seychelles but the research I had done completely won me over. When we read the reviews of the Petite Amour Villa, so many said ‘it was like staying with family or friends’ and I was dubious… people often say that but do they really mean it?
Sorry but we’re never coming home. A photo posted by Aaron Gillies (@technicallyron) on
I can honestly tell you that it describes this place perfectly. There are only 4 bedrooms so it’s very exclusive and private, and also means the staff are so attentive. On the night we arrived I wasn’t feeling well and went to bed early and one of the owners of the villa brought me some fresh ginger tea which was so sweet and thoughtful. On the last day, they asked if I’d seen everything I wanted to and I said I was a little disappointed to have not seen a giant tortoise… so the owners took us *to their house* to visit their PET GIANT TORTOISE (who was called Turtley – amazing). Their generosity just blew my mind!
A photo posted by talontedlex (@talontedlex) on
Breakfast and dinner were included with the stay and included fresh fruit, fish and vegetables from local sources. Aaron became completely obsessed with the traditional Seychellois creole cuisine and he is usually so picky! The hosts would put on cocktail hour before dinner where the guests met up which sounds awkward, if you’re like me and awful in social situations, but was actually really fun and we met some truly lovely people who then gave us some great recommendations for things to do on the island during our stay.
We couldn’t go to Japan without experiencing a traditional ryokan and this one was unbelievable. There’s a reason it’s the number one ryokan in the Lonely Planet guide. We travelled a long way to get to Kinosaki, on the amazing bullet train which was an experience in itself. In case you’re not familiar with ryokans, they are traditional Japanese inns. Imagine any room you’ve seen in a Japanese film: the sliding paper doors, low tables, windows overlooking peaceful gardens of bonsai trees and bamboo… it felt completely unreal and otherworldly. They’re more commonly found in the rural areas of Japan, so they’re a great excuse to see parts of Japan that are less busy. The typical ryokan rooms have a living area which then transforms into the sleeping area.
A photo posted by Aaron Gillies (@technicallyron) on
We were also given yukata (less formal versions of kimonos) to wear, which were beautiful and really added to the special occasion. The rooms came with access to the on-site ofuro (bathing areas which are separated by gender), but you also got access to the local onsen (public hot springs) of which there were a few nearby. We actually chose a room that had its own private indoor onsen within the suite which was fantastic. The room opened out onto the garden so the cold air was coming in, while the bath constantly refilled with the hot spring water. I kept having to get out because my rosacea was going mad but the whole thing was such an experience and my skin felt incredible afterwards. The area is famous for its Winter Crab and one of the main selling points of this amazing stay is that you get a nine course meal. NINE. COURSES. You’re sat at the low table with a woman preparing and cooking everything in your room and it’s just amazing.
Crab being cooked for us in our room …by a woman who told us we were cute! 😁 #japan #ryokan #Kinosaki #travelling #instatravel #instapassport #igtravel #1courseof9 #imayneverneedtoeatagain A photo posted by talontedlex (@talontedlex) on
.@technicallyaaron has gone from a man who only ate toast and crisps to a man who has just tried A LOT of raw seafood and bloody loved it! Plus he looks pretty dapper in a #Yukata! #japan #ryokan #sushi #Kinosaki #travelling #instatravel #instapassport #igtravel A photo posted by talontedlex (@talontedlex) on
Every course contained some form of crab…including the sake course, where she revealed a crab leg stewing in the sake! We couldn’t finish all of the food as there was so much but the next morning I somehow managed to squeeze in a traditional Japanese breakfast. I’m never one to turn down food!
A photo posted by talontedlex (@talontedlex) on
I felt so lucky to experience a traditional ryokan and found it so relaxing – it was a nice change of pace between Tokyo and Kyoto.
So there you go, the best hotels I’ve ever stayed in. Where is the best hotel you’ve ever stayed? Digging through photos to talk about these hotels has reminded me what amazing holidays these were. Would you be interested in separate blogs about Japan, New York and The Seychelles? We did, ate, drank, and saw so much so there’d be loads to share! Let me know in the comments below!
*All accommodation paid for ourselves or gifts from family.