The top luxury hotel in the world according to members of TripAdvisor is a Four Seasons property in Hawaii that uses the island’s natural beauty as an integral part of the decor, including outdoor lava-rock garden showers, ocean-side restaurants and lounges, and living rooms lit by Hawaiian sunsets.
In the user-generated travel website's 11th annual Traveler’s Choice Awards 2013 –- what the site calls “The Oscars of hotels” -- the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka’upulehu on the Island of Hawaii beat 6,000 other properties around the world for the title of top hotel and luxury hotel the world.
Designed to maximize ocean views and take advantage of the area’s natural lava formations, the resort averages a five out of five-star rating among its 887 reviews from TripAdvisor members.
“Expansive, secluded, quiet, inclusive, peaceful, friendly. The level of service and the emotional intelligence of the staff is amazing -- they are quick reads and are at the ready to match you with the perfect island experience,” wrote one satisfied guest from Newport Beach, California.
While most of the reviews are positive, where the hotel falls flat is the size of the beach, which was disappointingly small for some guests, according to a scan of the less enthusiastic reviews.
Made up of low-rise, two-storey bungalows, the property is widely praised for its level of privacy. Amenities include six pools, eight tennis courts, a golf course, sports club and spa.
It’s not the first accolade for the luxury resort. Last month, Condé Nast Traveler’s annual 2013 Gold List – The World’s Best Places to Stay ranked it the #2 hotel in Hawaii, after its sister property the Four Seasons Resort Lanai, The Lodge at Koele.
Rounding out the top three hotels in the world, are Cape Grace, in Cape Town Central, South Africa and the Onyria Marinha Edition Hotel & Thalasso in Cascais, Portugal.