6 incredible hotels that redefine the meaning of room with a view

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Once upon a time, a budget hostel was part-and-parcel of the backpacking experience. Think Khao San Road and a dorm bed for $5 a piece (bagsy us the bunk below the fan). Fun as it is to look back on those times, nowadays we search for something a little more refined. 

Travel in our 30s and 40s tends to mean looser purse strings, and a little more cash to splash on sumptuous hotel experiences. After all, adventure never tastes better than in the company of somewhere charming to crash at night: complete with rooftop cocktails, infinity pools and a private sauna or three.

Below, we’ve hand-picked some of our favorite hotels around the world that combine unique design with panoramic settings. From an Arctic Circle villa on its very own island to an off-grid ecolodge in the heart of the desert, behold the hotels with views that are well worth getting out of bed for. 

Jetwing Lagoon, Negombo – Sri Lanka

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Few hotels rival the elegance of Jetwing Lagoon on Sri Lanka’s western coastline. Its 100-meter pool, designed by Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa, is one of the largest on the island, offering dreamy views over the yachts and catamarans of Negombo Lagoon.

Grab a passion fruit cocktail under a frangipani tree here for the full wanderlust experience. An Ayurveda Spa with traditional therapies is also on-site, should you tire of the endless blue horizon.

Say hi to Sri Lanka

Feynan Ecolodge, Wadi Dana – Jordan

 

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This award-winning retreat in the centre of Jordan’s Dana Biosphere Reserve stands out for several reasons. Firstly, it’s off-grid, with candlelit rooms and facilities powered by solar panels.

Secondly, it provides an authentic glimpse into local Bedouin culture and hospitality. Most staff here are from the local Bedouin community, and can share fascinating insights into the surrounding area and customs. And last but not least, the desert views are quite immense: not least from the rooftop at night, where near-zero light pollution sets the stage for a kaleidoscope of stars. 

Jordan awaits

Bush Rover Suites, Serengeti – Tanzania

The Bush Rover Suites in Tanzania move alongside the wildebeest migration, for unparalleled views of “the greatest show on Earth”. Depending on the time of year, you might see this incredible feat of nature play out during calving season, by a secluded crater or on the banks of the great Mara river. 

This mobility means that guests are immersed fully in the drama as the wildebeest move en-masse in a loop across Serengeti National Park, with views that are much closer to the action than most other tourists. Rooms are built into converted Land Rovers, with baths on the bottom floor, and top-floor balconies – a perfect spot for a sundowner overlooking the plains. 

Time for Tanzania

Hotel Vartiosaari, Rovaniemi – Finland

From sunny safaris to the wilds of the Finnish outback, our next hotel takes us to an exclusive hideaway deep in Finnish Lapland. Accessed via a 70-meter hanging bridge on its own private island, Hotel Vartiosaari – with just 11 rooms – is the stuff of fairy tales. 

In a setting that dates back to the 1700s, it overlooks the Kemijoki river, with breath-taking Arctic Circle views as far as the eye can see. This tranquil corner of wilderness becomes even better on a cloudless night, where – after a spell in the sauna and a hearty log-fire dinner – you may well catch a glimpse of the elusive Northern Lights. 

Finland calling

Diez Hotel, Medellín – Colombia

Known as the “City of Eternal Spring”, Medellín has shrugged off its notoriety to become one of Colombia’s most handsome hubs. This comeback destination is now the home of serene parks, a world-class cable car system and sprawling hillside neighborhoods – set against a dramatic backdrop of cloud forest, jungle and mountains. 

Diez Hotel, in the chic neighbourhood of El Poblado, is a great place to soak in the urban landscape. Its rooftop hot tubs and hammocks give prime-time views of the city, in all its charismatic charm. 

Come to Colombia

Ubud Wana Resort, Ubud – Bali

 

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Ubud is *the* place to be if you want a taste of Bali’s cultural soul. Art and spirituality overlap here, with a bohemian spirit that encompasses everyone from traditional tukang (craftspeople) and writers to the Balinese Hindu community.

Ubud Wana Resort perches on a sloping contour fringed by the kind of lush valley scenery that is typical of the region. The pool bar and Ahara spa are both lovely, but the best spot for views has to be the secluded rooftop garden. Make a beeline here at sunset to see white egrets returning home by twilight – as the sky turns hazy pink above the misty landscape, and a thousand sleeping trees. 

Bask in the beauty of Bali

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