Last week on these pages, I mentioned that I’d managed to cross the Huntington in San Francisco off my hotel bucket list. This prompted some readers – and assorted Twitter followers – to enquire as to the remaining hotels on the list. Apparently they thought I actually had a neatly-ordered list of hotels, complete with little check boxes ready to be filled in.
But then I though — dammit, I *should* have that list. And so I set about making it. Here’s my top ten so far – please do feel free to suggest others in the comments. Where would you stay if you had one hotel night left on earth?
I mean, come on. If there’s an archetypal bucket list hotel, it’s Raffles. Sure its reputation has slipped in recent years but it remains the birthplace of the Singapore Sling, and the place where the last wild tiger in Singapore was shot and killed. Colonialism for the win.
Seal Rock Inn, San Francisco
To most passers by, the Seal Rock is just a crappy motor inn at the end of Geary Street, but to fans of Hunter S Thompson, it’s the crappy motor inn at the end of Geary Street where the father of Gonzo completed his masterwork; Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 1972.
A tie with the recently refurbished Savoy in London for iconic status, Claridges remains the ultimate hotel for those who, like me, choose to live permanently in hotels. The list of iconic guests stretches from Monet to Madonna – and of course it’s the place where Oscar Wilde had the affair which landed him in jail.
Burj Al Arab, Dubai
The world’s first seven star hotel; not to mention the hotel which finally rendered the star system meaningless.
Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Moscow
The Russian capital is known for its insanely expensive luxury hotel rooms so, if you’re going to pay through the nose, you might as well go crazy. And at $18,000 a night, the hotel’s eponymous Ritz-Carlton Suite is crazy like a Russian.
Jules Undersea Lodge, Key Largo
As the name suggests, Jules Undersea Lodge is a lodge, under the sea. Before staying here I’ll have to learn to scuba dive (guests must be qualified divers just to get to their room) but that’s a small price to pay to actually sleep with the fishes.
Hoshi Ryokan, Hokuriku
I know literally nothing about the Hoshi Ryokan except for this: it is the world oldest hotel, having first opened in 718 – nearly 1300 years ago. Apparently there’s a hot spring. That’s good enough for me.
The Ritz, Paris
If you’re going to stay in any Ritz (and you certainly must), then the Ritz Paris is the one to choose. Coco Chanel certainly seemed to agree: she lived there for more than 30 years. Today, sadly, the hotel is more famous for being where Princess Diana spent her last night on earth.
RMS Queen Mary, Long Beach
The most recent addition to my list – I only found out about it two weeks ago, when I happened to drive by. What more fitting tribute could there be for the grand old liner that connected Southampton and New York between the 1930s and the 1960s than to moor it in Long Beach convert it to a luxury hotel? Ok, maybe not Long Beach – but beggers can’t be
Jukkasjärvi Ice Hotel, Lapland
Claiming to be the world’s largest hotel made entirely of ice (a long list, no doubt), Jukkasjärvi started out as a 60ft igloo but has today grown to more than 5000ft in size. Perhaps due to its growing capacity, or maybe because it’s in the middle of a frozen wasteland, the hotel currently achieves just 60% occupancy – so I anticipate some decent
last minute deals.