The 9 Best Starwood Hotels of 2023

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The Rundown

Best Luxury: The Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel

Gritti Palace Hotel, one of the top romantic hotels in Venice

Susan Breslow

Set in the historical center of Venice and overlooking boats, gondolas, and ferries cruising along the Grand Canal, the Gritti Palace is a fifteenth-century manor that has been beautifully restored to its original glory. Wooden terraces have been built along the hotel frontage facing the canal and provide a stylish and scenic setting for the Club del Doge restaurant and Riva Lounge in the summer months.

The Club del Doge has built an excellent reputation for gourmet food, and the Riva Lounge serves cocktails and other beverages. During the winter months, guests can eat in the restaurant’s opulent dining room and relax on the padded chairs or at the marble countertop of the equally palatial Bar Longhi.

Each guest room has unique decor, original fittings and is filled with antique furniture, carpets, and artworks. The more luxurious rooms come with crystal chandeliers, marble floors, and views over the canal. Bathrooms are lined with marble and have both a bathtub and a walk-in shower.

The Gritti SPA has Turkish baths, steam rooms and a full set of massage, skin treatment, and beauty services. Couples should book a private suite, which comes with a couples’ massage, a session in the Turkish bath, two flutes of champagne and a platter of fresh fruits.

Best for Families: The Westin Maui Resort & Spa

Hale Aloha Gazebo at The Westin Maui Resort & Spa on Maui

Courtesy of The Westin Maui Resort & Spa

Located on the western shores of Hawaii’s Maui Island, the Westin Maui Resort & Spa offers a spectacular setting of golden sandy beaches and sunsets over the ocean, backed by lofty volcanic mountains with verdant tropical greenery. One of the top features is the impressive complex of pools, with freeform design and landscaped gardens creating a lagoon-like effect, helped by waterfalls and a swim-through rock grotto. There are a couple of fun waterslides, and sun loungers and private cabanas set among palm trees.

The ocean water is suitable for both swimming and beginner surfing, with regular surf lessons available, and there is good snorkeling a 15-minute walk up the beach. The kids’ club has games and entertainments and children can also participate in cultural activities such as Hawaiian dancing and lei making.

The full-service spa comes with steam rooms, saunas, whirlpool spas, and a tranquil garden courtyard. Dining options include Polynesian and international fare in casual settings such as beachside, poolside and amid tiki torch-lit gardens.

See other reviews of the best family-friendly hotels in Hawaii.

Best Beach: The St. Regis Mauritius Resort

The St. Regis Mauritius Resort

Courtesy of The St. Regis Mauritius Resort

Overlooking powdery white sand beaches with a westerly aspect that provides incredible sunset views of the Indian Ocean, the St. Regis Mauritius Resort is a relaxed and casually elegant beachside resort set among gardens of lawns, palm trees, and local beach vegetation. Stretched out along the coast, the resort is perfect for long romantic walks on the beach, and the calm and shallow inshore waters are well suited for swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking. Further out, there are great conditions for windsurfing.

The hotel, built in a contemporary colonial style of polished hardwoods and marble fittings, is set around the expansive main pool which fills almost the entire central courtyard. There is also a separate plunge pool, some private cabanas, landscaped garden beds and a smaller and quieter pool with ocean views.

While all guest accommodations are just steps from the beach, the most luxurious ones are the beachfront suites, which come with extras such as private plunge pools, open-air lounge terraces and a team of butlers, valets, and chefs that are available 24 hours a day.

Several restaurants provide Mauritian, Asian and international dishes in a variety of picturesque settings on the beach and around the resort and gardens, including private dining on a candle-lit jetty overlooking the sea.

Best for Romance: Le Meridien Bora Bora

Le Meridien Bora Bora

Courtesy of  Le Meridien Bora Bora

Set on a fringing coral atoll, Le Meridien Bora Bora looks towards the imposing Mt. Otemanu rising above crystal-clear lagoon waters, making for colorful sunrises and dramatic sunset silhouettes. Although there are a variety of room choices, including classic and beachfront, the most in-demand are the overwater villas. They branch out from a central walkway and come with furnished private terraces, direct water access, and glass floors for seabed views.

Le Tipanié is the main restaurant, serving a complete breakfast buffet in the mornings and top-quality Polynesian cuisine in the evenings. Built in a mix of contemporary and traditional styles, it is set on the water’s edge with an alfresco terrace and has a choice of garden, lagoon or mountain views. Regular Polynesian dance shows add to the tropical atmosphere.

On the beach, the rustic Le Te Ava, built in the style of a traditional thatch-roof hut, serves international comfort fare with a casual, "barefoot dining" vibe directly on the beach sands. There are nearby beaches, dunes, and coral reefs to explore, with a dive center providing a range of tours and services and a nearby ecology center where guests can help care for rescued turtles.

Check out our guide to the best overwater bungalow resorts in Tahiti and Bora Bora.

Best for Golf: The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa

The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa

Courtesy of The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa

Surrounded by suburban sprawl, the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa is an oasis of green on the northern fringe of Phoenix. The resort is set on a lake edge looking over the golf course grounds, offering expansive views of rolling greens, ornamental lakes, and desert vegetation. The golf club has three nine-hole courses, plus a driving range and putting green. It offers a full package of services including golf carts and Segways for transport, professional lessons, a golf shop, and restaurant.

For dedicated golfers, there are numerous other courses in the Scottsdale area, including TPC Scottsdale, Greyhawk Golf Club and the Country Club at DC Ranch. The resort is perfect for families, with four-seater golf buggies and a junior instruction program for budding players, and an adventure water park with a lazy river ride, a giant waterslide, and a surf simulator. Other activities include bike rentals and tennis courts.

The Agave spa has whirlpools, saunas, and steam rooms and offers massages, salon services and health and beauty treatments, including signature tequila-infused facial therapies. Eight unique dining and drinking venues range from fine dining to casual gastropub and tapas-style whiskey bars.

Need some more help finding what you're looking for? Read through our best golf resorts in Scottsdale and Phoenix article.

Best for Business: Sheraton Grand Chicago

Sheraton Grand Chicago

Courtesy of Sheraton Grand Chicago

Situated on the north bank of the Chicago River with views of the river, Lake Michigan and surrounding city skyline, Sheraton Grand Chicago is placed in a central location that offers easy access to downtown, Magnificent Mile, Millennium Park and other popular districts of the city. The hotel was purpose-built to provide convention and business facilities, with 43 event rooms ranging from intimate boardroom environments to the largest ballroom space in Chicago, capable of hosting up to 4,600 attendees.

Audio-visual equipment and technicians are available to help with presentations and seminars, and events staff can assist with planning, managing, and catering requirements. Guest rooms are modern and comfortable, with work desks and high-speed internet. 

There are several restaurants, a bar and a cafe on-site, serving classic American meals, snacks and hot beverages and cocktails, wines and other beverages. The hotel also has a business center, an indoor swimming pool and a small fitness area with machines, free weights, and yoga mats.

Best for Wine: Las Alcobas, a Luxury Collection Hotel

Junior Suite at Las Alcobas, a Luxury Collection Hotel

Courtesy of Las Alcobas

Located on the outskirts of St. Helena in the heart of the Napa Valley wine region of California, Las Alcobas serves as an excellent base for exploring the surrounding vineyards, restaurants, and countryside. Built in a Georgian farmhouse style with a painted wood façade and a column-lined veranda, the boutique, adults-only property offers luxurious country comfort with private wooden balconies. Features include outdoor bathtubs, fire pits, cushioned couches, and dining furniture.

The Acacia House restaurant creates regional specialties using sustainably-produced ingredients from organic growers, with an emphasis on seasonally-inspired fare. The food is accompanied by an extensive wine menu that showcases both the regional diversity and selected international wines, as well as a selection of cocktails, spirits, and other beverages.

Three vineyards can be found within 100 meters of the hotel, including the charming Beringer estate. The hotel also houses the Atrio spa, which offers Ayurvedic treatments alongside a wide range of Western and Oriental massages and treatments. There is an outdoor courtyard with a small pool, sun loungers and shade umbrellas and couches placed around a firepit.

Best View: Blue Palace, a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa

Blue Palace, a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa

Courtesy of Blue Palace

Set on the shores of a sheltered cove on the historic island of Crete, ringed with rugged hillsides and gazing over Mediterranean waters, the Blue Palace provides guests with a picturesque backdrop. Most rooms have private pools, with the best being set high on the hillside and offering incredible infinity-edge panoramas. The pebble beach has wooden walkways to help guests reach the sun loungers and umbrellas and a small jetty allows guests to dive into the warm waters. There are several pools around the resort, including adult and kids’ pools on the beachfront and the scenic Arsenali pool set up on the hillside, which comes with bar service.

Several atmospheric restaurants create Mediterranean, international and Asian fusion cuisine. The Arsenali Lounge Bar, set on a terrace with steps leading into the pool, is the perfect location for sunset drinks, with sea views framed by majestic stone archways.

For a truly Greek experience, watch classic movies at the regular therino; an outdoor cinema held on the beach during the warm summer months.

Best for Nightlife: W New Orleans

Courtyard at the W New Orleans

Courtesy of W Hotel

With the famous Bourbon Street and Jackson Square just around the corner from the centrally located W New Orleans, this hotel attracts a young crowd looking to explore the infamous, jazz-infused nightlife of the city’s French Quarter. This trendy hotel is a good mix of classic style with a modern and artsy edge.

The hotel is built around a beautiful central courtyard with carefully manicured garden beds, a tile-lined outdoor pool and an ornamental fountain with a stunning fire display from gas jets. There are sun loungers, couches and day beds for guests to rest on. Rooms and suites have eye-catching artwork and design details.

All rooms come fully stocked with iPod docks, cable/satellite channels, and high-speed Wi-Fi, but for an extra touch of luxury suites come with courtyards with a private hot tub. The SoBou restaurant serves small plate dishes based on Louisiana street cuisine, with a menu of handcrafted cocktails and a regular burlesque show adding to the local vibe.

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