The Best Hotels
Australia & Oceania
Discover the laidback luxury whether in the vastness of Australia’s Outback or in the middle of the Pacific: an atoll of several little islands surrounded by a lagoon accessed only by private plane, tented pavilions complete with floor-to-ceiling windows of Uluru, villas suspended over the shimmering turquoise waters of Bora Bora. These are places to indulge in the scenery of destinations–they’re hotels that capture the ambiance of their environments through open-air restaurants, oasis pools, and leisurely water activities. These properties are what daydreams are made of.
Tetiaroa, French Polynesia
On a private island, 30 miles northeast of Tahiti, that was leased to the late actor Marlon Brando for 99 years are the 35 villas of The Brando. The island can only be reached by private plane, and flying in gives guests an enticing view of Tetiaroa, an atoll of several little islands surrounded by a lagoon that’s home to manta rays, sea turtles, and many kinds of birds.
The villas blend into the tropical island landscape; each comes with a private pool and is just steps away from the white-sand beach and calm waters of the lagoon. Varua Te Ora Polynesian Spa offers calming treatments surrounded by tropical vegetation, and yoga and Pilates sessions can be scheduled via the spa. The two on-site restaurants offer French, Polynesian, Japanese, and other Western cuisine, and make good use of the abundance of tropical fruit, the vegetables grown in the resort’s garden, and local Polynesian fish. The associated Tetiaroa Society is a non-profit that works on problems the world’s oceans face due to climate change.
COMO The Treasury
Originally one of Perth’s public office spaces, this elegant administrative building was revitalized in 2015 and opened as COMO The Treasury. It quickly became one of the best hotels in the Western Australian capital, thanks to its impeccable service, convenient location, and stylish guest rooms. The rooms and common areas are furnished with relaxing, minimalist decor, using neutral whites and creams, travertine, and bronze—keeping architectural touches from the building’s 140-year old history but with a contemporary flair.
Dining at Wildflower shouldn’t be missed, as this modern, seasonal menu is centered around the six seasons in the Indigenous culture, using local produce from farmers and foragers. A visit to the Shambhala spa, offering massages, yoga, and beauty treatments, is also a highlight of any visit. Of particular note is the indoor pool, a spectacular oasis with huge glass windows, letting sunlight pour in each day and giving guests a spectacular view of the city as they swim. All of the spa facilities are housed in the building’s original vault, which formerly held the titles and deeds for the city. You’ll find plenty of amazing places to visit just steps from the hotel, including Kings Park, Elizabeth Quay, and ferries offering day trips to Rottnest Island or Fremantle.
Queenstown, New Zealand
Glitzy Queenstown may not be a typical New Zealand town these days, but Hulbert House’s refurbished 1880s villa harks back to the hot spot’s humble but refined history. Guests love the five-star elegance sans stuffy formality, which reflects the laid-back nature of New Zealand as a whole.
Near central Queenstown, the rooms either face Skyline Hill or Lake Wakatipu and the panorama of the Remarkables Range behind. With just six rooms, guests can enjoy a peaceful stay that feels intimate rather than impersonal. The five Premium Rooms come with regal canopies above the beds and each of these guest rooms is decorated in a different color scheme, while the lone Grand Room takes the royal up another notch, with a palette of purple, navy, and gold décor and bay windows.
Guests would be wise to make the most of pre-dinner drinks and canapes before taking a leisurely stroll into town for dinner at one of Queenstown’s many top-rated restaurants, paired with fine Central Otago Pinot Noir.
Le Bora Bora by Pearl Resorts
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Le Bora Bora combines luxury and convenience: the 108 rooms and villas are located on a secluded motu (island), Motu Tevairoa, that’s a 10-minute boat ride from Bora Bora Airport. The villas are set within the tropical gardens, beside the beach, or suspended over the warm turquoise sea. Garden and beachside villas come with their own pools, while the villas suspended over the ocean have easy access to the shallow lagoon waters below.
Local Polynesian art and architectural styles have been drawn upon heavily in the design of the thatched-roofed villas. Mount Otemanu, the 2,400-foot volcanic peak of Bora Bora island, dominates the skyline from across the lagoon. In an effort to maintain the peaceful vibe while providing guests with active pursuits, a range of non-motorized water gear is available to use: stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, outrigger canoes, and snorkeling equipment. No noisy jet skis here! Tennis, ping pong, and the oh-so-French pétanque can be enjoyed on land.
An oasis in Australia’s iconic red center, Longitude 131° offers luxury tented accommodation with views of Uluru. Floor-to-ceiling windows make it easy to take in all the beautiful colors of the Outback or step out onto your private deck to enjoy a glass of bubbles at sunset. The property’s design lets the spectacular beauty of World Heritage-listed Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park shine through, but there’s still plenty of amenities to enjoy after spending a day bushwalking or sightseeing. Spa Kinara offers world-class treatments using native ingredients like Kakadu plum and desert lime, while Table 131° delivers a dining experience unlike any other. This open-air restaurant serves guests a four-course modern Australian menu with paired wines, lit only by the stars.
In support of Indigenous arts, Longitude 131° established an artists-in-residence program with Ernabella Arts, supporting Indigenous artists from the Pukatja Homelands. All sales go back to support the community.
Byron Bay, Australia
Retro chic meets Aussie surf culture—welcome to The Sunseeker. This cute hotel in Byron Bay is all about nostalgia and fun. The owners, a local couple, transformed an ‘80s brick motel into a modern yet retro boutique hideaway, with a focus on sustainability and supporting local artists. Set just outside Byron’s city center, it’s a fantastic hideaway with both rooms and bungalows for guests, a welcoming spot for travelers designed to foster creativity and relaxation. The classic kidney-shaped pool, with lounge beds and tiki bar, is the perfect place to chill with a cocktail and bar snacks, removed from the hustle and bustle of Byron. While there’s no full-service restaurant on-site, The Sunseeker offers picnic baskets and meal packages or there’s plenty of fantastic cafes and dining options within walking distance.
If you can pull yourself away from the laid-back vibes of your bungalow, you’re only a short drive or walk away from the famous Cape Byron Lighthouse, Wategos Beach, and the serene Byron hinterland.