$5,000 per night
The 26th-floor Peninsula Suite at the Hong Kong Peninsula was built with spooks in mind. Since many of the visitors to the suite are diplomats and heads of state, both the CIA and M15 were consulted on the design to ensure maximum security.
While we can't confirm whether or not the room is bugged, the room has direct access to the hotel's helipad for quick getaways, and there is also a security guard's room down the hallway. (The hotel can't reveal what else the CIA and M15 suggested, due to security reasons.)
Rent the suite and one of these babies can be yours.
Guests of the suite also have access to a 24-hour butler and a Rolls-Royce on standby. The suite has one master bedroom but can be converted to a seven-bedroom spread with adjoining rooms. The rooms are sleek and modern, with double-height ceilings and liberal use of pale, natural materials such as marble and limestone. The windows in the sitting area are floor-to-ceiling and offer views of the city, and the suite also has a fitness room, private study, dining room and kitchen as well as a terrace.
The Peninsula Hong Kong
Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Phone: 852 2920-2888
Fax: 852 2722-4399
No 13. Claridge'sThe Brook Penthouse
The Davies Penthouse
$5,482 per night
The honor, or should we say honour, of the most expensive hotel room in London technically belongs to the three-bedroom Royal Suite of the Lanesborough Hotel, which is 4,500 pounds, or $6,407, a night. However, the suite is being renovated and will not be open until April 2002. So the winner by default is the penthouse suite of Claridge's (there are actually two), and both come with a personal butler.
The Davies Penthouse is a two-bedroom suite decorated in a traditional style, complete with fireplaces, marble fixtures and hardwood floors. The sitting room has a barrel-vaulted ceiling and is decorated in shades of yellow. The Davies Penthouse also has a terrace, and both bedrooms feature four-poster beds and separate dressing rooms.
The Brook Penthouse is designed in an Art Deco style, with shades of mauve, pale oak floors and original 1930s fixtures. The sitting room has floor-to-ceiling French doors that open to a roof terrace, and the suite also has a dining room with its own cocktail bar and cloakroom. Both penthouses are £3,850 (approximately $5,482).
Phone: 44 20 7629 8860
Fax: 44 20 7499 2210
No 12. The Bellagio
$6,000 per night
We were surprised that the most expensive hotel room in Las Vegas--a private villa at the Bellagio--is only $6,000 a night, but hotels in Sin City are always lower than average since hoteliers know the real money will be blown on gambling. The Bellagio has nine separate villas in a quiet corner of the property. Each villa has a private terrace and pool, which is surrounded by topiary shrubs, chaise lounges and outdoor tables. Every villa has a private butler service and private limousine entrance.
The villas are both two and three bedrooms and come with a kitchen, dining room and fully stocked bar according to guests' preferences. The master bathrooms have his-and-hers bathrooms and steam showers and are stocked with Hermes bath products. Whoever designed the guest-to-bathroom ratio, as well as guest-to-telephone, had excess in mind. The two-bedroom suites have five bathrooms and 11 telephones, while the three-bedrooms have seven bathrooms and 12 telephones. Two-bedroom villas are $5,000 per night, while the three-bedrooms are $6,000.
3600 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, Nev.
Phone: (702) 693-7111
No 11. Burj Al Arab
$6,850 per night
If Elton John and Donatella Versace teamed up to create a hotel, it would probably look a lot like Dubai's Burj Al Arab, which describes itself as "tremendously bold." The hotel's two Royal Suites are a gleeful explosion of all things gold, glittery and marble. Then again, what would you expect from a hotel that is shaped like a billowing sail and is the tallest hotel in the world (1,053 feet high, only slightly smaller than the Empire State Building)?
To put the Royal Suites in context, the Burj Al Arab also has its own submarine ride to an underwater restaurant complete with shark-infested aquarium, and it is built on top of a manmade island (merely crossing the bridge will cost you $55). Guests are met at the airport in a Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph. The two Royal Suites, located on the 25th floor, are split-level rooms joined by a private elevator. The rooms feature a private cinema, whirlpool baths and rotating beds. Each room also has a meeting room, dining room, dressing room and butler's room with a separate entrance. The décor is a mix of Greek, Arabic and over-the-top Italian as interpreted by Versace (some of the bed linens are indeed Versace).
Burj Al Arab
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Phone: 971 4 301 7266
Fax: 971 4 301 7001
No 10. Hotel Meurice
Belle Etoile Suite
$7,300 per night
The most expensive Parisian hotel room is the Belle Etoile Suite at the Hotel Meurice, located on the Rue de Rivoli. This penthouse suite is reached via private elevator, where it opens onto a marble entry hall. The entire suite is decorated in a Charles X style--heavy drapery, intricate wood paneling with gilt edges, chandeliers and murals.
The white-marble bathroom has double sinks and a round Jacuzzi tub, as well as panoramic views of the city (yes, the windows have shades). The 2,960-square-foot terrace has stone tiles, potted shrubs and a 360-degree view of Paris. The rate is 8,400 euros per night (approximately $7,300).
228 rue de Rivoli
75001 Paris, France
Phone: 33 44-58-10-10
Fax: 33 44-58-10-15
No 9. The Çirağan Palace Hotel Kempinski
$7,500 per night
The Çirağan Palace Hotel Kempinski in Istanbul, located along the Bosporus, was originally the home of the last Ottoman sultans, and different incarnations of the property have been built (and torn down) since the 16th century. The building was bought by the Kempinski hotel group in 1986 and underwent a renovation in 1991. Today, the hotel comprises two structures (the actual palace and the new hotel), and the Sultan's Suite is the most expensive room there.
The entire hotel is decorated in an opulent Arabic style, with marble, gold and mother-of- pearl accents, together with silk and velvet drapes, gilt chairs and crystal chandeliers. The Sultan's Palace Suite, located in the palace building, is 5,000 square feet. The two-bedroom suite comes with its own butler, and the floor-to-ceiling windows have a direct view of the Bosphorus. The master bedroom is decorated in deep red and gold, with silk-covered walls, a large sitting area and a crystal chandelier. The living room is done in shades of yellow and cream, with mosaic tile accents.
Çirağan Palace Hotel Kempinski
Phone: 90 212 2 58 33 77
Fax: 90 212 259 66 87
No 8. Regent Beverly Wilshire
$7,500 per night
The Regent Beverly Wilshire is the grande dame of L.A. hotels and happens to be the same age as the Academy Awards--72 years old. Like all things L.A., the Wilshire has recently undergone an extensive face-lift and just last year added the Penthouse Suite. Located on the 14th floor of the Beverly Wing, the 5,000-square-foot Penthouse Suite features three bedrooms, a wraparound balcony, a formal dining room, living room, kitchen and den, and is decorated with contemporary furniture. The master bathroom has floor-to-ceiling windows and two glass-enclosed showers. And, luckily for those times when you decide to use the remote control combination toilet/bidet with a heated seat, there are also remote control operated blinds.
One of the perks that come with this $7,500-a-night suite is that it is stocked with your favorite things before you get there, thanks to a pre-stay "interview." "If a guest likes lilies, we will fill the room beforehand," says public relations director Deborah Damask. "And if the King of Swaziland is coming to stay, we will have a direct satellite TV with all of his favorite channels from Swaziland."
The Regent Beverly Wilshire
9500 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, Calif.
Phone: (310) 275-5200
Fax: (310) 274-2851
No 7. The Fairmont Hotel
$10,000 per night
The 6,000-square-foot Penthouse Suite at the Fairmont Hotel on San Francisco's Nob Hill takes up the entire eighth floor of the hotel and has three bedrooms, a dining room that holds 50 people, an eat-in kitchen and a two-story, domed library with a ceiling painted with the constellations. There is also a billiards room covered floor-to-ceiling in Persian tiles, and four fireplaces inlaid with lapis lazuli. The bathroom fixtures are made of 24 karat gold, and a secret passageway is concealed behind the bookshelves on the library's second floor.
Welcome to the red room.
Famous guests who have used the suite include former Secretary of State Edward Stettinius, who used the Penthouse Suite in 1945 as his temporary headquarters when the United Nations charter was being drafted, and Sean Connery, who received a memorable onscreen haircut here in the 1996 action thriller The Rock.
The Fairmont San Francisco
950 Mason St.
San Francisco, Calif.
Phone: (415) 772-5000
Fax: (415) 772-5013
No 6. Hotel Cala di Volpe
$13,879 per night
The Costa Smeralda ("Emerald Coast"), on the eastern coast of Sardinia, became famous during the 1960s when the Aga Khan bought it and convinced his jet-set friends to start building villas and a yacht club on the beautiful but previously undeveloped island. The coast also served as the backdrop to the 1977 James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me. One of the Aga Khan's acquisitions was the 100-room Hotel Cala di Volpe, where the late Princess Margaret celebrated her 37th birthday in 1967.
The split-level Presidential Suite, which is located in the hotel's tower, has three bedrooms, three bathrooms and two sitting rooms. The highlight is the private, outdoor saltwater pool on the second floor. The style is rustic but luxurious, with whitewashed walls, exposed beams, thick down cushions and wooden accents. The bed frames are wrought iron, and the tiles are hand- painted ceramic. The suite also has its own gazebo and solarium, as well as a DVD library and Bang & Olufsen stereos.
Hotel Cala di Volpe
Costa Smeralda, Sardinia
Phone: 39 0789 976 1111 or 800-325-3589
Fax: 39 0789 976 617
No 5. Westin Excelsior
Villa La Cupola
$14,312 per night
Rome's "Villa La Cupola" suite within the Westin Excelsior has all things Roman and excessive--a cupola, a Pompeii-style Jacuzzi pool, frescoes and stained glass windows--except, perhaps, a vomatorium. Located on the fifth and sixth floor underneath the cupola of the hotel (which was made famous by Fellini's movies), the suite covers 6,099 square feet and has an additional 1,808 square feet of balconies and terraces. While it only has two bedrooms, five more can be joined to it. The entire suite was just remodeled in 1998 for a cost of around $7 million.
So what did the face-lift entail? The cupola itself is entirely hand-frescoed, and the fifth floor features the master bedroom, a terraced study that was paneled in Italian walnut and a living room. The stained glass windows in the living room detail allegories of a mythological figure paired with a modern one, such as Atlas and Television, Hypnosis and Neurosis, Hermes and Marketing, and Hermaphrodite and Fashion. The downstairs also has a private kitchen, and the dining room features an antique Murano glass chandelier, a private wine cabinet and an antique mosaic-tile-covered dining room.
And that's just the beginning. What really makes this suite over the top is a private cinema with Dolby surround sound. Such luxury makes even the private elevator that leads up to the fitness area and Jacuzzi--complete with mosaic floors, vaulted ceilings and frescoes--seem ordinary. (The painted horizons on the frescoes were designed to match perfectly with the real Roman one.) Now that's living la dolce vita. The suite with two bedrooms costs 11,400 euros (approximately $9,880); with the five optional bedrooms the price is 16,500 euros ($14,312).
The Westin Excelsior
Via Vittoria Veneto 125
Phone: 39 064 7081 or 800 228-3000
Fax: 39 064 826 205
No 4. The Plaza Hotel
$15,000 per night
Twenty years ago, the Presidential Suite at the Plaza was often used as Gourmet magazine's test kitchen. Today, you won't see editors scurrying around the French- chateaux-style suite but wealthy businessmen (the suite is rarely used by celebrities) or families who need a pied-à-terre as their home is being remodeled. The 7,802-square-foot suite covers nearly the entire 18th floor of the Plaza, with views overlooking Central Park. The walls are covered in silk, the reception area has a 10-foot-wide stained glass window and the hand-painted piano depicts scenes from the French countryside.
The suite has five bedrooms, five and a half bathrooms, two living rooms, a dining room, powder room and sauna. There are also three marble fireplaces, a terrace and a 2,000-bottle wine cellar (guests are charged extra for indulging). The Presidential Suite also comes with the use of a secretary/butler (who get their own office), and the Plaza's chefs are at your disposal. Of course, many who stay there prefer to bring their own personal chef with them, so feel free.
768 Fifth Ave.
New York, N.Y.
Phone: (212) 759-3000
Fax: ( 212) 759-3167
No 3. The Martinez Hotel
$18,000 per night
The Martinez Hotel in Cannes likes superlatives and bills itself as having the biggest, most expensive and only terraced penthouse suite on the Cote d'Azur. Perhaps some of this is Gallic swagger, but the price of the suites--$18,000--certainly makes them one of the most expensive in Europe. Both penthouse suites are 8,000 square feet and are decorated in the hotel's signature Art Deco style, with streamlined furniture, silk curtains and teak parquet floors.
While many of the hotel's rooms are painted in bright colors (peach, lime green), the penthouse suites are decorated in muted, understated tones (brown, cream and tan). Each suite has two bedrooms, a Turkish bath, kitchen, personal sauna and views of the Lerins Islands as well as the entire Bay of Cannes. The wraparound terrace is 2,000 square feet and can comfortably hold 100 people. It also has a Jacuzzi. Technophiles will appreciate the Bose plasma screen televisions and telephones and the DVD library. A private butler is on call 24 hours a day, and other amenities include use of a limousine, open bar and the option to join both suites into one très grand apartment.
The overarching attitude for the suite is "never say no to anything," which we hope is the case when you're paying $18,000. One Saudi sheik liked the suite so much he wanted to rent it for five years. The hotel said non.
73 La Croisette
Phone: 33 92 98 73 00
Fax: 33 93 39 67 82
No 2. President Wilson Hotel
The Imperial Suite
$23,000 per night
At the sleek, modern President Wilson Hotel in Geneva, security takes as much precedence as luxury. Faster than you can say "Frette linens," the hotel's staff reassures guests that the security in the Imperial Suite is among the best in the world, ideal for celebrities or traveling heads of states who visit the United Nations headquarters next door at the Palais Wilson. (Considering how tight-lipped the hotel management was about the suite, guests can be assured of total secrecy.)
The Imperial Suite, which takes up the entire top floor of the hotel, is reached via a private elevator and has four bedrooms, all of which overlook Lake Geneva. The suite is decorated in a contemporary style, with marble and hardwood floors, and the bay windows overlook Lake Geneva and Mont Blanc. Off of the master bedroom is a dressing room as well as a study, and the suite has five bathrooms, all with mosaic marble floor, and a Jacuzzi and steam bath in the main bath. The living room has a billiards table, a library and a cocktail lounge with a view of the water fountain, and can accommodate 40 people. The dining room seats 26 people around an oval mahogany table. For the security-conscious or merely the paranoid, the Imperial Suite is also equipped with bulletproof windows and doors. The price of the hotel is 40,000 Swiss francs (approximately $23,600).
The President Wilson Hotel
47, Quai Wilson, 1211
Phone: 41 22 906 6666 or 800-325-3589
Fax: 41 22 906 6667
No 1. The Atlantis
Atlantis Bridge Suite
$25,000 per night
The Atlantis Bridge Suite has the distinction of being the most expensive hotel suite in the world---it's $25,000 a night. So what do you get for that kind of money? For starters, location, location, location. The Bridge Suite is located on top of a bridge that connects the two Royal Towers buildings, so it overlooks the entire resort
The ten-room suite is decorated in red, black and gold (lots of gold) and comes with its own butler, bar lounge and entertainment center as well as 12-foot ceilings. The master bedroom has a sitting area, his-and-hers closets, and hand-painted linens. The bathrooms have chaise lounges, marble baths, and dolphin fixtures. For those who are picky about their personal space, there are two separate master bathrooms. The kitchen also has its own entrance so the butler or cook neverbothers you.
How will you sleep after spending $25,000?
Paradise Island, Bahamas
Phone: (888) 528-7155 or (242) 363-3000
Fax: (242) 363-6300