The Presidential Suite East living room at Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills

The World's Best Hotel Groups

The World's Best Hotel Groups

Top Hotel Companies

Healthy competition is a good thing. This is especially true in the hotel world, where a constant effort to stay on top means that travelers have more choices than ever before. As GAYOT's list of major hotel groups reveals, these choices offer more than just variety in style and price. Some of the groups are like Russian stacking dolls, containing small brands within big brands, and smaller brands within the small brands, while other groups might focus on no more than 10 properties in their entire collection. What they have in common, though, is quality and commitment to unique guest experiences. Whether you're into urban or rural, resort or boutique, playful or formal, just name your preference — this list will bring you one step closer to discovering a hotel group that suits your personality.


Since the opening of its first hotel in 1967, Accor has established an eclectic collection of hotels. From its budget brands (dorm-style hotel F1 and style-savvy ibis) to its executive lifestyle hotels (Pullman) to its urban apartment-style properties (Adagio and The Sebel), this French hotel group is truly democratic. It is best known for its signature "art de vivre" brand, Sofitel, with more than 120 hotels in nearly 40 countries. This includes two sub-brands, the Sofitel SO boutique hotels from design luminaries, such as Christian Lacroix and Karl Lagerfeld, and historic Sofitel Legend hotels, such as The Grand Amsterdam and the Old Cataract Aswan. Under the Accor umbrella, travelers will also find the business-minded Novotel, high-end MGallery and Thalassa Sea & Spa with a focus on seawater therapy. The Accor collection also includes Fairmont, Raffles Hotels & Resorts and swissôtel Hotels & Resorts.

Visit the Accor official website

An exterior view of Amanpuri in Phuket, Thailand

Aman Resorts

This small hotel group showcases Zen-beautiful properties in some of the most relaxing locales on the planet — even when they're in the heart of a city. The emphasis at every Aman property is on personal service and singular guest experiences, most notably with activities that focus on the local culture. This environmentally friendly group was founded in 1988 with its flagship in Phuket, Thailand. The resorts are intimate in size, contemporary in style and crafted from local materials. Notable properties include Aman at Summer Palace, Beijing and Aman Canal Grande Venice. Aman Villas offer the opportunity for ownership in locations adjacent to the resorts, so that owners can take advantage of all the resorts have to offer. While Aman's philosophy emphasizes the journey and not the destination, the destinations are pretty darn great (and diverse), ranging from Bhutan to Italy to the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Visit the Aman Resorts official website

Anantara Hotels Resorts Spas

Anantara is an exclusive resort and hotel group whose name means "without end" — as in, there is no end to the pampering you will experience when staying at one of its properties. Founded in 2001, Anantara focuses on cultural immersion, a philosophy that is showcased at its inaugural property in Hua Hin, where the resort's surroundings mirror a traditional Thai village. The brand has numerous signature properties in its home country, including the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort, which features a camp for rescued elephants. The resort also offers singular guest experiences, such as training and trekking with elephants. In addition, Anantara offers unique properties in the Maldives, Middle East, Mozambique and throughout Southeast Asia.

Visit the Anantara Hotels Resorts Spas official website

A guest room at Baglioni Hotel London

Baglioni Hotels

La dolce vita is alive and well at the Baglioni Hotels. This intimate Italian hotel group — with just nine hotels in total — was founded in 1974 by Robert Polito and has been family-operated ever since. From Cala del Porto, the group's first property in Tuscany, to a forthcoming boutique resort in Morocco, each location is selected with great care. The hotels emphasize attention to detail and an "unforgettable Italian touch," and reside in the historic centers of major art cities. They are mainly located in Italy, but travelers will also find Baglioni properties in France and England. Rather than expand the hotel group at a rapid pace, Baglioni focuses on its existing properties, upping the level of luxury. This is evidenced by the addition of the Roman Penthouse at Regina Hotel Baglioni, a 6,000-square-foot hideaway with views that sweep from the Sistine Chapel to the Coliseum.

Visit the Baglioni Hotels official website

Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts

While many luxury hotel brands are hopping on the eco-friendly bandwagon these days, Banyan Tree started off with ecology in mind. Its first resort was founded on an abandoned tin mine in Phuket, Thailand in 1994. The planting of 7,000 trees transformed not only the land, but also informed the brand's philosophy. Banyan Tree's "Stay for Good" program gives back to the community with micro-contributions for every dollar guests spend during their stay. Along with the all-villa Banyan Tree, the company offers the adventure-oriented Angsana and the apartment-style Cassia brands. Most of the hotels and resorts are located in India and Southeast Asia, with a few select properties in Morocco, Mexico and the Middle East. The banyan tree has long been a symbol of shelter for travelers, making it the ideal name for this unique hotel group.

Visit the Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts official website

A view of Belmond Hotel Caruso in Ravello, Italy


From landmark hotels to classic rail journeys to exotic cruises, Belmond specializes in romantic and distinctive travel experiences. Its rich history can be discovered on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, which began with a Paris-to-Istanbul rail route in 1883. Its legacy of unique discoveries is showcased on Road to Mandalay, which offers an exclusive river's-eye view of ancient Burma. Travelers may choose from safaris and private jet tours, which can be crafted to suit individual wishes, as well as thoughtfully tailored journeys that unite classic Belmond tours with stays in Belmond Hotels. Among these hotels are some of the world's finest heritage properties, including the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, the Hotel Cipriani in Venice and Mexico's Casa de Sierra Nevada.

Visit the Belmond official website

Boscolo Hotels

With a goal to be "ambassadors of the Italian lifestyle," Boscolo offers 13 luxury hotels throughout Europe. Each property is distinctive, and many are culturally significant. The Belle Époque-style Boscolo Exedra Nice dates back to the early 20th century, and the Boscolo Exedra Roma has been gorgeously restored (and redesigned by Adam Tihany) to incorporate the ancient remains of the Baths of Diocletian. Landmark properties include the Boscolo Venezia, a former noble palace tucked inside a secret garden, and the Boscolo Budapest, where guests can mingle with locals at the historic New York Café. The Boscolo group also mixes it up with more urban offerings like its edgy Aleph Roma and the Boscolo Exedra Milano, opening directly onto the lively Corso Matteotti.

Visit the Boscolo Hotels official website

The lobby at Smyth, A Thompson Hotel in New York City

Destination Hotels & Resorts

Destination Hotels & Resorts was founded as a condominium management company in 1972 with its first property, The Gant in Aspen. Since then, it has become one of the industry's leaders in the private management of upscale independent hotels and resorts. An easy-to-use website allows travelers to select properties by areas of interest — for example, skiing, spas, golf or family. You can also search by experiences that incorporate Destination's hotels and resorts into tours that feature local attractions and activities. The group's high-end Luxury Lifestyle Collection includes signature properties, such as the Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Arizona, Terranea Resort in Southern California and Stowe Mountain Lodge in Vermont. Destination Hotels & Resorts is part of the Two Roads Hospitality group.

Visit the Destination Hotels & Resorts official website

A guest room at Hotel Plaza Athénée, a Dorchester Collection hotel

Dorchester Collection

The Dorchester Collection boasts a small but ultra-elite portfolio of hotels in Europe and the U.S. In fact, the properties Dorchester manages are some of the most well-known in the world. In Los Angeles alone, it oversees the famously pink Beverly Hills Hotel and legendary Hotel Bel-Air. In addition, most of its properties claim heritage status — Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris and The Dorchester in London, to name but two. Every hotel offers a selection of fine dining restaurants with memorable menus under the direction of Wolfgang Puck and Alain Ducasse. Boasting guest lists that include celebrities, dignitaries and royalty, the signature suites are to-die-for. Just take a peek at the lavish Belle Etoile Royal Suite at Le Meurice (with 360-degree views of Paris) or the astounding Presidential Suite at Hotel Principe de Savoia in Milan (a private Pompeii-style swimming pool is just the beginning), and you will understand why we are enamored of the Dorchester Collection.

Visit the Dorchester Collection official website

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

Originating in 1907 with the iconic Fairmont in San Francisco, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts now boasts exclusive properties around the globe. Many of the luxury resorts focus on golf or skiing (or both) — the Canadian Fairmonts in Banff, Whistler, Lake Louise and Mont Tremblant are longstanding favorites. Historic landmarks are a company hallmark, from The Savoy in London to the Peace Hotel in Shanghai. Signature facilities include Willow Stream spas, and notable perks include the free President's Club membership program with added benefits (complimentary Internet, golf club use, expedited check-in/out) and the Fairmont Gold club, offering a hotel within a hotel experience for those seeking a higher level of personalized service. Fairmont is a member of Accor Hotels & Resorts.

Visit the Fairmont Hotels & Resorts official website

Over-water bungalows at Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Few brands are as synonymous with luxury as the Four Seasons. Based in Canada, this company opened its first hotel in Toronto in 1961. Today, it operates some of the world's most enviable hotels, destination resorts and private residences in nearly 40 countries. The majority of these properties are under the Four Seasons banner, but there are also a few outliers, such as The Ritz-Carlton in Chicago and the Regent Singapore. The group's high-profile destinations cater to upscale leisure and business travelers, and the lodgings themselves are regarded for their fine dining, spas and attentive service. Four Seasons properties are also notably kid-friendly. Extras that set this group apart include a scientific approach to ensuring a good night's sleep and exclusive Four Seasons Jet journeys. Four Seasons Residence Clubs pair fractional ownership with all the benefits of corresponding hotels and resorts.

Visit the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts official website

Hilton Hotels & Resorts

Hotelier Conrad Hilton is so legendary that he was portrayed as a sparring partner for Don Draper on Mad Men. Who can say how much the cult-classic TV show got right? But one thing we know for certain: Hilton's legacy is world-renowned, from Paris Hilton to the Hilton Paris Opera. Boasting more than 12 brands with 4,200 hotels, resorts and timeshares in 93 countries, the company built its reputation on its flagship Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand. It also oversees equally well-known luxury brands, such as Conrad and Waldorf Astoria, which includes the landmark Arizona Biltmore, Trianon Palace Versailles and Waldorf Astoria New York. Canopy by Hilton emphasizes local cultures, while Curio hotels are independent, hand-selected properties. Hilton also offers affordable and extended-stay lodgings with Embassy Suites, DoubleTree, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites, as well as Hilton Grand Vacations timeshares.

Visit the Hilton Hotels & Resorts official website

A guest room with a view of the U.S. Capitol at Hyatt Place Washington DC

Hyatt Hotels and Resorts

Few hotel groups are as consistent as Hyatt. Perhaps that's because this brand — even though it has more than 500 properties worldwide — is still family-run. The company was founded when Jay Pritzker bought the Hyatt House motel in L.A. in 1957. And yes, that's the Jay Pritzker, the man behind The Hyatt Foundation, which funds the internationally acclaimed Pritzker Architecture Prize. The company's luxury groups include Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency and the signature Hyatt brand with lodgings that are both contemporary and historic, such as the Hotel du Louvre in Paris. Hyatt is also in charge of two of our favorite value brands — the stylish Hyatt Place and Hyatt House, the latter geared for extended stays. Along with all-inclusive Hyatt Zilara and Hyatt Ziva resorts in Jamaica and Mexico, the company has a Residence Club featuring fractional ownership and a points program to earn stays at hundreds of properties around the globe.

Visit the Hyatt Hotels and Resorts official website

InterContinental Hotels Group

With roots that reach all the way back to the Bass brewery, founded in 1777, the InterContinental Hotels Group boasts a history of hospitality that's hard to beat. The company was officially formed under the InterContinental (IHG) name in 2003 and offers a portfolio of 12 brands with 4,700-plus hotels in nearly 100 countries. The retro Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express can be found in the value portfolio with Crowne Plaza, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites. EVEN Hotels focus on wellness for business and leisure travelers, and HUALUXE Hotels and Resorts are designed solely for upscale Chinese travelers in major Chinese cities. Among its boutique offerings, IHG offers Indigo and the idiosyncratic, design-savvy, ultra pet-friendly Kimpton Hotels, which has long been one of our favorites. As for the signature InterContinental brand, its numerous heritage hotels include the Carlton Cannes, the Mark Hopkins San Francisco and the Amstel Amsterdam.

Visit the InterContinental Hotels Group official website

Guests can arrive by helicopter to Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai

Jumeirah Hotels, Resorts and Residences

Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts was founded in 1997, but its philosophies are grounded in longstanding hospitality traditions. The company originated in Dubai, and the majority of its properties are in that region — most notably, the famed sail-shaped Burj Al Arab, complete with a sky-high helipad that doubles as a wedding venue. Jumeirah can also be found in major international cities, such as London, Rome and Shanghai, and each one offers its own distinctions. The rooftop of the Jumeirah Frankfurt is home to 40,000 honey-producing bees, while the Pera Palace welcomes guests with a ride in Turkey's first electric elevator. The company's Hallmarks program emphasizes respect, integrity and Arabian hospitality, and its arts and culture platform was created to introduce guests to local culture.

Visit the Jumeirah Hotels, Resorts and Residences official website

Karisma Hotels & Resorts

With a diverse collection of properties in Mexico, Jamaica, Columbia, the Dominican Republic, Croatia and Serbia, the Karisma hospitality management group focuses on distinctive vacation experiences. Properties range from private villas and à la carte hotels to all-inclusive resorts. Each has its own specialty, including family-friendly, adults-only and Gourmet Inclusive. Karisma uses its partnerships with companies such as Jackson Family Wines and Nickelodeon to shape the focus of its destinations. In addition, hotels and resorts boast Green Globe Certification, shining a light on Karisma's dedication to sustainability.

Visit the Karisma Hotels & Resorts official website

Kempinski Hotels logo

Kempinski Hotels

As the oldest luxury hoteliers in Europe, Kempinski Hotels date back to 1897. These days, the company's love of tradition can be found at properties not only in Europe, but also in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. While all hotels bear the Kempinski name, each property is an individual experience. Lavish safari tents overlook a hippo pool at Kenya's Olare Mara, while the Grand Hotel des Bains invites guests to bask in its historic setting in the glamorous ski resort of St. Moritz. Kempinski offers a nice blend of modern hotels and classics, such as Berlin's Hotel Adlon and Istanbul's Ciragan Palace. The group excels at high-end executive and social events, and Kempinski is also involved in the development of the NUO brand, the first luxury hotel group created exclusively for the Chinese market.

Visit the Kempinski Hotels official website

Langham Hospitality Group

Ever since The Langham, London opened in 1865, the Langham name has represented an exemplary hotel experience. This landmark hotel led the era's grand dames in creature comforts with elevators and in-room hot and cold running water, and a legacy of innovation continues to this day. Classic touches, such as Service Stylists wearing pink Chanel-inspired tweed suits, blend with modern elements like the futuristic architecture that defines Langham Place, Guangzhou. Of the company's three brands — Langham, Langham Place and Eaton — Eaton is the most casual, though it's still design-forward. Independent Langham hotels include the Chelsea, Toronto, and Langham has given its name to some of the world's most iconic hotels, such as the Huntington in Pasadena, California. Notable Langham features range from the Supper Club dining rewards program to the proprietary Chuan Spa and Chuan Body + Soul wellness centers.

Visit the Langham Hospitality Group official website

Shambala Private Game Reserve in South Africa

The Leading Hotels of the World

Established in 1928 by a group of European hoteliers, with properties including the iconic Hotel Negresco in Nice and King David Hotel in Jerusalem, The Leading Hotels of the World provides global distribution and marketing support for more than 430 international hotels. Hotels apply to join, then undergo a rigorous 800-point inspection that includes accommodations, service, cuisine, employee behavior and facilities. This is followed by an Executive Committee vote. Accommodations include not only traditional hotels but also palaces, castles and safari camps. The advantage to travelers is the opportunity to browse a diversity of properties on a single website, and then make reservations online. Leaders Club members enjoy room upgrades, free nights, welcome gifts and more.

Visit The Leading Hotels of the World official website

Loews Hotels & Resorts

Founded by the Tisch family in 1946, the luxurious and laidback Loews group remains family-run to this day. Properties are located throughout the United States and range from the über-urban Loews Hollywood Hotel to Tucson's ultra-relaxing Loews Ventana Canyon Resort. Many of the Loews properties have their own destination spas, and all offer individual dining experiences with menus designed to reflect local culture. Of note is the company's commitment to the environment and community. Recipient of the President's Service Award, its Good Neighbor Policy includes hunger relief, literacy and employee volunteer programs.

Visit the Loews Hotels & Resorts official website

A guest room at Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

It must be said — we're fans. Along with Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, I.M. Pei and a host of other luminaries, we admire Mandarin Oriental's rarified status. The company's flagship property, The Mandarin, opened in Hong Kong in 1963. Eleven years later, the historic Oriental in Bangkok was acquired and the names were combined to form the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. Today, Mandarin Oriental has 27 hotels around the world, with more on the way. They maintain a loyal following for their tasteful style and discreet service, which is credited to the group's Asian origins. In recent years, the company has become known for its holistic spas that combine Eastern and Western traditions, the private Residences at Mandarin Oriental and partnerships with acclaimed architects and designers.

Visit the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group official website

Marriott International

With the purchase of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Marriott is the largest hospitality brand in the world, with 1.1 million rooms worldwide. The company was founded with Hot Shoppe restaurants in 1927 and expanded into hotels in 1957 with the Twin Bridges Marriott, the world's first motor hotel. Marriott went international with the opening of a resort in Acapulco in 1969 and has since grown beyond its signature Marriott name with such value-conscious brands as business-oriented Courtyard and stylish economy MOXY. On the higher end of the scale, Renaissance Hotels focus on design, AC by Marriott caters to an urban clientele and the Autograph Collection showcases high-end independent lodgings, including heritage hotels like Denver's Brown Palace and New York's Carlton Hotel. Marriott International also includes the famous Gaylord Hotels and has partnered with Ian Schrager to create its hip EDITION hotels. At the top of the heap, travelers will find the sophisticated Bulgari and sumptuous Ritz-Carlton collections, as well as Starwood’s signature brands (see Starwood listing for details). 

Visit the Marriott International official website

Meliá Hotels International logo

Meliá Hotels International

Founded in 1956 in Palma de Mallorca, Meliá Hotels International is the largest hotel chain in Spain and includes 350 hotels in more than 35 countries around the globe. Its top-tier brand, Gran Meliá, adds an avant-garde edge to the traditional hotel experience and features Red Glove Service, which combines the philosophies of white glove service and red carpet treatment. Meliá Hotels & Resorts offers an upscale experience for business and leisure travelers; Innside by Meliá focuses on the urban lifestyle experience in Spain and Germany; and ME by Meliá blends work and play in cool destinations like Mallorca, Ibiza and Cancun. In the R&R category, the company offers Club Meliá vacation membership, Paradisus all-inclusive resorts and the beachfront Sol Hotels in the Mediterranean, Caribbean and Canary Islands.

Visit the Meliá Hotels International official website

Montage Hotels & Resorts

Montage Hotels & Resorts may be small on real estate holdings, but it's big on character. This boutique hotel group puts its focus on refined living with luxury spas, dedicated culinary experiences and elegant style. An Old World attitude toward hospitality can be found at the group's properties in Beverly Hills, Deer Valley, Kapalua Bay, Laguna Beach, Los Cabos and Palmetto Bluff. Of note is the company's use of individual art collections to illuminate the heritage of each destination. Montage Residences allow guests to enjoy a private home experience with all the comforts of a respective hotel or resort. The company's offspring, Pendry Hotels, which launched in San Diego, offers a more modern, fashion-forward hotel stay.

Visit the Montage Hotels & Resorts official website

Morgans Hotel Group

Originally Ian Schrager Hotels, this boutique collection offers some of the hippest properties on the planet. The company's first lodgings — Morgans and Royalton in New York and the daringly revamped Clift in San Francisco — set the tone for the modern boutique hotel, and today, every Morgans property is a "see and be in the scene" destination. Morgans considers its guests members of the creative class, and designs its mostly urban hotels accordingly, using the talents of acclaimed designers, artists and musicians. Among its brands are the sophisticated Delano, the sexy Mondrian and the energetic Hudson. In addition, the group presents what it calls Originals, such as the Sanderson in London, the Shore Club in Miami Beach and 10 Karakov in Istanbul.

Visit the Morgans Hotel Group official website

Nobu Hospitality

A match made in hospitality heaven, acclaimed chef Nobu Matsuhisa and legendary actor Robert De Niro are the force behind this burgeoning hotel brand. Building on the savvy of the popular Nobu and Matsuhisa restaurants, the first Nobu hotel opened in 2013 within one of the most famous resorts in Las Vegas: Caesars Palace. Next came Nobu Hotel City of Dreams Manila, and properties are slated for Chicago, Riyadh, London and Miami, where Nobu will take up residence in the iconic Eden Roc. Japanese-influenced décor is soothing, but austerity isn't welcome here. The philosophy behind the David Rockwell-designed interiors is escapism. Celebrities are Nobu hotel staples, as are — no surprise — stellar Nobu dining experiences. Better yet, hotel guests enjoy the privilege of exclusive Nobu room service.

Visit the Nobu Hospitality official website

Preferred Hotels & Resorts has more than 600 hotels in over 80 countries

Preferred Hotels & Resorts

Preferred Hotels & Resorts Worldwide is a global brand representing independently owned luxury hotels and resorts. Founded in 1968 as a referral service for top guests of six independent hoteliers, the association has grown into its current status as a for-profit stock corporation representing more than 650 hotels in more than 85 countries. To qualify as a Preferred hotel or resort, each property must pass an exhaustive quality assurance program that includes an annual, unannounced inspection and audit. The brand oversees diverse collections, including LVX (urban and destination locations known for exceptional personal service), Lifestyle (focusing on culture, design and food) and Connect (offering value without compromise). At the top of the heap, the LEGEND Collection includes notable lodgings like Montage Deer Valley and Hong Kong's The Upper House, and private residences raise the bar for luxury living. While travelers using Preferred Hotels & Resorts Worldwide enjoy a tailored member rewards program, employees also benefit with the GIFTTS program, which recognizes exceptional actions in the areas of philanthropy, community and the environment.

Visit the Preferred Hotels & Resorts Worldwide official website

Regent Hotels & Resorts

With the opening of its first hotel in 1970, the Regent brand became instantly synonymous with luxury. When the company was bought by Four Seasons, many of its hotels rebranded, including the Regent Beverly Wilshire, made famous by the movie "Pretty Woman." In 2010, the company returned to Asian ownership with a handful of superior properties that focus on timeless rather than cutting edge style, upscale food and wine experiences, and an emphasis on indigenous culture and customs. The flagship Regent Hong Kong may now be an InterContinental, but Regent continues to offer exceptional hotels and resorts in Beijing, Berlin, Turks & Caicos, Phuket, Singapore and Porto Montenegro, with more scheduled to open in exclusive destinations throughout the world.

Visit the Regent Hotels & Resorts official website

Relais & Chateaux boasts 21 properties in the French Riviera

Relais & Châteaux

Relais & Châteaux is a curated collection of more than 540 of the finest hotels and gourmet restaurants in more than 60 countries throughout the world. Established in France in 1954, the association's mission is to unite travelers with haute cuisine and art de vivre in properties that showcase truly unique character. Hotels and restaurants are held to exacting standards based on more than 300 criteria, and 10 inspectors travel the globe to ensure that these are being met. The group's collection includes Grand Chefs, such as Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller, and hotels range from the spectacular seafront Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand to the thatch-roofed stone-walled Awasi Atacama in Chile. In addition, private lodgings include Tuscan villas, African lodges and even a luxury tree house in the English countryside.

Visit the Relais & Châteaux official website

The Ritz-Carlton

"Ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen." The Ritz-Carlton motto says it all. This hotel group is the height of Old World elegance. Its reputation for extravagant service goes back a century, and with its private baths in guest rooms and cuisine based on the methods of Auguste Escoffier, its landmark Boston property provided the benchmark for all other Ritz-Carlton hotels that came after. The company's employees continue to operate by its founding principles. These Gold Standards describe a collective mission to provide exemplary personal service and a genuinely warm atmosphere. Emphasizing the destination as part of the journey, the brand's 80-plus hotels reside in destinations as far reaching as Bahrain, Kazakhstan, Portugal, Indonesia and Japan.

Visit The Ritz-Carlton official website

Rosewood Hotel Group

With just 18 hotels in 11 countries, this group's signature Rosewood Hotels & Resorts brand emphasizes exclusivity at its one-of-a-kind properties. Since launching in 1979, it has established an impeccable reputation with signature outposts, such as The Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas, Las Ventanas al Paraiso in Los Cabos and the iconic Carlyle in New York. A community-oriented philosophy is based on the idea of serving others before one's self, and the company's green initiative, VERDES, stands for Value the Earth's Resources and Demonstrate Environmental Sensitivity. Additional brands include the business-oriented New World Hotels & Resorts and the designer Pentahotels, each with its own "pentalounge" that combines lobby, bar and café to provide a communal experience.

Visit the Rosewood Hotel Group official website

Shangri-La Hotel and Resorts

With the opening of the Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore in 1971, the Shangri-La brand was born. The hotels are known for blending Asian aesthetics and service traditions to create a tranquility inspired by James Hilton's legendary novel, "Lost Horizon." The Hong Kong-based company has more than 85 hotels and resorts around the globe. In 2011, Kerry hotels joined the top tier Shangri-La brand to provide design-forward lodgings in high-profile urban and holiday destinations. Trader hotels reside in Asian, Australian and Middle Eastern business hubs, while Next Jen hotels offer value and fresh style for a next "jeneration" of travelers. As a result of Shangri-La's commitment to the environment, 50 of its hotels have received ISO 14001 certification based on international standards for Environmental Management Systems.

Visit the Shangri-La Hotel and Resorts official website

A spectacular view from the swimming pool at W Barcelona, owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts

Starwood Hotels & Resorts

In the ever-expanding world of hotel and resort brands, the Starwood group, which is owned by Marriott International, has one of the most diverse collections around. Its properties range from business-friendly Four Points by Sheraton to made-just-for-hipsters W, which debuted in the U.S. and then hit the road to bring its distinctive style to such far-flung destinations as Seoul and Mexico City. For budget travelers, Aloft offers a fresh and modern vibe in unexpected locales like Birmingham, Buffalo and Chesapeake, while Element blends a commitment to sustainable living with freebies like breakfast and Wi-Fi. More conventional but still upscale are Starwood's Westins and Sheratons, which tend to take their cues from the W's sleek, clean style, but without the flash. At the top of Starwood's list are Le Meridien, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts and The Luxury Collection, which features one-of-a-kind lodgings, including Hotel Gritti Palace in Venice, The Equinox in Vermont and The Astor Hotel in Tianjin.

Visit the Starwood Hotels & Resorts official website

Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces

In 1903, India's premier hotel group Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces opened its first property, the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, in Bombay. It included the country's first air-conditioned ballroom and 24-hour coffee shop, and more than a century later, this hotel continues to set the standard by which the company operates. Expansion outside India incorporated some of the world's iconic hotels into the brand, including The Pierre in New York and St. James' Court in London. The full-service luxury Taj brand also embraces beach resorts, authentic palaces and safari lodges. Additional brands include Taj Exotica (resorts and spas), Taj Safaris (wildlife lodges), Vivanta by Taj Hotels & Resorts (style-driven properties in India and the Indian Ocean region), The Gateway Hotels & Resorts (for active travelers) and Ginger (playful, economy hotels throughout India). Taj hotels are known for their signature Jiva Spas, and the company elevates the standard level of luxury by operating a fleet of Taj Air private Falcon jets.

Visit the Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces official website

Two Roads Hospitality 

In the world of lifestyle hotels, Two Roads Hospitality hotels and resorts reside in the upper echelons. This lively company manages a collection of eclectic hotel brands, each one designed for travelers who appreciate properties with unique personalities. The hip Joie de Vivre group originated in San Francisco, which no doubt explains its quirky, playful attitude, while the Alila group is named for the Sanskrit word for "surprise," which defines the guest experience (pleasantly so) at boutique resorts like Alila Villas Soori, a decadent 10-bedroom estate in Bali. Commune also operates the see-and-be-seen Thompson Hotels, which include, along with a set of eponymously named lodgings, the Belgraves in London and Gild Hall and Smyth in New York. Destination Hotels & Resorts also operates under the Two Roads Hospitality umbrella.

Visit the Two Roads Hospitality official website

Viceroy Hotels & Resorts

Launched in 2002 with the Viceroy Santa Monica, this sleek hotel group offers an intimate collection of über-seductive properties. Additional North American locations include Miami, New York and Snowmass, Colorado. Viceroy can also be found in Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe and the Maldives. Perhaps its most notable property is the architecturally stunning Viceroy Yas, Abu Dhabi, whose undulating glass panels embrace the Yas Marina Formula 1 Circuit. Viceroy properties can be counted on for distinctive dining venues and bars adorned with pretty people. Along with its eponymous flagship brand, Viceroy also includes Urban Retreats, contemporary design-driven properties that push the envelope on cutting-edge style.

Visit the Viceroy Hotels & Resorts official website

Virgin Hotels and Virgin Limited Edition

Virgin first staked its claim in the hospitality world with Richard Branson's exclusive Limited Edition collection. These eight decadent lodgings and beyond-the-norm experiences include Branson's own Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands (where he has a home), the fairytale Kasbah Tamadot in Morocco, two private safari camps and a luxury yacht. The idea behind the Limited Edition collection is to provide an exceptional level of luxury and style that is as comfortable as it is extraordinary. In 2015, Branson branched out by opening Virgin Chicago, the first in a collection of designer hotels for see-and-be-seen millennials who enjoy the social aspects of hotel living. New York and Nashville are next on list.

Visit the Virgin Hotels official website

Visit the Virgin Limited Edition official website

Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts

The top luxury brand positioned beneath the Hilton umbrella, Waldorf Astoria is known for being exceptional. This group represents a growing number of high-end hotels and resorts in landmark destinations worldwide. From the historic Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on The Bund to the legendary Trianon Palace Versailles to the iconic Waldorf Astoria New York, properties combine unforgettable destinations with classic style and illustrious personalized service. Jerusalem, Dubai, Berlin and Hawaii are among Waldorf Astoria's many signature locations.

Visit the Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts official website

Wyndham Worldwide

Along with some of the motel world's most famous brands (Howard Johnson, Super 8, Travelodge and more), Wyndham Worldwide also includes the upscale Dolce Hotels & Resorts with an emphasis on individual style and business/conference services, and Europe's Landal GreenParks for rustic lodging and a back-to-nature experience. Dolce properties range from the historic Hayes Mansion in San Jose, California, to the Ivy Spencer Leadership Centre in Ontario, Canada. In addition, Wyndham's TRYP hotels are located in major international destination cities (mainly in Spain and Central and South America) and are geared for a younger clientele. Though a newbie (Wyndham Worldwide entered the market in 2006), this company oversees more than 55 brands in total, including vacation ownership properties and exclusive franchising agreements with Planet Hollywood and Chatwal Hotels & Resorts' Dream and Night brands.

Visit the Wyndham Worldwide official website

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