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.
Visit the Accor official website
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
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 London. 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
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
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
Commune Hotels + Resorts
In the world of lifestyle hotels, Commune Hotels + Resorts reside in the upper echelons. This lively company manages a quartet 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, Gild Hall and Smyth in New York and the legendary Hollywood Roosevelt. Up next: Tommie hotels for those who want style that won't break the bank.
Visit the Commune Hotels + Resorts official website
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.
Visit the Destination Hotels & Resorts official website
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
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.
Visit the Fairmont Hotels & Resorts official website
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
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
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
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 Hotels International
Ever since The Langham London opened in 1865, their name has come to represent hotels that are the epitome of elegance in design, displaying a passion for innovation and genuine service. You can immediately sense these qualities in the style and the décor of each of the properties. Many of the comforts and luxuries found in their five-star hotels were pioneered by the first Langham and to this day they are dedicated to providing the same commitment to innovation in hospitality. Langham properties are located in Boston, Pasadena, Melbourne, Auckland and throughout Asia. Their staff display a mix of dignity and eagerness, presented with a natural and engaging friendliness.
Visit the Langham Hotels International official website
Leading Hotels of the World
Established in 1928 by a group of European hoteliers,
The Leading Hotels of the World provides global distribution,
reservations and luxury marketing support to more than
400 hotels and resorts, from offices in cities around
the world. Hotels must apply to join, and complete a rigorous
inspection process before being accepted. 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, a personal
preference registry, welcome gifts and more.
Visit The Leading Hotels of the World official website
Edition by Virgin
the ultimate in exclusive? Look no further than this hotel
group from Richard Branson, chairman and CEO of the Virgin
Group. Branson hand selected
the four properties in this collection: Necker Island,
a private island resort in the Caribbean; Ulusaba, a private
game reserve in South Africa; Sa Terra Rotja, a villa
in Mallorca; and Kasbah Tamadot, a restored kasbah in
Morocco. Along with singular style, extraordinary locations
and beyond-the-norm experiences are emphasized.
Visit the Limited Edition by Virgin official website
Oriental Hotel Group
The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group owns/operates some of
the world's most celebrated lodgings, including the Mandarin
Oriental, Hong Kong and The Oriental, Bangkok. It began
with its flagship Hong Kong property in 1963 and today
is considered one of the top luxury hotel groups in the
world, with established properties in Asia, the Americas
and Europe, and more on the way. The hotels are well known
for their tasteful style and discreet service, which can
be sourced to the group's Asian origins. Upscale spas
are among the notable facilities.
Visit the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group official website
Formerly Ian Schrager Hotels, this intimate collection
is comprised of some of the hippest hotels in the world.
These properties set the bar for “see and be in
the scene” accommodations, with hotels in New York,
Miami Beach, San Francisco, Los Angeles and London. Included
in the group are the legendary Clift hotel, which saw
an overhaul by Schrager and Philippe Starck; the Hollywood
haunt, Mondrian; and the white on white Delano. Expect
whimsical furnishings, heightened dining experiences and
plenty of celebs around the pools.
Visit the Morgans Hotel Group official website
Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Preferred Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is a global
brand of independently owned luxury hotels and resorts
that provide the highest standards of quality and extraordinary
service. 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 120 hotels worldwide. To qualify
as a Preferred hotel or resort, each property must pass
an exhaustive quality assurance program that includes
an annual, unannounced inspection, which consists of a
1,600 line-item, 5,800-point standards and practice audit.
Visit the Preferred Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. official website
Regent Hotels & Resorts
The Regent brand encompasses luxury hotels, resorts, residences and cruises throughout the world, offering discerning travelers "The Regent Experience," with unique and personalized service. Its first hotel opened in Oahu, Hawaii in 1970. Currently, there are Regent properties in North America, Asia Pacific and Europe. Locations include: Turks and Caicos; Singapore; Shanghai; Beijing; Taipei; Berlin, Germany and Zagreb, Croatia. The hotel group is on a fast track to bringing its luxury experience to more locations. New properties are in development (or have recently opened) in Costa Rica, Bangkok, Dubai and Boston, among others.
Visit the Regent Hotels & Resorts official website
Relais & Châteaux is an exclusive collection of 480 of the finest hotels and gourmet restaurants in 56 countries. Established in France in 1954, the Association’s mission is to spread its unique art de vivre across the globe by selecting outstanding properties with a truly unique character. Furthermore, Relais & Châteaux is also a family of hoteliers and Grands Chefs from all over the world who share a passion for, and a personal commitment to, ensuring their guests are privy to moments of exceptional harmony. To choose Relais & Châteaux is to experience an unforgettable celebration of the senses. From the vineyards in Napa valley to the beaches in Bali, from the olive trees in Provence to the lodges in South Africa, Relais & Châteaux offers a chance to explore the Route du Bonheur and discover a special place in a variety of destinations. The Relais & Châteaux signature reflects this ambition: "ALL AROUND THE WORLD, UNIQUE IN THE WORLD."
Visit the Relais
& Châteaux official website
If you've ever wondered why everything at The Ritz-Carlton
hotels seems to go so smoothly and effortlessly, it's
because the company's 38,000 employees function by its
founding principles, collectively called Gold Standards:
The Credo, The Three Steps of Service, The Motto, Service Values, The 6th Diamond and The
Employee Promise. In case the ladies and gentlemen of The
Ritz-Carlton forget one of these noble truths, a pocket-sized,
laminated card will serve as a reminder. In order to experience
these values (and posh lodging) in action, check into
any of the approximately 80 properties worldwide. Check out videos from The Ritz-Carlton here.
Visit The Ritz-Carlton official website
Hotel and Resorts
Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts is the largest
Asian-based deluxe hotel group in the region with 52 properties.
The group is known to harmonize Asian serenity with Western
needs for comfort and service. As a result of Shangri-La's
commitment to environmental awareness, 27 hotels have
received ISO 14001 certification, the international Environmental
Management System standard. James Hilton's legendary novel
Lost Horizon, by the way, inspired the name Shangri-La:
"a tranquil haven in the mountains of Tibet, [it] casts
a spell on all who resided there."
Visit the Shangri-La Hotel and Resorts official website
Hotels & Resorts
In the hotel and resort world, the Starwood group has one of the most diverse collections around. Its properties range from the business-friendly Four Points by Sheraton brand to the made-just-for-hipsters W brand, 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, the Aloft and Element names can be counted on for much more than just saving money, with their numerous freebies. 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 and Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa in French Polynesia.
Visit the Starwood Hotels & Resorts official website
Hotels Resorts and Palaces
premier hotel group, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces opened
its initial property, the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower,
in 1903. This venue prompted numerous firsts, including
the country’s first air-conditioned ballroom, licensed
bar and 24-hour coffee shop. Following in the grand hotel
tradition, the company now operates 57 hotels throughout
India and an additional 18 in the Maldives, Mauritius,
UK, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Africa and the Middle East. Hotels
are grouped in three categories: luxury, leisure and business.
Among the top properties are the Rambagh Palace in Jaipure
and Fort Aguada (within the walls of an old Portuguese
fort) in Goa.
Visit the Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces official website
Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts
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Known as one of the top luxury hotel brands in the business, Waldorf Astoria represents a growing number of hotels and resorts in landmark destinations worldwide. Their properties combine breathtaking surroundings, renowned style and legendary personalized service to deliver an unforgettable luxury resort vacation, along with championship golf courses, fine dining, rejuvenating spa treatments and luxurious accommodations. Each hotel has its own distinct personality, marked by inspiring architecture and authentic history.
Visit the Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts official website