5 Over-the-Top Hotels to Add to Your Bucket List

Liberace once said, “I don’t give concerts, I put on a show.” In a similar vein, the world’s most luxurious hotels go far beyond their simple role of hospitality and accommodation. These peaks of extravagance offer an otherworldly glimpse into a lifestyle that resembles a mirage. The following hotels have carved out names for themselves in the hospitality industry, not for doing their job well or providing room and board, but for pushing the boundaries of extravagance itself.

The Bellagio – Las Vegas, Nevada

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The Bellagio stands as a monument to luxury and entertainment across from an 8-acre lake separating it from the Las Vegas Strip. Named after the region of Italy from which its architectural inspiration came, the Bellagio began its construction in 1996 to the tune of $1.6 billion. Aside from regular performances by Cirque du Soleil, the hotel has a long-standing relationship with the entertainment industry, from its central setting for the filming of Ocean’s Eleven to performances by Drake and Britney Spears in front of its musically synchronized fountains.

Amanemu – Shima-shi, Japan

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The Amanemu hotel in Shima-shi is one of the nation’s most exclusive and luxurious hotels. It provides a respite from the erratic bustling urban center of Japan on property overlooking the Ago Bay with a natural hot spring on its grounds. The layout and design incorporates a classical Japanese aesthetic adorned with woven textiles and timber sliding shutters that open to panoramic views of the nearby national park. Of course, the accommodations also boast world-class Japanese cuisine made with local produce, fresh seafood, and Matasusaka Wagyu beef.

Atlantis – Paradise Island, Bahamas

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This resort in the Bahamas went to extravagant lengths to live up to the mythological inspirations of its namesake. At one point owned in majority stakes by none other than our Commander in Chief, Atlantis Paradise Island is built around Aquaventure, a 154-acre waterscape equipped with saltwater lagoons, pools, marine habitats and water slides. With over 1,000 different suites, countless pools, water slides, shuttles, and activities, there’s no shortage of space to explore while swimming in luxury. One of the hotel’s most adventurous attractions is the Leap of Faith, a 60-foot tall waterslide that plunges nearly straight down into a clear tunnel surrounded by a shark-filled lagoon.

Burj Al Arab – Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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You’d be hard-pressed to find a list of luxury hotels without some mention of Dubai. The iconic Burj Al Arab (Tower of the Arabs) stands 920 ft tall atop an artificial island, just off of the luxury housing of the Palm Islands, another man-made series of islands that houses some of the most expensive real estate in the world. The Burj Al Arab was one of Dubai’s most ambitious architectural ventures and serves as a prominent landmark, designed in the shape of a ship’s sail. The hotel has been described an “extraordinary investment in state-of-the-art construction technology that stretches the limits of the ambitious urban imagination,” as well as a “theater of opulence.”

Forte Village Resort – Sardinia, Italy

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The Fort Village Resort in Sardinia is not a single hotel, but rather bears a closer resemblance to a small nation-state. The complex is composed of seven different luxury hotels with 55 acres of gardens, 14 bars, 21 restaurants, and a spa equipped with 20 treatment rooms. In addition to its sum total of 771 rooms, the resort has also been home to a number of events and spectacles, including an international triathlon, the ITF Futures tennis tournament, and a season of Hell’s Kitchen. It is also home to one of the world’s most expensive hotels, Le Dune, which runs a minimum of $2,539.00 per night.

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