Sky high: The Ty Warner Penthouse at New York's Four Seasons Hotel.
Imagine, for a moment, a night in a hotel where no request is too much, no ceiling too high and the cost no object. Where eye-watering beauty – walls of precious stone, a grand piano and revolving beds, for example – come with a matching price tag. Here's eight of some in a long list of the most opulent and expensive suites from around the world.
If height and artisan detail matter then take the private elevator to the Ty Warner Penthouse at the Four Seasons. At 244 metres above street level, the one-of-a-kind suite on the 52nd floor can claim bragging rights as the highest in the city. Four glass balconies are on a diagonal to the north-south, east-west grid of Manhattan. The bathroom is clad in Chinese onyx, sinks are carved from solid blocks of rock crystal, underlit for effect. Walls in the master bedroom are straw marquetry, hand-applied by French artisans, Venetian velvet is hand-stamped and Thai silk is threaded with 22-carat gold. Three plasma-screen televisions promise every channel in the world. A 24-hour butler, Rolls-Royce chauffeur, an art concierge and personal trainer come with the suite. See www.fourseasons.com/newyork
Address: 57 East 57th Street, New York
Cost: From $US40,000 ($38,000) a night
The big reveal at The Peninsula New York in September was the rejuvenated Suite. Overlooking Fifth Avenue and occupying most of the 19th floor in the 1905 building, the suite's six rooms include library with chrome and mahogany work desk and dining room with seating for 10 guests. Art deco features – a palette of gold tones and creams, French marble flooring and Murano glass chandeliers – sit alongside 21st century features including a Wii, PlayStation and iPad for your stay. For those who like to tinkle the ivories, there's a baby grand piano. Perks at the suite include transfers in the hotel's BMW 7-series and an unlimited alcohol bar stocked to your tastes. It's one block, or a two-minute walk to Madison Avenue. See peninsula.com/newyork
Address: 700 Fifth Avenue at 55th Street, New York
Cost: From $US24,000 a night
General manager Jonathan H. Crook recommends: A rest in the handcrafted Savoir beds in both bedrooms of the suite. For shopping, the Bergdorf Goodman department store, just two blocks from the hotel.
At the centre of the fashion and arts district on rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore, the Imperial Suite, with two bedrooms, is the largest and newest at Hotel Le Bristol. Kick up your heels in the dining room on the Versailles parquet with a dozen of your best friends, or in the lounge adorned with Taillardat, Canovas furnishings, gaze at the 18th century painting by countryman Jean-Baptiste Pater of a country festival. A bathroom in pink marble is a fitting flourish in the chic suite. For the peckish there's epicure led by the triple Michelin-starred chef Eric Frech: frogs legs with tandoori spices for €75 ($91); stuffed macaroni with black truffle, artichoke and duck foie gras (€88); and black figs from Provence (€33).
Address: 112 rue du Faubourg Saint Honore, Paris
Cost: From €16,000 a night.
With antiques from royal times it's like a night at the museum in the Maharajah's Pavilion, or presidential suite, at the Raj Palace on the pink city of Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan. A private elevator leads to the suite, or more precisely four-floor, four-bedroom apartment. On level two, overlooking the inner courts of the palace and the Charbagh gardens, the private collection of Maharajah Thakur Sahib, throne included, is on display. Once a sleeping chamber for the ruler, there are gold leaf painted walls and mirror work features. The fourth floor, once the pleasure pavilion of the ruler remains, albeit with 21st century touches including soft seating lounge, bar and spa. A Small Luxury Hotels of the World member. See ww.slh.com; www.rajpalace.com
General manager Ankur Rara recommends: A seat in the corner of the suite to view the city's historic buildings through a pair of binoculars.
Address: Jorawer Singh Gate, Amer Road, Jaipur
Cost: From $US17,315 a night
On the outside, the 321 metre Burj Al Arab resembles the sails of an Arabian dhow. Inside, two royal suites fill the 25th floor. A marble and gold staircase leads to a private cinema, two bedrooms with four-poster rotating canopy beds and dressing room large enough to fit your average hotel room. Mahogany furniture and leopard-print tufted carpets fill the suite. Purr. See www.jumeirah.com
Address: Jumeirah Beach Strip
Cost: From $5000 a night.
If a villa on the private Laucala Island isn't escapism enough then perhaps the hilltop residence Delana at the 25-villa resort will be. Set on the highest point of the island that was once a coconut plantation, the residence has two dwellings, with 360-degree views of hills and ocean, swimming pool, cook, chauffeur and nanny. The resort has five restaurants serving island-grown produce, a man-made lagoon of swimming pools, and an 18-hole golf course. A Leading Hotels of the World member. See www.laucala.com
Cost: From $US35,000 a night.
HONG KONG, CHINA
With five bedrooms, the Presidential Suite at the InterContinental Hong Kong is said to be the largest in the land. Two-storey plate-glass windows look to panoramas of Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island, which can also be seen from the rooftop infinity pool, jacuzzi and rainforest shower. The private gym is steps away and around-the-clock butler likely a step ahead. Return airport travel by Phantom VI Rolls-Royce, Bentley or Mercedes is a fitting way to arrive and, sniff, depart. See www.hongkong-ic.intercontinental.com
Address: 18 Salisbury Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Cost: From $HKD106,700 ($13,000) a night
On the shores of Lake Geneva, the Royal Armleder Suite at Le Richemond takes in views of the famous lake, the Old Town of Geneva including St Pierre Cathedral and Mont Blanc. The seventh floor suite – a combination of three, in fact – has heated floors, two terraces and hammam. And for the papparazzi-weary, the hotel assures guests this is the suite for privacy. Part of the Dorchester Collection. See dorchestercollection.com; www.lerichemond.com
Address: Jardin Brunswick, 1201 Geneva, Switzerland
Cost: From CHF21000 ($21,000) a night
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