My TOP 10 recent favorite Hotel Stays in the World



by Carlos Melia

I travel extensively around the world, both for work and pleasure. Therefore I like to feel at home while away, and of course spoiled and pampered rotten. So today, being a bit lazy ha ha ha, I though to share with you, my TOP 10 recent hotel stays worldwide, that have left a great impression, I would stay over and over again, recommend to anyone, and become part of my Hall of Fame of Favorite Hotels in the world.

I will not include, this time, my classics and regulars, such us the Four Seasons Tented Camp in the Golden Triangle, or the Amantaka in Lao, the Orient-Express Train or the The House Hotel in Istanbul. I have commented on them on previous articles and you can go back to read about them anytime.ӬӬ

But hey, don’t get comfortable. In travel and hospitality, same as in fashion, one day you are IN, and the next day you are OUT. So follow me and my travels, and see how this list mutates.”¨”¨

Important to mention, is that all this properties, have been visited, experienced and reviewed personally by me, Carlos Melia, as an OUT Gay Traveler. I do not talk based on brochure or website virtual experiences, I have been there and done that.

I like to call them HAUTE EXPERIENCES, meaning experiences by design, concept, location and style, where each hotel has its own personality and unique experience.Ӭ Ҭ

TOP #01 / Kwai River Lodge by Orient-Express
Moremi Wildlife Reserve, Botswana, AfricaӬ
Haute Experience / Up-close nature in full luxury

Kwai River lodge was my first tented camp ever, and the first Botswana. I did not know what to expect, I mean a tent does not sound too glamorous, but boy I was wrong. Sophisticated but in a very homestyle way. The star of this property is the nature, the elephants, hippos and all the surrounding that makes it unique. Just seat at your terrace overlooking the Kwai River and see the Botswana the cradle of life perform right before your eyes. And do not be surprised to see a line of ten elephants crossing the rive in line, each holding trunks to tails, just priceless. (stayed 02 nights next to move to the other two tented camps by Orient-Express in Botswana)

(video) My Tent at the Kwai River Lodge

TOP #02 / The Royal Livingstone
Victoria Falls, Zambia, Africa
Haute Experience / Your own OUT of Africa Experience

If you want to go back in time and have a true OUT OF AFRICA experience, then The Royal Linvingstone will transport back you to the colonial British era. Room are quite simple, but this hotel is to be lived, socialized and experienced out of your room. Lounge at their pool or wood deck lounge over the stream of the Zambezi River. Take one of the path right to the heart of Victoria Falls. Enjoy an romantic and exclusive dinner at their outdoor restaurant, and try local Zambian delights. (stayed 01 night transiting from South Africa to Botswana)ӬӬ

(video) My room at The Royal Livingstone Hotel
(video) Sunset over the Zambezi River at the Wood Deck
(video) The Royal Livingstone by night

TOP #03 / Copacabana Palace by Orient-Express
Rio de Janeiro, Copacabana, Brazil, South America
Haute Experience / The most exclusive, sexiest and powerful outdoor pool scene Ҭ

Talking about traditional and old school, the Copacabana Palace, plays tribute to its name, making you feel like a King, during your stay. The most exclusive, sexiest and powerful outdoor pool scene in all South America, the place to see and be seen. Located at Copacabana, only a short stroll to Ipanema and Leblon. A synonym of best services, class and charm, with the extra value of the Brazilian flavor. (stayed 02 nights transiting from Florianopolis, Brazil to Buenos Aires, Argentina) + Read More

(video) My suite at the Copacabana Palace

TOP #04 / Four Seasons Koh Samui
Koh Samui, Thailand, South East Asia
Haute Experience / Lush vegetation, white sand and pristine beach in Luxury  “¨”¨

Experience island perfection in your private hillside villa, shaded by coconut groves and overlooking the mystical Gulf of Siam.  One of the best hotel settings I have ever experienced, of course by the master hands of Designer Bill Bensley. Must try are the: Laem Yai Beach, the 360 Fitness Center on top of the hill, and the breathtaking breakfast lounge that makes you feel like floating over the jungle. (stayed 01 night unfortunately, since I recommend at least one extra night, transiting from Krabi back to Bangkok) + Read More

(video) My suite at the Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui
(video) Laem Yai Beach Koh Samui

TOP #05 / Lion Sands Private Game Reserve
Sabi Sand Reserve, Kruger Park, South Africa, Africa
Haute Experience / Up close and personal with the Lions  

Lion Sands is a place that enriches one’s soul and promises life-changing moments and opportunities that will leave you with memories of unforgettable experiences. One of Africa’s truly unspoiled wilderness areas. In the heart of the game-rich Sabi Sand Reserve, adjacent to the world-renowned Kruger National Park, they have created an iconic destination, which is as close to perfection as any place in Africa can take you. At Lion Sands you have the opportunity to view spectacular wildlife whilst preserving the balance of the “bushveld”, and the privilege of being in the company of people with an insatiable enthusiasm for the bush. The Game Reserve is divided in several category of Lodges, but I would strongly recommend IVORY, being more exclusive and private. (stayed 02 nights transiting to other locations at Kruger Park National Park) + Read More

(video) My Suite at Lion Sands IVORY Lodge
(video) One night in the open at Lion Sands IVORY Lodge Tree Tops
(video) Lion Sands RIVER Lodge
(video) Lions at Lion Sands  

TOP #06 / Shangri-la Valley Wing
Singapore, South East Asia
Haute Experience / A prestigious sanctuary in SingaporeӬ

This is not just another Shangri La property, it is the exclusive and over the TOP Valley Wing. A prestigious sanctuary, the Valley Wing epitomises the very best in luxury accommodation, unparalleled amenities and personalized service. Separate entrance and lobby from the main building. My favorite features, they offer the largest and most luxurious deluxe rooms in the city, every day from noon till dusk complimentary champagne and cocktail at the piano bar, isn’t it fabulous?, and the breakfast lounge boast over 7 different choices, from Japanese to Indian and Continental. (stayed 02 nights after arriving to Singapore onboard the Orient-Express Train from Bangkok, Thailand)”¨”¨

(video ) My Deluxe Room at the Valley Wing of the Shangri La Hotel Singapore

TOP #07 / Rio Hermoso Hotel
San Martin de los Andes, Argentina, South America
Haute Experience / Ultra Relaxing. Homemade food, service and styleӬ ҬӬ

Located at San Martin de los Andes, Lanin National Park, this exclusive mountain hotel. Small, secluded, sophisticated. A two floors petite hotel its architecture evokes the warmth of a cozy mountain cabin combining native timber and millenary stones. Facing the Rio Hermoso river and urrounded by native woods, it is my ultimate relaxing spot in Argentina. And if you are bored, well just step out to your balcony and see nature be. If you enjoy fly fishing, this is the right place for that. (stayed 01 night transiting from San Carlos de Bariloche to the Lanin National Park) + Read More
(video) Rio Hermoso Mountain Hotel my room
(video) Rio Hermoso the apartments
(video) The location

TOP #08 / Park Hyatt Palacio Duhau
Buenos Aires, Argentina, South America
Haute Experience / Royal experience of Buenos AiresӬ

Hands down, my favorite hotel in Buenos Aires. Located at one of the most exclusive Avenues and neighborhoods of the city, and erected taking part of the former Palacio Duhau’s architecture, which by the way is wing of the hotel I would recommend to choose and stay at. The spa is fantastic, the terrace lounge is brilliant and full of charm, and to have dinner at the Duhau Restaurant at night, is the cherry on the cake for a wonderful stay. (stayed 02 nights) + Read More

(video) My Suite at the Park Hyatt Palacio Duhau

TOP #09 / Le Sereno Hotel
Grand Cul de Sac Beach, St. Barth, French West Indies
Haute Experience / The most brilliant French Caribbean fusion  

Designed by famed Parisian designer Christian Liaigre, it’s the much anticipated reincarnation of the iconic Sereno Beach Hotel. Le Sereno is an intimate, elegant sanctuary. A beachfront gem with 37 exquisitely furnished suite and villas. It’s located on the east end of the island along 600 feet of beach on picturesque Grand Cul-de-Sac, a turquoise cove protected from the ocean waves by a coral reef.  The main pool overlooking the beach is wonderful, and the Restaurant overlooking the bay, invites you to just stay there all day. The ultimate relaxing beach option, combining the best of French and Caribbean style. (Spent here a full weekend being spoiled to rotten) + Read More

(video) My Suite at Le Sereno Hotel

TOP #10 / The Mark Hotel
New York City, United States, North America
Haute Experience / My favorite hotel in New York
The most civilized, chic stay I have had so far in New York City. It is not only the hotel itself, but the location on 77th Street and Madison, the whole look and feel, the lively and happening Mark Bar,  The Mark Restaurant by Jean-Georges and their state of the art fitness center. Decent size rooms, which in New York is very important. The hotel I would come over and over and adopt as my home in New York. (Stayed here for 01 night to test and review the property and restaurant) + Read More

(video) My Room at the Mark Hotel

One day you are IN and the next you are OUT, so stay tuned to see which hotels make it to the TOP in the next few month.. Upcoming reviews and visits to France, Italy and Russia. Till next adventure in full luxury. Carlos Melia


Carlos Melia is a Travel Expert, Blogger, Niche Marketing Consultant, Jetsetter, and Bon Vivant, who travels around the world discovering what’s new and cool in Luxury Travel and Hospitality. His reviews on hotels, restaurants, destinations, and attractions, based on his own experiences as an OUT Gay Traveler can be found at

About The Author

Carlos Melia Travel Agent Luxury Travel Curator & Blogger Wedding Planner Public Relations & Marketing CM by Carlos Melia Haute Experiences MLGTPP Twiitter YouTube Pinterest Shameless BIO Carlos Melia (38) Bespoke and Luxury Gay Travel Expert, Blogger and Tourism/Hospitality Niche Marketing Consultant. For the past 20 years, I have been an independent travel agent with my own company CM by Carlos Melia - - and have travelled and lived extensively all over the world. I have international travel experience, both as a traveler and professional, specializing into Luxury and Bespoke Gay Travel worldwide. Experiential travel perfected is my mojo. My firm commitment to you, and main reason of my following is - Been There Done That. All travel services and products to be offered and featured, have previously been experienced, tested and approved personally by me. At CarlosMeliaBlog - - I speak Gay, but I am also fluent in Straight. Everyone is welcome, everyone. There you will find reviews, tips and information on hotels, restaurants, tours, destinations, among other travel related services and products. Former Mr Gay International 2008, and member of the Board of Directors at Mr Gay World, I work along the main LGBT organizations worldwide, in pro of our rights and to assure everyone, that indeed It will be Better. I have partnered along the leading lifestyle, travel and hospitality PR firms, media groups and corporations, implementing creative and effective targeted outreach to the LGBT community. Narrowing the existing gap in between mainstream travel/hospitality services and the LGBT community worldwide. Been called, awarded and recognized, by peers, press, and customers, as a gay travel guru, jetsetter, influencer, broadcaster and globe trotter, with known as the little Marco Polo. Bachelor degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management, tree times around the world, going for the forth, more destinations, air miles and room nights that I can keep track of and recently have added gay wedding planner to my curriculum. Regardless of your sexual orientation or preference, travel should always be a memorable, unique and unforgettable experience, and not just a destination. For this, I work closely with clients and suppliers to assure that this happens. Hope you enjoy the ride, and look forward hearing your feedback and comments. Sincerely, Carlos Melia (*) Proud and active member of two of the most relevant and influential organizations within the Travel and Hospitality Industry, which are IGLTA – International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association, TZELL Travel Group and Signature Travel Network.

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