Dust off your graduation gown and head off to a hotel that’s been modelled as a fictional former university. At the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay, designed by famous architect Bill Bensley, you can work out in the department of physical education – aka the gym – or sip some freshly-mixed bubbles at the cocktail bar in the chemistry lab. The unique design doesn’t stop there, either. If you’re an animal lover, pick a room near the department of zoology and pose by the manicured hedges that’ve been sculpted into a range of quirky creatures. Need a bit of time to relax between study periods? Dip into the shell-shaped pool or swim a few lengths of the infinity number that overlooks the private beach. The hotel’s award-winning, too – it ranked in the top four hotels in Asia in Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards in 2018.
Find out why the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay scores top marks
Combining Cristiano Ronaldo’s shirt number and initials, the Pestana CR7 Funchal is a boutique hotel in the Golden-Boot-winning striker’s home city. It comes with views across the marina, and is only a couple of minutes’ walk from a cluster of bars and restaurants. You don’t have to be a football fan to stay here, but it helps. The colour scheme is inspired by Portugal’s deep red kit, and inside you’ll find framed Ronaldo shirts and caricatures of the superstar dotted across the walls. And if you fancy trying to emulate Cristiano’s sculpted frame in the gym, you can sign up to the CR7 tailor-made fitness programme. The hotel’s luxury CR7 Suite even comes equipped with a PlayStation 4, virtual reality glasses, and two 48-inch TVs.
See how the Pestana CR7 Funchal serves up winning holidays
You’ll feel like a proper cowboy at the Gold River hotel, as the whole place is designed to look like a frontier town from the American Wild West. It’ll be like stepping back in time when you wander down Main Street, which runs through the middle of the property. It comes complete with an abandoned steam train, and a city hall filled with restaurants and rooms. Plus, the evening entertainment kicks off in a classic Western saloon on the main square, which is decorated with American flags and wrought-iron stoves. The fun doesn’t end at the hotel, either. Every Gold River guest gets free entry to PortAventura, which is right next door and has sky-high rollercoasters, rides, and interactive shows. Move aside Alton Towers – millions of people visit the PortAventura each year for a dose of theme-park fun in the sun.
You won’t need a lasso to tie down a holiday at the Gold River hotel
Thanks to some very special residents, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge will have you wondering whether you’re in Florida or Kenya. You can wake up to a scene straight out of The Lion King when you stay here. The hotel's built around a 43-acre savannah, so you can sit on your balcony and watch gazelles, giraffes, and zebras grazing, safari-style. Pick up one of the hotel’s wildlife-spotting guides and you can start ticking off different species around the grounds, including African flamingos, white-bearded wildebeest and impala. And, the African theme doesn’t stop with the animals. Walk into the three-storey lobby and you’re met with dark-wood floors, carved furniture and tribal art. It’s more of the same in the bedrooms, too. There’s also a couple of watering hole-style pools, each with a slide and a neighbouring bar. Be sure to try out the authentic African dishes at the Boma restaurant while you’re there, as well. And, don’t forget, there’s a shuttle bus to the theme parks around Walt Disney World Resort Orlando.
Put a safari-spin on your holiday at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
With a giant sphinx and two-storey-tall Pharaoh statues, The Luxor brings a taste of ancient Egypt to Las Vegas.
This 30-storey high pyramid-shaped hotel sits at the southern end of the strip, half-an-hour’s walk from the centre. There’s a free tram connecting it to Excalibur and Mandalay Bay, though, so you’ll still be well-connected to the rest of Sin City. And forget the North Star, as when you’re on the way back to the hotel after dark, you can use The Luxor’s iconic sky beam to guide you home – it’s the strongest beam of light in the world, visible for up to 275 miles. Inside, you’ll see the designers really run with the Egypt theme. The decor in the rooms includes hieroglyphics-adorned walls and Egyptian artwork. Walk around and you’ll find even more touches, like indoor palm trees and sculptures, and classic Egyptian-style columns by the pool.
You don’t need to be able to read hieroglyphics to see why The Luxor is a Vegas favourite
The Hard Rock Hotel Bali is just a crowd-surf away from the sands of Kuta Beach. Head inside and you’ll find the walls are hung with signed records and guitars of music legends like Slash, Sting and Bon Jovi. It won’t surprise you when we say would-be singers and musicians will be in their element here. You can stage a practice session in the comfort of your room by ordering a Fender guitar through room service. And to top it off, you can let out your inner rock star during a visit to the hotel's state-of-the-art studio, where you can record songs or sing along to karaoke tracks – there’s even a sound engineer on hand to give you advice. World-famous musicians don’t do things by halves and neither does this hotel – the main pool holds the title for being the largest free-form pool in Bali, and it’s edged by thatched-roofed daybeds.
Find out why the Hard Rock Hotel Bali gets the rock star seal of approval
The ROBINSON Club Khao Lak strikes the perfect active-unwind balance with plenty of pools, a busy sports schedule and a tranquil on-the-sand postcode.
The TUI MAGIC LIFE Africana has everything from beach days to glitzy shows on its mile-long CV.
The TUI BLUE Rocador in Majorca is right on a golden stretch of sand and overlooks the pretty cove of Cala Gran.
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