In the ancient world, the Greeks had made a list of seven places any sight-seeing tourists in the Hellenic world should make the effort to see. Since the days of the Greeks and the Romans, the only monument in this list that still stands is the Great Pyramid at Giza. So in 2007, more than 100 million people voted to declare the New Seven Wonders of the World, pitting over one-hundred monuments against each other until a new list appeared.
The beauty of this list is that it spans the globe and includes a myriad of ancient and modern cultures that the Greeks knew nothing about. So if you’ve got the spirit of an explorer but the taste for fine dining and spa treatments, here are seven luxury hotels nearby to help you travel in style!
Great Wall of China and Bejing’s Peninsula Hotel
In ancient China, the Great Wall stood as a symbol of protection and Chinese royal power. Located an hour south of this ancient wall, the Peninsula Hotel in Bejing was China’s first luxury hotel when it opened as The Palace Hotel in 1989. Under new ownership, it underwent a $123 Million USD renovation to become a suite-only luxury hotel which means you will get nothing but the best for your stay. With suites starting around $250/night, the hotel features a casual buffet, an all-day lobby restaurant, a rooftop bar and lounge called Yun, and Huan Ting, a five-star Cantonese dining experience. And after a long day out at the Great Wall, come back for a relaxing swim in the indoor pool, take advantage of the state-of-the-art fitness center, spa, or business center.
Christ the Redeemer Statue and Rio de Janeiro’s Belmond Copacabana Palace
The only “modern” attraction on the list, the Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio was built in Brazil right before the outbreak of World War II. Standing over 120 feet tall, the statue stands atop Corcovado Mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park.
Taking advantage of the close proximity to the mountain, not only is the Belmond Copacabana Palace a mere 30-minute drive from this incredible statue, but it is also the premier place to stay in Rio. Located along the sugar-white beaches of the Atlantic, the Copacabana Palace features balcony suites with French textiles and luxurious accommodations. The hotel has been a crown jewel in Brazil since it opened in the 1920s, and the directly adjacent Ristorante Hotel Cipriani will be sure to delight your taste buds after a day at Rio’s most famous landmark. The hotel also has a beautiful outdoor pool and a rooftop tennis court.
Machu Picchu and the Belmond Hotel Monasterio
Built at the height of Inca power, this royal resort was built and abandoned within 100 years and left undisturbed till the 1920s. The historic sight has given the world a glimpse of pre-Columbian Inca life and is a beautiful three and a half hour scenic train ride from the Belmond Hotel Monasterio. Built within the rebuilt ruins of a former monastery and landmark, this beautiful hotel features stone walls, exquisite gardens, and access to the Belmond’s luxury train that will take you to the base of your Machu Picchu adventure, meaning you get to travel in the same caliber of luxury as you’ll be enjoying in the hotel itself.
Chichen Itza via the Nizuc Resort & Spa
Tucked back in the deep dense jungles of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, the ancient pyramids of the Mayan people stand tall and proud above the ruins of this pre-Columbian metropolis. But there’s nothing primitive or outdated about where you’ll be staying. Two hours east, along the sugar-white beaches of Cancun lies Nizuc Resort & Spa. With over six world-class restaurants, a professionally staffed exotic spa, and accommodations that are the envy of the Yucatan this hotel boasts a Mexican spirit and a Mayan soul. Staying in one of the 275 rooms and suites is a perfect way to relax and pamper yourself after hiking the many ancient steps and stairways of Chichen Itza.
The Roman Colosseum from the Hotel Hassler, Roma
For centuries, the Roman Colosseum has stood as a testament to the wealth and power of the once-mighty Roman empire. Now a tourist destination seen by millions every year, this wonder of the ancient world is a mere 2 km from one of Rome’s finest luxury hotels, the Hotel Hassler.
Hassler is renowned for its elegance and beauty, built atop the historic Spanish Steps area of Roma. With a full-service spa, fitness center and the Rossano Ferretti Hair Salon, you can treat yourself while looking out over a panoramic rooftop view of Rome. Imàgo, the Hassler’s 6th floor panoramic Michelin starred restaurant, offers you a taste and view of Rome you’ll not find anywhere else in the city. Rooms range from decadent penthouses to exquisite suites and are sure to leave you feeling like an emperor of Rome yourself.
Taj Mahal through The Leela Palace New Delhi
The greatest love story in India can be told through the white marble domes and extravagant palisades at the countries most famous tomb, the Taj Mahal. Built for the favorite wife of a Mohgul emperor, the tomb lays along the banks of the Yamuna river in the city of Agra. Coincidentally, a three-hour drive north, the Yamuna runs through the capital of New Delhi, where the Leela Palace will serve as a luxurious home base to travel to this wonder of the world.
The Leela Palace features 194 Royal Rooms and 42 Royal Club Rooms, which comes with dedicated butlers and access to Royal Club Lounge and amenities. After your day trip to the Taj Mahal, relax in the Library Bar or the classy Lobby Lounge before taking dinner at one of the exquisite restraints such as the Qube, Jamavar, Megu, or Le Cirque. A full-service spa and salon, an infinity pool, and a business center will allow you to feel as opulent as the landmark you spent the day touring.
Petra, Jordan and Al Manara
Last, but certainly not least, the seventh wonder is Petra, an ancient city carved into the cliffs of modern-day Jordan. Petra was home to the Nabataean people as early as 200 BC and is one of the most beautiful examples of ancient sculpture and architecture. It was most famously used, in modern times, as the backdrop for the final scene of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Located a mere hour and a half south, in the ancient port city of Aqaba, your luxury stay awaits you at Al Manara. With over twenty room and suite layouts to choose from, there is a room for every budget and occasion, whether it be for business or pleasure. The hotel offers pristine views right along the sea as well as a 24/7 fitness center, spa, and room service. Enjoy the flavor of traditional Jordanian cuisine at one of the hotel’s fine restaurants, and finish the day with a seaside sunset nightcap at the Pool Bar.
Guido Graf is Founder of Privateupgrades. Privateupgrades is a global luxury travel club with over 20 years of experience in luxury hotels, ensuring exclusive VIP privileges like upgrades, free breakfast, free nights, rate discounts, free airport transfers, free massages and much more.