Record-Breaking Hotels

Courtesy President Wilson Hotel

You've heard of the seven wonders of the world, but what about the ten wonders of the hotel world? We took a close look at properties around the globe to identify the ones that outpaced all the others in categories ranging from tallest, to largest, to oldest.,feedConfig,localizationConfig,entry&id=850265&pid=850264&uts=1268933050

Record Breaking Hotels

You've heard of the seven wonders of the world, but what about the ten wonders of the hotel world? We took a close look at properties around the globe to identify the ones that outpaced all the others in categories ranging from tallest, to largest, to oldest.

Chances are, you won't be booking the world's most expensive hotel suite anytime soon (the Royal Penthouse Suite at The President Wilson Hotel, featured above, goes for a jaw-dropping $65K per night), but you can certainly afford the world's "greenest" hotel-the Gaia Napa Valley Hotel & Spa, which has budget-friendly rates starting at $109 per night.

Keep reading to find out more about these hotels and other extraordinary properties, from the hotel that has won the most awards (not surprisingly, it's in Hawaii) to the highest hotel on the planet (it can only be reached by a three day hike).

Record Breaking Hotels

How much is too much for a hotel room? According to the annual survey from the Wealth Bulletin (sister publication to the Financial News), the world's most expensive hotel room is located at the President Wilson Hotel in Geneva, Switzerland. Visiting diplomats to the city pay a sum most of us would consider a down payment on a house-a whopping $65,000, for a single night in the 4-bedroom Royal Penthouse Suite at the Wilson Hotel, a member of the Starwood Luxury Collection. This is double the price for the same suite in 2008 (recession be damned!), making it the most expensive hotel room in the world. The Royal Suite occupies the entire top floor of the hotel and has bulletproof windows and doors (something controversial world leaders appreciate). The hotel is also newly renovated, and has traded its stuffy beige decor for hip neon colors and state of the art bells and whistles-including an outdoor saltwater pool and a scented elixir bar called Flower's serving up artisanal tequilas and rare perfumes.

47 Quai Wilson
1211 Geneva 21, Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 906 66 66
Rates: $865 per night

Record Breaking Hotels

In Dubai, where it seems like everyone is trying to set a new record, keeping up with the Jones' takes on obscene proportions.You've no doubt heard about the Palm Jumeirah, for example, a 3-mile wide man-made island in the shape of a Palm Tree that bills itself as the 8th Wonder of the World. It should come as no surprise then, that Dubai's Burj Al Arab hotel is the current record-breaker for tallest hotel at 1,053 feet (the property also claims to be the world's first "7-star" hotel). Come December 2009, however, the Burj will lose that title to the Rose Tower, which will tower above Dubai at a staggering 1,094 feet. Even the Rose's bloom will fade when the Ritz Carlton opens in 2010 on the top 17 floors of Hong Kong's tallest building, the 1574 foot tall International Commerce Centre.

Jumeirah Rd
Dubai, UAE
Tel: 1-877-854-8051
Rates: $1,760/night

Record Breaking Hotels

For many years, the MGM Grand in Las Vegas reigned as the world's largest hotel with 5,690 rooms. These days, the honor goes to the First World Hotel in Malaysia, which tops all other properties with a whopping 6,118 hotel rooms (can you imagine the army it takes to clean this place?). This mega-resort and entertainment complex includes two casinos, three theme-parks (indoor, outdoor and a water park), three concert venues (mostly host to Asian acts though Air Supply recently played here), and the First World Center-a giant shopping mall with 90 stores, including a cineplex, karaoke pavilion, skydiving simulator, Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum, and even an ice slide at Snow World. Intrigued and need a job? The website is advertising for croupiers for their casino!

Genting Highlands Resort
Genting Highlands 69000, Malaysia
(603) 2718 1118
Rates: $190/night

Record Breaking Hotels

The Hoshi Ryokan in Komatsu, Japan easily takes the title for the oldest hotel in the world. Not only did it open 1,291 years ago in the year 718, it's also been run by the same family for 46 continuous generations. According to family legend, the god of Mount Hakusan visited a Buddhist priest, instructing him to uncover a healing underground hot spring. Once found, the priest requested that his disciple, a woodcutter's son, build a retreat on the site. The Hoshi family have run a hotel in Komatsu ever since, though the little inn and health spa has evolved dramatically over the decades-it now includes 100 rooms, a modern spa, a restaurant serving fresh regional seafood, a Noh Theater, and pottery classes. As an ode to their spiritual beginnings, they even offer sessions with a local fortune teller.

Awazu Onsen, Komatsu-shi
Ishikawa-ken 923-0326
Tel: 0761-65-1111

Record Breaking Hotels

Many hotels make bold claims on the eco-friendly front, and despite a growing number of websites and guide books devoted to identifying green accommodations, it's tough to figure out which claims are legitimate. That's why the Gaia Napa Valley Hotel & Spa gets our vote as the Greenest Hotel in the World. Not only are they the first Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy Efficiency and Design) certified hotel in the world, but how's this for transparency-CO2, Water and Energy monitors, updated every 15 minutes, are actually displayed in the hotel lobby. Not only are hotel rooms stylish, but almost everything that meets the eye is sustainable, organic, low VOC or recycled (note that a copy of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth is on the bedside table in every room). In addition, the hotel creates 12 percent of its power from solar panels, reuses 45 percent of its water, and recycles 75 percent of its waste-practices which help the planet and save the hotel an estimated $45K per year, which, in turn, allows the hotel to offer more budget-friendly rates to guests ($109 per night).

3600 Broadway Street

American Canyon, CA 94503
Tel: 1-888-798-3777
Rates: $109/night

Record Breaking Hotels

Located 120 miles north of the Arctic Circle where temps can dip to 30 degrees below zero, the ICEHOTEL in Jukkasjärvi (Swedish Lapland) is most definitely the coldest hotel in the world. Each year the hotel is designed anew and built from the ground-up during the month of December by artists from all over the world. In the 2009/2010 season, the hotel will feature 62 rooms. In addition to the "ice" rooms, the hotel also offers heated rooms in a nearby lodge, should guests decide they'd like to curl up by a fire for a while. Ice rooms feature beds carved out of ice and covered with a thick mattress and reindeer skins. During the day, the ICEHOTEL becomes a museum with visitors wandering the premises from 10am to 6pm. Before your overnight stay, the porter takes your luggage to a special warm area so it won't freeze. A snowmobile suit, winter boots, hats and mittens to use indoors (where temps hover around 5 degrees below zero) are included in the price of your stay.

981 91 Jukkasjärvi Sweden
Tel: +46 (0) 980 66 800
Rates: $225/night

Record Breaking Hotels

At 12,730 feet above sea level, the Hotel Everest View in Nepal is the highest hotel in the world. As the name suggests, all rooms have panoramic views of Mount Everest (standing tall at 29,030 feet) through a wall of sliding glass doors that lead out to a sunny verandah The staff are all Sherpas from the nearby village, and local guides are available should you desire to wander the maze of houses, temples and monasteries nearby. The only way to get to the hotel is by embarking on a three day hike (unfortunately, arriving by helicopter is no longer an option since too many people got sick from the rapid increase in elevation).

Kopundol, Lalitpur - 1
Tel: 977-01-5011647

Record Breaking Hotels

Like a modern oasis in the Middle East, the Grand Hills Hotel & Spa, located just a 25-minute drive from Beirut, is spread out over almost 20 acres and includes a shopping mall, a spa, a gym, a nightclub and three swimming pools. Each of the 118 rooms and suites is unique, and, since the hotel is set at 2,500 feet above sea level in the Broumana Mountains, you can count on sweeping ocean-to-sky views. It may not come as a surprise that, amid all of this decadence lies the largest hotel room in the world: the Royal Residence-a total of 86,110 square feet spread out over 6 richly decorated floors with two swimming pools and a private sculpture garden. In case you get lost in this cavernous abode, the mansion comes with its own attentive staff, and is most definitely fit for a king.

Al Charkiah Road
Broumana, Lebanon
Tel: + 961 4 868 888
Rates: $446/night

Record Breaking Hotels

There's a feeling at the Halekulani (that's "house befitting heaven" in Hawaiian) of extreme harmony and serenity that far exceeds the sum of its parts. Sure, the location just off iconic Waikiki Beach, is ideal, and the 453 rooms and grounds are stylish and immaculately maintained, but it's the warm spirit of Hawaiian hospitality coupled with a Japanese commitment to perfection that has inspired accolades that can only partially be listed on a full-page of their website (the complete list is available upon request). In 2009 Halekulani celebrated its 25th anniversary and was honored by Travel & Leisure magazine as the #1 Hotel in Hawaii. Halekulani is the only hotel in the US to rank consistently in Travel and Leisure's top 50 since 1996. Awards have also been heaped upon the Mobile Four-Star rated SpaHalekulani (such as being singled for the #1 best resort spa service and #2 best resort spa in North America by Condé Nast Traveler), and the fine dining restaurant, La Mer, is Hawaii's longest ranked AAA-Five Diamond restaurant (they've held this esteemed rating for nineteen consecutive years). Halekulani is most definitely the small, independent hotel that could.

2199 Kalia Road

Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
Tel: (800) 367-2343
Rates: From $425/night

Record Breaking Hotels

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