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The world's incomparable luxury hotels

From rustic elegance to an undersea odyssey, a night in these places is guaranteed to lodge in your memory.
/ Source: Forbes

There's a hotel nestled in the woods in upstate New York that boasts unmatched Adirondack beauty, a world-class kitchen staff, secluded log cabin-style accommodations, a fleet of boats for guests to use, enormous fireplaces and other luxurious amenities that surpass the expectations of even the most discriminating guests. Want to know where it is? We couldn't tell you.

Access and directions to The Point resort are given only with a confirmed reservation.

"Staying here makes you feel like a Rockefeller, which makes sense — this is an old Rockefeller Great Camp set on a lake in the Adirondacks, and it's the epitome of rustic luxury," says Rich Beattie, executive editor of Travel and

Meals are elegant and whimsical. Breakfast in bed. Lunch is a "free-wheeling affair that takes place wherever guests and hosts may fancy," according to its website. Elaborate dinners are served near a roaring fire. And the staff brings a very personal touch. "You can go into the kitchen at anytime and talk with the chef," says Beattie.

If you want to see The Point in person, you'll need to spend at least $1,300 a night, all inclusive — visitors are turned away at the gate.

We've put together a hotel bucket list, of sorts. There are elaborate, expensive, or luxurious hotels all over the world, so we looked for something more. We searched for hotels that are so impressive that we think you really should see them while you still have the time. Some made the list because they are exclusive and luxurious. Others are included due to the beauty of their settings. And a couple of hotels merit inclusion because of their creativity or unique approach.

If you're in the mood for something decidedly less rustic than a woodsy log cabin, then maybe Hong Kong's oldest hotel, the Peninsula, is more suitable. With high-end details such as marble bathrooms, plasma screens in every room, an on-site spa, and spectacular views of Victoria Harbour and the Hong Kong cityscape, the Peninsula's luxury befits its 82-year pedigree.

"Having tea in the lobby of the Peninsula is the quintessential Hong Kong experience," says Jeff Weinstein, editor-in-chief of Hotels magazine, an industry trade publication. "When people ask me what one of the best hotels in the world is, this is one that always comes to mind."

Does the prospect of Hong Kong's crowds seem too suffocating? At the Poseidon Undersea Resort in Fiji, your fellow guests are more than outnumbered by the fish that swim past your head. Opened in 2008 on a private Fijian island, the resort is the first permanent pressurized undersea structure in the world, and features 22 guest rooms with 270-degree windows that comprise the majority of each room's wall and ceiling surface. Complete with every imaginable amenity, a fleet of submarines to explore the nearby reef, and a private bungalow that is reachable only by sub, the Poseidon offers weeklong accommodations that start at $30,000 per couple. Expensive, sure, but there's no other hotel in the world that will let live out every Jules Verne fantasy you've ever had — with the exception being attacks by giant cuttlefish are much less likely.

If you're craving some old world luxury, there are few hotels that can compare to the Four Seasons George V in Paris. Just off the Champs-Elysées, this classic slice of Parisian pampering is able to stand above the crowd in a city that has no shortage of fine luxury hotels with a stunning array of mural work, a world-class spa and pool, and an ideal view of the Eiffel Tower. A series of recent renovations made by owner Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, who bought the hotel in 2008, has made it all the more impressive. "When I think of hotels in the great city centers, it always comes back to the George V," says Weinstein. "It has a great location, it's an iconic hotel, you're going to be treated like royalty and you'll have an experience you won't forget."

The same can be said of any of the hotels on our list. They're not the most accessible or affordable, but that's the point. These hotels should be seen to be believed — at least once.