Uniqueness in a five-star hotel is like looking for a high price tag on a pair of Christian Louboutins in Saks; easy to find and highly coveted. Being the best of the best is not something that every hotel in the country can achieve, but it’s something that many have done with ease. Ask anyone who prefers their vacations in a five-star property what it is that draws you to the property, and they’ll all have a different answer. It’s the food, the service, the amenities, the privacy; it’s all the things that set these properties apart from the others. No one hotel is ever going to win a popularity contest as the best of the best when so many of us have so many differing opinions. That does not mean, however, that these five-star properties aren’t among the most unique, the most beautiful and the most desirable in the country. If you’re going to pick one, pick one from this list. Prices reflected are for the same nights, though they do vary based on the date of your stay and the time of year you choose to visit.
Auberge du Soleil in Napa Valley – Starting at $750 per night
For starters, wine country is one of the most beautiful locations in all of the country. When my husband and I visit Napa Valley, we always visit the Auberge. There is nothing so beautiful as the view from atop the balcony on the second floor enjoying a bright mimosa overlooking the pool and the hills in Napa; it’s sheer perfection. With only 50 rooms available in this gorgeous resort, it’s not always possible to stay here; it’s always in high-demand. Located in Rutherford, the gorgeous restaurant of which I’ve already spoken comes complete with a Michelin star, and the 7,000-square foot spa has it all. This resort looks like a high-end home, and it’s nothing like what you might expect in a regular hotel. It’s so much better.
Pelican Hill in Orange County – Starting at $700 per night
Another of our favorite places to visit, this SoCal hotel is everything. To begin with, the hotel sits atop a sweeping hill across the Pacific Coast Highway from the Pacific Ocean, with uninterrupted views, perfect landscaping, and staff that treats you as if you are the biggest VIP to which they’ve ever catered. Every single room here features a private fireplace and terrace as well as marble baths. What you want, however, is a villa. Each villa is like a large and luxurious home, only they all come with their own private staff. If you want or need something, it is yours right this very second.
The Montage Hotel in Laguna Beach – Starting at $800 per night
There is a darling restaurant here that overlooks the pool and the ocean. It’s called the Loft, and we have lunch here every single time we are in Orange County. It’s our favorite place to have lunch, and it’s spectacular. We love it even more if you can get one of the very few tables on the terrace outside right at sunset. I can assure you that there is not a more stunning view in the world. Each luxury room is light, bright, airy and features a lovely view of the ocean, and the staff here is discreet, professional and happy to make sure your stay exceeds your already high expectations. It’s lovely.
The Plaza Hotel in New York City – Starting at $1,100 per night
Anytime my husband and I are in New York City, we head straight for the Plaza Hotel. Not for a room – since more than $1,000 per night during the off-season is a bit too much to justify when the Ritz or the Four Seasons are less than half the price. However, we head straight for the Champagne Bar – we’ve even become familiar with the bartenders here – and order, you guessed it, champagne. Situated just off the lobby, it is spectacular. The staff is amazing, too, as the concierge is always happy to lend us a black car after we have post-diner cocktails. It is everything that is luxurious, elegant and sophisticated about New York, and every single room here is a nod to New York history and timelessness. Elegant is everything here, and you will not find another hotel with this much elegance; you’ll feel like the queen here. Additionally, it’s the Eloise Suite Experience that makes this hotel the most unique in the world. Designed by Betsey Johnson, this is the perfect gift for any little girl.
The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay – Starting at $750 per night
If you love the concept of a castle nestled along the edge of a cliff over the roaring waves of the Pacific Ocean, you’ve come to the right place. Breathtaking is the only word we can use to describe this five-star property. In the beautiful city of Half Moon Bay, California, it’s unlike any other hotel in the country. Not only does the hotel sit on the cliff over the bay, the golf course does, too. Each room has its own luxury soaking tub, 261 rooms and every one of them has a spectacular view. Our favorite part is the teak bar and matching tables set outside the beautiful resort overlooking the ocean, where a cocktail takes on a beautiful new meaning. Imagine all the Insta-perfect photos you can snap here.