10 Of The Starwood Hotels I Most Want To Visit

Filed Under: Hotels, Starwood Preferred Guest

While I stay at a variety of hotel chains, I spend more nights at Starwood properties than any other hotel group. I’ve stayed at a lot of great Starwood properties (most of which I’ve reviewed), and I certainly have my favorites. For example, it’s tough to beat the W Taipei, St. Regis Maldives, Keraton at the Plaza, Cala Di Volpe, etc.

However, I also love sharing the travels I’m considering, which is what I’m doing with this post. I figured it would be fun to do a post about 10 of the Starwood properties I most want to visit, in the same way that I’ve shared the destinations I most want to visit, and also the airlines I most want to fly.

This post is focused primarily on the hotels rather than the destinations, though admittedly the locations in some cases factor into what interests me about these hotels.

In no particular order, here are 10 Starwood hotels I’d love to stay at (almost all of these are also Starwood Luxury Privileges properties):

The St. Regis Lhasa, Tibet

I was recently in Bhutan, and that has made me even more interested in visiting Tibet, which is nearby. One of the best hotels in Tibet seems to be the St. Regis, which looks gorgeous.


Tambo del Inka, Peru

Machu Picchu has been on my list of places to visit for far too long, and I’ve heard Tambo del Inka is great. It’s the Starwood Luxury Collection property there, and is a solid value with points or cash.


Hotel Paracas, Peru

Starwood has a few nice hotels in Peru. One of the other nice ones is Hotel Paracas, located on the coast. I’d like to visit the area and also the hotel, though it does seem like a pain to get to. The most common way to get there seems to be by bus from Lima, and it’s not a short ride either…


The Castle Hotel, China

Okay, I doubt this hotel is actually nice or terribly interesting, but I want to stay here solely based on the exterior. Staying in a (fake) castle and earning Starpoints? What’s not to love? 😉

LC The Castle, Dalian, China

W Verbier, Switzerland

I’ve been to some of Starwood’s great US ski resorts, like the St. Regis Aspen and St. Regis Deer Valley. However, the W Verbier looks beautiful as well, and I’d be curious to check it out. While I don’t ski, I do enjoy sitting inside and consuming hot beverages when it’s cold outside. Otherwise I’d love to visit in summer and enjoy the outdoors.


Santa Marina, Greece

Starwood has several fantastic Luxury Collection properties in Greece, and a handful of them should probably be on this list. However, I figured it made sense to just include one hotel from the region on the list. Santa Marina, a Luxury Collection resort, looks pretty awesome.


The Gritti Palace, Italy

The last time I was in Venice was maybe 15 years ago with my parents. You see places very differently as a kid than as an adult, and at some point I’d love to return, as much as my impression of Venice is that it’s incredibly touristy. The Gritti Palace seems to be Starwood’s best property there. I wouldn’t mind working with on my laptop with the below view…


Hotel Marques de Riscal, Spain

Starwood has several stunning Luxury Collection properties in Spain, though architecturally Hotel Marques de Riscal is probably the most beautiful. It’s located in Elciego, and was designed by Frank Gehry.


Hotel Alfonso XIII, Spain

In addition to the other great Luxury Collection properties in Spain, Hotel Alfonso XIII also stands out. I’m interested in visiting Seville, and this property looks charming.


Macalister Mansion, Malaysia

This is totally random, but I’m intrigued by this hotel. Starwood has a marketing partnership with Design Hotels. They’re not fully integrated into Starwood, so you don’t get all elite benefits. However, Macalister Mansion is especially intriguing to me. The hotel has just eight rooms, and when you book, you reserve a specific room number. That’s pretty cool.


Bottom line

That’s just a small sampling of some of the Starwood hotels I most want to stay at — there are lots more on my radar. As you can see, they’re almost entirely “unique” properties. I’m increasingly loving the unique hotel collections offered by the major hotel groups. It’s great to get the brand standards you expect from a major chain, while also getting a local experience.

What Starwood hotels are most on your radar?

  1. Save your points and just pay for the Tambo Del Inka- beautiful property and very reasonable.
    Alfonso XIII was a massive disappointment overpriced in every way lots of other places to stay in Seville.

  2. The Prince Gallery Kioicho Tokyo should really be on your list … just stayed there and it is the nicest SPG “city” hotel I’ve ever visited. On par with or exceeds most St. Regises.

  3. We drove by the Hotel Marques de Riscal, Spain while wine tasting in RIoja. Its an amazing looking property. This would be a great trip to visit the Rioja region and relax.

  4. I’ve actually stayed in the castle in dalian for work twice! The hotel is very nice given that it is in area not frequented by westerns; although it does have a strange mix of faux rococo and art nouveau, which isn’t to my taste. The food is good, breakfast was exceptional, I think they have some westerner’s directing the food and service although it all appears to be locals otherwise. The rooms are good but what I would comment on is the price; its exceptionally cheap $130 for the presidential suite $60 for a standard! This is

    As for Dalian like all big Chinese cities it has low air quality so the sky is NEVER that colour in the photo and there are few western tourists and hence not many people, from what I could gather speak good english and the shops/food and attractions definitely aren’t styled for westerners, but there were some Russians, and other east Asians staying there when I visited. There’s not “much to do” there so I wouldn’t recommend the place for a lengthy stay for leisure.

  5. @Lucky, while i’m not surprised no US properties made this shortlist, I’m just curious if ANYTHING comes to mind.

  6. Regarding Hotel Paracas — the VIP seats on Cruz del Sur buses are nicer than domestic first class. For a 4-hour journey, it’s very doable…or pay for a private car. It won’t be cheap but it won’t bankrupt you either.

  7. @ Rick — I guess I’d like to do the St. Regis Princeville, which is probably the one “nice” US property I haven’t done. That and maybe the W Vieques Island.

  8. If you’re in the Rioja you should have dinner at the Marques de Riscal Michelin starred restaurant. Food is excellent although wasn’t to impressed by the hotel itself. We stayed at the nearby also architectural hotel Viura and was in fact very glad I chose it over the Marques de Riscal.

  9. I haven’t been in Peru but my bus experience crossing the Andes (Mendoza Argentina–>Santiago de Chile) was lightyears from anything associated with a bus in the US. Definitely Better than domestic 1st and while I was reluctant to buy the ticket at first, I would do again for longer rides in a heartbeat.

  10. The Romanos in Greece. It is a fantastic Luxury Collection resort in the Costa Navarino area about 4 hours driving from Athens. The resort is fantastic very luxurious with an amazing staff and the area around is just unspoiled beaches and little villages with the most amazing fresh seafood you can get.

  11. Just got back from a 5 night stay at Tambo Del Inka. Exceptional service, unique, beautiful hotel. Worth every bit. One of the nicest hotels I have stayed. They treat you well.

  12. I second Matt….the Maria Christina tops the list for location (San Sebastiàn!), the staff, the design….impeccable and perfect.

  13. Lucky, I m so surprised that I stayed in many of those hotels in your list! In addition to Tambo del Inka, combine it with the Palacio del Inka for the Peru trip, lovely hotels! You can book a private driver and guide to visit the salt mines and other beautiful Inca sites along the way. Try the Inka Cola and you’ll get addicted 🙂

    The Gritti Palace is beautiful, that was where we stayed for our honeymoon. Have you stayed at the Hotel Danieli? I preferred Danieli’s grand staircase, amazing for photos!

    I love the moorish design of the Alfonso XIII, dont forget to have delicious and inexpensive tapas at nearby restaurant Albarama! Also, a daytrip to Córdoba from Seville!

  14. @lucky, I’ve stayed both St. Regis Princeville and W Vieques Island. Even St. Regis Princeville treats the Platinum pretty well (waive resort fee, free upgrade to full buffet), the property is super dated. However the property is rumored to be sold to Four Seasons…

    W Vieques Island is only major chain hotel on the island but beauty is the beach around the island, not the hotel itself. The hotel was okay but we love to return to visit to just for the beaches.

  15. @Lucky, awesome suggestions — never knew either of these properties existed and “aspirational mode” is on. But can I rephrase my question to anything that comes to mind in the lower 48?

  16. The Palacio del Inka hotel (A luxury Collection hotel) in Cusco, Peru is wonderful and a great spot for visiting Machu Picchu and the Valle Sagrado. The hotel is partially built on walls of an Inka temple. I think you would find Cusco to be a better spot than Urubamba for a stay.

  17. I also think the Alfonso XIII is highly overrated although it’s probably roughly the right category.
    A more pedestrian location (for Europe) but in Florence the St Regis is fantastic! I stayed there for work and was upgraded to a massive duplex with frescoes and a river view. They have Acqua di Parma products, a Michelin 1-star restaurant, incredible staff and Bentley service. Even though doors have electronic fobs they keep your key at the front desk like old school hotels and remember you during your stay. Highly recommend.

  18. Two other commenters have already said it but I’ll make it a third vote–Maria Cristina in San Sebastián

  19. St Regis Punta Mita is certainly one of the best SPG properties around. Also, the St Regis Shenzhen is interesting since it is in the tallest building in the city. Views from the 99th floor are really breathtaking.

  20. I searched the globe for a beachfront Starwood honeymoon destination that wasn’t obvious (Bora Bora, Fiji, Bali, Maldives, etc) and decided on St Regis Mauritius with a weekend stop in W Opera Paris. What is your take on Mauritius? Head there next month. Seem to be one of the best priced islands in the system. Especially using points and cash. – MJ (Lifetime Gold and 2017 Platinum[50])

  21. @Lucky I was last September in the W Verbier and it was amazing. If you visit during off-peak season your chances of getting upgraded are very high. There wasn’t much people during my stay and I got upgraded from a ‘Fabulous room’ to a ‘Spectacular Suite’.

  22. Ben if you’re going to to go Mykonos there are much nicer hotels than the Santa Marina, try Kensho or Mykonos Grand 😉

  23. Next in the series – Best of Hilton: Top 10 Hilton Garden Inns / Hampton Inns Of The World!!!

  24. It’s sad you see Tibet as a “country” where you address the countries’ names after the other nine properties.

    Not to mention the fact that Tibet has been ruled by former Chinese dynasties for hundreds of years, the current Tibet Autonomous Region became a provincial division of China almost a decade before Hawaii received statehood.

    I admit it is complicated for you to tell the “subtle” difference among Tibet, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. But I’m pretty sure you can always learn some basic and objective ideas from Wikipedia very quickly.

    Also, as a kind reminder, it applies with Chinese laws and regulations for foreign tourists, who may need extra documents to visit Tibet. It would be nice to consult with some local agencies when you plan your journey.

    Welcome to China to visit Tibet! Looking forward to see your review as always!

  25. @Rob
    Air in some Chinese cities is getting a lot better these days, I’ve actually seen blue skies in Shanghai(well blue by Chinese standards anyway). Not seeing the rates that you speak of for the Castle Hotel.

  26. I stayed at Schloss Fuschl near Salzburg last year. This is my new favorite SPG property. It is a very nice resort property in the foothills on a lake with plenty of activities and beautiful scenery. We were treaded very well as Plat guests.

  27. Wow it looks like the Chinese internet propaganda machine jumped on this post VERY fast lol
    China continues to ruin Tibet, so visit it while you can.

  28. A 4th vote for the Maria Christina, last year we stayed at both it and the Marques de Riscal. The MC provides old school luxury with terrific service. They did an amazing job of recognizing our Ambassador status. The best feature about the Riscal is the exterior along with the neighboring villages.

  29. Great Idea Ben !

    We stayed at a few over the many years.

    Machu Picchu – before it was Starwood we stayed there. Had the most beautiful past life experience in Machu Picchu with a past life specialist. And that took us to Chile Easter Island and Brazil Alto Paraiso. Unforgettable, soul reaching, really great stuff !

    Same in Santorini, the spirit came over the specialist and I recorded it on my phone as we were on that little volcanic island which is a quick ferry from the main island.
    Funny thing, on another island we run into Ray Vander Laan who takes people on faith tours. He was researching. He brings guests to sites and tells stories of the past using the bible. And we are over there directly connecting with the spirits of those times coming thru. Telling me I was with the right specialist for history, for spiritual and reaching the soul. Amazing.
    Santorini has a nice Starwood hotel if you go there.

    Gritti Palace Venice, really nice and traditional. Good stay.

    Alphonso is nice but not as nice as Gritti Palace.

    Tibet ? How do you get into Tibet with the Chinese government these days? Are the visas open again?


  30. @bob

    There is fact and there is perspective:)

    While I’m also interested in Ben’s points of view, some of which even changed my positions, I love his unambiguous records and that’s why this is one of my favorite sites.

    It seems Ben merely made mistake like that. For example, Yinchuan (INC) and Incheon (ICN) sound almost exactly the same for foreigners, and they have similar IATA codes. If Ben accidentally wrote he was flying from YVR to INC, kind blog readers would love to point that out, right? You still think this is *propaganda machine*?

    When I was a kid, I used to believed that Taiwan was a part of my country. Now I know it was nothing more than a propaganda machine like you said, because it is not true. Maybe it is time for you to reconsider whether your idea was generated from another propaganda machine.

    That’s why you’re welcome to visit Tibet, China.

    Chinese government requires foreign visitors get some documents before entry areas like Tibet. I believe it’s something like *Permits for foreign visitors to the border areas*, but not for sure. Please consult with local travel agencies.

    If I have visa issued by the United States, I don’t need to apply for Hawaiian visa, if there is Hawaiian visa, do I? 🙂

  31. You don’t have to go all the way to China to stay in a hotel that looks like a castle *and* earns Starpoints! Why the Sheraton in Framingham, Mass. is styled just like a Tudor castle. While there, you can also visit local attractions like Shopper’s World, and Jordan’s Furniture! http://www.sheratonframingham.com


  32. Agree with others – save your points and pay cash for Tambo. Great property, although I did get a mild case of food poisoning from the hotel breakfast buffet before we toured Machu Picchu. A very rough day.

    I loved Alfonso XIII. One of my favorite properties. Stellar service and beautiful suites. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts once you go.

  33. Get to Switzerland before the snow. W Verbier looks great and I know The Cambrian Adelboden is fantastic. You should rent a Porsche from Avis in Geneva and enjoy driving between them.

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