LBSI score: 8.2
The Leading Hotels of the World, based in New York, represents more than 450 top hotels, resorts and spas, including the Hotel Bel-Air in Beverly Hills and the Hospes Lancaster in Paris. "These are larger-scale hotels, but they are definitely not considered 'cookie cutter,'" Pedraza said. "Rather, their locations are highly differentiated. The properties also blend beautifully into their local environments." An example is the Royal Myconian Resort Thalasso Spa (left), which is set high on a cliff and overlooks a secluded bay and its own private sandy beach in Mykonos, Greece. The property offers facilities that include a Spa Center, as well as indoor and outdoor pools. Guest rooms and suites come with private pools and spas.
7. MANDARIN ORIENTAL HOTEL GROUP
LBSI score: 8.18
This Hong Kong-based brand operates, or has under development, properties in 23 countries — with 16 hotels in Asia, 14 in the Americas and nine in Europe and North Africa. The portfolio includes the original flagship properties: the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong and The Oriental in Bangkok. The Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya (left), which opened this year, features 128 guest rooms within a series of villas across 36 acres of tropical forests along Mexico's Caribbean coast. The property also has a 25,000-square-foot spa and seven restaurants and bars. "The growth strategy of our group is to successfully operate 10,000 rooms in major business centers and key leisure destinations around the world, [and we are] continuing to expand our presence globally," the company said.
8. WALDORF-ASTORIA COLLECTION
LBSI score: 8.14
Few people may know that the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, the famed Park Avenue flagship of the Waldorf-Astoria Collection, originally stood at the current location of the Empire State Building at Fifth Avenue and 34th Street. The modern hotel (left), done in Art Deco style, opened in 1931 and has three American and classic European restaurants, along with a beauty parlor located off the main lobby. Specialty boutiques surround the lobby, which has won awards for its restoration to the original period character. The chain of upscale hotels includes The Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix, the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa in Maui and La Quinta Resort & Club in Southern California.