It's relatively easy to create a nice hotel – spare but quality furnishings, comfy beds, better than chain restaurant dining – but elevating things to excellent takes talent and consistent hard work. For a hotel to be truly luxurious, every detail has to be accounted for day in and day out, and every minutely possible inconvenience is predicted and banished before it can even befoul a customer's experience.
We pulled together the 10 hotels around the globe that offer the most superlative service and lodgings. Paying for a suite is your problem.
Burj Al Arab (Dubai, UAE)
Possibly the most architecturally distinct building in the world, Dubai's flagship hotel, built in 1999, is a symphony of exclusivity (it is often called the world's only seven-star hotel). It occupies a man-made island just off Jumeirah beach, accessible only by a gracefully curved bridge, all of its lushly appointed 202 rooms are house-sized duplex suites (the smallest is more than 1,800 square feet), and airport pickup comes via Rolls Royce or helicopter to the signature heliport on the roof – now a go-to spot for global publicity stunts (see: Agassi-Federer tennis match or F1 stud David Coulthard doing donuts). [From $1,836/night; jumeirah.com]
Credit: Chris Cypert / Jumeirah