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The World's Most Picturesque Hotels: 5 of the very finest

Sunset Hotel View

When it comes to selecting a place to stay during your travels, the ambiance, scenery, and uniqueness of a hotel can transform a simple vacation into an unforgettable journey. Among the myriad of lodging options worldwide, a few stand out not just for their exceptional service and luxury, but also for their jaw-dropping settings. These incredible hotels, nestled in unique locations, offer more than a comfortable stay—they promise an immersive experience into the world's beauty and elegance. Here are five of the most picturesque hotels that define the essence of scenic luxury.

1. The Giraffe Manor, Nairobi, Kenya

Nestled within the lush landscapes of Nairobi, Giraffe Manor is a boutique hotel that seems to have leaped out of a storybook. Famous for its resident herd of Rothschild giraffes, this hotel allows guests to interact with these majestic creatures, often joining you for breakfast by poking their long necks through the windows. The hotel's 1930s manor house exudes a classic elegance, set against the backdrop of an indigenous forest. Its colonial architecture, combined with the giraffes' graceful presence, makes it a truly picturesque setting.

Giraffe at BreakfastImage source: The Safari Collection 

A serene morning at Giraffe Manor with giraffes peering into the breakfast room, their heads gracefully extending into a sunlit space adorned with vintage furnishings.

2. Hotel Ristorante Grotta Palazzese, Polignano a Mare, Italy

Perched atop a cliff in the charming town of Polignano a Mare, Hotel Ristorante Grotta Palazzese offers a dining experience like no other. Carved out of magnificent limestone rocks, with a view of the Adriatic Sea, this hotel boasts one of the most romantic and awe-inspiring settings. The blend of natural beauty, historical architecture, and the mesmerizing blue sea creates a picturesque ambiance that's unparalleled.

Grotta-Palazzese_terraazza_496-1900x1260Image source: Hotel Grotta Palazzese 

The enchanting view from Hotel Ristorante Grotta Palazzese, showcasing the dining area set within a cave, overlooking the azure waters of the Adriatic Sea under a twilight sky.

3. The Manta Resort, Pemba Island, Zanzibar

The Manta Resort on Pemba Island offers an extraordinary Underwater Room, anchoring it as one of the most incredible hotels in the world. This floating structure provides a private island experience with a bedroom submerged four meters beneath the ocean's surface. Surrounded by panes of glass, guests can watch the vibrant marine life. By night, underwater spotlights attract octopuses and rare fish, making it a mesmerizing aquatic adventure.

2f5f0f7996ce9baa4c_Above-and-under-water-2Image source: Kwanini, The Manta Resort 

The Underwater Room at The Manta Resort, a serene and unique lodging experience with clear views of the surrounding coral reef and marine life from a cozy, submerged bedroom.

4. Montaña Mágica Lodge, Huilo Huilo Reserve, Chile

Deep within the Andean rainforest, the Montaña Mágica Lodge erupts like a volcano of life, with water spouting from its peak and lush vegetation adorning its sides. This eco-lodge, shaped like a mountain, is truly a testament to imaginative architecture blending seamlessly with nature. Offering an array of outdoor activities within the Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve, it's a haven for adventure and relaxation alike, making it a picturesque retreat for nature lovers.

Screen Shot 2024-02-06 at 1.23.56 PMImage source: Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve 

The Montaña Mágica Lodge, a fairy-tale-like hotel with a waterfall cascading down its sides, nestled amidst the dense greenery of the Andean rainforest.

5. Icehotel, Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

The Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi is a marvel of ice and snow architecture, rebuilt every winter using ice from the nearby Torne River. This ephemeral hotel offers guests a chance to sleep in artfully crafted ice rooms, surrounded by stunning ice sculptures and illuminated by ethereal northern lights. The contrast of the icy interior against the dark, snowy landscapes outside creates a surreal and picturesque winter wonderland.

icehotel-art-suite-the-living-oceanImage source: Asaf Kilger / ICEHOTEL 

The magical interior of the Icehotel, with rooms carved out of ice, featuring intricate sculptures and soft, ambient lighting, encapsulating the beauty of a Nordic winter night.

These incredible hotels offer more than just a place to stay; they provide an experience that is as visually stunning as it is luxurious (and you can find a few more here and here!). From the unique interaction with wildlife at Giraffe Manor to the underwater wonders at The Manta Resort, each hotel brings a piece of paradise to life, making them truly some of the world's most picturesque hotels. Whether it's the allure of dining in a seaside grotto, embracing the tranquility of a rainforest, or marveling at the craftsmanship of an ice hotel, these destinations promise unforgettable memories and breathtaking views.