Luxe Brands That Deliver

In a world where luxury is more of a catchphrase than something with real meaning, let us lead you unto five hotel companies that truly personify the term.
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Haute Hotels: The lap of luxury (PhotoDisc)

Lest you think that all luxury hotels and resorts are created equal, what follows is a primer of sorts to help tease out the differences among these palaces of pamper. In traveling throughout North America, these top five brand names never disappoint: Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, Mandarin Oriental, Fairmont, and W Hotels.

Its flagships are in Hong Kong and Bangkok, but Hong Kong-based Mandarin Oriental brings its epitome of grace to the western hemisphere. Mandarin Oriental hotels are consistently ranked at the top of "world's-best" lists of luxury accommodations, and with good reason. Each hotel displays its own personality reflective of its location—from dolphin lagoons in their hideaway Honolulu property, to an urban but tranquil waterfront location in Miami, to digs within the Time Warner Center just steps from Central Park in New York—coupled by classical simplicity, visual elegance, and a demure charm. Expect luscious bedding and exceptional spas (where you book by time rather than the treatment).

Four Seasons , some say, is the gold standard by which other luxury properties measure themselves. From pampering pets and kids to housing four-star dining, these classy high priestesses of hostelry define the art of first-class service. From spacious quarters to contemporary, beautiful décor reflective of the locale (think Maui tropical or Miami sleek), Four Seasons excels in delivering quality for your coinage. Look for exceptional Four Seasons properties in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Palm Beach, the Big Island of Hawaii, Maui, Boston, Chicago, and Las Vegas.

Published: 3 May 2005 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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