Belmond, formerly known as Orient-Express Hotels, operates luxury hotels, train services, and river cruises around the world. Belmond also has some of the most luxurious hotels across North America, South America, Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Europe. We review the best Belmond hotels in the world below.
Cheaper Belmond hotels can largely be found in South America. Some are very individual and boutique. Others are iconic beachfront palaces. Beyond South America and the depths of Asia, you will find the more expensive Belmond hotels, such as the Belmond Cipriani in Venice, which we love and costs around $2000 USD per night but is worth every penny. The Belmond Hotel Caruso is also based in Italy on the stunning Amalfi Coast. Suspended in a heavenly realm, somewhere between the sea and the sky, set into the cliff edge over the Mediterranean, the Belmond Hotel Caruso is also heaven on earth.
If you are based in the UK, the thoroughly British Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, Oxford, can be found in the English countryside. Another favorite of ours is Belmond Hotel Splendido in Portofino, a magical hotel if your budget will stretch to a night or two.
Belmond has even more boutique properties in Europe, which also include Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea, Taormina, Sicilia, Italy, Belmond Villa San Michele, Florence, Italy, Belmond Cadogan Hotel, London, Belmond Castello di Casole, Tuscany, Belmond La Residencia and Majorca, Isles Baleares, Spain, but there is a lack of Belmond hotels in North America, with Belmond Charleston Place, South Carolina, and Belmond El Encanto, Santa Barbara, California, United States being the only two Belmond hotels in the United States.
There are not yet any Belmond hotels in the other major cities in America, although I expect their brand to launch hotels in cities like New York, Miami, and Los Angeles, at some time in the future.
How about a loyalty scheme? Interestingly, although there is no guest loyalty scheme at Belmond, the Belmond Bellini Club is a travel agent loyalty scheme. The Bellini Club gives guests loyalty style benefits such as room upgrades, free breakfasts, offers, discounts and credit to spend in the bar, restaurant or spa. Crucially, you can benefit from all these extras whilst still booking the same rates as on the hotel’s website direct.
1. Belmond Hotel Cipriani in Venice
The location for George Clooney’s marriage, the Belmond Hotel Cipriani in Venice has to be one of the best Belmond hotels in the world. Nestled on the tip of Giudecca Island, the Belmond Hotel Cipriani is just 40 minutes by water taxi from Venice airport and a short boat ride across the water from St Mark’s Square. This exclusive hideaway under the Mediterranean sunshine also happens to enjoy dreamy views across Venice.
A highlight of the hotel is, of course, the pool. It is huge, surrounded by gardens and a bar & a restaurant open during the day and again later in the evening. The pool area is under the command of a lovely lady who will do her best to find you an ideal spot to while away your day poolside. Loungers are arranged by deck boys who will set up your sunbed with just the right amount of shade and provide as many Evian spritzers as you can use. Other than the size of this saltwater pool, what was noteworthy was the space around it. There were plenty of loungers available, and you could always find a little bit of peace and quiet if you wish.
The gardens at the Belmond Hotel Cipriani are beautiful. You can stroll underneath archways of roses and sweet-smelling white flowers, find a place on the lawns to laze, or stroll through the kitchen garden. Tennis players can play a game or two on the secluded clay court, whereas parents can shuffle children off to the kids club and enjoy the Spa and Wellness center. There’s wildlife too, the garden being home to a beautiful rabbit who helps the robot lawnmower keep the grass tended and a chicken and some friendly ducks too. It was fun at dusk to sit and watch them all go about their business.
We chose the Junior Suite Pool room (around €2,500 EUR per night in season), which was ideal for our little boy as it opened up to a patio that backed straight onto our reserved loungers at the pool. Meaning we could go for a dip without the indecency of having to trawl along corridors and down lifts in dressing gowns. The room was the epitome of classic elegance, adorned with handcrafted Murano Glass features, including a handsome blue chandelier that looked somewhat like an octopus. The marble floors were softened with Turkish silk rugs, and the bathroom was large, with a huge walk-in shower and a double basin sporting lovely-smelling designer Hermes amenities. The whole room felt fresh, light, and airy, a pleasure to call home for the duration of our stay.
Once the sun started to drop, the majority of residents ambled over to the pool bar to enjoy Bellinis. I can’t think of a more romantic setting than being served drinks overlooking the pool and the distant Venetian lagoon, with the piano playing in the background as the pink sky turned purple.
Breakfast was located at the Oro restaurant with the same mesmerizing views. The choice at breakfast was extensive and beautiful quality, lovely muesli, cheeses, cold meats, fresh bread and pastries, piles of fruit, and eggs however you like them. Belmond Heaven? We think the Cipriani has it all!
2. Belmond Hotel Splendido in Portofino
Belmond Hotel Splendido in Portofino on the Ligurian Coast, is housed in a beautifully restored former 16th-century monastery. It epitomizes Italian glamour and is one of the most romantic spots on the Italian Riviera.
Most of the elegantly furnished guestrooms and suites have stunning views of Portofino Bay. Relax by the heated seawater swimming pool, or enjoy an open-air massage in a secluded corner of the hotel’s tropical garden, then head to La Terrazza Restaurant for quintessential regional cuisine. Children love the Kids’ Club’s special activities.
3. Belmond Hotel Caruso
The Belmond Hotel Caruso has just 51 guestrooms and suites and an intimate ambience. Most rooms have a sea view, terrace, or private garden. Outside, the infinity swimming pool sits dramatically suspended between sea and sky.
Join the head gardener for a private tour of the terraced gardens, enjoy the complimentary boat cruise along the Amalfi Coast, then reserve a romantic candlelit dinner at the open-air Belvedere Restaurant.
4. Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons
Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons offers Michelin-star cuisine in the magnificent English countryside. The brainchild of celebrated Chef Raymond Blanc, this 32-room manor house in bucolic Oxfordshire has been a gastronomic destination for its guests for 35 years.
The grounds include a two-acre garden that provides vegetables and herbs for the heralded restaurant and The Raymond Blanc Cookery School and Gardening School. Take a half-day class or in-depth course; you can join the kitchen team for a day. A walk through the organic garden, clay shooting, and other pursuits are also easily arranged.
5. Belmond El Encanto
Belmond El Encanto is located in the hills above Santa Barbara, 1-2 miles from the center of Santa Barbara. It is still a 5-10 min drive to various shops and restaurants or to the beach. Sadly, it is a gorgeous hotel, but it’s not on the beach. The nearby Ritz-Carlton, Rosewood, and Four Seasons ARE on the beach and also feature in our best luxury hotels in Santa Barbara.
Belmond El Encanto has just 92 rooms and suites. Originally built in the 1920s, Belmond has restored this classic hotel to its present, lovely state. El Encanto’s eight acres are dotted with 31 magical bungalows, 11 built-in California Craftsman style, and 20 in Mission-style architecture. The resort’s central pools are heated to 85º year-round, and there is an excellent spa.
Being 500 feet above sea level, the resort offers sweeping ocean views down to Santa Barbara and beyond. Modern additions, including a zero-edge swimming pool and lavish spa, complement original architectural features. The resort is secluded but is close to the center of the action in Santa Barbara. A useful free shuttle service is provided within a 5-mile radius, so you don’t need to worry about parking, and electric bikes are offered to guests for free.
6. Belmond Cap Juluca, Anguilla
One of the closest Belmond hotels to America is the famous Belmond Cap Juluca. British West Indies, Anguilla in the Caribbean. Belmond Cap Juluca is a chic beachfront hideaway located along the intimate crescent and healing shores of Maundays Bay on the exclusive island of Anguilla in the British West Indies. This glamorous idyllic resort offers Belmond service and is considered to have the best beach in the Caribbean. Belmond Cap Juluca offers its discerning guests authentic island experiences such as local cuisine, romantic candlelight beach dining, and exhilarating ocean adventures.
7. Belmond Grand Hotel Europe, St Petersburg, Russia
St. Petersberg is a fantastic city to visit. It was the capital of the Empire of the Tzars for two centuries and remains the cultural capital of Eastern Europe. It boasts grand boulevards, historic squares, and iconic public art commemorating rulers, artists, poets, famous military victories, and heroic resistance.
There are numerous public buildings, theatres, and museums, but the jewel in the crown is undoubtedly the Hermitage Museum, Russia’s national gallery housed in the former Summer Palace of Catherine the Great. We visited in late February and enjoyed peaceful, almost private access to this monumental collection, which is on the scale of the Louvre or the Smithsonian.
The Belmond Grand Hotel Europe opened in 1875, one of the first luxury hotels in the world, hosting Rasputin, Romanov, and Tchaikovsky in their prime, it has been at the beating heart of this cultural superpower ever since.
Service standards are impeccable. Belmond’s trademark attention to detail is evident throughout, from the pillow menu of seven choices to delicately perfumed Bulgari toiletries and the most divine homemade chocolates. You will love the gym, the Carita Spa, and of course, the sumptuous buffet breakfast.
All categories of accommodation are spacious and comfortable and you enjoy twice-daily room service. The hotel team prides itself on anticipating guests’ needs where possible, and at times they do seem to have a sixth sense. A dedicated Butler service for the first-floor historic suites takes this to another level, unpacking suitcases, pressing garments without charge, and magically appearing to provide thoughtful advice on tailored activities and excursions. In this hotel, nothing is too much trouble.
The signature restaurant L’Europe is the oldest haute cuisine restaurant in Russia, an Art Nouveau masterpiece that has been the hub of the St. Petersberg social scene for generations. Under its spectacular stained glass window featuring the Greek god Apollo, the patron of travelers, L’Europe has hosted banquets for Igor Stravinsky, Queen Elizabeth II of England, and President Bill Clinton, yet retains the air of informality that inspired Sir Elton John to take to the stage and play an impromptu concert.
The hotel also offers St. Petersberg’s only dedicated Caviar restaurant under the watchful eye of Alexander Dimitriev, Maitre D, and vodka sommelier. Dimitriev and his team also boast a partnership with champagne house Dom Perignon, maintaining no less than thirty-five vodkas and their home-infused liqueurs. Their signature dish is “Egg in Egg” blending hen egg with sturgeons roe to create a truffle-flavored scrambled egg that is topped with Oscietra caviar.
Music is in the DNA of the Grand Hotel Europe, which is situated adjacent to the Arts Square and opposite the building of the Noble Assembly, home of the Philharmonic. Mindful that rehearsal space is always in short supply, the hotel’s Grande suites contain historic pianos enabling artists to prepare in their rooms. Distinguished guests included Strauss, Shostakovic, Stravinsky, and a veritable who’s who of classical music.
This musical legacy has tangible benefits for today’s guests. The concierge has privileged access to late tickets, including seats in the hotel’s own box at the Mariinksy Theatre. On Friday evenings, the L’Europe restaurant hosts a famous Tchaikovsky night.
Not surprisingly, the hotel is the established first choice for A-list celebrities visiting the town. The Lobby bar, with its stunning art nouveau interior, is open 24 hours for cocktails, drinks, and food. Don’t be surprised if you run into Richard Gere, Michael Douglas, or Leonardo DiCaprio.
In summary, Russia’s first-ever five-star hotel remains as relevant today as it ever was. St. Petersberg should be on every luxury traveler’s radar. It is a complete bargain and is one of the cheapest Belmond hotels in the world.
8. Belmond La Résidence d’Angkor, Siem Reap
The Asian-based Cambodian Belmond, the Belmond La Résidence d’Angkor is an intimate hotel. La Résidence d’Angkor sits by a tree-shaded river at the heart of Siem Reap. From here, getting to Angkor Wat and the great Tonle Sap lake is easy. The town’s colorful craft markets and lively cafe and bar quarter are also a short stroll away. Indulge in Royal Khmer cuisine or international dishes created by the Executive Chefs, or find peace in Kong Kea Spa, where the expert staff embraces ancient Cambodian healing arts.
The hotel sits in a tropical garden with a swimming pool and lotus ponds. After a day exploring Cambodia’s breathtaking temples, Belmond La Résidence d’Angkor, which underwent a six-month renovation in 2016, is the perfect home-from-home in this fascinating country.
9. Belmond Casa de Sierra Nevada, Guanajuato, Mexico
San Miguel de Allende sits at an altitude of 6,435 feet above sea level. Located in Central Mexico, it is easily reached from Mexico City, 171 miles away, or the nearby León Airport, which is 1 hour and 30 minutes from the hotel, or Queretaro Airport, just 1 hour from the hotel.
Situated close to the cathedral and main city square, the boutique hotel of Belmond Casa de Sierra Nevada is a mixture of 16th to 18th-century Spanish colonial buildings with 37 deluxe rooms and suites, distributed among four mansions and the Casa del Parque, a few minutes walk away.
Each of the rooms and suites has its own individual décor and is characterized by the furnishings, art and antiques, exquisite fabrics, and richly colored Talavera-tiled bathrooms that add a touch of charm. Many rooms have working fireplaces (some have two), others boast private terraces with outstanding views of San Miguel, and some have both a fireplace and terrace.
The Casa de Sierra Nevada’s restaurant Andanza is at the top of hotel dining establishments in Mexico, and the culinary choices on offer are as exceptional as the hotel itself. Andanza also offers a bar where the boleros of a local trio provide the perfect backdrop to indulge in a refreshing cocktail or aperitif before dinner. The Blue Bar extends onto the patio, where you can sip your drink of choice whilst soaking up the atmosphere of the town passing by.
On any given day, you can visit ranches, thermal baths, golf courses, and numerous historic sites. Those with a green thumb can stroll through Juarez Park, the Orchid Garden, or the Jardín Botánico, home to hundreds of species of succulents and cacti. For the culinary aficionado, no trip would be complete without a stop at the market to buy chilis, cacti, and fresh queso, followed by a cooking class with a local chef.
10. Belmond Reid’s Palace, Madeira
Belmond Reid’s Palace is another one of the best Belmond hotels in Europe. It is located on the Portuguese island of Madeira.
Its southerly location, towards the equator and below Europe, means that Madeira holds onto the last of the summer warmth long after the rest of Europe has cooled down. Belmond Reid’s Palace Palace opened its doors in 1891 by a Scots man Mr. William Reid. From the very beginning, Belmond Reid’s Palace became a milestone within the international luxury travel industry and an appealing destination for the savviest of travelers. Today after more than 120 years, this unique hotel continues to welcome and pamper the most discerning luxury travelers.
This living piece of history sprawls over 10 acres of sub-tropical gardens with more than 500 hundred different types of rare plants and flowers. Rooms and suites face the sea and gardens, offering gorgeous and unique views. All rooms have balconies, where a simple morning coffee or just a breath of fresh air to start your day is turned into an unforgettable moment.
Dining experiences start early in The Garden Room for breakfast or at the Pool Restaurant for lunch, where an extensive buffet offering a large variety of local organic food is offered. For dinner, the recently opened William Restaurant, led by Executive Chef Luis Pestana and supervised by the Michelin star chef Joachim Koerper, offers a creative approach to modern European food, creating incredible food. The elegant Dining room is the Lady of Belmond Reid’s restaurant, with drooping Murano Glass chandeliers complementing its Edwardian decoration. Afternoon Tea has always been an iconic event at Belmond Reid’s Palace, dating back to when the hotel first opened. Welcoming around 90 guests every day, the majority of which are customers who don’t stay at the hotel. Finally, Villa Cipriani is Belmond Reid’s informal Italian restaurant, perched on a clifftop, where Belmond Reid’s homemade pasta can be savored, to views over Ocean.
There are three pools, 2 of which are heated, plus one tidal pool, two tennis courts, snooker, dancing classes, and a wonderful spa with five treatment rooms, all with balconies overlooking the Ocean. Younger guests are welcome at Belmond Reid’s Palace, making this a great choice for families. Upon arrival, in their rooms, the little slippers and robe will make them feel just like Mummy and Daddy. They have their own private area with a pool and a wendy house, made to look like a traditional house from the island.
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