Beyond the Stars: Curated Luxury for Discerning Travelers

Palm Beach pleasures at summer destinations like Nantucket and the Hamptons

Not all Stars are Guiding Lights……

You booked your stay at a five-star hotel. A luxury experience guaranteed. But is it really five-stars?

Did you know that star qualifications are given by different organizations in each country and are not tethered to any standard criteria?

Moreover, luxury is inherently subjective—what one person sees as decadence, another might view as a trivial detail, raising the question of how star ratings can genuinely guide anyone toward a luxury experience.

Through total transparency, Altima Caviar has transformed the way we explore and experience caviar. With this same dedication, we bring our principles to the luxury travel experience, and present this roundup of hotel qualifiers that transcend traditional star ratings to curate experiences that align with your definition of five-star luxury.

Auberge Resort Collection

One-of-a-kind experiences in extraordinary destinations

Think rustic elegance in the heart of Napa Valley or an ultra-luxe mountain lodge in Aspen. Designed to blend seamlessly with their natural surroundings, Auberge Resort Collection properties fuse destination authenticity with elevated comforts and exceptional service.

-Unique Designs & Extraordinary Locations: Architectural designs that blend seamlessly with natural surroundings, often in remote, stunning locales.
-Cultural Immersion: Activities that deeply connect guests with local traditions, arts, and nature.
-Tailored Guest Experiences: Personalized services such as curated itineraries, private dining setups, and individualized wellness programs designed to meet the unique preferences of each guest.

Ideal for:
The discerning traveler who loves authentic maybe even rustic charm paired with high-end pampering.

Properties in North America, the Caribbean, and Europe.

To Name a Few:
Auberge du Soleil, Rutherford, CA. | Calistoga Ranch, Napa Valley, CA. | Hotel Jerome, Aspen, CO. (pictured) | Nanuku, Fiji 

Website: Auberges Resort Collection

Design Hotels

Where destination meets design

Design Hotels offer a unique blend of artistic integration, innovative technology, and modern design, creating an aesthetic and experiential journey where every element is meticulously curated for a unique and immersive stay.

-Contemporary Architecture & Innovative Design: Unique, modern spaces that enhance comfort and style.
-Creative & Cultural Focus: Emphasis on creativity, aesthetics, and deep local connections.
-Smart Luxury: Advanced technology integrated with personalized service, featuring smart rooms, digital art, and seamless connectivity tailored to guest preferences.

Ideal for:
Art enthusiasts, design aficionados, and travelers who value innovative and cutting edge amenities.

Properties in major cities and cultural hubs worldwide, including Europe, Asia, the Americas, and Australia.

To Name a Few:
Parilio, Paros, GR. |  Nobis Hotel Palma, Mallorca, ES. (pictured) | Hotel 850 SVB, Los Angeles, CA.

Website: Design Hotels

Kiwi Collections

Exceptional hotels curated for you
Crystal and Jaret at Hamptons Blue One Boutique

A discerning selection of the world’s most exceptional hotels and resorts, each vetted for unparalleled quality and personalized luxury. With Kiwi Collections, guests are guaranteed a top-tier experience no matter where you go.

-Exclusive Lineup: Expertly picked hotels delivering unmatched quality.
-Bespoke Experiences: Private tours, authentic adventures, gourmet experiences.
-Diverse Selection: Catering to a wide range of tastes, from boutique hotels to grand resorts.

Ideal for:
Travelers with the highest standards, who prioritize unparalleled service and exclusive, tailored experiences.

Of note:
-A personal favorite for its user-friendly interface, detailed Kiwi ratings, and excellent search-ability.
-Kiwi Collection is also a travel specialist. We have not used their (complimentary) travel booking services.  This review focuses exclusively on Kiwi’s exceptional hotel curation, presentation, and recommendations.

Properties in top destinations worldwide. Kiwi Destination Map

To Name A Few: (incl. Kiwi rating/10): Villa d’Este, Cernobbio, IT (9.4) | Le Sereno, Șt. Barthelemy (8.7) (pictured) |  St. Regis, Aspen, CO. (9.0)

Website: Kiwi Collection

Leading Hotels of the World

Uncommon experiences for the curious traveler

Where heritage meets modern luxury. From historic palaces in Europe to cutting-edge design hotels in Asia, Leading Hotels of the World (LHW) presents an extensive portfolio of independent boutique hotels that are “anti-chain, anti-same,” and renowned for their storied elegance, timeless luxury, and top notch service. 

-Historic Significance: Iconic landmarks with rich histories.
-Unmatched Luxury: Top-tier service, exquisite decor, and exceptional amenities.
-Exclusive Experiences: Unique offerings such as private tours and cultural events.

Ideal for:
Travelers who appreciate historic charm, refined elegance, and top-tier service.

Properties in over 80 countries worldwide. Explore Destination Map.

To Name a Few:
The Brazilian Court, Palm Beach, FL. | Beau Rivage, Geneva, CH. | La Mamounia, Marrakech, MA. (pictured)

Website: Leading Hotels of the World 

Diego Binetti in his Palm Beach sister boutique

Originals Relais

Feel like a local
Diego Binetti in his Palm Beach sister boutique

The Originals Relais Portfolio, officially known as The Originals, Human Hotels & Resorts, is founded on two core beliefs:

#1. Every anonymous hotel is driven by a dedicated hotelier; every city harbors a distinctive neighborhood vibe, and at the heart of every exceptional experience, there resides a personal human touch.

#2. Each location harbors unique discoveries, experiences, and stories to share.

From luxurious historic manors to modern eco-lodges that are accessible and, in some cases, affordable, each Original Relais property strives to immerse guests in local life and culture through personalized experiences.

-Authentic Properties: Unique and individual charm.
-Cultural Immersion: Reflects local culture and environment.

Ideal for: Travelers who value authenticity and a personal touch with an intimate feel and more accessible price point.

Destinations: Properties across Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas

To Name a Few:
Chateaux De La Falque, Saint-Geniez-d’Olt, FR. (pictured) | Moulin de Daverdisse, Daverdisse, BE.

Website: The Originals Relais

Preferred Hotels & Resorts

Discover your inspiration

A curated collection of independently owned hotels, each offering distinctive accommodations brimming with character and charm. Preferred Hotels & Resorts cater to diverse tastes and preferences, ensuring the perfect fit for anyone whose concept of luxury is founded in unique and exceptional venues that stand apart from the usual hotel chains but are not necessarily “boutique.”

-Diverse Portfolio: Luxury accommodations from city hotels to exotic resorts.
-Personalized Service: Independent properties with unique charm and individualized experiences.
-Quality Assurance: Annual inspections ensure adherence to Preferred Standards of Excellence.
-Unique Experiences: Properties reflecting individuality and charm.

Ideal for: 
Travelers who value variety, individuality, and personalized luxury.

650 properties in 85 countries. Global Directory.

To Name a Few:
The Beaumont, London, UK.| Hay-Adams Hotel, Washington, D.C. | Finca Cortesin Hotel Golf & Spa, Casares, ES. (pictured)

Website: Preferred Hotels & Resorts

Summer in Palm Beach wearing  Lauren Layne swim

Relais & Chateaux

Creating a better world through cuisine and hospitality
Diego Binetti in his Palm Beach sister boutique

Each property within this prestigious collection offers a unique blend of exquisite accommodations, world-class gastronomy, and personalized service. From French countryside châteaux to boutique ocean cliff inns, every Relais & Châteaux property provides luxurious amenities and immersive experiences, celebrating culinary artistry and offering bespoke, personalized touches.

-Unique Properties: Distinctive character and charm, ensuring no two stays are alike.
-Cultural & Culinary Immersion: Local culture and gourmet dining, often with Michelin-starred chefs.
Exceptional & Integrated Experience: Seamlessly blending breathtaking settings, personalized service, and luxurious amenities for an authentic and enriching atmosphere.

Ideal for:
Luxury seekers who crave impeccable service, epicurean excellence, and exclusive, culturally immersive experiences.

Properties in over 60 countries worldwide

To Name a Few:
Hotel Le Toiny, St. Barthelemy, FWI. | Il San Pietro di Positano, Positano, IT. (pictured) | The Little Nell, Aspen, CO.:

Website: Relais & Châteaux

Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLHW)

Independently minded

Perfect for the discerning boutique hotel aficionado, Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) curates the finest small, independent hotels, offering personalized service and an intimate atmosphere. These hotels tailor their services to your preferences, from arranging private yachts to remembering your morning coffee. It’s all in the details at SLH hotels.

-Meticulous Attention to Detail: Focused on individual preferences.
-Intimate Atmosphere: Small, independent hotels offering exclusivity.
-Exclusive Experiences: Unique and memorable stays, characterized by personalized touches and exceptional attention to detail.

Ideal for:
Travelers who appreciate intimate properties, premium meticulously detailed service, and one-of-a-kind luxury.

Properties in over 80 countries worldwide.

To Name a Few:
Cap Rocat, Mallorca, ES. (pictured) | The Ampersand Hotel, London, UK. |San Canzian Hotel & Residences, Buje, HR.

Website: Small Luxury Hotels of the World

Diego Binetti in his Palm Beach sister boutique

Tablet Collections

Stay original, stay inspired
Diego Binetti in his Palm Beach sister boutique

Another perfect pick for boutique lovers, Tablet Collection properties offer an intimate setting, innovative design, and exceptional service. From sleek modern retreats to charming historic inns, the Tablet Collection experience consistently maintains a high standard of excellence while celebrating the unique character of each property.

-Curated Selection & Innovative Design: Handpicked boutique properties featuring exceptional and cutting-edge aesthetics.
-Distinctive Atmosphere: Hotels that offer a memorable and unique character.
-Tailored Hospitality: High standards of personalized service and crafting bespoke experiences.

Ideal For:
Travelers who seek carefully curated boutique hotels with unique design, impeccable service, and authentic, locally-inspired experiences.

Properties in major cities and unique destinations worldwide.

To Name a Few:
Terme di Vulci Glamping & Spa, Viterbo, IT. | Hotel Fouquet’s Barrière, New York City, NY. |Hotel Quadrifodio, Cartagena, CO.

Of note:
Tablet Hotels is now part of the Michelin Guide.

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