Raffles Hotel, Singapore
Squint a little and it’s easy to imagine how the all-suite Raffles must once have felt when the sea lapped up along its promenade, and Noël Coward and Somerset Maugham sat in the lobby bar tossing back Singapore Slings beneath the lazily twirling fans. The beach has long since been paved over, but thanks to sensitive renovations, the hotel still retains an old-world gravitas (only with added comforts like Wi-Fi, DVD players, and a 24-hour butler service). The 103 colonial-themed suites, set in cloister-like buildings with breezy verandas, surround sweeping private lawns; all have 14-foot ceilings and are outfitted with carved Peranakan furniture, Oriental rugs spread over polished teak floors, rich brocade fabrics, and baths stocked with Fragonard products. Though celebrating its 125th birthday in 2012, the hotel is still a magnet for A-listers (Elizabeth Taylor, Diane von Furstenberg, and Barry Diller have all stayed here). And the bar still mixes a mean Singapore Sling.