Over the last five years, I’ve been able to travel through 36 countries and stay at some stunning and unique hotels and hostels. A few have risen to the top and stand out as clear favorites in my mind. I wanted to share these 10 incredible hotels around the world that you should definitely visit in 2020.
Whether you’re traveling to Central America, Europe, Asia, or Africa, there’s something on this list for you! From nature lodges to Harry Potter themed rooms to unique cultural experiences, there’s a lot of amazing options. In most cases, I’ve included the instagrams of the hosts so you can see more photos at a glance.
A few of the links here are affiliate links, which means that I get a tiny commission for any room you book (at no extra cost to you). It’s a free way to help me cover my blog costs if you like Suitcase Six. All of the properties mentioned here are ones I’ve personally tried myself though so you can be assured I’m only recommending my absolute favorites.
Incredible Accommodations in Central America
Tree House Hotel
The Tree House Hotel is located in the jungles of Costa Rica, and a perfect spot for nature lovers. I spent two nights here in a room way too large for me, with two bunk beds and a bed of my own.
There are walking paths on the grounds so you can explore on your own, but my preferred way to take in the sights was drinking coffee on the balcony in the morning. Just tell the staff the night before and they’ll have a thermos sitting on your doorstep when you wake up.
If you want to explore the surrounding Costa Rica wilderness, there’s plenty to do! Book a tour through the Tree House Hotels and go for a hike, explore the food scene, or even hit the water park nearby!
Incredible Accommodations in Asia
Bananas Bungalows – Krabi, Thailand
On the beaches of Krabi, Thailand, lies Bananas Bungalows – another getaway nature-lovers can’t miss. Plus you can make this one work on a budget! I traveled with a friend and opted for our own bungalow which was a private room with an outdoor shower. (Don’t worry, it’s hot there all the time and you’ll be comfortable!) There are dorm rooms too for an even cheaper route.
The food is amazing if not slightly pricier than you might find outside the Banana Bungalows grounds, but it’s still an absolute steal and guaranteed to be delicious. We ate our fill of curries, pad Thais, soups, and fresh smoothies every meal for a week and didn’t cross the $100 threshold. Plus there’s a cool system where you can take whatever drinks you like from the fridge and record it in a notebook there, paying at the end of your stay for whatever you purchased.
If soaking in the solitude enjoying the sunset and private grounds isn’t your speed, you can rent a bike or kayak and explore the nearby mini-islands. This is definitely a romantic spot if that’s what you’re after, but it can be a wild spot for a group of friends too!
Kumagaiji Temple – Koyasan, Japan
About an hour south of Kyoto, Japan tucked away high in the Kyosan mountains lies a small town of Buddhist monks who’ve lived in the area for centuries. There are 117 temples there and 52 currently offer some form of accommodations, ranging from modest to luxurious. Some even include the popular ryokan spa
I visited this special town with my partner last October and we chose the Koyasan temple, which was one of the best experiences we’ve shared.
Our room was fairly basic with a comfortable floor futon mattress atop a tatami mat. There was also a small table with heating underneath and a blanket that hung from the edges. We’d never seen anything like it but we were totally unprepared for the cooler temperatures in the mountains and spent a luxurious morning napping with our legs under the heated blanket/table.
The temple offered traditional dinner and breakfast (Shojin Ryori – a Buddhist vegetarian meal) which included a lot of mini-courses of various dishes, taken seated alongside the other guests. We were able to witness a meditation ceremony and a fire ceremony during the morning before we left too, and though we didn’t understand the words being spoken, it was a very powerful experience.
The town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and its stunning to walk through and explore. I’d highly recommend a visit, whether you stay at the Kumagaiji Temple or another accommodation – though I can promise a comfortable and culturally unique experience if you visit our favorite spot!
Yurt in Mongolia
I took a 9 day tour through Mongolia last year with Sunpath Tours and most nights were spent in yurts throughout the Mongolian countryside. There were varying levels of luxury with a few even having lights and power strips to charge our electronic devices.
For the most part, however, the yurts were extremely basic accommodations. The beds were wooden with very, very thin mattresses set up around the outside of the yurt, and a wood-burning stove in the center for heat. Once the sun sets you typically must rely on a torch for lighting.
While it was far from the comfiest place I’ve stayed, it was still an unparalleled experience in the adventure department. Walking out of the yurt at night to hunt down the outhouse, or looking up to see an entire sky of stars so visible you could point out the Milky Way? Having a small horse enter our yurt when the door swung open to escape the wind outside? Once in a life time moments.
Doing a tour is the best way to get this experience as it’s difficult to know where to find a yurt on your own. Your tour guide will already know the families who own the yurts and part of your tour cost will go to your Mongolian hosts. Sunpath Tours was a top notch company and my entire crew loved the experience so I’d recommend checking them out!
Incredible Accommodations in Europe
Palace Hotel do Bussaco – Portugal
The best places are always a little difficult to get to, and the Palace Hotel do Bussaco is in keeping with that trend. (At least, we had a bit of a struggle – though we may have been the only ones). Located in Luso, Portugal, you’ll take the train and debark at a station whose sign was in disrepair when we visited in October 2017, which caused us to miss the stop.
When we finally debarked and caught a return train back to the right spot, we wandered around for 20 minutes before seeing anyone – literally anyone – and finally getting someone to help us find a taxi.
From there it was smooth sailing and our taxi took us to the grounds of the Palace Hotel do Bussaco, a former hunting palace of the King Charles I of Portugal. Our room was nice though nothing too crazy, though there are 4 suites which were likely much fancier.
The grounds (250 acres of woodlands first planted by Carmelite monks) and interior rooms of the palace were absolutely stunning. Don’t miss the dining room or the gardens outdoors.
We took tea in a sitting room with huge painted murals on the wall, walked through a garden maze, played cards in the woods on stone tables, and dined on sumptuous five course meals on a stunning balcony overlooking the property. Our party of two arrived very early to dinner and were given a choice of seats, ending up with what we believe were the best seats in the house!
The best part was though this was a pricier accommodation for us that trip, it really didn’t break the bank. I can’t imagine a palace room being close to this affordable in France or England, for example. If you’ve ever wanted to pretend you’re royalty and enjoy a taste of the finer things, then Palace Hotel do Bussaco is the place to stay.
Convento de São Saturnino – Portugal
The Convento Sao Saturnino property is also located in Portugal just north of Sintra. A former convent built in the 13th century, there are only 8 rooms or so between a few levels, with huge stone walls and rustic room keys that feel reminiscent of Harry Potter.
There’s a main hall is a cosy space with big book cases, whiskey, and leather chairs to lounge around if you fancy a cozy day inside. If the weather is nice, there’s a beautiful pool overlooking the winding, tree-lined roads to access the Convent.
It’s rather out of the way and difficult to access without your own transportation so it’s best to have a rental car or plan to stay on site for a couple days. Meals are offered in a group setting so there’s really no need to leave though! We met some wonderful people during our six-person dinner in their high-ceiling dining room with whom we ended exploring Sintra the next day. The historic city of Sintra is an easy day trip away if you do feel like exploring.
Georgian House – London, England
Harry Potter fans rejoice – there’s a magical place in London waiting for you! The Georgian House is a boutique hotel with several Harry Potter themed rooms. These rooms are lovingly referred to as the Wizard Chambers. I stayed with two friends for a night and we, being enormous Harry Potter fans, were absolutely blown away by all of the touches.
Our room came with three giant, four-post beds with crimson curtains that provided a luxurious sleep. Robes and slippers were also provided for everyone so we could lounge around after showering in comfort.
You can request any of the Harry Potter movies from reception to watch (which we fell asleep to) and we even found a personalized note on our room’s desk, the equivalent of our Hogwarts acceptance letter, that was written on scroll paper.
The decorations throughout the room were spot on, looking straight out of a Hogwarts common room. The best touch was the special Harry Potter themed breakfast in the dining room the next day – I don’t want to spoil the surprise but it’s not to be missed!
The hotel is in a very nice neighborhood that’s just a tube ride away from central London, making the Georgian House the perfect base for your Harry Potter adventure.
Incredible Accommodations in Africa
Merzouga Desert Luxury Camp – Morocco
Similar to the yurt in Mongolia, the luxury camp in Merzouga was a once in a lifetime sort of experience (although far fancier). Our tent had high ceilings and a bathroom inside (amazing during the night!!) plus a twin and queen bed that had actual mattresses to afford you a great night sleep.
Although the sandstorm during the night was so loud I was afraid the tent would collapse, it held strong keeping (most of) the sand out the room entirely.
Breakfast and dinner were served in a larger dining tent across the property and came with enormous portions of all that we ordered, plus of appetizer dishes in nine mini-tagines.
Beyond the luxury of the camp, the staff were wonderful. They carried our bags to and from the cars, made sure we had plenty of water and were comfortable, and even helped me track down my phone which fell out of my pocket in the Sahara Desert during our previous days’ adventure. I wrote an entire post all about that crazy two-day process.
Hotel & Spa Dar Bensouda – Fez, Morocco
If you’re familiar with Moroccan culture you’ll know that Riads are a common form of accommodation for travelers. We stayed in one in Fez, Hotel & Spa Dar Bensouda, and were shocked by how stunning the architecture was and how great the staff were!
We got the king suite for a night, which was two stories with a gorgeous bathroom, huge king bed, and it’s own little living room. With a rooftop to lounge around, breakfast and dinner at the Riad restaurant, open-air sitting areas, and a spa with nearly any service you could want, I wouldn’t blame you if you never left the property.
If you do want to leave, the hotel staff can help you navigate the crazy, winding roads of the Fez medina and connect you with great tour guides who will show you all of the city’s secrets. The staff here were also a part of the debacle in getting my phone back to me after I lost it in the desert so there’s a special spot in my heart for this gorgeous place.
Nile Smile – Jinja, Uganda
This is the only AirBnB on my list but it’s absolutely deserving. Tucked away across the river from Jinja Town, Uganda, this airbnb boasts some of the most incredible views I’ve ever seen from an accommodation. Walking outside the house you’re greeted by a beautiful blue pool and tropical palm trees and plants, and just beyond, the Nile River in all it’s glory.
The property has a patio with a table for breakfast and a hammock. I passed one morning sipping coffee from the patio while watching a family of some 14 red-tailed monkeys swinging gleefully through the trees, less than 10 feet away at many points.
The airbnb itself is two stories, with two twin beds in the loft up top and a queen bed in a room below, all equipped with great mosquito nets. There’s a small kitchen with a gas stove and a kettle if you feel like cooking. Otherwise, you can call the boda boda drivers provided on a list by the property owner, Ingrid, and take a ride into town for a choice of affordable dining options.
The house was great, but this is really a place for nature lovers. Where else can you watch the sun rise over the Nile River from a pool with baby monkeys trying to steal your snacks? No where that I’ve found!
I hope you enjoyed this list and found some inspiration from these incredible hotels around the world for your 2020 travels. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about these spots!
If you want to read some of my posts on the destinations mentioned, check out some of these top posts: