Jetset Awards: Jetset Christina’s Top 10 Resorts of 2018

Ok Jetsetters, I don’t know about you but as the year winds down, I’m getting super excited about what exciting travels 2019 will bring.

I’m constantly looking up Black Friday travel deals, figuring out which hotel booking sites are having sales during Cyber Monday (blog post on the best sales out there coming soon!), and scouring the internet for cheap flights for 2019. Because, you know what?

The weather’s getting colder, our Summer tans have faded, and our bikini drawers are gathering dust….  and you know what that means.

IT’S VACATION PLANNING TIME.

Over this past year, I’ve been so incredibly lucky to be able to experience some of the most beautiful resorts in the world, but these ones on this list… these are a cut above the rest.

These, my Jetset Fam, are the best of the best Every year, at the end of the year, I’m going to do be doing a list like this, which you can think of as basically my Jetset Awards™ for the hotels that blew me away this year.

These are the top resorts I think should be at the very top of your travel bucket lists for the new year.  

Drumroll, please….

1. Six Senses Laamu, Maldives

My trip to the Maldives was hands down my favorite trip of all time (so far!!!), which is why literally ALL THREE RESORTS I stayed in made this list. But, Six Senses you guys. Holy cow. This resort might just be the best hotel in the world.

Why it gets a Jetset Award™:

Aside from being a fabulous, picture-perfect world-class luxury five star resort in paradise, Six Senses is so much more. It set the standard for every other luxury resort. They are leaders and trailblazers in sustainability practices, and are leading the path for eco-luxury for the entire hospitality industry worldwide, striving to be a completely sustainable resort. You can feel good about vacationing at the Six Senses Laamu – their love for their island and our world is contagious and something you will take with you long after you’ve gone home.

The resort’s mission and values focus on protecting paradise and benefitting the communities and ecosystems around them. Their sustainability manager, Megan, is wonderful and leads popular tours of the “back house” of the resort, where you can see everything from their desalination tanks that provide drinkable water derived from the sea for the entire island, to how the island creates its own energy to run the resort. She’ll tell you how all soaps, shampoos, etc, used at the resort meet the highest standards of biodegradability, and are all all-natural and non-toxic.  The resort is also striving to be completely plastic-free by 2022, and they use zero plastic bags, straws, or even plastic toothbrushes, on their island. They’ll find a sustainable way to do everything, such as creating bamboo straws and toothbrushes, and only using glass bottles throughout the resort (did you know that glass comes from sand, and thus can be recycled into sand infinity times?). The Six Senses even has their own gardens, filled with vegetables and herbs used in their restaurants, and have a food waste composter that uses the food waste from the resort to help fertilize said garden.

Obviously, anywhere you go in the Maldives is going to be breathtakingly beautiful, but Six Senses is another level of luxury. 

2. Hotel Santa Caterina, Amalfi Coast

With five-star service and food, the ultimate exclusivity, and a drop-dead-gorgeous setting on the Mediterranean sea, Santa Caterina makes the perfect resort for a trip to the Amalfi Coast. You’ll wake up to Italian coffee on your beautiful balcony overlooking the water, head to a decadent buffet breakfast, and enjoy a few bellinis at their private seaside beach club (accessible via elevator). This romantic spot screams Italy honeymoon goals, but it’s great for families as well. 

Why it gets a Jetset Award™

The Santa Caterina is one of the most unique and magical places I’ve ever stayed, and is everything you’re looking for in the perfect trip to Italy. Even though there is so much to see in the Amalfi Coast, I loved it so much I never wanted to leave the beach club!

 

3. Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona

The Mandarin Oriental in Barcelona was such a wonderful surprise! I have to admit I pretty much only booked this hotel for the pool.  I mean do you blame me? This is hands down the best rooftop pool in Barcelona. And we all know even when I’m in a beautiful city, I may or may not spend all day at the pool 😂. But, aside from the gorgeous rooftop pool (and their to-die-for poolside cocktails), this hotel was incredible in every way. I loved the lcoation, I loved the spacious, plush, modern-chic rooms, which made for the perfect oasis away from long days walking the city, I loved the restaurant, and I loved the world-class service.

Why it gets a Jetset Award™

When booking a city hotel in Europe, my expectations are usually pretty standard. Does it have a good location? Can I walk to all the sights I want to see? Decent breakfast? Good bed? But Mandarin Oriental was so much more than that. The food was SO GOOD. The breakfast buffet was quite possibly the best I’ve ever had (there were tables on tables of fresh fruits, mimosas, jamon, quesos, charcuterie, AND EVEN fresh churros with hot, gooey chocolate for dipping, yall, it was a dream). The location was IDEAL, and the rooms were just beautiful, with gorgeous city views of Barcelona’s unique architecture. It was a perfect hotel to base from in Barcelona.

4. Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives

Started by the same people who started the Six Senses, Gili Lankanfushi has many of the same eco-luxe principles and values embedded into its beautiful resort. The overwater bungalows here were DREAMY.  You’ll want to spend all day laying out on your hammock over the water. Some of the villas – called the “cruisers” give you an even more unique experience as they are only accessible by boat (you can boat yourself during the day or there is always one on call for you!). And, if you want the best of the best, or have a big family, you can look into the biggest overwater bungalow in the Maldives, called “The Private Reserve”, which is complete with four bedrooms, its own infinity pool, its own private ISLAND, and a slide into the ocean.

Why it gets a Jetset Award™

The food was a huge highlight of this resort for me. The destination dining options are so amazing (you can dine privately in gorgeous settings all over the island), and Gili does an incredible asian street market buffet every Tuesday, and a to-die-for Mediterranean market buffet on Fridays, on all other days they have multiple restaurants open, including a fresh sushi restaurant called By the Sea.

I also loved the sunset Dhoani cruise (a traditional 2-person Maldivian sailboat that cruises around the lagoons at sunset with a bottle of champagne – so romantic for honeymooners!).  The beaches were so breathtaking – and the water was a brighter blue than I had ever seen! It also was quite possibly my favorite spa of all time – their massage tables look over glass-bottom floors so you can watch the fish swim while you’re getting massaged! Such a dream.

5. Four Seasons Sayan, Bali

The Four Seasons Ubud was recently ranked by Travel & Leisure as the #1 Luxury Resort in the WORLD, and I was so excited to stay there this Spring. This beautiful Bali resort in Ubud blends together unworldly natural beauty, luxurious modern amenities, and the unique cultural essence of Bali.

Why it gets a Jetset Award™

They have traditional Bali dancers performing in the lobby on some nights, and

6. Belmond El Caruso, Italy

Ravello is a perfect location for a romantic getaway – and  The Belmond Hotel Caruso is the ultimate place to soak up everything the Italian town, and the Amalfi Coast, has to offer. Not to mention it has one of the most beautiful infinity pools in the world!!! This place was EPIC, yall. I loved every second of it.

Why it gets a Jetset Award™

Ravello, Italy is one of my favorite places in the WORLD. While Positano and many areas of the Amalfi Coast are busy and bustling in the summertime, this romantic gem of the Amalfi Coast remains charming, relaxing, and secluded. Ravello is a tiny town tucked 1000 feet up into the cliffs of Italy, with panoramic views of the Amalfi Coast, gorgeous classic Italian hotels like the Belmond, and an adorable town full of delicious Italian restaurants and enotecas (wine bars!!).

7. Kandolhu, Maldives

Kandolhu is an adults-only paradise in The Maldives. The resort is only accessible via seaplane (the most beautiful flight you’ll ever take) and each of the villas are gorgeous (the beach villas are just as beautiful as the overwater bungalows!) It’s also great for those who love to snorkel – one of our favorite things about Kandolhu was their unbelievable house reef. Circling the island is a huge reef home to so many tropical fish, (friendly) sharks, turtles and sting rays.

Why it gets a Jetset Award™

I MEAN LOOK AT THIS PLACE!!!! With only 30 villas, this Maldives resort really feels like your very own private island and it is so dreamy. Kandolhu also offers an all-inclusive (including alcohol) package called “Ultimate Inclusions” which I definitely recommend doing. There’s a huuuuge wine fridge in your room, liquor bottles, and delicious cocktails at the main bar available all day and night.

8. The Ayana Resort, Bali

If you’re looking for the best places to stay in Bali, put this one at the top of the list. This beautiful tropical resort is in a prime location (in Jimbaran, just about 20-30 mins away from Uluwatu), the coastal views are stunning, their house bar (Rock Bar) is consistently ranked as one of the most beautiful bars in the world, and the pools are so, SO instagram-worthy.

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Back in Bali 💕 #JetLagChristina

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Why it gets a Jetset Award™

Relaxed tropical resort vibes in one of the most beautiful corners of Bali. Oh and it has one of my very favorite restaurants in all of Bali – the Mexican restaurant at Rimba at Ayana (A section of the resort you can choose to stay in or its accessible via their resort shuttle!)

9. The Legian Bali

Overlooking the shores of Seminyak (which is an area on most of my recs for best places to go in Bali) is one of the most unique, exclusive resorts in all of Bali. The Legian Bali is Balinese laid-back luxury at its finest. With its understated elegance, emphasis on service, and traditional Balinese design, there is nowhere I would rather stay in Seminyak, and I keep coming back to this resort year after year!!!

Why it gets a Jetset Award™

It’s one of my favorite hotels of all-time. Not just this year. The Legian is classic luxury, with a uniquely Bali traditional touch. I love waking up to the sound of the waves, throwing on my Balinese robe, and sipping coffee on the balcony before heading to the infinity pools and beachside day beds for literally the whole day. It’s in a great location if you want to explore the hustle and bustle of Seminyak, but it’s also an incredible oasis if you want to do nothing but sit back and soak up the Bali resort life.

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✨high tides & tan lines ✨

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10. Finest Playa Mujeres

Finest was one of my very favorite resorts I stayed in this year. Located just outside of Cancun, Finest Playa Mujeres is Mexican culture meets modern luxury.Think: Luxury all-inclusive in the heart of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Oversized private Jacuzzis for two. Spacious private balconies for sipping champagne on. Lavish beds for the best vacation sleep.  A choice of SO many incredible restaurants for each and every meal. Sailing, paddle-boarding, water aerobics, a huge indoor gym, or beach volleyball to work off all the all-inclusive margaritas. Afternoon naps in the hammock outside your swim-up suite.

Why it gets a Jetset Award™

I loved everything about this place. For starters, it’s Mexico. Which you guys KNOW how much I love Mexico. And, to top it off, it’s LUXURY Mexico. They did not skimp on the food or alcohol here, despite it being an all-inclusive, and I felt like it is definitely one of the best honeymoon resorts in Mexico. But, despite how romantic some parts of the resort were, it was also super family-friendly in certain areas, and had one of the biggest kids club I had ever seen! This is the perfect 2019 resort for family reunions, or multi-generational getaways. Everyone will have a great time.

 

If you have any questions about any of these hotels, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or shoot me a DM on instagram! I love helping you guys plan your trips! 

Wherever your 2019 adventures take you, I hope you all have the best year (and best travels!) yet!

XO,

Christina

***Please note that this post contains affiliate links to some hotels that I LOVE! If you choose to book one of the hotels I recommended, I would so appreciate you using these links to do so! An affiliate link basically just means that at no cost to you at all, I get a small kickback from the booking site for bringing them your business! I never, ever recommend any hotels that I don’t 100% LOVE & think you will, too! If you have any questions at all, please see my advertiser & affiliate policy page here.

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  • Francesca Zan
    REPLY

    These are really some of the best hotels in the world! Thanks for this!! Going on my honeymoon this year and need to book one of these beautiful resorts!

    January 23, 2019
  • sbobetind
    REPLY

    That is the best! Thank you for sharing these amazing hotels! Adding every one to my bucket list

    February 11, 2019

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