While we can’t travel at the moment, there’s no better time to let your dreams run wild imagining what holidaying would be like for the rich and famous.
What gives a hotel a 7-star rating?
Officially, there is no such thing as a 7-star rating. The term 7-star was created by a journalist who attended the opening of the Burj Al Arab in Dubai and felt the standard five stars didn’t do its decadence justice.
Even a 5-star rating can vary country to country as there is no global standard for star ratings. But what we can gather from hotels who market themselves as having seven (and very few claim to have six) is that they are a really, really luxury property with the glitziest and flashiest extras you can imagine.
Let’s take a look at what you can experience at the world’s most outrageously opulent hotels, along with just how much it will cost to get a room there.
Our list of the best seven-star hotels around the world includes:
- Burj Al Arab (United Arab Emirates)
- Taj Falaknuma Palace (India)
- Emirates Palace Hotel (United Arab Emirates)
- Signiel Seoul (South Korea)
- Pangu Hotel (China)
- Seven Stars Galleria (Italy)
- Laucala Private Island (Fiji)
1. Hotel Burj Al Arab, Dubai
Photo credit: Jumeirah Group
Hotel Burj Al Arab is where the idea of a seven-star hotel came to life. It’s hard to say what it was about the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab that inspired the phrase but the all-suite property’s fleet of Rolls-Royce Phantoms (available to pick you up after your flight to Dubai lands) and 24-hour butler service might have had something to do with it.
The décor at Dubai’s most famous hotel is as upmarket as its clientele, with more than 21,000 square feet of 24K-gold leaf gracing the property. Helicopter transfers, gold-plated iPads and caviar facials are standard here, as are multiple attendants for every suite.
Price: A one-bedroom suite at Burj Al Arab starts from $2,500 AUD. The Royal Suite will set you back an average of $8,900 USD ($11,000 AUD) per night – down from $24,000 USD when it first opened!
Address: Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah Road, Umm Suqeim 3, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
2. Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad
Labelled as the only 7-star hotel in India, the Taj Falaknuma Palace was built in 1884 and was once owned by the Nizam (ruler) of Hyderabad, who was the world’s richest man at the time.
An architectural splendour, the palace was built in the shape of a scorpion with two stings spread out as wings and includes a walnut-clad replica of the library at Windsor Castle. Inside this phenomenal palace are a number of priceless artworks, manuscripts and furnishings including Belgian Osler Chandeliers and an extensive jade collection. Clumsy guests should head somewhere else!
Now managed by Taj Hotels, the Indian palace has been restored to its 19th-century glory. It also offers guests the option of an arrival in a classic horse-drawn carriage and a welcome of scattered rose petals. Quite a difference from backpacking and train travelling in India, don’t you think?
Price: A Historical Suite with city view starts from 40,000 INR (approx. $770 AUD) per night.
Address: Taj Falaknuma Palace, Engine Bowli, Fatima Nagar, Falaknuma, Hyderabad, India
3. Emirates Palace Hotel, Abu Dhabi
Anyhing Dubai does, Abu Dhabi has to go one better. The Emirates Palace Hotel wins the award for being one of the world’s most expensive hotels.
Costing a whopping three billion US dollars to build, the Emirates Palace is mind-boggling. This hotel features 1.3km of private beach, 128 kitchens, 114 domes and marble imported from 13 different countries (we assume the first 12 ran out!). The opulence extends from the grounds to the ceilings with 12 outdoor fountains, more than 1000 Swarovski crystal chandeliers and a gold vending machine – for when you’re caught short without enough precious metal. Gold is not just worn at the Emirates Palace but eaten too. Everything from camel burgers to the in-house cappuccino get a dusting.
Price: Calling themselves ‘the people’s palace’, rooms at Emirates Palace start at $800 AUD a night. Go on, treat yourself!
Address: Emirates Palace Hotel, West Corniche Road, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Read more: Abu Dhabi layover guide
4. Signiel, Seoul
Signiel Seoul, in Lotte World Tower, has quickly established itself as the most luxurious (and one of the most expensive) hotel in South Korea.
A stay at Signiel Seoul comes with helicopter transfers, Michelin-starred chefs, the largest champagne bar in Asia and a bill for thousands of dollars.
Price: Suites at Signiel Seoul have dropped in recent months, and will set you back around $500 AUD per night.
Address: Signiel Seoul, Sincheon-dong, South Korea, Seoul
Read more: First-Timer’s Guide To Seoul
5. Pangu 7 Star Hotel, Beijing
Proudly overlooking the Beijing Olympic Park is the dragon-shaped Pangu 7 Star Hotel Beijing.
Built by world-renowned Taiwanese architect CY Lee, whose portfolio includes the 508-metre Taipei 101 Tower, Pangu boasts 234 rooms that fuse Chinese classical tradition with contemporary European glamour while following the principles of feng shui.
Standard rooms are a fairly pocket-friendly $320 AUD per night, but for the ultimate luxury experience, you need to book the Sky Courtyard, a two-storey private residence with a rooftop garden, wading pool, electronically retractable glass roof and artwork by Sir David Tang.
Price: The price tag for the Sky Courtyard is a cool one million CNY (approx $193,000 AUD) a night.
Address: Pangu 7 Star Hotel, 27 N 4th Ring Rd Middle, Chaoyang Qu, Beijing Shi, China
6. Seven Stars Galleria, Milan
The Seven Stars Galleria in Milan is the only official 7-star hotel on this list. That’s because the owner hired a company to create a European ranking so they could officially take the title.
With only 20 rooms available, it’s the most exclusive hotel on this list and you’ll be pretty lucky to get a room. If you can nab one, they tailor everything including the bed, meals and ambient music to each guest’s individual preference, making it the perfect way to get over jetlag after your long flight to Milan.
This hotel is ‘seventh heaven’ for shopaholics as the property’s private lift drops you directly in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Italy’s oldest and grandest shopping arcade.
Price: Room rates start at EUR 1000 ($1,500 AUD) per night.
Address: Seven Stars Galleria, Via Silvio Pellico, 8, 20121 Milano, Italy
7. Laucala Private Island, Fiji
The closest 7-star hotel experience for Australian travellers also happens to be the world’s most expensive! Owned by Red Bull co-founder, Dietrich Mateschitz, Laucala is where the likes of Oprah go on holiday away from the prying eyes of the public.
Laucala Private Island in Fiji is the largest private island in the Southern Hemisphere, and its hefty price tag makes it one of the world’s most exclusive holiday destinations too.
The island has 25 private villas for rent, including the owner’s hilltop residence, if you have $45,000 USD to spare! Activities you can partake in on the island include a paddle in a clear-bottom kayak, a ride on the resort’s submarine (yes, really) or a round of golf with a resident pro.
Laucala Private Island is under renovation until 2021. Who knows what new amenities they’ll emerge with?
Price: 1 night in a 1 bed villa starts from $4,200 USD (approx. $5,300 AUD).
Address: Laucala Private Island, Fiji
Read more: Fiji for first timers
About The Author
Jayne Gorman is a travel blogger and freelance writer who shares (slightly more!) affordable luxury travel guides on her blog Girl Tweets World.
Prices & exchange rates correct at time of publication May 2020.