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17 Hotels with Stunning Views of Iconic Sites

It can take a long time to reach some of our bucket-list destinations, so once we’re there, we want what we traveled for—namely, national monuments, iconic sites, and natural wonders—right at our fingertips once we arrive. Well, that’s possible at these 20 hotels around the world. Whether you want to wake up to the Eiffel Tower in Paris or California’s Yosemite National Park, you’ll be able to find just what you’re looking—right out your window—at these stunning properties.

The Ahwahnee, Yosemite National Park

Nestled deep amongst the pine trees, cliffs, and canyons of Yosemite Valley is the 123-room Ahwahnee Hotel. The impressive stone and wood structure, built in 1927, is considered a National Historic Landmark. Rooms with views of the Half Dome and El Captain summits are filled with wood and rich tapestries of Native American design. Highlights here include the Great Lounge with 24-foot-high ceilings and a large stone fireplace along with the light-flooded dining room. This hotel is on the expensive side—and parking is limited—but the prime location and views are worth the price tag.

Hotel Lutetia, Eiffel Tower

The Hotel Lutetia—in all of its Art Deco glory—is a sprawling historic property on the Left Bank in the center of Saint Germain-des-Pres. This Jazz-era hotel offers meeting rooms, two restaurants, a bar, spa, fitness center, and even a smoking lounge. The hotel recently underwent renovations and rooms come in a variety of sizes: superior and deluxe rooms, or junior and signature suites with varying themes. For example, the Parisian Suite was once the residence of the Opera House Director and has direct views of the Eiffel Tower. The two restaurants include a classic brasserie and the gastronomic restaurant “Le Paris” reminiscent of cruise liners in the 1930s. The Piano Bar for live jazz is a musn’t-miss. For “matin,” a breakfast buffet is served for a steep price and can elicit long wait times. A better idea is to try the many neighborhood cafes or jump on the metro across the street.

Boscolo Milano, Milan Cathedral

Boscolo Milano is truly a one-of-a-kind luxury design hotel under the management of Marriott, with one of the most fashionable addresses in Milan. Previously a bank, the property was transformed into a design hotel in 2009 by the same architect who renovated the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. In-the-know locals and sophisticated international travelers (families may not be comfortable here) book design-forward rooms, some of which have views of the Duomo from private balconies. A rooftop terrace, champagnerie (is that even a word in English?), and luxe spa are just a few of the features on offer. Breakfast, bike rentals, and Wi-Fi are free. Oh, and if you don’t travel without your pup—he or she is welcome here, free of charge. Compare rates at the nearby five-pearl Bulgari Milano if you prefer a bit more seclusion and the same level of luxury.

Jade Mountain Resort, The Pitons

Romantic? Undoubtedly. Unique? Absolutely. Expensive? For sure. Through an innovative, open fourth wall, each of Jade’s 29 enormous suites overlooks the sea from its chromatherapy-lit whirlpool tub, canopied bed, and private infinity pool. Getting to Jade Mountain can be tedious, even nauseating, but its organic cuisine, doting service, unwavering silence (no TVs, radios, or children), and extraordinary design make the long journey worthwhile.

The Hay-Adams, The White House

Quite possibly the most famous hotel in the capital, and deservedly so. The Hay-Adams draws powerbrokers from around the world with its impeccable service, great bar and restaurant, and elegant rooms, some of which overlook its famous next-door neighbor. P.S. It’s where the Obamas stayed before the inauguration. (If it’s good enough for the President …)

Best Western Plus Arroyo Roble Hotel & Creekside Villas, Red Rocks

This 65-room mid-range property is a Best Western, but before you think “motel,” think again. With stunning views of Oak Creek Canyon’s red rocks, two pools, and a gorgeous little stretch of Oak Creek to explore, this Best Western has more to offer than you might expect. It sits in Uptown Sedona, within easy walking distance of shopping and dining. The free breakfast, Wi-Fi, and parking add value, and rooms are bright and clean, if generic.

A for Athens, Acropolis

A 35-room designer hotel in the middle of the historic center, A for Athens, located across from the Acropolis and next to the Monastiraki metro station, is a value choice for travelers who want to be in the midst of everything—it’s a five-minute walk to the nightlife of Psirri, Monastiraki, and Plaka. But the convenience comes with a great deal of noise from the busy street outside, and the roadside musicians in Monastiraki Square below. While the hotel’s spectacular rooftop bar is a popular nightlife spot for non-hotel guests, it also adds noise.

Trump International Hotel And Tower, Central Park

An ostentatiously luxurious hotel with a supremely well-trained staff, and huge, elegant rooms designed by Ivanka Trump herself. The location (overlooking Central Park at Columbus Circle) can’t be beat. The hotel also has two highly regarded restaurants, a great spa, and an in-house pool.

Ciragan Palace Kempinski, Bosphorus

Formerly the palace of an Ottoman Sultan, the Ciragan Palace Kempinski is the grand dame of Istanbul. It wows guests at every turn, from the sprawling, manicured grounds, to the heated infinity pool right on the Bosphorus, to the refined suites. The dining options are extensive and exceptional; the spa is lovely; and the meeting space housed in the original palace building makes an ornate setting for a business function or wedding. It’s arguably the city’s top luxury option, but it’s far from the popular tourist sights in Sultanahmet.

II Salviatino, Florence Cathedral

This updated 15th-century villa, located on top of a hill just two miles north of Florence, offers five-pearl luxury in a stunning setting. There are beautiful views of Florence and the Tuscan countryside from many rooms, and 19th-century frescoes and antique furnishings. The food from chef Carmine Calo gets high marks. This Renaissance-era property is a splurge.

Outrigger Waikiki On The Beach, Diamond Head

It’s location over luxury at the 524-room Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach, located in the heart of the action on one of Waikiki’s best beaches. The oceanfront guest rooms also feature clear glass lanai railings for unobstructed views of the ocean. While the nearby Sheraton Waikiki’s features are a notch above Outrigger, there’s something for everyone here, from daily kids’ activities to tons of amenities for adults, including surfing and ukelele lessons, a full-service spa, and a fitness center. All in all, it’s a decent pick for location if you don’t mind the crowds.

Hotel President Wilson, Lake Geneva

The Hotel President Wilson is a beautiful luxury hotel with an even more beautiful location overlooking Lake Geneva. Its proximity to international organizations and government buildings makes it popular with business travelers, but all travelers can appreciate its many on-site amenities; there are six restaurants and bars, a luxurious spa by La Mer, a 24-hour business center, a seasonal outdoor pool, and a modern fitness center. The 228 rooms are decorated in contemporary style with a brown-and-white color scheme, and feature Bang & Olufsen flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi; most also have Nespresso machines and iPod hookups. Bathrooms have green and tan marble tile; many have shower/tub combos, but some have soaking tubs and separate walk-in showers.

Palazzo Manfredi, Colosseum

This luxury boutique hotel stands out for its incredible views—guests can take in the nearby Colosseum from the rooftop restaurant and lounge, as well as from their rooms (these view rooms cost a bit more). The 16 rooms themselves are quite spacious for European standards and have modern decor, flat-screen TVs and dim lighting (that’s almost too sexy to be practical). The rooftop restaurant, Aroma, offers fine dining and spectacular views—and serves a free American-style buffet breakfast daily. All in all, it’s a great option for luxury and romance — but it’s pricey, and aside from the Colosseum (which is across the street), there aren’t many sights or restaurants in the immediate area.

Hotel Ibrahim Pasha, Blue Mosque

Hotel Ibrahim Pasha is one of the most charming boutique hotels in Sultanahmet, with an unbeatable location just off the Hippodrome. The cozy lobby and library both have wood-burning fireplaces—a real treat in the cooler months—and the roof terrace has a jaw-dropping view of the Blue Mosque and the Bosphorus. The free breakfast is perfectly adequate if not as extensive as the offerings elsewhere, and free tea and coffee are served all day upon request. Standard Rooms are diminutive but adorable, with flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, robes, Molton Brown toiletries, and rainfall showerheads. For what you get, it’s a great value, though prices do spike up in peak season.

Hotel de I’Empereur, Hotel des Invalides

The Hotel de l’Empereur is a 31-room boutique with jaw-dropping views of the imposing Hotel del Invalides. Elegant rooms are tastefully decorated with patterned wallpaper and dramatic drapes. This hotel was renovated in 2010 and now offers modern bathrooms with walk-in showers, as well as air-conditioning. Some rooms have balconies, and all have free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs. The wonderful location is within walking distance of the Eiffel Tower, and the breakfast room has some outdoor seating. While there are no minibars, and breakfast isn’t included in the nightly rate, the location, views, and classic decor make this hotel a solid mid-range pick.

Cavallo Point, Golden Gate Bridge

This historic property under the Golden Gate Bridge offers sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay skyline. Located in a state park in Sausalito, across the bay from San Francisco, Cavallo Point feels removed from the hustle and bustle of the city even though it is still accessible—the hotel operates a free shuttle to the ferry terminal. Originally built as an army base in the late 1800s, the hotel has retained many charming historical details in its two main buildings as well as in its Historic Rooms, which were all formerly officers’ residences. Contemporary Rooms, on the other hand, were built into the hillside, and have great views, gas fireplaces, and floor-to-ceiling windows. The hotel also features an acclaimed spa with a pool and fire pits, a Michelin-starred restaurant serving regional cuisine, an on-site cooking school, and many outdoor activities such as morning yoga and hiking. But heavy fog can block the views Cavallo Point is most known for and persistent foghorns have prompted the hotel to include ear plugs in every room.

Borgo Le Terrazze, Lake Como

Borgo Le Terrazze is a 22-room boutique located in the small village of Bellagio on picturesque Lake Como. The views from every room are the most raved about feature of this property—and the prime reason why guests choose this particular hotel for a romantic getaway or a family vacation. The pretty (albeit small) pool is another highlight. A free shuttle to and from the town center and waterfront restaurants is available. However, breakfast isn’t included in the price of the room, which is standard at various small hotels in the area.

—Jane Reynolds

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This article was originally published by under the headline The Eiffel Tower to Yosemite National Park: 17 Hotels with Stunning Views of Iconic Sites. It is reprinted here with permission.

(Photo: Jade Mountain Resorts)

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