World's Sexiest Bedroom
Romance comes in many guises – and there are no hard and fast rules for creating the perfect boudoir. But some things we can all agree on: it has to delight, excite and surprise.
A room ripe for seduction needs to do more than get the basics right: the hotel you think is home to the World's Sexiest Bedroom will pull out all the stops to light your fire. There's no stinting on quality; the lighting is just-so; maybe the minibar has a few fun extras, or the view's a corker.
Olivia von Halle
London’s pyjama queen and acclaimed loungewear-loving fashion designer
Creative director of wild-at-heart wedding site Stone Fox Bride and contributing editor at Vogue.com
Writer, style consultant, co-host of podcast the High-Low and former fashion features editor at The Sunday Times
Best Pool with a View
World's Sexiest Bedroom winners...
WINNER: SONEVA JANI, MALDIVES
‘One button on this retractable roof stands between you and post-coital stargazing. Did I mention you're lying on a bed in the middle of the ocean? If that’s not sexy I don't know what is.’
– Olivia von Halle Fashion designer
RUNNER-UP: NIHI SUMBA ISLAND, SUMBA, INDONESIA
Where passion comes with a healthy (eco) conscience. You could surf the world-famous breaks, explore the bush on horseback, work on community projects or notch up laps in your dreamy private pool… Or you could just kick back and relax in your Wavefront Villa, which encourage nudity with their four-poster king-size bed, private garden, outdoor shower, and private balé perched on a cliffside platform.
RUNNER-UP: PALAZZO MARGHERITA, BASILICATA, ITALY
Francis Ford Coppola should renovate relics – of the crumbling, 19th-century variety – more often; his handsome hotel in Matera took the Best-Dressed gong in our Awards last year. The grandest room in the house (Suite Nine) was designed by the director himself, starring a teal herringbone bejmat-tiled floor and a kaleidoscopic ceiling. Write your love letters/smash-hit film scripts at the large Italianate desk that admires the gardens.
For no-holds-barred animal passion, head to Lion Sands Game Reserve in the Kruger National Park, where four luxe lodges await, each with a private pool and swish stylings. Sleep on the wild side by opting for the Kingston Treehouse – tucked away in the bush and open to the elements, this adventurous treehouse even has a drawbridge and gated doorways, so as to prevent unwanted visitors of the maned kind…
What Anouska Hempel doesn’t know about in-room romancing could fit on a slice of cucumber. The Franklin is Hempel in hotel form – refined and ravishing in equal measures. Its Kensington setting is pure A-list London, but its styling pays tribute to Italy: all taffeta, velvet and sleek sandstone bathrooms. The magic really happens in the bright, contemporary Junior Suites, which twinkle with mirrors and don’t stint on drama.
Want to spice up your (love) life? Have a rocky romance in the Escarpment Suite, which watches over the gorge from its north-west vantage point. Snuggle up on the private deck, which is dotted with sunloungers and boasts spectacular views of the surrounding bush. Reasons to step back inside include the king-size bed, that snug living space and the bathroom bedecked with a Philippe Starck bath tub.
When it comes to sleeping quarters at this prime Como perch, seduction levels reach an operatic crescendo in the expansive Penthouse Suite: a 2,000-square-foot mini-kingdom with magnificent lake views, Venetian terrazzo flooring and a wraparound terrace. Get steamy in the al fresco hot tub, stake out one of the tubs-for-two, or play George and Amal in the giant bed...
Budding emperors/empresses aiming for liaisons dangereuses should head to this handsome Haussmann mansion. Given the hotel’s history, you won’t be uttering ‘quelle surprise’ when you see the regal fitout and furnishings; for the most opulent boudoir, plump for one of the fifth-floor Premier Junior Suites. These are worth booking for their views alone, but there's plenty of eye-candy inside, too.
The hotel’s suites lie at the end of winding jungle paths illuminated by hanging lanterns. Inside, you’ll find cowhide rugs, leather butterfly chairs and stand-alone bath tubs. The local beach is a peach, but you might not be able to leave the plunge-pool-furnished Fuego Suite: this 1,000-foot fantasy comes with its own private garden and palm-tree-shaded plunge pool.
Don’t be deceived by the hotel’s defensive paraphernalia (drawbridge, bunkers, trenches); there’s never been a better time, or place, to make love, not war. Hidden in the cape’s cliffs, the Sentinel Suites were once lookout stations for the entrance to Palma Bay. You’ll be the only ones doing the looking these days – each suite has a terrace with a bay-surveying infinity pool.
World's Sexiest Bedroom award criteria
A BED YOU CAN'T LEAVE
Sometimes, size does matter: a small bed is a deal-breaker in this category. Crucially, it has to be super-comfortable and dressed for the occasion, whether you favour billowing drapery, crisp snow-white cotton or tactile, top-quality linen.
ATTENTION TO DETAIL
No stone has been left unturned here to ensure a great experience: the amenities are inspired, the minibar is thoughtfully stocked, and the bath is big enough for two.
Could you happily hole up here for a weekend? Is this somewhere you can shut the door and feel entirely alone together – a romantic retreat in the truest sense?
Does this room have that indescribable special something? The World's Sexiest Bedroom will have you falling in love – it's good-looking, has bags of personality and is a natural charmer. GSOH is an appealing extra.
AN ELEMENT OF INTRIGUE
The best hotel rooms don't reveal everything straight away: they surprise you with alfresco showers, shutters that hide gob-smacking views, or cabinets containing top-notch tech.
Even if your tastes are minimal, a sense of decadence is still important. Are the finishes luxurious? The fabrics refined? Does something special draw your eye (other than your other half)?