Luxe Lofts: Top International Suites

While the domestic options are absolutely of international quality, sometimes staying in extra-special rooms can make a long trip that much more exciting. These incredible suites represent the best the world has to offer in luxury hotel suites.

Paris is truly the home of all things luxury, and there’s no better place from which to explore the city than the Hôtel Plaza Athénée’s Royal Suite. It’s nearly 5,000 square feet of classic grandeur, etched glass in golden Baroque frames, and plush wall-to-wall carpets, with elegant accents and antique furniture. The hotel is famed for its classic white-glove service, as well as its prime location on avenue Montaigne in the 8th arrondissement. From $30,000/night.

Named the best hotel in the world by Conde Nast Traveler, the Ritz-Carlton Shanghai Pudong is also home to one of the most impressive suites in Asia — which, when you consider the villas of the Maldives and the high-rises of Hong Kong, is truly saying something. While the majority of the rooms are done in East-meets-West modern style, the Ritz-Carlton suite is decorated in a more ornate style that recalls the golden age of Shanghai in the 1930s, but with all the modern accents and amenities.

With a reputation for opulence that surpasses any other in modern memory, it’s not surprising that Dubai is on our list. The Burj al Arab is already a record-breaker, and the Royal Suite is the most breathtaking room in the tallest building in the world. Located on the 25th floor, the 8,400-square-foot suite is truly fit for a king, lavishly appointed from the largest details (a rotating four-posted master bed) to the smallest (Hermès bath products) and enhanced with a private elevator, private cinema, and use of a Mercedes, Rolls-Royce, and helicopter. From $16,300/night.

The Sanctuary at Parrot Cay is a getaway within a getaway — the most private paradise imaginable at the COMO property on Turks & Caicos. The renowned Shambhala Retreat spa may sound relaxing, but we’d argue that the Sanctuary’s three-bedroom main house and two four-bedroom guest houses with outdoor showers, Balinese furniture in the Donna Karan-designed rooms, infinity pools, king-size beds, and dedicated chefs and butlers is even more so. All 17,000 plus square feet can be yours (and several of your friends’, for that matter) and you can even make the escape permanent by buying one of the private villas. $36,300/night.

While the luxury tents of today’s glamorous safaris may fulfill your Out of Africa fantasies, it’s the state-of-the-art suite at the One&Only Cape Town that will show you the future of Africa. With a view of both the mountains and the waterfront, the Penthouse Suite’s sleek white décor is an urban oasis, with a dedicated butler and access to coveted amenities, like the elaborate One&Only Spa, located on a private island near the hotel and a private 280-bottle wine cellar stocked with an international array of fine wines and Champagnes.

One of Us Is Going to Win this Caribbean Lottery, Damn It

The weather in NYC is awful. Yesterday we had a weird rain/sleet thing happening. The slush has ruined two pairs of my shoes. And while this seemingly never-ending situation has driven me to drink heavily, it’s also got my browser’s cache clogged with sites about the Caribbean. I’ve been to several Antilles islands, but I wouldn’t mind heading back to Turks & Caicos because, quite honestly, I never really saw it on my last visit. Nikki Beach Turks & Caicos invited me to DJ a weekend and I never left the property, which was removed from the island’s main hub and beaches. So technically, I haven’t been to Turks & Caicos. That might change soon if I win this free trip Parrot Cay and Guinot are offering.

Chances of me winning anything are slim to none, which is why I’m hoping one of you does. The fancy beauty brand Guinot has teamed up with the super-luxe Parrot Cay, a private island resort, to offer a package that basically involves your winter dream come true.

The three-night trip for two includes round-trip tickets from the US, boat transfers between Providenciales and Parrot Cay, full board (excluding alcohol and gratuity), two facials at their COMO Shambhala Retreat, a guided snorkeling session, private yoga class, and champers. Sure there’s a catch, but it’s an easy one: You have to visit a Guinot day spa to enter (check here for locations). The promotion will run from February 1 to March 31, 2011. I hope I win, but I’d be almost as happy if you did. If you’re wise, you’ll know not to send me postcards, as I’m known to bask, martyr-like, in my losing streaks.