World's best hotels with views: 11 hotels in the greatest locations

Sometimes, it does pay to follow the crowd. Whether we are talking natural treasures such as the Grand Canyon or man-made monuments such as the Egyptian pyramids, the world's most popular landmarks offer an unforgettable holiday experience. If you want to upsize the impact, pay attention to your choice of hotel. Select the right property and you may find yourself waking up in the shadow of one of the world's great wonders. If you get really lucky, you may even be able to admire your monument of choice without leaving your room. Here is our hot list of the hotels around the globe that offer (almost) unlimited access to the greatest sights on earth.

The landmark: The Taj Mahal

The hotel: Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra

Most visitors to Agra set their alarms early. If you want to see the magnificent Taj Mahal bathed in the first rays of the morning, rising before dawn is essential. Unless, of course, you're staying at the Oberoi Amarvilas, in which case you might as well sleep in. For one thing, your hotel is just 600 metres from the Taj Mahal. For another, the hotel will have a golf buggy standing by to take you there. Most importantly, however, every room has uninterrupted views of the Taj Mahal, so why go to the trouble of getting out of bed? We also love the hotel's Mughal-influenced design – think elegant arches and cascading fountains – and the opportunity to enjoy a candlelit dinner overlooking the world's most famous monument to love.

The landmark: The pyramids of Egypt

The hotel: Le Méridien Pyramids Hotel & Spa

Ancient monuments don't get much more ancient than the pyramids. The largest of them, the pyramid of Khufu, or Cheops, was erected more than 4000 years ago – which means it was already weathered and worn when the Roman Empire was born. Finding it hard to get your head around the aeons that have passed since these stones were set in place? You will have plenty of time to ponder it while staying at Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel & Spa. Just one kilometre from the pyramids, this hotel has front and centre views of the colossal constructions. Don't fret if you don't score a room with a view; you can always admire them while you lie by the pool.

The landmark: the Colosseum, Rome

The hotel: Hotel Palazzo Manfredi

There are some things that Rome has in abundance. Historic monuments, to give just one example. Five-star hotels, to mention another. So isn't it a trifle odd that so few of Rome's luxury hotels are located anywhere near its ancient splendours? Well, thank heavens for Hotel Palazzo Manfredi. The hotel is located so close to the Colosseum that it actually sits on the grounds of what was once a gladiator training school. The view across the Colosseum from its rooftop restaurant, Aroma restaurant, is simply unbeatable.

The landmark: Machu Picchu

The hotel: Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge

If you want to visit Machu Picchu, the Incan citadel perched high in the Andes, there are three ways to go. You can do it as a day trip from Cusco, which requires an early morning start and some serious travel time. You can overnight in the small town of Aguas Caliente at the base of the mountain, and take the bus up in the morning. Or you can stay at Belmond's Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, the only hotel within the protected reserve that surrounds it. Apart from enjoying the magnificent views, you can slip into the ancient citadel early in the morning or late in the afternoon, and avoid the peak hour crowds.


The landmark: the Eiffel Tower, Paris

The hotel: Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel

Plenty of hotels can offer you a view of the Eiffel Tower. Given the way it dominates the city skyline, it's hard to avoid the thing. What we're more interested in is a hotel that puts you just a few minutes walk away. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to the Pullman Paris. Located a quick stroll from Eiffel's tower, the Pullman Paris pulls an impressive one-two punch by also offering in-your-face views of the soaring structure. Now that is what we call perfect positioning.

The landmark: Grand Canyon, Arizona

The hotel: El Tovar Hotel

The sheer size of the Grand Canyon takes many first-time visitors by surprise; it can take a while to truly comprehend the scale of it. If you're staying at El Tovar Hotel, you will have more than enough time to mull it over. The 100 year old lodge, made of local limestone and Oregon pine, is positioned just steps from the canyon rim. Only a handful of rooms and suites have canyon views, but all guests are welcome to sit on the generous back porch and gaze out over the panorama. Naturally, rooms are in high demand – expect to book at least a year in advance.

The landmark: Beijing Summer Palace

The hotel: Aman Summer Palace

The Chinese have a knack for naming things. Beijing's Summer Palace, a wonderland of gardens, temples, lakes and pavilions, is filled with evocatively-named destinations including the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity, the Buddhist Fragrance Pavilion, the Cloud Dispelling Hall and the Temple of the Sea of Wisdom. By contrast, Aman Resorts kept it simple when naming the property they opened just outside the palace's East Gate. However, given the hotel's tranquil courtyards and the elegant pavilions – some of which were originally used as waiting rooms by the imperial family – we are prepared to forgive them.

The landmark: Lake Louise, Canada

The hotel: Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

Canada has no shortage of great outdoors spaces, but for sheer jaw-dropping beauty, few can compete with Lake Louise. Located inside Banff National Park, this spectacular landscape has emerald lakes, dramatic mountains and even grizzly bears. In summer, people flock here for hiking, canoeing, riding and fishing; in winter, it's all about skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and sleigh rides. Whichever season they come here, however, the smart ones check in at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. This 100 year old hotel has what may be the best location in the park, with unbeatable views of the emerald lake.

The landmark: The Alhambra, Granada, Spain

The hotel: Parador de Granada

When the Spanish drove the Moors out of Spain in the 15th century, they destroyed much of the architecture they had left behind. Legend has it that the palace-fortress known as Alhambra survived because even the triumphant conquerors fell under the spell of its beauty. In fact, the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella were so taken with the Alhambra, they repurposed it as a royal palace. Eventually, they were even buried in its cathedral. Today, one of its buildings is enjoying yet another reincarnation – this time as a hotel. Book well ahead: although the hotel is not exactly luxurious, thanks to its enviable location, it is often booked out nine or more months in advance.

The landmark: Uluru

The hotel: Longitude 131

There are plenty of places to explore in the Red Centre, from the hidden oasis of Kings Canyon to the domes of Kata Tjuta, but the real reason that people come here is to see the mighty Uluru. And there is only one place where you can wake up and see the rock from the comfort of your own bed, and that is the lovely tented camp known as Longitude 131. All 15 tents share the same superb view. Wake up to the sight of the dawn illuminating the rock; in the evening, sit on your terrace by the fire pit and watch the rock blaze with the rays of the dying sun.

The landmark: Iguazu Falls

The hotel: Hotel das Cataratas

You can keep your Niagara Falls; the mighty Iguazu Falls are a spectacle of a different order. In fact, these falls on the border of Brazil and Argentina consist of more than 275 separate waterfalls spread across 2.7 kilometres. The luxurious Hotel das Cataratas is positioned directly opposite the falls, although only 21 of the 190-odd rooms have a direct view of the falls. Still, you will never get closer to the action than this; and, with a rainforest setting, tennis courts and a palm tree-lined swimming pool, the hotel is a lovely place to chill out.