When you charter a flight to a destination—whether it’s nearby or far-flung—where you stay matters. Luxury hotels and resorts know all too well that first impressions also matter … and they don’t happen when you enter your room. Your impression of an accommodation begins the second you step foot into the lobby. Hotels around the globe place the highest importance on their lobbies as it’s the first chapter of your stay. Here are some that go well beyond the norm.
Aman Tokyo | Tokyo, Japan
Located on the top six floors of the Otemachi Tower, you’ll find the Aman Tokyo’s lobby on the 33rd floor under a 98-foot-tall ceiling made of white washi rice paper. The space by the exclusive brand has two meditative rock gardens, dramatic ikebana flower arrangements and spectacular views of the city.
The Empire Hotel | New York City, New York
The Empire Hotel, found between Central Park and Lincoln Center, was hailed as one of the most beautiful hotel lobbies by Architectural Digest. The elaborate two-story space drips in Art Deco-style drama with leather couches, chairs with animal-print upholstery, and golden drapes. Gold and silver décor contrast elegantly with the black and white floor.
La Purificadora | Puebla, Mexico
Formerly a 19th-century water-bottling plant, La Purificadora features a stunning open-air lobby designed by acclaimed architect Ricardo Legorreta. Legorreta retained part of the original façade, which included an arched gate and stone wall. To it, he added a staircase made of black volcanic stone with a stream of water running down the middle. Sofas in a regal purple color celebrate the area’s Catholic heritage.
Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan | Sayan, Indonesia
A majestic hillside haven, the Four Seasons Resort Bali seems to float above treetops. When you arrive, you make your way across a suspension bridge over the Ayung River valley that takes you to a lotus-filled pond. The open-style elliptical lobby within the rice bowl-shaped architecture has a water feature running along the edge, bringing you closer to nature. The space cascades down the hill to the river, taking you through an enchanting forest.
Mandarin Oriental Barcelona | Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona’s Passeig de Gràcia has no shortage of striking architecture. The Mandarin Oriental Barcelona in a converted mid-century bank impresses with a white atrium with a soaring ceiling and walls accented by golden touches. The space’s floating catwalk takes you to a lobby with touches of cream and gold designed by Patricia Urquiola, who integrated elaborate latticework, sliding crystal doors and mirrored ceilings.
Savoy Hotel Buenos Aires | Buenos Aires, Argentina
Italian architect Gerónimo Agostini designed the Savoy Hotel, a neo-baroque wonder originally built in 1910. The accommodation’s lobby–adorned with grand chandeliers, golden accents, and marble columns—was once a dance hall. The space also features doreé ornaments, contemporary chairs with images of well-known celebrities printed on them, and wooden floors.
Al Bustan Palace | Muscat, Oman
Between an idyllic stretch of private beach and the rugged Al Hajar mountain range, you’ll find the Al Bustan Palace, a hidden jewel. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel fuses Art Deco and Arab influences to create a majestic atmosphere that includes a 124-foot-high domed atrium lobby with soaring pillars. Marble floors, gold-clad walls, a fountain and the soft smell of incense transport you to another world.