Introducing the world's best hotel 2011: Singita Grumeti Reserves (Sasakwa Lodge, Sabora Tented Camp, Faru Faru Lodge)
Yep, this stunning hotel in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, has snapped up the top spot in Travel + Leisure magazine's renowned World's Best Hotels list for 2011.
Faru Faru has six chalets overlooking the Grumeti River, and channels a Swahili beach resort vibe; a swimming pool curves in front of an open-air lounge, where guests sip sunset cocktails as elephants gather at the watering hole below.
The reserve's flagship is Sasakwa, an East African ranch house set on a plateau with panoramic views of the plains. The lodge's wood-panelled libraries have an English country club feel, and there are seven cottage residences, each with a garden and plunge pool. Tennis courts, a spa, and a yoga centre occupy guests between twice-daily game drives, where sightings include wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles.
Unfortunately, you have to scroll all the way through to number 24 to reach an offering from Britain: the full-of-wow-factor Kempinski-run Stafford Hotel in London's Green Park.
And then there's Asia. Bangkok - once again voted the No. 1 city in the world - is home to the legendary Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok (rising from No. 57 to No. 23 this year). North of Bangkok in Chiang Mai, the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi surged to No. 7 on the list, up from No. 45 in 2010. This resort was designed to re-create the experience of staying within a historic Thai village; farmers and wood-carvers work on-site. Similarly, a stay at the grand Oberoi Udaivilas (No. 5), a domed palace on the shores of Lake Pichola in Rajasthan, feels like a trip back in time, according to Travel + Leisure.
We particularly love the look of the Triple Creek Ranch (No. 6) in the Montana Rockies, where you can trace the Lewis and Clark trail on a horse-riding tour before unwinding in renovated log cabins complete with wood-burning fireplaces and hot tubs.
See the full Travel + Leisure World's Best Hotels 2011 here
Check out our round-up of the hottest new hotels of 2011: