19 Top Bucket List Hotel Experiences Around the World
Why not take in the best festivals and parties around the world while staying in the perfect hotel—and the perfect room? Here's your bucket list guide.
Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany
Visitors at Oktoberfest need not go far to reach the Four Points by Sheraton Munich Central, which is the closest hotel to the main fairgrounds. Its rooms book up quickly—often nearly a year in advance—thanks to its excellent location. A recent renovation touched up all corners of the hotel including in the Wanderbar, where you can enjoy even more beer surrounded by photos of iconic Munich locations. Any of the fifth-floor studio rooms, like 508, overlook the fairgrounds (some even come with small balconies).
NCAA Final Four in Atlanta
Next year will be the fifth time that Atlanta hosts the Final Four, but it’s expected to be the first time a basketball game will be played at Mercedes Benz Stadium, which was built in 2017. Staying at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis will take a lot of the guesswork out of the experience. Not only is it within one mile to the stadium—an easy walk, especially considering the average temp in April in Atlanta doesn’t dip below 49 fahrenheit—Marriott International is an Official NCAA Corporate Partner for the NCAA Final Four and across all 90 NCAA championships. The hotel boasts a 47-story atrium, views of downtown, and an indoor/outdoor pool.
New Year’s Eve in Sydney, Australia
Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney enjoys a perfect position across from the harborfront. It is one of the few hotels to enjoy commanding views of both Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. There are lots of exceptional New Year’s Eve events taking place around the world worth traveling to see in person. New Year’s Eve in Sydney is a highly sought-after experience, especially from the coveted Horizon Premier Grand Harbour rooms, like room 3313.
Tour de France in the Champagne Valley, France
The new five-star Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa offers an exclusive package for this world-famous, three-week cycling race. From the hotel balcony, you can watch as the racers toil up the famous Col de Champillon climb this July. As part of a two-night offer, fans can take part in a morning bike excursion that follows the actual route of the race, summer lunch for two at the famed Le Bellevue restaurant with a complimentary bottle of champagne (that’s in addition to the bottle awaiting guests when they check into their room).
Fashion Week in Milan, Italy
Terrace Suites 310 and 435 at the Baglioni Hotel Carlton in Milan come with a canopied and furnished balcony overlooking the famous Via della Spiga, where some of the city’s most famous designer stores are located. During Milan Fashion Week, many top designers hold functions at stores and hotels in the neighborhood, including at the Baglioni Hotel Carlton, making it one of the best home bases for those into fashion. In fact, the hotel’s new Assoluto Program is designed to immerse guests into the local culture; the staff can coordinate a visit to a local fashion designer for one-on-one tailor sessions.
Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Lousiana
Room 333 and Executive suite 311 at The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans offer incredible views of the Mardi Gras parades that traverse Canal Street. The hotel’s position, directly on the main thoroughfare, makes it convenient for guests to feel in the heart of it all during the city’s biggest event. No need to search for taxis to get around when you are so close to the parades. Check out these 11 unforgettable bucket list trips that won’t break the bank.
Las Fallas festival in Valencia, Spain
According to the Tourist Office of Spain, the Ayre Astoria Palace puts you in the center of the Fallas festivities; you can’t get much closer to the mascletas (daily daytime fireworks) at City Hall and other festivities during Valencia’s famous Las Fallas. During the annual March festival, this hotel is a beehive of activity for both tourists and in-the-know Spaniards; in the past, it was home base for bullfighters and their entourages.
Christmas Markets in Budapest
Some of the closest rooms to the famous Christmas Markets in Budapest are at Aria Hotel Budapest by Library Hotel Collection, where guests can walk less than a minute to reach St. Stephen’s Square. From the North Panorama Terrace of the hotel’s High Note Skybar, guests can enjoy 360-degree views of the city including the glistening lights of the Christmas Market Stalls.
International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival in Harbin, China
The Shangri-La Hotel in Harbin, China is the perfect home base for those attending the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival. After spending the day exploring the carefully sculpted and beautifully illuminated frozen creations, guests can enjoy hot pot and cocktails in a palace made of ice back at the hotel. Don’t miss these other unique hotels you can stay in around the world.
The Great Migration in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park
At Elewana Collection’s Serengeti Migration Camp, you will have the best chance to witness one of nature’s most wondrous events: the migration of herds of wildebeest storming across the savannah. Often, they wander quite close to the camp. Many of the camp’s accommodations showcase the perfect view to watch the migration, although the season in which you travel will determine how much of the spectacle you see. July through October is the optimal time. Room 15 is the highest, making it the best option for viewing animals in the distance. If it’s more close-up action you prefer, room 16 has an open view of the river where some of the animals come to graze and drink water.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York
Families love booking the “prime view” package at the Residence Inn by Marriott New York Manhattan/Times Square, which is along the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade route. Room 403 is a favorite. Many of the suites have unobstructed, eye-level views of the oversized balloons. Rooms on the north or south side of the building eye Macy’s Herald Square as the balloons head toward it. There’s also a brunch in the Bryant Park Lounge, where guests can have a traditional Thanksgiving meal as the balloons parade past the window. These are the 10 most popular cultural attractions around the world.
New Year’s Eve in Times Square
Experience the famous ball drop from the outdoor terrace of The Knickerbocker Hotel in the heart of Times Square. The St. Cloud rooftop bar is just 150 feet below the actual ball drop, giving guests an angle that they can’t get anywhere else. While being in Times Square is quite the chore with hours of standing penned into a small space, a spot at The Knickerbocker gives an incredible perspective of one of the world’s iconic New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain
From the Gran Hotel La Perla, guests can get a birdseye view of the infamous Running of the Bulls each morning during the Festival of San Fermin. Suite 201, the room where Ernest Hemingway often stayed, has two Juliet balconies so that guests can roll out of bed to watch the action without any fear of getting trampled. Room 103 is another perfect option for watching it. In addition to these two, the hotel has other rooms overlooking the running; be sure to ask for the Estafeta street side. Here are 12 of the most outrageous hotel amenities around the world.
Winter Carnaval in Quebec City, Canada
From the Hilton Quebec City, especially rooms that end in -16 on the highest floors, the views of the city are spectacular. They are even more interesting for those visiting during Winter Carnaval, where the life-size ice carvings, festival activities, and parade action are all visible from your room. The best part is that the frigid night parades can be enjoyed from the comfort and warmth of your guest room (that is, if you know which rooms to ask for!).
Northern Lights in Reykjavik, Iceland
Head to the fourth-floor terrace at Reykjavik Konsulat Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton to score incredible views of the Northern Lights most nights. The hotel’s Diplomat suite and two deluxe rooms on the fourth floor offer unrestricted balcony views of the Northern Lights above the surrounding buildings. This new hotel is becoming the go-to spot for those wanting to see the Northern Lights without the time to leave the city during their visit. Here are even more dreamy hotel rooms with spectacular views.
Niagara Falls in New York
The best views of Niagara Falls are from the Fallsview Suite at the Niagara Falls Marriott on the Falls on the U.S. side. There’s something special about waking up and going to sleep with such a view of a natural wonder of the world. Those that don’t want to book a suite can book any Fallsview room, the higher the floor the better.
Grand Prix in Monte Carlo
Fairmont Monte Carlo features four Grand Prix Suites with balconies of their own, including double views of the famous Hairpin turn and the entrance to the tunnel. Each has been dedicated to F1 drivers that have personally inaugurated them, such as Sir Stirling Moss, David Coulthard, Jean Alesi, and Ayrton Senna (which was recently inaugurated by his niece Bianca Senna in the presence of Prince Albert). Each features unique items given by the pilots or their families; many celebrities have booked these suites for the main event. Here are more of the world’s most luxurious hotels and resorts.
Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco
Book room 1101 at Hotel VIA in San Francisco during the Rugby World Cup Sevens for the best ballpark views. As the first U.S. destination to host the Rugby World Cup Sevens, the best rugby players from around the world will compete at AT&T Park for the next global championship. Don’t miss these 12 beautiful beachfront hotels you can actually afford.
The Primetime Emmy and Grammy red carpets in Los Angeles
The Griffin suite 1062 at JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE provides direct views of the red carpet for events like the Primetime Emmy’s, GRAMMY’s, and ESPY awards take place. You may not be able to hear their conversations, but the aerial views of the red carpet are often better than those sitting in the stands.
Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah
Sundance Film Festival is a big week at Autograph Collection’s Hotel Park City, which is the ideal hotel thanks to “The Retreat”: a complimentary winter-lodge style lounge for festival-goers. At night, it transitions into a lounge for exclusive film parties at night. Recently, the hotel hosted the Sundance premieres for Maggie Gyllenhaal and filmmaker Todd Haynes as part of Autograph Collection Hotels’ Indie Film Project, which supports independent filmmakers. Stars like Jane Fonda are often seen staying here.
South by Southwest in Austin, Texas
Located in the Rainey Street Historic District, where much of the South by Southwest (SXSW) action takes place, the Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt is an ideal place to stay. With five presidential suites, it is a mecca for VIPs, tech CEOs, and musicians visiting for SXSW. Guests can walk to the north for the convention center; head the other way for hip Rainey Street. Don’t miss these 50 iconic adventures for each of the 50 states.