Looking for the ultimate in luxury? These cities have a glut of excellent 5 star hotels, but cheaper than the competition.
Sure you can find 5 star hotels anywhere. But if you want 5 star luxury without the 5 star price tag, take a look at these awesome destinations.
To find the best deals on five star hotels, browse the booking sites such as Booking.com, Trivago and Expedia.
1. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Sprawling and cosmopolitan, KL is an excellent springboard into the rest of Asia. Home to the Petronas Towers and the eternally popular Air Asia, most visitors to Asia will pass through KL at some point.
What to do? Shop in the mall beneath the Petronas Towers, hang out in the tropical gardens below then head up to take in the view. Menara KL has 360 degree views higher than the Petronas Towers. Eat fantastic food at many of the hawker centres across the city.
Best Hotel? At around US$60 a night you can live in luxury at the Seri Pacific.
2. Istanbul, Turkey
Exotic Istanbul is the gateway to the east, literally. This city straddles two continents and is one of the most culturally rich destinations on the planet. Greek, Byzantine, Ottoman and more have all left their mark on Turkey in forms of architecture, cuisine and even the demographics.
What to do? Wander labyrinthine markets, smelling incense and hookah pipes. Sample lots of Turkish coffee. Cruise the Bosphorous. Sample Turkish cuisine. Visit the Hagia Sofia.
Best Hotel? There are lots of quality 5 star hotels in Istanbul, many available from around US$60 per night (or less). The Legacy Ottoman Hotel is situated in the heart of the city and has an air of Ottoman extravagance.
3. Macau, China
China’s gambling mecca, Macau is a hot spot for Asian high rollers. Not only that, it looks pretty epic. Glitzy skyscrapers, massive casinos all mixed with a heady Chinese and Portuguese colonial vibe.
What to do? Visit the Venetian which is the worlds largest casino (only the 7th largest casino resort though). Shop til you drop around Senado Square. Visit the ruins of St Paul’s cathedral. Eat lots of dim sum. Bungee jump from the Macau Tower (or just take in the view).
Best Hotel? The Landmark Hotel is an indulgent resort in the centre of town with rooms from $110 per night. It includes a 24 hour casino on site and all the trappings you’d expect of a 5 star hotel.
4. Goa, India
Tropical hippy hangout Goa has been on the backpacker map since hitch hiking was a thing. Goa now has grown up and attracts high rollers from around the globe, especially Bollywood stars, many of whom own plus pads in the state.
There are loads of premium resorts up and down the coast where you live in the lap of luxury.
What to do? Wake up, drink fresh juice, do some yoga then spend the day soaking up the rays on the beach or by the pool… What more could you ask for?
Best Hotel? The Zuri White Sands Hotel and Casino is a luxury spot in the heart of Goa. Rooms from US$90 a night.
5. Marrakech, Morocco
The Rose city, an oasis, just over the Atlas Mountains from the Sahara Desert is a former trading post turned tourist hot spot.
These days it’s not as much a trader spot as cities like Tangier, Casablanca, Rabat and Fes – but it’s a great city to chill for a weekend. Add to that cheap 5 star luxury and great opportunities to go and explore, Marrakech is a wise choice.
What to do? Wander the ancient souks where people come to haggle over handicrafts and spices, try your luck at the many casinos in town or dance the night away at some of the coolest clubs in Africa.
Best Hotel? There are stacks of 5 star resorts just outside the old town of Medina, with rooms from around US$65 a night. For a more ‘authentic’ Moroccan experience, head to Riad Villa Lavande, slightly more expensive at around US$200 a night.
6. Shanghai, China
This megacity is sure to sweep you off your feet with it’s pace. If you’re in town for business or leisure, you’ll find lots of amazing value 5 star hotels.
Modern, dynamic and multicultural, Shanghai is a playboys playground. You get more for your money than Hong Kong or Tokyo and there is literally something for everyone from food and culture to business opportunity.
What to do? Be blown away by the view of the skyline from The Bund, get your retail fix around Nanjing Road and People’s Square and then party hard at nightclubs like Bar Rouge and The Apartment.
Best Hotel? There are lots of 5 Star hotels in Shanghai from around US$65 and up. Check out Les Suites Orient on The Bund for those stunning city views.
7. Quito, Ecuador
The world’s highest capital city (2,850 meters) is also situated right on the equator. The stunning mountain location means that you’ll have your breath taken away but you’ll also probably be a bit light headed from the lack of oxygen.
But that’s not a problem when you’ve got a decent choice of 5 star digs to relax in while you acclimatise.
What to do? Once you’re ready to head outdoors you can get your adventure on with mountain climbing and stacks of local culture. There are several volcanoes accesible from the city as well as lots of ornate buildings.
Best hotel? You’ll find 5 star luxury from around US$70. The Dann Carlton is probably the best 5 star hotel in Quito.
8. Thessaloniki, Greece
Greece’s second city is a bustling working city and a stones throw from the beaches of Halkidiki or the ski resorts (yes, you can ski in Greece) of Falakro and Voras, Thessaloniki is a great route into mainland Greece. It’s also one of the cheapest places in Europe to pick up a 5 star hotel room.
What to do? There’s ancient ruins of course, this is Greece after all. Greek food is spectacular so make sure you get your fill at one of the bars on the seafront boardwalk.
Best Hotel? The Porto Palace Hotel is a great spot with rooms from US$120 a night. You can also shop around and find rooms under US$100 at places like Holiday Inn.
9. Johannesburg, South Africa
South Africa’s world city, Jo’burg is where the country does business. As such there are a wide range of quality 5 star hotels at bargain prices. From around $100 you can get a good quality catered apartment or chain 5 star hotel.
South Africa as a whole is a cheap and fun destination, especially for those looking to either do the digital nomad lifestyle or get your high roller act on. Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria could equally fit the bill.
What to do? Jo’burg is a great gateway to South Africa. Go on safari, visit Sun City or party at one of the many cool venues in the city.
Best Hotel? Check out the Marion Boutique Hotel for a stunning boutique hotel experience from around US$170.
10. Dubai, UAE
The opulent city of Dubai has a massive selection of 5 star hotels, but did you know some of them are a bargain! Under $100 gets you a plush pad at the Ghaya Grand. But there is a lot of choice, so take a look at the options.
What to do? In a city known for luxury and extravagance, you can shop til you drop at one of the many malls, cruise in speedboats, go skydiving, desert safari or just relax by the pool.