Kruger National Park is one of the world’s most famous safari parks. One of the oldest game reserves in South Africa, the park lies about a 3.5 to 4.5 hour drive from Johannesburg and offers visitors the chance to see the “Big Five”: lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant, and rhino, as well as an astounding diversity of other wildlife. It’s also home to bushman rock paintings and archaeological sites. Visitors can explore Kruger on the large network of sealed roads; organize a walking safari; or soar over the vast grasslands, gallery forests, and river systems in a hot air balloon. Accommodation ranges from basic campsites to comfortable lodges.
Every year, Mastercard puts together its Global Destination Cities Index, which ranks 200 cities around the world based on how popular they are with tourists. The survey not only culls visitor numbers and travel spending data—think airline ticket purchases and souvenir buying—but also predicts where people will be visiting within the next year. The company just released its most recent index, with the places on track to be 2019’s most visited cities. Check out how how this year’s list stacks up.
1. Bangkok, Thailand
Number of overnight visitors: 22.78 million
For the past six out of seven years, Bangkok has been the most popular city for international travelers, thanks in large part to its appealing mix of historical sites and modern hot spots: the gilded Grand Palace complex, the luxurious Mandarin Oriental, the canals and alleys filled with street food vendors—and that’s just the start.
2. Paris, France
Number of overnight visitors: 19.10 million
It’s nearly impossible to resist the charms of France’s capital—and more than 19 million travelers obviously agree. The city is known for its chic hotels and inimitable restaurants, which might explain why within the top ten, it’s second only to Dubai in terms of dollars spent per day ($296). Totally worth it.
3. London, U.K.
Number of overnight visitors: 19.09 million
There’s so much to do in London, it bears repeat visits. An efficient transportation system means you won’t have to blow your budget on transportation here, which frees you up to spend your dollars at the city’s new David Bowie-themed bar and 2019 Hot List-winning Bankside Hotel—and maybe pick up a bespoke suit while you’re at it.
4. Dubai, U.A.E.
Number of overnight visitors: 15.93 million
It seems like Dubai will never stop trying to outdo itself. Within the past year, the city opened Massimo Bottura’s new restaurant at at W Dubai The Palm and introduced resident DJs at its international airport (because of course). But all that pomp seems to be paying off—quite literally. Tourists spent an incredible $553 per day there this past year.
Number of overnight visitors: 14.67 million
Even if you didn’t hop onboard the Crazy Rich Asians train in 2018 (shame!), you probably know a little bit about this alluring city. Not only does Singapore have the world’s best airport—one that got a major upgrade this year—and most Instagrammable hotel, but its street food continues to reign supreme.
6. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Number of overnight visitors: 13.79 million
One of the world’s best cities for street food has also proven to be an all-around holiday destination. Visitors spend an average of 5.7 nights in the Malaysian capital, but with so many great hotels to stay in (we’re looking at you, Grand Hyatt and Shangri-La), we suggest you go ahead and stay a full week.
7. New York City
Number of overnight visitors: 13.60 million
From the Italian restaurants of the Lower East Side to the sky-high hotels of Midtown, there’s no city on earth quite as energetic (or caffeinated) as New York City. We can’t blame overnight visitors for spending an average of $152 per day—and stretching their visits to 7.9 nights—here.
8. Istanbul, Turkey
Number of overnight visitors: 13.40 million
Moving up a spot from last year’s list, Istanbul continues to attract visitors with its historic architecture, gorgeous boutiques, and inventive restaurants—not to mention the burgeoning arts scene in the city’s Karaköy neighborhood. It’s easy to see why our readers voted this gem one of the best cities in the world last year.
9. Tokyo, Japan
Number of overnight visitors: 12.93 million
With more U.S. flights heading to Haneda Airport, a record-breaking number of Michelin-starred restaurants, and preparations in place to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, there’s never been a better time to visit the best city in the world, as voted by our readers.
10. Antalya, Turkey
Number of overnight visitors: 12.41 million
Antalya was narrowly edged out by Seoul in 2018, but the resort city finally broke into the top 10 this year—and for good reason. Aside from its beachside hotels and epic Roman ruins, Antalya also happens to be situated along Turkey’s Turquoise Coast—one of the country’s most scenic (and one of our favorite) places to spend a summer vacation.
For a developing region like West Africa, luxury does come at a cost; while it may be a tad bit expensive, it is fair to conclude that every ounce of money spent is worth it. The current niche is sophistication, and every development or hotel management is consciously following along the path to be relevant and popular. No matter your sense of taste or preference, there’s always something unique in store for you.
Africa boasts of a diverse, rich contemporary culture and heritage, fused with an unadulterated sense of hospitality; as a result, West Africa provides some of the most unique and luxurious hotel accommodations.
This article primarily focuses on, in no particular order, Ten Luxurious Hotels in West Africa
1. Tang Palace, Ghana
The Tang Palace Hotel is conveniently located six km from the Independence Square in Accra. The hotel has a year-round outdoor pool and terrace, and guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant, or a drink at the bar. Tang Palace also includes features such as free WIFI accessibility and free private parking. All rooms come with a flat-screen TV, along with a variety of satellite channels. Certain units include a seating area where you can relax, and other units feature views of the pool or the beautiful city. In addition, rooms come with a private bathroom that is fitted with a hot tub – extras include slippers and free toiletries. Guests will find free shuttle services and hairdressers at the property as well. Seeing as Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park is seven km away from Tang Palace and the Accra Sports Stadium is six km away, the hotel also offers chauffeur services. The four-star property is in a quiet location very close to the airport, and despite its large size, it has a nice hideaway feel to it. Comprised of freshly cut orchids, impressive chandeliers, and an impeccably dressed and attentive staff, the Tang Palace Hotel focuses on details that make your stay more memorable. Prices range from US$430 for a double and US$590 for a suite.
2. Royal Gold Coast Hotel (Kempinski), Ghana
From the Kempinski group that has a global reputation of doing things in style, the Royal Gold Coast Hotel is no exception. This hotel marks the brand’s West African debut, and with a complex that spreads over 35 hectares and is comprised of numerous buildings including commercial and residential towers, the property is a dazzling addition. The hotel itself has 269 rooms, all at least 50 sqm in size, including a pair of seriously snazzy presidential suites. Guests can also enjoy an extensive spa experience with a collection of 10 treatment rooms, a hammam, a yoga studio, and a fully kitted-out beauty salon. Other hotel features include an organic food bar, cocktail bar, tennis court, and a flashy outdoor pool. There are also seven extra meeting rooms with the latest audio-visual equipment, in addition to a number of outside meeting areas and a conference center measuring about 1,750 sq. m. The Royal Gold Coast Hotel is home to a restaurant as well: the Papillon Restaurant is a vibrant, Mediterranean-inspired restaurant that showcases flavors traveling the Mediterranean region from Spain to the Coast of Southern Rome in a casual, contemporary atmosphere. The daylight-flooded restaurant got its name from the butterfly shaped roof, and it is located on the 3rd floor, adjacent to the pool and cedar terrace. Rated as one of the best values in Ghana, prices start at US$375.
3. Movenpick Ambassador Hotel, Ghana
Backed by palm-studded grounds and a sweeping azure pool, Accra’s newest luxury sanctuary is certainly living up to its hype. Dubbed as the most expensive hotel in the capital, smart waiters of the Mövenpick Ambassador Hotel are seen supplying fresh snacks and icy drinks to holidaymakers stretched out on loungers around the pool. The onsite state-of-the-art shopping center is filled with high-end goods from bold fashions at Nonterah, to Afrocentric homeware at Joe’s Perspective. In addition, the Sankofa restaurant pleases customers with a wide array of continental and local flavors, and the cocktail lounge expertly whips up any favored swill. Basking in its glory from the busiest part of Accra, Mövenpick sits across from the luxurious ends of the capital. With about 260 rooms, prices start from US$375 a day.
4. Hotel Hilton, Cameroon
Situated in the centre of the business district of downtown Yaounde, this Hilton is also just 500 m from the National Craft Market. It features an outdoor swimming pool, as well as a fitness club with a hot tub and sauna; Wi-Fi access is also available.
The spacious, air-conditioned rooms and suites have a private balcony. In addition, each room at Hilton Yaounde is soundproofed, including a seating area with a flat-screen TV.
Breakfast is served every morning in Le Safoutier – it also offers international buffets for lunch and dinner. Guests have a choice of 5 restaurants and bars at the hotel including Le Panoramique, which features city views from the 11th floor.
Hilton Yaounde provides a range of leisure facilities, including 2 tennis courts and a squash court; a children’s playground and a business centre are also located on the site.
A free airport shuttle service to the hotel takes 30 minutes for transfers from Yaounde Nsimalen International Airport, and the Palais de Congrés conference center is 5 km away.
Photo Credit: booking.com
5. Noom Hotel, Guinea
Being totally avant-garde, caring, connected, and always ideally located in the heart of busy cities, Noom hotels are designed with the business traveler in mind. This four-star, family-friendly hotel has a spectacular selection of restaurants and facilities that provide ample entertainment for holidaymakers of all ages. Situated in Conakry, Noom Hotel Conakry offers its guests air-conditioned accommodations and a seasonal outdoor swimming pool. Other services include free WiFi, a fitness center, a restaurant, and a bar.
Additionally, Noom Hotel Conakry offers a sun terrace, dry cleaning facilities, free private parking, and a business center – as well as a 24-hour front desk.
The units in the Noom Hotel are equipped with a flat-screen TV and a desk, and each private bathroom is fitted with a shower and free toiletries.
Guests of the facility can enjoy a buffet breakfast as well; there is an on-site restaurant that specializes in European and local cuisine.
6. Le Wafou, Cote D’ivioire
Le Wafou is one of the oldest, yet splendid luxury hotels that the Ivory Coast can claim. With its expansive waters and a wet bar where guests can shake up icy cocktails, the pool is the star of this beachside retreat. A separate children’s pool is also present. Manicured Ivorian residents flock here to cool down and socialize amid the 30 acres (12 hectares) of landscaped gardens on the weekends. Hotel guests find Le Wafou to be an attractive complex of chalets, with a striking beachside location that makes for an accomplished stay. The rooms are clean, air conditioned, spacious, and include comfy beds. Overlooking the beach, the thatched setting of the Ghanaian Village restaurant is also a high point, as well as a great place to sample Ivorian dishes.
7. Eko Hotel And Suites, Nigeria
Victoria Island is a great choice for travelers interested in nightlife, food, and beaches. Eko’s pristine rooms and luxury suites offer an outdoor pool, barbecue, and children’s playground. Set in Lagos, Eko Hotel has a terrace and spa center, and guests can enjoy a meal at the included restaurant. Free WIFI is available, and free private parking is also available on site.
Guests can enjoy a cup of tea while looking out at the sea or the pool. Also, every room is fitted with a flat-screen TV and private bathroom; for your comfort, you will find slippers, free toiletries, and a hair dryer.
More services offered by Eko Hotel and Suites include a free shuttle service, a 24-hour front desk, hairdressers, tennis courts, and shops on the property.
Car hire is also available, considering the nearest airport is Murtala Muhammed International Airport – located 20 km from Eko Hotels Limited.
8. The Royal Senchi Hotel, Ghana
Discovering the Eastern part of Ghana has always been fun. The four-star luxury hotel located on the west bank of the Volta river offers a spa, pool, conference center, and airport pickups. With 84 luxurious guest rooms, the suites are tastefully decorated with all the mod cons, including 32-inch televisions and large bathrooms. The included Senchi Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, or dinner on an a la carte menu. If you prefer the outdoors, you can enjoy your sundowner on the River Restaurant terrace and order meals from the teppanyaki or charcoal grilled meats, salads, fruit, or ice cream. The Royal Senchi Hotel prices a standard room at $240, and suites are priced at $560 dollars.
9. Sheraton Lagos Hotel, Nigeria
Sheraton Hotel is sited close to the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, in the heart of Ikeja. The hotel includes guests houses and suites; each room provides you with a TV, air conditioning, and a seating area. More features such as refrigerators, electric kettles, and coffee machines can also be found in these suites and guest houses. The private bathrooms in the rooms also include a shower, along with a hairdryer and free toiletries.
At the Sheraton Lagos Hotel you will find a tennis court and a fitness center as well. Other facilities offered at the property include meeting facilities, a shared lounge, shops (on site), and free parking.
10. Ibis Lome, Togo
Located in Lomé, the Ibis Lomé hotel offers free Wi-Fi access, an outdoor pool, a restaurant, and a terrace. Rooms here provide guests with a flat-screen TV, satellite channels, air conditioning, and a desk. Private bathrooms for the rooms also feature baths or showers.
At Ibis Lome Centre you will find free airport shuttle service and a 24-hour front desk; additionally, the property offers free parking.
This sums up a near perfect recount of 10 of the luxurious hotels you could ever find in the Western part of the Sahara. A mixture of class and exquisite beauty, these hotels provide a refreshing ambiance of hospitality for their visitors and guests.