Columbia: Most luxurious destination in the world?


A recent study put public perception up against five star ratings to discover just where the most luxurious destinations in the world are – and the results were vastly different. The study, undertaken by luxury holiday specialist Sovereign, researched hotel data taken directly from a leading booking site in over 225 countries and territories to determine which was the most luxurious based on the percentage of five-star hotels found there.

The data concluded that Colombia came out on top with 860 five-star hotels out of the 4143 hotels listed on the site – a 21 per cent luxury rating. The Maldives came out second, with a luxury rating of 16 per cent; Singapore third; United Arab Emirates fourth, and New Zealand fifth.

However, the public rating showed different results with the Maldives being ranked the highest with 65 percent of the votes, Barbados second with 56 percent, Seychelles third, Mauritius fourth and Bali fifth.

A spokesperson for Sovereign said,

Clearly, there is an obvious difference in what data and public perceptions tell us here. It’s no surprise to us that the public rated The Maldives as the most luxurious destination in the world; it’s an incredibly beautiful destination with its white sugary sand and tranquil blue surrounds.

However, data presents destinations that aren’t first-to-mind when thinking luxury holidays. Colombia has seen a substantial 290 percent increase over the past decade and a 12 percent rise between 2015 and 2016; in that same period the increase of tourism in The Maldives stands at just 2 percent.  


Sovereign also considered perceptions of luxury travel and luxury in general. The study found 94 percent of people believe the idea of luxury has evolved over time, with 96 percent believing things once considered a treat or rarity are now seen as normal and essential.


beach-vacation-water-summerTop ten most luxurious destinations based on percentage of 5* hotels to number of hotels in destination using’s data

  1. Colombia – 20.76%
  2. Maldives – 15.93%
  3. Singapore – 15.74%
  4. United Arab Emirates – 15.16%
  5. New Zealand – 9.86%
  6. Dominican Republic – 9.59%
  7. Mexico 9.46%
  8. Panama – 7.48%
  9. Hong Kong – 7.47%
  10. Mauritius – 7.28%

Top ten most luxurious destinations as voted by public

  1. Maldives – 65.15%
  2. Barbados – 56%    
  3. Seychelles – 55.25%    
  4. Mauritius – 47.60%     
  5. Bali – 39.75%
  6. Monaco – 38.35%
  7. Fiji – 32.50%
  8. New York – 29.25%
  9. Los Angeles – 23.35%
  10. Australia – 20.05%

Top 20 essential elements for a luxury holiday:jetty-landing-stage-sea-holiday

  1. First or business class air travel
  2. An all-inclusive food and drinks package
  3. A king size bed or above
  4. Free dressing gowns and slippers
  5. A free mini bar
  6. Air conditioning in the room
  7. A free spa
  8. Your own sauna
  9. Your own plunge pool
  10. Butler service
  11. Temperature above 25 degrees
  12. Porters or bell hops
  13. A swim up bar
  14. Valet parking
  15. A long-haul flight
  16. TVs in the bathroom
  17. Palm trees
  18. A gym
  19. iPod/docking station in the room
  20. Games console in the bedroom

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