1. Raffles, Singapore
As a colonial-style hotel in Singapore, Raffles sounds like one of its own guests. You can imagine a Mr Raffles breakfasting on kedgeree, his handlebar moustache twitching as he chews, before heading out for, ooo, a spot of big-game hunting, perhaps?
And it’s a strange manifestation of the latter that secured Raffles' place in this list: in 1902, a tiger found its way into the hotel and was shot as it lurked under the billiards table. Some accounts say it was wild, others that it was an escapee from a circus.
Ponder that as you sip a Singapore Sling, the cocktail invented at the hotel’s Long Bar – no doubt Raffles fan Ernest Hemingway once did just that.
2. The Peninsula, Hong Kong
The rooms are spectacular, the interiors opulent, but this Hong Kong hotel is perhaps most famous for something that is often an afterthought: its car concierge.
But then the cars in question are Rolls-Royce Phantoms, which are more like a merging of jet plane and Thor than mere, mortal "car". The hotel has a whole fleet of them – the largest single order in Rolls-Royce’s history, apparently – which it uses to ferry guests about.
3. The Ritz, England
The Ritz, glowering regally down at the hoi polloi scuttling past its Mayfair address, is certainly very there, but what really set it apart when it opened in 1906 was that its staff were sort of ... there-but-not.
This perfectly judged discretion came down from the hotel’s Swiss founder, César Ritz, whose philosophy was to "See all without looking; hear all without listening; be attentive without being servile; anticipate without being presumptuous."
4. Jamaica Inn, England
Jamaica? No, she wanted to come. The old joke’s sort of pertinent here because once you've heard about the goings-on at Jamaica Inn – both criminal and ghostly – you might well need a little cajoling to stay the night.
A long, squat, slate-and-stone affair of 1750, the inn was used as a store by Cornish smugglers back in the day – as immortalised by Daphne du Maurier’s eponymous novel of 1936 – and is regarded as one of the most haunted places in the UK.
Jamaica Inn via Robert Linsdell via Flickr (CC-BY)