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Our little black book of enchanting places


Rooms with the best views by Maggie O'Sullivan

Posted in HOTELS + VILLAS By Maggie O' Sullivan

A few years ago, I checked into Mena House in Cairo. It was late and I went straight to bed. The next morning, woken by the call to prayer, I pulled back the curtains and there were the Great Pyramids of Giza, just a few hundred metres away. The best hotel are invariably well located, but some, like Mena House, are so close to iconic buildings that the view can be almost overwhelming. Here are five of my favourites.

Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra

The Oberoi Amarvilas (above) is 600m from the Taj Mahal and each one of its rooms, the pool, restaurants, even the spa, overlooks the monument to love. It’s not quite the view you see on postcards – the lower part of the building is obscured by trees – nonetheless, it’s still one of the most romantic panoramas you will ever have from a hotel. From around £306 per nightPalazzo Manfredi, Rome

All the city’s five-star hotels have classic Roman views, but only one – the Palazzo Manfredi – has this stunning view of the Colosseum. Built on the site of the Ludus Magnus, the Roman Gladiators’ gymnasium, the 16-room boutique hotel is but a few steps from the amphitheatre (or 60 seconds, according to the hotel). Several of the suites overlook the Colosseum, but the best view is from the top-floor terrace restaurant at night. From around £150 per night.London Marriott Hotel County Hall

To my mind, not even the Shangri-La at the Shard has a more iconic London view than the County Hall Marriott which looks directly across the river to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. True, it’s somewhat disconcerting to find yourself virtually eyeball-to-eyeball with the occupants of the London Eye (the hotel is directly behind the Eye), but being able to use Big Ben as a bedside clock more than makes up for any perceived loss of privacy. From around £259 per night.The Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park

It’s not the most exciting hotel in town and its location in Lower Manhattan makes it rather inconvenient if you're mostly going to be in Midtown, but this Ritz-Carlton certainly has the best views of the Statue of Liberty, just across the harbour. It’s essential to book a harbour-view room (they cost extra), preferably one with a telescope since the statue isn’t super close and is occasionally shrouded in fog. From £278 per night.Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, Machu Picchu

The Belmond Sanctuary Lodge sits right at the gates of Machu Picchu. Sadly, there are no Mena House moments here because none of the rooms actually has a view of the citadel – 12 of the 29 rooms overlook the surrounding mountains; others have very little view at all. But all you have to do is step outside, walk a few steps and you’re practically inside the citadel gates. And such is the presence of Machu Picchu, that even when you can’t see it, you’re always aware it's there. From around £480 per night

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