Oberoi Udaivilas (94.36)
Impeccable palace in marble, sandstone, and gold leaf, set on 30 lakeside acres of former royal hunting grounds.
Stats: 87 rooms; 2 restaurants; 1 bar.
Competitive Edge: The full package: idyllic setting, stunning architecture, and impeccable service.
Rooms to Book: Premier Lake Views, for private patios that lead to a semiprivate pool.
Don't Miss: Dinner for two on a floating pontoon in Lake Pichola.
Cost: Doubles from $745.
Singita Game Reserve (94.30)
Kruger National Park Area, South Africa
Four exceptionally well-designed lodges deep in the African bush.
Stats: 45 rooms; 4 restaurants; 4 bars.
Competitive Edge: Architecture, cuisine, and service that set the gold standard for bush luxury.
Rooms to Book: A glass-and-timber cabin at Sweni Lodge, for river views.
Don't Miss: Wine tasting in the 14,000-bottle cellar at Boulders Lodge.
Cost: Doubles from $2,600, including meals, drinks, and activities.
Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace (92.15)
Four-year-old hotel in an Art Nouveau building at the foot of the Danube.
Stats: 179 rooms; 2 restaurants; 1 bar.
Competitive Edge: Outstanding Art Deco interiors and a stunning glass-domed lobby.
Rooms to Book: Danube Superiors with balconies with views of the castle; courtyard-facing Gresham rooms, for up to 100 additional square feet.
Don't Miss: A Gresham Puszta cocktail (apricot brandy and Hungarian dessert wine) from the bar's extensive martini menu.
Cost: Doubles from $450.
Four Seasons Resort (91.9)
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Cluster of 2-story Thai pavilions—each with a covered veranda—surrounded by rice paddies in the idyllic Mae Rim Valley.
Stats: 80 rooms; 2 restaurants; 2 bars.
Competitive Edge: An unparalleled and up-country experience.
Rooms to Book: Rice Terrace Pavilions, for expansive views and water buffalo sightings.
Don't Miss: Learning how to prepare traditional Thai dishes at the on-site cooking school.
Cost: Doubles from $502.