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7 Star Hotels: Do They Really Exist?

By Vlad Craciun


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7 Star Hotels
Burj Al Arab / visitdubai.com

Seven stars hotels. You’ve probably heard about them, but the details are left in the murky waters of a culture trying its best to impress as much as possible. Because what we all know is that hotel rating has traditionally a range spanning from one to five stars.

So where does the 7 star rating comes from? And what does it mean, what does a 7 star hotel offers beyond the 5 stars we know and like? There’s no clear answer to these questions, but we’ll try to shed some light on the entire thing and how it all started.

7-Star Rating: How it All Started

Hotel Plaza Athenee Lobby
Hotel Plaza Athenee in Paris

It all began with a journalist who covered the opening of the iconic Burj Al Arab Jumeirah in Dubai back in 1999. Astonished by the pretentiousness of the construction, which eventually became the symbol of Dubai, the journalist came up with the term seven star to express the fact that the Burj Al Arab’s luxury couldn’t possibly be encompassed by the traditional 5 star standard.

The idea of a seven star hotel caught on and became a way of highlighting that some hotels are way ahead and above of the traditional 5 star standards, offering a never before seen grandeur and plushness, and an experience most people could only dream of.

Do 7 Star Hotels Really Exist?

Do 7 Star Hotels Really Exist
Emirates Palace

Officially, seven star hotels don’t exist.

What exists is 5 star hotels that offer a much more impressive experience than most other 5 star hotels, so the luxury, the experience, they’re all there. The rating of 7 stars though, is not. At least not officially.

Some hotels like to rate themselves unofficially, or include that in their tagline or description to signal that what they offer is a lot more than a traditional 5 star hotel.

Are They Recognized as 7 Stars?

Emirates Palace Suite
Emirates Palace Suite

As we mentioned above, there is no official seven star rating. But there may be some official classification associations that have included various properties in the so called seven star elite, but nothing widely recognized, not to mention globally.

All over the world, the only standard classification system is the one to five star one. It’s a uniform system to make classification easier across the states that use international standardization, but most countries adhere to it to be on common ground. So, officially, the highest rating a hotel or resort can achieve is 5 stars.

Anything more is only the desire of guests, reviewers, journalists, or developers themselves to praise the respective properties for offering bigger, more luxurious, or more excessive accommodation.

What Makes a Hotel Worthy of 7 Stars?

COMO Laucala Island
COMO Laucala Island

The 7 star tagline is usually reserved for those hotels and resorts that, in a way, redefine our understanding of luxury. While 5 star hotels traditionally offer deluxe standards when it comes to room comfort, the quality of their restaurants and serving, and other amenities such as pools, spas, or gyms, and various extra services, a 7 star hotel would go way beyond that.

That would mean Michelin restaurants, world class amenities and astonishing natural settings, exceptional private services with customized experience for each of their guests, uniquely designed and furnished suites, extremely spacious rooms, private pools and facilities, and many more.

On the other hand, you can expect exorbitant prices, with some stays exceeding tens of thousands of dollars per night.

Now that we understand what the 7 star rating is all about, let’s now find out which hotels are widely recognized as offering that kind of exquisite experience. We’ll look at several projects that were started and never finished, some that are almost there, and the ones that truly offer something that crosses the boundaries of what most of us deem luxurious.

Honorable Mentions:

15. Hotel President Wilson – Geneva, Switzerland

Hotel President Wilson

Hotel President Wilson in Geneva, Switzerland is a 5 star hotel that offers the largest and most expansive hotel suite in the world, called the Royal Penthouse suite.

It spans over an entire floor and features no less than 12 grand bedrooms, with a night there costing around $80,000. That suite alone is worthy of a 7 star hotel experience, so it had to take up a spot here.

14. Oberoi Udaivilas Hotel – Udaipur, India

Oberoi Udaivilas Hotel

The Oberoi Udaivilas Hotel in Udaipur, India is an extremely luxurious hotel that resembles more a palace than a traditional hotel.

Situated on the shores of Lake Pichola, and occupying 50 acres of gorgeous land, the Oberoi Udaivilas is one of the most extravagant properties in the entire world, making it worthy of the unofficial rating of 7 stars.

13. The Pentominium – Dubai, UAE

The Pentominium

The Pentominium is a 1,693 feet – or 516 meters – tall skyscraper in Dubai. Though construction started back in 2008, it was halted in August 2011 due to lack of funding.

Still incomplete even today, the 122 story building was supposed to become the tallest residential building on Earth and one of the most luxurious hotels. Too bad its construction was abandoned.

12. Full Moon Hotel – Baku, Azerbaijan

Death Star Hotel

The Full Moon Hotel in Baku, Azerbaijan is another very interesting project that was abandoned, this time in favor of a different design. The initial one was planned to look like a moon with rounded edges and a hole in one of the top corners, from one side resembling a “Death Star” from the film Star Wars.

The most interesting part of the design was that the building was supposed to change its appearance depending on the view angle. Nevertheless, when it will be completed, it will take its place among the most impressive buildings in the world.

11. The Flower of the East – Kish Island, Iran

Flower of the East

Situated on the Iranian Kish Island in the Persian Gulf, the Flower of the East was one of the biggest tourism projects in the area, with construction started in 2004, supposed to be finished by 2010, but cancelled in 2007.

The building was to become one of the most luxurious hotels in the world, so it could have been one of the unofficial 7 star hotels worldwide.

The Widely Recognized 7 Star Hotels:

10. Oberoi Rajvilas Hotel – Jaipur, India

Oberoi Rajvilas Hotel

Part of the Oberoi hotels, the Rajvilas Hotel in Jaipur, India is another stunning property that can be catalogued as a 7 star experience.

It’s one that goes way beyond the traditional luxury accommodation, with stunning views of nature and excellent private services, not to mention the incredibly luxurious and spacious villas, rooms, and even tents.

9. The Centaurus – Islamabad, Pakistan

Mövenpick Hotel Centaurus Islamabad

The Centaurus in Islamabad was Pakistan’s way to get on the map for international luxury travel. It’s part hotel, part mall with food court, part residential building, part office, and it’s impressive both from the outside and from the inside.

Called the Mövenpick Hotel Centaurus Islamabad, this hotel was planned for opening back in 2018, but that was pushed until the fourth quarter of 2022. The future hotel is not yet ready to receive its first guests, but when it will, the experience will most likely exceed the 5 star rating.

8. Seven Stars Galleria – Milan, Italy

Galleria Vik Milano

Situated deep in the heart of Milan, Italy, the Seven Stars Galleria is part of the famed Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, and the only hotel that has an official 7 star rating. It appears that the hotel owner hired a company to create a custom European ranking, so that the hotel could receive an official 7 stars.

But that’s still not the same as being official worldwide seen from the perspective of an international rating, so technically it’s still not officially recognized.

On the other hand though, the world class accommodation in the dreamlike rooms and suites speaks of something more. Today the hotel is actually called Galleria Vik Milano.

7. Taj Falaknuma Palace – Hyderabad, India

Taj Falaknuma Palace

Constructed back in 1884 for the Nizam of Hyderabad, the richest man in the world at that time, the old palace of Taj Falaknuma is now labeled as a luxury 7 star hotel.

The opulent building is a splendor of architecture and classic style, and the shape resembles a scorpion with two stings spread out like wings. Inside, guests will marvel at the countless pieces of art, marble dining rooms, stunning furnishings and sweeping staircases, a huge jade collection, and old manuscripts.

Each visitor will have his own personal butler, and instead of a car and chauffeur, they’ll get transported around in a horse drawn carriage.

6. Hotel Plaza Athenee – Paris, France

Hotel Plaza Athenee

The iconic Hotel Plaza Athenee in the capital of France is another romantic getaway place that rises to seven star standards, with private balconies opening towards a mesmerizing view of the Eiffel Tower.

There’s nothing better than enjoying the classic French extravagance of their unique rooms, with impressive chandeliers, coffee tables, and comfortable armchairs, all while being served like royalty.

5. Signiel Seoul – Seoul, South Korea

Signiel Seoul

Located in the fifth tallest skyscraper in the world, the 1,820 foot Lotte World Tower, Signiel Seoul quickly became known as the most luxurious and most expensive hotel in South Korea, with a room rising to a whooping $18,000 a night.

Everything about it screams superlative, from Michelin star chefs, helicopter transfers, and the largest champagne bar in Asia as some of its highlights.

The hotel was launched with the seven star label from the very beginning, and we can easily see why.

4. Laucala Island Resort – Fiji

COMO Laucala Island Resort

The COMO Laucala Island Resort is a private paradise set on the island of Laucala, in the island country of Fiji, the world’s most expensive private island resort, one that many world class celebrities choose to spend their vacations in complete privacy and astonishing luxury.

With 25 private villas for rent and prices as high as $45,000, this is 7 star a paradise reserved for a select few. The 25 villas are looked after by more than 300 staff, so one can expect one of the most pampering experiences on the planet while there.

That includes private drivers, chefs, cleaners, and even nannies, private infinity pools and astonishing beachside bedrooms with panoramic views. In a few words, nothing short of fantasy.

3. Pangu Seven Star Hotel – Beijing, China

Pangu Seven Star Hotel

Beijing is home to a self proclaimed seven star hotel, the Pangu Seven Star Hotel, featuring no less than 234 incredible rooms that blend the classic Chinese traditions with touches of European charm, while staying true to the principles of feng shui.

The hotels most mesmerizing suite is called the Sky Courtyard, which is a private residence stretching on two floors and benefiting of a traditional Chinese courtyard on the rooftop, with pool and retractable glass roof.

During the Beijing Olympics, it even hosted Bill Gates.

2. Emirates Palace – Abu Dhabi, UAE

Emirates Palace – Abu Dhabi

In a never ending competition for the biggest and most luxurious, Abu Dhabi and Dubai have reached some incredible levels of opulence and comfort. The Emirates Palaces situated in Abu Dhabi is one such place, one of the most expensive hotels in the world.

It costed an unbelievable $3 billion to build, and features some of the most mind boggling modern luxuries one could ever imagine. In fact, most of us probably can’t even imagine.

There’s over 1 km of private beach, over 100 kitchens, no less than 114 domes and marble that came from a total of 13 countries. Count in the over 1000 Swarovski crystal chandeliers, and even a gold vending machine. Because why not?

1. Burj Al Arab – Dubai, UAE

Burj Al Arab

Built back in 1999, and the one that started the 7 star hotel trend, the spectacular Burj Al Arab in Dubai is widely known as the most luxurious hotel in the world.

And there’s no denying that. You just have to take a look at its incredibly deluxe rooms, and especially the Royal Suite with its private dining room, gold chandeliers, helipad with private helicopter transfers.

But no matter what room you choose, there’s 24 hour butler service, and a fleet of Rolls Royce Phantoms waiting to get you wherever you want to be. If that’s not enough, there’s gold plated iPads and caviar facials as well, plus several attendants to take care of your every need.

How could this possibly be a 5 star only hotel?

Final Thoughts

Marvel at the world’s most luxurious creations, something that breaks the traditional 5 star hotel rating, going way beyond its standards.

These are the most luxurious hotels on Earth, well worth the label of 7 star hotels for their astonishing services and pampering of their clients. There’s nothing better in the world so far.

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About Vlad Craciun

Vlad has over 7 years of experience writing content about subjects such as travel, cars, motorcycles, tech & gadgets, and his newly discovered passion, watches. He’s in love with two wheeled machines and the freedom and the thrills that motorcycle travel provides. Learn more about Luxatic's Editorial Process.

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