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The World’s Best Places to Experience the Exotic

Article by Ellen Ranta Olson 06.22.2017

Immerse yourself in these far-flung destinations that for centuries have served as global crossroads for a rich tapestry of cultures, cuisines and people. Go beyond the beaten path and revel in an adventure for the senses.

Abu Dhabi: Explore colorful, spice-perfumed souks 

On the coast of the Persian Gulf, a modern city rises in a region steeped in centuries of history. While Abu Dhabi may be home to some of the world’s finest shopping, there’s more to this Middle Eastern capital than modern-day malls. For a more traditional experience and sensory feast, head to the Souk Al Qattara, where you can shop for things like timeless handicrafts, honey and dates, all among a heady swirl of spices. Don’t miss the Friday Market, a weekly bazaar where local artisans sell their wares. Afterward, enjoy high tea at The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal.

Hong Kong: Dine your way through a culinary wonderland

From street-food vendors to innovative restaurants, Hong Kong has become a true dining destination. Immerse yourself in the culture of the city by sampling the goods at the stalls of Causeway Bay, offering delicate rice noodles, silky milk pudding and flavorful wontons — but save room for dinner at the two-Michelin-starred Tin Lung Heen, where Cantonese cuisine is elevated to its finest form.

Bali: Go beyond the beach and deep into an ancient culture

Long before Bali became an island retreat for seasoned surfers and luxury travelers alike, it was home to a thriving island community, rich with culture. Those customs live on today, providing an ever-present backdrop to the beautiful beaches and lush landscapes Bali is known for. For the Balinese, art, music and dance are more than just a pastime — they’re a way to entertain the gods. Soak up this storied heritage with an indigenous dance performance, held every evening at The Ritz-Carlton, Bali — you may just feel the gods smiling down on you.

Cairo: Discover Egypt beyond the pyramids

Egypt may be home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, but the country’s rich culture doesn’t stop there. Immerse yourself in the history of one of the planet’s oldest civilizations at the Egyptian Museum, home to the world’s most extensive collection of pharaonic antiquities — including the Golden Mask of Tutankhamun — and explore some of the city’s stunning religious architecture at the Mosque of Muhammad Ali at the Citadel. For dinner, enjoy a view of the Egyptian Museum from the gardens of Bab El-Sharq, where you can sample a tasty selection of classic meze dishes and flavored shisha pipes.

New Orleans: Wander the fanciful streets of the French Quarter 

With a culture, cuisine and character all its own, New Orleans often feels like a country in and of itself. Explore the Big Easy’s storied history through its unique architecture, from the 1908 Beaux Arts Maison Blanche Building The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans calls home to the shotgun houses, antebellum mansions and Creole cottages that make up the city’s quaint neighborhoods.

Tokyo: Experience traditional Japan after dark

Every evening, as the sun dips below the horizon, women dressed in elaborately embroidered silk kimonos appear in the lobby of The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo to honor the transition from day to night with a candle-lighting ceremony. It’s a welcome moment of calm set against the glittering backdrop of this futuristic city.

Evening view of the Tokyo skyline, which includes buildings, water and the Tokyo Tower

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Plan Your Visit to These Destinations

  • Abu Dhabi

    Location Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

    Experience A 57-acre hotel just steps from the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

    • A sprawling 1,600-meter outdoor pool
    • Bedouin-inspired spa with a private beach
    • Majestic indoor & outdoor wedding venues
  • Hong Kong

    Location Hong Kong, China

    Experience The energy of the City of Life.

    • A Forbe’s Five-Star hotel
    • Two Michelin-starred restaurants
    • The highest bar in the world, Ozone
  • Bali

    Location Bali, Indonesia

    Experience Beautiful cliff tops overlooking the Indian Ocean and white sands.

    • Tropical paradise with lush landscapes
    • Spacious cliff top villas with private pools
    • Exotic dishes made with local flavors
  • Cairo

    Location Cairo, Egypt

    Experience The charmed city of Egypt from an iconic hotel along the Nile.

    • Centered between the Nile River & Tahrir Square
    • Hosted famous personalities throughout history
    • Luxurious suites offer stunning Nile views
  • New Orleans

    Location New Orleans, Louisiana

    Experience Enjoy a Celebration of the Senses.

    • Explore the iconic French Quarter steps away
    • Enjoy jazz in our Davenport Lounge
    • Relax in the Maison Orleans Club
  • Tokyo

    Location Tokyo, Japan

    Experience Stunning views from the city’s tallest building, Midtown Tower.

    • Accommodations begin on the 47th floor
    • Michelin starred French fare at Azure 45
    • Centrally located to Tokyo’s attractions