The Most Beautiful Hotel Lobbies: Paris, Tokyo

These hotels are stunning from the start

Of the many ways hotels raise the bar—whether it's restaurant-worthy room service or the actual bar, from the pool to the roof—there's no getting past the first impression: the hotel lobby. Would you like to see your room? Nah, these hotel lobbies are so glam, you're happy to stay right where you are. 

Keith Flanagan is a Brooklyn-based food and travel writer—he's never met a pastry he didn't eat. Follow his every meal on Instagram at @keithflanny.

Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo

(Tokyo, Japan)

Check-in begins on the 38th floor, a dramatic two-story space with floor-to-ceiling windows on either side. An east-facing view peers over Tokyo's oldest neighborhoods, and a west-facing one frames the opposite, including Shibuya, one of the city's most vibrant and modern shopping districts.

Photo: Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo

Faena Hotel Miami Beach

(Miami, Florida)

There's no such thing as making a humble entrance in Miami, which makes the Faena's new lobby de rigueur. Referred to as The Cathedral—subtle!—the space features a 30-foot red carpet framed by gold-leafed columns and eight epic murals by Juan Gatti, all leading toward a 24-karat-gold statue of a woolly mammoth designed by Damien Hirst.

Photo: Kris Tamburello


Maison Souquet

(Paris, France)

Even small entrances can be larger than life. This 20-room hotel in Paris is housed within a former brothel that was refashioned by designer Jacques Garcia. The lobby oozes luxury, from the enamel paneling of its mosaics to its gilded wooden accents—all dismantled from a 19th-century estate in Brussels and reconstructed here.

Photo: Maison Souquet Hotel

The Ritz-Carlton

(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Your only complaint will be a sore neck; this former bank cashes in on a jaw-dropping, 101-foot dome surrounded by 9,000 tons of Georgia marble—a spectacle that was once the largest dome in the Western Hemisphere.

Photo: Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia 

Ashford Castle

(County Mayo, Ireland)

The fabulously oak-lined lobby of this 13th-century castle-turned-hotel exudes opulence, from a full suit of 19th-century armor to a 24-light chandelier. Also within the castle: a 1,043-piece silver-gilt dinner service—perfect for guests familiar with the proverbial silver spoon.

Photo: Ashford Castle

Pulitzer Amsterdam

(The Netherlands)

Designed by a protégé of interior designer Tom Dixon, the Pulitzer Amsterdam is a sweep of interconnected historic canal houses that share an entrance. Glamorous details come in the form of lilac and royal-blue velvet, edgy artwork, and reception desks styled after ritzy steamer trunks. First, though, you'll need to get through the pre-lobby: a working flower shop.

Photo: Pulitzer Amsterdam

Rome Cavalieri, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts

(Rome, Italy)

This scintillating lobby is grand in more ways than one: It's the first glimpse of the hotel's 1,000-piece art collection, which includes 16th-century paintings and antiques that look priceless. Words of wisdom: Look, don't touch.

Photo: Rome Cavalieri

St. Louis Union Station Hotel

(Saint Louis, Missouri)

Situated inside Saint Louis's late-19th-century Union Station—among the largest train stations in the world at its peak until it shuttered—this lobby boasts an original 65-foot ceiling, dramatic arches, colorful mosaics and stained glass. Each night, a 3-D light show projects artistic vignettes and films across the surface, as a recording by a dreamy narrator—Mad Men's Jon Hamm—spotlights the station's rich history as the gateway to the West.

Photo: St. Louis Union Station Hotel

Burj Al Arab Jumeirah

(Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

Say what you will about its outlandishly sail-shaped exterior; this lobby is a dazzling treasure chest of opulent decor. Designed to evoke the country's seafaring history, the space features soaring 24-carat gold-leaf pillars and a terraced fountain that rises several flights into the 56-story atrium. Like much in Dubai, it's all beautifully over the top.

Photo: Jumeirah via Facebook

The Lanesborough

(London, United Kingdom)

This is the only lobby on our list you'll never, ever experience, as hotel guests are directed to enter through the side of the Greek Regency-style building, across from Hyde Park. The original front door—and-would-be lobby, called The Great Hall—opens for only one guest: the Queen.

Photo: The Lanesborough