The Empire Hotel & Country Club
Updated on September 2, 2014
As ambitious as its name implies, The Empire Hotel & Country Club rambles over hectares of trimmed lawns and neatly tended tropical gardens. Modified golf buggies zip around the complex, carting guests to and from the resort's Jack Nicklaus–designed golf course, self-contained luxury villas, restaurants, sports club (with its Romanesque indoor swimming pool), spa, cinema and theater. The hotel's huge lobby sits under a 50-meter high, domed atrium, supported by towering faux-Moorish columns splashed generously with gilded trim.
A lake-sized, free-form pool sprawls by the ocean. It has its own white-sanded beach and - such are its dimensions - there are kayaks to help you navigate. Room choices extend from standard five-star fare (deluxe and superior), to suites (seven categories in all), and spacious two- and three-bedroom villas. Drowning in extravagance is the aptly named Emperor Suite, with its own 10-meter swimming pool, large Jacuzzi, grand piano, cinema and wet bar, spreading over an incredible 666 square meters.