Adventures, like hotels, come in all shapes and sizes. But hotels can double as an adventure if you select one that’s inspiring, intriguing and architecturally astonishing. Many renowned hotels qualify as architectural masterpieces, and, unlike the Great Wall of China or the Pyramids of Giza, they welcome overnight guests. If vacationing in style is on the agenda, here are five that should top your list.

Fairmont Doha, Qatar

Not every architectural masterpiece is ancient, and the beauty and elegance of a modern structural design can also astound and amaze. Consider the Katara Towers in Doha, overlooking the Arabian Gulf. The U-shaped landmark is already an icon, although its doors didn’t open until the FIFA World Cup in 2022. The soaring curve of the architectural design, with its twin, symmetrically arched towers rising 36 stories from the podium level, represents the crossed swords on Qatar’s national seal. The skyscraper sits in the southern point of the futuristic city of Lusail, Qatar.

Within this spectacular building you’ll find Fairmont Doha, which combines timeless style and contemporary amenities with unbeatable vistas. The luxury hotel has over 350 rooms and suites (many with terraces and separate lounges) that provide uninterrupted and spectacular sea and city views. A stay in any Fairmont Gold room opens the doors to the exclusive Fairmont Gold Lounge as well as a private outdoor pool. 

Carton House, A Fairmont Managed Hotel, Ireland

For centuries, Carton House, a country manor near the town of Maynooth, County Kildare, was a private residence. The name Carton comes from the old Irish name Baile an Cairthe, meaning “Land of the Pillar Stone.” Built in 1739, the vast Palladian manor was designed by famed architect Richard Cassels and served as the ancestral home of the Earls of Kildare and the Dukes of Leinster. Its grounds encompass 1,100 acres of woods and parkland, bisected by the winding River Rye.

All this changed in modern times. In the 2000s, the walled estate was transformed into a golf resort with two courses, while the manor house became part of a hotel complex. After an extensive restoration, the stately home reopened as a Fairmont managed hotel in 2021.

Guests can opt to stay in The House, the name given to the original, opulent manor, or choose a room in the Garden Wing, a more modern addition. This historic estate offers an escape into the grandeur and luxury of yesteryear just half an hour from Dublin International Airport.

Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, Canada

Standing tall on a dramatic cliff overlooking the St. Lawrence River, Fairmont Le Château Frontenac sits within the UNESCO-listed Historic District of Old Québec. Built in the 1890s, with five brick and stone wings and a central tower, the magnificent castle was one of a series of lavish hotels constructed by Canadian Pacific Railway. In 1980, it was designated a National Historic Site of Canada for its château-style architecture.

Today the château is said to be one of the world’s most photographed hotels, and anyone visiting is sure to appreciate its photogenic charm. The fortress-like design echoes the architecture of Renaissance castles in France’s renowned Loire Valley. The hotel is a cultural monument, adding to the reputation of Québec as a romantic fortified city.

Guests appreciate the elegant European look of the hotel and the sophisticated design elements of the 610 rooms and suites. Architecture and design experts agree. In fact, Fairmont Le Château Frontenac was awarded the 2022 Global Hotel of the Year Award from the prestigious World Luxury Awards. It was also selected as the best luxury castle hotel.

Fairmont Makkah Clock Royal Tower, Saudi Arabia

An architectural wonder completed in 2012, the Abraj Al Bait (or Clock Towers) complex lies in the heart of Saudi Arabia’s Holy City. Its cluster of seven towers stands on a 15-story structure that houses a grand shopping area. The lofty central skyscraper is home to Fairmont Makkah Clock Royal Tower, which has become the quintessential symbol of Holy City hospitality.

One of the tallest skyscrapers in the world, the Makkah Clock Royal Tower is most recognizable for its four gigantic clock faces, each measuring 43 meters in diameter. Illuminated by 2 million LED lights and intricately decorated with glass mosaic tiles and Arabic script, the clocks are a beacon after dark.

The Abraj Al Bait complex was part of an endowment project intended to offer unrivaled accommodation to the increasing numbers of pilgrims, tourists and business travelers visiting the Holy City. And Fairmont Makkah Clock Royal Tower does exactly that. The landmark building is the closest hotel to the Kaaba, considered by Muslims to be the most sacred spot on Earth. The hotel’s 1,618 guest rooms and suites are the epitome of elegance and luxury, with breathtaking views of Masjid al-Haram and the Holy Kaaba.

Fairmont Jaipur, India

Known far and wide as the Pink City, Rajasthan’s state capital, Jaipur, attracts visitors from all over the globe who come to experience the fascinating culture of the Rajputana. Fairmont Jaipur was the first Fairmont hotel in India, and its stunning architecture reflects the area’s rich heritage. In a nod to the region’s grand Mughal palaces, Clive Gray styled the interior design in a regal fashion, creating a palatial environment surrounded by lush gardens that echo the Persian idea of heaven.

The regional influence on the hotel’s architectural elements is evident everywhere, from the sumptuous entrance to the private hammam in every guest room to the Chaupad-style pool. This exceptional Fairmont hotel has an unmatched location, tucked among the majestic Aravalli hills. The 245 rooms and suites are elegantly appointed and encapsulate attention to detail that incorporates traditional Rajasthani decor as well as modern amenities.

A stay in an architectural masterpiece is always a memorable one. Book with Fairmont today for your next architectural adventure.