In compiling Travel + Leisure’s fourth annual It List, our editors once again visited hundreds of new hotels around the globe. What makes 2009 different?Properties closer to home really caught our attention: there are a record number in the United States alone.
Take the Montage in Beverly Hills, where a Maybach parked out front sets the tone. Despite the fact that the hotel opened last fall in the midst of a major economic downturn, it oozes glamour, mixing Old Hollywood feel with New Hollywood perks (a rooftop pool and a Pilates studio).
On the East Coast, it’s affordable style that’s making waves. André Balazs’s fourth Standard hotel, a glass-and-concrete edifice towering over New York City’s Meatpacking District, has fast become a destination for international travelers. The walls of windows showcase postcard views of midtown in one direction and the Statue of Liberty in the other—and doubles start at an un-Manhattan-like $195.
Miami Beach is stocked with a slew of new hotels, including Dutch designer Marcel Wanders’s Baroque-minimalist Mondrian; a David Rockwell–designed branch of Canyon Ranch; and the legendary Fontainebleau, expanded and revamped from its Rat Pack days.
In other great news for travelers, Banyan Tree has ventured into North America for the first time, with a resort on Mexico’s Riviera Maya. The Firefly Bequia is turning the Grenadines into an up-and-coming Caribbean destination. Across the Atlantic, the glass-and-steel ME Barcelona has added another layer of sleekness in that designcentric city.
And far-flung locales also caught our eye. The island of Mauritius added to its luxury quotient with the Four Seasons Resort at Anahita, which offers views of either a crystal-blue lagoon or the Bambou Mountains. And for true exotica, try the Six Senses Hideaway at Zighy Bay, in Oman, on the Arabian Peninsula. Just getting there is an adventure—whether by a dirt road cresting a jagged mountain, by speedboat, or by paraglider. But once you’ve arrived at this hideaway and its white sand beach, you may not ever want to leave.
Whether you’re looking for a quick getaway or hoping to get away from it all for a while, we’ve found the place for you.
Edited by Niloufar Motamed, Sarah Kantrowitz, and Jennifer Flowers.
Written by Christine Ajudua, Gini Alhadeff, Luke Barr, Lily Becker, Laura Begley, Paul Chai, Jennifer Chen, Tanvi Chheda, Yolanda Crous, Matthew Evans, Amy Farley, Elettra Fiumi, Ozgur Gezer, Alice Gordon, Serra Gurcay, Catesby Holmes, Tina Isaac, Karrie Jacobs, David Kaufman, David A. Keeps, Stirling Kelso, Sharon Leece, Peter Jon Lindberg, Shane Mitchell, Bob Morris, Nancy Novogrod, Joshua Pramis, Bruce Schoenfeld, Clara Sedlak, Swapan Seth, Maria Shollenbarger, Adam Skolnick, Bree Sposato, Rima Suqi, Hillary Geronemus Truslow, Bonnie Tsui, and Elizabeth Woodson.