It List: The Best New Hotels 2011
Courtesy of Banyan Tree Al Wadi
Forget check-in counters. When you arrive at the wrought-iron gate of the Shangri-La Paris, a historic mansion near the Seine, a staffer will greet you by name before escorting you through the marble-clad, chandelier-lit lobby. In no time, you’ll be sipping jasmine-scented tea and admiring the Eiffel Tower view.
This latest creation from Shangri-La opened in December 2010 and stood out among the hundreds of hotels we tested for our annual It List, a compendium of the world’s most noteworthy new hotels. As we do every year, T+L editors and writers logged thousands of miles in search of the next best new hotels for you to lay your head.
In Las Vegas, we found a newcomer that will thrill design geeks and food nerds: the 52-story Cosmopolitan, architect David Rockwell’s buzzed-about tower. Rooms have Fornasetti wallpaper in the closets, a generous soaking tub, art you will actually think about, and stacks of Phaidon books bedside. Be sure to make an advance reservation at one of Cosmopolitan’s top-notch restaurants by Scott Conant (Scarpetta), Bromberg Brothers (Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill), and José Andrés (Jaleo; China Poblano). The city expects 2.8 million travelers this year, and many are clamoring for seats at new culinary hot spots like these.
Foodies will also flock to Mazzorbo island in Venice and the Venissa Ristorante Ostello—another of the year’s best new hotels. Here, the former chef of Milan’s Hotel Principe di Savoia, Paola Budel, helms the kitchen, serving innovative dishes such as pan-fried lagoon eel to up to 12 guests. Rates that start at $156 are an added treat, especially as hotel rates in Europe have seen double-digit-percent increases this spring, according to Smith Travel Research.
Back in the States, there isn’t a more famous name in the New York hotel world than Donald Trump, and his three entrepreneurial scions are behind downtown Manhattan’s newest tower, Trump SoHo. In a city with almost 7,000 new hotel rooms under construction, Ivanka set the property apart with her modern design touch—from the puckered-leather headboards to streamlined bathrooms. The exotic twist? The city’s first hammam, inspired by Ivanka’s travels in Istanbul.
Whatever perk you have in mind—from camel rides in Abu Dhabi to wine tasting from a Queenstown lodge—you’re sure to find it among our collection of the year’s best new hotels.
—Jennifer Flowers and Sarah Spagnolo