This year’s It List of groundbreaking new hotels features 61 properties around the globe. Here are highlights in six categories.
City: Zero George, Charleston, SC
Introducing Charleston’s first truly contemporary retreat: Zero George, in the oak-lined Ansonborough district. The 18 guest rooms, scattered among five historic buildings (all circa 1805), have the signature pocket gardens, piazzas, and sprawling verandas you’d expect from hotels here, but Farrow & Ball paint colors and Kravat linens bring the look refreshingly up to date. Guests can take Lowcountry cooking classes in the former kitchen house. Rates start at $289/night.
Rustic: Pig in the Wall, Southampton, England
A dozen rooms are built into the city’s medieval walls and packed with eccentric flourishes, from mismatched furnishings to potted herbs in corners. While Pig in the Wall is too small for a proper restaurant, it maintains plenty of foodie appeal: a deli counter offers unique “piggy bites” such as house-cured lomo, while in-room larders are stocked with Piddle Lager and crisps flavored with local Ashmore cheeses. Rates start at about $195/night.
Design: 21C, Bentonville, Arkansas
In 2011, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art put Bentonville on the world art map. Now the opening of the 21c is reinforcing that position. A two-story-tall metal tree with basketball hoops for branches stands in the courtyard; in the gym, an obese Batman sculpture hovers over the treadmills. The 104 light-filled rooms have their own cheeky touches, such as pillows silkscreened with animal portraits. And if the stylish guests mingling with locals in the lobby gallery and Hive restaurant are any indication, the allure of Bentonville as a weekend getaway is spreading. Rates start at $169/night.
Beach: Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort, St. Lucia
Sugar Beach raises the bar on an island already known for luxury. The 78 bleach-white rooms and 42 hillside villas are wedged between the towering Pitons and filled with indigenous art. There’s a tree-house spa made by a Rastafarian craftsman using 900-year-old Carib Indian techniques, and old-world uniforms for the staff. Don’t miss a diving lesson from the resort’s longtime instruction, Cocoa Puffs. Rates start at $440/night
Renovation: Hotel Jerome, Aspen, Colorado
This 125-year-old iconic hotel with jaw-dropping mountain views and a lively après-ski scene recently underwent a multi-million dollar overhaul. While the Victorian red-brick façade remains, common areas offer a playful take on the Old West: tufted leather sofas and mounted deer heads are juxtaposed with modern accents such as black-and-white cowhide rugs and crystal obelisks. Rates in June start at $355/night.
Resort: Vivanta by Taj Madikeri, India
The region of Coorg, in India’s southwestern state of Karnataka, is appealing for its mist-shrouded rain forests, rolling coffee plantations, and off-the-grid vibe. With the debut of Vivanta by Taj Madikeri, travelers have added incentive to visit. The 62 villas and suites are modeled after traditional Coorgi homes, with soaring vaulted ceilings, doors made from coconut shells, and picture windows that let the sun seep over the horizon at dawn. Rates start at $223/night.
For a complete look at the 61 hotels from around the world that made the list, check out the article in the June 2013 issue.