The World's Hottest Hotel Openings This Winter
Mahana Villa in New Zealand
Wine enthusiasts who have already crossed Tuscany and Bordeaux off their lists now have another destination to hit: New Zealand’s South Island. This architecturally impressive estate-turned-hotel in winery-rich Nelson, on the island’s northern coast, is perched high on a hill, overlooking the Tasman Bay and the Southern Alps. It’s the cornerstone to the award-winning Mahana Vineyard, known for its organic Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Noirs, but it also serves as a home base for cycling, fly-fishing, kayaking, and heli-picnicking (yes, you read that right).
When is a hotel more than just a place to rest your head? When it opens access to a new destination, allows you to see it more fully, or offers the perfect respite from action-packed days. Travelers should consider themselves lucky to have so many new and exciting options—it seems like every day a beautiful new resort opens on some far-flung shore. But the options can also be overwhelming.
That’s why Travel + Leisure steps in on a quarterly basis to tell you exactly what’s hot and where—and why it’s worth going. There may not be TripAdvisor reviews yet, and some of these properties have yet to open their doors, but they’re the spots that we—professional hotel obsessives—are clamoring to check out as soon as possible. (And getting in early can come with its perks: not least among them, discounted opening rates and major bragging rights.)
On the list this winter are tons of options for warm-weather escapes, from a design-centric opening in Negril, Jamaica, to a culinary retreat with four rooms and a sprawling organic farm in the Cayman Islands. There are easy domestic getaways, thanks to exciting arrivals in Charleston and Nashville, and far-flung fantasies tucked into the Japanese countryside or the Sri Lankan coast. What they all have in common: a deep sense of place, even when they can pick up and move to a whole new location, as is the case with the hottest new safari lodge in the Serengeti, Roving Bushtops, which can literally be mounted on wheels to follow migratory routes.
Of course, our obsession with the new doesn’t mean you should forget about the classics (there’s a reason why hotels become iconic in their destinations). Instead, think of these openings as T+L’s picks to become the icons, landmarks, and must-stays of tomorrow.