It List: The Best New Hotels 2014
Introducing the 70 coolest new hotels that are changing the travel landscape, from Aruba to Zambia.
If the sun rises over the misty Umbrian hills and there’s nobody there to Facebook it, do the birds still tweet? You bet. And it’s a revelation. By deftly turning the ascetic tradition (monk-size single rooms, no Wi-Fi or TVs) into something decadent through fine linens and fine wines, the postcard-perfect Italian newcomer Eremito Hotelito del Alma is a cozy European hideaway that made us take note—by hand, of course.
Vetting the top contenders for the definitive roster of the world’s best new hotels saw us not just surrendering our phones, but logging thousands of miles from Patagonia to Palm Springs, CA. Researching Travel + Leisure’s ninth-annual It List isn’t a task we take lightly.
At the far-flung Fogo Island Inn in Newfoundland—a 1,750-mile plane-car-ferry from Toronto—we discovered Modernist craftsmanship and a tight-knit community in a remote, art-filled outpost. While we crossed the world between Hotel Escondido’s pared-down Mexican palapas to the Cheval Blanc Rendheli’s over-the-top (overwater) Maldivian villas, a sophisticated clutch of new-wave beach resorts turned our heads.
Getting the details right separated exceptional hotels from merely excellent ones, like New York City’s The Quin, an urban trendsetter that has Bergdorf Goodman on speed-dial, and Tel Aviv’s Alma Hotel, a new design haven that crafted deer-head wall sculptures out of local seashells. Reflexology sessions at Vivanta by Taj–Gurgaon in New Delhi epitomize the playful perks of a next-gen business hotel.
Top hotels also changed the game this year, be it putting a new neighborhood on the map, like Mama Shelter Istanbul in Beyoglu, to reimagining the safari lodge. Richard Branson injected space-age whimsy into the tent design of his Mahali Mzuri camp on the Masai Mara in East Africa.
Our favorite new hotels didn’t skimp on scene either, whether that meant creating Chateau Marmont–level cool in Santa Monica, CA or après-ski glamour in the Swiss Alps. When it came to historical landmarks reborn, standouts included a 300-year-old Neoclassical palace in St. Petersburg, Russia that went so far as to include heated terraces off the suites.
Read on to find the 70 properties that are changing the travel landscape. —Justin Ocean
Hotel Pricing Key
$ Less than $200
$$ $200 to $350
$$$ $350 to $500
$$$$ $500 to $1,000
$$$$$ More than $1,000
Edited by Jennifer Flowers, Jacqueline Gifford, and Nikki Ekstein.
Reported by Christine Ajudua, Bahar Akıncı, Tom Austin, Aimee Lee Ball, Vinita Bharadwaj, Amy Brownlee, Aric Chen, Jay Cheshes, Fiona Donnelly, Stephen Drucker, Amy Farley, Ozgur Gezer, Sarah Gilbert, Adrien Glover, Adam Graham, Darrell Hartman, Jimmy Im, David A. Keeps, Stirling Kelso, Rebecca Kleinman, Peter Jon Lindberg, Naomi Lindt, Alexandra Marshall, J.J. Martin, Mario R. Mercado, Sarah Miller, Shane Mitchell, Reggie Nadelson, Sheila Pierce, Kathryn O’Shea-Evans, Caroline Phillips, Brooke Porter, Kathy Roberson, Sophy Roberts, Bruce Schoenfeld, Clara O. Sedlak, Andrew Sessa, Patrick Sheehan, Gail Simmons, Samai Singh, Emma Sloley, Aatish Taseer, Laura Teusink, and Penny Watson.