Sharon Nieuwenhuis

Far-Flung Fantasy: Vines Resort & Spa, Mendoza, Argentina

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For all its world-class wining and dining, the Uco Valley’s hotel offerings have been largely lackluster. That’s why the 22-villa Vines Resort, set among 1,500 acres of private vineyards, is such a welcome addition. The rooms are stylish configurations of rough-hewn stone fireplaces, outdoor soaking tubs, and private patios facing staggering Andean peaks. The restaurant, Siete Fuegos, is becoming a destination in its own right: native chef Francis Mallmann’s menu is centered on the traditional wood-fired asado, which turns out expertly grilled Argentinean steaks and hearty empanadas. Guests hoping to try their hand at wine making can join the fall harvest, or blend Malbecs, Merlots, Cabernet Francs, and Syrahs with expert winemakers. vinesresortandspa.com. $$$$

Vines Resort and Spa

It List 2015: the Best New Hotels on the Planet

Far-Flung Fantasy: Vines Resort & Spa, Mendoza, Argentina

For all its world-class wining and dining, the Uco Valley’s hotel offerings have been largely lackluster. That’s why the 22-villa Vines Resort, set among 1,500 acres of private vineyards, is such a welcome addition. The rooms are stylish configurations of rough-hewn stone fireplaces, outdoor soaking tubs, and private patios facing staggering Andean peaks. The restaurant, Siete Fuegos, is becoming a destination in its own right: native chef Francis Mallmann’s menu is centered on the traditional wood-fired asado, which turns out expertly grilled Argentinean steaks and hearty empanadas. Guests hoping to try their hand at wine making can join the fall harvest, or blend Malbecs, Merlots, Cabernet Francs, and Syrahs with expert winemakers. vinesresortandspa.com. $$$$

Sharon Nieuwenhuis

It List 2015: the Best New Hotels on the Planet

It looks like a concrete-and-glass spaceship touched down amid the lush hills of Chilean wine country. In fact, it’s Viña Vik, a new retreat that’s thrillingly original and opening up the Millahue Valley to more travelers.

Wine-country hotels the world over tend to follow a few familiar themes—intimate scale, lots of stone and rough-hewn beams, expansive views, good food—and if they often deliver a high degree of comfort, they also rarely offer many surprises.

Viña Vik is the opposite, from its curvilinear winery designed by Smiljan Radic to rooms that pursue an idea (say, an homage to Piero Fornasetti) down to the smallest detail. It’s the kind of hotel that can singlehandedly make a trip memorable.

After all, there are great new hotels, and then there are game changers. For our 10th annual editors’ choice awards, we picked 43 transformative properties—and vetted each one with a hotel stay.

Our search took us from Anguilla to Australia, from India to Italy. In Florida, we followed the cool crowd to the Miami Beach Edition, the latest scene-maker in Mid-Beach. The party begins in the lobby, with its all-white billiards table, and overflows into a nightclub, a bowling alley, a Jean-Georges restaurant, even a skating rink.

In Portugal, the arrival of Sublime Comporta opens up a stretch of coastline that’s been a longtime getaway for Lisbon’s smartest families. The husband-and-wife owners make guests feel like instant insiders, pointing out the best beaches and arranging scenic horseback rides.

These remarkable newcomers are a reminder that a great hotel can be a destination unto itself. They provide not just a place to rest your head but also an entire rationale to get on a plane and explore someplace new.

So check out this year’s It List and get planning.

Hotel Pricing Key
$ Less than $200
$$ $200 to $350
$$$ $350 to $500
$$$$ $500 to $1,000
$$$$$ More than $1,000

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