The Best New Hotels in the World in 2017
The 2017 It List covers 31 countries and six continents. It took us to dizzying new heights (the Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar in Oman sits on a canyon rim a mile above sea level), pristine private islands (like Félicité, where Six Senses Zil Pasyon is nestled among hulking granite boulders), and even the back of an elephant (at Meghauli Serai, a Taj Safari Lodge in Nepal, that’s the transportation method of choice for rhino-spotting). There are several closer to home—11 standout properties are represented in the United States.
Despite the stellar field of competitors—or perhaps because of it—choosing the best of the best is no easy feat. It starts with our master list: more than 400 of the most exciting major hotel openings and renovations of 2016. Our team combs through it, debating the merits of each and selecting a (relatively) short list of about 100 places. Even then, the work’s not done until we’ve gotten a firsthand account of each property: Is the service up to snuff? The décor on point? The amenities so thoughtfully selected that a stay feels not just relaxing, but indulgent?
That’s not to say it’s just about luxury. Fancy soaps and 600-thread-count sheets are nice, but they’re not what make your stay memorable. What we’re looking for is that extra something special, that particular alchemy that happens when a carefully considered guest experience, a strong sense of place, and a distinct, even risk-taking brand identity meet. That’s why you’ll find budget-friendly upstarts—such as the design-forward Robey in Chicago, or the gallerylike Atix Hotel in La Paz, Bolivia—alongside ultra-luxe grande dames like the revamped Ritz Paris.
The list that follows is our definitive guide to the hotels that aren’t just gateways to a place, but destinations in their own right. Find your next vacation stay in the slideshow ahead, then share your favorites with us on social media using #TLItList.
The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel
Four Seasons Resort Lanai
Montage Palmetto Bluff
Bluffton, South Carolina
This renovated resort still has a gorgeous Lowcountry look and activities like horseback riding, clay shooting, and golf. But it got an upgrade last year: a new inn that serves as the hub, with guest rooms, a restaurant and bar, and a stellar spa. From $305.
Single Thread Inn
Acclaimed chef Kyle Connaughton transfers the Japanese approach of his kitchen to the hospitality at his luxury inn. The food is hyper-seasonal, and the rooms are outfitted with understated high-end amenities, like Ratio coffee-brewers and Zalto wineglasses. From $700.
Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club
21c Museum Hotel Oklahoma City
With more than 14,000 feet of exhibition space, this boutique hotel in the century-old Model T Ford plant has filled the city’s void for an artsy place to stay. And since the galleries, lounge, and restaurant have taken off with locals, it has an energy that doesn’t wane midweek. From $219.
Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills
Beverly Hills, California
This discreet gem has a fresh new palette, and the lounge has made way for a light-filled French bistro. But the real sell is the suites: with dressing rooms, cushy couches, and deep soaking tubs, they’re like an A-list home away from home. From $413.
Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar
AndBeyond Matetsi River Lodge
Matetsi Private Reserve, Zimbabwe
At this renovated lodge on a 123,500-acre reserve, you’re in reach of all the activities offered on the Zambezi. But even if you never leave your room, the scenery—a watery landscape teeming with wildlife—will keep you enthralled. From $995 per person, all-inclusive.
Asilia the Highlands
Franschhoek, South Africa
Analjit Singh’s latest property in South Africa’s wine country is a beautifully landscaped, 17-room gem with its own wine cellar (tastings are gratis for guests), a spa, and a farm-to-table restaurant. From $659.
Sanctuary Chief’s Camp
Six Senses Zil Pasyon
On this eco-chic private isle, the mood is light: soft marine décor, swings by the tubs, vast pool decks. The pièce de résistance is the spa, shoehorned between the archipelago’s iconic black boulders, with a yoga pavilion so close to the water the sea spray cools you during poses. From $1,340.
Mie Prefecture, Japan
This new hot-spring resort near the Grand Shrines of Ise is opening up an area that’s previously been hard for foreigners to penetrate. It’s unique within the Aman family in that it offers a classic onsen experience, blending the traditional ryokan with Aman’s sense of space. From $770.
Canyon Ranch Kaplankaya
The wellness brand’s first international outpost has panoramic views of the Aegean, a sleek design, and local flavors on display in the cuisine. Hammam treatments are authentic, with a cleansing scrub on a heated marble table followed by an olive-soap massage. From $472, including meals.
Oberoi’s newest addition is Mughal-inspired from top to bottom, with intricate hand-painted murals and gold leafing throughout. It sits on a former orange grove, so guests can pluck fruit from the trees as they wander the grounds. From $320.
The first destination spa in Sri Lanka is all about wellness—and not the ascetic Western kind that’s all juicing and boot camps. Santani’s approach is more subtle, with ayurvedic spa treatments, meditation, and health food that includes goat-cheese tortellini and chai crème brûlée. From $710.
St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort
You come here for two reasons. One, for the impeccable St. Regis service. And two, because the look of this private-island resort will leave you speechless. Gently sloped villa roofs are meant to evoke manta rays, while the Whale Bar, which serves small plates and cocktails, opens to panoramic sea views. From $1,770.
Meghauli Serai, a Taj Safari Lodge
Hamilton Princess & Beach Club
Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa
Le Barthelémy Hotel & Spa
The Shore Club
The five rooms at Coombeshead are simply decorated, because—let’s be honest—you’re here for the food. The 18th-century farmstead has just a single communal table, where chefs April Bloomfield and Tom Adams serve incredible dishes like pork cracklings in cider sauce. Guests can even take baking or butchery workshops. From $215.
Il Sereno Lago di Como
Lake Como, Italy
Il Sereno is a restrained antidote to Como’s gilded grandes dames. Designer Patricia Urquiola had everything from bathtubs to uniforms made with local materials like ceppo di gré stone and Como silk. The layout puts all eyes on the water, with a 450-foot shoreline and lakeview terraces in every room. From $798.
Park Hyatt Mallorca
Soho House Barcelona
La Paz, Bolivia
Contemporary and indigenous influences abound at Atix, like a façade of timber and Comanche stone and works by artist Gastón Ugalde. The restaurant, Ona, is among the city’s best, thanks to a staff recruited from Latin America’s top kitchens. From $143.
Just an hour from the coast, Chablé marries Méridan hacienda hospitality with beach-resort-style amenities (like the glamorous, palm-tree-lined pool that could’ve been plucked from Tulum). From $780.
Explora Valle Sagrado
Sacred Valley, Peru
Explora’s philosophy emphasizes nature, and their latest addition is designed accordingly: Wi-Fi, TV, and mini-bars are replaced with soothing spaces ideal for relaxing after a day spent exploring craggy peaks and Incan ruins. From $1,950 per person, for three nights, all-inclusive.