It List 2018: Our Editors' Picks of the Best New Hotels in the World

Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club
Photo: Courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club

Every year, Travel + Leisure's editors look at thousands of hotel openings and renovations around the globe with one mission in mind: what properties will truly be game changers for our readers. A great location, thoughtful design, and intuitive service are a given. What's harder to define is a little thing called buzz-factor. A standout hotel might be adding to the fabric of a neighborhood through events, opening up entirely new destinations by their very presence, and going above and beyond in terms of excursions (helicopter safaris, anyone?) to truly transport their guests. With that criteria in mind, we compile the It List — our annual collection of the best new and reborn properties worldwide. Following spirited in-office debate and deliberation, we whittled down our master list of hotels openings from last year to just 100 properties. From there, we tapped our global network of contributors for detailed, firsthand accounts of each. We asked them about touches like the softness of the sheets; the signature dishes at restaurants; and the views from their rooms. After carefully considering their feedback, we narrowed down the list down even further, settling on 56 stunning hotels in places as close by as our hometown of New York City and as far-flung as the African island of Madagascar. Not every hotel is a new build. Indeed, one of our favorites this year is Paris' Hôtel de Crillon, an 18th-century grand dame that reopened last July, under new management from Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, following a four-year closure. With a history that stretches back to when Louis XV commissioned the palace's neoclassical façade, the hotel has gilded friezes, pattered marble, and frescoed ceilings that are classified landmarks. But now, thanks to a sensible modernization by five Paris-based designers — Chahan Minassian, Cyril Vergniol, Tristan Auer, Aline Asmar d'Amman, and Karl Lagerfeld — it also features modern accents like low-slung tubular sofas, tables inlaid with semiprecious minerals, and grey and neutral tones. The Crillon is now the de facto social hub for Paris' bright young things. The social scene at London hotel The Ned, the latest property from the Soho House group, is equally as vibrant, with a lobby bar that hosts regular cabaret performances and is home to no less than eight restaurants. Meanwhile, at Toronto's Broadview Hotel, in the up-and-coming East End, a cool crowd congregates on the rooftop lounge to drink craft beers and listen to DJ-spun tunes. Wilderness Safaris Bisate Lodge is a one-of-a-kind in that it is Rwanda's first luxury safari accommodation. The country's comeback in the tourism space is remarkable, given that it was embroiled in a civil war just twenty-four years ago. Bisate is part of the progress, and leading more travelers to experience this beautiful corner of the world. The six-villa ecolodge, which opened in June of 2017, organizes trekking tours into the quietest corners of Volcanoes National Park, giving visitors the rare opportunity to glimpse endangered gorillas in their natural habitat. And while we probably won't know the luxury that is owning your own island, Cempedak, an adults-only paradise in Indonesia's Riau archipelago, gave us permission to pretend, if only for a few days. Here, the owner, Andrew Dixon, has taken sustainable development in the region to new levels, using native material like alang-alang grass, lava stone, and compressed bamboo to construct the curvaceous thatched villas. Secluded and luxurious, Cempedak is a grown-up hideaway perfect for those wanting to get away from it all. But those are just a few notable mentions. The list that follows is our definitive guide to hotels that are destinations in their own right. Find your next vacation in the slideshow ahead, then share your favorites with us on social media using #TLItList.

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Sagamore Pendry Hotel

Sagamore Pendry Baltimore
Courtesy of Pendry Hotels


Over the course of 103 years, Recreation Pier has been, at times, a shipping facility, community center, and television set — as well as an eyesore. It seemed unthinkable that this Inner Harbor plot could be a hotel, but local businessman Kevin Plank (of Under Armour fame) and Pendry, a new, millennial-focused brand from Montage International, had the vision. Now, the Sagamore is the place to be. The 128 guest rooms resemble an old-school captain’s cabin, with plenty of brass and mahogany. The Cannon Room bar has, no surprise, a real 18th century cannon, unearthed during construction and displayed beneath the floor. At check-in, guests are given a password for a free shot of Sagamore Rye, to be added to their punch at the bar of Rec Pier Chop House, a restaurant helmed by star-chef Andrew Carmellini. But the true allure of the Sagamore is surprisingly, its location. Despite the tourist trappings downtown, Baltimore still has a working harbor, with just the right dose of grit. Staying here gets you up close to it. Doubles from $246. —Tom Austin

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Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills

Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills
Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills

Conceived by fêted French designer Pierre-Yves Rochon, Waldorf Astoria’s first West Coast build is opulence at every turn, starting with the double-height, three-tiered lobby — all Lalique crystal, Italian marble, 22-carat gold leaf, and glossy cherry wood. The 119 rooms and 51 suites are just as over-the-top, with enormous walk-in closets, floor-to-ceiling windows, and private balconies that look out to the Hollywood Hills and beyond. For even better views, head to the expansive roof deck, where the bronzed and the beautiful pose around the sparkling saltwater pool and dine at the buzzy Jean-Georges Vongerichten eatery. The acclaimed New York-based chef oversees the hotel’s dining program, so there’s also the option to sample his California-fresh creations (think: Santa Barbara sea urchin with serrano and yuzu) in your room or at his eponymous main floor restaurant. If you need anything — be it restaurant reservations or a pickup in the Rolls Royce house car — just dial your personal concierge, whose services can be summoned via your room’s iPad. Doubles from $755. —Siobhan Reid

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Alvear Icon Hotel & Residences

Alvear Icon Hotel
Courtesy of Alvear Icon Hotel

Buenos Aires

Fashion-forward neighborhoods like Recoleta may have the boutiques, but Puerto Madero — a residential enclave of wide, leafy streets and soaring skyscrapers — has the magnificent river views. It’s also becoming more popular with visitors thanks to hotels like the Icon, a sister property to the famous Alvear Palace, with a glittering social scene to match. Head for a mid-week lunch beneath the soaring glass ceiling of Sunny Yard, the light-filled lobby café, and you’ll find it packed with Portenos tucking into salads, sipping their Torrontes, and not even looking at the clock. Upstairs, the 159 rooms and suites are equally refined, with white-paneled walls; huge marble bathrooms gleaming with gold, Deco-inspired fixtures; and vintage maps above the beds. New hotels don’t often come to this city — let alone ones with a two-story spa, two pools, and a brilliantly efficient staff. Bellhops willing to lend change for cab fare always get our vote. Doubles from $440. —Jacqueline Gifford

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Shangri-La Hotel Colombo

Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo
Courtesy of Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo

Colombo, Sri Lanka

With its cheery lemon pool umbrellas and buzzy lobby lounge, the Shangri-La epitomizes the optimism and energy of this island nation, which, having emerged from a decades-long civil war, seems to have leapfrogged to the top of every traveler’s bucket list. Its design makes subtle nods to the country’s famed elephants and water lilies, but the hotel, located across the street from the historic Galle Face Green promenade (and a short walk to the Dutch Hospital Precinct and the grand Old Parliament building) is mostly about its glass — the better to capitalize on those stunning ocean views. Take in the sunset from the patio of Kaema Sutra, where Dharshan Munidasa (of “Parts Unknown” fame) turns out dishes based on local street food, or settle in among the blue-leather stools at the clubby Capital Bar & Grill, already the preferred watering hole of Colombo’s beau monde. Doubles from $180. —Jocelyn C. Zuckerman

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Casa Cook Kos

Casa Cook Kos
Georg Roske

Kos, Greece

Tour operator Thomas Cook’s new effort, on the Greek island of Kos, delivers the same drowsily relaxed vibe as its sister property on Rhodes. Snuggled in a remote spot on the northwestern coast, the beachfront idyll resembles a traditional whitewashed Greek village, but the 100 rooms — courtesy of hip Berlin design agency Lions and Lambs — are bang on trend with polished concrete floors, mid-century styling, and wicker lighting. We especially love the Junior Suite, which has a private terrace with a hammock and a sparkling pool. When you’re ready to mingle, make your way to the main pool and thatch-roofed club, where chilled ambient music plays all day and yoga classes are held on a terrace looking out over the ocean. The restaurant serves a superb breakfast of local yoghurts, honeys, and irresistible pastries, while dinner is a Mediterranean feast (try the leg of lamb and the squid ink risotto) served around communal tables. Be sure not to miss an early evening cocktail on the beach: the sunsets are sublime. Doubles from $173. —Julia Brookes

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Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa

Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa
Courtesy of Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa

Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale’s vibrant cultural landscape often plays third fiddle to its award-winning links, desert landscapes, and adobe-inspired mega resorts. Not at the Andaz, an art- and design-driven newcomer just north of Old Town. Inside the boxy, low-slung casitas — an homage to Scottsdale resident and legendary 20th-century architecture Frank Lloyd Wright — find colorful modernist furniture alongside prints and textiles from the nearby Cattle Track Arts Compound. Tempting as it may be to laze around your room (the spacious marble baths with dual glass showers alone invite hours of primping), the Weft & Warp Art Bar + Kitchen beckons. Chef Adam Sheff’s house-made ostrich jerky and lavender almonds are a welcome twist on blah bar snacks, and his inventive Arizona comfort food (green chile pork dirty hash, roasted game hen with adobo mop sauce) is served on ceramics made by Cattle Track potter Mary Van Dusen. To learn more about the hotel’s collaboration with the arts collective, sign up for hands-on instruction in painting, pottery, and more at Andaz Salon. Or bliss out at the Palo Verde Spa & Apothecary, where treatments use local ingredients like prickly pear and juniper. Doubles from $399. —David Keeps

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One&Only Le Saint Gerán

One&Only Le Saint Geran
Courtesy of One&Only Le Saint Geran

Pointe de Flacq, Mauritius

As one of Mauritius’ most iconic hotels (and the first five-star spot to open on the island, in 1975), One&Only Le Saint Geran caused a stir when it closed for a major renovation early last year. But the December reveal proved the 10-month wait was worth it, and that paradise can indeed get an upgrade. The bones of the building are intact: the iconic lobby's towering arches remain, albeit with a fresh coat of white paint. But the resort’s 142 colonial-style ocean-view rooms now feature clean-lined, modern furniture with wood, marble and natural fabrics that lend a relaxed air. The spa — oh, the spa! — has a bright new interior and treatments that are available nowhere else in the country, like facials with products from cult French brand Biologique Recherche. There are five restaurants, where guests can gorge on everything from Creole classics to teppanyaki. Perhaps the most enticing of these is L’Artisan, an all-day bakery where a table laden with sugary treats awaits like a scene from Willy Wonka’s factory. The most important parts are unchanged: the beach is the same shade of creamy white, and further out, past the kitesurfers and paddleboarders cruising the shallows, the waves continue their roar as they break over the distant reef. Doubles from $490. —Mary Holland

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Nobu Ryokan Malibu

Nobu Ryokan Malibu
Barbara Kraft Photography

Malibu, California

The California sun shines a bit brighter where famed restaurateur Nobu Matsuhisa chose to build his fourth hotel, the first in the style of a traditional Japanese ryokan. The serene, earth-toned rooms have ikebana arrangements, as well as freshly brewed green tea and senbei rice crackers to greet travelers upon arrival. Soaking in your teak tub while listening to the waves, you’ll begin to see why the West Coast really is the best coast. Doubles from $2,000. —Krista Simmons

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SLS Baha Mar

SLS Baha Mar
Courtesy of SLS Baha Mar

Nassau, Bahamas

Don’t let its bubblegum pink façade fool you — the SLS Baha Mar is anything but your traditional Caribbean beach resort. The crown jewel of Baha Mar, Nassau’s $4.2 billion beachfront resort, the SLS sports a stylish look with plenty of Bahamian flair. The lobby incorporates jute ottomans, wicker peacock chairs, and vintage photography books, while the 299 guestrooms are polished yet beachy, with whimsical wall art and breezy balconies. Lounge by the sparkling pool and get the friendly bartenders to whip you up a coconut cocktail, or stroll the 3,000-foot stretch of pristine beachfront at your doorstop. There are three restaurants on property (and more than two dozen spread across the resort), but the showstopper is the famed Katsuya restaurant, which serves Bahamian takes on Japanese classics (think: Potter’s Cay conch salad with fresh coconut). Keep an eye out for the rooftop bar, which is slated to open later this year. Doubles from $396. —Kira Turnbull

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Rosewood Puebla

Rosewood Puebla
Courtesy of Rosewood Puebla

Puebla, Mexico

The Rosewood marries the colonial charm of this historic Mexican city with contemporary comfort. Three 19th and 20th century buildings have been transformed into a luxurious, modern-art-filled compound surrounding an idyllic tree-shaded courtyard. Each of the 78 rooms and suites is unique, integrating restored architectural elements — stone walls, barrel-vaulted ceilings, hardwood floors — with touches such as local talavera tile and pottery as well as Mexican embroidery. The rooftop pool and bar offers commanding vistas of the city skyline and the mountains beyond, while the downstairs bar, Los Lavaderos, serves fine cocktails and elevated takes on Mexican street food (a tip from chef de cuisine Jonathan Alvarado: ask for the off-menu tlayuda, a Oaxacan flatbread with succulent marinated beef). A hand-hewn subterranean tunnel — part of a 500-year-old network that provided wealthy Poblanos an escape route during wartime — was also discovered during construction; ask a staff member for a peek. Doubles from $250. —Jeff Chu

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The Loren

The Loren at Pink Beach views of the pool and ocean
Courtesy of The Loren at Pink Beach


Bermuda’s first newly built hotel in nearly a decade is a game changer, beginning with its aesthetic: instead of the traditional British-colonial style still so prevalent on the island, it favors clean lines and a contemporary look. The intimate lobby, with its floor-to-ceiling windows, vases of fresh lilies, and well-stocked library, feels less like, well, a lobby, and more like the living room of a stylish friend. The dramatic views of the Atlantic and secluded Pink Beach continue into the 45 guest rooms, which are spacious (more than 600 square feet) and feature a sophisticated palette of earth tones mixed with hits of silver and blue. Outside, it’s all about the infinity pool, carved into a cliff and so close to the ocean that swimmers get splashed by spray. Don’t be surprised to see Bermudans dining on butter-poached lobster at Marée, the formal restaurant; it’s now the place for special-occasion dinners. The locals know a good thing when they see it. Doubles from $900. —Jacqueline Gifford

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The Silo Hotel

The Silo
Courtesy of The Silo

Cape Town

For this dramatic repurposing of a waterfront grain silo, superstar architect Thomas Heatherwick added pillowed-glass panels to the exterior, bringing Cape Town’s scenery (Table Mountain and the city on one side, the harbor on the other) into all 28 rooms. The interiors by owner Liz Biden are just as dazzling, and her choice of colorful, contemporary African art befits the hotel’s location above the new Zeitz MOCAA. Don’t miss the rooftop pool, which overlooks Lion’s Head. Doubles from $1,150. —Lila Battis

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Asilia Jabali Ridge

Asilia Jabali Ridge
Adriaan Louw

Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

Far from Tanzania’s main tourist circuit — Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, and Kilimanjaro — Asilia’s latest lodge is the first luxury opening in the vast expanse of Ruaha National Park. The eight standalone bungalows, tucked neatly among hulking granite boulders, have retractable walls and louvred shutters that guests can cast wide for unobstructed views of the surrounding savanna. Handmade wooden headboards, dip-dyed mosquito nets, and stone wash basins pay homage to Ruaha’s natural resources, as do the raw-wood ceilings, designed to evoke the park’s baobab-studded plains. Ruaha has some of the largest lion and elephant populations in Tanzania, and you may catch a glimpse of them from the lodge’s communal spaces, like the well-appointed gin bar. At sunset, head to the lofty infinity pool — it’s the best vantage point, and particularly striking against the blood-orange sky. Doubles from $1,577. —Lacy Morris

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Time + Tide’s Miavana

Courtesy of Time + Tide

Nosy Ankao, Madagascar

The isolated island of Madagascar has long been known as an adventure and wildlife destination; where the unique landscapes and abundance of endemic plants and animals far outweighed the lack of creature comforts. But thanks to the unveiling of Miavana, situated on the private island of Nosy Ankao off the country’s northeastern shore, travelers can now recover from their daytime adventures in ultra-luxe accommodations. The resort includes 14 contemporary villas and communal areas, with pale stone walls and turrets hand-cut by local masons. The glass-fronted pavilions have a dose of French and vintage flavor: Breton-stripe tubes float in the glimmering private pools, mid-century-style furniture fills the rooms, and soft turquoise curtains line the floor-to-ceiling windows. Lazing by the water is high on most guests’ agendas, as are aquatic activities such as snorkeling, diving, fishing and stand-up paddleboarding. Between all this, there’s plenty of time to see Madagascar’s wealth of wildlife: the hotel can arrange helicopter safaris to the mainland, or outings to a nearby island where golden crown lemurs can be spotted scuttling through the trees. Villas from $2,500. —Mary Holland

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Trunk (Hotel)

Trunk Hotel
Courtesy of Trunk Hotel


Tokyo got a jolt of energy last May when Trunk opened its doors on a small lane between the neon blare of Shibuya and the loud costumes of Harajuku. With its frequent retail pop-ups and a convenience store selling local treats, the 15-room property brings the action of the street indoors; a rooftop wedding chapel adds to the charm. Guestrooms feel like hip private residences with expanses of warm woods and neutral fabrics, bespoke furniture by Osaka company Truck, retro-style tiled bathrooms, and balconies with aromatic herb gardens. Downstairs, guests sip artisan coffee and craft cocktails in the atmospheric lounge, while at intimate Kitchen restaurant, it’s all about contemporary Japanese fare like Wagyu hamburgers and Shibuya-made burrata. Doubles from $443. —Danielle Demetriou

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Conrad Bora Bora Nui

Conrad Bora Bora Nui
Courtesy of Conrad Bora Bora Nui

French Polynesia

With remoteness comes slow-moving development, so when the Conrad Bora Bora opened its doors after a 15-month renovation, we could hardly wait to check it out. The dramatic transformation includes major upgrades to the overwater bungalows, now with sliding glass doors, giant soaking tubs, and expansive wood decks with catamaran nets perfect for midday naps. Also noteworthy: the resort’s two-story overwater villas, a major draw for families wanting extra room to spread out. When you’re not lounging in the sun or diving with the sharks and rays, taste your way through the hotel’s six restaurants, each with its own distinct theme. Expect an authentic culinary experience, be it Cantonese-inspired dishes at Banyan Chinese Restaurant or Tahitian classics at toes-in-the-sand Tamure Beach Grill (don’t miss the red-tuna ceviche or the weekly traditional Polynesian show at dinner). While most resorts are built on surrounding motus (islets) that face towering Mount Otemanu, Bora’s famed peak, Conrad is situated on the main island — making it the only place that gets completely unobstructed sunset views over the water. Rooms from $700 per night. —Katie James Watkinson

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Courtesy of Jackalope

Mornington Peninsula, Australia

Set on a vineyard an hour south of Melbourne, Jackalope skips the rustic farmhouse wine-country look in favor of a design that trades in moody hues, clean lines, and whimsical details (see the 22-foot sculpture of a jackalope, a mythical rabbit with antlers, at the entrance). After settling into your artfully subdued room, take a seat at the restaurant to sample chef Guy Stanaway’s modern Australian tasting menu. Doubles from $509. —Carrie Hutchinson

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Santa Clara 1728

Santa Clara 1728
Sivan Askayo


Lisbon has seen a boom of hotel openings as of late, but the standout, by far, is this stunning six-suite property next to Feira da Ladra, the city’s famous flea market. Hoteliers João and Andreia Rodrigues, who have several properties in Portugal, once again enlisted the help of top architect Manuel Aires Mateus; he in turn renovated this 18th-century stone building into a sleek B&B. The suites are a composition of rich natural surfaces such as local limestone and pine, and feature minimalist wooden furniture and luxe beds by Maxalto. (The bathtubs, carved out of one massive piece of limestone, are a marvel.) The Rodrigues live with their children on the top floor, so Santa Clara is also their home — which makes the atmosphere even more welcoming. In the ground floor dining room, guests gather around the custom 20-foot table for delicious three-course breakfasts that stretch on for hours. Doubles from $370. —Gisela Williams

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Bulgari Resort Dubai

Bulgari Hotel and Resorts, Dubai
Courtesy of Courtesy of Bulgari Hotel & Resorts, Dubai


The Bulgari manages to take Dubai’s over-the-top ethos even farther over-the-top, adding an additional 1.4 million-square-foot of luxury to the metropolis. The sprawling new complex — which houses 101 hotel rooms and suites, 20 beachside villas, 15 private mansions, a spa, hammam, beach club, and chocolate boutique — sits on a man-made, seahorse-shaped island constructed in the Persian Gulf, with a marina for Dubai’s ever-growing population of superyachts. Inspired by lush Mediterranean gardens, with imported lemon, olive and palm trees dotting the property, the resort evokes Bulgari's modern Italian sensibility, drawing from classical design motifs and materials like Arabescato marble, polished woods, and rich textiles. The cuisine from Michelin-starred Italian chef Niko Romito at Il Ristorante is outstanding, too. Dubai needed a blissed-out oasis like this, where the weary yet no-less-discerning traveler can sip a negroni overlooking the city’s remarkable skyline or glistening Jumeira Bay. Doubles from $816. —Maria Yagoda

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Detroit Foundation Hotel

Foundation Hotel
Courtesy of Foundation Hotel


The revived rust belt city finally has a hotel as hip as the millennial makers swarming Detroit’s streets. Built within the city’s former fire department headquarters downtown, the five-story, 100-key hotspot — open since last May — pays homage to the old Detroit (original details, like the arched, terra-cotta firehouse entrance and red doors remain intact) but drips with the new. A podcast studio that doubles as a gallery faces the street, in-room minibars swap out Snickers for locally made treats and snacks, and collaborations with bustling neighborhood businesses — like in-room suit tailoring with retailer 1701 Bespoke — capture the city’s spirit of communal creativity. (There’s enough luxury, like Le Labo bath products, velvet sofas, and vintage rugs, mixed in to keep the aesthetic cozy.) Take at least one meal inside the sprawling Apparatus Room, where the firetrucks used to go — it’s now a playground where Michelin-starred Michigan native Thomas Lents wows with elevated Midwestern ingredients and craft cocktails. You hardly have to step outside of the hotel to soak up the spirit of the city, but be sure to take advantage of the complimentary bike rental: a few blocks south is the Detroit Riverwalk (wave across the water to Canada); a few blocks north sits Campus Martius Park, where a sandy ‘beach’ and lounge chairs pop up in the summer months. Doubles from $265. —Kristen Dold

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Wild Coast Tented Lodge

Wild Coast Tented Lodge
Courtesy of Wild Coast Tented Lodge

Yala, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is poised to become the next ‘It’ safari destination, and this otherworldly retreat just outside of Yala National Park has everything to do with it. The secluded, beachfront property comprises 28 cocoon-like suites clustered around manmade water holes meant to attract jackals and peacocks, but the real action goes down on game drives through the quietest corners of the national park, home to wild elephants, crocodiles, and elusive Sri Lankan leopards. After a full day exploring, lounge around the hotel’s enormous infinity pool or unwind in your colonial-chic suite, which has canvas walls, porthole windows, teak floors, and freestanding copper tubs. The open-air, bamboo-clad restaurant is an atmospheric setting in which to enjoy authentic Sri Lankan cuisine, but for the ultimate in romance, opt to dine on the beach under a star-studded sky. Rooms from $445. —Charlotte Sinclair

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Hôtel de Crillon, a Rosewood Hotel

Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel
Courtesy of Hôtel de Crillon


Of all the recently made-over Parisian palace hotels, perhaps none was more eagerly awaited than Hôtel de Crillon.The landmark that has hosted everyone from Winston Churchill to Taylor Swift sat shuttered on the Place de la Concorde for over four years, until last summer, when the world finally got to see what a costly renovation looks like: spectacular. Not that the hotel’s new look is ostentatious — it works so beautifully because it’s both a faithful restoration of an 18th-century structure and a modern interpretation of a grande dame hotel. The gilded friezes, pattered marble, and frescoed ceilings are more vibrant than ever, yet they’re given a fresh new context with 1950s-inspired furniture, cubist bas reliefs, and textiles in colors of dove, cloud, pewter and dark plum. The rooms and suites cater to contemporary tastes, too, with big, sleek bathrooms, palatial suites, and two Grands Appartements designed by Karl Lagerfeld. Once again, Hôtel de Crillon is the place in Paris to stay, dine, and see and be seen. Doubles from $1,345. —Siobhan Reid

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Four Seasons Hotel at the Surf Club

Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club
Courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club

Surfside, Florida

Noël Coward and Liz Taylor used to play at the Surf Club, a haunt for society and celebrity in this quiet enclave north of Miami Beach. Now, the 1930 Mediterranean Revival masterpiece is back as a hotel, one that evokes its mid-20th-century heyday without feeling like a theme park. Richard Meier’s three glass towers form the backdrop. The center one sits above the reimagined club and houses the 72 new rooms. Closer to the beach are five Cabana suites, all with terrazzo floors. Dinner at Le Sirenuse is pure pageantry, from $300-per-person truffle-tasting menus to a restored mural of Bacchus. Doubles from $595. —Tom Austin

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The Adelphi Hotel

The Adelphi
Courtesy of The Adelphi

Saratoga Springs, New York

In its Victorian-era heyday, Saratoga Springs was a bucolic weekend escape for Manhattanites, who’d head north for the hot springs and horse races. Flash-forward 130 years: with a burgeoning culinary scene, and the New York City Ballet and Philadelphia Orchestra taking up summer residencies here, the destination seems poised for a revival. Enter the historic Adelphi. Originally opened in 1877 and set prominently on Broadway, the hotel has long been the centerpiece of town, but it didn’t have modern rooms. Now, after a five-year restoration, the interiors have been reimagined in a contemporary Victorian style. The hotel is once again the gathering spot it was in Saratoga’s Golden Age, as visitors and locals alike come to dine on farm-to-table cuisine at the on-site restaurant, Blue Hen, or have a cocktail the legendary hotel bar, now called Morrissey’s, and soak up the scene. Doubles from $266. —Melissa Ventosa Martin

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Alila Fort Bishangarh

Alila Fort Bishangarh
Courtesy of Alila Fort Bishangarh

Jaipur, India

A sharp turn off India’s manic Jaipur-Delhi highway steers you into the Rajasthani idyll of Bishangarh, which sprawls at the feet of its 230-year-old hilltop fortress, now the Alila Fort Bishangarh. A seven-year renovation has turned the fort into an elegant hideaway, while maintaining the building’s original framework — secret passages, lookout posts, even a bona-fide dungeon, which has traded manacles for massages as the resort’s spa. A vast open-sided tent serves as the hotel reception — a nod to war campaign tents of yore — where you’ll find the infinity pool and its café-bar, the gym, and a kids’ club overlooking the hotel’s kitchen gardens. Up the ramparts, the fort’s turrets, thick stone walls, and narrow archers’ windows have been reconfigured into 59 spacious rooms and suites, featuring vast stone baths, studded timber doors, and block-printed Rajasthani fabrics. Alila’s signature experiences ensure you’ll venture beyond the fortress walls: guests can visit locals in their homes to see handloom weaving and pottery demonstrations, ride a camel through the village, sip masala chai with a sadhu (holy man), or go on a game drive to spot tigers and leopards. Doubles from $280. —Belinda Jackson

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Park Hyatt St. Kitts

Park Hyatt St. Kitts
Courtesy of Park Hyatt St. Kitts

St. Kitts

Its opening was delayed by months, but it’s already apparent that the Park Hyatt St. Kitts — the brand’s Caribbean debut — was worth the wait. From a perch on the serpentine Southeast Peninsula, the resort presides over Banana Bay, a seductive golden-sand sweep where sister island Nevis’ eponymous peak, just three miles away, majestically dominates the view. But the resort’s assets also lie inland, namely in the 126 contemporary-chic rooms and suites, some of which feature outdoor living rooms and private rooftop plunge pools. At the Miraval Life in Balance spa (another Caribbean first), massages and scrubs spotlight locally sourced volcanic stones, sugar, and salt. Of three restaurants, The Stone Barn is the standout. An adults-only dinner venue, its menu is themed to the various stages of romance, from “first encounters” (appetizers) such as foie gras agnolotti to “celebrations” (desserts) including a superb chocolate dome filled with Black Forest and rum mousse and pistachio sponge. It’s a finale that takes a little extra time to prepare. But, like the resort, it’s worth waiting for. Doubles from $500. —Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon

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Hotel Eden

Hotel Eden
Courtesy of Hotel Eden


If Fellini could see his former haunt now, no doubt he’d approve. Dorchester Collection spared no expense during a 17-month renovation of this icon, opened in 1889 near the Villa Borghese. The rooms are bigger (the count was reduced) and the revamped lobby still exudes old-world glamour, with polished marble and gold coffered ceilings. Chef Fabio Ciervo is back at La Terrazza, and proves he's still got it with Il Giardino, a casual, health-conscious new spot. Doubles from $833. —Laura Itzkowitz

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The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi

The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi
Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi

Langkawi, Malaysia

Tucked away in its own private cove, the resort has 119 guestrooms and suites, which feel like luxe tree houses thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the lush foliage of tropical gardens. The 29 villas resemble traditional Malay homes and offer commanding views of the shoreline. You can’t go wrong with the food (refined Cantonese, casual Thai, and flavorful Malay). A curved infinity pool and the small beach are great for families, while the adults-only Horizon pool is the place for quiet sun-drenched siestas. Whichever you choose, butlers will tote along baskets with chilled towels, palm fans, and scented oils. And should you get bored, jungle walks, outdoor yoga, and batik-painting classes are all offered on-site. GO now, before everyone else does: as posh resorts like the Ritz continue to move in, low-key Langkawi will only get more popular. Doubles from $605. —Eric Rosen

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Palacio Tangara

Palacio Tangara
Courtesy of Palacio Tangara

São Paulo, Brazil

Travelers looking for respite from the thrumming metropolis that is São Paulo will find it in Palácio Tangará, a grand dame set amidst 27-acres of parkland designed by revered landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx. Wrapping around a showpiece swimming pool, the five-story “urban resort” has the air of a neoclassical mansion, with 141 airy rooms and suites featuring French doors, balconies overlooking the park, and custom furniture. In the lobby, a permanent art installation of suspended golden leaves gives way to an understated contemporary lounge and the discreet Burle Bar, which serves a killer passion fruit caipirinha. But the real action is at the hotel’s Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s restaurant — the eponymous chef’s first foray into South America — where his signature Asian-influenced French cuisine incorporates local ingredients like hearts of palm and rare Amazonian fruits. After, swim off the sybaritic excess in the hotel’s 25-meter indoor lap pool or indulge further in the sumptuous Flora Spa by Sisley. Doubles from $372. —Nora Walsh

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The Ned

The Ned
Courtesy of The Ned


Walking into the Ned, a collaboration between Soho House and the Sydell Group, feels a bit like stepping onto the set of a wildly over-budget Baz Luhrmann film. The soaring, 20,000 square-foot lobby — home to no less than eight restaurants, and a riot of African verdite columns, parlor palms, and polished cherry-wood paneling — is always abuzz. On a Saturday night, we saw waiters balancing trays of cocktails weave through a well-heeled crowd, while a cabaret singer crooned from a raised dais. The setting is spectacular: this is, after-all, a heritage-listed building, the Edward Lutyens-designed Midland Bank, and The Ned has brought it back to life. Who cares if some of the (very beautiful) guest rooms are low on daylight, or the hotel policies aren’t that family-friendly (no kids in either of the two pools past 11 a.m.). This isn’t the place for a practical stay. It’s a grand ballroom for the Instagram age, and a new center of gravity in the Square Mile. Doubles from $343. —Flora Stubbs

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Ventana Big Sur, an Alila Resort

Ventana Big Sur
Courtesy of Ventana Big Sur

Big Sur, California

The Ventana Inn first opened in 1975, with a rambling 243-acre expanse, killer ocean views, and an unlikely Hollywood pedigree — its owner was a producer behind the counterculture classic Easy Rider, and Steve McQueen and Ali McGraw were among its first guests. Last year, after historic storms caused catastrophic damage to Big Sur and rendered the region almost entirely inaccessible, the Ventana’s current owners — Singapore-based luxury-resort group Alila — took it as an opportunity for a full rejuvenation. The result, Alila’s first U.S. offering, is a stunner that rivals the comparably luxe Post Ranch Inn, Ventana’s neighbor across Highway 1. Alila spent $18 million dollars to update the property’s 59 rooms, suites, and villas, striking a balance between modern and rustic décor. They’ve also added new amenities throughout the grounds, like an infinity hot tub that overlooks a redwood canyon; an ocean-view terrace abutting the redone Sur House restaurant; and a Japanese-style bathhouse. And there’s now a network of luxury campsites along a creek beneath the redwood canopy, where each safari-style tent is tastefully tricked out with plush comforts to elevate the camping experience. (For added seclusion, you can request one of five tents that require a short hike to reach.) It all adds up to a perfect opportunity to discover Big Sur all over again. Doubles from $675, campsites from $325. —Jonah Weiner

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Hoshinoya Bali

Hoshinoya Bali
Courtesy of Hoshinoya Bali

Ubud, Indonesia

The moss-covered ruins of Bali’s centuries-old canals served as inspiration for this 30-villa resort from Japanese operator Hoshino Resorts, a longtime creator of ryokan-style hotels. The shared Balinese and Japanese values of balance and harmony are realized in the Zen aesthetic: earth-hued structures with traditional thatched roofs that blend into the lush landscape. Uncluttered, television-free rooms decorated in miles of wood provide a comfortable yet minimalist feel but no shortage of amenities, from heated Toto toilets to sandals made with Indonesian fabric. Water — a sacred part of many Balinese Hindu rituals — is the centerpiece of the resort, with three long swimming pools modeled after the island’s ancient waterways connecting bi-level villas that offer salvation from the tropical sun. Executive chef Makoto Miyamaguchi orchestrates Balinese-Japanese fusion at the restaurant: dinner service combines a multicourse kaiseki-style meal with Indonesian flavors — think small dishes of steamed coconut chawanmushi, a Japanese egg custard, and beef rendang rice. Doubles from $670. —Kat Odell

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The Warehouse Hotel

The Warehouse Hotel, Singapore
Courtesy of The Warehouse Hotel, Singapore


Before it was reborn as one of Singapore’s chicest boutiques, the Warehouse Hotel was the site of a notorious 1980’s disco; farther back still, its riverbank was known for opium dens and all manner of illicit trades. Today, Robertson Quay is far from a red-light district, but the Warehouse winks toward its salubrious origins. The lobby, with the original vaulted ceiling of the warehouse from which the takes its name, has a generosity of space that carries throughout the property — a rare quality in frenetic, hyper-urban Singapore. A striking bar, recessed several steps into the floor, adds to the lobby’s appeal, with cocktails like the banana-whiskey “BB King”, inspired by the area’s mid-century bootlegging. Onsite restaurant Po, helmed by acclaimed mod-Sin chef Willin Low, celebrates Singaporean culinary tradition: rolled popiah is the main draw, along with updated versions of classics like the veal cheek rendang. Each of the boutique’s 37 rooms has a cheeky minibar of “Vices," including both “Gluttony” (salted egg yolk potato chips, bottled craft cocktails) and “Lust” (paddles, peacock feathers, and rather racier accessories for vices of a different persuasion). But nothing beats the rooftop infinity pool, its glass walls all but begging for underwater Instagram shots. It’s rare to find a hotel pool unforgettable, but the Warehouse Hotel’s is just that. Doubles from $230. —Carey Jones

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Hotel Californian

Hotel Californian
Courtesy of Hotel Californian

Santa Barbara, California

The downtown stretch of Santa Barbara called the Funk Zone earned its nickname in the early 1900s, when the fishing industry emerged between the sprawling warehouses and industrial docks. In the past decade or so, it has become home to wineries, classic-car showrooms, juice bars, and, at last, an upscale hotel. Spread across three buildings, the hotel and its 121 rooms have lavish Spanish Mission and Moorish design cues, courtesy of Martyn Lawrence Bullard. Rapid check-in takes place on an iPad; then, guests are whisked through the chic Moroccan-tiled lobby bar and into a courtyard, which in turn leads to the Andalusian-Deco guest quarters. (Request the Sestina Suite, with a small but lovely balcony and a cheeky photograph of Audrey Hepburn.) Book in advance at Blackbird, helmed by Alexander La Motte (previously of the French Laundry), for one of the best Med-influenced meals outside of Los Angeles, and pop over to the indoor-outdoor Goat Tree for breakfast, where locals coming from yoga love to chat up visitors about their favorite recent discovery in what is now the most vibrant part of town. Doubles from $550. —Heidi Mitchell

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The Whitby

The Whitby Hotel
Courtesy of The Whitby Hotel

New York City

A riot of colors breathing new life into midtown Manhattan, the Whitby is the second New York project from Tim and Kit Kemp, the husband-and-wife team known for London hotels like Covent Garden and Ham Yard. As at its sister hotel, the Crosby Street, Kit has infused every space with her eclectic design sensibility, from the seats in yellow, red, and green leather that line the 30-foot pewter bar to the 86 individually decorated suites, with their scalloped headboards and decorative dress forms covered in bright fabrics. The art makes just as bold a statement: Carla Kranendonk’s marvelous portrait of an African woman hangs near reception, while 40 porcelain sculptures etched with New York landmarks line the Orangery, an elegant space for tea — served on Kit’s custom Wedgwood china, of course. Doubles from $695. —Jacqueline Gifford

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Kokomo Private Island

Kokomo Private Island Resort
Courtesy of Kokomo Private Island Resort


Fiji’s latest private island resort is that elusive retreat that allows you to connect with the location while disconnecting from everything else. Once the barefoot pilot drops you off after a 45-minute seaplane flight from Nadi, you could spend the entire trip hiding out in one of the 26 oceanfront villas or hilltop residences, which have sun-soaked living areas, alfresco showers carved from rock, and heavenly infinity pools. But it’s equally rewarding to get to know the 140-acre isle more intimately, by strolling its hibiscus-lined footpaths and trying the kitchen’s inventive Pacific Rim cuisine (don’t miss chef Caroline Oakley’s kokoda, Fiji’s coconut-inflected version of poke). Off Kokomo, even more adventures await: the staff can boat you to the unspoiled Great Astrolabe Reef, one of the world’s top dive sites, and to villages on neighboring islands to participate in a kava tea ceremony. Villas from $2,500, all-inclusive. —Chaney Kwak

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Adare Manor

Adare Manor
Courtesy of Adare Manor

County Limerick, Ireland

One of Ireland’s most beloved properties, this 19th-century manor turned hotel shines again following a nearly two-year-long renovation. The 842-acre estate, set in the heart of County Limerick, now has a Tom Fazio–designed golf course, a La Mer spa, and an additional 42-bedroom wing. In keeping with the original style, the rooms and public spaces feature oil paintings and heraldry to satisfy all those time-travel fantasies. After trying you hand at traditional pastimes like clay pigeon shooting and falconry, stop for Irish tea in the Gallery, a soaring space with stained-glass windows, or settle in for an early dinner at the Oak Room, which serves regional specialties like Tipperary quail. End the night at the Tack Room, where there are over 100 rare Irish whiskeys on offer. Doubles from $439. —Shivani Vora

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Capella Shanghai, Jian Ye Li

Capella Shanghai
Courtesy of Capella Shanghai


Steering away from the city’s ultra-modern sky rises, Capella Shanghai occupies a shikumen lane complex inside the former French Concession. The 55 shikumen villas and 40 residences blend European romanticism and Chinese craftsmanship, with traditional redwood doorways, silk artwork, and geometric interior courtyards; for next-level digs, splurge on the Shikumen Grand Villa, which is spread across 2,700 square feet and has a balcony with 180-degree views of the traditional red brick rooftops. Get a different perspective by strolling the resort’s secret gardens, then curl up with a book in the cozy library or try a flotation treatment at the Auriga Spa. The restaurant, le Comptoir de Pierre Gagnaire, is helmed by the eponymous chef’s longtime protégé, Romain Chapel, and serves French classics with a twist like roasted pluma pig with tangy black currant marmalade. Rooms from $700. —Claire Volkman

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The Bürgenstock Hotel

Bürgenstock Hotel
Courtesy of Bürgenstock Hotels & Resort


After nine years and over $564 million, the Bürgenstock Resort — a mini-village of four hotels, restaurants, and bars set high on a forested ridge above the lake — is making a comeback. First opened in 1873, the resort was in its heyday a favorite of boldface names like Audrey Hepburn, who got married at the chapel, and Sophia Loren, who lived on property for several years. Now, it’s been re-imagined as a one-stop getaway, with the upscale Bürgenstock Hotel as its centerpiece. The 102 guest rooms are outfitted in Italian marble and Greek quartz, and feature dual sided fireplaces and lake views. Once you’ve settled in, hit the multi-level spa for a La Prairie facial and a dip in the dramatic outdoor pool, which appears to float off the side of a cliff. Whether you’re coming to take part in a wellness retreat and hike the miles of on-property trails, or just want to relax with massages and gourmet food, there’s plenty to do at the Bürgenstock — and when you’re ready to explore, Lucerne is a quick ride away on the hotel’s complimentary high-speed boat. Doubles from $665. —Sandra Ramani

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Henrietta Hotel

Henrietta Hotel
Courtesy of Henrietta Hotel


Pivoting from drinking to sleeping is no mean feat, but the Experimental Group has pulled it off, adding hotels in its native Paris and now this one in London’s Covent Garden to its burgeoning list of stylish cocktail dens. The 18-room Henrietta occupies adjoining townhouses on a quiet street of independent coffee shops, boutiques, and restaurants, just far enough from the area’s mime artist mayhem. Designer Dorothée Meilichzon, who did the interiors of most of the group’s bars and hotels, gave the bedrooms a glamorous look all her own, with terrazzo-print carpets, millennium pink bathrooms, and king-size beds with vast fabric-and-mirror headboards. Downstairs, hotshot chef Ollie Dabbous runs the excellent restaurant, turning out meaty mains such as barbecued quail with toasted wheat and clover, as well as lighter dishes, including an excellent beef tartare with nasturtium. As you’d expect, drinks are a high point — not just the cocktails, but also the mainly French wines, which are reasonably priced. Doubles from $355. —Kate Maxwell

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Lympstone Manor

Lympstone Manor
Courtesy of Lympstone Manor

Exmouth, England

Overlooking the Exe Estuary in Devon, this Georgian manor-house-turned-hotel is the vision of chef-owner Michael Caines, who weighed in on every decision from the layout of the three dining rooms to the coral and shell objets d'art on display. Key to the design was instilling a real sense of place: the color scheme of each bedroom was based on that of a native bird (Kingfisher, for instance, has teal blue tiling; Heron has dove grey walls and gold tubs inspired by the bird's beak), and a landscape watercolor by local artist Rachel Toll adorns the staircase. The location even inspired a special seven-course tasting menu, which features Cornish crab raviolo and braised Brixham turbot with wild mushrooms and truffle butter sauce. This is relaxed, contemporary country-house living with all the trimmings: complimentary gin trays in the rooms, Devon cream teas served on the lawn, and Pashley bicycles you can borrow to cycle along the Exe estuary trail to Exmouth. Doubles from $426. —Emma Love

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Time + Tide’s King Lewanika Lodge

King Lewanika Lodge
Courtesy of Time + Tide

Liuwa Plain National Park, Zambia

Plentiful wildlife and untouched national parks are the leading reasons that Zambia has been peddled as Africa’s next best safari destination. Despite this, most tourists wouldn’t have considered visiting the remote Liuwa Plain National Park until the April opening of King Lewanika, the first and only permanent lodge in the park. The intimate tented camp brings a whole new level of luxury to an area that is refreshingly tourist-free. Six eco-conscious villas, designed by Lesley Carstens and Silvio Rechs of the Seychelles’ North Island, offer an updated interpretation of safari chic, with rattan chairs, plenty of leather and canvas, and blackened steel details to lend some edge. All have uninterrupted views of the grassy plains, home to cheetah, hyena, lion, and a throng of African birds. Visit in September and you might even catch sight of the world’s second largest wildebeest migration — and unlike the Serengeti, it’s likely you’ll have the plain all to yourself. Villas from $1,200 per person per night. —Mary Holland

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Courtesy of Orania


Kreuzberg has long been home to artists, activists, and a lively population of Turkish immigrants, which is what makes the neighborhood so compelling to visitors. But it’s never had a luxury hotel — until now. Set on a charming square, the long-anticipated Orania is housed in an elegant building that was once a 20th century department store. Its 41 bedrooms feel light-filled and spacious thanks to walls and floors crafted from natural woods. The ground floor has dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows, as well as a standout restaurant with an open kitchen and an expansive wraparound bar. The co-owner of the hotel, Dietmar Mueller-Elmau, is the proprietor of Bavaria’s award-winning Schloss Elmau, renowned for its cultural programming. He carries that legacy on at the Orania, where Berlin-based talents, from jazz musicians to poets, come in to perform, creating a welcoming, creative space for locals as well as guests. Doubles from $240. —Gisela Williams

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Terminal Neige — Refuge du Montenvers

Terminal Neige - Refuge du Montenvers
Courtesy of Terminal Neige - Refuge / D.André / S.Abrial / L. Di Orio

Chamonix, France

Built in 1880 to house the mountaineers who climbed the summits of Chamonix, this rustic, high-mountain refuge was recently modernized by Maisons et Hotels Sibuet. Now, the hotel has been rechristened Terminal Neige, and “glamping” doesn’t even begin to cover it. Rooms have wood fireplaces, feather soft beds, and leather travel trunks that serve as bedside tables. And Mont Blanc, Europe’s tallest mountain, is basically next-door. But it’s not just overnight climbers who are making the ascent up the mountainside — in a red trolley, no less — to the lobby’s terrace, 6,725 feet above sea level. Day hikers, too, can be spotted sipping apertifs on the terrace and noshing on regional specialties in cast-iron cocottes at the Montenvers Restaurant. Time it right, and you’ll witness the dazzling light show that is the sun setting against the Mer de Glace, a 7.5 kilometer “sea of ice”, just below the hotel. Doubles from $285. —Rosecrans Baldwin

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Courtesy of Cempedak

Riau Islands, Indonesia

Can’t afford your own private island? Cempedak is the next best thing. The 20-villa resort is the second project from Andrew Dixon, who opened the nearby Nikoi Island back in 2007: both are a two-hour journey from Singapore via ferry, car and private boat. Unlike family-friendly Nikoi, Cempedak is adults-only, and has a more sophisticated look to match. The curvaceous thatched villas are constructed from sustainable materials like alang-alang grass, lava stone and compressed bamboo; each encompasses over 1,600 square feet of indoor-outdoor living space. As part of a comprehensive environmental conservation program, you won’t find air conditioning, though you won’t miss it, either, thanks to the balmy ocean breezes. Guests spend their days snorkeling, kayaking, or simply lounging by the beachfront infinity pool. Evenings, meanwhile, are devoted to leisurely candle-lit dinners of fresh-caught local seafood and tropical cocktails handcrafted in the curio-filled Dodo Bar. Doubles from $450. —Eric Rosen

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Mahogany Bay Resort & Beach Club

Mahogany Bay Village
Courtesy of Mahogany Bay Village

San Pedro, Belize

Belize’s rich coral reefs, English-speaking locals, and proximity to the U.S. make it ideal for a quick beach getaway, but its lack of luxe places to stay has caused some travelers to overlook it. That’s all starting to change thanks to new properties like this 60-acre community on Ambergris Caye, which feels like a world unto itself. Mahogany’s 205 residential-style cottages sit along a series of canals leading out to the ocean. The rooms are grand, with 14-foot ceilings and surfaces of rich Belizean hardwoods, and the communal Great House is a throwback to the area’s British colonial past. There’s also a small town center featuring a coffee-cum-rum bar and yoga studio, and ten minutes away by boat, a private beach club replete with stylish overwater cabanas. Doubles from $369.Erin Riley

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Singita Sweni Lodge

Singita Sweni Lodge
Courtesy of Singita Sweni Lodge

Kruger National Park, South Africa

We never know what to expect when Singita’s sumptuous camps go in for a face-lift. Last year, they wowed us with an airy revamp of Singita Lebombo in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, infusing it with a clean-lined, minimalist look could have been plucked from a New York loft. But Singita Sweni, the ying to Lebombo’s yang — just steps away in Singita’s private 33,000-acre concession — could exist nowhere but the African wilderness. Sweni has a glamorous new look inspired by the unsung heroes of the bush: jewel-toned butterflies, chameleons, and moss that burrow into the landscape. Much like their muses, Sweni’s seven glass-box suites — including a new one with a private infinity pool — are hard to spot amid the trees hovering above the Sweni River, and shimmer in iridescent emeralds, blues, golds, and reds. The indoor-outdoor synergy lies in unexpected details: skeletal swings that mimic webs and brass light fixtures that recall clusters of berries clinging to branches; geometric vases that reflect the light; colorful rope-like keyrings by cult Cape Town accessories label Pichulik. Menus have been upgraded by Cape Town star chef Liam Tomlin, whose light, inventive tapas aren’t what we’re used to seeing on safari (think less steak-and-mash, more springbok carpaccio, salt-and-pepper calamari, and rooibos panna cotta); guests watch the culinary action unfold courtesy a new open kitchen. Considering Kruger National Park guarantees some of the best wildlife experiences on the continent — a single game drive can yield hundreds of elephants, dozens of buffaloes, and a massive pride of lions — Sweni didn’t have to do much to catch our attention. But we’re so glad they did. From $2,151 per person, per night. —Sarah Khan

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The Broadview Hotel

The Broadview Hotel
Worker Bee Supply


Housed in a landmark Romanesque Revival building, this boutique hotel in the ascendant East End is a cheeky mash-up of old and new. Neon art, rotary phones, and brass poles wink to the building’s past as a gentleman’s club; the boudoir aesthetic extends to the 58 rooms, with their red velvet drapes and floral wallpaper. Despite the throwback references, it all feels fresh and youthful — as does the local crowd that comes to knock back craft beers on the rooftop. Doubles from $233. —Siobhan Reid

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Hotel Sanders
Courtesy of Hotel Sanders


A welcome arrival in a city light on luxe hotels, the Sanders is ballet dancer Alexander Kølpin’s third property in Denmark, and it overlooks the theater where he used to perform. The hygge vibe begins in the lobby, where even in summer a fire is ablaze. All 52 rooms have beds with rattan headboards, eclectic prints, and spacious bathrooms. The candlelit breakfast is another highlight, as are drinks at the jewel box of a bar (try the Sherry Fizz). Doubles from $437. —Kate Maxwell

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Narendra Bhawan

Narendra Bhawan Bikaner
Courtesy of Narendra Bhawan Bikaner

Bikaner, India

In Bikaner, a dusty frontier principality known for rogue princelings and provocateurs, the latest Rajasthani-palace-turned-hotel flips the genre on its head. In lieu of ceremonial halls, glitz, and chintz, Narendra Bhawan Bikaner channels its namesake Maharaja’s cosmopolitan tastes: rooms and suites are smart and sophisticated, with playful pops of color and pattern, and the public spaces deftly combine an eclectic array of furniture, artwork, and curiosities from around the world. The hotel’s signature experiences, too, are inspired by vignettes from the Maharaja’s life. Savor royal recipes blindfolded, sip gin and tonics at the Royal Ascot, or dine al fresco atop golden sand dunes, a turbaned flutist and tabla wallahs in tow. Sundowners and sunsets by the rooftop infinity pool confirm that Bikaner’s last Maharaja lived a charmed life. Doubles from $203. —Rachna Sachasinh

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Wilderness Safaris Bisate Lodge

Bisate Lodge
Courtesy of Wilderness Safaris

Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Rwanda’s postwar transformation into Africa’s destination du jour is truly remarkable, and Bisate, the country’s first luxury safari lodge, continues this rebirth. Its six villas feature 1,000 square feet of space, dramatic conjoined domes inspired by the 19th-century King’s Palace of Nyanza, and balconies that offer grand views of the Virunga Mountains. But the marquee attraction is gorilla spotting. Guests hike into the park's higher elevations to glimpse the endangered apes, before returning for dinners around a communal table to swap stories. From $1,155 per person, all-inclusive. —Sarah Hepola

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Berber Lodge

Berber Lodge
Courtesy of Berber Lodge

Oumnas, Morocco

Marrakesh’s hottest new hotel isn’t even in the city proper, but rather 14 miles south of the center near the village of Oumnas. There, French-Swiss expat Romain Michel-Ménière, the city’s “it” interior designer, has built a minimalist, contemporary version of a Berber village, with low-slung adobe structures and a beautiful 50-foot pool set amid olive groves. For the nine rustic-chic rooms, Michel-Ménière combined the traditional (baked-tile floors, Berber antiques) with the up-to-date (custom wicker and Midcentury Modern furniture) in a way that feels effortlessly sophisticated. Since it opened last spring, the lodge has become a magnet for a fashion-forward crowd — even though the Wi-Fi is spotty at best, making it nearly impossible to post photos to Instagram. Eventually, the glitterati stop taking pictures and just enjoy connecting to the countryside. Doubles from $205. —Gisela Williams

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Habitas Tulum

Habitas Tulum
Courtesy of Habitas Tulum

Tulum, Mexico

This seaside newcomer is quintessential Tulum, bohemian and playful yet also utterly sophisticated. Let’s start with the rooms themselves: instead of traditional suites, guests sleep in one of 32 safari-style canvas rooms. Everyone hangs out in the three-story lobby, an open-air glass and steel pavilion filled with eclectic décor and furniture. Highlights of the hotel include the yoga mezzanine, a wellness area focusing on traditional Mexican healing treatments and a Spanish restaurant called Moro, where a wood-fired oven churns out dishes of bubbling polenta, Mexican cheese, and wild mushrooms. The New Age spirit of the Yucatan is evident throughout — from the welcome ceremony in which guests are invited to sit cross-legged on cushions while sprinkling copal onto hot stones to the regular “group therapies,” that include a wonderful rooftop sound healing experience involving music, therapeutic touch, and meditation under the stars. Doubles from $350.Emma Sloley

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Hotel Viu Milan

Hotel Viu Milan
Courtesy of Hotel Viu Milan


Wedged between Chinatown and the upcoming Porta Volta neighborhood, the Viu brings something entirely different to Milan — namely, a spectacular rooftop pool and bar on the eighth floor, with 360-degree views of the city. More importantly, the hotel, a new-build constructed from sustainable wood and glass, has stunning vertical gardens of ivy, jasmine, and wisteria, a rare, eco-sensitive touch in this otherwise industrial area. Edginess and irony also play their part, thanks to interior designer Nicola Gallizia. The affordable, excellent bistro, Bulk, is named for an underground social centre that used to stand on the hotel’s plot; the pool overlooks the Cimitero Monumentale — the city’s over-the-top, neo-Renaissance cemetery; and (less ominously) the 124 sophisticated rooms come complete with ‘adult pleasure’ packs containing everything that a guest might need for a tryst. So where does the name come from? Doubles from $260. —Valerie Waterhouse

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JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa

JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa
Courtesy of JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa


Known for its white sands and pristine seas, Phu Quoc, Vietnam’s largest island, is now home to an ambitious five-star property by an international brand. This resort’s 244 rooms — many with balconies and views of the private beach — are spacious by any standards. Three pools provide ample opportunity to relax or take an aquatic fitness class, and the Chanterelle spa will pamper you from top to toe. There’s even a promenade lined with boutiques selling local art, Vietnamese coffee, and souvenirs. Most intriguing is the aesthetic. Designer Bill Bensley fashioned the place as an imaginary French-colonial campus, right down to T-shirts emblazoned with the fictional school’s name; vintage luggage, books, and other memorabilia decorate the lobby and public spaces. The resulting vibe is Beaux-Arts meets Wes Anderson, a welcome departure from the typical resort stay. Doubles from $390. Laura Itzkowitz

*Content in this article was produced with assistance from Berber Lodge; Bisate Lodge; Broadview Hotel; Bürgenstock Hotel; Casa Cook Kos; Four Seasons Hotel at the Surf Club; Hoshinoya Bali; Hotel Eden; Jackalope; JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa; Asilia Jabali Ridge; Bulgari Resort; One&Only Le Saint Geran; Time + Tide’s King Lewanika Lodge; Time + Tide’s Miavana; Alila Fort Bishangarh; Capella Shanghai Jian Ye Li; Cempedak; Narendra Bhawan; Ritz-Carlton Langkawi; Warehouse Hotel; Wild Coast Tented Lodge; Conrad Bora Bora Nui; Adelphi Hotel; Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa; Detroit Foundation Hotel; Hotel Californian; Ventana Big Sur, an Alila Resort; Sagamore Pendry; Park Hyatt St. Kitts; SLS Baha Mar; Henrietta Hotel; Hotel Casa Telmo; Hotel Viu; Lympstone Manor; Orania.Berlin; Santa Clara 1728; Habitats Tulum; Alvear Icon Hotel & Residences; Mahogany Bay Village; Kokomo Private Island Fiji; The Loren; Nobu Ryokan Malibu; Palácio Tangará; Rosewood Puebla; Sanders; Silo Hotel Cape Town; Terminal Neige–Refuge du Montenvers; Trunk (Hotel); and The Whitby.

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