Fall Hotel Preview: 24 New Stays With Serious Style
Cities from Miami to Marrakesh are about to get a major dose of style and luxury, courtesy of some of the biggest names in the business. Whether it’s Baz Luhrmann designing the interiors, Richard Meier doing the architecture, or elephants making cameo appearances by the pool, this fall’s hotel buzz is all about star power. Here are the 24 properties worth traveling to next.
Villa Lalique, Alsace, France
This six-room mansion, previously the home of famous glass artisan Rene Lalique, is likely to become the toughest reservation in the region: in part because there are few other options for luxury accommodations in this part of the gorgeous Alsatian countryside, not far from Strasbourg. Dramatic location aside, the hotel is the subject of a three-year makeover by renowned Swiss architect, Mario Botta, and will be home to a 40-seat restaurant with three-Michelin-star ambitions and a collection of museum-worthy glassware (to be scattered around the public spaces and six individually-designed rooms). In other words, a runaway hit is all but guaranteed.
Mandapa Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Ubud, Bali
Bali tends to conjure images of overwater bungalows and palm trees by the ocean, but Ritz-Carlton’s third Reserve property (a flag quite literally reserved for the cream of the crop) takes an entirely different approach. Here, 60 villas are spread out among a lush forested landscape, further inland than any Balinese resort that has ever come before it. The goal is restrained luxury that’s more authentic than ostentatious, offering a window into Balinese culture that goes beyond the beach. Goal accomplished, Ritz-Carlton.
Hotel Emma, San Antonio, Texas
The design superstars at Roman & Williams have brought their talents to San Antonio, a city that’s booming as Austin grows more populous and pricey. Their project, the Emma, will now be at the nexus of all that’s cool in the burgeoning metropolis: it’s set in the heart of the Pearl District, a culinary enclave alongside the city’s iconic riverwalk. In fact, the hotel is the latest incarnation of the 19th-century Pearl Brewery, which gave the neighborhood its name (prominent neighbors include Cured, a charcuterie-driven restaurant by Chef Steve McHugh—a former partner of John Besh—and the trendy caffeine spot, Local Coffee). As for those Roman & Williams rooms: they’re filled with bespoke furniture, claw-foot tubs, and subtle south Texan references, like guayabera-inspired robes.
Faena Miami Beach
Buenos Aires real estate developer Alan Faena has tapped a dream team for a project so big, it literally has its own zip code. Most of the square footage will be dedicated to residential cultural, retail, and restaurant projects, opening gradually over the next three years. But on the top two floors of the former Saxon Hotel will be 169 rooms designed by Baz Luhrmann and four-time Academy Award-winning costume designer, Catherine Martin. Opening this fall along with those over-the-top rooms is a Paul Qui-helmed restaurant, an open fire kitchen by the legendary Francis Mallman, and a Foster + Partners-designed condo tower—all debuting by the time Art Basel rolls around. Up next? A 50,000-square-foot Rem Koolhaas forum space for site-specific installations and performances, and a 15,000-square-foot Tierra Santa Spa.
Casa Fayette, Guadalajara, Mexico
The second-largest city in Mexico has never been quite ready for the international spotlight—until now. Thanks to the always-stylish Habita Hotels group, there’s a hot new place to stay, complete with a lush rooftop pool deck and scene-stealing bar. The rooms are designed by Milan-based Dimore Studio, and filled with bespoke furniture that’s equal parts Havana and mid-century modern. Use it as a launching pad to explore the area’s burgeoning food and art scene—which seems to get cooler by the minute.
Brown Beach House, Tel Aviv
Five years after opening one of the first design hotels in this seaside capital (now a bonafide style hub) Brown is opening Tel Aviv’s first beachside boutique hotel. All 40 rooms will have private sun terraces, some facing the city and others facing the Mediterranean. Skip the entry-level rooms, which are small at just 200 square feet, and opt for a suite instead—they go for around $245—proof that Tel Aviv offers some of the best seaside values in the region.
The Palace, San Francisco
For a city of its size and stature, San Francisco is surprisingly short on great hotels. That’s one of the reasons why the total overhaul of its grand dame, by Starwood’s Luxury Collection, is so exciting. Here are a few more: 556 rooms with wrought-iron windows and antique suitcases for bedside tables, a sky-lit indoor pool deck, and the fully restored Garden Court: a glass-domed dining room for afternoon tea that’s no less elegant than New York’s Plaza.
Four Seasons Hotel Casa Medina, Bogota
Bogota will soon be home to not one, but two new Four Seasons hotels, and this one is poised to make a serious splash. Built in 1946 as a high-end residential project and converted over the years into a 62-room boutique hotel, the building is packed with historic charm (think hand-carved wood doors and stone columns originally salvaged from the colonial convents of San Augustin and Santo Domingo). Now it’s getting a refresh by Rottet Studio, who was also did the presidential bungalows at the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Langham Chicago. Its spot in the food-centric Zona G neighborhood doesn't hurt, either.
Belmond Eagle Island Lodge, Botswana
Belmond’s totally overhauled flagship safari property, which occupies a prime slice of the game-rich Okavango Delta, will focus largely on water safaris. Guests in the 12 tented rooms—outfitted with daybeds, private plunge pools, outdoor showers, and campaign furniture—can spend their days on motorboats, traditional mekoro canoes, and barges, for up-close encounters with rhino and thirsty elephants. Want to stay dry? Jump into one of the property’s helicopters for an aerial view of the Big Five; then swap stories around a private island campfire.
Phum Baitang, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Travelers looking to check Angkor Wat off their bucket lists now have a hotel that channels the Zen of the famed temple site: Phum Baitang. The 20-acre property, set ten minutes outside Siem Reap, trades the familiar setting of the French Quarter for more idyllic surroundings: rice paddies and palm trees. Book into one of 45 stilted villas that comprise the resort, and you’ll get a taste for traditional Cambodian architecture on steroids: think personal plunge pools, colonial décor, and a 180-foot-long pool serviced by a smoothie-bearing tuk tuk.
Field Guide, Stowe, Vermont
Stowe was already one of Vermont’s most picturesque towns, with its excellent ski trails and Swiss-inspired chalets. Now there’s a new reason to go. Lark Hotels, the quirky, design-minded company behind many of New England’s best inns, is expanding its reach to the north with Field Guide, a country charmer with 27 rooms and suites and 3 private cottages. It fills a building that originally housed the Ye Olde England Inn, but nothing about it is Ye Olde anymore. Now, rooms have salvaged wood headboards with shearling throw blankets, and papier mâché animal heads on the wall.
Mandarin Oriental Marrakesh
How do you create a hotel so lavish that it stands apart in luxury-packed Marrakesh? Set it in 20 hectares of gardens and olive groves, make it all about the villa experience (with knockout views of the Atlas mountains, no less), and throw in a spa decked out with outdoor treatment pavilions and two Moroccan hammams.
Masseria Le Carrube, Ostuni, Italy
The team behind the wildly popular Borgo Egnazia has another Italian jewel on their hands—this time, in the tiny Pugliese town of Ostuni. The property is full of surprises, from its vegetarian restaurant to its history as a working farmhouse (glamorous whitewashed exteriors be damned). The romantic, ivory-toned rooms are exactly what you’d expect from Egnazia’s more rustic sibling: understated, sophisticated, and downright alluring.
Former Wilderness Safaris super guide and native Zimbabwean, Beks Ndlovu, is one of the best in the business—and his new lodge, Somalisa, is a five-star platform for his deep expertise. Set in wildlife-packed Hwange National Park, a place that’s perfect for intimate walking safaris, Somalisa is made up of just six custom-designed tents surrounded by acacias. It’s not the most opulent camp in the region, but it checks off all the boxes when it comes to comfort, with a staff that’s every bit as knowledgeable and passionate at Ndlovu himself.
Shangri-La Hotel, Doha
Gilded chandeliers, trellis screens, inlaid marble flooring: step foot into the lobby of Qatar’s latest five-star stay and you’ll find all the trappings of an Arabian palace fantasy. But head up to your room and you’ll find a much more subtle breed of luxury, with bespoke beds meant to cocoon you as you sleep and panoramic views over the Arabian Gulf.
South Beach, Singapore
Don’t let the name fool you: this Singapore opening from Preferred Hotels & Resorts is as urban as it gets. Set in a Norman Foster-designed tower with interiors by Philippe Starck, the hotel is part of a $2.5 billion mixed-use development in the Civic District that’s modeled after New York City’s Time Warner Center. Two smaller, adjacent buildings—former military barracks—have been converted into restaurant and ballroom spaces, and they’re all linked by pedestrian plazas and a sculptural canopy overhead. The most unique amenity? A tech concierge that can supply you with local apps, SIM cards, adapters, and the password for your room’s private Fiber Optic Wi-Fi connection.
Set back from Phuket’s popular beach resorts, this collection of 38 high-design villas is tucked into the woodlands—within easy access of the area’s beaches but decidedly separate from the crowds. It’s a perfect setting for a wellness-oriented escape: the spa uses local ingredients like juniper berries and moringa oil to create a deeply relaxing experience, and the restaurant draws extensively from its own on-site garden. Even the rooms are designed to get you attuned to the elements, with styles that range from earthy clay cottages to sky-inspired tree houses.
After a rough couple of years, Cairo is stepping back into the spotlight in a big way: with the rebirth of the Hilton Cairo, a 50-year-old icon and the country’s original luxury hotel. Now a Ritz-Carlton property, the hotel has been restored to its original grandeur by interiors-expert Frank Nicholson (who has also done the Mark and Pierre hotels in New York and Ritz-Carltons from Hong Kong to Maui). Be sure to ask for a room with views of the Nile.
Richard Meier is the Pritzker Prize-winning architect behind this splashy Singapore newcomer, whose big promise is to supply each guest with his or her own personal concierge. There’s also an AvroKo-designed restaurant downstairs and an unusual 24-hour room policy, which lets travelers take advantage of their room for a full day regardless of how late they check in. It’s the kind of thoughtful approach to design and service that, when married, give weight to the phrase “ultra-luxury.”
Ahilya by the Sea, Goa, India
The family behind Ahilya Fort, one of India’s most opulent palace hotels, in Maheshwar, is following up with a second act, this time in Goa. The seaside sibling is more elegant bed and breakfast than over-the-top mansion, despite its setting in a former villa near Panjim, the state capital. Still, it offers a completely unique perspective on one of the country’s most popular (and beautiful) destinations, away from the busy northern beaches and closer to the state's cultural heart.
Tri Lanka, Galle, Sri Lanka
The unlikely source of inspiration for this high-end eco-resort’s design? The Golden Ratio. Ten freestanding suites are situated along a spiral pathway, stretching out to the coast of pristine Lake Koggala from the top of an island promontory. Functional and aesthetic flourished are living walls, open air sitting rooms, recycled wood, and solar panels—a holistic approach that trickles down into guest amenities like Ayurverdic food and yoga, taught in a treetop pavilion.
Nautilus, a Sixty Hotel, Miami Beach
Jason Pomeranc made his name in the hotel industry when he created the Thompson Hotel Group back in 2011. Now, he’s hedging his bets in another edgy-upscale brand, Sixty, whose first hotel is set in a 1950’s art deco building designed by Morris Lapidus. You’ll find a landmarked “stairway to nowhere” in the lobby bar, celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli manning the 200-seat restaurant, and mini bars fashioned from vintage trunks in the 250 oceanfront rooms—all signs that the Nautilus is as much paying homage to Miami’s first golden era as it is ushering in its next one.
Thompson Playa Del Carmen
The nightclub haven of Playa del Carmen is evolving into a city worth sleeping in, and that’s largely thanks to the opening of this 92-room complex on Quinta Avenida, with retail heavy hitters on its ground floor and 30,000 square feet of pool deck space on its rooftop. Food will be a highlight, with an outpost of New York City’s Catch and a Mexican seafood spot helmed by an Enrique Olvera protégé. But even more alluring will be the forthcoming Beach House, a sister property set to open early next year with another 26 rooms and enough beach umbrellas for 200.
South Congress Hotel, Austin
The new “it” place to stay during South by Southwest—or really, anytime you’re in town—will soon be the South Congress Hotel, named for the restaurant-packed artery on which the property is located. Every space and offering has been considered, from the nail art salon (10 Over 10, imported from Manhattan) to the coffee bar (done in conjunction with local roaster Cuveé) to the food (this is where Paul Qui’s enormously anticipated Otoko will be located). In the rooms are Apple TV and Chromecast units, along with oversized leather benches and custom designed Matteo linens on the beds—just the right mix of high style and high tech this city demands.