As far as luxury hotel openings go, you can rely on us to pick the gems from the sea of cookie-cutter accommodation and garish nouveau riche resorts. Expect to find the absolute crème de la crème of hotels and resorts that aim to raise the bar in luxury, amenities, sophistication, and experience.
A short note on methodology: the order of all the hotels on the list is not of great importance, maybe except for the first few—and especially the resort we kick off with. It is a stunner, and it deserves to be at #1.
The first property on our list comes from Soneva, one of our favorite hotel brands. Jani outclasses most other resorts in the Maldives with its sophisticated and exclusive luxury.
“Soneva’s brand of rustic chic luxury takes inspiration from wild nature and adds layers of discreet luxury.” —From our review of Soneva Kiri
In keeping with the brand’s inventive ideas and exclusive organic style, the resort offers original villas built to the highest levels of quality, as well as world-class facilities. Constructed both over-water and on land, the Soneva Jani is located on Medhufaru Island in Noonu atoll, 35 minutes by seaplane from Male Airport—or an hour’s speedboat trip from its sister resort, Soneva Fushi.
We have since stayed at this resort. Read our review of Soneva Jani.
Website: Soneva Jani, Maldives. Photo © Soneva
Also from the pool of our favorite hotel brands comes Amanemu, the Aman Resorts’ second property in Japan (after the Aman Tokyo opened in late 2014). Amanemu is the chain’s first hot spring resort, and its twenty-four suites and four villas are designed in an elegant style influenced by ryokans, Japan’s traditional bathing retreats. Amanemu is located on the shores of Ago Bay in the Ise Shima National Park, with a high-speed rail link providing easy access from Tokyo.
Website: Amanemu, Japan. Photo © Amanresorts
The Six Senses chain is entering new territories, and we are very excited by their first property in Seychelles. Set on the northernmost side of the private island of Félicité, Zil Pasyon can be reached by a helicopter flight from Mahe island or a short boat journey from La Digue or Praslin. The resort features 28 one- or two-bedroom villas and 17 residences, all with private infinity pools — and surrounded by the classic Seychellois landscape of huge granite boulders, tall palms, and white sandy beaches.
We have since stayed at this resort. Read our review of Six Senses Zil Pasyon.
Website: Six Senses Zil Pasyon, Seychelles. Photo © Six Senses Resorts & Spas
A sister hotel to the uber-chic Cavo Tagoo Mykonos, the brand’s Santorini outpost has all the elements of a trendy stay. This fun, youthful place with a happening vibe is an excellent choice for a romantic weekend or a honeymoon. The architecture embodies elegant sophistication, with its simple angles and shapes creating a sense of luxury living. The hotel rooms on Santorini tend to be on the small side — but at Cavo, this is not the case. The living space is plentiful, and the setting of the large pool and terrace decorated with white stones was the perfect frame to the stunning view.
We have since stayed at this hotel. Read our review of Cavo Tagoo Santorini.
Website: Cavo Tagoo Santorini, Greece. Photo © Cavo Tagoo
The Maldives as a destination continues to attract the top hotel chains, and St. Regis also got on the action. Vommuli Resort opened on the private island in the Dhaalu Atoll, a 40-minute seaplane ride southwest from Malé, and offers all the latest in contemporary design and luxury. This included a spa, infinity pool, state-of-the-art fitness club, and diving center, as well as three specialty restaurants.
We have since stayed at this resort. Read our review of The St. Regis Vommuli Resort.
Website: The St. Regis Vommuli Resort, Maldives. Photo © Marriott International
Ritz is a Parisian landmark like no other. Established in 1898, Ritz Paris soon became a world-famous luxury hotel, its importance cemented by visiting celebrities, of the Proust and Hemingway stature. After a significant restoration work under the direction of designer Thierry W. Despont, The Ritz relaunched with 71 rooms and 72 suites (including 15 “prestige suites” that bear names of their most esteemed guests).
Website: The Ritz Paris, France. Photo © Ritz Paris
Located a few minutes from the capital of Santorini, Erosantorini is one of the top caldera-edge hotels, and it uses its prime location to maximum advantage. Secluded on a two-acre private plot, the hotel has enough space for a three-tiered infinity pool and adjacent terrace, dotted with beanbags and daybeds. The extra-special facilities and attractions at Erosantorini include al fresco “movie nights,” an underground cigar parlor, and a wine cellar.
Website: Erosantorini Santorini, Greece. Photo © Erosantorini
The distinctive brand of hotels hidden behind the enigmatic name “W” is a perfect fit for the hedonistic Goa. With over 100 guest rooms accompanied by numerous facilities and facing the beautiful Vagator Beach, W Goa promises a luxury experience and youthful atmosphere. The resort offers a range of rooms designed in the attractive palettes of fuchsia, purple, and lemon. The top choice here is the massive Wow Villas, “limited in number, exclusive in style.”
Website: W Goa, India. Photo © Marriott International
This swanky, glamorous spa resort offers five-star, sensuous luxury in the heart of the ancient Mayan forest. Chablé has only thirty-eight stand-alone pool villas, two three-bedroom presidential suites, and a restored XIX-century Hacienda mansion. The villas, inspired by the elegance and sophistication of the past, are firmly anchored in the 21st century, ensuring privacy and exclusivity.
Website: Chablé, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico. Photo © Chablé Resort
Romantic exclusivity at its best
This truly unique new camp of only seven guest “rooms” wows with spherical creations as if straight from the sketchbook of Buckminster Fuller. Built on the edge of Tanzania’s wildlife-rich Ngorongoro Crater, at almost 3000m above sea level, the Highlands is the most exciting addition to the Asilia Africa’s portfolio of camps and lodges in Kenya and Tanzania. The tented domes feature wood-burning fireplaces, en suite bathroom, and luxurious furnishings, and offer immersive views over the ancestral Serengeti landscape.
We have stayed at this lodge: read our review of the Highlands Ngorongoro.
Website: The Highlands Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania. Photo © Asilia Africa
What awaits the lucky guests of the St. Regis Langkawi are beautiful views of the Malacca Strait, a private beach, and the largest “swimmable lagoon” on the island, as well as expansive Spa and five restaurants and bars. The St. Regis Langkawi has eighty-five suites and three villas, and is the first resort in the St. Regis’ expansion into Malaysia, with St Regis Kuala Lumpur opened shortly after.
Website: The St. Regis Langkawi, Malaysia. Photo © Marriott International
Beautiful restoration and exquisitely assembled mix of vintage furniture, designer pieces, brass details, and original features such as beams and fireplaces make the Pulitzer’s interiors some of the most interesting we’ve seen. They bring to life Amsterdam’s incredible history and earn the Pulitzer Amsterdam a spot among the leading luxury hotels in the city.
Website: Pulitzer Amsterdam, Netherlands. Photo © Pulitzer Amsterdam
A Modern Palace
Set against a backdrop of the protected Siswan Forest, and located on the foothills of the Himalayas, The Oberoi Sukhvilas in Chandigarh is a spa resort that combines palatial architecture with contemporary luxury. Inspired by old Indian pavilions, the resort’s interiors feature handcrafted traditionally-styled furniture, but also up-to-date technologies, ensuring a comfortable, relaxing stay. The spa, in many ways a centerpiece of the resort, occupies a secluded space surrounded by forest on three sides. Beautifully landscaped courtyards, lush gardens, reflection pools, and fountains abound on the grounds.
Website: The Oberoi Sukhvilas Spa Resort, Chandigarh, India. Photo © Oberoi Hotels & Resorts
An impressive 1928 nine-floor Art Deco building that used to be a furniture store earned a new lease of life as a boutique hotel. Located in New Orlean’s Warehouse District, and surrounded by galleries and museums, Ace Hotel New Orleans offers 234 rooms, a rooftop pool, as well as retail, restaurant, entertainment, and meeting spaces.
Website: Ace Hotel New Orleans, Louisiana, US. Photo © Ace Hotel
Santo Maris is a boho-chic, adults-only, all-suite hotel with five large swimming pools, steps away from Santorini’s prettiest town. Secluded and situated away from the rim of the caldera, with unique architecture and stylish but unpretentious interiors, Santo Maris Oia surprises with a rare sense of space. The hotel is well prepared for wheelchair users, with a low number of steps. This is another differentiator on an island where many hotels are built on the steep caldera cliffs.
We have stayed at Santo Maris Oia. Read our review here.
Website: Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa, Santorini, Greece. Photo © Santo Maris
This hotel from the exclusive EDITION chain seduces with lotus pools, bamboo groves, and a curated art gallery. Guests can choose from among seventeen private ocean-views pool villas, nestled into a terraced hillside. The interiors exude comfort, warmth, and sophisticated luxury.
Website: The Sanya EDITION, China. Photo © EDITION Hotels
Casa Cook Rhodes is a 90-room, adult-focused boutique hotel, located in Kolympia, a 10-minute walk away from the shore of the sparkling Aegean Sea. The nomadic style of the hotel comes through exposed stone walls, timber decks, pergolas and hammocks, vintage objects and handmade curios. The rooms invite with a bohemian chic, realized through low-slung furniture, wire chairs, and natural materials, such as straw and rough cotton. A laid-back, cozy atmosphere of Casa Cook Rhodes is a perfect match to the vacation vibes on the island.
Website: Casa Cook Rhodes, Greece. Photo © Casa Cook
Something of a hotel, something of a private club: the Soho House concept is irresistible. The Barcelona opening, with the address on Plaça del Duc de Medinaceli, adjacent to the port, occupies a 19th-century townhouse, with rooms and corridors arranged around a central glass atrium. There are sixty rooms, a rooftop swimming pool, and a Cowshed-branded spa.
Website: Soho House Barcelona, Spain. Photo © Soho House
The luxury hotel group Anantara entered Oman with not one but two luxury resorts. The first was the spectacular Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar, perched on the rim of a canyon in the rugged Hajar Mountains of northern Oman. Thanks to its position at 3000m above sea level, the resort is one of the highest located resorts in the world.
Anantara’s second opening in Oman is the beach resort Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara, set in a natural lagoon on the south coast of Dhofar. The resort’s design is inspired by coastal fortresses and reflects the area’s rich heritage.
Website: Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, Oman. Photo © Anantara Hotels
Ahn Luh is a relatively new name in the world of luxury hospitality, but it is already generating quite a buzz. Adrian Zecha (of the Aman Resorts fame) is among the founders, and the brand is focused on building a small portfolio of luxury resorts in China. Ahn Luh Zhujiajiao is an urban resort that celebrates a long history of cultural traditions. The thirty-five villas’ style compliments the hotel’s gorgeous main building: a 600-year-old Huizhou structure, transplanted here from Anhui Province. The resort facilities also include a year-round outdoor pool, a museum, restaurants, a library, meeting spaces, and a spa.
Website: Ahn Luh Zhujiajiao, Shanghai, China. Photo © Ahn Luh
Set in a five-acre, 12th-century pond garden, yet with easy access to some of Kyoto’s centers of commerce and heritage, Four Seasons is an oasis of serenity in the historical capital of Japan. Guest rooms, of which thirteen are suites, offer views of the pond garden, Myoho-in Temple, and surrounding neighborhood. Well-crafted furniture, polished floors, local Kyoto-style fusuma screens and high-quality lacquerware mix with modern technology, and promise a refined hotel stay. The lavishly appointed Presidential Suite is one of Kyoto’s largest, and the top accommodation of the hotel. The facilities include the exclusive Sushi Wakon, serving only ten guests per seating at a long counter, a tea house, and The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto with seven treatment rooms and a full-service beauty salon.
Website: Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto, Japan. Photos © Four Seasons Hotels Limited
With technology-focused rooms and the address on one of the busiest shopping streets of Palma de Mallorca, Nakar Hotel is a standout in the heart of the Balearic capital. The hotel has fifty-seven rooms, among which the best ones are the five Deluxe rooms, each featuring a small terrace with a private Jacuzzi. Nakar is the city’s first hotel with a rooftop swimming pool. It offers some of the best views in the city — to the backdrop of the DJ-spun soundtrack. From mood lighting to smart TV with on-demand movies, and from spa to the spectacular roof terrace, the hotel is well equipped to ensure maximum comfort during the vacation in Mallorca.
Website: Nakar Hotel, Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Photo © Nakar Hotel
With the launch of the Alila Anji resort, Alila Hotels & Resorts has entered China, a new territory for this successful chain. The resort is situated in the heart of the Zhejiang province and is surrounded by bamboo groves and white-tea plantations. Benefitting from a hillside location overlooking a lake, Alila Anji’s 74 villas and suites entice with an atmosphere of tranquil indulgence. The Spa Alila is a destination in itself, with seven treatment rooms and a range of restorative treatments.
Website: Alila Anji, Zhejiang, China. Photo © Alila Hotels & Resorts
Indulgent and sexy, luxury playground
W Punta de Mita address in Mexico’s Nayarit resort community, a 40-minute drive from the nearest international airport in Puerto Vallarta, places it on one of Mexico’s most gorgeous beaches. To this popular spot, W Punta de Mita brings the hallmark W brand’s bold and fun style, mixed with both colonial grandeur and indigenous craftsmanship. The rich color schemes and creative spaces are Instagram-ready, but this beach resort’s attractiveness goes beyond the trendy eye-candy. The rooms and facilities are, above all, designed to provide a high level of comfort and luxury. The semi-private beach, exclusive spa, and six dining venues, which include the unique Mesa 1 located on a private island, ensure a great hotel stay.
Website: W Punta de Mita, Mexico. Photo © Marriott International
Shangri-La Group has recently launched several hotels and resorts in exotic destinations, such as Midtown Shangri-La, Hangzhou (China), and Shangri-La at the Fort, Manila (Philippines). But our favorite is Shangri-La’s Hambantota Resort and Spa in Sri Lanka. This 375-room beach hotel is situated by an 18-hole golf course and coconut plantations and feels like a natural extension of the area’s ecosystem. Sri Lanka’s Yala and Bundala National Parks and the island’s many heritage sites are within easy reach.
Website: Shangri-La’s Hambantota Resort and Spa, Sri Lanka. Photo © Shangri-La Group
Artisan décor, open layouts, unique experiences and authentic cuisine awaits at Riviera Maya for the fans of the Andaz Hotels. Driven by expression of the Mayan culture, Andaz Mayakoba immerses its guests in the local experience and the natural beauty, from the lush jungles to the crystal blue Caribbean Sea. The hotel features 214 rooms, including 41 suites.
Website: Andaz Mayakoba – a concept by Hyatt, Mexico. Photo © Hyatt Corporation
The windswept island of Pantelleria is a Mediterranean jet setter’s best-hidden secret. This remote outpost, closer to Tunisia than Italy, is the product of a volcanic past, and the hotel takes advantage of this legacy. The monastic architecture, based on the local ancient stone building traditions, meets striking modernist interiors, with crisp, clean lines and a muted, monochrome palette, and golden light streaming through Moorish-inspired archways. Other than twenty luxury guest suites, Sikelia’s facilities include a palm-lined swimming pool, a spa, and a restaurant with North African-inflected dishes on the menu.
Website: Sikelia Pantelleria, Italy. Photo © Sikelia Pantelleria
The 189 guest rooms and suites of this Four Seasons urban outpost are situated on a couple of dozen floors of a purpose-built skyscraper (the rest of which is taken up by the Four Seasons Residences). Luxurious inside out, the hotel has a residential feel, and its interiors ooze sophistication with muted tones of gray and white, walnut wood, and Italian marble. Located in lower Manhattan near the September 11 Memorial, the hotel offers a spa, an indoor lap pool, and a 24-hour fitness facility. Its proximity to the offices of the financial district makes it a good choice for business travelers.
Website: Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown, US. Photo © Four Seasons Hotels Limited
Think Zen. Think wow. Kenshō goes for the highest hospitality standards while embracing fine art and design in its quest to “awake the senses.” The hotel realizes this philosophy through the rejuvenation at Kenshō Spa (which offers a Hammam, massage treatments, and a fitness area with the latest gym equipment), and the luxurious accommodation (10 suites and 25 rooms). To cap the day, spend the evening under the stars sipping signature cocktails at Kenshō Bar.
Website: Kensho Ornos, Mykonos, Greece. Photos © KENSHŌ Boutique Hotels & Villas
This landmark of a building was one of the first high-rises in the city, and it once housed New York’s first theatre (Hamlet premiered here in 1761). Following significant renovation works, the red-brick building is now home to an elegant hotel from Thompson. The property features are luxurious guest rooms and signature restaurants, and the nine-story-tall period atrium with a glass ceiling brings in the wow factor. The hotel benefits from fabulous views over the Statue of Liberty, the Woolworth Building, and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Website: The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel, New York, US. Photo © The Beekman
We count Singita lodges among the most beautiful in Africa, so naturally, we are keen on checking out the re-launched Lebombo. The lodge’s design reflects its location on a craggy cliff-face, while eagle nests, dens, eyries, and lairs inspired its structure. The most recent refurbishment brought the lodge up to the most competitive standards. Both guest rooms and common areas were fundamentally remade, expanded, and enhanced, allowing interiors to have an even stronger connection with the lodge’s dramatic cliff-edge outdoors.
Website: Singita Lebombo. Re-opened in April. Photo © Singita
With interior design that celebrates old-world elegance, exclusivity of only five guest rooms, and views towards the Atlas Mountains from its terracotta roof terrace, L’Hôtel Marrakech is an excellent choice for a refined stay in the heart of Marrakech. The creator of this hotel is the celebrated designer Jasper Conran, whose refined taste resulted in a sublime conversion of a 19th-century traditional townhouse into a small riad. The guest suites come with private balconies, and they surround a large courtyard with a tiled fountain and swimming pool.
Website: L’Hôtel Marrakech, Morocco. Photo © L’Hôtel Marrakech
Situated in Charlottenburg, Berlin’s literary quarter, in a classic 19th-century townhouse, Sir Savigny Hotel is a 44-room urban retreat that champions the concept of a culturally-focused private residence. The eclectic style of the hotel is defined by the free flow of space in the interconnected ground-floor public areas and guestrooms showcasing local art, and assembly vintage rugs, and custom-made furniture. An impressive book collection in The Library, a very chic lobby/reception, and the hip neighborhood burger The Butcher add to the allure of Sir Savigny Hotel Berlin.
Website: Sir Savigny Hotel, Berlin, Germany. Photo © Sir Savigny Hotel
Mediterranean coast is the setting for the Banyan Tree’s new exclusive pool villa resort. At Tamouda Bay Guests can expect courtyards with reflecting pools, gardens and private pools, as well as the Banyan Tree’s excellent standards and its famous signature spa—which we absolutely love.
We stayed at this resort. See our review of Banyan Tree Tamouda Bay.
Website: Banyan Tree Tamouda Bay, Morocco. Photo © Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts
A 10-hectare estate surrounded by the pastoral lands of Ibiza’s heartland, with a centuries-old stone farmhouse at its center, promises a simpler, quieter way of life in a member-only agritourism retreat. La Granja has nine guestrooms in a restored farmhouse, plus a two-bed standalone garden property, as well as a pool, a kitchen, and a mezcal bar. The interiors offer modern-rustic chic, with atmosphere reflecting centuries of history. Rows of vegetables, pine and citrus forests, gardens, and roaming farm animals complete the bucolic picture.
Website: La Granja Ibiza, Spain. Photo © La Granja Ibiza
Following a major refurbishment, the Matetsi Victoria Falls Lodge re-opened in the vast Matetsi Private Game Reserve on the bank of the Zambezi River. Matetsi Victoria Falls promises the ultimate safari experience and comfortable accommodation, benefitting from an excellent location from which to visit the largest waterfall on earth.
Website: Matetsi Victoria Falls Lodge, Zimbabwe. Photos © Matetsi Victoria Falls
This exclusive resort is the company’s fourth property in the Sunshine State. The estate, which was adapted by Four Seasons, traces its origins to 1930, but now its architecture and interiors are brought firmly into 21st Century, with the help of creatives from Richard Meier & Partners. Planned to sprawl alongside a 300-meter beach, the Four Seasons Hotel The Surf Club features landscaped gardens, four swimming pools and forty beach cabanas.
Website: Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club, Florida, USA. Photo © Four Seasons Hotels Limited
Dubai’s Jumeirah is studded with a string of resorts of different styles and class — from the palatial Jumeirah Al Qasr to the calm Jumeirah Mina A’Salam, and the discrete and sophisticated Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf. Now joining this exclusive club is Jumeirah Al Naseem, which brings a contemporary twist on the Arabian opulence. The hotel has three large swimming pools, landscaped gardens, and private beach access. Its 430 rooms and suites feature floor-to-ceiling windows, walk-in rain showers, and private outdoor terraces.
Website: Jumeirah Al Naseem at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, UAE. Photo © Jumeirah International
Sydney’s Bondi Beach welcomes its first luxury hotel, and it comes from the QT brand. The property offers sixty-nine guest rooms in the usual quirky style, which we know from the QT Gold Coast. The “urban chic” interiors of QT Bondi charm with a mix of bespoke design objects, fine art, and luxury touches.
Website: QT Bondi, Sydney, Australia. Photo © QT Hotels
Sri Lanka is one of the most exciting destinations in Asia. The first wellness resort on the island is the 50-acre Santani, located in the Kandy area, the cultural capital of the island. With only 20 rooms, the exclusive resort features single-bedroom villas as well as two family units, with two bedrooms and a pool. The spa is very much at the center of attention, with hydrotherapy facilities and two swimming pools.
Website: Santani Wellness Resort & Spa, Sri Lanka. Photo © Santani
This is one gorgeous place. A converted 16th-century farmhouse is home to Masseria Trapana, a luxury escape located just outside Lecce in Southern Italy. The impeccably restored interiors of this boutique hotel feature frescoes and other historical treasures uncovered during the conversion. Apart from the nine stylish suites, a beautifully appointed private villa is available to rent.
Website: Masseria Trapana, Puglia, Italy. Photo © Masseria Trapana
The most recent refurbishment of Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp resulted in its glamorous interiors re-made in a style that emphasizes light palettes and earthy textures. The tents allow bedrooms to take in the best of the Okavango Delta views, while ensuite bathrooms feature indoor and outdoor showers.
Website: andBeyond Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp. Photos © &Beyond
Situated on the east coast of Mallorca just inland from the sea, Park Hyatt Mallorca is a luxury retreat designed in a style of a traditional Mallorquin hilltop village. There are 142 luxurious guest rooms, and 16 suites, all of which reference local culture and heritage. With smart rooms, excellent restaurants, and a sublime spa, Park Hyatt Mallorca brings a blend of sophistication and upscale residential comfort to a less-touristy part of the island. The hotel is located in a tranquil valley and overlooks the sea and the town of Canyamel.
Website: Park Hyatt Mallorca, Spain. Photo © Hyatt Corporation
This five-star boutique hotel is established near Torno village, right on the eastern shore of the Lake Como, with a spectacular 60-foot infinity pool extending over the lake. Its contemporary design—the outcome of a vision from the famous designer Patricia Urquiola—is a welcome change from the prevailing in the region ornate villas and Renaissance palazzos. Guests arrive at the hotel’s private dock onboard a custom-made wooden boats-limousines, to check-in to one of the 34 suites and dine on the restaurant’s a terrace—always with a panoramic view of the lake and mountains.
Website: Il Sereno Lake Como, Italy. Photo © Il Sereno
Matching the brick-and-corten-steel of the Brooklyn building, the elegant interiors of The Williamsburg Hotel feature leather furniture, while a number of rooms with balconies invite guests to gaze at the Manhattan skyline. There are 150 rooms and suites here, and the hotel also features an extra-glamorous rooftop facility that includes a swimming pool and bar.
Website: The Williamsburg Hotel, New York City, US. Photo © Williamsburg Hotel
This is the second Four Seasons property in Dubai, this time a city hotel rather than a beach resort. Built in the heart of the downtown business district, the Four Seasons Hotel Dubai DIFC features a rooftop pool with bar and garden, boasting views of the Dubai cityscape, of which Burj Khalifa as the star attraction.
Another development in UAE coming from the chain is Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi, set on the waterfront of Al Maryah Island. Beyond the Emirates, the company also saw recent openings in Colombia (Four Seasons Bogota) and Hawaii (Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina).
Website: Four Seasons Hotel Dubai DIFC, UAE. Photo © Four Seasons Hotels Limited
This grand city hotel, located only steps from the Danube River and Buda Castle, has excellent views towards the St Stephen Basilica and features a French restaurant, a library, and the stunning Kupola Lounge, situated beneath the iconic stained-glass cupola. There is a swimming pool flooded with natural daylight, a 24/7 Fitness Center, and The Ritz-Carlton Spa offers an array of treatments and spa rituals.
Website: The Ritz-Carlton Budapest, Hungary. Photo © The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company
Alila came to Jaipur in Rajasthan with a heritage resort that beautifully preserves the Jaipur Gharana architecture, influenced by both the Mughals and the British. Following the restoration of a beautiful 230-year-old fort, his all-suite hotel features 59 suites, all promising fantastic views—and Spa Alila, restaurants, bars and lounges, wine cellar, and library, as well as swimming pool.
Website: Alila Fort Bishangarh. Update: delayed to 2017. Photo © Alila Hotels & Resorts
It’s a second property from Sir Hotels to be opened in Amsterdam. It features 110 rooms, a restaurant, and a terrace, designed by interior designers from ICRAVE studio. The hotel shares the building with the headquarters of several music and entertainment companies, including guitar manufacturer Gibson.
Website: Sir Adam Amsterdam, Netherlands. Photo © Sir Adam
11 Howard is one of those cool NY hangouts where location, style, and atmosphere trump the size of rooms — but its chic minimalism carries no hint of pretense, and sometimes that’s enough to make us pause and take notice. From the surprisingly nondescript lobby and The Library, the hotel’s impeccably decorated coworking lounge, to The Blond, an intimate bar, 11 Howard never feels opulent or overdone. The hotel has an excellent location, with SoHo, NoLiTa, and Chinatown all only a short distance away. Facilities include a small fitness center and infrared sauna.
Website: 11 Howard, SoHo, New York City, USA. Photo © 11 Howard
Launched in the popular Seminyak, Katamamad a newcomer to the world of boutique resorts. Focusing on traditional art and craftsmanship, tactile textures, and cultural references, this upscale resort is a precious gem of design and architecture. Definitely a place for the creative types!
Website: Katamama Suites at Desa Potato Head, Bali, Indonesia. Photo © The Katamama
Amid Dubai’s glitzy hotel scene, Nikki Beach stands out thanks to its restrained and boutique aesthetic, bringing boho-cool and cubist simplicity to the waterfront of the man-made island of Pearl Jumeira. The brand’s philosophy centers around the concept of celebrating life, and the hotel’s atmosphere reflects this. Inspired by laid-back vibes of island vacations, the hotel is filled with fairy lights, bleached wooden details, giant dreamcatchers, tepees, and oversized, Instagram-ready inflatables. While understated, white-washed, and low-slung, the hotel still has a real five-star appeal, and its glamorous beach club should satisfy all sybarites and partygoers.
Website: Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai, UAE. Photo © Nikki Beach Resort & Spa
Located next to the Tower of London World Heritage Site, this Four Seasons hotel is housed in a 100-year-old building featuring a large tower and grand rotunda, all made of the classic Portland stone. It’s a listed building, and the hotel’s creators took great care to preserve the integrity of the original structure. It’s an exclusive, 100-room exemplary city hotel, quickly becoming a modern classic and a new London landmark.
Website: Four Seasons Hotel at Ten Trinity Square. Update: delayed to 2017. Photo © Four Seasons
Located in the heart of the Netherlands, in the Utrechtse Heuvelrug National Park of Utrecht, the historical estate of Parc Broekhuizen harks back to the romantic, rural escapism of the regal eras. While the estate’s beginnings trace back to the 15th century, its latest incarnation is that of Louis XVI, and the elegant interiors are very much of the 21st Century. Designer furniture and contemporary artwork bring a modern sense of style, while splashes of pink and dashes of whimsical humor add personality. This luxurious retreat features a Michelin-starred cuisine, while activities include golfing, exploration of the century-old forest or gardens.
Website: Parc Broekhuizen, Leersum, Netherlands. Photo © Parc Broekhuizen
Shoal Beach might be one of the world’s prettiest beaches, thanks to its pinky sand washed by the bright-blue sea. The first luxury hotel here is Zemi Beach House, created in classic Caribbean architecture. The guestrooms feature balconies or terraces with panoramic sea views and some with private swimming pools. Guests benefit from an ocean-front swimming pool, beach concierge, exemplary cuisine, and a 15,000-square-foot sybaritic spa, occupying a traditional house imported from Thailand.
Website: Zemi Beach House, Anguilla. Photo © Zemi Beach
Chitwan National Park in Nepal is a jungle-filled haven of wildlife. You may encounter here elephants, sloth bears, tigers, leopards, countless bird species, and even the endangered one-horned rhinos, or gharials, which is a local fish-eating crocodile. This is also the area where Taj Safaris from India chose to locate their luxury lodge. Set on the banks of the Rapti River, the twenty-nine villas and suites of Meghauli Serai benefit from the extraordinary views of Himalayas and Terai grasslands, and a convenient location from which to explore the Chitwan Park.
Website: Meghauli Serai, A Taj Safari, Chitwan National Park, Nepal. Rendering © TAJ Safaris
This is Sir Richard Branson’s second private island escape in the British Virgin Islands, launched as part of his luxurious portfolio of Virgin Limited Edition. The Branson Estate on Moskito Island features eleven bedrooms for at least twenty-two guests distributed among three villas: Headland House, Mangrove Villa and Beach Villa. The resort features an infinity pool, hot tub, helipad, a swim-up bar, and tennis pavilion.
Website: Moskito Island British Virgin Islands, Caribbean. Photo © Virgin Limited Edition
Swire Hotels has a collection of properties characterized by a sophisticated level of luxury, like The Upper House in Hong Kong and the Temple House in Chengdu. The EAST Miami features generous living areas, floor-to-ceiling windows, and its 352 rooms are some of the largest in Miami. They come with private balconies and beautiful views, though, of course, the best views are from Sugar, the rooftop bar on the 40th floor.
Website: EAST Miami, US. Photo © East Miami
A serene atmosphere infused with a strong sense of history, and pared-down but chic design defines the Santa Clara 1728. The hotel is surrounded by monuments and palaces of the Alfama neighborhood, and its design leverages the heritage of the 18th-century mansion which it occupies. There are only six guest suites, and their contemporary interior design features unadorned but beautiful furniture, pale wood, and gorgeous linens.
Website: Santa Clara 1728, Lisbon, Portugal. Photo © Santa Clara 1728
Located in the tiny Pugliese town of Ostuni, Masseria Le Carrube is set in a romantic former farmhouse, complete with the whitewashed brickwork, antique furnishings, a lovely garden with a wide, arched pergola, and an authentic olive mill. The family-owned hotel group San Domenico Hotels has created a property of sophisticated luxury, enchanting with glamorous whitewashed exteriors and ivory-toned rooms.
Website: Masseria Le Carrube, Ostuni, Italy. Photos © Masseria Le Carrube
THE Master List
Best of the rest:
Let’s supplement the above 60 Top Openings with a shortlist of runners-up. These are additional notable hotels, lodges, and resorts launched in 2016.
Porto Fira Suites, Fira, Santorini, Greece – redesigned and renovated by design firm, Interior Design Laboratorium.
Honeymoon Petra Villas, Santorini, Greece – The hotel relaunched following a renovation by Interior Design Laboratorium
The Slow, Canggu, Bali, Indonesia.
The Edison George Town, Penang, Malaysia.
The William Vale, Brooklyn, New York, US.
Author: Travel+Style. Last updated: 02/06/2023
Greece • Santorini
Luxury chic and sunsets
Maldives • Dhaalu Atoll
The Whale and the shell
Playful in sleepy Pyrgos
Blue sea, museums and tzatziki