The 101 Best Hotels in the World - 2022 Fodor's Finest Hotel Awards
Wanderlust’s spell has enchanted us even more powerfully than usual in the last year. Trapped indoors, at home, or on lockdown--where can those of us bewitched by the call to travel satisfy the urge for adventure? Where in the world can we explore when a global pandemic continues to hinder the way we move about it? There’s personal risk, government guidelines, and health organization protocols to consider on top of general trip planning, and the travel industry has been scrambling to help those ready to get back out there to do so safely.
The Fairmont Royal York
WHERE: Toronto, Ontario
At the time of its opening in 1929, The Royal York in Toronto stood as the tallest building in the British Commonwealth. The grand old hotel, now known as the Fairmont Royal York, is still recognized for its luxurious style, and, in fact, it’s where Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II stays when she visits Toronto. Guests who stay in the luxury boutique Fairmont Gold rooms receive private access to the 18th floor Gold Lounge, which boasts a rooftop lounge, a fitness center, personalized dietary plans, and an exclusive in-shower aromatherapy option.
Open-concept, residential-style rooms include a bevy of luxurious amenities, including breakfast and evening snacks, and full concierge service. The hotel’s strong commitment to sustainability is evidenced in its rooftop garden, which contains a space for beekeeping. The garden grows a selection of herbs that are used in the Fairmont’s kitchen, and the bees make their contribution too—find honey in such items as the locally-brewed Apiary Ale. In keeping with the sustainability mission, beds are made with products from sustainably managed forests, and cleaning products are eco-certified. While there’s no bad time to visit, holiday lovers might time a visit to coincide with the annual tree lighting ceremony. Of course, the resulting twinkle is glorious too.
Fairmont Royal York
Hotel Zed Tofino
WHERE: Tofino, British Columbia
Backing on to the forested shore of Tofino Inlet on the west coast of Vancouver Island, the Hotel Zed Tofino is your alternative gateway to exploring British Columbia’s hippiest town. The lobby sets the tone with a sunken living room boasting wall-to-wall shag carpet—just like your parents’ ’70s romper room—a mini disco, and a Don Draper-style living room whose bookcase slides over to reveal a secret arcade with retro video games. The bohemian vibe continues in the comfortable guest rooms that include gold headboards, gold lamé-patterned wallpaper, and French presses that elevate the morning coffee ritual.
When you’re not having your tarot cards read in the Psychic Den, or drinking breakfast cocktails at Zed’s on-site restaurant Roar, hop on a rental beach cruiser and cycle right through the lobby on a bike path that leads into downtown Tofino. You can wander the art galleries, sign up for a surfing lesson or kayak tour, or explore the old-growth rainforest in nearby Pacific Rim National Park.
Heath Moffat Photography
Inn at Bay Fortune
WHERE: Souris, Prince Edward Island
On the eastern shore of Atlantic Canada’s charmingly bucolic Prince Edward Island is the magical Inn at Bay Fortune , an intimate, seasonal 46-acre seaside resort known for culinary prowess cultivated from its unique terroir. Open from May through October, the Inn’s 15 homey guest rooms are split between the ground-floor courtyard and the newer tower, some with wood-burning fireplaces, and others with phenomenal sea views and outdoor terraces. Guests can wander the grounds after enjoying freshly-baked breakfast pastries, enjoy the outdoor firepit, or explore the nearby woods where Chef Michael Smith regularly forages for wild mushrooms.
The Inn sits amid the organic farm that grows the ingredients that star in its frequently sold-out weekend Fireworks Feast , the embodiment of the property’s ethos: We grow what we serve. This includes over 200 varieties of fruits and vegetables, free-range hens, heritage pigs, locally harvested oysters, scallops, and other fresh seafood. Guests who partake in the Feast get an hour-long tour to learn about their sustainable farming practices, followed by an oyster happy hour with drinks from the farm bar, culminating in an unforgettable multi-course meal.
Alex Bruce Photography
Le Capitole Hôtel
WHERE: Quebec City, Quebec
The charming Le Capitole Hotel , adjacent to the walled city of Old Québec, e xudes elegance—a red-carpeted grand staircase in the theater helps with this endeavor. Certified as a historic monument in 1986, the 108-room hotel deserves every five-star review it has collected over the years. Notable features include a 1920s-style cabaret, rooftop garden, and a glass-enclosed heated pool up on the ninth floor. A terrace on the same floor offers majestic, panoramic views of the mountain.
The contemporary rooms are warm and inviting, and bathrooms are chic and well-appointed. On-site dining is excellent: Ristorante Il Teatro serves delicious, modern Italian cuisine. Pasta or pizza is a fine choice but the showstopper is the Cosciotto di Agnello Grigliata, almond-prosciutto-crusted leg of lamb served with a mascarpone tart and housemade gnocchi. Post-supper, you’ll want to check out Le Clubby Bar, a prime spot for Martini-sipping among a lively after-theater crowd. But don’t stay up too late or you risk not getting in all the nearby sites, including La Citadelle de Quebec, the Parliament, and Fortifications of Québec National Historic Site.
Mount Engadine Lodge
WHERE: Canmore, Alberta
Set above a lush meadow with a backdrop of towering limestone peaks, this boutique lodge is the only accommodation in Spray Valley Provincial Park, an hour’s drive from Canmore, Alberta. Not as well-known as neighboring Banff (and far less busy), but with just as many eye-candy alpine trails and valley vistas, this slice of what locals call “Kananaskis Country” makes a sublime retreat to unplug and immerse in nature.
Choose between a room in the main lodge, a private cabin, or a luxe glamping tent with ensuite bath, all decorated with chunky wood headboards and cozy duvets, with classic Canadiana touches such as traditional snowshoes hanging on the wall. After a day hiking in the front-country Canadian Rockies in the summer, or cross-country skiing in the winter, return to the lodge for afternoon tea (a modest name for an embarrassment of charcuterie, cheese, and baked goodies made in-house) taken on the expansive patio, followed by a three-course communal dinner of kale caesar salad, Alberta beef and crème brûlée, for example. Overnight stays come with tea and three meals, including a bag lunch with a homemade sandwich and cookies to take on your adventure.
Blue Apple Beach House
WHERE: Cartagena, Colombia
Located on the beautiful island of Bocachica, just off the coast of Cartagena, Blue Apple Beach House was once a beautiful private residence. Marrying the luxury beach hotel experience with a laid-back hostel vibe, this trendy hotel caters to travelers who want refinement without stuffiness. The Mediterranean-inspired design highlights exposed wood with splashes of white and blue that provide an elevated aesthetic to the property.
Everything at the hotel’s restaurant is made from scratch with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, and some of the rooms have private plunge pools and sea views. But there are also raucous parties with live DJs for overnight guests as well as day-trippers. The resident artist program ensures that there’s a stream of creatives bringing their diverse talents to the hotel, often in the form of fun classes for guests. Environmental and economic sustainability efforts are also part of the hotel’s philosophy. Local craftspeople and artisans make the furniture and decor by hand. Solar power provides electricity and excess coffee grounds are used to make complimentary cookies for guests. When you’re ready to stop lounging by the beach club, island activities include horseback riding by the seashore, scuba diving, and boat tours.
Blue Apple Beach
Carmel Taiba Exclusive Resort
WHERE: Ceará, Brazil
If lavish comfort is what you’re after, then Carmel Taiba Exclusive Resort ticks all the right boxes. Located smack in Brazil’s tropical zone on the northeastern coast of Ceara, this intimate resort hovers above a rock that protrudes over the balmy shores of the Taiba fisherman’s beach. From here, wake up for a dip in your glistening private infinity pool overlooking Taiba’s stunning natural beauty, before savoring a floating breakfast platter of fresh fruits.
Signed by landscape architect Alex Hanazi, the resort is divided into five lavish modern villas spanning over 12,000 square meters (129,000 square feet) of outdoor space, with its reflecting pool, gazebo, decks, ground fire, and rolling garden areas specifically designed to awaken all the five senses. If you do ever manage to tear yourself away from your plush villa, there’s plenty of adventure to be had: translucent turquoise pools, pristine lakes, long-stretches of rugged palm-lined sands, or kitesurf and buggy ride thrills along Taiba beach’s seashores piled high with wind-scalloped dunes–it’s home to the world’s first wind-power plant built on sand dunes. As well as generating renewable energy, Carmel Taiba also dedicates itself to employing local staff, making this resort a true eco-paradise.
Cavas Wine Lodge
WHERE: Mendoza, Argentina
Nestled in between the foothills of the Andes mountains and the verdant vineyards just outside Argentina’s wine capital of Mendoza, sits the plush Cavas Wine Lodge . A boutique property comprising just 18 guest rooms and villas, it offers both intimacy and privacy. Rooms are both rustic and chic, decked in natural materials of stone, wood, and cotton in understated tones. Each features a romantic terrace, complete with a roaring fireplace, a private plunge pool, hot tub, and outdoor shower, so you can make the most of the spectacular surrounding mountain views.
When you’re feeling hungry, the elegant restaurant, featuring wrought-iron chandeliers and giant photos of gauchos (Argentinean cowboys) on the ceiling, is sure to satisfy. Serving up organic seasonal mains, dishes are accompanied by the lodge’s very own wines; try the fruity white Torrontes. There’s more wine tasting to be had in this vineyard-rich region with picturesque views competing from all angles. When you’ve had your fill of Malbec, relax in the Moorish-inspired spa to ready your body for the next day’s horseback riding adventure.
Cavas Wine Lodge & Michael Feher
WHERE: Asunción, Paraguay
Located in the attractive, green Paraguayan capital of Asuncion, Factoria Hotel , as the name suggests, was built to look like an old-fashioned factory. Oozing sophistication and industrial chic, its large and spacious rooms feature exposed brick walls and wood paneling. Modern design meets period glamor, where antique 19th-century furniture and historic gilt-framed oil paintings sit alongside fresh clean lines and contemporary artwork. Huge mirrors, old-fashioned wooden wardrobes, and free-standing tubs complete the look.
The common areas, including snug lounges and a wood-paneled library, welcome you with overstuffed armchairs and cozy fireplaces. The hotel’s contemporary restaurant Ofelia is set in an elegant double-height space and offers a varied menu of both traditional Paraguayan delights like carne asada (grilled meats) and international favorites from tortellini to mushroom risotto, as well as an impressive selection of wine. When you want to relax, cool down in the outdoor pool and unwind under the leafy palm trees in the garden.
Hotel Charleston Santa Teresa
WHERE: Cartagena, Colombia
A former 17th-century Carmelite convent, Hotel Charleston Santa Teresa puts on full display the beauty of Spanish colonial architecture. Though renovations ensure guests all necessary modern comforts, the hotel has kept the structure and features of the original building, as well as an adjacent 19th-century addition that once served as a school and military headquarters. Countless arches, balconies, inner courtyards, and symmetrical fountains serve to enhance the beauty of the historic hotel, which is located within the UNESCO-listed walled city of Cartagena.
Three dining options offer international and local flavors to guests. Go to La Terraza for a casual lunch with magnificent views of the modern side of the city. For a more refined experience, you can choose between Harry’s Cartagena Restaurant—headed by Colombia’s most famous chef, Harry Sasson—and Plaza Santa Teresa, which proffers traditional regional food and an incredible open-air ambiance. At the Plaza, you’ll get views of the San Pedro Claver Cathedral, one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, and enjoy the live music, dance performances, and movement of the public part of the square. Other hotel amenities include a rooftop pool and solarium, a gym, and a luxury spa.
Hotel Charleston Santa Teresa
Hotel das Cataratas
WHERE: Iguaçu Falls, Brazil
Fringed by vibrant rainforest and roaring waterfalls lies Belmond Hotel das Cataratas , a serene pastel-pink hacienda—notably the only property ensconced within Brazil’s Iguassu National Park. Guests here enjoy exclusive access to the heavily-touristed park outside regular hours (before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m), where visitors can soak up unrivaled views of fluttering butterflies along with over 400 birds of paradise, a kaleidoscopic array of tropical flora, and rare endangered wildlife in near solitude.
Beyond the hotel’s sculpted grounds, freshly renovated guest rooms and suites exude a timeless and airy feel, with chic Portuguese colonial-style decor, plush furnishings, and sweeping jungle balcony vistas. After a day filled with adventurous eco-tours, unwind by the poolside with a caipirinha in hand or tuck into a churrasco- style barbeque. Alternatively, swap the sun-lounger for an indulgent spa massage infused with sustainable aromas plucked straight from the rainforest. At nightfall, exquisite dinners and discoveries of Brazil’s uncharted wine bottles cloistered in the Cataratas wine cellar are on the menu.
Images courtesy of Belmond
WHERE: Patagonia, Chile
Set in the heart of the Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve, this intriguing architectural wonder—the hotel is shaped like a wooden cone—is simply enchanting. Hotel Nothofagus offers several types of rooms, all marked by rustic yet rich wooden walls and minimalist décor, none with a TV, thanks to the property’s “bedroom disconnect” policy. But who needs a television when you’ve got windows like these: enormous plates of pristine glass revealing spectacular views of the Patagonian forest.
Made for relaxing and connecting with nature, the entire property exudes Earth goddess vibes, ideal for unplugging and recharging your hard-working batteries. An on-site two-level restaurant and bar offers a daily buffet so you can fuel up on the local cuisine after an afternoon hiking. Each of the property’s two pools is inviting, as is the sauna. Do bookmark a couple of days for exploration. After all, it’s not every day you have a chance to go horseback riding at the end of the world.
Reserva Biológica Huilo Huilo
Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel
WHERE: Aguas Calientes, Peru
Nestled in the Andes mountains of Peru, travelers can find themselves enjoying a luxury travel experience amid Andean history at Inkaterra Macchu Picchu Pueblo Hotel . The hotel has a variety of casitas ranging from superior rooms to a villa of your own where you can enjoy your private terrace, plunge pool, and around-the-clock butler service. All rooms are designed with Andean art and culture in mind to keep guests connected with the relaxing energy of the surrounding mountains. With the Machu Picchu Archaeological site a mere bus ride away, guests can explore the ruins at sunrise with a private guide—it’s the prettiest time of day here, and it’s also before the masses descend.
After a full day of walking in Machu Picchu, you can soothe your aching muscles and indulge in an Andean-style spa treatment that uses natural and locally sourced products such as uña de gato or cat’s claw extract, coca leaf, and quinoa oil at the hotel’s Unu Spa. To complete the experience, dinner at Inkaterra’s restaurant, dishing up first-class Peruvian cuisine with a backdrop of the Vilcabamba mountain range, is a must. If you still have the energy for exploring, the hotel offers complimentary excursions such as a walk on its nature trail, orchid trail, or a twilight walk for additional communing with Mother Nature.
Nayara Alto Atacama
WHERE: Atacama Desert, Chile
There’s a mystical quality to staying in the desert, and it’s best enhanced by fully immersing yourself in the surreal experience of barren, breathtaking landscapes. A stay at Nayara Alto Atacama is sure to augment your awe. Between the hotel’s adobe walls are colorful, clean designs, along with cozy touches like macrame hangings and handwoven throws, the decor is representative of locally sourced goods and craftsmanship. When you aren’t snuggling into your warm adobe abode, you can enjoy sweeping views of the moonscape desert with its Andes backdrop from your terrace or patio view.
Though the main draw of the hotel is the proximity to the Atacama desert–one of the driest places on earth where you can spot vicuñas and flamingos among the salt flat lagoons, hike through the stone and sand formations of the alien-like landscape of Valle de la Luna, climb the Láscar Volcano, or check out the El Tatio Geysers–you can also spend your mornings soaking in mineral hot spring pools and afternoons chilling with a herd at the llama corral. Come evening, settle in on the restaurant’s outdoor patio for asado -style barbeque, best paired with a big bottle of locally-produced, sommelier-selected wine, sipped while stargazing at what seems like the whole universe.
Courtesy of Nayara Alto Atacama
The Singular Patagonia
WHERE: Patagonia, Chile
Sitting at what seems like the edge of the world, the Singular, Patagonia is situated in the Chilean fjord lands. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains and icy glaciers, to the north lies the famous Torres del Paine National Park and to the south, the gateway to Antarctica. Housed inside an old refrigeration factory , the hotel is anything but cold and featureless. Historic industrial vibes, old-fashioned machinery, and cozy sumptuous spaces abound throughout. The rooms are homey yet luxurious, but it’s the incredible views that are everything here, taking up one whole wall of each of the 57 rooms through floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows. Wake up to the wild windswept views of the fjord lands each morning while you sip your coffee in bed .
The Singular Restaurant and Bar are housed in a huge open factory hall complete with vaulted ceilings and original industrial decor, where you can enjoy local Patagonian dishes such as their specialty lamb and handcrafted cocktails — order the Chilean Pisco Sour. Or choose El Asador, where traditional Chilean barbecues of wood-fired meats and vegetables are cooked up in the 100-year-old former blacksmith’s forge. Add on an indulgent spa and excursions such as horseback riding and glacial visits, and you’ll soon understand what all the fuss is about.
The Singular Patagonia
WHERE: Tel Aviv, Israel
Set right on quiet Tchernichovsky Street, best known for its eclectic mix of shops, private residences, and street-food joints, Hotel Saul has many of the trappings of a boutique hotel, with the youthful, design-centric feel of a contemporary co-working space. This small property occupies a converted office building that was re-imagined with sustainability in mind, with eco-friendly touches that include thermally insulated windows and energy-efficient water heating.
The aesthetic in rooms is bright and minimalist—but far from stark. While exposed brick walls and steel light fixtures give the spaces an industrial-chic feel, while plush rugs, large houseplants, and blush-hued throw blankets add a homey element. This homelike feeling extends to the common areas, notably the fourth-floor semi-enclosed balcony designed with digital nomads in mind, complete with work areas and a free espresso corner. There’s also a sundeck with shaded loungers for those who don’t feel like strolling over to popular Bugrashov Beach, around a 10-minute walk away.
Jumeirah Al Qasr
WHERE: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
When dreaming of an Arabian Palace, Jumeirah Al Qasr is everything you might expect—Al Qasr literally translates to The Palace and is inspired in design by the folk tales of 1001 Arabian Nights. From the striking golden horses greeting visitors along the driveway to the five-ton Swarovski crystal chandelier in the foyer, the entrance alone is memorable. Arabian grandeur continues throughout, with ornate pillars and archways featured alongside gilded wood and pearl bedecked furnishings in even the standard rooms.
The hotel’s footprint is vast and the palatial building spills out onto beautifully manicured grounds before a mile-long stretch of the famed white sands of Jumeirah Beach. They’ve thought of it all too: You can take a dip in the huge pool, explore the quaint water canals of the resort, admire the iconic views of the nearby Burj Al Arab on an abra (a traditional wooden boat), sip cocktails on the sand over a private dinner, relax at the four-star luxury Talise spa, or spend a day or two on the waterslides at Wild Wadi Waterpark, access to which is included in your stay. As part of the wider Souk Madinat Jumeirah complex, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to dining options at all ends of the scale with cuisines from all over the world.
Memories Aicha Luxury Camp
WHERE: Wadi Rum, Jordan
Surrounded by jagged sandstone crags and miles of soft ochre sand in the Jordanian moonscape of Wadi Rum, Memories Aicha Luxury Camp puts an opulent spin on the traditional Bedouin desert camp experience. Here you’ll find air-conditioned desert tents decked up with rich linens, traditional poofs, and a smattering of gilded Louis XIV-style furniture, plus en-suite bathrooms stocked with Dead Sea toiletries.
All have spacious decks for taking in expansive views of the night sky, but for optimal stargazing, consider splurging for a glassed-in geodesic dome that lets you look up at the Milky Way without having to get out of bed. Lavish meals are served buffet-style in a gargantuan dome restaurant with marble floors and crystal chandeliers, though you may prefer to retreat for a hookah session in the cozy cave cafe, which offers low, colorful seating nooks built into a natural wall of tawny rock.
Memories Aicha Luxury Camp
WHERE: Baalbek, Lebanon
If ever a hotel encapsulated the history and shifting fortunes of its country, it is surely The Palmyra in east Lebanon. Once a playground for international royalty and cultural icons, from Kaiser Wilhelm II and Archduke Franz Ferdinand to Einstein and Jean Cocteau, it has kept its doors open since 1874—refusing to close even when visitor numbers plummeted amid political turmoil.
Today it remains a hidden jewel of a hotel, overlooking the spectacular ancient Roman ruins of Heliopolis, 55 miles east of Lebanon’s capital Beirut. It has stayed true to its Victorian-era origins: a picture of faded grandeur, filled with antique furniture, archaeological relics, and framed photos of its former illustrious guests. Don’t expect mod cons, as the venue is more about historical character; rooms marked by tall stone walls are absent of phones and minibars and feature beguiling antique sconces and heavy velvet drapes—evocative of its bygone era. A neighboring annex has five bedrooms offering a more modern alternative for those who prefer that compromise, but most guests favor the unmatchable character in The Palmyra’s 17 old rooms. The front bedrooms overlooking the temple ruins are the pick of the bunch.
Six Senses Zighy Bay
WHERE: Dibba, Oman
Only a two-hour drive from Dubai, Six Senses Zighy Bay lies on the Northern side of the Omani enclave of Musandam often hailed as “the Norway of the Middle East” owing to its breath-taking fjords. Situated in a remote location perched between the Al Hajar Mountains and a long sandy cove, the property invites you to choose your level of thrill prior to arrival, for the only way to reach the front doors is by 4×4 vehicle adeptly navigating the steep mountain pass, or by a short speedboat ride from a nearby port. For a real adrenaline rush—and flashy arrival—soar in over the mountains to the sands of Zighy Bay via paraglide .
As an ultra-luxurious all-villa resort designed in the style of a traditional Omani village, each of the 82 villas comes with its own private pool and garden, and all are surrounded by natural cobblestone walls for the utmost seclusion and privacy. Interiors featuring high ceilings are rustic in appearance yet chic and luxuriously decorated in locally sourced stylish neutrals with bright accents peppered throughout. Sustainability remains a priority in all respects; in addition to an on-site organic kitchen garden, the hotel also produces its own bottled water where little is wasted. Even the filtered-out salt is repurposed for use in the property’s grand saltwater swimming pool.
WHERE: Tetiaroa, French Polynesia
On a private island, 30 miles northeast of Tahiti, that was leased to the late actor Marlon Brando for 99 years are the 35 villas of The Brando . The island can only be reached by private plane, and flying in gives guests an enticing view of Tetiaroa, an atoll of several little islands surrounded by a lagoon that’s home to manta rays, sea turtles, and many kinds of birds.
The villas blend into the tropical island landscape; each comes with a private pool and is just steps away from the white-sand beach and calm waters of the lagoon. Varua Te Ora Polynesian Spa offers calming treatments surrounded by tropical vegetation, and yoga and Pilates sessions can be scheduled via the spa. The two on-site restaurants offer French, Polynesian, Japanese, and other Western cuisine, and make good use of the abundance of tropical fruit, the vegetables grown in the resort’s garden, and local Polynesian fish. The associated Tetiaroa Society is a non-profit that works on problems the world’s oceans face due to climate change.
COMO The Treasury
WHERE: Perth, Australia
Originally one of Perth’s public office spaces, this elegant administrative building was revitalized in 2015 and opened as COMO The Treasury . It quickly became one of the best hotels in the Western Australian capital, thanks to its impeccable service, convenient location, and stylish guest rooms. The rooms and common areas are furnished with relaxing, minimalist decor, using neutral whites and creams, travertine, and bronze—keeping architectural touches from the building’s 140-year old history but with a contemporary flair.
Dining at Wildflower shouldn’t be missed, as this modern, seasonal menu is centered around the six seasons in the Indigenous culture, using local produce from farmers and foragers. A visit to the Shambhala spa, offering massages, yoga, and beauty treatments, is also a highlight of any visit. Of particular note is the indoor pool, a spectacular oasis with huge glass windows, letting sunlight pour in each day and giving guests a spectacular view of the city as they swim. All of the spa facilities are housed in the building’s original vault, which formerly held the titles and deeds for the city. You’ll find plenty of amazing places to visit just steps from the hotel, including Kings Park, Elizabeth Quay, and ferries offering day trips to Rottnest Island or Fremantle.
COMO Hotels and Resorts
WHERE: Queenstown, New Zealand
Glitzy Queenstown may not be a typical New Zealand town these days, but Hulbert House ’s refurbished 1880s villa harks back to the hot spot’s humble but refined history. Guests love the five-star elegance sans stuffy formality, which reflects the laid-back nature of New Zealand as a whole.
Near central Queenstown, the rooms either face Skyline Hill or Lake Wakatipu and the panorama of the Remarkables Range behind. With just six rooms, guests can enjoy a peaceful stay that feels intimate rather than impersonal. The five Premium Rooms come with regal canopies above the beds and each of these guest rooms is decorated in a different color scheme, while the lone Grand Room takes the royal up another notch, with a palette of purple, navy, and gold décor and bay windows.
Guests would be wise to make the most of pre-dinner drinks and canapes before taking a leisurely stroll into town for dinner at one of Queenstown’s many top-rated restaurants, paired with fine Central Otago Pinot Noir.
Le Bora Bora by Pearl Resorts
WHERE: Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Le Bora Bora combines luxury and convenience: the 108 rooms and villas are located on a secluded motu (island), Motu Tevairoa, that’s a 10-minute boat ride from Bora Bora Airport. The villas are set within the tropical gardens, beside the beach, or suspended over the warm turquoise sea. Garden and beachside villas come with their own pools, while the villas suspended over the ocean have easy access to the shallow lagoon waters below.
Local Polynesian art and architectural styles have been drawn upon heavily in the design of the thatched-roofed villas. Mount Otemanu, the 2,400-foot volcanic peak of Bora Bora island, dominates the skyline from across the lagoon. In an effort to maintain the peaceful vibe while providing guests with active pursuits, a range of non-motorized water gear is available to use: stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, outrigger canoes, and snorkeling equipment. No noisy jet skis here! Tennis, ping pong, and the oh-so-French pétanque can be enjoyed on land.
Le Bora Bora by Pearl Resort
WHERE: Uluru, Australia
An oasis in Australia’s iconic red center, Longitude 131° offers luxury tented accommodation with views of Ulu r u. Floor-to-ceiling windows make it easy to take in all the beautiful colors of the Outback or step out onto your private deck to enjoy a glass of bubbles at sunset. The property’s design lets the spectacular beauty of World Heritage-listed Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park shine through, but there’s still plenty of amenities to enjoy after spending a day bushwalking or sightseeing. Spa Kinara offers world-class treatments using native ingredients like Kakadu plum and desert lime, while Table 131° delivers a dining experience unlike any other. This open-air restaurant serves guests a four-course modern Australian menu with paired wines, lit only by the stars.
In support of Indigenous arts, Longitude 131° established an artists-in-residence program with Ernabella Arts, supporting Indigenous artists from the Pukatja Homelands. All sales go back to support the community.
WHERE: Byron Bay, Australia
Retro chic meets Aussie surf culture—welcome to The Sunseeker . This cute hotel in Byron Bay is all about nostalgia and fun. The owners, a local couple, transformed an ‘80s brick motel into a modern yet retro boutique hideaway, with a focus on sustainability and supporting local artists. Set just outside Byron’s city center, it’s a fantastic hideaway with both rooms and bungalows for guests, a welcoming spot for travelers designed to foster creativity and relaxation. The classic kidney-shaped pool, with lounge beds and tiki bar, is the perfect place to chill with a cocktail and bar snacks, removed from the hustle and bustle of Byron. While there’s no full-service restaurant on-site, The Sunseeker offers picnic baskets and meal packages or there’s plenty of fantastic cafes and dining options within walking distance.
If you can pull yourself away from the laid-back vibes of your bungalow, you’re only a short drive or walk away from the famous Cape Byron Lighthouse, Wategos Beach, and the serene Byron hinterland.
Caerula Mar Club
WHERE: South Andros, Bahamas
You can’t go wrong with 10 acres of turquoise beach, the backdrop of Caerula Mar Club , an exclusive property with just six private villas and 18 suites. The uncrowded nature of the place never translates to boredom—not with options that include snorkeling and diving tours of blue hole ocean caves and a barrier reef, the world’s third-largest. Take a kayak on the water or a bike out on land, or simply revel in the beauty of it all as you alternate between reading and dozing on the pristine beach or poolside. With or without a cocktail is the only question you’ll have.
If you can tear yourself away from the resort, do it in the name of bonefishing, famous in these parts. After a scenic fish, soak up more Bahamian culture at any of the town’s mom-and-pop joints, where fried cracked conch and Kalik beer go down easy. Or try the stunning menu at Caerula’s fine-dining restaurant, Lusca. Up the romance factor and request a dinner (order the sesame-crusted Ahi tuna) on your private porch or patio or arrange for a beachside meal where the main attraction—aside from the food—is the infinite sky that shows off countless twinkling stars.
Caerula Mar Club
WHERE: Maundays Bay, Anguilla
Are you in North Africa or the Caribbean? Blame the blissful confusion on the Moroccan-style domed white villas that dot the landscape at Cap Juluca . Either way, you’ve arrived in paradise. Choose a room or a suite with a covered terrace or one with a solarium or second rooftop terrace, or spring for a private pool villa. Find your center with early morning bird nature walks around Cove Pond. Led by a knowledgeable conservationist, this favorite pastime may just turn you into a bird watcher after all–especially if you glimpse an Antillean Bullfinch. Also on offer is a sail to Prickly Pear Cays, uninhabited islands with coral reefs awash in vegetation, where you can snorkel, swim with turtles, and satisfy your newfound interest in bird watching.
Windsurf or water ski for additional water fun, and play a round of golf or practice your tennis serve with the help of a tennis pro back on dry land. After working up an appetite, head to Pimms. One of the most romantic restaurants on the island, it also delivers on the food front with dishes like Anguillan crayfish and a delightful passion fruit and avocado carpaccio.
Courtesy of Belmond
Casas del XVI
WHERE: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Casas del XVI is straight out of central casting. You must be in a wildly romantic movie. The setting is the historic district of Santo Domingo’s Colonial City. Casas del XVI, full of old-world charm and modern luxury as evidenced by an amiable private butler and talented chef for starters, is a collection of seven houses that date back to the 16 th century.
A luxury guest room (king- or queen-sized bed plus a deep soaking tub), with decor reflecting Dominican culture and the Spanish colonial era, is ideal for solo travelers or couples, while the sprawling private casas, complete with private swimming pools, are perfect for families or a group getaway. Regardless of accommodation choice, a stay gets you into the cigar bar, where you might opt to learn how to roll the Cuban way. All guests can take advantage of the Connoisseurs Program, which offers an array of options to suit all interests—top picks include curator-run Colonial City museum tours, dinners with experts in classical music, and a private polo match.
Casa del XVI
WHERE: Speightstown, Barbados
The power of pink is the name of the game at this stunning 1940s mansion where pops of pink exude a certain cool factor while also encouraging total relaxation. All of the charmingly decorated suites at Cobblers Cove have outdoor verandas, and while ocean view rooms tend to be popular among travelers to the Caribbean, the garden view rooms at Cobblers have their own appeal.
Cobblers prides itself on both its commitment to the environment—rainwater collection and solar panels have been in place for years—and to working with local craftsmen who are responsible for all of the property’s furnishings and furniture. More recently, the food program was overhauled so that now almost 100% of menu offerings are items grown or produced in Barbados. This translates to home-smoked flying fish for breakfast and charred cherry tomatoes and lobster for dinner. Sundays’ seafront barbecue is a chance to indulge the senses and mingle with other guests. A slate of activities to keep you busy during the day includes paddleboarding, kayaking, snorkeling, and a boat ride leading to a swim with Hawksbill turtles.
Images courtesy of Cobblers Cove
WHERE: Port Antonio, Jamaica
The setting at Geejam is serene and secluded–it’s where the rainforest meets the sea, at the foot of the Blue Mountains. It’s positively luxurious. A bonus is the on-site music studio, which may help explain why the boutique hotel is a getaway for celebrities like Beyonce and Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, and Rihanna. Stay in a private villa, deluxe jungle cabin, or one of the 12 newly launched, art-filled Rumba Rooms.
The Geejam vibe is sophisticated and hip, yet still comfortably chill. The staff, friendly and attentive, makes a point to get to know each guest, and you might even find yourself in easy conversation with one of the hotel’s owners, Jon Baker and Steve Beaver, as you prepare to show off your pool skills at the outdoor game table. Follow your achievements with dinner at the dimly lit Bushbar. The restaurant’s elevated Jamaican—jerk marinated lamb chops, mashed potatoes, and garden veggies—is as sublime as the signature rum punch. The flavorful and potent concoction also happens to be the perfect accompaniment to a lazy afternoon by the infinity pool. But should you tire of this manner of indolent vacationing, know that kayaking and snorkeling can be accessed from the hotel’s private beach.
WHERE: Portsmouth, Dominica
Experience a six-star, all-villa resort tucked in the rainforest on a secluded clifftop, private plunge pools, your own villa host, on-call concierge, chef, and guides. There’s nothing cookie-cutter about this Caribbean resort. The Ti-Féy Villa I, a two-story treehouse sustainably built with Guyanese Greenheart wood, sits on a hillside with floor-to-ceiling glass walls, a design element only outdone by the outdoor rain shower.
Pampering—a must at Secret Bay —starts with a facial or massage at the treetop Gommier Spa overlooking Tibay Beach and continues with a rum punch (or two!) at the nearby secluded Batibou Beach. Return to the warm embrace of the resort for a meal at the open-air Zing Zang, a restaurant serving local octopus and lobster, amid to-die-for views. A nightcap at the Vetiver Sunset Deck overlooking Secret Beach is an excellent idea; then again, so is night snorkeling if you’re looking to add a notch to your adventure belt.
Casa Las Tortugas
WHERE: Isla Holbox, Mexico
Just two hours northwest of the high octane crowds of Cancun lies Isla Holbox—a 26-mile long and 1-mile wide, under-the-radar island that only the most in-the-know travelers are privy to. Spend languid days at Casa Las Tortugas boutique hotel, embracing the beauty of barefoot living, while swaying gently in hand-woven hammocks and listening to the soothing sounds of waves lapping the shores.
The rooms are simple; however, the artistry lies in the details—artisanal linens and light fixtures, hand-painted ceramic sinks, and upcycled driftwood furniture all emulate the essence of the laidback nature and tranquil vibes of the island. The hotel is a destination itself, so you may find it difficult to want to venture beyond the walls of this private sanctuary as you’ll find everything you need right here. A palm-fringed pool, yoga studio, wellness spa, and a trio of restaurants emphasizing local and organic ingredients (try the Lamb Terrine at Luuma or Holy Fish at Mandarina) all allow you to indulge and enjoy the boho-beach vacation of your dreams.
WHERE: Oaxaca, Mexico
Nestled in the Valley of Xaagá, known as “The Valley of Silence,” is Casa Silencio —a 16-acre luxury retreat that’s an effortless blend of craft and culture. With its own on-site distillery, Casa Silencio is where the ancient traditions of mezcal meet a modernized vision of design. Each of the six minimally-designed guest suites takes on a personality of their own, albeit with a common thread: Each room is outfitted with furnishings, features, and textiles made by local artisans, craftspeople, and emerging artists. Casa Silencio isn’t just a destination for relaxation, it’s an experience for the senses. Sip and savor the sweet and smoky profiles of Silencio’s exquisite mezcal. Breathe in the elements of nature. Drink in the breathtaking views of the agave-studded valleys while the sounds of nature create a serene soundtrack.
Though Casa Silencio is less than a mile from ancient ruins, petrified waterfalls, and mystical caves, the hotel itself rests on a remote enclave, where tranquility abounds. Feel the dopamine effect as you unearth surprises at every turn at Casa Silencio, like the indoor/outdoor dining bar that features ethereal views and a 17-ton, 53-foot table, or the secret after-hours hangout spot, called the Rhino Room.
WHERE: Mexico City, Mexico
Art lovers flock to Mexico City to see its 20th-century murals, but how many hotels can boast one of their very own? Downtown Mexico, a 17-room member of Design Hotels occupies the 17th-century Palacio de los Condes de Miravalle, which is blessed with a 1940s fresco, called The Holocaust, by Manuel Rodríguez Locano. Throughout the property, colonial-era architectural elements—such as barrel vault ceilings and volcanic stone walls—blend seamlessly with geometric brick room dividers, a dazzling vertical garden, and mid-century modern furniture by Don Shoemaker.
Thanks to its location, just two blocks from the Zócalo, the turmeric-yellow lounge chairs by the rooftop pool offer a front-row view of the church domes of the Centro Histórico. The building also houses Azul Histórico, a restaurant known for its Oaxacan mole negro , and Downtown Beds, a sister design hostel, where dormitory rooms are located in the palace’s old servants’ quarters.
Ignacia Guest House
WHERE: Mexico City, Mexico
Mexico City is a bustling, vibrant metropolis, and Ignacia Guest House , situated along the tree-canopied streets of the ultra-hip Colonia Roma neighborhood, is its expertly-realized respite. A refurbished 20th-century estate house, this tiny charmer is named for the home’s original housekeeper, Ignacia, who worked there from the 1920s. With only five uniquely designed suites, staying here is an intimate, almost emotional experience. Guests feel as if they’re wandering through history, albeit through a decidedly contemporary lens.
While one guest accommodation, the Negra suite, is housed in the original structure (as well as the lobby, dining room, and kitchen), the newer building houses the other four, with warm, subtly luxurious interiors, including modern marble bathrooms and elegant antiques, seamlessly integrating past and present. The Guest House kitchen prepares breakfast daily, featuring delectable pastries, classic Mexican offerings like sopas, tamales, and chilaquiles, fresh juices, and strong coffee. The outdoor patio is a quiet oasis with an array of artistically arranged cactus abutting a rectangular concrete fountain, dotted with tiny tables surrounded by verdant plantings, including a fruit-bearing orange tree.
Nayara Tented Camp
WHERE: La Fortuna, Costa Rica
Those childhood family camping trips were never this indulgent. In the ultimate in sustainable tourism—that’s the watchword in Costa Rica these days— Nayara Tented Camp reclaimed a once-deforested cattle ranch back to rainforest status. You’ll find 21 luxury tent units on stilts and platforms built into the hillside here, affording stupendous views.
With a canopied king bed and two daybeds, each airy, tropical-themed luxury unit sleeps four. Unwind in your private plunge pool fed by area hot springs or head down to the full-service gym and spa and yoga pavilion. Take the complimentary breakfast served on your private terrace. For lunch and dinner, you have access to a range of cuisines (Costa Rican, Latin, Asian) at two nearby sister Nayara properties, or branch out to the area’s varied dining scene. Nayara takes its inspiration from the famous luxury African safari camps. There are no lions and giraffes, of course—this is Central America, not Kenya—but you will see no-less-enjoyable monkeys and birds to add to your wildlife list on the trails. We recommend using the guides here. You’ll be forever amazed at their ability to spot that sloth high up in a tree.
Images Courtesy of Nayara Tented Camp
Paradero Todos Santos
WHERE: Todos Santos, Mexico
Take a drive less than an hour north of San Jose del Cabo and make your way to Paradero Todos Santos in the Baja California Sur peninsula of Mexico. With 355 days of sunshine, this laidback surf town is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Nestled on over five acres of unspoiled land, the adults-only property prides itself on being a high-design landscape project first and hotel second, as evidenced by seamless outdoor and indoor living areas that blend effortlessly into the surrounding landscapes.
You’ll find five distinct ecosystems out here, from the 200-year old Cardon Cacti to the Sierra La Laguna Mountain range, and pristine beaches along the Pacific coast. Nature’s sunbaked tones inspired the property’s design, inviting guests to connect with the natural surroundings. This immersion extends through to the curated experiences that are at the heart of Paradero Todos Santos. Baja taco tours, guided hiking and mountain biking along the Pacific coast bluffs, surf excursions, farm tours, and yoga classes are all included in your stay. Delve deeper into wellness and discover centuries-old healing rituals with a temazcal ceremony, a healing ritual, or find your calm in the half-moon-shaped infinity pool facing the high desert mountains.
Courtesy of Paradero Todos Santos
Tabacon Thermal Resort and Spa
WHERE: Nuevo Arenal, Costa Rica
Nestled in the jungles of Nuevo Arenal, Costa Rica, sits this rainforest oasis. And sure, Tabacon Thermal Resort and Spa checks several of the Oasis Boxes (a swim-up bar and lush tropical surroundings, for starters) that many resorts of this ilk do. But what sets this affordable yet luxury-minded resort apart is its famed thermal spas. Situated in the backyard of a literal volcano, these ecological wonders are what the resort is known for. Ranging in temperature from 72 to 105 Fahrenheit, this is real thermal water, naturally heated from the Arenal volcano. Guests can relax in the sprawling spa sanctuary and receive access to the adults-only jungle lounge hidden behind the pools, Shangri-La.
Afterwards, r etreat to the resort’s minimalist quarters relaxed and renewed. The Rainforest Room boasts a two-person hot tub in the unlikely event your soaking needs haven’t been met. Tabaćon also boasts two incredible restaurants, and you can expect to see furry neighbors like coatimundis scampering around the property while you dine on Mussels Cocotte at Tucanes. Adventure awaits here in the form of mountainous ATV tours daring rainforest treks through the Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges . Just passing through? Spa passes are available to non-guests as well.
Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa
WHERE: Mérida, Mexico
A new independent gem with just 18 rooms in downtown Mérida, Unknown Hotel is a f lora-filled urban retreat that makes guests feel more like locals than tourists. The goldenrod yellow exterior is easy to spot and rooms are affordable, even the ones with private plunge pools. The larger outdoor pool is a great place to meet new international friends while sipping a refreshing welcome cocktail of the day.
Continental breakfast of sweet concha bread and fresh fruit is included, so you can fuel up before exploring. The young, local staff have great recommendations for food, drink, and shopping. You’re within walking distance of hotspots like Casa Thö Concept House and MUGY (Museo de la Gastronomía Yucateca). Decorative accents in guest rooms and handicrafts for sale in the lobby are all made locally, celebrating Mayan culture with a contemporary twist. Unknown is a comfortable homebase for exploring the Mayan ruins and cenotes throughout the Yucatán, and the hotel can help arrange tours and transportation too.
WHERE: Antigua, Guatemala
Guatemala’s second Relais & Chate â ux hotel—and the sister property of Casa Palopó on Lake Atitlán—opened last summer just outside of the Baroque city of Antigua, within a six-acre garden that looks out toward a horizon dramatically dotted with volcanoes. Often vibrating with the calls of tropical birds, the lush grounds include a spa, a pool lined with potted plants, and a pond that bursts into color seasonally with the blossoming of lotuses. Elegantly restrained yet homey, Villa Bokéh’s estate is filled with inspired design touches, such as brightly colored vintage textiles, monkey-shaped candle holders, handmade bird tiles, and works from the owners’ private art collection.
Guatemalan chef Álvaro Perera, who trained at the Culinary Institute of America before working at Noma, runs the greenhouse-inspired restaurant, where dishes include such tropical-tinged specialties as tuna tartare with roasted pineapple and mandarin ponzu and ravioli made with güicoy, a Maya heirloom squash.
andBeyond Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp
WHERE: Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
In the depths of the Kenyan wilderness is a luxurious oasis: Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp in the heart of Maasai Mara’s plains. Its fully-equipped tents (with gorgeous wooden bed frames and private verandahs) are sprawled along the spectacular Maasai Mara terrain, where warthogs feed right outside your doorstep. An iconic panoramic view of the Great Migration and viewing of the Big Five (elephants, leopards, lions, buffalos, and rhinos) is practically guaranteed. This hotel boasts a private concession, offering exclusive game drives, bush dining, bush walks, and night drives at your convenience. Immerse yourself with the locals by visiting the culturally rich Maasai tribe in their village and witnessing their customs.
Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp is an environmentally conscious establishment that uses a solar water system and saves over 56,000 plastic bottles annually. It also prepares wholesome organic delicacies using vegetables from their garden, serving meals from garden to table. If you’d like to get lost in an African adventure, this hotel embodies a classic safari experience with an eco-friendly charm amid world-class wildlife.
Images courtesy of andBeyond
WHERE: Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Shaped like domed beehives, the six thatched villas of Bisate Lodge are fashioned after the King’s Palace in Nyanza. With a cup of hot Rwandan coffee in hand, step out onto your spacious open deck in the morning, and through a blanket of mist, catch enigmatic glimpses of Mount Bisoke’s peak. The lodge is perched within forested folds, on the dramatic slopes of an eroded volcanic crater, and is fringed by Volcanoes National Park. Describing views as breathtaking may be rather unoriginal these days, and yet, the ones from Bisate lend new meaning to the oft-overused description.
Each villa has a huge bed outfitted with luxe linens, a spacious bathroom, a central fireplace, and a large private terrace. The name of the game here is to return from a coveted gorilla trek to enjoy a glass of wine in the main building which houses the bar, restaurant, and wine cellars, marked by tan, sustainably-sourced leather chairs, exposed brick walls, and accessories made by local artisans. Overlooking the landscape, marvel at the land of a thousand hills through large floor-to-ceiling windows in the restaurant. Dishes are farm-to-table and the kitchen garden is on-site, so expect fresh flavors. The lodge works with the community to champion reforestation; plant a tree to help with the goal of drawing wildlife back to the area.
Elephant Plains Lodge
WHERE: Katunguru, Uganda
A stone’s throw from the Equator, high on the western escarpment of the Albertine Rift, sits Elephant Plains , the latest addition to Uganda’s collection of luxury lodges. Elephant Plains’ timeless Rift Valley scenery is just a few minutes’ drive from Queen Elizabeth National Park, the country’s most popular safari destination. The lodge is an excellent base for game drives, boat cruise safaris on the MV Kazinga, chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura Gorge, and birdwatching the park’s staggering 600+ species. Crater lake tours, engaging community experiences, and hikes in the Rwenzori Mountains are all on the lodge’s doorstep. It’s a short drive to Kasenyi plains, a breeding ground for hundreds of Uganda Kob antelopes (and attendant big cats). Expect to see elephants en route.
Ten bright, roomy cottages with large private verandas balance privacy with envy-inducing views of Lakes George and Edward shimmering in the distance. Water babies will love the cottages’ large bathtubs, showers, and eco-friendly infinity swimming pool–the perfect antidote to adventures in the Equatorial sun. Professionally curated crafts and African-inspired furniture adorn a sprawling lounge, restaurant, and exterior dining area that offer spectacular vistas in every direction. Cottages are thatched with Savannah grass and walkways fashioned of granite from the nearby Mukubu river.
WHERE: Marrakesh, Morocco
El Fenn (which means “art” in Arabic) is as much a favorite among stylish locals as it is among design-obsessed travelers. It boasts an incredible rooftop bar with an abundance of plants, delicious jewel-hued rooms with metallic bathtubs , and an impressive collection of art from both rotating exhibits and the private collection of the owner, Vanessa Branson.
But El Fenn manages to exude glamor without being pretentious. Case in point: It’s home to two Siamese cats and five tortoises who clearly think they are guests of honor. El Fenn was one of the first boutique riad-hotels to ever open in Marrakech and is located in the heart of the city’s bustling medina. The trendy destination is spread across 12 interconnected riads and has three courtyards—which makes it tempting to explore the colorful spaces rather than sit back with a cocktail. The good news is you can do both.
Cécile Perrinet Lhermitte
WHERE: Abidjan, Ivory Coast
There’s a thrill in finding a hotel with its own secret garden in a bustling city center. What started as a locally-owned family home in Abidjan’s suburb of Vieux-Cocody has since been renovated into the boutique eco-friendly Hôtel Particulier , a property that remarkably pulls off the air of desolation–it feels like nothing exists beyond its bamboo walls. Central to the design is an explosion of lush green gardens that intentionally balances the neatly manicured with the wild and untamed, and most rooms have terraces and open-air showers which serve to maximize these views. The house structure has clean straight lines and much of the interior is drawn from different African destinations—from Marrakech to Zanzibar—blending urban and African artifacts from the ‘50s to create an ambiance the owner likes to refer to as “ethnic vintage.”
Sip an herbal tea infusion then get pampered with the aid of the spa’s natural products. A refreshing dip in the pool is another fine option. The service is warm and efficient, and in the kitchen, regional dishes such as yassa, a spicy stew made with fish or chicken, steal the show. Stepping outside the entrance, Abidjan is ready to explore; the hotel is conveniently located and landmarks like St. Paul’s cathedral are only a short walk away.
WHERE: Marrakesh, Morocco
More than a hotel, Jnane Tamsna comes across as a bohemian-chic hideaway for creatives and travelers. It’s nestled amid thousands of palm trees in the aptly named Palmeraie district, a 20-minute drive from Marrakech’s bustling old city. The sanctuary of bright-yellow villas is spread across nine acres of gardens containing date palms, olive trees, and an abundance of organic fruits and vegetables. Its salon holds hundreds of books and magazines, as well as furniture and paintings that each have a unique story of origin.
No one room in the hotel is the same, and each contains rich colors and treasures from owner Meryanne Loum-Martin’s travels. The lawyer-turned-designer decorates all the interiors, while her husband, ethnobotanist Gary Martin, oversees the gardens. The charming couple can often be found conversing with guests and sharing stories about the paradise they call home.
Gert Jan Van Den Bergh
WHERE: Kruger National Park, South Africa
Favoring swanky suites aboard an ingeniously upcycled train, this contemporary Kruger National Park stay rebels against a safari’s typical khaki trappings. The 13 train carriages, converted from 1950s coaches painstakingly collected from scrapyards across South Africa, contain 24 guest rooms, a lavish lounge, and a whimsical plunge pool—all suspended 15 meters (49 feet) above the sightings-rich Sabie River.
Like every good South African lodge, Kruger Shalati – The Train on a Bridge offers requisite walking safaris and game-drive excursions. But staying on-site has its rewards: Each cabin enjoys generous views, and even the view from the bathtub affords visuals of animals—hippos, elephants, antelopes, hyenas, or perhaps lions—ambling below. Contemporary design finishes, including embroidery-embellished artwork and bold graphic textiles throughout provide further reasons for enjoying this railway residence. The local wines in the minibar are yet another. Although the kitchen sits on land, the riverbank restaurant is one amenity that will easily tease you away with iconic South African specialties such as lemon peppered ostrich, prawn potato gnocchi, and deconstructed peppermint tart. Children are not permitted on the train, but rooms on solid ground recently opened, giving families an opportunity to experience this unparalleled journey.
Courtesy of Kruger Shalati
WHERE: Fort Portal, Uganda
Overlooking a cobalt-blue crater lake, the design of this fairy-tale property provides serious wow factor: The masterpiece that is Kyaninga Lodge took six years and more than 1,000 hand-carved logs to build. The Rwenzori Mountains backdrop is the icing on this cake’s sensational setting. Nine spacious chalet-like cottages with private balconies perch high on the crater rim; intricate wooden walkways connect each building, while landscaped gardens and orchards (the source of delicious homemade breakfast preserves) fan out across the valley below. Food is famously good and includes Kyaninga cheeses made at an on-site dairy that raises money for the not-for-profit Kyaninga Childcare Development Centre, a charity that supports children with disabilities and their families.
Though Kyaninga Lodge is popular with visitors tracking chimpanzees in Kibale Forest, less than an hour’s drive away, a variety of activities close to the lodge will keep guests happy for days: crater hikes; wild swimming in Lake Kyaninga; swimming in the lodge’s pool; birding in the forest; trekking to the edge of the Albertine Rift; and a round of golf at Toro Golf Club.
La Maison Bleue
WHERE: El Gouna, Egypt
If ever there was a poster child for the glitz and grandeur of yesteryears, this lavish Mediterranean-style boutique hotel fashioned after the mansion of a fictional Levantine merchant from the 19th century would fit the brief. La Maison Bleue ’s 11 suites have all the opulent trimmings of a hotel from a different era, coupled with the modern conveniences of the present.
Sitting in a pristine private beachfront on Egypt’s Red Sea coast, Middle Eastern, European, and North African influences are distinct in the architecture and interiors; the polished marble halls and facade were modeled after Saint Marks’ Basilica while Barcelona’s Palau de la Música Catalana inspired an intricate mosaic colonnade. The comfortable Art Deco furniture captures the yearning for classic design, while an Art Nouveau fireplace keeps the salon toasty on those chilly Egyptian evenings. Timeless accessories curated by antique collector and interior decorator, Amr Khalil, tie it all together. A luxury spa and elegant dining room complete the picture at this adults-only retreat. Stroll down the secluded beach, dip in the lagoon or enjoy a Suffering Bastard, a hangover-cure cocktail created in Cairo in the ’40s, while you lounge by the pool.
La Maison Bleue (Batha) and Riad Maison Bleue (Piscine & spa)
Le Mirage Resort & Spa
WHERE: Sossusvlei, Namibia
This is your chance to live like royalty in the vast dryness of Namibia’s uncrowded desert. Le Mirage Resort & Spa is an architecturally eccentric hotel located 13 miles from the entrance gate of Sossusvlei, the highest sand dunes in the world. Shaped like a cone, it’s an eye-catching contrast to the surrounding desert it sits upon. The 29 rooms are spacious and cozy with large, inviting beds and a minibar—some have an open-air format, including outdoor showers. The set-up affords ample opportunities for stargazing.
Its restaurant provides wholesome and exquisite meals. Menu options are short and sweet; breakfast is a buffet, lunch is a la carte, and dinner is a five-course meal. If the once-in-a-lifetime castle stay in the middle of a desert hasn’t provided sufficient relaxation, just head on over to the spa which offers popular massage techniques aimed at stress relief and rejuvenation. A classic tale of modern comfort and vast wilderness meeting can be told at this hotel. Go on an adventure and immerse yourself in grandeur.
Mount Nelson, A Belmond Hotel
WHERE: Cape Town, South Africa
Table Mountain stands watch over this grand, 198-room hotel, which opened in 1899 and earned its iconic rosy-pink hue in 1918 to celebrate the end of World War I. There’s undoubtedly a British colonial feel to the place—Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 21st birthday here, after all—but you’ll find plenty of African touches throughout Mount Nelson , from the indigenous rooibos and honeybush served at the posh afternoon tea to the locally made Africology products used in the spa.
You could spend all your time out among the Canary Island date palms and roses in the gardens or sipping cocktails by the pools, but then you’d miss out on the Belmond-curated experiences, designed to get you out into the Mother City and beyond: driving through the Cape Winelands in a chauffeured classic car or zipping along the coast in a vintage motorcycle sidecar.
Banyan Tree Yangshuo
WHERE: Yangshuo, China
First-time travelers to China may be inclined to overlook rural areas in favor of the country’s bright lights and big city draws, but missing a side trip to Yangshuo County in southern China’s Guangxi region would be a mistake. As would be staying anywhere besides Banyan Tree Yangshuo , a luxurious village resort tastefully touched with marks of Chinese artistry like bamboo and marble mosaics and latticed wood windows. Two stories of 124 suites and villas, some with Li River views, all with a pillow menu, surround a pristine tranquil courtyard, mimicking a traditional village.
A visit to the brand’s award-winning spa is practically mandatory, the signature Banyan Refresh is a delightful and rejuvenating 150-minute treatment including a soothing steam bath and Luohanguo Chrysanthemum body scrub. Back in your room, settle deeper into the blissful vibes of this countryside property with a cup of premium tea—black, green tea, or local osmanthus—before venturing to Baiyun for traditional Cantonese or Ming Yue for international flavors. If and when you finally manage to go off-grid, there’s no shortage of activities. Among the most enticing is cave exploration, where you’ll discover underground mud baths, waterfall pools, and hot springs.
Courtesy of Banyan Tree
WHERE: Sentosa Island, Singapore
Situated on the tiny island of Sentosa, the 112-room Capella Singapore offers a tranquil escape from the busyness of mainland Singapore. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Lord Norman Foster, this idyllic 30-acre property partially housed in two colonial-style buildings from the 1880s is the epitome of understated luxury. Fresh from a well-timed refurbishment by Hong Kong designer Andre Fu, its allure now shines with a sumptuous pared-down splendor. Rooms come outfitted with chic rocking chairs and plush window seating in a pleasing sand, sage, and mineral gray palette that perfectly complements its verdant, picturesque setting. Contemporary art pieces give walls a curated pop of color and pizzaz, while selected guest abodes sport deep-soaking jacuzzis and expansive balconies.
Offering an unrivaled level of intimacy and privacy in space-challenged Singapore, distractions abound on-site. Capella’s Culturalists keep guests engaged, organizing bubble tea-making sessions and crafting workshops, decadent brunch spreads at The Knoll’s, and walking art tours of the hotel’s impressive collection, including a Pablo Reinoso sculpture on its front lawn. For downtime, the award-winning Auriga Spa beckons with its menu of life-enhancing massages, while the three-tiered infinity pool is perfectly positioned for uninterrupted ocean views. Come sunset, retreat to Bob’s Bar for cocktails made with the property’s own Navegante Rum.
WHERE: Hampi, Karnataka, India
Hampi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was once the capital of the mighty Vijayanagara Empire that held sway over South India in the late Middle Ages. To feel the grandeur of the bygone era, the most regal of stays will suffice, and Evolve Back will delight you and satisfy your greatest desires. Just 10 minutes from the center of Hampi, the resort’s entrance feels like walking into a royal palace complete with stone-paved boulevards, domed ceilings, muted shades, and corridors with floral arches. Throughout the property, the transcendent spirit of Hampi abounds, but that certainly doesn’t undercut the sense of modern luxury as suites feature canopied beds and private jacuzzi tubs.
If you can tear yourself away from the comfort of your suite, there’s a cornucopia of treats to discover, from a family-friendly pool and an adults-only infinity pool overlooking the boulder-strewn landscape, to a lotus pond-facing mantapa (pavilion) reserved for private dining, to a reading lounge with coffee table books on Hampi. Two restaurants promise to take your taste buds on a trip, with regionally and globally-inspired cuisine on offer. At the spa, treatments feature Ayurvedic therapies, just the ticket after a morning taking on the trails and walks organized by the resort.
Evolve Back Resorts
Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai
WHERE: Hoi An, Vietnam
The rooms of the Four Seasons Nam Hai must have been conceived by a 19th-century poet: dark woods, large candles, mosquito-netted bed, a writing desk situated next to a bathtub—no doubt intended for love notes to be scribbled to scrub-a-dub-dubbing partners. It’s a time machine designed for a grand romance. But walk out those doors and you’ll be wrapped in the cushy modern luxury of a Four Seasons resort straddling one of Vietnam’s most stunning beaches.
Sit down on a lounger, drive your toes into the white sand, rinse your mouth with the sheer bliss of a fruity adult beverage. But if the beach isn’t your thing, there’s always the pool, or the other pool, or the third pool, each more glorious than the last. Saunter over to the spa, where treatment rooms are housed in small floating villas moored atop a tranquil pond. And when the stomach starts a-rumblin’, the Nam Hai will stuff it with expertly-prepared Vietnamese favorites—and they’ll even teach you how to make it yourself at their Cooking Academy. In the evening, when the day is done, return to your quarters, where they light the candles with turndown, and bathe in the glow of one of Asia’s most impeccable hotels.
Four Seasons The Nam Hai, Asia
WHERE: Kyoto, Japan
Tucked away along a side street in the bustling heart of Kyoto, Hiiragiya has been providing the traditional ryokan experience of attention to detail and specialized hospitality since 1818. The inn has been run by the same family for six generations, hosting an impressive list of names along the way, from Nobel Prize-winning writers to Elizabeth Taylor and Charlie Chaplin. Each of the 28 individually designed Japanese-style rooms at Hiiragiya have been carefully curated, reflecting the rich heritage of the ancient capital. Rooms in the main building offer a more timeworn stay with folding screens, wooden beams, and antique furnishing, whereas the sleeker New Wing combines contemporary comforts with classic elements such as shoji screens. Most rooms overlook a traditional garden—painted pink in spring by cherry blossom.
After a day exploring Kyoto’s storied streets, slip your feet into a pair of slippers and try out Japanese-style bathing in a pine bathtub. The kaiseki dinner is elegantly served at a low table: a colorful array of seasonal specialties presented on small plates. Then all there is left to do is laze on a tatami in your cotton yukata robe and spend a peaceful night on a futon piled high with plush blankets.
La Résidence d'Angkor, A Belmond Hotel
WHERE: Siem Reap, Cambodia
The luxury riverside mansion that is La Résidence d’Angkor is just a few miles from the world-famous temple complex of Angkor in Cambodia. The hotel’s teak wood interior, with its lazy ceiling fans and sun-warmed shutters, evokes the fictional romance of old Indochina, but facilities here are very 21 st century. All suites come with a private terrace; the poolside rooms offer more tranquility come midnight than street-facing lodging. Even so, Siem Reap’s lively bustle is nicely muted by the high walls enclosing the property. The grounds, jungle-like with tropical plants, flowers, and trees, also feature a saltwater swimming pool.
As the sun sets, head to the Martini Bar for chilled cocktails; for dinner there is Khmer and French fusion cuisine served up at the hotel’s two well-regarded restaurants. Rebuff the charms of La Résidence to explore the UNESCO-recognized Angkor ruins—the magical remains of former Khmer empires that date back more than 1,000 years—tour the waters of giant Tonle Sap Lake, or roam the rainforest trails of Phnom Kulen National Park.
Images courtesy of Belmond
137 Pillars House Chiang Mai
WHERE: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Tucked away in Thailand’s striking northern mountains, the ancient city of Chiang Mai is famed for unbridled nature and timeless culture. And 137 Pillars House Chiang Mai , a five-star boutique property sitting in a leafy residential enclave a few minutes’ stroll from the historic Wat Gate Temple and upscale shopping area, evokes an old-world charm and splendor. The hotel was home to The Borneo Trading Company from 1889 to 1958 and today has been restored to its original 19th-century colonial elegance, with teak wood throughout. Each of the thirty suites embodies opulence with grand terraces or balconies and comfortable lounge beds, ensuite dressing rooms with walk-in closets, and Victorian baths. The property’s Nitra Serenity Centre is as tranquil as the name alludes to, focusing on pampering experiences that restore balance and reignite energy for the mind and body.
And while Chiang Mai is notorious for its fragrant and chaotic street food markets, epicures will also relish in the flavors of the hotel’s restaurants: Palette, serving farm-to-kitchen gourmet cuisine, and the Dining Room, home to sublime Thai and Lanna cuisine focused on organic ingredients.
Courtesy of 137 Pillars House
Patina Maldives, Fari Islands
WHERE: The Maldives
You’ll find the laidback Patina Maldives, Fari Islands resort on a tiny archipelago on North Male Atoll’s northern edge, a 45-minute speedboat ride from Velana International Airport. The 90 villas and 20 studios (studios are closer to the resort’s center, while villas are ideal for anyone dreaming of secluded sunsets), blend in perfectly with their surroundings: Think hessian rugs and vast expanses of unpolished wood.
The dining is diverse; highlights include Roots, which specializes in plant-based cuisine, while keen carnivores should consider Brasa, for sumptuous grilled meat dishes. At the beachfront Helios restaurant, you can feast on Aegean cuisine without stepping off the sand, and for those all-important sundowners, we recommend Veli Bar, where you can pair cocktails with cake. In between mealtimes, opt for a sugar rush with complimentary gelato from TukTukGelato or (weather permitting) toasted marshmallows, warmed over the resort’s campfire. If that all sounds a little too strenuous, head to the spa, with its encyclopedia-like spa menu; highly recommended is the seaweed, sea buckthorn, and walnut shell body scrub.
Patina Maldives, Fari Islands
WHERE: Udaipur, Rajasthan, India
Udaipur isn’t lacking for grand hotels, but Raffles Udaipur is in a class of its own. Everything about India’s first Raffles hotel—opened in August 2021—is geared towards giving guests an unforgettable experience. Set in the middle of Udai Sagar Lake, against the picturesque Aravalli Hills, guests are ushered to this island hotel via boat, past numerous avian species that thrive in this ecosystem. As you disembark, you’re whisked to an entryway, where you’re welcomed with a shower of flower petals and a welcome drink, all before you’ve even checked in.
The grounds of the hotel are vast, veiled in acres of manicured gardens. Hand-painted frescoes, Rajasthani inlay-work furniture, and a color palette reminiscent of modern European sensibilities make up the interiors, creating a chic yet welcoming island feel. This aesthetic runs throughout the hotel, with all 101 rooms and suites boasting panoramic lake views and balconies. Some extend to private pools and gardens. With six dining options (including Raffles classics like the Writers Bar and Long Bar) serving globe-trotting menus, plus a state-of-the-art spa with ancient healing techniques, your belly, skin, and mind are well looked after here. All that extravagance not enough? Butlers are on hand to attend to your every need.
WHERE: Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is home to many luxury boutique resorts, but one stands out from the pack: Resplendent Ceylon . The brand’s three resorts—Ceylon Tea Trails, Cape Weligama, and Wild Coast Tented Lodge— are all part of the Relais & Chateaux portfolio, delivering authentic experiences with an extra helping of luxury.
At Ceylon Tea Trails , a collection of decadent colonial bungalows in the high country, there’s a mountain spring-fed pool, a tennis court, croquet lawns, and opportunities for mountain biking, trekking and tea tours, meaning you can be as lazy or active as you like. Meanwhile, at Cape Weligama , on the southern coast of the island, surf lessons, cycling tours, and ocean safaris can occupy your time when you’re not relaxing in the crescent-shaped, cliff-edge infinity pool overlooking the Indian Ocean or tucking into the local fare. For an unforgettable safari experience in the island nation, Wild Coast Tented Lodge , sitting on the edge of leopard-dense Yala National Park, offers spaceship-like cocoon tents with classic expedition furnishings and mod cons. Mornings can be spent exploring the wilderness of the park on game drives, afternoons unwinding at the spa or by the pool; and evenings enjoying sundowners on the private beach.
Rosewood Luang Prabang
WHERE: Luang Prabang, Laos
With its golden temples and breezy French colonial architecture, Laos’ former royal capital has a way of slowing pulses. But to truly get in a meditative state, you’ll have to head a few minutes outside of town to the Rosewood Luang Prabang‘s immersive, luxury jungle retreat , where a collection of 23 rooms, villas, and hilltop tents line a peaceful stream with its own tumbling waterfall. The onsite spa sources botanicals (such as crinum lily and white butterfly bush) from its own garden, and you can even choose to schedule a treatment with Mr. Xong, a local Hmong healer who forages for grasses in the surrounding forest.
At the Great House restaurant, grab a seat on the wraparound terrace for family-style Lao dishes, such as goi paa (minced river fish, banana flower, and galangal) and oor lam gnoua (braised water buffalo with bitter leaves, eggplant, and sakkhan roots), before retreating to the Elephant Bridge Bar, which occupies a wooden bridge overlooking the river below.
Rosewood Luang Prabang
Samanvaya Luxury Resort & Spa
WHERE: Bali, Indonesia
On an island where culture and untouched nature may feel obsolete due to over-tourism and gentrification, Samanvaya Luxury Resort & Spa is a refuge for tourists seeking authenticity in Bali. Nestled in Sidemen Valley, a pristine corner of eastern Bali and an hour’s drive from Ubud, this adults-only property is surrounded by some of “The Island of the Gods’” most breathtaking nature: rolling hills, rambling rivers, verdant fields, virgin beaches, and nostalgic villages. Samanvaya encompasses these natural elements in its design, with 15 traditional thatched-roof villas nestled snugly in the lush highlands, seamlessly blending into the landscape. The villas were built by local craftsmen using reclaimed lumber and sustainable hardwoods from the forests of East Kalimantan. Additionally, each villa incorporates elements of traditional Balinese culture, with open-air bathrooms featuring indoor landscaping and unobstructed views of the surrounding majestic mountains.
The property’s plunge pools suspended over emerald rice fields provide necessary solace from the Indonesian heat, while the ornate Ananda Spa, inspired by ancient Balinese practice and the landscape, releases tension post-explorations. While copious local restaurants dot Sidemen Valley, Samanvaya’s own Asri Dining is a must-visit for genuine flavors, focusing on locally sourced and seasonal ingredients.
Digital Travel Couple
WHERE: Bangkok, Thailand
If you have just “One Night in Bangkok” (as that 1984 song has forever memorialized), it better be at The Siam . A five-star property perched on the Chao Praya River in the historic district of Thailand’s capital, The Siam epitomizes rejuvenation amid metropolitan chaos. After all, the distinctive hotel is set on three acres of verdurous frontage overlooking the everyday activities of this life-sustaining river, a centerpiece to Thailand’s fertility. Inside, The Siam melds black-and-white Art Deco and Thai antique-infused inspiration.
Spaciousness is also paramount in the hotel’s design—-the property features 39 of Bangkok’s most stately suites alongside intimate private pool villas with rooftop terraces. An urban resort, guests choose their pursuits in the complex, from yoga and a Muay Thai boxing ring to traditional Thai cooking classes, and movies in the hotel’s cinema. Chon Thai Restaurant, The Siam’s five-star eatery located in an authentic teak house, deftly blends the subtleties and spices of the region. If Bangkok’s energy lures you outside The Siam’s gates, there’s much to explore nearby: The Grand Palace, the notorious Khao San Road, and the Chatuchak Weekend Market.
Sofitel Legend Metropole
WHERE: Hanoi, Vietnam
Turn-down service at the Sofitel Legend Metropole in the heart of Hanoi, albeit just far enough away from the most dizzying streets of this buzzing Vietnamese city, is no ordinary affair, thanks to ethereal macarons part and parcel of the nightly offering. Speaking of exquisite bites: The breakfast buffet at this five-star property would impress even the most jaded brunch-goers with its heavenly array of Vietnamese classics such as spring rolls and phở, and Western standards like eggs benedict and French toast along with a fresh juice bar (try the Detox or Energy, depending). Jet-lagged travelers would be wise to rely heavily on the richly flavored, borderline-addictive Vietnamese iced coffee.
The hotel’s 364 rooms are split by two wings, the historical Metropole Wing, and the newer, more modern Opera Wing, available in a range of standard and premium rooms or suites boasting Herm è s bath products and staggeringly inviting beds. To be sure, this isn’t a city for sleeping, but if nap you must after a day navigating the narrow streets and tiny yet readily discoverable alleys lined with shops, consider doing it poolside after sipping the Bamboo Bar’s signature Graham Greene Martini.
Courtesy of Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi
Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle
WHERE: Versailles, France
Follow in the footsteps of Marie Antoinette when entering the regal doors of Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle, a hotel on the grounds of Château de Versailles. Every detail in this stately property totaling 14 rooms and apartments—from the antique furniture and original artwork to the staff’s uniforms—recalls the opulence of 18 th- century France, including playful upholstery by Pierre Frey. As a royal guest, enjoy a privileged private tour of the Château de Versailles after hours and spend a morning frolicking in the English gardens of the Queen’s Hamlet.
Guided tours of Louis XIV’s Grand Trianon and the Petit Trianon are included in the amenities. The luxurious subterranean spa with treatments by Valmont features hand-painted frescoes and a Carrara-marble floor leading to a 15-meter (49-foot) long swimming pool. Feasts fit for a king are helmed by Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse, with nightly theatrics included. A candlelight dinner in the privacy of your room or a secluded picnic catered by Ducasse along the Grand Canal are also on the menu.
WHERE: Romans sur Isère, France
Imagine sleeping in what was once a bookstore in the center of a charming French town—snug sleeping quarters and an enticing selection of books included. Or how about a former tannery converted into cozy chambers accented with cowhides? This is exactly what BedinShop has created by converting vacant shops into unusual accommodations.
Sleeping options also include washerwomen’s quarters scented of fresh linens and a rustic cottage where stone and wood details set a centuries-old ambiance. Adding to the list of refurbished storefronts slated for 2022 are a tailor shop, a café, and a shoemaker. This hospitality project is a creative step towards revitalizing the historic center while promoting local craftsmanship. Products to purchase–including honey, walnut oil, leather goods, and soap–are all available within the revamped residences. Adding to the homespun theme, all the room furnishings are upcycled or locally sourced. BedinShop is helping to strengthen the connection between locals and tourists while creating a circular economy. All the more reason to make yourself at home.
Jean-Marc Dorlis de Coca of Valence
Bürgenstock Resort, Switzerland
WHERE: Obbürgen, Switzerland
You may just run into your favorite celebrity or have breakfast with one of Europe’s greatest footballers at the Bürgenstock Resort . The Central Switzerland property has long been an iconic destination for Hollywood starlets like Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren, but after its $530 million renovation in 2007, it’s better than ever.
Perched high up on Mount Burgenberg, the resort overlooks stunning Lake Lucerne—it’s easy to get used to sweeping panoramas like these. More than just a luxury hotel, the resort approaches energy generation and sustainability with purpose, running on energy produced from the lake’s waters. Relish in the power of nature—and her beauty—from either the property’s luxurious infinity pool or in your room’s panoramic bathtub. Unwind further with dinner and drinks at Spices Kitchen & Terrace. One of the 10 fine-dining restaurants on-site, this is where to go for pan-Asian cuisine enlisting the finest Swiss ingredients like sustainable Swiss shrimp and caviar from Rheinfelden and Frutigen, respectively.
Castello di Reschio
WHERE: Lisciano Niccone, Italy
Imagine staying in a fairytale medieval castle in one of the most pristine corners of Umbria, close to the border with Tuscany. Restyled by an aristocratic family into elegant rooms and suites, Castello di Reschio is part of a wide estate stretching for 1,500 hectares (3,700 acres) which also includes nine exclusive farmhouses each with a private pool, ideal for guests looking for a detox stay amid green rolling hills.
You’ll be pampered with an all-inclusive service: a personal maid, cook, and chauffeur are at your disposal. The decor is a mix of new and old: ancient stone floors, floor-to-ceiling fireplaces, arched vaults, and wood beam ceilings mingle with objects of contemporary design. The castle’s exotic winter garden enclosed by a glass cage and the panoramic infinity pool that blends in with the bucolic setting are perfect for a sunset drink after a day trip to Perugia or Siena. The former tobacco factory hosts art exhibitions and you can always choose between a horse-back ride departing from the castle stables or for a detox swim in the spa which used to be a wine cellar.
PHILIP VILE/Castello di Reschio
WHERE: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam, the atmospheric capital of the Netherlands, fuses past and present into every cobblestone crevice. A mecca for gastronomy, innovation, architecture, and—of course—Stroopwafels, the preeminent way to explore this dynamic city is by staying in its nucleus. And The Dylan , a boutique hotel located on the iconic Keizersgracht canal in the heart of the chic Nine Streets District, provides a tranquil escape amid the action.
Arguably the most luxurious hotel in Amsterdam, The Dylan has always been a focal cultural institution—it was even a theater in the 17th century and honors this heritage today with various art events and restored architectural elements. Though this property offers 40 rooms and suites in four varying styles, the common denominator is their distinctly lavish and refined design. The property’s dedication to delighting guests is showcased in the details: 24/7 room service, Frette bathrobes, and a distinguished concierge. The hotel’s Bar Brasserie OCCO is beloved by guests and Dutch locals alike, thanks in part to a stellar steak tartare and briny Dutch oysters. Gourmands enjoy indulging in refined French specialties at The Dylan’s Michelin-starred Restaurant Vinkeles, situated in an 18th-century bakery.
WHERE: London, England
In the heart of London’s Belgravia, you’ll find The Goring . Sophisticated elegance infused with just the right amount of grandeur, this historic five-star hotel incorporates a little of everything when it comes to that quintessential British charm. Silk-lined walls and manicured garden views ensure you never forget you’re staying in the city’s most prestigious neighborhood. The Goring’s century-old heritage means all the essentials are done in the good-old-fashioned way here, which includes footmen on-hand for those staying in the suites and impeccable service across the entire property’s amenities.
Each individual suite at The Goring is designed by a renowned British designer, proudly displaying British heritage across beautiful bedrooms, stylish sitting rooms, and marble-edged bathrooms. But it’s not all traditionally classic. Five varied restaurants and bars cater to every need imaginable, from indulgent afternoon tea to cocktails on the veranda or a memorable Michelin-starred dinner under the careful hands of revered chef, Richard Galli.
WHERE: Krakow, Poland
What was once the palatial home of the aristocratic Lubomirski family in the heart of Kraków‘s old town has joined a few neighboring buildings to become the H15 Palace Hotel . The family’s celebrated collection of paintings and antiques—some displayed at the Wawel Castle—hang along the hallways and within many of the 71 rooms and suites designed by Mariola Tomczyk. The four imperial apartments revealing ceiling murals, chandeliers, and marble bathrooms are fit for a king.
Once used to welcome a horse and carriage, the elaborately detailed lobby features original wooden floors and family busts. To add to the ornate décor, modern works by artist Ivo Nikić add pops of color. History and modernity mingle in the lush spa where a pool and jacuzzi define the space complete with 15 th -century stone walls. At the stylish bistro, Chef Mateusz Suliga concocts innovative dishes recalling Kraków’s past—artichoke soup with gorgonzola mousse among them. The latest additions to this five-star address include a wine bar and nightclub, in the very same covert spot where storied celebrations once took place.
Dobry Hotel Spółka z ograniczoną odpowiedzialnością, sp.k.
Heckfield Place Hotel
WHERE: Hampshire, England
Just an hour from London but a world away from city life, Heckfield Place is a splendid Georgian family home dating from 1790, converted into a luxury hotel in 2018. Sitting on 400 acres of stunning countryside, there are endless opportunities for interesting walks—you could head to Jane Austen’s home in Chawton or wander through the peaceful Hampshire countryside at Bramshill Forest nearby . The views tend towards spectacular; on a clear day you can even see Windsor Castle.
Rooms have been expertly restored, retaining historic Georgian features blended with contemporary facilities. It’s a comfortable yet stylish approach, designed to make guests feel at home. Wander through the gardens, relax with a good book, or cycle through the estate. Wild swimming in the lakes is a favorite guest activity as is a visit to The Bothy Spa. Set in the walled garden, it’s a peaceful haven offering up a range of indulgent treatments including a circadian-inspired Wildsmith Time treatment designed to rebalance and re-energize. Most of the food at Heckfield Place comes from the estate biodiversity farm and both Marle and Hearth are overseen by award-winning chef Skye Gingell. Each enlists seasonal ingredients as inspiration for the menu, bringing the countryside to the table.
Courtesy of Heckfield Place
WHERE: Paris, France
Settle into what was the last home of Oscar Wilde over a cocktail at the bar named after this popular poet and playwright, and stay the night. Try the signature L’Hotel, an eminently sippable combination of vodka, St. Germain, cherry, and lemon, and snack on fine French cheese and charcuterie in an atmospheric setting recalling the 19 th century.
Tucked away in Paris’s Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood, each of the 20 opulent rooms and suites in L’Hotel is decked out in antique furnishings, plush bedding, and gold trims. There’s even a spacious Oscar Wilde suite in homage to the hotel’s most famous resident. The smaller and equally charming Mignon rooms look out over Rue de Beaux Arts. Head to the lower level spa and sink into the hammam pool and steam room where you can also book a detoxifying treatment. Dating back to 1828 and refurbished in 1967, this intimate five-star address also entertained such notable personalities as Salvador Dali, Princess Grace, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Jim Morrison, and Serge Gainsbourg. How’s that for a guest list?
A Curious Group of Hotels
WHERE: Ibiza, Spain
Less than a five-minute walk from the Cala Alta de Porta beach and nestled in the foothills of Ibiza, Oku Ibiza provides a worthy escape from the bustle of city life. The scent of coconut wafting through the hotel serves to further enhance the Ibiza experience. Each room features large glass windows, a private balcony, sleek fixtures, a rainforest shower, and stunning views. The sultry decor, relying mostly on natural and earthy tones, emits muted luxury, while liberal use of sustainable materials, bohemian furniture, and dynamic energy make clear this is no regular island resort. create an intimate, bohemian, and youthful vibe.
There are four on-site dining options, including the signature OKU restaurant, a poolside bar, a juice bar, and a casual restaurant serving delectable Mediterranean cuisine. If socializing is key then there’s no better place to enjoy a glass of champagne than at one of the two swimming pools while dancing to the hypnotic tunes of the DJ.
WHERE: Boca Bay, Montenegro
In a heaven-on-earth setting off the Adriatic coastline in Montenegro’s Bay of Kotor is the One&Only Portonovi , the newly-opened resort from the award-winning One&Only hospitality group. Boasting jaw-dropping views and an air of refinement, this exquisite hotel along Montenegro’s riviera is bound to blow anyone away with its sheer beauty. Meticulously designed and elegantly decorated rooms, sleek suites, and panoramic villas with floor-to-ceiling glass walls, private beach, jetty, pool, and garden, blend into the stunning natural locale. The perfect place to while away a morning—or a full day— is on the beach, unwinding and enjoying the good life. Or take to Boca Bay’s calm waters for a boat trip. Further on-land exploration leads to UNESCO-listed parks dotted with castles, chapels, monasteries, and healing springs.
Day to night, beachside Tapasake Bar sets the mood with tantalizing cocktails, whetting the appetite for Japanese-inspired fusion flavors and creative cuisine. To keep the party going, energetic dance sessions inspired by DJs spinning hypnotic music ought to do the trick.
Øyna Cultural Landscape Hotel
WHERE: Inderøy, Norway
Rarely is the comparison of a luxury hotel to a hobbit house a la Lord of the Rings a positive thing. But the Øyna Cultural Landscape Hotel , a sanctuary quite literally tucked away in a hillslope atop central Norway’s town of Inderøy, embraces the compliment.
That’s right: Each of the boutique property’s 18 rooms is integrated into the region’s topography, camouflaged by lush grass roofs. The Norwegian architect team, Green Advisers AS, intended to blur the lines between nature and architecture without compromising luxury and modernity. Melding cabin coziness with the perks of a five-star hotel, each room boasts floor-to-ceiling windows and private balconies. The radial layout of the property gives every residence a panoramic view of the Trondheimsfjorden and “The Golden Road,” a detour that weaves through striking scenery in the Inderøy municipality. Locals and hotel guests alike enjoy Øyna’s public facilities, including a Viking-inspired banqueting venue, optimal for weddings or conferences. And diners at Litjstua, Øyna’s traditionally built restaurant, relish in sweeping views and local fare, including cured meats and long-cooked deer. Litjstua sources 90% of their produce from 10 surrounding municipalities (and let’s be honest, you can probably spot each of them from your lofty perch!).
Foto credit Interiørfoto/Stokkanlys
WHERE: Bernalda, Italy
Located in the picturesque village of Bernalda set in Italy’s deep southern region of Basilicata, Palazzo Margherita is a lavish 1800s mansion restyled into a boutique hotel by Francis Ford Coppola, whose ancestors hailed from here. With just nine exclusive suites, the stylish decor of hand-painted frescoed ceilings and original marble floors create a dreamy, old-timey vibe. You can chill out at the pool, lush gardens, or internal courtyard while sipping a local liqueur or savoring traditional specialties from the restaurant.
The slow-pace lifestyle of Bernalda is reflected in the laid-back but sophisticated ambiance of the rooms which come with super amenities such as a digital movie collection specializing in Italian cinema and a daily free shuttle to the palazzo’s private beach, just 15 minutes away. The rooms’ balconies overlook the reddish painted roof tiles and stone portals of the historical dwellings that dot the old village district, where time stands still. Palazzo Margherita is ideal for visiting some of Italy’s top spots including UNESCO World Heritage-listed Matera, the seaside town of Maratea, and for exploring the offbeat Ionian Coast.
Gundolf Pfotenhauer/Palazzo Margherita, a Family Coppola Hideaway
San Canzian Village and Hotel
WHERE: Istria, Croatia
Perched on a hilltop overlooking a lush valley in the heart of Istria stands San Canzian Village and Hotel . Surrounded by vineyards and olive trees, this splendid countryside retreat is ideal for relaxation. Its 24 spacious rooms and suites colored in soft earthy tones include cozy sofas and inviting love seats set on traditional rugs. Rustic touches of wood and stone create a warm, homey feel. Breakfast is served in a fragrant herb garden, and dinner features local Istrian dishes created with ingredients straight from the farm, and of course, Istria’s celebrated wine. The hotel even produces (and sells) its own olive oil and dried fig jam. A beautifully decorated “wellness zone” offers pampering and care in candlelight, but first take in the glorious sunset by the pool, where the views are otherworldly.
This history-packed location is a perfect starting point to explore quaint Medieval towns, sleepy fishing villages, and Grožnjan, the “Town of Artists,” where galleries and jazz thrive in equal measure.
Hrvoje Serdar/San Canzian Village & Hotel
White Pebble Suites
WHERE: Milos, Greece
On a quiet corner of a quiet island, White Pebble Suites is the relaxing dream escape we’ve all been lusting after since the start of the pandemic. This boutique hotel with only 12 keys opened this past summer—it’s the brainchild of three Australian-Greek women who oversaw the project while stuck in lockdown Down Under. The result is a minimalist wonderland overlooking the ethereal lunar beaches of Milos, in Greece’s Cyclades. Eight of the rooms have private plunge pools and all have spacious lanais, resulting in a hotel so comfortable that it’s nearly impossible to summon the energy to drag yourself away from it. But we encourage you to occasionally leave White Pebble and explore the nearby town of Pollonia, a village with only eight restaurants, that’s one of the best small towns for foodies in all of Europe.
And speaking of food, the breakfast at White Pebble is shockingly outstanding—served every morning on your own balcony, the chef delivers a basket full of deliciousness. It’s a feast of eggs, breads, cheeses, and fruits that’s so beautiful Instagram influencers will faint upon seeing it. Though a small hotel with a tiny staff, the friendly service rivals the world’s finest luxury chains.
White Pebble Suites
WHERE: Brooklyn, New York
Once a dilapidated mansion the neighborhood called “the haunted house,” this 1860s Italianate villa was restored to elegance in 1995 by Glenn Pogue and Monique Greenwood, who have since opened four additional hotels. Their first, Akwaaba Mansion , located in historic Stuyvesant Heights, is a huge house nestled in a quiet tree-lined community in an area bursting with culture.
The property’s four unique guest rooms include private bathrooms. From Jumping the Broom Suite to Black Memorabilia Suite, each room has a distinct personality. Original details such as 14-foot ceilings, ornate fireplaces, ornamental gaslight fixtures, and intricate parquet wood floors make Akwaaba a true historic gem. Wander the floors of the mansion, and you’ll appreciate the exquisite details of the décor blending antiques with Afrocentric chic. Feel right at home by enjoying afternoon tea and refreshments on the sun porch, savoring a hearty Southern breakfast in the dining room, taking a nap under a regal chestnut tree in the secluded garden, getting lost in a novel in the guest library, or by making friends with other visitors in the game room. The chaos and thrill of Manhattan is only 15 minutes away by subway or car should you be inclined to see that other borough.
Akwaaba Bed & Breakfast Inns
WHERE: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
In the heart of Oklahoma City’s 38 th Street Preservation neighborhood, Bradford House is a delightful study in contrasts. It’s also fresh off a four-year restoration, inspired by the owners’ boutique-hotel stays around the globe. Enter the 1912 all-white mansion—the former home of Renaissance Man William L. Bradford: a cattleman, traveling salesman for school supplies, and county clerk—and pops of color emerge in common areas and the 36 spacious ensuite rooms, split between the historic home and a modern guesthouse, like turquoise-hued walls and pumpkin-orange drapes. Beds are layered with high-thread-count Italian sheets.
Traveling in a group? Some rooms connect to bunk-bed suites, perfect for the little ones. Baths feature mod luxuries such as a black-and-orange marble sink and green soaking tub. The owners’ love for design shows in vintage furnishings and lightings sourced on buying trips to Italy and France, including Parisian flea markets. Brunch, afternoon tea, and dinner menus—as well as drinks—from the bar and eatery can be enjoyed on the wraparound porch or café-like indoor setting. (Locals love the seasonal pastas.) Wake up to flaky croissants from the in-house Quincy Bake Shop and coffee roasted by EÔTÉ Coffee Roasters.
WHERE: Indianapolis, Indiana
With original terrazzo flooring, colorful wall tiles, and a stunning original Art Deco stairwell, Bottleworks Hotel is the renovated remains of what was once the largest Coca-Cola bottling company in the United States. Bits and pieces of soda pop history are visible around the hotel, with sparkling and still water fountains, framed photographs and newspaper clippings dating back to the 1940s, and even a wall exhibit of hanging vintage cameras. The hotel rooms, however, maintain a decidedly modern edge—spacious, with high-end highlights like the marble bathrooms. The photobooth and decked-out gym also give hotel guests space to play.
What’s on the outside is just as important as what’s on the inside when it comes to this boutique hotel. From the adjoining pan-Asian restaurant, Modita, to the adult arcade (booze + 40-odd pinball machines) located just a few steps away, the hotel is part of the larger Bottleworks district experience. Clustered around Bottleworks Hotel are gourmet food options, small business shopping, and entertainment. The Garage Food Hall offers craft beer and a diverse range of eateries, while Good Neighbor’s local wares give you an excuse to re-up your wardrobe.
Bottleworks District; Courtesy of The Addison Group
Camp Sarika by Amangiri
WHERE: Kane County, Utah
For the best of both worlds—wild, rugged beauty and pure pampering—base camp in one of Camp Sarika by Amangiri ’s 10 luxury one-bedroom tents (the smallest is 1,000 square feet) at this 600-acre, year-round expanse, open since summer of 2020. Guides help build your dream itinerary at three local national parks: Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, and Bryce Canyon. These canvas-roofed, stone-walled tents spare no luxuries. Many boast private plunge pools and all flaunt private terraces—with breathtaking canyon views—plus amenities like air conditioning, underfloor heating, rain showers or a soaking tub in the bath, and separate sleeping and living areas.
Two-bedroom tents appeal to families (stocked with telescopes, for stargazing; and fire pits, for s’mores) to further spread out. Bored in your tent and craving community? Meander into the restaurant, pool, and lounge area to mingle—activities include evening storytelling and stargazing over the fire. The property’s trail system is a convenient spot to hike without going far and massages at the 25,000-square-foot spa are a nice treat. Another reason to pack athletic wear is guided outdoor yoga: think sun salutations with Navajo National Monument views. Guests also receive access to dining options at Amangiri, five miles away.
Courtesy of Aman
WHERE: Palm Beach, Florida
In Florida’s most mega-moneyed coastal town—or rather, “the island,” as locals call Palm Beach— The Chesterfield blends timeless Florida glamour (it’s a thing in these tony parts, where industrialist Henry Flagler extended his railroad empire in the 19th century) with English gentility. You’re three blocks from the Atlantic Ocean and the island’s beautiful public beach at this 1920s Mediterranean-Revival style hotel, surrounded by residential streets lined with towering royal palms, flowering bougainvillea and frangipani, and immense private estates.
The Chesterfield’s 42 rooms (some on the snug side) and 11 suites are each indulgently and individually decorated, some with rich fabric wallpapers that take on candy-cane stripes, European-style floral prints, or subtle tropical tones. Spend your days nibbling scones, seasonal sandwiches, and macarons in the antique-filled library during the hotel’s legendary English Tea service or just relax under a canopy of tropical trees at the sparkling courtyard pool. Come evening, The Chesterfield’s famous Leopard Lounge draws a largely local crowd for live music at a dimly-lit bar that will make you feel like you’re in a scene in a novel, so eclectic is the mix of Palm Beachers (and their hangers-on) with the ambiance of hand-painted ceilings and old-world glamour.
The Red Carnation Hotel Collection
Dive Palm Springs
WHERE: Palm Springs, California
There may be no more perfect pandemic hotel in all of America than Dive Palm Springs, a small boutique converted from dive motel into this chic, Cote-d’Azur-inspired, adults-only luxury escape in the middle of a blazing desert. Eleven rooms wrap around a retro-tastic pool and perma-green gardens, which is always surprising in this arid town. Between a max guest count of 22 (give or take) and the spread-out digs, there’s enough privacy to adequately maintain social distancing in any communal space. And these rooms! Why, you’ll be transported 6,000 miles to Saint-Tropez, courtesy of Christian Lacroix wallpaper, rattan furniture, and an endless loop of Francois Hardy music pleasantly wafting in from outside. Some of the rooms come with record players and a happy mixture of Miles Davis and Patsy Cline LPs.
Though dinner is not served, a small kitchen (manned by a delightful fella named Kevin) prepares modest, but enticing fare—and one of the best damn ham-and-cheese omelets found in all the world’s deserts—and a mean Aperol Spritz to boot.
WHERE: Vieques, Puerto Rico
In the Caribbean’s Greater Antilles, you’ll find an island (often overlooked by travelers) where you can decompress and connect with nature and your specific place in the world. Finca Victoria , located on one of Puerto Rico’s surrounding islands, Vieques, is a bed and breakfast botanica-based hotel curated explicitly for the type of traveler who wants to embrace a more mindful and meditative way of being.
Each of the property’s seven rooms invokes a tree-house aesthetic, with towering accommodations that give tree-line views of a lush tropical forest or the nearby Atlantic ocean. Almost all rooms have outdoor showers, flowing hammocks, and exquisitely-designed indoor-outdoor living areas containing locally-sourced vintage furniture. Each pet-friendly room also has thoughtful wood paneling lending the space a most-becoming Swiss Family Robinson vibe. What makes this hacienda truly unique, however, is its extensive wellness programming. Choose from three to 21-day retreats that include herbal medicines and body therapies or opt for the Ayurvedic cleanse of Panchakarma offering, a cleansing of both mind and body through yoga, herbal medication, and meals designed to facilitate easy digestion.
The Fields of Michigan
WHERE: South Haven, Michigan
Just five miles inland from Lake Michigan’s western shore, The Fields of Michigan is next-level glamping. Irene Wood debuted the 19-tent property in 2019, on a 30-acre former blueberry farm, and the well-traveled Michigan-born owner doesn’t apologize for the lack of WiFi but does take pride in the spa’s 60-minute massages (tucked into a private cabin painted black).
The décor, Anthro-meets-summer camp, has couples rushing to book wedding ceremonies and receptions. Canvas tents on platforms are bookable between Memorial Day and November 1 only—and so coveted that dates open up the previous season, often selling out. Design details in each—which feature en-suite private baths, wood-burning stoves, and electric fireplaces—include a vintage trunk at the foot of the bed and blue-and-white shibori pillows. A bistro-table set outside the tent flap is perfect for morning coffee (your own coffee maker’s inside). Dash into the Canteen for a snack or drink and be sure to stop by the cocktail bar for farm-to-glass cocktails.
Hotel Peter & Paul
WHERE: New Orleans, Lousiana
Built in 1860, by acclaimed architect Henry Howard, the original St. Peter and Paul Church––as well as the adjoining school, convent, and rectory buildings––served the colorful Marigny neighborhood in worship and education for more than 150 years. The grounds and all buildings were saved from slow decay, transformed, and reopened as Hotel Peter & Paul in the spring of 2018.
The painstaking, four-year restoration culminated in 71 beautiful, unique rooms, with a design by ASH NYC. A feeling of serenity comes via touches like cast-iron clawfoot tubs, private balconies, gingham-covered antique armchairs, Baroque chandeliers, marble sinks, and canopied Queen beds.
The design teams saved as much as possible from the original structures, including cypress wood moldings, stained-glass windows, wainscoted corridors, and marble fireplaces in the communal areas. And, t oday, Hotel Peter & Paul retains a strong local business, as well, thanks to the anchor of The Elysian––the property’s awarded food and beverage concept. The best way to experience it is, without a doubt, Elysian’s weekend Church Brunch, served inside the towering, former sanctuary. Acoustic three-piece bands send notes soaring to the cathedral ceilings, as vermouth cocktails and French omelets arrive at antique, wooden tables.
Courtesy of Hotel Peter & Paul
Hotel Saint Cecilia
WHERE: Austin, Texas
Hotel Saint Cecilia is fittingly perched at the epicenter of Austin’s alternative creative scene—a skip off Music Lane and you’ve merrily danced on what, at first, appears to be a residential bungalow. Come on in and instead discover a boutique experience with artistic tendencies and amenities that are open exclusively for overnight guests and club members. This means you can take any dip in the heated lap pool, cocktail in the lounge and patio, or browse the library’s wares—like rockstar royalty.
Cecilia is, after all, named after the patron saint of music and poetry. The property encompasses just 20 rooms (including six new garden suites added this year), each decked out with handmade organic Hästens beds and bedding, and bathrooms with Grown Alchemist pamper products and custom kimono bathrobes. Each room is designed in bespoke fashion, with a nod to the hotel’s favorite artists of all time. Think The Stones, Anne Sexton, and Bill Burroughs. Guests even have Gibson guitars, vintage LPs, and music biographies at their disposal, in order to further soundtrack the journey.
The Ivy Hotel
WHERE: Baltimore, Maryland
Tucked away on an unassuming city block, you’ll be in awe of what’s awaiting you just behind the doors of this luxurious mansion hotel . Inside there’s an eclectic medley of elegant meets vintage, dark wood with light, classic checkered floors, and floor-to-ceiling windows—all of which feel impeccably and intentionally designed. One pass through the yellow-tiled archways reveals walls adorned with bookshelves and fireplaces, and every room seems to tell a story from its historic 18th century past .
Many of the 17 rooms and suites exude a certain regal charm with their grand canopied beds, ceilings with boldly opulent chandeliers, clawfoot tubs, and French limestone flooring. Let mornings unfold in the hotel’s private garden, book a body ritual treatment at The Spa at the Ivy, or enjoy seasonally crafted plates inspired by French dining at Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay at Magdalena, where fresh seafood unsurprisingly plays a prominent role. When you’re ready to explore, the culture of historic Mt.Vernon will keep you busy: world-class museums (see: The Walters Art Museum), cozy neighborhood bars (try Sugarvale), airy green spaces (Mt. Vernon Place Park is easy to love), and famous theaters like The Lyric Opera House are just outside the door.
Courtesy of The Ivy Hotel
WHERE: Chicago, Illinois
Chicago’s most stylish new hotel opening since the pandemic glamorously transforms one of the city’s most iconic Art Deco landmarks. The Carbide & Carbon Building pops in the city’s skyline with its 24-karat golden champagne bottle cap design. Plus, Pendry Chicago’s prime location is within walking distance of the Windy City’s top tourist attractions, including Millennium Park, the Chicago Riverwalk, and Michigan Avenue shopping. For the first time ever, the building’s rooftop is open to the public as an intimate bar, with plush velvet banquettes encased in glass windows and a small open-air terrace.
Rooms are well-appointed with a minimalist modern touch—lighter and brighter than the hotel’s previous iteration, they’re now replete with cream carpeting, gauzy curtains, and white walls accented with black-and-white photos. Ground-floor restaurant Venteux is a highlight, led by executive chef/partner Donald Young, whose French technique and training is impeccable. His whole dry-aged duck, French onion soup and Grand Marnier soufflé with foie gras and black sesame are the best iterations of these French classics in the city.
Christian Horan Photography/Pendry Chicago
Post House Inn
WHERE: Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Just across Charleston Harbor in Mount Pleasant’s historic Old Village, Post House Inn offers seven sophisticated rooms in the capital’s most charming suburb. Romantics will recognize the neighborhood from The Notebook while others will appreciate the inn’s tasteful nods to the past, like archival wallpaper and antique accents dressing the recently modernized second- and third-floor accommodations, still clad in classic Charleston chic. The ground floor is home to Post House Restaurant, open daily for dinner and serving brunch on weekends. Classic cocktails—try the Manhattan or French 75—are rarely a bad addition.
Serving seasonal American dishes with a focus on local ingredients, along with some perfected standbys such as the backbar cheeseburger, it’s popular among Charleston locals who have no shortage of worthwhile restaurants to choose from. Throughout the property’s updated interiors you’ll find the walls decked in pieces by area artists such as Wayway Allen and Shannon Wood, while Post House’s primary outdoor space is home to a courtyard of tables flanked by red-and-white-striped fabric shades in a bid to offer a bit of relief from the blazing southern sun. Dine al fresco here, or simply enjoy the coastal air with an evening drink from the genteel bar inside.
The Roxy Hotel
WHERE: New York City
This 201-room corner hotel in TriBeCa offers a unique stay that marries nostalgia with old New York vibes. From The Roxy Hotel ’s façade—inspired by vintage movie theater marquees—to its subterranean club, The Django, reminiscent of a Parisian jazz bar, it is The Roxy’s dining and nightlife that sets it apart. To be sure, Art Deco-styled guest rooms are perfectly appointed, with Frette bathrobes and Smeg mini-fridges, but the real attraction is on the other side.
This is apparent upon entering when you wander into The Roxy Bar, where you can pair champagne with appetizers while listening to live jazz performances from New York musicians. Directly next to The Roxy Bar is The Oyster Bar, where you can munch on locally-caught seafood (like mussels, oysters, and crabs) from nearby Narragansett Bay in New Jersey. Downstairs, discover a single-screen theater showing foreign and independent films in the context of art deco grandeur. For cinephiles, it’s a must-visit—cocktails and popcorn are optional. Weekly jazz and blues performances draw tourists and locals alike to The Django. While The Roxy is a nightlife destination in its own right, booking a stay at this dog-friendly hotel puts you within walking distance of some of New York’s best attractions.
The Russell Nashville
WHERE: Nashville, Tennessee
There are boutique hotels, and then there’s The Russell Nashville : a boutique hotel in a 115-year-old church, the property blends historic architecture with modern, design-forward sensibilities.
Inside the East Nashville hotel—in the coolest neighborhood in what might just be the coolest city in America—there are bright pops of color and individually decorated rooms that preserve some of the church’s historic details, like church pews repurposed as headboards and original stained glass.
The Russell’s 23 guest rooms range from cozy interior king rooms to a two-story tower suite that sleeps six and makes excellent use of the church’s bell tower. The affordability factor is the result of a forward-thinking mentality: Instead of the traditional check-in at reception, the hotel prefers to rely on technology by emailing guests a check-in code and donating to local homeless shelters. While this translates to fewer on-site amenities—there’s no restaurant or room service—the hotel is a mere block from some of the city’s best eateries and bars.
Courtesy of the Russell
Santa Monica Proper Hotel
WHERE: Santa Monica, California
Discerning travelers looking for full-city immersion with an immaculately designed edge ought to look no further than the Proper Hotel brand. At the sunny Santa Monica iteration, the Proper team goes to lengths to bring the ocean to your door and the city to your senses. A highlight of the property is the rooftop, featuring a lap-worthy pool, inimitable views of the Pacific Ocean, and overhanging palm trees for when you need a moment in the shade. Poolside is the hotel’s aptly-named main restaurant offering up breezy California cuisine with a melange of fresh seafood, market produce, and loads of sharable small plates.
Sunday DJ sessions and morning yoga classes by the pool help further ease you into the west side’s laid-back ethos, while inside, the Kelly Wearstler-designed space oozes bohemian chic style with an effortlessly cool lobby. Giant L.A.-inspired art installations and cozy couches complete the interior’s rustic yet contemporary aesthetic. Many of the 271 rooms boast balconies, and all come with Aesop products, Apple TVs, and floor-to-ceiling windows. To help guests feel like locals, this pet-friendly boutique also provides free bikes that can take you to the beach and other Santa Monica highlights like the famous pier and farmers market just a few short blocks away.
The Siren Hotel
WHERE: Detroit, Michigan
The aptly named The Siren Hotel lures people into the sultry heart of the city of Detroit. With a Wes Anderson-esque appeal, the decor is visually stunning yet playful. Touches like the hand-loomed blankets and colorful terrazzo tiling in the bathroom ensure every room feels special, though a range of room options make for affordable stays. Although traditional guest rooms feature two full-sized beds anchoring the space, The Siren Hotel also offers rooms with bunk beds, appealing to visitors hungry for sleepover camp nostalgia or to friends traveling in groups. The hotel restaurant, Karl’s, a classic diner, brings nostalgia in spades with an old-school jukebox, paper placemats, and classic milkshakes. Expertly crafted cocktails can be had here as well, and these feel just at home amid the deep green and orange-toned furniture marking the retro, cool space. The property’s real jewel, however, is The Candy Bar—but you’ll need a reservation to snag a spot at this swanky drinking hole.
Inclusivity is the name of the game here, thanks in part to a multilingual staff (current languages spoken: English, Spanish, and Bengali). Dedication to the arts, an ongoing part of the Motor City’s renaissance, is demonstrated with the property’s commitment to emerging artists, many of whom reside at the hotel for weeks at a time as part of an artist residency program.
Courtesy of Christian Harder
The Surfsand Resort
WHERE: Cannon Beach, Oregon
A cross between an adult summer camp and a beach resort, Surfsand is situated on Oregon’s coast in Cannon Beach. Cannon Beach is best known for Haystack Rock—a natural sea stack formation that has been featured in films such as the 1980s cult classic, The Goonies. Originally opened in 1977, The Surfsand Resort is ideally located in front of Haystack Rock, mere steps from Cannon Beach and within walking distance of the town’s main street. Surfsand has all the amenities you would expect from a beachfront resort, such as an indoor pool, stellar on-premise restaurant, spa, and gym, but it is their weekly activities that truly make a stay at Surfsand special.
Upon check-in (most rooms face the ocean; all feature locally roasted Sleepy Monk Coffee) , you’re handed a list of optional activities, including nightly group bonfires, weekend ice cream socials, and daily fresh cookies in the lobby. Surfsand’s restaurant, The Wayfarer, is one of the best in town and doubles as the hotel’s in-room dining menu. This means you can enjoy the freshest seafood (I recommend the Wayfarer clam bake) from the comfort of your balcony, in full view of Haystack Rock. A cool $50 supplement to the booking gets you a private bonfire, including a complete s’mores kit and additional logs.
WHERE: North Adams, Massachusetts
A country escape that’s easy on the budget, that’s also chic and within a three-hour drive from New York or Boston? TOURISTS delivers on all fronts. Both upscale and understated, the 48-room motor lodge sits like a breath of fresh air in the rolling hills of the Berkshires.
A stay here puts you within easy reach of the area’s renowned cultural offerings, including the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA), The Clark Art Institute, plus a myriad of galleries and artist studios. Rooms are Scandinavian in their simplicity with white and raw woods, letting the lush nature outside the windows do the talking. Step directly onto woodland trails or venture to nearby Mt. Greylock State Reservation, curl up with a book in your own picture window, or dip into the heated outdoor pool. Later on, snack on burrata with a glass of natural wine in hand at the on-site restaurant, The Airport Rooms, or chill by the communal fire pits, enjoying all the makings of a relaxing getaway.
Urban Cowboy Lodge
WHERE: The Catskills, New York
Leave city life and cell phone service behind when you check into the Urban Cowboy Lodge in Upstate New York, where the forests and rolling mountains of Big Indian Wilderness proffer a serene setting for reconnecting with nature. Rooms, suites, a freestanding cabin, and standalone chalet at this secluded luxury retreat have been reimagined in a maximalist western-chic aesthetic, complete with antler chandeliers, bold hand-printed wallpaper, and clawfoot bathtubs—three come with outdoor cedar soaking tubs, but all feature private decks and Pendleton robes.
Minibars are stocked with local goodies and bathrooms with botanical-based products by Khus+Khus and Detox Babe. Big on community, the property encourages guests to become fast friends over Reggae Bingo and Connect Four in the Den and radio hour in the Parlor. At Public House, a veg-forward dining program and whole animal butchery get the wood-fired treatment with dishes best served family-style. A fifteen-minute drive from Belleayre Mountain, skiing, sledding, and snowshoeing abound in winter while hiking trails, nature swims, forest bathing, fishing, and local breweries are major draws during warmer months. Back on property, sweat it out in the Estonian sauna or cozy up beside one of the outdoor fire pits toasting s’mores, sipping cocktails, and sharing stories under the stars.