While several top names in the field may dominate this list, there are also a number of boutique properties and rising stars welcoming guests as well. Here is Travel Agent’s selection of Hot New Hotels, most of which opened sometime in 2016, but we’ve also included a sampling of some of 2017’s best (so far).
Continental United States
1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn, NY
The third property for the 1 Hotels brand has sweeping waterfront views of the Manhattan skyline, Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty. Accommodations include a selection of two- to six-bedroom suites. The hotel also has a 4,000-square-foot rooftop space (with lounge pool, full-service bar, fire pits and seating spaces), a nine-treatment-room Bamford Haybarn Spa, fitness center, yoga and barre studio operated by POE Yoga, two restaurants, a 50-seat screening room and nature-themed art collections. Fifty-four percent of the hotel is composed of regional and reclaimed materials, and eventually a LEED Dynamic Plaque, which will measure the building’s eco-conscious practices in real time, will be displayed. The hotel also donates a percentage of sales from in-room dining to Action Against Hunger.
Faena Hotel Miami Beach, Florida
The focal point of Miami’s emerging Faena District takes many of its themes from theater and film. In fact, this boutique hotel collaborated with various artists, including filmmaker Baz Luhrmann and his Academy Award-winning wife, costume and set designer Catherin Martin. A common theme within the hotel is the color red and displays of fresh roses. The grand Living Room lounge has tiger print and rich red hues with a gold chandelier that’s apparently synced with the weather in Pampas, Argentina — home of developer Alan Faena — and flickers in time with lightning if there’s a storm. The outdoor, open-kitchen Los Fuegos restaurant has a woolly mammoth skeleton dipped in 24-carat gold. Bedrooms have turquoise velvet drapes, red velvet sofas, overstuffed armchairs, animal prints and brushed gold fixtures.
This luxury boutique hotel is the brand’s first property in the greater South and the first new-build, lifestyle hotel in Nashville. It rises 12 stories and inhabits the “crown jewel” site within The Gulch, the city’s most up-and-coming and vibrant neighborhood. It’s also within a mile of other top cultural attractions, including the iconic Ryman Auditorium and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, while the Grand Ole Opry and the Bluebird Café are only a short drive away. The Thompson Nashville also has a culinary partnership with Chef John Besh’s Our House Hospitality (OHH), bringing a long-awaited upscale, lifestyle experience to Music City.
Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina, Oahu
The first and only Four Seasons on Oahu — the last of Hawaii’s four major islands to get a Four Seasons hotel — is the brand’s fifth overall Hawaii property. It opened in May of last year in the building of the former JW Marriott Ihilani Resort and Spa, which was the first hotel to be built as part of the Ko Olina development. The rooms and suites have full ocean views, floor-to-ceiling windows and private lanais. Additional features include five culinary options, an expansive Naupaka Spa and fitness complex and a custom-built wedding chapel nestled within the gardens. The resort is family friendly but also has an adults-only quiet ocean beach and pool.
Four Seasons Oahu at Ko Olina’s signature 3,840-square-foot Pacific Suite has two bedrooms uniquely decorated in an authentic Hawaiian style. Photo by Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts / Christian Horan
Hilton Garden Inn Waikiki Beach, Oahu
This hotel should appeal especially to the business traveler who is less interested in bells and whistles and more focused on the bare necessities. The rooms are relatively small here, but the hotel makes the most of the space. There is a microwave, a Keurig coffee maker, a flat-screen TV, free Wi-Fi, USB charging ports and outlets everywhere — everything one needs for both a good night’s rest and a productive morning of work. When it’s time to relax, there’s a swimming pool with views of the city and a fitness center on the third floor. Perhaps the hotel’s greatest feature is its location — only two blocks from Waikiki Beach, across the street from the revitalized International Market Place, a 25-minute drive from the Honolulu International Airport, and about a 25-minute walk or a five-minute cab ride to the Hawaii Convention Center.
Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach, Oahu
Waikiki Beach continues to be a trendy destination amongst Millennials looking to do some high-end shopping and dine around some hip bars and restaurants. So, as Waikiki Beach’s latest luxury hotel, it’s no wonder there’s been heavy buzz surrounding the stylish new Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach. The rooms and suites have floor-to-ceiling window views and spa-like bathrooms. The outdoor swimming pool has private cabanas and an entertainment deck, a bar and restaurant. The Hyatt Centric anchors the renovated Waikiki Trade Center building, which includes a two-story, 34,000-square-foot Nordstrom Rack, Starbucks, Jamba Juice and branch of American Savings Bank.
The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas, Maui
Trending mostly amongst Millennials, the brand new Westin Nanea Ocean Villas is a hot option for couples traveling with other couples and looking for Maui’s newest, freshest property. The resort comprises one-, two- and three-bedroom villas. The master bedrooms include king-size signature Westin Heavenly Beds and Westin Heavenly Baths with showers, bathtubs and vanities. The living areas offer armoires, queen-size sofa sleepers and private furnished lanais. Villas also come with fully equipped kitchens and washers and dryers — a boon for families, who can also take advantage of the Westin Family Kids Club. Other standout amenities here include a lagoon-style swimming pool, a children’s beach pool and play area, oceanfront cabanas and a WestinWorkout Fitness Studio.
Breathless Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa, Riviera Maya
The adults-only Breathless Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa is trending mainly due to its location — between the Caribbean Sea and the Lagoon of Bahia Petempich — and its vibrant social atmosphere. The resort’s all-suite accommodations occupy three unique areas, each with distinct character and appeal. The xhale Club section is for guests seeking an elevated level of personal service and luxury; the energy center for those looking to mix and mingle; and the xcelerate Party Zone caters, as the name implies to partiers. The resort maintains a weekly party calendar for all guests, with themed events such as the Breathless Rocks, Neon Night Lights and Insomnia Pool parties and special guest DJ performances.
Breathless Riviera Cancun’s xhale Master Suites include some with swimout feature.
Dreams Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort – Playa Mujeres, Mexico
AMResorts’ latest family resort in Mexico is getting rave reviews for two reasons: the food and the service. Located in the gated Playa Mujeres community just outside of Cancun, Dreams Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort has stylish pools, a swanky cabana scene and swim-up bars. Guests can take advantage of the brand’s signature Unlimited-Luxury vacation concept — gourmet à la carte dining at 10 restaurants including an ice cream parlor.
The Grand at Moon Palace Cancun
Cancun’s newest all-inclusive resort is a great fit for just about any client offering the luxury and tailored touch of a boutique experience coupled with the grandeur of a world-class resort destination. Set within the brand’s signature property, AAA Four Diamond Moon Palace Cancun, The Grand offers exclusive access to premier dining establishments and the convenience of close proximity to the property’s best attractions and much more. Nine swimming pools include a children’s waterpark, an adults-only Day Club with a live DJ spinning poolside beats, and five swim-up bars.
UNICO 20˚87˚ Hotel Riviera Maya
UNICO 20˚87˚ Hotel Riviera Maya aims to draw Millennial travelers with designs meant to reflect each property’s local environment and culture. Most guestrooms have ocean views, with semi-private swim-up pools on all ground floor rooms and outdoor double-hyro spa tubs on the remaining accommodations. Guestrooms also have an in-room minibar with cocktail fixings stocked based on guest preference. Other highlights include three pools, a spa with 18 cabins, five restaurants, a cigar lounge and two swim-up bars. Guests will also be able to purchase art from local artisans both in-room and throughout the property. At the Esencia Beauty Bar, guests can select their own personalized in-room amenities made with local ingredients.
W Punta de Mita, Nayarit
W Hotels Worldwide’s second hotel in Mexico is branded as a W Escape hotel, meaning the resort will focus on lifestyle and design with the modern leisure traveler in mind. Just about every public, wall, and floor space is covered with references to the region’s surf, historical, and spiritual culture. Upon entrance, a Huichol statue, standing nine feet tall, greets guests, while Lucha Libre masks are incorporated into wall designs, as are colorful animal masks. Each unique guest room has a surfboard of punctured tin headboard and vintage photographs. Suites come with private patios or balconies, while the Ocean Escape Villas and Jungle Escape Villas are designed to highlight nature. The Extreme WOW Suite is over 4,400 square feet and has two bedrooms and a pool.
Central and South America
Four Seasons Hotel Bogotá, Colombia
More than half of this boutique hotel’s accommodations are suites, including the 1,200-square-foot Penthouse Suite on the eighth floor. Each room comes with custom-made beds, and is decorated with furnishings and artwork crafted by Colombian artisans. The chic Japanese restaurant Kuru, run by Chef Diego Soriano, is equipped with a charcoal Robata grill and a sushi counter. The spa offers treatments with products by Biologique Recherche and the Colombian brand Loto del Sur.
Nekupe Sporting Resort and Retreat, Nicaragua
Since it opened in November, Nekupe has been trending with travelers seeking a mix of luxury and rustic adventures. The cozy, eight-room hotel is set on a 1,300-acre nature reserve in Nicaragua’s Pacific countryside, 30 minutes from the colonial town of Granada. Aside from being pampered in luxurious accommodations, guests here can be as daring as they like with adventures such as surf lessons, helicopter tours and even an on-property shooting range. Nature-based experiences include horseback riding, mountaintop yoga, organic gardening and cooking classes.
Nicaragua’s Nekupe Sporting Resort and Retreat courts nature lovers and adventure seekers.
Caribbean and The Bahamas
Breathless Montego Bay Resort & Spa, Jamaica
AMResorts’ Breathless brand has been trending high with Millennials ever since the brand was introduced about four years ago, which is why the first Breathless brand resort in Jamaica has been creating a buzz since it opened in March. Breathless Montego Bay Resort & Spa, surrounded by Montego Bay Marine Park, is an adults-only resort with a chic design and modern technology ranging from free Wi-Fi to in-room tablets. Singles looking for exclusive service should book the Junior Suite Ocean View category or higher to receive the complimentary service of a butler. Other notable amenities include a swanky rooftop pool and bar, a beach club, fire pits, cabanas and five bars and lounges. The resort also hosts occasional theme parties, such as the 1920’s-style “Gatsby Party.”
Grand Hyatt Baha Mar –Nassau, Bahamas
This hotel is garnering a lot of buzz mainly due to the fact that it simply opened (in April) after the long-awaited Baha Mar Resort project had been delayed for years. The distinct East and West Towers of Grand Hyatt Baha Mar consist of 1,800 contemporary rooms, including 230 one-, two- and three-bedroom suites. Guest have easy access to the Royal Blue Golf Club, Baha Mar Casino, and Baha Mar Convention, Art and Entertainment Center. Twenty bars and restaurants will open in the Grand Hyatt under the leadership of Executive Chef Brent Martin.
Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
When it opened in November, the Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa became the first new hotel on the Caribbean’s famed Seven Mile Beach in nearly a decade. Its three freestanding beachside bungalows offer loft-like one- and two-bedroom layouts, enhanced amenities and exclusive views of the beach and ocean. All of Seafire’s restaurants, including the Mediterranean-inspired Ave, are helmed by James Beard-honored Executive Chef Massimo De Francesca. The Coccoloba bar, only a few feet from the ocean, provides great views of the sunset. Millennials should note that this is where they will get the best Instagram-worthy picture of their stay.
Grand Cayman’s Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa’s Oasis Pool at sunset provides Instagram-worthy photo opportunities.
Margaritaville Beach Resort Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Inspired by the lyrics and lifestyle of singer, songwriter, and author, Jimmy Buffett, Margaritaville Beach Resort Grand Cayman is already gaining favor with both girls’ and guys’ getaways. It occupies a stretch of Seven Mile Beach, with accommodations that incorporate casual-luxe furnishings, including crisp white bedding, accented glass and teak finishings. In addition, sleek, tropical-inspired designs are accompanied by subtle maritime accents, natural rock and wood materials, and colorful accessories. Dining options include Yara: The Global Steakhouse and Banana Wid Café, named after Buffett’s 20th studio album. The License to Chill Bar serves handcrafted cocktails including, of course, the resort’s signature margarita.
Margaritaville Beach Resort in Grand Cayman was inspired by the songs and lifestyle of singer, songwriter and author Jimmy Buffett.
Riu Reggae, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Riu Reggae’s adults-only hotel is one of the newest all-inclusives in Jamaica and among the hottest Jamaican retreats for girls’ or guys’ getaways. Two of its three infinity pools come with an adjacent swim-up bar. For a vacation with a group of friends, there are some family rooms that can accommodate up to five people. They are comprised of two bedrooms, one with a king-size bed and sofa bed and a second room with two single beds and two bathrooms. A lively program of day and night activities includes evening shows with live music. For a quieter way to relax, there’s the Renova Spa.
Royalton Negril/Hideaway at Royalton Negril – Negril, Jamaica
Already a favorite with small families and groups, the new Royalton Negril has waterfront rooms throughout three distinct sections, including the main resort, an exclusive Diamond Club wing and, for guests 18 and older, the Hideaway at Royalton Negril. Diamond Club Chairman’s Suites, which have a private balcony with private outdoor Jacuzzi and dining table, are a good fit for Millennials traveling with other couples or for small families. Royalton Negril has eight bars and eight restaurants offering a wide selection of local and international venues. After dinner, entertainment comes in the form of sunset champagne cheers at the 18+ Hideaway, boogying at XS Disco Bar and live nightly performances.
Royalton Saint Lucia/Hideaway at Royalton Saint Lucia
This luxurious, yet laid-back resort is hot with Millennial families, with splash pads and waterslides, supervised kids’ and teens’ clubs and dining menus designed for children. For a quieter getaway, adults (ages 18 and older) can stay at the Hideaway at Royalton Saint Lucia, which has private infinity pools and an exclusive seafood grill. Offerings at Hideaway include yoga on the beach, mixology classes beside the pool and champagne toasts at sunset. Suites at Hideaway use aromatherapy to greet clients each time they enter. Inside guests will find a Jacuzzi for two and a selection of premium spirits. Hideaway guests also have access to butler service.
Royalton St. Lucia is family friendly, but also has an adults-only Hideaway within.
Warwick Paradise Island Bahamas
Simply put, clients who love boats and harbor vistas will get maximum enjoyment at this all-inclusive resort. While it has a manmade beach by the boardwalk (not on the ocean), Warwick Paradise Island is best suited for those clients who are equally pleased with a cool pool scene with harbor views. The best accommodations here are the Harbour Premium Balcony rooms as well as those that are harbor side corner rooms overlooking the pool, harbor, boardwalk and terrace. Groups and guests who simply want more room can spread out in comfort in suites on the 11th and 12th floors.
This boutique hotel sits at 34 rue Jean Mermoz Paris, a small street between the high-fashion rue du Faubourg St-Honoré and the Champs Elysées, just around the corner from La Réserve and a stone’s throw from the Elysée Palace. The hotel hosts a rotating selection of fashion and art exhibitions. A design highlight is a tapestry by celebrity designer Jan Kath. Each room has bespoke furniture, a full-length mirror, Treca beds and Sachajuan toiletries. A wild and leafy internal garden hosts brunch on weekends and evening aperitifs.
Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square, London
Guests at this brand new luxury hotel will find themselves right in the center of the action in England’s capital city, next to the Tower of London and equidistant between the West End and East End. The design was inspired by the building’s maritime heritage — it was once the headquarters for the Port of London Authority. Amenities include a day spa, an indoor pool and vitality pool, a nail salon, two ballrooms and three function rooms. It also hosts the first restaurant in the UK by Anne-Sophie Pic — currently the only French female chef to hold three Michelin stars.
Il Castelfalfi, Tuscany, Italy
The Italian region of Tuscany got its first new-build five-star hotel in 25 years when Toscana Resort Castelfalfi opened Il Castelfalfi on a 2,700-acre estate in an 800-year-old village. The hotel’s design embraces sustainability and showcases traditional materials such as wood and stone. La Via del Sale serves authentic Italian cuisine such as handmade pastas and local recipes from Executive Chef Francesco Ferretti. Guests can experience Toscana’s amenities, including the golf course and tennis courts, cooking school, The Medieval Borgo (village) that is home to a dozen local shops, two additional restaurants, and activities such as truffle hunting and tasting the estate-produced wine.
Il Castelfalfi is a new-build hotel, the first in Tuscany in 25 years, at Toscana Resort.
Kimpton De Witt, Amsterdam
Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants’ first European hotel is set within three original Dutch Golden Age-era buildings in Amsterdam’s Palace Quarter Neighborhood. Many of Kimpton’s signature amenities are available, such as complimentary VanMoof bikes, a hosted Social Hour every day at 5 p.m. and in-room toiletries from Amsterdam-based skin care brand Marie-Stella-Maris. Perhaps the most inventive offering at the Kimpton De Witt is the three-story Little House accommodation within the hotel. It was once the childhood home of Dutch playwright P.C. Hooft and dates back to the 1600s.
The Ned, London
The landmark Midland Bank headquarters, dating to 1925 and the inspiration behind the James Bond film “Goldfinger,” reopened this spring as The Ned, London. Highlights include the private members-only Ned Club. The rooftop Ned’s Club Upstairs has a pool, a domed bar and restaurant. Ned’s Club Downstairs has the Vault Room lounge bar. The subterranean Cowshed spa, complete with a 65-foot lap pool, is complemented by the Cheeky nail bar and Neville barbershop.
Palazzo Fendi, Rome, Italy
The fashion house, Fendi, designed the seven plush suites it opened above its flagship store in Rome. The suites have views of Largo Goldoni — a small square at the end of Via Condotti. Palazzo Fendi is within walking distance of the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, the Pantheon and Vatican City. Guests can take a complimentary private tour of Fendi’s flagship store and check their in-room iPad to choose from the seven walking tours of the Eternal City that have been programmed into it. The new rooftop Zuma Restaurant is open to the public, but Palazzo Fendi guests get preferred seating.
Park Hyatt Mallorca, Spain
Built in the style of a traditional Mallorcan village with terra-cotta roofs, this resort hotel is set within the new Cap Vermell estate, which includes tennis courts and a new country club (there are four golf courses in the surrounding area). A five-minute drive away, a beach club is available for guests’ use. All rooms and suites have private terraces and guests can take advantage of such amenities as outdoor pools, a ballroom and event space, a 24-hour fitness center, and a destination spa and Park Hyatt’s signature Masters of Food & Wine culinary and beverage experiences.
Park Hyatt Mallorca is built in the style of a traditional Mallorcan village.
The Pulitzer Amsterdam
Those looking to book a stay here should consider the Collector Suites. Each feels like a private apartment designed for the owner’s individual passion, be they an art collector, music composer, book reader or antiques aficionado. These suites also have a private entrance to the Keizersgracht Canal. The hotel is made up of 25 canal house buildings, so every room has individuality and a unique flair. The best views are on the third floor of the hotel on the Keizersgracht Canal side. True to its name, Pulitzer Amsterdam has a library in the lobby that has a collection of Pulitzer Prize-winning books, dating back to 1918.
The Pulitzer Amsterdam’s individually designed Collector’s Suites have the feel of a private apartment.
The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest
For its first hotel in Hungary, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company chose a site on Elizabeth Square in the heart of Budapest’s cultural and shopping district. Just minutes away from the Danube River, guests can easily access the UNESCO World Heritage listed Buda Castle district, visit one of the city’s several thermal springs, or sample local Hungarian cuisine and wines. A large portion of the property’s original architectural details have been preserved, including statues on the exterior walls, while the interiors offer guests a more relaxed, contemporary style with a color palette inspired by the waters of the Danube River. Guestrooms and suites afford views of St. Stephen’s Basilica.
Sereno Lago di Como, Italy
This stylish, ultra-luxury private sanctuary on the shores of Lake Como has a contemporary, relaxed feel created by Milan-based designer Patricia Urquiola, who also designs for Baccarat, BMW, Louis Vuitton and other luxury brands. The hotel houses 30 suites and the only 60-foot-long infinity pool overlooking Lake Como. Following the success of Le Sereno St. Barth’s, the owners, along with Milan-based designer Patricia Urquiola, brought a contemporary luxury, design-driven, and personalized service to Lake Como. Guests can take in the beauty of the lake from the hotel’s private garden, complete with secret passageways. The property also has its own docking facilities and custom boats for transportation around the lake.
Il Sereno Lago di Como’s contemporary, relaxed feel was created by a noted Milan-based designer.
Six Senses Kaplankaya, Turkey
On May 1, Six Senses took over management of this resort, which opened last July under the Canyon Ranch banner. Set on the shores of the Aegean Sea, the resort’s room amenities include Nespresso machines, organic Turkish linens and marble bathrooms with separate soaking tubs and walk-in showers. Occupying the slopes above the main building, the “Rooms on the Ridge” have terraces overlooking the Aegean. This stretch of the Aegean coast is known for its historic cultural sites (the Bodrum Castle is classified as UNESCO World Heritage) and beautiful seascapes. Six Senses promises “an exciting transformation” later this year.
Soho House, Barcelona
Facing the Port Vell Marina, this boutique “member’s club” is billed as “a space for eating, drinking, and meeting.” Hence there’s a 36-seat screening room and a rooftop pool with sweeping views over the city and the Mediterranean. Entertainment is always a strong point at Soho House and the Barcelona outpost is no exception. Guests have access to all the facilities, including the eateries, gym, Cowshed Spa, and indoor pool. The House Kitchen serves Spanish fare, while Cecconi’s brings its signature northern Italian specialties to Barcelona.
Hotel Splendide Royal, Paris
Fans of the Hotel Splendide Royal in Lugano and Rome will be pleased to learn that the Roberto Naldi Collection opened a Paris hotel in October. Housed in a private mansion built in 1897, this intimate, all-suite hotel is just steps from the Elysée Palace and fashionable shopping on rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Chef Michelino Gioia, who scored Michelin stars at the La Posta Vecchia and Il Pellicano hotels, oversees the hotel’s brand new, elegant, bistro-style Italian restaurant. The best views are from the fifth floor, where it’s possible to see the Eiffel Tower.
Hotel Splendide Royal, Paris is housed in what was once a private mansion built in 1897.
Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara, Oman
Architecturally inspired by the region’s coastal fortresses, the resort comprises rooms, studios, one-bedroom villas, and one-, two- and three-bedroom pool villas — all surrounded by lush tropical gardens. The resort facilities are vast; think swimming pool, tennis courts, gym, children’s club, water sports on the beach, and the Anantara Spa, where the treatments showcase local ingredients. Guests can take a boat across the lagoon to visit the city’s Botanical Garden and the Al Baleed Museum of Frankincense. Dining options will include a Middle Eastern beach bar and a signature Asian restaurant. The resort is set in Southern Oman’s Dhofar Governorate, celebrated for its fine-sand beaches and rich cultural heritage.
Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, Oman
Perched more than a mile above sea level on a great canyon rim, this luxury resort was designed for the intrepid traveler looking for a rich, local cultural experience and adventures within the mountains of northern Oman. It’s an adventurous mountain two-hour or so drive from Muscat International or 4.5 hours from Dubai. The drive to the property passes historic forts and date plantations. Rooms and villas overlook the canyon and gardens; Premier and Deluxe Canyon View Rooms have spacious bedrooms and spa-inspired bathrooms complete with a rain shower and separate bath alongside a balcony. Intimate one- or two-bedroom villas provide personal host services and a private infinity pool. Anantara’s “Dining by Design” program allows guests the chance to dine on a cliff-edge platform known as Diana’s Point. For a more interactive option, there’s Anantara’s signature Spice Spoons cooking school experience.
Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar’s Al Maisan Restaurant is elevated above the hotels’ central courtyard and offers both indoor and terrace dining.
Africa / Indian Ocean
Banyan Tree Tamouda Bay, Morocco
Banyan Tree has opened its luxurious resort in Morocco’s Tamouda Bay development, situated on the Mediterranean coast, a 45-minute drive from Tangier. The all-villa resort is surrounded by landscaped gardens with fountains, reflecting pools, and flower-filled courtyards. A highlight is the signature Banyan Tree spa equipped with six deluxe treatment rooms, two Royal treatment rooms, hydro facilities, a yoga room and the Spa Gallery. There’s also a Kids Club, a library, conference rooms and swimming pools. Guests can sample Mediterranean fare at Tingitana restaurant, enjoy Thai flavors at the Saffron restaurant, or go for fresh grilled fish and seafood at the Azura Beach Club.
Six Senses Zil Pasyon, The Seychelles
Six Senses Zil Pasyon, the only resort on the private Seychelles island of Félicité, has 28 one-bedroom villas, a pair of two-bedroom villas and 17 private residences. There are also five double treatment villas with unique features: a glass building between two boulders; a cantilevered building with a rock pool; a hidden villa located right above the water; one surrounded by local, lush vegetation; and a last with a swinging daybed, and surrounded by boulders. Green travelers should note the resort’s reverse osmosis plant and crystal water refinery, which eliminates the need for plastic bottles, as well as its chicken farm and organic garden.
Soneva Jani, The Maldives
This resort on the island of Medhufaru, part of an uninhabited five-island archipelago in the Noonu Atoll, comprises an array of overwater villas and an island villa. There is a private lagoon that surrounds the islands, and the villas include a retractable roof, a private pool with catamaran nets and open-air bathroom. Some also have a water slide into the lagoon. Resort facilities include five F&B outlets, a spa, dive center, children’s den, Eco Centro, organic gardens and outdoor Cinema Paradiso, where guests are provided with Bluetooth earphones so the film’s sound doesn’t disturb the nesting wildlife in the area. The Observatory is available for stargazing through its sophisticated telescope and also hosts astronomy talks and private dinners.
The Gathering at Soneva Jani, next to the Observatory, houses dining outlets, a spa, library, retail area and wine cellar.
Thanda Island, Tanzania
Accessible by boat or helicopter, this exclusive 20-acre getaway is home to a luxury villa designed by Swedish owners Christin and Dan Olofsson — complete with Steinway piano, indoor aquarium, wine collection, cigar humidor, pool and wrap-around dining area overlooking the ocean. Outside, there’s a barbecue, cocktail bar and pizza oven. The villa has five suites opening directly onto the beach, and two traditional “Bandas.” Guests can sail, fish, play beach volleyball or tennis, snorkel and more. Thanda Island is available exclusively for privatization at a rate of $10,000 per night, with a seven-night minimum stay in high season. There is a dedicated staff for the duration of your stay, including a personal chef, housekeeper, hostess and boatman.
At Thanda Island in Tanzania, villa suites open directly onto the beach.
Overlooking Ago Bay in Japan’s Ise Shima National Park, Amanemu is the first onsen, or “hot spring resort,” for Aman. Set on an ancient pilgrimage route in Mie Prefecture, Amanemu has 24 suites and four two-bedroom villas, each equipped with a private onsen and a large terrace for taking in the surrounding natural scenery. Designed as a contemporary interpretation of a Japanese minka home, these accommodations are decorated with light-colored wood in an elegant, minimalist style. Facilities include the 20,000-square-foot Aman Spa, a fitness center and a Japanese restaurant showcasing locally grown products such as Matsusaka Ushi, a regional specialty of Wagyu.
Amanemu in Japan’s Shima National Park has villas and suites designed as a contemporary take on traditional Japanese minka homes.
Four Seasons Jakarta
This new all-suite hotel, the centerpiece of the new Capital Place development in the city’s Sudirman Central Business District, officially replaces the Four Seasons that used to be located on Jalan H.R. Rasuna Said, which closed in 2014. The suites were designed by Alexandra Champalimaud, a member of the Interior Design Hall of Fame, and boasts Chinoiserie wall panels, original Indonesian artwork, Italian marble bathrooms and wall-to-wall windows that look out over Jakarta’s skyline. The hotel design emphasizes Indonesian indoor / outdoor living with lush tropical garden spaces. Facilities include the Palm Court and Alto restaurants, pool with landscaped terrace and a spa with VIP couple’s suites and a hammam.
Four Seasons Kyoto
The Four Seasons Kyoto is a new-build whose focal point is an 800-year-old pond garden, offering guests luxury accommodations without losing a sense of place. This theme of old and new continues flawlessly throughout the property with a teahouse that offers premium sakes and a Tea Ceremony Experience, in addition to washi-paper lamps, fusuma screens and urushi lacquerware in all rooms and suites. Fun Fact: An illuminated sheet of washi paper worth $50,000 hangs in a corridor as art. Guestrooms also include intuitive panels for lights and drapes and iPads for everything else. The concierge can help guests find Zen meditation gardens, Japanese cultural classes, and geiko (geisha) and maiko (apprentice geisha) experiences.
Meghauli Serai Chitwan National Park (Taj Hotels), Nepal
This lodge in the heart of Nepal’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed Chitwan National Park, has 13 guestrooms with elevated views over the jungle from the banks of the Rapti River, while its 16 villas and plush Rapti Mahal Presidential Suite all have their own private plunge pools. Meghauli Serai has incorporated local color schemes and natural elements into its design; this includes its Newari- and Tharu-inspired front doors and earthy tones that reflect the landscape. In the dining venues, guests can enjoy locally sourced ingredients. For safaris, guests can opt for the 4×4, a riverboat, or a walking tour. This Taj Hotels lodge even has its own domesticated elephant, Anjali.
Shangri-La Hambantota Resort, Sri Lanka
Occupying 130 acres, this Shangri-La gem is Sri Lanka’s largest resort — and a must-visit for active travelers. Guests will have their choice of an 18-hole golf course, archery, lawn bowling, beach volleyball, jogging trails, bike rentals, trapeze, yoga, an “aquagym,” and health and fitness classes, among other options. The resort affords views of the Indian Ocean, tropical gardens, the golf course, or the lagoon. The spa treatments include Chinese and Ayurveda treatments and all-natural products. The resort also has access to Yala and Bundala National Parks.
The Anam, Cam Ranh, Vietnam
Set against a lush mountain backdrop and facing a string of islands, the Anam occupies a private beach in Cam Ranh. Here, there are over 300 days of sunshine and an average temperature of 80 degrees. The 117 villas face either the garden or the ocean; some have private pools and are serviced by 24/7 personal butlers. Each includes a king-size bed and a bathroom with deep-soaking tub and rain showers, plus a terrace or balcony. Facilities include the Sri Mara Spa, fitness center, Indochine Café, swimming pool, and Beach Club with water sports.
Wanda Reign on the Bund, Shanghai
This ultra-luxury haven is touted as Shanghai’s first “seven-star hotel,” and for good reason. The $516 million price tag resulted in an Art Deco theme with marble floors and walls, inlaid jade, 33-foot-high bronze columns and plenty of art. Guestrooms afford breathtaking views over The Bund, Huangpu River and Pudong skyline or the ancient Yu Garden. In-room amenities include wireless control dashboards, valet service boxes and digital screens in place of traditional eyeholes on the door. There are five eateries, including French cuisine by Michelin-starred Chef Marc Meneau and a nightclub on the top floor.
W Retreat and Spa Goa
Some 25 acres between the jungle and Vagator Beach are dotted with villas, chalets, a Marvelous Suite and an Extreme WOW Villa. The grand entrance and reception pods are adorned with artworks by local artists. Each guestroom has a psychedelic look with hues of purples and blues, foggy metal closet doors, and “beaten” metal drawers; each guestroom’s chandelier looks like the lights are melting from the ceiling, while bathrooms include a Bodhi Leaf-shape mirror. Underground, the expansive Spa by Clarins has Pompeii-inspired baths and a labyrinth of corridors leading to the eight private treatment rooms, an Oxygen room, a heated vitality pool, steam room and sauna.
Courtesy of David Moseder, Matt Turner, Joe Pike, Mary Winston Nicklin