Hotels

The T&C Hotel Awards: The Best New Hotels in the World

From urban oases to island idylls, wilderness outposts to gastronomic getaways, here are some outrageously wonderful new places to stay.
IMAGE COURTESY OF THE HOTEL/ COURTESY OF PATRICIA PARINEJADI
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Creating a good hotel, Mark Twain wrote in 1898, “is an art apart,” and he went on to quote (of all people) Saint Francis of Assisi: “All saints can do miracles, but few of them can keep hotel.” Nothing has changed. Finding hotels created by true masters of hospitality is still the holy grail of travel—and the great and fun exercise of all publications that cover it. With good reason.

A poor hotel can ruin a trip; a superlative one can transform your life—or at least it feels that way. For this special section, we took the exercise to the nth degree. We convened a roundtable of 34 insiders who regularly travel the world to discover the best experiences out there. We asked them for names of places they absolutely loved that had opened (or reopened) in the last two years, and what they loved about them.

We received 193 vetted nominations from all around the globe. Then we raised the bar further: Just how exceptional are the locations? The room design? The food? The activities? We culled some more. And then again. To follow are the results of our deliberations. The cream of the crop of the newest places to stay in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, Australia, Asia and the Indian Ocean, the Americas, and the United States. They include everything from slick city aeries to rustic five-room lodges in the middle of gorgeous nowhere. Each, we believe, is worth building a trip around. I like to think Saint Francis would agree. Consider it the T&C guarantee. —Klara Glowczewska

OUR JURY A panel of travel experts helped compile the 2018 T&C Hotel Awards. They have all stayed at these properties, have sent travelers there, and also design fantastic custom trips. Their names appear at the end of each hotel write-up, and their contact information and details are here.

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EUROPE


Palatial grandes dames, peaceful country escapes, and the cool cutting edge.

THE FONTENAY, HAMBURG


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Germany’s progressive city finally gets a dazzling contemporary luxury hotel. Jan Störmer’s bold, curvy design (no two walls are parallel—they’re rarely even straight) mirrors the waters of Lake Alster and the park in which it’s set. Best of all, Herzog & de Meuron’s phenomenal new Elbphilharmonie cultural center is nearby.

Wow Factor: The almost 360-degree views from the top-floor Fontenay Bar and terrace.

—Jack S. Ezon

BURGENSTOCK RESORT, LAKE LUCERNE


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Set high above the lake, this four-hotel aerie and state-of-the-art medical center have some of the most spectacular views in Switzerland—as restorative as the hiking, tennis, golf, mountain biking, and 108,000-square-foot spa with its encyclopedic range of treatments.

Wow Factor: The lightning-fast outdoor elevator (500 feet in under a minute) that takes you from near the resort’s hotels to the top of the world.

—Jack S. Ezon

HOTEL DE CRILLON, ­ROSEWOOD


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Paris Eighteenth-century elegance is back with fresh new twists at the most Parisian palace in the French capital, housed in a 1758 building on the Place de la Concorde. Among the additions: two exquisitely over-the-top Karl Lagerfeld–designed Grand Appartements, a barbershop and a shoecare “salon” by Devoirdecourt, and—this is fun—wineglasses with stems but no bases, a design Marie-Antoinette concocted so that partially full glasses couldn’t be put down.

Wow Factor: The vintage Citroën DS for discovering the neighborhood.

—Sarah Latrous

THE NED, LONDON


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This private club in the financial district is Soho House on steroids: 250 rooms, 10 restaurants, spa, gym, and rooftop pool. Some rooms give guests full access to members-only spaces. Details from the building’s former life as the Midland Bank—teller cubicles, a cupboard for top hats—are unlike anything else in the city.

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Wow Factor: The underground Vault bar, encased in 3,800 safe deposit boxes.

—Jack S. Ezon

THE RETREAT, ICELAND


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To enjoy these geothermal waters without the crowds, Bill Gates reserved the entire lagoon. Stay here and you have it to yourself before it opens for the day. The hotel’s 62 sleek suites are built on lava fields surrounding the lagoon, and some have direct access to it.

Wow Factor: The underground spa, which winds through heat chambers before you’re doused with salt, silica, and algae.

—Jack S. Ezon

VILLA LA COSTE, PROVENCE


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Nothing new in France comes close to this all-suite, ultra contemporary hotel set in the vineyard of Château La Coste and surrounded by astonishing works of art by Tadao Ando, Alexander Calder, Louise Bourgeois... The list goes on and on. 

Wow Factor: Everything. But the Michelin-starred Louison restaurant, enclosed in glass and set in a garden, is almost surreal; it makes dining an artistic experience.

—Philip Haslett

ADARE MANOR, LIMERICK


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One of Ireland’s best hotels even before its two-year, megamillion renovation, it’s now one of the finest country resorts in the world. The falconry, fishing, and archery are better than ever, and the Tom Fazio golf course is rumored to be a future Ryder Cup venue.

Wow Factor: The Gallery may well be the most extraordinary room for breakfast ever.

—Jonathan Epstein

LYMPSTONE MANOR, ENGLAND


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Michael Caines, one of the UK’s top chefs, has assembled a dream team for this contemporary country house hotel, with 21 luxurious rooms and suites and its own vineyard in the works. The location is perfect for exploring the West Country scenery, from the Jurassic Coast to Dartmoor National Park.

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Wow Factor: Peace, rooms, views, menus!

—Jonathan Epstein

HOTEL EDEN, ROME


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The home-run hotel in the Eternal City, reinvented by the Dorchester Collection with no expense spared. The staff lends warmth and energy to this oasis near the Spanish Steps, and the urban-chic renovation perfectly blends Italian elegance and Roman elements. Case in point: the lobby, among the world’s most beautiful.

Wow Factor: The views from the rooftop restaurant and the Bellavista Penthouse Suite, which turns into an open-air room. 

—Jill Taylor

HOTEL AKELARRE, SAN SEBASTIAN


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This contemporary hotel just outside town and built around Pedro Subijana’s three-Michelin-starred restaurant Akelarre is a breath of architectural fresh air in a city known for its classical beauties—check out the dramatic steel spiral staircase. The 22-room foodie heaven also has mesmerizing views of pastureland and grazing cattle.

Wow Factor: Two Akelarre Suites with heated plunge pools overlooking the Bay of Biscay.

—Jack S. Ezon

HOTEL SAVOY, FLORENCE


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Its location is as perfect as when it opened in 1893—on the Piazza della Repubblica between the Uffizi and the Duomo—but it has undergone a dramatic renovation: 16-foot ceilings in the lobby, Florentine sculpture and paintings, custom furniture and fabrics by local artisans, and bigger rooms.

Wow Factor: The two-story Panoramic Suite, with its rooftop views, and the Duomo Presidential Suite, which looks out on Brunelleschi’s masterpiece.

—Maria Gabriella Landers

FOUR SEASONS MEGEVE, FRANCE


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Ten minutes from the prettiest village in the French Alps, these four interconnected alpine chalets with 55 rooms are ­contemporary-chic on the inside, with some of Baroness Ariane de Rothschild’s art collection on display. Plus: Kids Kingdom, a Teen Zone, and the largest spa in the Alps.

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Wow Factor: Helicopter ski safaris that get you to the slopes of Chamonix, Courchevel, and Val d’Isère, with views of Mont Blanc along the way.

—Jill Taylor

IL SERENO, LAKE COMO


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A welcome newcomer in Torno, from designer Patricia Urquiola, for those ready for a break from the lake’s grande dame hotels. All 30 contemporary suites have floor-to-ceiling windows and lakeside terraces, and there’s a jaw-dropping infinity pool suspended over the lake, a Michelin-starred restaurant, a Valmont spa, and a small, sandy beach.

Wow Factor: Town-hopping along the lake in one of the hotel’s custom Riva boats.

—Maria Gabriella Landers

CANAVES OIA SUNDAY SUITES, SANTORINI


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With only eight suites in the heart of the village of Oia, a staff/guest ratio of 3:1, and to-die-for views of the caldera, this is Greece’s ultimate boutique hotel experience. And the property can be transformed into a 10-­bedroom villa for an intimate celebration.

Wow factor: Seeing the sunset from Oia’s steep slopes—­in privacy.

—Jill Taylor

AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST


From haute safari lodges to sybaritic après-bush idylls.

BISATE, RWANDA


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The first true luxury lodge in Rwanda, and the ideal base from which to see its famed mountain gorillas (the trekking center is 25 minutes away). Magically situated, with views from each room and bathroom of three volcanoes in the Virunga range, it also has a wine cellar (just the thing after a giant primate encounter) and the best-curated crafts in Rwanda.

Wow Factor: The traditional Rwandan spherical architecture and vibrant decor. 

—Phoebe Weinberg

DUBA PLAINS, BOTSWANA


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The only camp in a beautiful 77,000-acre wildlife-rich concession (palm-dotted islands, floodplains, woodlands) that is also prime lion-viewing territory (the owners filmed the acclaimed The Last Lions in the area). The five huge tented rooms evoke—and surpass—classic 1920s safari style, and the guides and chef are superb.

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Wow Factor: The Plains Suite: just you, your family, and the wilderness (plus staff).

 —Kate Doty

MOMBO, MOREMI RESERVE


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The much-anticipated rebuilding of what may be the best game-viewing lodge in Africa. Lush grasses lure hordes of antelope, and the predators follow—lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena, wild dog. Mombo was one of the first lodges to transport endangered white and black rhinos from South Africa to safety here—be sure to get a conservation talk.

Wow Factor: Tented villa views of floodplains teeming with buffalo and elephant.

—Cherri Briggs

LIMALIMO LODGE, ETHIOPIA


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This small, chic, “simple luxury” hotel with floor-to-ceiling windows is a game changer for Ethiopia—finally, a place to stay amid the splendor of Simien Mountains National Park, whose astonishing ochre pinnacles—mounds, needles, spires—earned it a place on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Wow Factor: Trekking in a landscape older than the Rift Valley, and 700-strong troupes of gorgeous blond gelada monkeys, which live only here.

—Cherri Briggs

ONE & ONLY NGUNGYE HOUSE, RWANDA


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The luxury brand’s first foray into Rwanda (another is coming soon—this country is hot) is set on a working tea plantation, at the edge of Nyungwe Forest National Park. One of Africa’s oldest forests, it’s home to 13 species of primate and more than 300 types of birds.

Wow Factor:  Walking in a world of mahoganies, giant ferns, orchids, great blue turacos—as if Rousseau had painted it.

—Jack S. Ezon

LE QUARTIER FRANCAIS, SOUTH AFRICA


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A beloved country hotel set in a private garden in Fransch­hoek village has undergone a multimillion-dollar renovation that combined the original Cape Victorian architecture with cool modernism. A fresh base for exploring the pleasures of the Cape Winelands.

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Wow Factor: The Petite Colombe restaurant, in a glass conservatory with dark steel framing. Book well ahead.

—Ginger Hill

THE SILO HOTEL, CAPE TOWN


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One of the most spectacular contemporary hotels in the world. The whimsical suites are like magical beehives with sweeping views from their vast honeycomb windows of Table Mountain and the Victoria & Albert Waterfront. The hotel occupies six floors above a 1920s grain silo, the lower floors of which house South Africa’s other new spectacular opening: the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa.

Wow Factor: Sundowners at the rooftop bar.

—Cherri Briggs

THE RETREAT, KIGALI


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Any trip to Rwanda and its gorillas should also include the Genocide Memorial—so two nights in Kigali. This lovely 11-suite boutique lodge, created by American former NGO workers who came to help and couldn’t bear to leave, is the new, soulful place to stay. Besides the museum, you can ride horses on Mount Kigali, bike with a Team Rwanda pro, and have a meal with a rural family.

Wow Factor: The plugged-in spirit—plus staff.

—Cherri Briggs

MIAVANA, MADAGASCAR


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The sand is so white and the water so blue, you could happily pitch a tent. Instead, you get 14 gorgeous villas, brainchild of French-Mauritian financier Thierry Dalais. The underwater wonders are as exciting—you can scuba, snorkel, fish. (Plan carefully: Weather is variable.)

Wow Factor: Taking a helicopter to the mainland to see the golden-crowned sifaka lemurs.

—Cherri Briggs

BVLGARI HOTEL & RESORTS, DUBAI


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Just offshore, on Jumeira Bay Island, the Bvlgari combines the tranquillity and privacy of a low-rise, sand-in-your-toes hotel with the drama of Dubai’s rearing skyline. Plus all the elegant Bvlgari brand refinements: a spa with some of the city’s best treatments, a yacht marina, and handmade chocolate delicacies.

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Wow Factor: Just everything. Our favorite Dubai opening.

—Lindsey Wallace

THE SETAI TEL AVIV, ISRAEL


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Located in the historically Arab and now artsy neighborhood of Jaffa, full of history and character, this hotel is a standout on the Israeli coast, an appealing mix of modern design and luxury, with the bones and details of a restored Ottoman-era building. We love the many gathering spaces and courtyards.

Wow Factor: The rooftop infinity pool overlooking Jaffa, Tel Aviv, and the sea. 

—Jamie Maxner

AUSTRALIA


Down Under’s three sophisticated new retreats.

JACKALOPE, MORNINGTON PENINSULA


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Not your average country escape. High style and sophistication—moody charcoal interiors, glass-fronted rooms (46 of them), gloriously deep black bathtubs, a 30-meter infinity pool—in the midst of Willow Creek Vineyard. And there are 50 other cellar doors to choose from in the region. Plus beaches.

Wow Factor: The degustation dinner in the signature restaurant, Doot Doot Doot, where a 10,000-bulb chandelier (another wow) covers the ceiling.

—Stuart Rigg

LONGITUDE 131, ULURU


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No wonder Kate and William stayed here. These 15 sophisticated tented pavilions on a dune in Australia’s “Red Center” let you wake up in comfort and style to watch the changing colors as the sun rises over Uluru (aka Ayers Rock)—Australia’s killer view. Newly renovated, with king-size beds, indigenous artworks, a spa, and a new two-bedroom Dune Pavillion.

Wow Factor: Sleeping on a star bed under the Outback skies.

—Stuart Rigg

SPICERS POTTS POINT, SYDNEY


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A 20-room boutique hotel in three renovated Victorian terrace houses from the 1870s in a vibrant village close to the city center and sites like the Botanic Garden and the harbor. The rooms are large, lovely, and comfortable, and there’s a tranquil garden courtyard, but no full restaurant. There’s no need: You’re surrounded by Sydney’s hippest eat-streets.

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Wow Factor: The cozy home-away-from-home vibe.

—Stuart Rigg

ASIA & INDIAN OCEAN


Manta rays and magical forests, Himalayas and hot springs—just some of the reasons long-haul flights are worth it.

AMANYANGYUN, CHINA


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The design, as one would expect of an Aman, is stunning. Structures from the Ming and Qing dynasties have been transplanted and reassembled, brick by ancient brick, to create 37 suites and villas 45 minutes outside Shanghai.

Wow Factor: The owner also moved thousands of trees—the relocated forest is something you have to see to believe.

—Jack S. Ezon

OBEROI SUKHVILAS, INDIA


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A spectacular spa-hotel in Chandigarh surrounded by 8,000 acres of protected forest at the foot of the Himalayas, with hammams, plunge pools, and saunas unrivaled in India. It’s the best place to unwind after exploring the modernist architectural treasures of the city designed by Le Corbusier.

Wow Factor: The ultraluxurious Kohinoor Villa, which features a private pool, gardens, and your own personal butler.

—Bertie Dyer

AMANEMU, SHIMA


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Aman’s first resort in Japan, with 24 suites and four villas, overlooks picturesque Ago Bay (aka Bay of Pearls) and sits at the crossroads of the Ise Grand Shrine and the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes. Reach peak Zen in the fabulous spa, which has two hot springs.

Wow Factor: The Mie Prefecture’s microclimate produces nabari melons, matsusaka beef, spiny lobster, and abalone—all superbly prepared at the Restaurant.

—Scott Gilman

ONE & ONLY LE SAINT GERAN, MAURITIUS


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On its own peninsula, with palm-fringed beaches on one side and views of su­garcane-covered mountains on the other, this glamorous property just reopened after a $55 million renovation and is the absolute star of the island. Just the place to kick back after a South African safari or en route to Europe or Dubai.

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Wow Factor: Club One, the state-of-the-art fitness center.

—Jack S. Ezon

BANYAN TREE HUANGSHAN, CHINA


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Set in China’s Yellow Mountains (which inspired James Cameron’s film Avatar), this resort is the ideal base from which to explore the three UNESCO World Heritage Sites that surround it: the ancient villages of Xidi and Hongcun, and Mount Huangshan, with its peculiar granite peaks, lush pine trees, and hot springs.

Wow Factor: Suites and villas constructed in the classic Hui style.

—Jack S. Ezon

SIX SENSES ZIL PASYON, SEYCHELLES


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Proof that great design is even better when wedded to earth-­friendliness. This resort’s 30 airy, sustainably built villas (each with a pool) occupy only a small part of the island, which is otherwise reserved for native flora and fauna, so you can indulge, safe in the knowledge that invasive species are being cleared and coral regrown.

Wow Factor: The spa, built among the house-size granite boulders that are the area’s other showstoppers.

—Kate Doty

FOUR SEASONS, SEYCHELLES


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The sea around sparsely populated Desroches Island is known for world class fishing and diving. With the new Four Seasons, there’s a world-class resort to go with. Suites and villas have pools and ocean views, there are bikes for exploring the flat, forested island, and your kids can get up close to the 150 Aldabra giant tortoises in the animal sanctuary.

Wow Factor: The nine-mile beach of your dreams outside your door.

—Lindsey Wallace

WILD COAST TENTED LODGE, SRI LANKA


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What looks like massive boulders at the edge of Yala National Park are actually the 28 eco-conscious lodgings that make up this safari-style camp. With bushland on one side and the Indian Ocean on the other, you can look for leopards in the morning and be working on a tan on the beach by afternoon.

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Wow Factor: The cocoon-like luxury tents—with the occasional in-camp elephant.

—Miguel Cunat

JAYA HOUSE RIVER PARK, SIEM REAP


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The service and attention to detail are top-notch at this 95 percent plastic-free hotel, which also happens to have the best breakfast in Southeast Asia. Thirty-six rooms surrounded by trees along the Siem Reap river make it a true hidden gem, even though the center of town is just five minutes away.

Wow Factor: One-of-a-kind silver pool and complimentary tuk-tuks to get around.

—Andrea Ross & April Cole

AVANI LUANG PRABANG, LAOS


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This is one of the country’s top hotels and the only one with a pool within walking distance of this still blessedly not-yet-Westernized town’s center. It’s also pretty, inspired by French colonial architecture, and located within a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Wow Factor: The unbeatable location: You can watch the famous daily monk procession from your room.

—Andrea Ross & April Cole

FOUR SEASONS PRIVATE ISLAND, MALDIVES


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If the other tiny resort islands in the Maldives aren’t private enough, this one will be: five acres with only seven bedrooms on it, in the Baa Atoll, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, rentable to one party at a time. Everything is customized, and nearby Hanifaru Bay is one of the best places in the world to swim with manta rays.

Wow Factor: The 62-foot luxury yacht (comes with crew).

TAJ MEGHAULI SERAI JUNGLE LODGE, NEPAL


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Experience an African-style safari in Nepal at this over-the-top 30-room lodge inside Chitwan National Park. Along with game viewing drives (one-horned rhinos, leopards, and Bengal tigers are among the residents), you can explore local villages, spend a day with a mahout caring for elephants, or canoe the Rapti River.

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Wow Factor: Book one of the Rapti Villas, which have private plunge pools from which you might see crocodiles sunning by the river.

—Antonia Neubauer

BAWAH ISLAND, INDONESIA


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Reached from Singapore via ferry and then seaplane, and spread over several islands, with 13 beaches and a tropical rainforest, this is one of the world’s premier resort experiences—true barefoot luxury, with 35 villas made from bamboo, driftwood, and recycled teak. Its environmental practices make it a real eco-destination as well.

Wow Factor: The overwater villas.

—Lindsey Wallace

AZERAI, VIETNAM


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This is a project from hotelier Adrian Zecha (founder of Aman), which means you’re in excellent hands. The 60 rooms of this resort in Can Tho, which is built on its own islet, have open-air floor plans, wide terraces, and views of the garden, river, or lake. It’s close enough to all the must-see sights of the Mekong Delta, such as the city’s famous floating markets and the Ong pagoda.

Wow Factor: Arriving by boat.

—Andrea Ross & April Cole

FOUR SEASONS, KYOTO


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Set around an 800-year-old pond next to a Buddhist temple, this 123-room indoor-outdoor oasis has a serene ambiance, great spa facilities, and the largest pool in the ancient city. Its central location also makes it perfect for exploring Gion (Kyoto’s famous geisha district) and the temples of Higashiyama.

Wow Factor: Rooms with magical garden views.

—Scott Gilman

SANTANI, SRI LANKA


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Harmony and rejuvenation are the keywords at the first—and only—wellness resort in Sri Lanka, one of 2018’s hottest destinations. For instance: the eco-friendly minimalist design and a famous spa inspired by the ancient Buddhist meditation caves hidden in the surrounding tropical wilderness of the Knuckles Range.

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Wow Factor: The wellness staff has been handpicked from around the world.

—Miguel Cunat

SHINTA MANI ANGKOR, SIEM REAP


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Set just behind the royal residence and surrounded by colossal palm trees, these stunning one-bedroom villas showcase Bill Bensley’s slick design, mixed with traditional Cambodian touches. Plus, a portion of the price goes to the Shinta Mani Foundation, which aids local communities.

Wow factor: The private lap pools are the longest in Siem Reap—and accessible directly from your bedroom.

—Edward Gibbons

THE PENINSULA, BEIJING


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It always had the location—within walking distance of the Forbidden City—and now, after a $123 million renovation, almost every room is a suite, the smallest at 650 square feet. The soaring lobby is great to come home to, as is the inimitable Peninsula service, luxurious and subtle.

Wow Factor: The airport pickup service—which has you cruising through the streets of Beijing in a sparkling Rolls-Royce.

—Mei Zhang

TAJ EXOTICA RESORT ANDAMAN ISLANDS, INDIA


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Surrounded by rainforest and situated on Radhanagar Beach (which is perennially named one of the best in the world), these eco-residences are a modern twist on local tribal architecture. Naturalists will lead you on nighttime kayak tours of the nearby mangroves and on daylight treks to a nature reserve.

Wow Factor: Snorkel straight off the beach outside your room, above some of the most incredible coral reefs on earth.

—Bertie Dyer

SONEVA JANI, MALDIVES


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Some of the planet’s biggest overwater villas (the largest is about 4,000 square feet!) are equipped with private pools, retractable roofs (for stargazing from bed), and water slides into the lagoon below.

Wow Factor: Dinner on top of the observatory, where you can eat a brilliantly prepared organic meal while gazing deep into the Milky Way.

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—Lindsey Wallace

ROSEWOOD LUANG PRABANG, LAOS


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Built beside a river and a majestic waterfall in a dreamy forest 10 minutes outside town, these 23 Bill Bensley–designed luxury suites, villas, and tents (there’s nothing like them in Southeast Asia) let you experience Hill Station style and the atmosphere of Grand Tour–era Indochina. A short walk over the hill lies a traditional village where you can witness daily life in rural Laos.

Wow Factor: The Riverside Villa, which sits directly over the waterfall.

—Edward Gibbons

THE STRAND, MYANMAR


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This hotel in Yangon, built in 1901 and once one of the most stately in Southeast Asia, underwent a major restoration but kept its magnificent teak floors, chandeliers, and period furnishings. A pool has been added, and a spa (of course), but the aura lives on.

Wow Factor: Location, location, location! You couldn’t do better: within walking distance of Scott’s Market, the River Gallery, and Yangon’s ­finest shops.

—Antonia Neubauer

AMERICAS


What are the tops hotels in Mexico, South and Central America, and the Caribbean?

CHILENO BAY RESORT, LOS CABOS


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Auberge Resorts does it again with this sexy spot on one of Cabo’s best swimmable beaches (the waters are also known for great snorkeling). The architecture is cool and contemporary; the neutral decor harmonizes nicely with the desert setting and the spare, sustainable landscaping.

Wow Factor: Dinner at Comal, which has gotten raves for its unique, modern take on Latin American flavors.

—Julie Byrd

GRAN HOTEL MANZANA KEMPINSKI, HAVANA


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The first and only true five-star property in Cuba, in a carefully renovated 100-year-old building in an unbeatable location near all the important Old and Centro Habana sites. With 12-foot ceilings, French windows, a handsome cigar lounge (with full-time rum and cigar sommeliers), and Havana’s only world-class spa and gym.

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Wow Factor: The rooftop pool overlooking Old Havana.

—David Lee

SUGAR BEACH VICEROY, ST. LUCIA


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It already has the Caribbean’s most dramatic location: two beaches on the UNESCO World Heritage Site between the two Pitons. Now there’s the new Beachfront Collection: five four-bedroom modernist homes (available to rent) with their own beach-facing pools and glass sliders that blur the line between inside and out.

Wow Factor: Sunset drinks on your private terrace looking out at those giant volcanic cones.

—Lindsey Epperly

ATIX HOTEL, LA PAZ


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Bolivia’s high-altitude capital is hot on the heels of Lima and Santiago as Latin America’s foodie hub. This is its first high-end hotel for leisure travelers, with a lively vibe, colorful local ­artworks, and the ONA restaurant, which focuses on homegrown culinary talent.

Wow Factor: The views of the cityscape and mountains from the glass-walled rooftop pool and bar.

—Paul Irvine & Thomas Robinson

ROSEWOOD PUEBLA, MEXICO


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One of Mexico’s top colonial cities now has the hotel it deserves: exceptionally remodeled buildings around a courtyard with a 300-year-old chapel. Furnishings and decor are made by Mexican craftspeople, and the aura is high-end art gallery—plus embossed headboards and freestanding copper tubs.

Wow Factor: The view from the rooftop bar and pool of the skyline and the Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl volcanoes.

—Zachary Rabinor

PARK HYATT, ST. KITTS


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The first five-star beachfront hotel on St. Kitts is among the most exciting resorts in the Caribbean, with gorgeous views of cloud-topped Mount Nevis across the Narrows. The look is contemporary, with stone accents, and there are two pools, three restaurants—and peace all around (the area is still largely undeveloped).

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Wow Factor: The 5,210-square-foot Presidential Villas and the Miraval spa.

—Lindsey Epperly

EMILIANO, RIO DE JANEIRO


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With this latest addition to Rio’s luxury hotel scene, the girl from Ipanema is now hanging out at this cool, contemporary place in rising Copacabana. We love the white Swiss cheese façade, the L-shaped pool, and the views—which are arguably the best in town—of the entire bay and Sugarloaf.

Wow Factor: The rooftop Spa Suites, which have their own saunas and bathtubs looking down on the beach below.

—Paul Irvine & Thomas Robinson

PALACIO TANGARA, SÃO PAULO


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Brazil’s economic and cultural capital now has a palace-style hotel (part of the Oetker Collection), with much marble and many crystal chandeliers, set within lush Burle Marx Park, with an extensive spa and a restaurant by Jean-Georges ­Vongerichten. It’s the best way to escape the concrete jungle, and it’s also the city’s only luxury hotel truly suitable for families.

Wow Factor: The huge outdoor pool.

—Martin Frankenberg

AWASI IGUAZU, ARGENTINA


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The first luxury property on the Argentine side of Iguazu Falls, a natural wonder of the world. The 14 African lodge-style villas in the Atlantic rainforest are like treehouses on stilts; each comes with a plunge pool, 4WD vehicle, driver, and guide. Food is a key part of the experience (it’s a Relais & Châteaux property).

Wow Factor: The activities organized by Emilio White, our favorite wildlife guide in South America.

—Paul Irvine & Thomas Robinson

FOUR SEASONS COSTA PALMAS, LOS CABOS


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This 145-room resort is part of the private beach ­community of Costa Palmas, on the eastern shore of Baja (the “secret cape”). The standouts: airy minimalist design, marina, organic farm, and Robert Trent Jones II golf course (the most challenging in Los Cabos). And two miles of swimmable beach—a rarity here.

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Wow Factor: The vast sports complex, a magnet for kids of all ages. The whole place is perfect for families and sports lovers.

—Jack S. Ezon

LOCANDA FASANO, PUNTA DEL ESTE


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This is the newest addition to the chilled-out, 1,200-acre Fasano Las Piedras development, inland from the crowded beaches of Punta del Este. It’s a strikingly minimal hotel with 10 rooms (each with a terrace) and a rooftop pool. There is also an equestrian center and a small riverside beach.

Wow Factor: The views of the rolling Uruguayan countryside from the rooftop terrace—especially dazzling at sunset.

—Maita Barrenechea

FASANO ANGRA DOS REIS, BRAZIL


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The first luxury hotel—finally!—in South America’s best yachting area: a glorious bay of 365 islands fronted by rainforest and yellow beaches, 40 minutes by helicopter from Rio, that has long been a haunt of Brazilianaires. The low-rise, 60-suite property, with lots of wood, has a huge swimming pool, beach, and marina.

Wow Factor: The Crudo restaurant is getting raves, and the kids club is a work of art.

—Martin Frankenberg

BELMOND ANDEAN EXPLORER, PERU


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The attention to detail in this new sleeper train running between Arequipa and Cusco is so astonishing it’s like a luxury hotel on wheels. A staff of 30 serves the 24 cabins, there’s an onboard spa, and chef Diego Muñoz (of Astrid y Gaston fame) created the menus.

Wow Factor: Downing pisco sours in the observation car while watching a herd of wild vicuñas on the altiplano.

—Paul Irvine & Thomas Robinson

CHABLE RESORT, MEXICO


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This is the first five-star hacienda in the Yucatan’s interior and one of the top places to stay in Mexico. We love the cutting-edge mix of historic and modern design; the casitas, ­surrounded by gardens; the world-class wellness program (with a spa built around a cenote); the exceptional food (chef Jorge Vallejo’s Mexico City restaurant just made the top 50 in the world).

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Wow Factor: The Chablé signature spa treatments.

—Zachary Rabinor

THE SHORE CLUB, TURKS & CAICOS


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The major new resort on Providenciales’s almost impossibly white Long Bay Beach. It’s windier than Grace Bay but ideal for water sports—and practically deserted. The three- to six-bedroom villas, like the suites, have striking mostly white decor that sets off perfectly the incandescent blue of the water. Plus: four pools, three restaurants, a kids club, and a spa (of course).

Wow Factor: You can walk out almost a mile into the sea.

—Jack S. Ezon

HOTEL CARTESIANO, MEXICO


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The new boutique luxury property in Puebla, a UNESCO World Heritage city, housed in a mashup of a modern building and two restored 18th-century casonas, is just three blocks from the main square. Each of the 78 rooms is different, and the rooftop bar and pool look out over churches, colonial rooftops, and bell towers.

Wow Factor: The Cartesiano Spa, one of the most beautiful wellness facilities in Puebla.

—Zachary Rabinor

UNITED STATES


From Alaskan adventures to a foodie heaven in Healdsburg, it really is America the beautiful.

SHELDON CHALET, ALASKA


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This tiny five-bedroom property perched on five private acres 6,000 feet up in Denali National Park is hands down the crown jewel of the Alaskan wilderness experience. It overlooks the most dramatic vistas in the Alaska Range, and activities include heli-skiing, glacier trekking, and snowshoeing—plus feasting on the finest Alaskan seafood.

Wow Factor: The quiet, and private, aurora borealis viewing in season.

—Melissa M. Ladvala

THE WHITBY HOTEL, NEW YORK


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The fiercely whimsical Kit Kemp opened her second New York Firmdale outpost last year on 56th Street, complementing the wildly successful Crosby Street Hotel. As expected, the bright palette, rich textures (such as decorative columns), and cornu­copia of artful flourishes (along with all comforts and excellent service) have brought new chill to Midtown.

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Wow Factor: The obsession-inducing headboards. (Not kidding.)

—Jack S. Ezon

VENTANA BIG SUR, CALIFORNIA


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The Alila resort has reopened after last year’s storms better than ever, with 15 safari-style glamp­ing tents with canyon views and 59 renovated modern-rustic rooms. The tents are the only luxury digs in Big Sur that take kids of any age.

Wow Factor: New outdoor cabanas with two treatment tables and a copper tub for two overlooking the redwood forest.

—Jack S. Ezon

FOUR SEASONS THE SURF CLUB, MIAMI


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The gorgeous redesigned comeback of a smallish 1930s Art Deco retreat of the rich and famous, between Miami Beach and Bal Harbour. The 77 beach-chic rooms are cool and crisp, and the Sirenuse restaurant, transplanted from the Sersale family’s famed hotel in Positano, is the new place to see and be seen.

Wow Factor: An Aperol Spritz in the Sirenuse bar at sunset, when the real magic happens.

—Jack S. Ezon

SINGLE THREAD, SONOMA


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Arguably the most extraordinary new dining/lodging experience in America: a luxurious five-room inn in Healdsburg over a 55-seat two-Michelin-star restaurant with 11-course tasting menus. The chef/owner is Kyle Connaughton (formerly of London’s Fat Duck), his wife Katina runs the nearby farm, and they both obsess over every detail of food, decor, and service.

Wow Factor: Everything is Instagrammable, and the Japanese room-service breakfast is a showstopper.

—Jack S. Ezon

LAS ALCOBAS, NAPA


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Contemporary in design but set partly in a 1907 farmhouse (with pool) in St. Helena, Las Alcobas offers the best of Napa’s two worlds: It has a serene, vineyard setting (adjacent to Beringer, with terraces overlooking the vines), and it’s just minutes from some of the area’s best restaurants and shops.

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Wow Factor: Taking in the sunset from terraces with firepits.

—Jack S. Ezon

1 HOTEL BROOKLYN BRIDGE, BROOKLYN


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Barry Sternlicht’s eco-luxury hotel, with views of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, and the skyline, has put Brooklyn on the hospitality map. Its salvaged materials are both virtuous and lend warmth to the stylish interiors, its eco cred is for real, and each of the 194 rooms has floor-to-ceiling windows.

Wow Factor: Taking in Manhattan from the rooftop bar—or from the hammock in your room.

—Jack S. Ezon

FOUR SEASONS RESORT LANAI, HAWAII


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When Larry Ellison bought up Lanai five years ago, he poured millions into by far the most over-the-top resort in America. The activities—including clay shooting, horseback riding, hiking, biking, UTV rides, and helicopter tours—are matched by the luxury of the mahogany-embellished interiors.

Wow Factor: Watching the dolphins in Hulopoe Bay (they’re not captive, just fans).

—Jack S. Ezon

WALDORF ASTORIA BEVERLY HILLS, L.A.


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The city was in need of a superb new property, and this has exceeded all expectations. One of the tallest buildings in Beverly Hills, it has L.A.-at-your-feet views from the rooftop pool, all rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, and two of the three restaurants are by Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

Wow Factor: The Signature Suites come with an Aston Martin for your use.

—Dani & Jay Johnson

This story appears in the June/July 2018 issue of Town & Country.

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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