From the shores of the Persian Gulf to the shadows of Mount Fuji, from an ultra-luxe retreat above New York City’s streets to a historic hideaway in the English countryside, these are our 20 favorite hotels to open in the past year.
For the Upcycler
1 Hotel San Francisco
The 1 Hotel brand is known for its environmental consciousness, green aesthetics, and upcycling, and its San Francisco property lives up to that reputation. There’s a living wall behind the check-in desk, a clothing donation program, and a selection of zero-waste cocktails at Terrene, the lively California-Mediterranean restaurant. The coolest feature— especially for Bay Area natives—is that the walls facing the elevator banks on each floor are made from wood taken from the support beams of the old east span of the Bay Bridge. Pause to appreciate that history before heading to your room to enjoy views of the new bridge.
From $500, 1hotels.com
For the Desert Devotee
Sedona is synonymous with red rocks, and this long-awaited property puts the resort town’s foremost geographic feature front and center. The hotel is composed of 40 standalone atriums, each of which has floor-to-ceiling windows situated to maximize their inhabitants’ appreciation of the desert landscape. The viewing party doesn’t stop after the sun goes down, either, as every accommodation has its own firepit-equipped private rooftop deck, allowing guests to do some stargazing, thereby taking advantage of Sedona’s status as an official Dark Sky Community. Top off the evening with locally sourced goodies from the complimentary mini-bar.
From $1,800, ambientesedona.com
For the View Finder
The Ritz-Carlton, Melbourne
Luxury reaches new heights (sorry) at Australia’s tallest hotel. An express elevator whisks arriving guests to the 80th-floor “sky lobby,” where they can take in views of the Melbourne skyline, Port Phillip Bay, and beyond. From here, head down to your room (the lowest ones are on floor 65), the indoor infinity pool and spa, or Atria, a modern restaurant with a bar that hugs the perimeter of the building and faces out toward the cityscape. And while most speakeasies tout their underground bona fides, the cocktail lounge Cameo evokes the opulence of the Victorian-era gold rush from more than 800 feet above sea level.
From $435, ritzcarlton.com
For the Natty Nature Lover
Eastwind Lake Placid
Lake Placid, New York
Lake Placid has twice hosted the Winter Olympic Games, but the Adirondacks are an idyllic destination year-round, and the Eastwind Lake Placid, which opened late last summer, serves skiers and sunseekers alike. Those looking to warm up after hitting the slopes will appreciate the saunas and the cozy library, while summertime guests will surely avail themselves of the pool, the hammocks, and the communal firepit. (Ask the friendly staff at the bar for s’mores fixings.) No matter the season, the Scandinavian-influenced design of the 25 rooms and suites serves as a reminder of the international imprimatur this remote Upstate New York mountain town enjoys.
From $259, eastwindhotels.com
For the Night Owl
The Tampa Edition
It’s rare for a single hotel to completely shake up a city’s nightlife scene, but that’s what’s happening at this Tropical Modernist urban resort on Tampa’s Water Street. As you enter the lobby, you’re faced with a choose-your-own-nightlife adventure: Turn left, and you can sip rhubarb gimlets as you queue up at the lobby bar’s travertine pool table; turn right, and a spiral staircase takes you up to the Caribbean-inspired Punch Room, as well as the Arts Club, where the ceiling is bedecked with disco balls. The best place to take in this on-the-rise city, though, is at the pool bar, where the bougainvillea-draped cabanas are the hottest seats in town.
From $499, editionhotels.com
For the Architecture Enthusiast
R48 Hotel and Garden
Tel Aviv, Israel
Tel Aviv has more Bauhaus buildings than anywhere else in the world—UNESCO declared the city’s collection of International Style structures, known as the White City, a World Heritage Site—and one of them recently began a new life as a posh hospitality property. R48 Hotel and Garden opened this March in a restored 1933 Bauhaus building on bustling Rothschild Boulevard. The hotel features 11 suites, a rooftop pool, a garden from the architect who landscaped New York’s High Line, a chef’s table restaurant (with a brasserie to come), and, of course, those perfectly rounded signature balconies.
From $1,500, r48.co.il
For the Chic Collector
The seaside village of Comporta, in Portugal’s Alentejo region, has emerged as Lisbon’s answer to the Hamptons, and the likes of Christian Louboutin and Philippe Starck have been spotted in humble rice-growing country. The area’s newest boutique hotel is decked out in natural fibers and neutral tones, with bright pops of contemporary art—almost all of which is for sale. Bring home Celia Rogge’s infrared photos of cork oaks, João Trindade’s portraits of local fishers and farmers, and photos by the anonymous “Beach Art Man.” If you prefer your art wearable, pick up one of the colorful, Trindade-designed scarves worn by staffers.
From $195, almalusahotels.com
For the Anglophile
Ashford, United Kingdom
London hospitality vets Kristie and Brad Lomas decamped to this quiet Kent town, about an hour southeast of the capital by train, and revitalized a 1616 Jacobean manor house built by the aristocrat Thomas Boys. Now a 10-bedroom country retreat, the place is dripping with English history: Charles I reportedly stayed here while fleeing Oliver Cromwell, gold coins found in a flower pot on site have made their way to the British Museum, and a portrait of diarist Samuel Pepys (a former guest) watches over the lounge. You don’t have to know your Tudors from your Stuarts, however, to enjoy the roll-top bathtubs, the crackling fireplace, or the lovely kitchen garden.
From $223, boys-hall.com
For the Speed Racer
Fuji Speedway Hotel
Befitting its location overlooking the Fuji Speedway racetrack, the Unbound Collection by Hyatt’s first hotel in Japan is crazy for cars. Among the property’s automotive-themed assets are the three-level Fuji Motorsports Museum, a pro-style racing simulator, and Bar 4563, which features a communal table shaped like a Formula 1 car and is named for the length of the track (4.563 kilometers). Among the 120 rooms are 21 suites with oversize windows and wraparound balconies, from which guests can take in the action on the circuit. When the adrenaline from the racing wears off, relax with a dip in the private onsen or simply by taking in the views of Mount Fuji.
From $305, hyatt.com
For the Ecotourist
Petiti Coulibri, Dominica
Dominica is known as the Nature Island of the Caribbean, and the owners of this eco-resort want to keep it that way. The property comprises 14 studios and suites that dot a forested ridge with views of the sea, all of them built with sustainable materials such as recycled wood and stone carved from local boulders. Best of all, the hotel is entirely off the grid: It’s powered by solar panels and wind turbines, with collected rainwater purified using UV light and copper ionization. The binoculars and birding guide in each room offer a way for guests to make an even deeper connection with their surroundings.
From $700, coulibriridge.com
For the Star Spotter
Atlantis The Royal
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
You know a place is a showstopper if it can convince Beyoncé to book her first live performance since 2018. Queen B was just one of hundreds of celebrities on hand for a grand opening gala at this new resort, a stack of suites that resembles a losing Tetris board, set atop Dubai’s man-made Palm Jumeirah island. In addition to the A-listers hanging around the rooftop infinity pool or the various nightclubs, a who’s-who of big names has worked on the hotel, including star chef Heston Blumenthal, whose cocktail bar has a 21-foot-tall jellyfish tank as its impressive centerpiece.
From $750, atlantis.com
For the Adventurous Oenophile
The Inn at Nicewonder Farm & Vineyards
America’s coolest wine-country hotel isn’t in Napa or Sonoma, but rather along the Virginia-Tennessee border. The 450-acre Nicewonder Farm & Vineyards recently debuted a 28-room inn to go with its nine existing yurts. James Beard Award–nominated chef Travis Milton heads up the open-fire kitchen at Hickory, where heirloom Appalachian ingredients show up in creative dishes such as whipped Spam with fried saltines and chow-chow pancakes with soup-bean mayo. There’s a disc golf course, as well as hiking trails, but we’ll forgive you if you simply want to listen to live folk music while sipping a chardonnay by the barn-like tasting room’s firepit.
From $325, nicewonderfarm.com
For the Style Maven
You’d expect Leonardo Ferragamo to value appearances, and the latest addition to the fashion magnate’s Lungarno Collection is a real looker. The stunning 16th-century building once housed one of Europe’s oldest seminaries, and interior designer Michele Bönan brought the decor up to spec, giving it a mid-(20th)-century feel with plush red velvet and peperino volcanic stone. One could even say the hotel is changing the fabric of the city; Milan’s mayor inaugurated the formerly private central courtyard, which was renamed Piazza del Quadrilatero and is now open to the public. The square is home to restaurants and boutiques, including a jewelry shop owned by Ferragamo’s daughter, Maria Sole Ferragamo.
From $975, lungarnocollection.com
For the West Coast Aesthete
Palihouse West Hollywood
In the 15 years since he founded the Palisociety brand, Avi Brosh has specialized in reimagining unloved buildings as design-forward West Coast boutique hotels. Perhaps the most eye-catching one yet is this property, which opened in December in a plum location at the nexus of West Hollywood, Fairfax, Beverly Hills, and the Miracle Mile. The 95 guest rooms are decked out in kitschy yet tasteful decor (there’s no shortage of paintings, plants, and floral prints), and the Lobby Lounge Café and Bar is a sun-drenched space that’s equally pleasant at breakfast and happy hour, thanks to the slick design and the unfailingly attentive staff.
From $275, palisociety.com
For the Zen Urbanite
Aman New York
New York City
When you step out of the elevator and into the 14th-floor lobby of the Aman, New York City disappears. A calm washes over you. Each guest suite is like a golden-hued womb, with gas fireplaces, washi paper murals, and bathrooms bigger than most NYC apartments. You won’t want to leave, but there’s more luxury to be had. The spa spans three floors and features two über-luxurious private spa houses. An omakase dinner at Nama is a thing of beauty (looking at you, lobster-and-uni ogonyaki). At The Jazz Club, creative director Brian Newman brings together the city’s best musicians for two sets a night. The only thing better than the show is taking the elevator back up to your room—instead of down to the busy Manhattan streets—at closing time.
From $1,950, aman.com
For the Southern Explorer
Cape Town, South Africa
It’s a long flight to Cape Town, so visitors to the Mother City will want to make the most of their time there. This 10-room hotel, which opened in December in a heritage 19th-century Victorian home, offers exactly that opportunity. Located just off ultra-hip Kloof Street in the upscale Gardens district (igadi means ‘the garden’ in Xhosa), the property boasts easy access to the city center’s museums, the V&A Waterfront, and Table Mountain National Park. The restored structure showcases the original exposed beams and latticed balconies, with tasteful additions such as a large replica of Dutch artist Jan Asselijn’s 1650 painting The Threatened Swan in the breakfast nook.
From $210, igadihouse.com
For the Boho Beachgoer
Susurros del Corazón, Auberge Resorts Collection
Punta De Mita, Mexico
There’s an earthy simplicity to the decor at this beach resort north of Puerto Vallarta, with its neutral textiles, rough-hewn stone, and driftwood-blond furnishings. That palette has the effect of redirecting one’s gaze toward the bright outdoors—the verdant greens of the surrounding jungle, the deep blue of the Bahía de Banderas. The cultural offerings are equally colorful: join a tasting of raicilla (basically ranchero moonshine!), customize your own sombrero del alma (or soul hat) with the help of local artisan Mariana of Mowi, or participate in a cacao ceremony, which sees a medicine woman build an altar to IxCacao, the Mayan goddess of chocolate.
From $1,425, aubergeresorts.com
For the History Buff
Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo
The capital of Panama is an underrated destination for history lovers—it’s the oldest permanent European settlement on the west coast of the Americas, and the beautifully ramshackle Casco Viejo district is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that celebrates its 350th anniversary this year. The 159-room-and-suite Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo is the perfect home base for the traveler who appreciates such facts, as it’s in a gorgeous restored 1917 French Colonial building that was once home to the exclusive Club Union. Today’s guests will feel pretty honorable themselves, thanks to the views of Panama Bay; the Mediterranean restaurant, Caleta, from award-winning chef Lorenzo Di Gravio; and the lively rooftop bar, Ammi.
From $369, sofitel-legend-panama.com
For the Posh Politico
Pendry Washington DC – The Wharf
The U.S. capital is one of the country’s most diverse places, and this 131-room boutique hotel in the buzzy development The Wharf brings together an appropriate mishmash of cultures. The design sensibility is European—think four-poster beds and arched doorways in the rooms—in honor of D.C.’s original urban planner, Paris-born Pierre Charles L’Enfant. The dining influences, meanwhile, come from further afield: All-day eatery Flora Flora has a Peruvian- Mexican menu (ahi tuna causa, mushrooms in tangy salsa verde, while the rooftop spot, Moonraker, serves ora king salmon rolls, tempura cauliflower, and whiskey highballs, along with an incredible view of the Potomac. Speaking of which, paying extra for a river-facing room is a no-brainer—especially during peak cherry blossom season.
From $395, pendry.com
For the Trendsetting Texan
The Loren at Lady Bird Lake
These days Austin is America’s biggest boomtown, but the city’s heart, soul, and lungs are still found along Barton Creek and Lady Bird Lake. The latest entry in the Texas capital’s increasingly posh hospitality scene, The Loren, sums up the collision of old and new. The luxe resort stands on the site of what was once a lakeside taco shack, and the floor-to-ceiling windows in each of the 108 rooms and suites mean guests can take in views of both the leafy green belt and the ever-expanding city skyline. The rooftop infinity pool, Milk + Honey spa, and stylish Europe-meets-Texas restaurant Nido confirm that Austin is the place to be.
From $395, thelorenhotels.com