To compile our annual list of the best new hotels in the world, Hemispheres went everywhere, from the beaches of Tulum to the glaciers of Alaska to the palaces of India. We have a tough job, we know, but we managed to narrow it down to our 20 favorites, and no matter what kind of traveler you are, weu2019re sure youu2019ll find a must-stay destination. Bon voyage.
1. Sheldon Chalet
FOR THE SOLITUDE SEEKER
The Sheldon Chalet is definitively this yearu2019s coolest new hotel. The five-bedroom family-run luxury lodge opened this February on a rugged nunatak (an exposed rocky point surrounded by ice) 5,800 feet above sea level, surrounded by the remote, 6 millionu2013acre Denali National Park. That locationu2014in an area appropriately called the Don Sheldon Amphitheateru2014means views of North Americau2019s tallest peak and near-perfect conditions for seeing the aurora borealis. Guests arrive by air on a u201cflightseeingu201d helicopter tour over the glacier fields and, perhaps to quell any fears that this place qualifies as u201croughing it,u201d are met with a glass of Champagne and a selection of fresh Alaskan seafood, such as halibut and king crab, prepared by the chaletu2019s private chef.
2. Alila Fort Bishangarh
FOR THE MILITARY HISTORY BUFF
This architectural icon, a 230-year-old blush-pink fortress atop a granite hill in Rajasthanu2019s Aravalli Range, lay in a state of ruin for decades, taken over by bats, snakes, and monkeys. Now, after nearly a decade of work, the Alila Fort Bishangarh is once again fit for a king, with design touches recalling the Mughal and British eras, such as jali lattice window screens, Thikri mirror mosaics, and petal-shaped arches. The 59-suite hotel makes clever use of the fortu2019s many nooks and crannies: You can sleep in the royal residences or the barracks, relax in the library lounge in the former war room, and drink cognac in the turret cigar bar, where soldiers once poured boiling oil on their enemies through the musket slots in the 10-foot-thick walls. And the spa? Itu2019s in the old dungeon.
3. Sound View
FOR THE NEW ENGLAND NOSTALGIC
GREENPORT, NEW YORK
Long Islandu2019s North Fork is more casually cool than its glitzy neighbor to the southu2014home of Montauk and the Hamptonsu2014and last August, the 19th-century whaling village of Greenport got a fittingly laid-back yet luxe lodging. In-demand Brooklyn designers Studio Tack kitted out the appropriately named Sound Viewu2014the hotel overlooks Long Island Soundu2014in a spare Modernist New England style that pairs cedar shiplap walls with cork and rubber floors meant to evoke a sandy beach. At James Beard Awardu2013winning chef Galen Zamarrau2019s on-site restaurant, The Halyard, dig into fresh seafood (fluke tacos, roasted scallops) paired with North Fork wines and beers.
4. Valsana Hotel & Appartements
FOR THE ECO-FRIENDLY SKIER
Skiing is surprisingly tough on nature, but the Valsana, which opened in December in the resort village of Arosa, has found clever ways to combat environmental degradation. The 40-room, nine-suite hotel is nearly carbon-neutral thanks to fair tradeu2013certified toiletries, sustainable building materials, and a state-of-the-art energy recovery system called an u201cice batteryu201d (ask a physicist). Playing off this progressive outlook, the Valsana eschews Alpine clichu00e9s for millennial-approved thrift-shop design touches, such as vintage turntables and secondhand books in guest rooms and hammocks on balconies. For an updated take on apru00e8s-ski, hit the lobbyu2019s self-service wine dispensers, which are often stocked with vintages from the surrounding Graubu00fcnden region.
5. 21C Museum Hotel
FOR THE ART COLLECTOR
Last May saw the opening of the seventh member of the 21c Museum Hotel chain, which together forms one of the nationu2019s largest multivenue contemporary art institutions. The Nashville location occupies the historic Gray & Dudley Building, which opened in 1900 and lends its name to chef Levon Wallaceu2019s lobby restaurant, where diners come face to face with Beth Cavener Stichteru2019s evocative stoneware animal sculptures. In addition to the public gallery spaces, the hotel offers three Artist Suites, curated by painter Sebastiaan Bremer, composer Josephine Wiggs, actor Adrian Grenier, and artist Yung Jake. The chainu2019s most famous pieces, however, remain Cracking Artu2019s army of 4-foot-tall plastic penguins, which come in a different color at each location (Nashvilleu2019s is teal) and which staffers move around the hotel throughout the day. Pick up a miniature ceramic version at the gift shop.
6. Mitchelton Hotel and Day Spa
FOR THE ADVENTUROUS OENOPHILE
The Mitchelton Wine Estate, set among apple orchards and horse farms about 80 miles north of Melbourne, has produced award-winning rieslings and shirazes for five decades. It never ascended to the ranks of destination winery, however, until December, when it opened a design hotel and day spa. The warm, masculine space mixes natural materials both hard (blackened steel, copper) and soft (merino wool, buttery Italian leather). Sample the estateu2019s wines while taking in vineyard views from one of the 58 rooms and suitesu2014or, better yet, from the 180-foot-high observation tower.
7. Henrietta Hotel
FOR THE COCKTAIL CONNOISSEUR
The Paris-based Experimental Group is shaking up the hospitality scene with its growing roster of slinky bars and buzzy boltholes. The past year saw the opening of both its second lodge in Paris (Hotel des Grands Boulevards) and its first in London, the 18-room Henrietta Hotel, which debuted last May in side-by-side Victorian townhouses in Covent Garden. Dorothu00e9e Meilichzonu2019s understated interiorsu2014all brass accents, mirrored surfaces, and soft curvesu2014call to mind an Art Deco bar cart. Confirm the bed-and-beverageu2019s boozy bona fides in chef Ollie Dabbousu2019s French-accented restaurant, where the cocktail menu was put together by a pair of drink historians, or in your room, which is outfitted with a bedside Experimental Cocktail Club recipe book and a minibar arsenal of 50 ml bottles of craft spirits.
8. Verride Palu00e1cio Santa Catarina
FOR THE AU COURANT COUNTESS
If the words u201cpalace hotelu201d conjure oppressive dark woods and heavy fabrics, the Verride Palu00e1cio Santa Catarinau2014opened in October across from Lisbonu2019s Pharmacy Museumu2014is just what the doctor ordered. Occupying a hilltop 1750 townhouse once owned by a count, the 19-room hotel is studded with historic touches, including blue and white azulejo tiles, Rococo molding, and hand-painted silk wallpaper. The space transcends Baroque weightiness by employing a palette of crisp white tonesu2014from Celso de Lemos organic cotton linens to Carrara marble accentsu2014bathed in the cityu2019s greatest asset: the intense Iberian sunshine.
9. Myconian Kyma
FOR THE INTROVERTED ISLAND-HOPPER
Mykonos is Greeceu2019s undisputed party island (Lindsay Lohan celebrated her 30th here), but the 81-room Myconian Kyma provides a welcome respite for guests who would rather spend time under the Aegean sun than nightclub strobe lights. Opened last May on a rocky hilltop less than 10 minutes on foot from the ouzo-fueled downtown, the stark, whitewashed space is replete with shadowy alcoves for midday napping, as well as a double-level infinity pool that overlooks the sea. Many of the suites come with their own plunge pools or hot tubs, but for the best chance at relaxation, head to the Satori Thalasso Spa, which uses mineral-enriched seawater in many of its treatments.
10. Ace Hotel
FOR THE MIDWESTERN MODERNIST
The ultra-hip Pacific Northwestu2013born Ace brand made its Third Coast debut in August in a former cheese factoryu2014tru00e8s Midwesternu2014in Chicagou2019s burgeoning West Loop district. The buildingu2019s aesthetic draws on the sleek industrial style of architect Lu00e1szlu00f3 Moholy-Nagy, who founded the New Bauhaus school here in 1937, with visual references to luminaries like Frank Lloyd Wright, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Josef and Anni Albers. Rooms feature a host of Midwestern-made goods, including blankets from Iowau2019s Amana Woolen Mill, football-inspired details from Chicagou2019s Horween Leather, and original works by students at the prestigious School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Donu2019t miss the rooftop bar, Waydown, which takes its name from a song by John Prine, the bard of Maywood, Illinois.
11. Hotel Akelarre
FOR THE STUFFED-TO-THE-GILLS GOURMAND
San Sebastiu00e1n, SPAIN
San Sebastiu00e1nu2019s culinary reputation precedes it: Basque Country boasts the highest concentration of Michelin stars per capita on the planet. One of the cityu2019s trio of three-starred restaurants, Pedro Subijanau2019s Akelarre, opened a 22-room inn this Marchu2014the perfect spot for foodies to tuck in after a marathon eight-course tasting menu (with dishes like this squid risotto with butter flower) and a few too many glasses of wine from the 650-label cellar. Done up in a crisp minimalist palette of cream, gray stone, and warm oak slats, the hotel features floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Bay of Biscay. Enjoy that view over a room-service breakfast of tortilla espau00f1ola, chorizo, and local charcuterie from the world-class kitchen.
FOR THE HOLLYWOOD ELITE
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
New Yorku2019s NoMad Hotel and its Michelin-starred restaurant brought a touch of European elegance to an unloved stretch of Broadway, and now the brand is hoping to recreate that magic in Downtown LA. The Sydell Group filled the 1923 Neoclassical former Bank of Italy headquartersu2014the lobby bathroom is inside the old vaultu2014with lush, tactile details that would fit right in at the estate of an Old Hollywood mogul: jewel-toned velvet, coffered ceilings, potted palms, even the odd stuffed peacock. Naturally, the on-site restaurants are from chef Daniel Humm and restaurateur Will Guidara, the team behind the original NoMad and Eleven Madison Park, which was named the Worldu2019s Best Restaurant in 2017.
FOR THE BOHO BEACH BUM
Guests checking in at Habitas Tulum are asked to burn a bit of copal, a tree resin known as much for its spiritual cleansing properties as for its (perhaps more useful) ability to ward off mosquitoes. Tucked away on a secluded beach not far from Mayan ruins, this off-the-grid retreat contains 32 air-conditioned canvas tents complete with palapa roofs, king-size beds, kilim rugs, and outdoor rain showers. You can follow the propertyu2019s jungle walking trails, join an Ashtanga yoga class, or borrow a complimentary bike, but this place was really designed for doing nothing, artfully: Youu2019re never more than a few feet from hammocks hanging in palm thickets, poolfront beds, or the rope swings swaying in front of the bar.
14. The Hoxton
FOR THE BARGAIN HUNTER
The lodging scene in Paris is booming. Reopenings of historic grandes dames like the Hu00f4tel de Crillon and the Hu00f4tel Lutetia have grabbed all the headlines, but for our money the most exciting recent debut is The Hoxton, which burst onto the scene last summer in the startup-filled Second Arrondissement (sometimes called u201cSilicon Sentieru201d). Nightly rates start at a cool $120 (less than one-tenth of the Crillonu2019s), but donu2019t expect a no-frills hostel. After all, the 172-room hotel occupies the High Rococo 18th-century townhouse of Louis XVu2019s diplomatic adviser. Even the self-effacingly named Shoebox rooms are decked out in sumptuous detailing, such as decorative molding and herringbone parquet floors. Use all those Euros youu2019ve saved at the Riviu00e9 all-day brasserie or the Moroccan-themed Jacquesu2019 Bar.
15. The Douglas
FOR THE ASPIRING LUMBERJACK
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA
You could see why the Parq Vancouver might have made locals nervous: With its 72,000 square feet of casino space, the $500 million urban resort had the makings of a Vegas-style intrusion. But the developers were savvy enough to build not just a sleek JW Marriott but also an eco-friendly Autograph Collection hotel, the Douglas. The property opened in October as an ode to its namesake, the Pacific Northwestu2019s favorite conifer, which appears throughout public spaces (the check-in area has a 25-foot replica Douglas fir encased in glass) and in the rooms and suites (each of which contains a bottle of Douglas Fir gin from the nearby Yaletown Distillery). The best part is the 30,000-square-foot park thatu2019s perched on the resortu2019s sixth floor and is home to 200 native pines and 15,000 local plants.
FOR THE ANTIQUES COLLECTOR
When the construction of a reservoir threatened a collection of Ming and Qing Dynasty structures in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangxi, native son Ma Dadong sprang into action. Over the course of 16 years, the entrepreneur rescued and reassembled historic villas and replanted more than 10,000 camphor trees about an hour southwest of Shanghai, creating the backbone of Amanu2019s fourth Chinese property, Amanyangyun, which opened in January. Guest villas are decorated with centuries-old calligraphic carvings and reliefs, and the 30,500-square-foot spa employs traditional Chinese medicine in its treatments.
17. Hotel 50 Bowery
FOR THE URBAN PIONEER
NEW YORK CITY
The Bowery in Lower Manhattan was synonymous with crime and urban decay for more than a century, but two decades of revitalization have made the neighborhood ripe for stylish visitorsu2014and a boutique hotel to serve them. Joie de Vivreu2019s newest New York City outpost, 50 Bowery, opened last May in a 22-story glass tower designed by Hong Kongu2013born architect Peter Poon. The property, located just across the street from the ornate entrance to the Manhattan Bridge, fully embraces its Chinatown location in everything from its robes (emblazoned with red dragons) to its color scheme (blue and white, u00e0 la Chinese porcelain) to its pan-Asian restaurant, Rice & Gold, from Top Chef contestant Dale Talde. In fact, the designers literally mined the area for influences: The Museum of Chinese in America curated an on-site exhibit of the artifacts that were found while excavating the building plot, which was once home to vaudeville theaters, gaming dens, and a German beer hall.
18. The Drifter
FOR THE INSTAGRAM INFLUENCERS
Tulane Avenue, at the southern end of Route 61 (the Blues Highway), is home to some seedy motels, one of which has now been revived as the Big Easyu2019s trendiest hotel. Set around a courtyard pool, the 20-room Drifter occupies a u201950s motor lodge built in the Googie style, a mid-century look that borrowed shapes from car culture and the Space Race. Expect interiors decked out in Instagram-ready pinks, mint greens, and teals, with eye-catching design touches such as Oaxacan tiles, retro Formica tables, and a wall-size installation by Carlton Scott Sturgill thatu2019s covered in roses made from upcycled Ralph Lauren dress shirts. Happy filtering!
19. Trunk (Hotel)
FOR THE EAGER UPCYCLER
Tokyou2019s lodging scene skews toward the glossy and corporate, but when the 15-room Trunk (Hotel) opened last May in the Harajuku/Jingumae district (a part of trendy Shibuya), it brought a refreshing dose of local craftiness. The space is filled with creatively eco-conscious details: Rooms are clad in reclaimed wood, staff aprons are made from salvaged deadstock denim, cushions on the terrace were once boat sails, and even the coat hangers are repurposed factory iron remnants. Speaking to its fast-paced, youth-oriented neighborhood, the Trunk also houses a kushiyaki grilled-meat stand and an elevated take on a konbini (convenience store) that sells grab-and-go snacks and gifts, including locally sourced honey.
20. Alvear Icon Hotel & Residences
FOR THE CONTEMPORARY KOSHER-KEEPER
Since 1932, the Alvear Palace Hotel has stood as one of the most luxurious grandes dames in the New World. The brand added a second property, the Alvear Art Hotel, in 2013, and now it has a third, with the debut last June of the Alvear Icon Hotel & Residences. Set in a jagged glass tower on the banks of the Ru00edo de la Plata in the upscale Puerto Madero neighborhood, the hotel features 159 rooms and suites with arabescato marble wall accents and French and Italian fabrics, as well as South Americau2019s first fine-dining glatt kosher restaurant, Glitter, and a kosher dairy bar, Milk & Co.