Hot New Hotels

There are familiar brands aplenty in this list, along with a number of boutique properties and rising stars as well. Sampled from a bumper crop of openings between January 2014 and March 2015, here is Travel Agent’s latest edition of Hot New Hotels. Scroll through the slideshow for a peek at each of this year's properties, and read on for some top selling points for clients. 


Namiri Plains, Tanzania


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Asilia Africa opened the high-end Namiri Plains safari camp last summer in a section of Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park that has been closed to the public for cheetah research for the last 20 years. As such, the camp (which is 45 miles from any other development) has a great population of big cats, and one of the highest densities of cheetahs in East Africa. This is a top choice for people who want to get away from it all and “rough it” — without roughing it too much. The six tents have king or two twin beds and en-suite bathrooms with hot bucket showers. Bonus: Each tent also has its own flush toilet. Guests can go on twice-daily game drives and talk with the resident cheetah researcher about the big cats.

Park Hyatt Zanzibar, Tanzania

This five-star Park Hyatt Zanzibar is set in a UNESCO heritage site in the historic section of Zanzibar City known as Stone Town. The hotel, which has direct access to the beachfront, is housed in two buildings. One of them, Mambo Msiige, is steeped in history, grace and mystique with a story dating back to the 17th century. A typical Zanzibari mansion, centered round a peaceful courtyard, a retreat from the summer heat, its architecture embraces Swahili culture alongside Arab, Persian, Indian and European elements. The new and purpose-built Zamani Residence connects to Mambo Msiige, blending old with new, historic with contemporary. Hotel amenities include a spa, fitness center and outdoor infinity pool.


One&Only Hayman Island, Australia

This 726-acre private island retreat in the Great Barrier Reef off of Australia’s Queensland coast was reimagined, renovated and reopened (in July 2014) under the One&Only flag. Now more than half of its accommodations are suites, villas and penthouses occupying three distinct sections that each have their own appeal and atmosphere. Travel Agent stayed in a one-bedroom suite in the Pool Wing, where we could jump right into the huge Hayman Pool from our teak deck. Our suite also came with butler service. The three-bedroom, three-bath Owner’s Penthouse includes a wraparound balcony.

Raffles Jakarta, Indonesia

This luxury hotel in Indonesia’s bustling capital city is dedicated to art and culture like its sister hotel, Le Royal Monceau in Paris. Drawing entrepreneurs and artists from around the world, the hotel is directly linked to the new Ciputra Artpreneur Center, an art gallery and theater complex in the central business district at Ciputra World Jakarta. Artwork created by well-known Indonesian artist Hendra Gunawan is found throughout the halls and guest rooms at Raffles Jakarta and the hotel’s art concierge conducts walking tours of featured pieces.

The Reverie Saigon, Vietnam

Four well-known Italian furniture designers helped create The Reverie Saigon, a member of The Leading Hotels of the World. It occupies 27th through 39th floors of a high-rise in the heart of the city’s central business district. Five restaurants and bars include the Royal Pavilion, serving Cantonese dishes prepared by the hotel’s Michelin-starred chef, the Long at Times Square, where French- and Italian-inspired café items are on the menu and R&J Italian Lounge & Restaurant. The Spa offers European amenities, including an ILA organic line from England, Voya from Ireland, and, in yet another nod to Italy, Acqua di Parma products.

One&Only Hayman Island accommodations include suites with direct access to the huge Hayman Pool.
One&Only Hayman Island accommodations include suites with direct access to the huge Hayman Pool.

The Ritz-Carlton Bali, Indonesia

Majestically perched on a clifftop on the southern tip of Nusa Dua, the new Ritz-Carlton, Bali affords sweeping views of the area’s pristine white-sand beaches edged by the Indian Ocean. Top accommodations are the private villas, which come with pools, terrace daybeds and butler service. The suites, starting at 1,070 square feet, also look decadent. There’s a dedicated kids program to keep pint-sized guests occupied while their parents indulge at the spa, which is housed in its own villa and has 14 treatment rooms. Six F&B outlets include the Bejana Indonesian restaurant which has a gourmet center called “The Culinary Cave,” where guests can sit at the chef’s table and watch the theater of the open kitchen.

Shangri-La Hotel, Nanchang, China

Sited on one of the most sought-after locations on the Ganjiang River, this high-rise offers views of the 1,300-year-old Tengwang Pavilion, and is a five-minute walk to Qiushui Square in Nanchang’s central business district. Inside, guests are treated to walls decorated with traditional Chinese ink paintings, blue and white porcelain, and the lotus emblem to honor Zhu Da, a prominent calligrapher from the Ming Dynasty.

The lobby lounge at Sheraton Samui Resort, Thailand, sets the tone for elegant guest experience to come.
The lobby lounge at Sheraton Samui Resort, Thailand, sets the tone for elegant guest experience to come.

Sheraton Samui Resort, Thailand

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide opened the Sheraton Samui Resort in southern Thailand just in time to make our list. Upon arrival at the lobby lounge, guests are treated to panoramic ocean views through a glass-encased balcony, alongside a lighthouse-inspired water feature as part of the “oceanic wave” design concept of the resort. When they open the door to their room or suite they’ll find a blend of modern décor and light pastel colors and, upon further exploration, a signature Sheraton Sweet Sleeper Bed, a bathroom with separate shower and bathtub, and a private balcony with garden or ocean views. Onsite facilities include two salt-water swimming pools, tennis court, a fitness center and the Glow Spa.

Sofitel So Singapore

Graced by “The Lion’s Seal” emblem and other elements designed by the legendary Karl Lagerfeld, Sofitel So Singapore debuted last May inside a heritage building in Singapore’s Central Business District. Behind the neoclassical façade is a trendy rooftop pool bar called Hi-So, a gym with a rock climbing wall and personal trainers, and a gold-tiled pool. The 134 guest rooms were designed by Isabelle Miaja. Touches include specially commissioned artwork and illuminated light boxes, high above each MyBed, which were inspired by French cupolas. The Xperience has been inviting Michelin-starred guest chefs to take the helm in the kitchen and prepare seasonal menus. The in-house DJ and creative design set the mood for socializing in the interactive gastrobar-style restaurant.

Sunrise Kempinski Hotel, China

On Yanqi Lake just outside of Beijing, the Sunrise Kempinski’s design — resembling the rising sun from the front view and a scallop from one side — is a symbol of harmony, unity and good fortune in the Chinese culture. Clients who have the good fortune to stay here will enjoy rooms with views of Yan Mountain and the Mutianyu Great Wall, one of the most well-preserved sections of the Great Wall of China. Spa-goers will be intrigued by Kempinski The Spa’s philosophy of restoring the powerful effect of nature, using the “wisdom” of plants, flowers and herbs in all its treatments.


Condado Vanderbilt Hotel has been restored to the glory of its 1919 origins.
Condado Vanderbilt Hotel has been restored to the glory of its 1919 origins.

Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, Puerto Rico

As late afternoon transcends to evening in San Juan, a quartet sets up on the sidelines of Vanderbilt Court, the dramatically large, elegant cocktail lounge at the newly reopened Condado Vanderbilt. The vibe is mellow at first but as the night matures the music elevates into an all-out celebration of Latin music, piano, bass and conga each taking turns with solos. All the while, the lounge has filled with sophisticated guests. This is a place where you dress in your finest. Love to sport an evening gown while you’re enjoying a mojito? Bring it on. You won’t feel out of place in your very best cocktail garb here (in fact, elegant resort wear is de rigueur) either at the bar or as you file in for a swell meal at Vanderbilt 1919. The 63 Commodore and 42 Biltmore Suites, in the hotel’s two newly constructed Suite Towers, resemble luxurious private residences, many with dramatic ocean views.

A three-tiered cascading infinity pool is the centerpiece of the Gansevoort Playa Imbert.
A three-tiered cascading infinity pool is the centerpiece of the Gansevoort Playa Imbert.

Gansevoort Playa Imbert, Dominican Republic

While the north coast of the Dominican Republic has been well served by value-led all-inclusive resorts, it hasn’t had the contemporary, chic, service-led option that the urbane and discerning luxury traveler seeks; that is, until now. Just outside of Puerto Plata, Gansevoort Playa Imbert has 48 suites comprised of one- and two-bedroom lofts; three-bedroom apartments with private plunge pools and spacious terraces; and a collection of four-bedroom penthouses. Each penthouse offers a private rooftop Jacuzzi. At the resort’s center is a dramatic, three-tiered cascading infinity pool overlooking Playa Imbert’s crescent-shaped beach. Other amenities include a spa with a hammam-style sauna and a meditation and yoga garden. Gansevoort Playa Imbert is a short drive from renowned surfing, kite boarding, golf, tennis, horseback riding and more.

JW Marriott Hotel Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

While the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo is home to an array of luxury boutique hotels, this is the city’s first true, full-sized luxury hotel. When we toured it in April, we were told it was mostly popular among business travelers but we see a major upside for leisure travelers, as it has qualities that can rival some of the finest hotels in the country, including such out-of-the-box features as TVs embedded into the mirrors of the bathrooms and key cards that are protected from magnetic strip damage. “Wow” factor: The Vertygo 101 lounge, the Dominican Republic’s first “floating” restaurant and bar, with a glass-floor terrace enabling guests to view the city street 101 feet beneath them.

Buzzworthy Caribbean Hotels

* Marriott Port-au-Prince Hotel, Haiti: The newest American-branded hotel in Haiti doubles as a symbol of Haiti’s resurgence. The journey to build it began four years ago when Marriott International reached out to the Clinton Foundation to propose a new hotel to help Haiti rebuild its tourism industry after the devastating 2010 earthquake. Eager partner Digicel Group invested $45 million to build the 170-room/five-suite hotel — et voilà!
* Belle Mont Farm, St. Kitts: The first chapter of the much-anticipated Kittitian Hill luxury development is set on a hillside amid 400 acres of steep contours and flat coastal plain on the St. Kitts’ north coast. Its 84 Guesthouses and seven, four-bedroom Farmhouses offer views of neighboring islands St. Eustatius, St. Barths and St. Maarten. Facilities include The Kitchen restaurant, The Mill bar, Irie Fields Golf Course and The Workshop fitness center.
* Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall and Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall, Jamaica: Montego Bay’s new family-friendly Hyatt Ziva and the adjacent adults-only Hyatt Zilara (along with Hyatt Zilara Cancun), represent Hyatt Hotels’ plunge into all-inclusive waters. The two hotels combine for more than 500 rooms, plus restaurants, dramatic cascading pools, a full-service spa and wellness center, beach butler services and a 24-hour suite service.

Malliouhana, An Auberge Resort, Anguilla

A once-celebrated resort in the Meads Bay/Turtle Cove area of Anguilla, Malliouhana was closed for nearly 30 years before Auberge Resort management renovated and reopened it with an eye toward attracting an affluent clientele. Malliouhana’s new look includes the creation of 46 spacious ocean-view rooms and suites; an open-air cliff-side restaurant spearheaded by award-winning Chef Jeremy Bearman; a signature Auberge Spa; and a two-tiered infinity swimming pool flanked by private cabanas.

Riu Palace Antillas, Aruba

The modern interior design of the adults-only Riu Palace Antillas follows the style that RIU is using for its new projects, although guests may be too busy enjoying the beautiful stretch of Palm Beach, the spa or nearby golf course to notice. There are also three specialty restaurants, a pool eatery, and pool and lobby bars. If they stay up late at the casino they can grab a snack at elegant café, open around the clock. Bonus: Guests can also enjoy the facilities at the hotel’s older sibling and neighbor, Riu Palace Aruba. A bridge allows access from one resort to the other.

Sandals Barbados, Barbados

This property was actually hot before it even opened. Many agents and clients looking for the latest all-inclusive resort in Barbados were highly anticipating the opening of Couples Barbados in Christ Church on the south coast of the island. When Sandals acquired the property in 2013, the anticipation got even heavier. Now, after a $65 million renovation, loyal Sandals specialists have a new option in a new island. The couples-only property has a new Club Sandals lounge, a Red Lane Spa, and 280 rooms across three villages. Room types include beachfront butler suites, or new swim-up river suites with access to a lagoon pool.

Sonesta Ocean Point Resort, St. Maarten

This is Sonesta’s turn to enter the “next level” of all-inclusives much like Sandals LaSource Grenada and Azul Sensatori Jamaica recently did. Swanky pools and a really cool rooftop bar are just some of the features that separate this luxury property on Maho Beach from Sonesta’s other St. Maarten hotels. This adults-only resort blends contemporary design with a Caribbean vibe, evoking a chic, inviting atmosphere from the public spaces to each of the 129 spacious accommodations (minimum 480 square feet). The services of professional, trained and rated butler are included in 25 of its top suites, including the Roof Top Suites, Sunset Suites and 2,600-square-foot Luxury Penthouses. Bonus: These suites also offer exclusive access to a private wine selection.

Central and South America

AltaGracia Boutique Hacienda is nestled in the mountains of Perez Zeledon, Costa Rica.
AltaGracia Boutique Hacienda is nestled in the mountains of Perez Zeledon, Costa Rica.

AltaGracia Boutique Hacienda, Costa Rica

Costa Rica has arguably been the hottest destination in Latin America in recent years as many Millennials are discovering some really cool, lesser-known properties in the destination. AltaGracia Boutique Hacienda combines both the luxury one expects from a high-end boutique with the rustic atmosphere and adventure opportunities travelers come to Costa Rica to find. The 50-casita resort is nestled in the mountains of Perez Zeledon, a 40-minute ride from the San Jose airport aboard one of the hotel’s private planes or helicopters. Upon arrival, clients will find an array of activities and plenty of nearby attractions from whale and bird watching to hiking to canopy tours and horseback riding. In fact, it is home to 22 horse stables and scenic riding trails.

Tierra Chiloe, Chile

Chile and Argentina are getting hotter every year and more and more clients are looking to get away to the glorious patch of land that both countries share, Northern Patagonia. Here guests will find beautiful lakeside boutiques, many with a heavy concentration on food, wine and art. At Tierra Chiloe, however, clients get a little something different. Tierra Chiloe is part high-end boutique, part adventure lodge on an island dotted with picturesque fishing villages. The beauty of this destination is as much in the landscape as it is in the island residents. With only 12 guest rooms, the property continues in the footsteps of Tierra Atacama and Tierra Patagonia by offering high-end experiences and personalized service.


Executive Suite at Shangri-La at The Shard, London offers sweeping panoramic city views.
Executive Suite at Shangri-La at The Shard, London offers sweeping panoramic city views.

Fontevraud, Loire Valley, France

Now you can spend the night with Eleanor of Aquitaine and Richard the Lionheart in a landmark Loire Valley destination. First established in 1101 as a large monastic community, Fontevraud Royal Abbey was the final resting place for these legendary icons. In summer 2014, Fontevraud debuted a sublime new hotel within the abbey walls. A dream team of designers, the Paris-based duo Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku, conceived the interiors. Everything was custom-made for the hotel — from the thoughtfully designed décor in the rooms to the altar-like centerpiece in the bar, crafted from centuries-old wood beams. The kitchen sends out dreamy dishes created by Chef Thibaut Ruggeri, winner of the prestigious Bocuse d’Or 2013. (Don’t miss the cheese tray.) Nothing quite compares to a stroll through the estate at night, when Fontevraud is closed to visitors, and you can contemplate centuries of history under a star-filled sky.

Hotel des Galeries, Brussels

This boutique hotel was an instant hit when it opened in the center of historic Brussels last summer. The setting is, in one word, amazing, as the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert is one of the biggest tourist draws in town. Inaugurated by King Leopold in 1847, the covered shopping arcade was designed with cast-iron columns and a glass-paneled roof to protect shoppers in inclement weather. Today it is still lined with enticing boutiques (like Delvaux) and chocolate shops (like Mary), and is a terrific place to spend the night. Our favorite room is the duplex Suite #38, accessed by a suspended walkway. Food is another big enticement here, as Michelin-starred Chef Julien Burlat orchestrates the lively restaurant and bar.

Buzzworthy Europe Hotels

The Hilton Paris Opera opened in the center of the city in January and we hear its swank bar scene has already captured the hearts of the local market. In fact, 80 percent of those imbibing are Parisians. Tres chic! It’s all undergone a terrific refurbishment since morphing from the Concorde Opera Paris so it’s up to Hilton standards, but since it’s also housed in a landmark building, its majestic lobby has retained its vintage look, just with a much more polished flair. This new hotel is close to all must-sees in Paris, including shopping, the Champs-Elysées and, of course, the Opéra Garnier.
The London hotel scene is red-hot with exciting new openings almost every month of the year. Among the buzzworthy editions in 2014, the Chiltern Firehouse was the first property outside of the U.S. for André Balazs, the famed hotelier behind Chateau Marmont, while the Beaumont London was the first hotel from London’s celebrated restaurateurs Jeremy King and Chris Corbin.
In Austria, the Park Hyatt Vienna is housed in a century-old former bank headquarters in the city’s UNESCO-listed First District. In Amsterdam, Waldorf-Astoria made a splash with a canal-side hotel that’s made up of six 17th- and 18th-century townhouses. The Turkish Riviera is seeing a bevy of new luxury hotels, including the Mandarin Oriental Bodrum, whose guest rooms have heart-stopping views over the Aegean sea. Budapest is soaring in popularity among American travelers, especially the river-cruising set, and the new music-themed Aria Hotel is getting lots of buzz. Meanwhile JW Marriott Venice — located on its very own island in the Venetian Lagoon — celebrated a soft opening in March 2015.

Hotel Sant Francesc, Spain

A member of SLH, Hotel Sant Francesc opened in March 2015 on one of the loveliest squares in Palma de Mallorca. Housed in a restored manor house, Hotel Sant Francesc puts you in the heart of the action. From the rooftop pool terrace, you can gaze out over the tiled rooftops to the colossal sandstone cathedral, while sipping a G&T made from locally sourced gin. Owned by a member of the family that owns the Majestic in Barcelona, Hotel Sant Francesc has 42 rooms and suites that blend original details (frescos, wood beams) with contemporary design. We highly recommend a meal in Quadrat restaurant, located in the former stables.

La Grande Maison Bordeaux, France

The stately city of Bordeaux — the destination du jour in France — now has a gastronomic restaurant that befits the world wine capital. Bernard Magrez, who owns 40 vineyards including four Grands Crus Classés, teamed with Chef Joël Robuchon to open a small hotel and restaurant. Occupying a 19th-century stone mansion, La Grande Maison offers just six suites, done up in a sumptuous Napoleon III style. With every possible comfort — from gorgeous coffee-table books to sprawling marble bathrooms — these suites are the ideal place to sleep off your food coma after indulging in a culinary tour de force at the downstairs restaurant. Robuchon currently has 28 Michelin stars in his global restaurant empire, and he’s going for three at this belle beauty of a dining room. Tip: Magrez’s contemporary art institute is across the street.

La Réserve Paris

Even in a city celebrated for its palace hotels, La Réserve has quickly made a name for itself among chic Parisians and the international jetset. This Parisian pad is the latest venture for Michel Reybier, whose La Réserve Hospitality Collection includes prestigious properties in Geneva, Bordeaux and the French Riviera. Just steps from the Champs-Elysées (and the Grand Palais), La Réserve checks all the boxes for an ultra-luxe hotel stay. There’s an intimate spa, a restaurant that’s the talk of the town, a buzzing lounge bar, and service that’s intuitive, thoughtful, and never intrusive. Among all the art-filled rooms we recommend those on the top (fifth) floor for views over the rooftops of Paris, and the Detox Breakfast to start off your day with a boost.

Pictured: The quirky, stylish lobby of MGallery’s Molitor Paris is sure to leave an impression with guests.
The quirky, stylish lobby of MGallery’s Molitor Paris is sure to leave an impression with guests.

MGallery Hotel Molitor Paris

Close to the Roland Garros stadium where the French Open is held, the Molitor is a legendary pool complex. This is where the world’s first bikini was unveiled! It was closed in 1989, and fell into disrepair, until a $100 million project resurrected the Molitor into a hot hotel destination. The two pools were rebuilt with the same yellow walls, and the hotel — imagined by in-demand designer Jean-Philippe Nuel — has porthole windows overlooking the shimmering blue waters. Part of Accor’s growing MGallery collection, its stand-out facilities include the rooftop terrace, with sweeping views over the city, and the Clarins spa, offering water-themed treatments to pay homage to the Molitor’s fascinating past.

The Peninsula Paris

The highly anticipated arrival of Peninsula Hotels in Europe was years in the making. An important parcel of real estate on the Avenue Kléber — the former Hotel Majestic where George Gershwin wrote “An American in Paris” — was transformed in a four-year project that enlisted the country’s finest artisans to dote on the details (like gold leaf, marble and wood paneling). The Peninsula imported its signature fleet of limousines, including a Rolls-Royce EWB Phantom, for its triumphant debut in August 2014. We highly recommend the spa, which is one of the best in town because of its beautiful design and meticulously attentive service.

Shangri-La at the Shard, London

The Shangri-La lords over the happening London hotel scene (literally) with a sky-high perch on floors 34-52 of the Shard. Designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano, the Shard is the tallest skyscraper in Western Europe, and the views are perspective-changing. From this vantage point, you don’t just gape at the monuments that make London great, but you also see the motion of a major international capital: the trains pulling into stations, the commuters rushing to work, the boats plying the Thames. One of our favorite features of the Shangri-La is Gong bar, which overlooks the infinity pool on the 52nd floor. In a city known for its cocktail culture, Gong’s mixologists stand out for their creative libations. Rooms are decked out with luxurious amenities like Toto Washlet toilets and soaking tubs facing the incredible London vistas.


Hotel Mousai’s terraced suites have richly textured walls plastered in metallic pearl, gold and silver tones.
Hotel Mousai’s terraced suites have richly textured walls plastered in metallic pearl, gold and silver tones.

Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya

Each room at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya has outdoor space with seating and most rooms have hammocks installed on the back balconies or terraces, making outdoor relaxing a snap. The rather large Jacuzzi is not in the bathroom, but in the bedroom itself, so it’s easy to watch a movie on the wall-mounted TV while soaking in bubbles. And when Hard Rock says “all-inclusive,” they mean it — even wine, beer and spirits are available for free in each room. (It’s nice to grab a soda from the fridge without worrying about the $5 surcharge.) Bonus: All of the ice at the resort is made from purified water, so go ahead and get that cocktail on the rocks. The Rock Spa is reportedly the largest in the region.

Hotel Mousai, Puerto Vallarta

Each room at Hotel Mousai is a distinct work of art, with richly textured walls plastered in metallic pearl, gold and silver tones; Italian porcelain floors; and large private terrace. These terraces, which afford breathtaking panoramic views of Banderas Bay, each come with a gold-tiled jetted plunge pool and hammock, from which guests can enjoy sweeping panoramic views of Banderas Bay. Soaring high above the bay on the 18th floor, Mousai presents a hip and happening rooftop beach club experience 360 feet above sea level. The hotel’s Spa Imagine on the 15th floor provides 360-degree ocean and rain forest views.

Royalton Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa

Royalton Riviera Cancun’s three distinct sections are each unique to guests’ needs and vacation styles. Choices include the Resort or Diamond Club sections or the ultimate luxury — on top of Royalton’s signature All-In Luxury experience — of the adults-only boutique resort within a resort, the Hideaway. The latter offers its own exclusive restaurant and several bars (swim-up and dry land) and its guests can access all other restaurants and other facilities at Royalton. All resort guests can upgrade to Diamond Club status for access to a private lounge with a premium drinks menu, butler service, an exclusive beach area, preferential à la carte restaurant reservations and more.

The Middle East

The Burj Khalifa can be seen from most rooms and suites at the new Taj Dubai.
The Burj Khalifa can be seen from most rooms and suites at the new Taj Dubai.

The Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach

With only 237 rooms and suites, this hotel offers what could easily be called a boutique experience and is something special, even for luxe-heavy Dubai. First off, guests here have access to a dedicated 886 feet of Jumeirah Beach and butler service is available upon request for all guests. The Royal Suite has a full kitchen, baby grand piano, media room and two terraces (which come furnished with loungers and a table for six guests to dine al fresco). The Presidential Suites have separate living and dining rooms, a media room, a dedicated study and a private gym. For families and groups, all rooms and suites are connected.

Taj Dubai

The iconic Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, can be viewed and admired from more than half of the Taj Dubai’s 296 elegant rooms and lavish suites. The hotel is surrounded by a variety of shops and restaurants within walking distance. Fine-dining choices within Taj Dubai include the Peruvian-inspired Tesoro and, for Indian cuisine, the Bombay Brasserie. Traditional Afternoon Tea is served in the Byzantium Lounge. Art aficionados will appreciate the 3,000-plus paintings and other works of art specially commissioned for the hotel.

The United States

Homewood Suites by Hilton New York Midtown Manhattan Times Square South has trendy, modern rooms like this King Bed Efficiency Studio.
Homewood Suites by Hilton New York Midtown Manhattan Times Square South has trendy, modern rooms like this King Bed Efficiency Studio.

Baccarat Hotel & Residences New York

Baccarat Hotel & Residences New York, the first hotel and global flagship for the 250-year-old Baccarat crystal brand, is a contemporary Manhattan take on a classically elegant Parisian hotel particulier. Sought after Paris-based design duo Gilles & Boissier created nearly every piece of furniture for the hotel’s rooms and public spaces. Directly across the street from the Museum of Modern Art, a few blocks from Rockefeller Center and Broadway theaters, and steps away from Tiffany & Co. and other upscale shops on Fifth Avenue, the hotel has a French restaurant, a bar, an outdoor terrace, a pool and the Spa de La Mer.

Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort

Each room here has a furnished terrace with views across 26.5 acres of gardens, lake and golf course. Family reunions and other large groups can book a nine-bedroom option in the top floor Royal Suite. Good to know: Many rooms have unobstructed views of the nightly fireworks at Magic Kingdom Park. The Resort’s own Explorer Island has a 7,590-square-foot family pool, beach volleyball, outdoor movie nights, a lazy river winding around a “ruined” mansion, a Splash Zone, a video gaming center and fully supervised Kids for All Seasons camp.

Buzzworthy in Las Vegas

The top pick at Caesars Entertainment’s luxury boutique The Cromwell is The Cromwell Suite, a 2,550-square-foot, five-room escape reminiscent of a luxe Parisian apartment. It has three bedrooms with walk-in closets, a parlor, a formal dining room and a lounge area with a pool table. The Cromwell is also home to Giada de Laurentiis’ first restaurant endeavor, Giada, and the rooftop Drai’s Beach Club/Nightclub.
Each one-bedroom suite at the non-smoking, non-gaming Delano within Mandalay Bay’s 43-story golden tower has a private bedroom and a spa-style bath. For foodies, farm-to-table restaurant Della’s Kitchen uses locally sourced ingredients, including its own greenhouse. Exclusive to Delano guests, Delano Beach Club has an oversized chessboard perched atop the pool’s wet deck. It also offers guests chaise lounges and 16 private cabanas.
SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino‘s 1,600-plus guest rooms and suites are housed in three distinct hotel towers—Story, Lux and World—each with a unique personality. Top digs are the Lux Penthouse and Story Penthouse at 2,382 and 3,300 square feet, respectively. Guests can take advantage of a mix of nightlife, dining and entertainment experiences, including Bazaar Meat by José Andrés.

Homewood Suites by Hilton New York/Midtown Manhattan Times Square-South

Designed primarily for extended stays, this hotel’s location makes it attractive to any guest who wants to be in the thick of some of the city’s main attractions. Madison Square Garden, Macy’s, and Times Square/the Theater District are all within less than half a mile. Free full breakfast is offered daily and complimentary dinner and drinks are served Monday through Thursday. The rooftop outdoor function space is usually available for all guests to sit, read, relax and enjoy the views.

The Knickerbocker, New York City

A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, The Knickerbocker was originally opened by John Jacob Astor in 1906 and was a popular haunt of the well-heeled until Prohibition cut into its business and “The Knick” became an office building. Housed in a landmark Beaux-Arts building, The Knickerbocker has been reborn in all its former glory with exciting modern touches. Dining venues include Charlie Palmer at The Knick; Jake’s @ The Knick, an espresso bar and artisanal café; and St. Cloud, a rooftop bar and terrace. In keeping with its name, the hotel appointed former New York Knicks all-star Larry Johnson its fitness curator.

The Ludlow Hotel, New York City

For cultural urbanites, The Ludlow Hotel, one of the newest members of the Design Hotels collection, captures the vivid history and gritty charm of its Lower East Side surroundings. Many of its studios, terraces and lofts offer commanding city views and the 17th floor Penthouse includes a furnished terrace, living room, dining table that seats six, full kitchen and two full bathrooms with rain showers and windowed soaking tub. Dirty French, a restaurant helmed by Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi and Jeff Zalaznick, serves provocative French cuisine. 

The spa at Maui’s Montage Kapalua Bay offers a serene setting for wellness treatments.
The spa at Maui’s Montage Kapalua Bay offers a serene setting for wellness treatments.

Montage Kapalua Bay, Maui, Hawaii

Montage Kapalua Bay offers 50 luxurious one- to four-bedroom residential-style suites. Each has a large lanai and a full gourmet kitchen where guests can whip up meals or, better yet, have Montage chefs come in and prepare dinner for them. Bringing a touch of the authenticity of the island into the experience, each suite sports an original piece of hand-painted local artwork. A spa and several dining options round out the experience.

Park Hyatt New York

Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Christian de Portzamparc, the suites and rooms at the Park Hyatt on W. 57th Street in Manhattan all have floor-to-ceiling windows. Higher floors offer Central Park and city skyline views. Spa Nalai on the 25th floor has six treatment rooms equipped with private outdoor balconies. Executive Chef Sam Hazen is overseeing all F&B operations, including The Back Room at One57 restaurant and the Living Room bar with views of Carnegie Hall. Bonus: The hotel is pet-friendly.

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