From the remote and less frequented islands of Thailand to the unending expanse of the Caribbean beaches of the Dominican Republic, there is so much in between to see and be humbled by. We bring a selection of 50 best new luxury hotels across the world that are currently pushing the trend in opulence and style. The beauty of nature and the temptation of exploring the wilderness has been man’s basic instinct. Capitalising on this potential, governments, hoteliers and naturalists have come together in many of the properties on this list to preserve the environment and at the same time make it accessible. Many of the properties are designated UNESCO protected sites.It is a fascinating read for it reveals not just options for the traveller but also the zest, endurance and passion that went in to transforming a vision into life.
HOTEL PROVIDENCE, PARIS
The buzz around newly opened Hôtel Providence Paris is fairly high. The transformation of the hotel, originally built in 1854, has been a journey in itself. Today, it stands in its swanky new avatar as a boutique hotel, retaining its modern sensibilities while remaining steeped in a dramatic past.
Located on the 10th meets 3rd avenues, in one of Paris’s emerging hotspots, it is close to Canal Saint Martin and the upper Marais. Convenience rules, since it is just a short walk away from Paris’s highlights, the Strasbourg Saint-Denis metro stop, Centre Georges Pompidou, a modern art complex and the Louvre. The richly decorated, individually styled rooms feature vintage furnishings, custom cocktail bars with balconies offering excellent city views.
Architect Philippe Medioni’s touch is evident as is the makeover of what was a derelict space into this pure urban Parisian romance. Excellent food and drink will ensure that the hotel finds a place in a true blue blooded Parisian’s heart.
LA FIERMONTINA, ITALY
Old meets new and antiques rub shoulders with modern creations at the La Fiermontina. Designed as an urban resort within a 17th century private home in the heart of Old Lecce, it is set amidst the baroque structures of Puglia’s historic city of Lecce.
This modern-day masseria mirrors its storied surroundings, reinventing itself quite remarkably as a premium luxury hotel. The private retreat makes for a memorable holiday in Puglia known for its unique cuisine. Olive trees surround the swimming pool in the sculpted garden and each of its 16 guestrooms and suites have retained the traditional pietra di Trani floors and pietra leccese.
Star-pinnacled ceilings enhance the aesthetics which are further accentuated with Italian furniture and customised upholstery. Day trips to Santa Maria di Leuca, Ostuni, Alberobello, Gallipoli and Otranto are planned to the finest detail. The resort is also known for its picnics to Salento replete with the most exquisite hamper of goodies and props that go into making the picnic spot, usually flowered gardens, even more like a fairytale.
MANDARIN ORIENTAL, MILAN
Here in the fashion capital of the world is the Mandarin Oriental Milan, masterfully blending Milanese style with Oriental luxury.
The coming together of these equally strong influences creates striking impact. Spread over four elegant 18th century buildings that are just steps away from La Scala, the hotel resonates with comfort, elegance and style. Location is king, with the hotel being in the heart of the Centro Storico.
Barely five minutes away are some of the country’s prized gems, the Teatro alla Scala, one of the most beautiful opera houses in the world, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a most striking shopping mall and the Duomo, an intricate example of devotional architecture. Via Montenapoleone is Milan’s prime luxury fashion street housing chief boutiques of Valentino, Prada, Versace and Chanel, amongst others. Excellent in-house restaurants and a spa facility add to Mandarin Oriental’s charm.
MANDARIN ORIENTAL, MARRAKECH
Taking a break from the daily grind, the ultimate Moroccan escape is the perfect recipe for a heritage, culture and spiritual dose of good wholesome living.
Spread over 20 hectares of fragrant gardens and gnarly olive groves, the Atlas Mountains serve as a picture perfect backdrop for Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech. Being close to the Medina and the city’s other major sights is an attractive plus. Apart from religious tourists, the hotel plays host to golf enthusiasts, who as guests of the Mandarin have direct access to the premier Royal Golf and Golf Al Maaden golf clubs. Their 54 one- and two-bed villas and 7 expansive suites are exquisitely designed with a touch of Oriental Moroccan charm. Its restaurants whip up local specialties under the watchful eye of celebrated chef Meryem Cherkaoui at Mes’Lalla. Whether you choose to dine at the Pool Garden or get served in the private surroundings of your villa or suite with the in-villa 24-hour dining service, the hotel holds equal charm for honeymooners and business magnates.
THE COTTON HOUSE HOTEL, BARCELONA
From the moment you enter Cotton House Hotel, you are submerged in an intoxicating wave of euphoria. Regular patrons say that the hotel, with its mixture of neoclassical and dash of tropical colonial gentlemen’s club feel, is a bit like stepping into a Merchant Ivory film.
The iconic building is representative of the XIX century, a period which marked the spirit and culture of Barcelona. The hotel has 83 elegant rooms, of which five are spacious suites. The entrance of the emblematic building is a beautiful vestibule swathed in mirrors, followed by a hall that leads to two stairways which are the most striking pieces of vintage interiors built in the 50’s to much critical acclaim. If you can pull yourself away from the sheer richness that the place exudes, you will notice that the service is impeccable and so is the food. The pool on the terrace is a quiet relaxing zone and the much awarded spa is perfect for rejuvenating yourself. Breakfast, tea and multi cuisine restaurants are located in interesting corners and spaces that will want to make you linger.
SOHO HOUSE, ISTANBUL
An exclusive preserve for members, Soho House Istanbul is set in a neoclassical property in the Beyoglu district.
Built in 1873, it has three buildings, including the main structure, Palazzo Corpi, lined with frescoes, paintings and ceilings covered with mythological figures that depict vibrant city views and lifestyles of an era gone by. The interiors reflect a typical Soho House style with modern and vintage furniture. Its 88 bedrooms, club spaces and private areas along with rooftop pools can be hired for small parties and gatherings. The Soho club membership has its variants with Local House, Every House, Under 27 Local House and Under 27 Every House memberships. Members have access to all club spaces and facilities, bars and restaurants, Cowshed Active, screening room and event programming calendar. The property is a short walk away from the 5th-century Galata Tower and 10 minutes from ?i?hane metro. A cowshed spa has some amazing hammams and Turkish massages while the gym and fitness studies live up to the Soho brand.
LUX TEA HORSE ROAD, CHINA
On one of the oldest trade routes that existed a thousand years ago, China’s Tea Horse Road is among the world’s great romantic journeys. Iconically placed in Benzilan, one of the last towns in the Yunnan province of Southwestern China, before reaching the Tibetan border, this is the second Lux hotel to open on the Tea Horse Road. The original property is in Lijiang, a four-and-half-hour drive south. Undoubtedly, this is the ideal base for hiking the Tea Horse trails and exploring tiny villages in the magnificent mountains that few foreigners have the chance to see.
The pared-back interiors are a well thought-out reflection of rural life comprising largely of a cluster of handmade black clay lights hanging in the lobby, made in the adjoining village of Nixi. The library has a few original wicker baskets and horse bells that were once used by the muleteers to take pu’er tea to Lhasa. The 30 open-plan bedrooms – many of which overlook the outdoor pool and the River Yangtze and beyond – have furniture and floors made of local pine, oil paintings of the surrounding countryside and, in the bathroom, a round copper sink. The food is made of traditional yak-butter tea while supper is a feast of Sichuan-style steamed fish and wine-braised chicken.
TUVE, HONG KONG
Minimalistic straight lines with no fuss and yet with a stark sense of realism and classic appeal, the Tuve in Hong Kong brings with it a new concept of boutique hospitality.
Clever lighting, use of colours that play with stark solid bases while merging with frugal neutral hues put the hotel in a league of its own. There is a quiet harmony that runs through the whole hotel with design elements that are never intrusive or assaulting to the sensibilities. Its 66 rooms on 32 floors with views of Happy Valley and Victoria Park Premier rooms feature a king-size bed, minimalist décor, and a spacious walk-in shower. They come in three sizes ranging from 17 to 30 square metres. This contemporary hotel has some exquisite night views of Hong Kong Park, Central and The Centre.
Given its proximity to Causeway Bay and Victoria Park, it makes sure you are close to the action and at the same time not right in the thick of it, making it a particularly ideal choice for those wanting to experience a different side of Hong Kong.
YNDO HOTEL, BORDEAUX
In wine country where the landscape itself is a work of art here comes the Yndo Hotel, a 5 star refuge nestled in the cosy, intimate setting of a typical 19th century Bordeaux mansion.
Owned by Agnès Guiot Du Doignon who has a strong tilt towards art, his special touch is evident in the selection of architectural styles and decoration of each of the 12 rooms. On display are works by leading artists, such as Yannick Fournié, Joël Cazaux’s whose outstanding ceramics sit cheek-by-jowl with Damien Langlois-Meurinne, Huubert le Gall, De La Espada and others whose international designs, selection of furniture and sofas, lamps and Murano chandeliers all lend a sense of character and grandeur to the interiors.
The hotel is located in the heart of Bordeaux’s lively historic centre and is a stone’s throw from Place Gambetta, the Cours de l’Intendance and the Allées de Tourny. Be warned though that the hotel’s scented garden and shady terrace will make it hard for you to leave and explore the outdoors!