We present our 6th Edition of The Luxury 50 List 2019, an annual selection that celebrates best new hotels & resorts in the world. These hotels & resorts are selected based on their unique character, service, locations, architecture and design. This year’s docket holds unexpected gems – from a French Chateau to a luxury lodge in the USA’s canyon country, laid back beach haven tucked in Vietnam to a restored palace in India – it is clear that hoteliers are succeeding in wooing the new age traveller with authenticity and exclusivity.
Kivotos Santorini, Greece
A five-star sanctuary with sweeping views of Imerovigli
As opposed to the common, white-washed suites surrounding Santorini, Kivoto embraces the dark, helming interior inspirations from the volcano lava that characterizes the island. Its colours are stark: slabs of stone and the beauty of the dusk, creating a romantic effect with the lighting positioned by the floor. With five suites and two villas, tailor-made pampering has never been more rewarding. Bright green pools are lodged within the two villas that mimics the atmosphere of the underground caves. LefterisSoultatos replenishes guests with its epicurean offering.
Belmond Cadogan Hotel, London
The cradle of Britain’s most astounding celebrities
The arrest of Oscar Wilde stirred news for this hotel, but its modern finishes beckons for more attention. The rooms echo a velvety feel, with paintings and Art Deco ornaments warbling an age-old tune. 400 original artworks adorn its walls, wood panels offer a nice contrast against the red banquettes and armchairs. There’s the taste of true British in the kitchen presided by Chef Adam Handling. Bask into a serving of butter-slathered king crab or a heaping custard filled with miso potatoes.
Six Senses Maxwell, Singapore
An oriental souvenir from old Chinatown
Tanjong Pagar’s three-storey marvel has a beautiful antiquity to it, perhaps in its earthy brickwork, the cream-coloured accents or the ideal location. The original nutmeg plantation site has been reconstructed to a modern flavour, all credit to Jacques Garcia who adorned the hotel with stone floors, rich damask brocades, and a traditional in-house ice-cream served from a card. The rooms are less spacious, but the furniture is smartly assembled; cabinets resemble those from a yacht, with marble minibars complete with William Yeoward glassware.
BVLGARI Hotel Shanghai
Living la dolce vita in the orient
The 6th of the brand’s namesake hospitality venues finds its way on the banks of Suzhou, as a neoclassical building lodged at the top of the freshly restored Chinese Chamber of Commerce. One could recognize it from the sleek black motif, streaked with hints of red and bronze mesh screens. Inside, plush corner couches thrown with bright orange hues beckon with their velvety textures. Rooms are smartly laid out in soft cream colours against the dark wood accents. La Mer facial therapies include the use of gemstones. At Il Giardino, the soothing garden becomes the perfect dining backdrop while the remarkable view of the city’s skyline adds depth to La Terrazza.
Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Understated luxury amongst Malaysia’s crowning towers
Brimming with a decadent city-centre atmosphere, Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur charms with its gorgeous skyline backdrop, being tucked among the lofty architectural neighbours to the likes of the gleaming Petronas Towers. The lounge, where guests often linger, welcomes with a lovely serving of afternoon tea or a wonderful sip from the Bar Trigona. At night, the entire capital glows, perfectly viewed from the pool—an essential photographic moment. Rooms are sleek, with black marble baths for a more contemporary taste, and tactile fabrics for an enjoyable sensation of visuals and textures.
Hotel Alfred Sommier, Paris
An upmarket noble mansion with a fairy-tale aesthetic
The romantic charm of the 19th-century glamour still pervades in the cream-coloured walls of this grandiose hotel. The courtyard, once filled with the clattering of carriages, is now a tranquil alfresco venue that invites a plate of cold cuts and a lovely glass of wine. Rooms reflect the hotel’s vintage legacy, using regal motifs of gold and cream, ornate wall mouldings and soft lams, with marble baths and window-side view of the City of Lights. The outer walls are decorated with large floral paintings that make a perfect spring and summer backdrop.
Hotel Chateau du Grand-Luce, Loire Valley
A medieval summer house turned into a modern palace
The 1760 de Viennay palace carries many memories in Le Grand-Lucé, ones which are carefully preserved by the Pilot Hotels’ design team. The chateau’s sweeping interiors still bear its former majesty—limestone, white oak floors, decadent wallpapers, and velvety couches. The dramatic courtyard is home to the hotel’s spa, a fragrant orangerie, greenhouses and a heated pool. Beyond it, many acres to unravel—stroll by the meadows or sit by the lake. As a nod to the town’s flavours, Chef Maxime Thomas presided over the restaurant Le Lucé with French recipes and regional produce.
Santarena Hotel, Costa Rica
Urban oasis with dreamy views of the endless sea
Teal framed doors parade on the three balconies of Santarena Hotel, a luxurious escape sandwiched between Costa Rica’s two Pacific coasts. In a region where no cars are allowed, one is invited to take long strolls, embrace the sunny environment, and delight in the many gifts Las Catalinas has to offer. Enjoy sessions of swimming or snorkelling at Dantita and Danta Beach, or hike the trails that envelop the resort. Let the day pass in a laidback massage. Head to Ponciana for a filling al fresco dining.
The Lodge at Blue Sky, Utah
The majesty of Utah’s great outdoors, brought indoors
Tucked inside a sprawling ranch surrounded by the rugged terrains of lofty mountains and high alpine fields, The Lodge is a sanctuary for the whimsically adventurous. The retreat features three incredible suite locations: Earth, Sky and Creek, each mimicking the unique nature of each topographic element. Rooms are cosy, with wood panels that bring back a grounded spirit to the otherwise modern interior. Gaze out into the canyon views, feel the warmth of the outdoor hearths. It’s the perfect launchpad to immerse in active adventures—moon hiking, fly fishing, horseback riding and heli-skiing during winter months.
Mystery Hotel Budapest
Budapest’s latest hospitality rings with a mystery—but one that can be uncovered
Perched inside the city’s 6th district, the 19th-century historic landmark echoes with a heart-throbbing quirk. The front desk alone allures with its secrets, with optical illusions pervading along the luxury boutique hotel’s interiors. Don’t get lost; the elevator is shrouded by the curtains, and some hallways seem they are turned upside down. Suites come with more surprises; rooms with paintings of Mona Lisa may make one feel they are being watched. As a haunting gift from the freemasons, there are secrets all around, but that just makes one’s stay all the more fun.
Hotel Lutetia, Paris
The Left Bank’s most cherished hotel
The Alrov-owned architecture at 45 Boulevard Raspail carries many stories—first as a fleeting sanctuary to the glitzy shoppers of Bon Marché, and as a haven for artists and refugees during the pressure of World War II. Its beloved reputation is preserved with a four-year revamp, now rekindling a contemporary beauty to its Art Deco interior, as interpreted by Jean-Michel Wilmotte. With welcoming flavours, Saint German tosses a mix of Japanese elements over French gastronomy, and Boulevard Raspail simmers with a regular rendition of soft jazz music as Bar Joséphine emerges from her sleep.
Anantara Quy Nhon Villas, Vietnam
Intimate hideaway in the middle of Vietnam’s coast
Slouched rattan chairs sit on the deck, with floor-to-glass windows affording views of the tranquil bay and the distant mountains. This serene escape, lodged in the middle of Vietnam’s isolated coast, stars private villas on the bay. In-room dining, with sunrise al fresco or terrace in the evening, ignites no other yearning but to swim along the soft, lapping sea or relax in the hotel’s spa. One real surprise is the private martial arts training that not only hones the body’s defence system, but encourages a feeling of focus and peace.
The Fife Arms, Scotland
A modern interpretation of a Victorian coaching house
Fife Arms finds its way in the league of luxury at the hands of the Wirths. A four-year renovation leads to a complete turnaround; inside its taxidermy-adorned tartan walls is a mesmerizing museum of nostalgia, add to that Picasso’s Mousquetaire et nu assis, and a Steinway piano by Mark Bradford. It is a curator’s haven, but bedrooms remain in their antique quirkiness. Pets are allowed, dining is extravagant with Executive Chef Timothy Kensett working out a library of classic Scottish cuisine. Stroll at the Cairngorms National Park or enjoy a wintry day at the Glenshee ski centre.
Britannia Hotel, Trondheim, Norway
Scandinavia’s palace in the north makes a fresh reprise
Taking the place of Trøndelag’s 150-year landmark is the imposing palatial expanse in cream, whose upscale lobby greets with a quirky chess patterned floor and Anne Kyyrö Quinn artwork. Rooms are soundproofed, all housed with marble baths and Swedish handmade beds for complete decadence. Lodged within its floors is the fine dining Speilsalen, but the more breath-taking venue is at the Palm Court, whose glass dome easily takes the heart of both the gourmands and onlookers away.
Mandarin Oriental Lago di Como, Italy
Breath-taking views of the magical lake from a neoclassical resort
The former CastaDiva Hotel that ones wooed its operatic guests with velvet curtains, is now transformed into an eye-soothing, modern resort. Lighter palettes allow the warmth of the sun to harmonise with the beauty of the interiors, which Milan-based Shuhei Matsuyama endowed with creamy motifs. Outdoors, a 52-feet floating pool is suspended on the lake, with a string of sunbeds for a relaxing afternoon. Chinese oriental oils become the centre of Mandarin’s spa, but the food remains Italian, with the swanky L~Aria satisfying the palate with visually artistic cuisines and the perfect view of the sundown.
Shinta Mani Wild, Cambodia
Cheerful, colourful camps laced around Cambodia’s verdant forest
A deluxe row of swanky tents, all fashioned with every kind of nostalgic ornery. Dark wood becomes the perfect canvass for brightly coloured fabrics that dress each posh room, where windows are draped with leafy ferns, or the sight of the rushing river cascading through the forest. Shinta Mani Wild is the perfect adventure, aided with butlers in their camouflage uniform, as well as the indulgent scent of spa oils under the thatched treatment rooms. Uncover varieties of flora with a guided botanical tour or press on for a river safari ride on a pontoon boat.
Vilòn Luxury Hotel, Rome
Eternal City’s bid to modern renaissance
That sacred atmosphere in the Borghese family mansion still prevails, perhaps in a contemporary translation: in the spanning green gardens, in the jewel-toned lobby and in the plush rooms that are bedecked with frames of art along cream coloured walls. The courtyard becomes an open hall for breakfast slathered with traditional cuisine. Pets are allowed to run about. Despite of having no modern equipment to trim a muscle, the tranquil garden is the perfect place for a morning jog, or a yoga session.
Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden, Mallorca
A cordial English country-house set inside Palma
Spain’s sunshiny nature is reflected in Can Bordoy, a glorious retreat wonderfully styled by Ohlab and governed by Giovanni Merello. The settled-in feeling is courtesy of the vibrant green vines that made their way indoors, the latter lush with crystal chandeliers, plush leather seats and damask upholstered chairs. At the terrace, one can see the cherished landmarks of the city, as well as a suspended glass pool that creates a spectrum of light on the main stairwell that is lodged underneath. The spa services, extravagant, with their own heated pool and solarium are lushly capped off by the natural foliage.
Magashi Camp, Akagera, Rwanda
Glorious glamping inside Rwanda’s splendid safari
The stunning views of Lake Rwanyakazinga, home to some of Africa’s famous hippopotamuses, become a familiar sight to Magashi. Six opulent tents are perched across Akagera National Park, a sprawling 250,000 safari that borders Tanzania. The open-space resort is endowed with aesthetic luxury, a homage to its Rwandan culture but not lacking contemporary charm. Eat hearty lunches under the African sun in the camp’s spacious alfresco dining. Bask in the distant safari vistas by the deck, then head off on guided game drives for a glimpse at the big five.
Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai
The unravelling of a cosmopolitan flower
An explosion of flowers is scattered at the red backdrop of the lobby. Throughout the halls, there is a relaxing air mimicking the glory of the Silk Road. Inside the private suites, herringbone wooden floors match the neutral palette that allow the turquoise ocean to shine at the unobstructed view. A grand staircase ascends from the reception to the treatment suites; outdoors, the hammam-styled spa and a crescent-shaped heated pool become a venue to inner healing. Theatrical dining allows a merry feasting featuring Netsu, a Japanese steakhouse with a tasteful, minimalist setting.
Lux* North Male Atoll, Maldives
Adding colour to luxury island life
A string of white-washed architecture on stilts, each graced with a private pool, a rooftop deck, outdoor baths, and the blue beauty of the Indian Ocean. The modern coastal chic is glammed up with white and wood textures, with sliding glass windows that present a clear view of the vast waters. Private terraces have daybeds, bathrooms have a quirky, egg-shaped tub, and for those into astronomical romance, enjoy the stars at night at the deck, which is also perfect for brunches and BBQ. Kite surf, jet-ski, or sign up to a private yacht for a day.
The Belgadia Palace, Odisha
Sustainable luxury tourism in the former mansion of the Banjas
Sitting on a hill, the two-storeyed Victorian Palace glimmers with a decadent bricked beauty. It is the royal home to the Mayurbhanjs, a mansion erected in 1804 and bore traces of India’s royal roots—as well as heroic memories of World War I & II. Odisha’s former glory becomes the centre of its aesthetic: vibrant, colourful walls clad with decadent drapes, surrounded by plush wooden furniture and splendid carpets. A collection of antiques pervades surprising corners.
Emerald Palace Kempinski Dubai
A palatial wonder with a taste of neoclassical glory
This gargantuan luxury hotel sits on the world’s most deluxe man-made island with an elegant 18th-century Europe aesthetic and keen attention to details. Symmetry becomes the core of its visual, with Palladian domes, marble columns, hand-painted gold leaves and an atrium bursting with Swarovski crystals. The superlative opulence affords one incredible balcony views, ornate beds, and floor-to-ceiling windows. Royal mezzanine suites come with freestanding tubs, while imperial villas boast of their own rooftop plunge pools and personalised butler service.
The Calile Brisbane
A haven of understated grace lodged at James Street
Soft pastel colours reign supreme in the Richards and Spence designed resort, a homage to Brisbane’s humid climate. The indoors are satisfyingly urban, mimicking a studio-setting with the faint touches of wood, marble and muted shades. Three colours define the suites, but the best choice is the pink room, endowed with rose-gold furniture and muted shades, with balconies that offer a peek into the pool area. Gastronomic breaks include a trip to the Lobby Bar which offers a zing on top of its jalapeno omelette, or a healthier bowl of granola and berries.
Sea and palm fringed haven in the glorious Maldives
Thatch-roofed houses interconnected through strings of bridges, and then woven with loops of wooden lace, all in the middle of the Indian Ocean. EsinGüralArgat conceived a dreamy landscape and propped up curated villas, each adorned with outdoor showers, marble bathrooms and hand-carved wooden panels dressed along with plush furniture. Enjoy the staple Maldivian activities: dive, snorkel, or spot marine legends by the Hanifuru Bay. Stroll by the bridges and gape at the postcard-perfect scene. Or submit into a gastronomic treat in the resort’s four phenomenal dining places.
Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel, Athens
Sprawling Grecian resort with a fine glimmer of white
A complex of two swanky buildings—the Nafsika and the Arion, takes the place of the former 60s landmark that was once home to many well-known personalities: Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra and Nelson Mandela, to name a few. Draped in chic white, the interiors are lavish with neutral accents and the contrasting colour of blues. Eight restaurants, including Matsuhisa Athens, quell the hunger in style. Private beaches and a yacht marina beckon for a new adventure, but the real fun begins in the hotel’s many unique experiences, such as trudging on grapes as the old Greeks once did.
White Ark Santorini, Greece
A charming getaway in the heart of the Caldera
A wreath of old caves strung at the western edge of the island, White Arc has metamorphosed into a holiday wonder. The Kapsimalis has followed the Santorini manual—white walls, slender chairs, neutral linen and the reflective textures of metal and marble. Large glass windows, a swivelling pool, and the joyous splash of greens make the place lush. The quaint town of Thira is just nearby, offering many gourmet stops. No other destination can beat its mouth-watering views of the Santorini caldera; drop by the Archaeological Museum, or revel in the splashing waves by the Kamari Beach.
ll VesConte – Palazzo CozzaCaposavi, Italy
Bolsena’s jewel sparkles with the 16th-century marvel of art and history
The Caposavi family open the doors to its neoclassical palace and transformed its heritage rooms into nostalgic suites. For the curious, it is the perfect home; walls brim with photos and frescos, archival land maps and traces of the past; even its terra cotta floors shine with character. Resplendent furniture—ornate couches, antique dressers, and quaint beds—fill the rooms. Even walking through the vibrant hallways are a treat. When craving for the outdoors, visit the Bolsena lake, or the magical mountaintops of Civita di Bagnoregio.
Shipwreck Lodge, Namibia
Ghostly legends lure at the hauntingly gorgeous Skeleton Coast
Wooden cabins shaped like broken chunks of a ship sit on the sand dunes of Namibia’s Skeleton Coast national park. Each solar-powered villa is armed with modern comforts. Plush beds, cosy couches, ambient lights and a private bath that allows a quick sighting of the glaring mountains from the aperture. There are no ghosts around, only the sweeping views of the sun against the sand, and the opportunities to journey into undiscovered indulgences: 4×4 excursions down the dunes, river tours, seal colonies, and wild-life watching that thrive with the rest of the fauna in this preserved park.
The St. Regis Hong Kong
Breath-takingly modern with hints of the East
The glorious hotel, designed by André Fu, shines with a sordid motif of grey stone textures made elegant with the unexpected pop of colours paired with it. Communal spaces are reminiscent of Old Hong Kong paired with the spirit of Manhattan. At the lobby, the Drawing Room enchants with a festive mood for afternoon tea and snacking. Michelin-star chefs preside over two restaurants L’Envol and Rùn, serving French and Chinese gastronomy respectively. Capping its ultra-luxe atmosphere is the prime Presidential Suite, a penthouse with a 10-seater dining table and a generous living room to host intimate gatherings.
Waldorf Astoria Bangkok
A swanky sense of tranquillity within busy Ratchaprasong
From afar, the hotel resembles the sensual curves of desire; from inside, it contrasts all the sensory overload one has experienced in Bangkok. Hong Kong designer André Fu successfully uplifts the decor into sublime luxury–the sweeping grand staircase, the opulent events spaces and the individual suites that croon with the traditional oriental air. The dining experiences here exceeds one’s desire for the cuisines, from the Front Room, a Nordic-Thai dining to Bull & Bear steakhouse. Inhale serenity while dipping in the pool lodged on the 16th floor.
Tropical chic resort inside Tanzania’s best beach
Grass-roofed villas are spread all over the tropical garden, each of them resembling the aesthetics of a local hut and shades away from the sandy shore. The entire experience is wrapped together with a sensory-stirring spice garden and an Instagram-worthy infinity pool surrounded with thatched umbrellas. The elegance follows through the interiors; each villa is gifted with curtain draped beds, a mural, and a private office, in addition to the glorious view of the deck. Zuri Zanzibar thrives with sustainable strategies, helming its needs from local enterprises such as Chako Zanzibar, Show Furniture and Seaweed Co. who produces the hotel’s organic toiletries.
Monkey Island Estate, England
A private island resort with the grand views of Thames
The third Duke of Marlborough erected a majestic pavilion inside the fish-shaped island, a white mansion with large French windows gilded by trees. Champalimaud is responsible for its modern romantic aesthetic, where crisp colours, pure lines, and symmetry prevail. Most of the 41 suites are lodged inside the Temple, while other rooms are built inside the Barn, the venue of Edward Elgar’s conception of the Violin Concerto. A floating spa is moored by the riverbank, where the staff, clad in maritime costumes, apply the Monk’s Elixir. Alfresco mornings and vintage lunches on the cruise make one’s stay more festive.
Nobu Hotel Los Cabos, Mexico
A meditative oasis exuding grounded serenity
Baja Peninsula becomes home to Nobu’s new venture: an expanse of quiet, contemporary aesthetic reflecting the vibrant nature of the Mexican locale with Japanese minimalism. Earthy colours soothe the eye from the bright backdrop. Wood becomes a familiar element, easily contrasting with the vibrant colour of the distant Pacific Ocean, as seen from the striking entryway. Private suites come with a cream motif and star onsen-style tubs and balconies. The more luxurious suites are endowed with a living room, a dining area, a stone fireplace and glorious ocean views.
The Glenburn Penthouse Calcutta
Stylish boutique hotel that rings with colonial flair
Overlooking the city, the Glenburn Penthouse impresses with its serene exclusivity. Personal service becomes a highlight to its string of limited rooms, a sanctuary to the indulgence seeker. Each suite is adorned with old-world aesthetics: poster beds embellished with bold fabrics, surrounded by Victorian couches and the luxury of marble baths. The rooftop becomes the perfect spot to enjoy Bengali gastronomy, or a swim in the pool. Two more rooftop suites come with their own mini-gardens and a private jacuzzi for a more luxurious stay.
St. George Helsinki
Spectacularly stylish 19th century souvenir
Kämp Collection gifted their new acquisition with all sorts of extravagances, from a multi-headed light sculpture lodged at the lobby, the serene indoor pool, and individual suite indulgences that reflect the Finnish culture. Plump couches, bronze lamps and wooden chests prevail in their earthen-coloured rooms, many of them affording views of the artsy district and when in luck, a peek at the Lutheran Cathedral. One is allowed to roam about in bicycles and pick bread for their picnics at the hotel’s bakery.
The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore
A beloved landmark’s final metamorphosis
The colonial heirloom stands in the Civic and Cultural District. Encapsulating a shopping mall and a celebrity theatre filmed in Crazy Rich Asian, the four-storey architecture is now a residence to refined travellers seeking an otherworldly place to stay in Asia’s most connected city. Rooms are adorned with lofty corniced ceilings and wood flooring, then decked with Italian marble and grand glass windows. For every request, there’s the Lady in Red, fulfilling one’s wishes. www.kempinski.com
Al Manara, Saraya Aqaba, Jordan
Middle Eastern opulence with a seaside splendour
The luxurious view of the rugged mountains and the smooth seas become the backdrop of Jordan’s newest offering, a gracious resort from the Luxury Collection that marries Jordan’s gorgeous topography, rich culture, and world-class hospitality. The imposing white vision brims with both heritage and contemporary design. Rooms are decked with artisan furniture and mother-of-pearl accents. Baths are serene with rain-shower features. The location allows easy access to the 12th-century Aqaba Fortress and offers a plethora of splendid activities, including horseback riding, golf and boating.
The Apurva Kempinski Bali
A glitzy sanctuary in the island of the gods
Rising from the southern cliffs of Nusa Dua is a hotel with sheer inclination to Indonesian opulence. From its 250-step staircase is a breath-taking view: sun-soaked gardens march through its terraces, waterfalls ripple with shimmering water, and pools find their way back to the Indian Ocean. Private villas offer special panoramas in various angles, each equipped with a private plunge pool and an outdoor bath. Coastal flavours reign in its dining destinations. Immerse in a session of sunrise yoga and or soak into fragrant oils and lulur for a holistic beautifying treatment.
The Jaffa, Tel Aviv
Historic convent unravels into a modern-day mansion
The 19th century French hospital was victoriously remade by John Pawson, who, along with Ramy Gill, wrapped its old facade with new aesthetics while conserving its best, historic details. The stone walls shine with pink colours, the chairs tastefully modern, a bar sits inside the cathedral and the lobby radiant with orange lounge chairs for a festive greeting. Rooms are orthodox, with pastel-blue domed ceilings, arched windows, and mashrabiya-carved balcony guards. During the day, the sun makes quiet lobbies an Instagrammable subject before making way to Don Camillo for an Italian fare.
Islas Secas, Panama
Indulgent isolation in Panama’s first archipelago hotel
The secret hideaway is an hour-long boat ride from the mainland. Isla Cavada, from atop, looks like tufts of green moss with chunks of white roofs protruding from the bluish seascape. On a better view, the villas come to life; high-ceiling roofs on colonial-themed houses, stacked with outdoor decks and a delightful pool that provides a peek into the glorious blue. Find rare marine biodiversity by the coast of Granita de Oro. On land, friendly guides lead long hikes to geysers that spout inside small inlets.
Blackberry Mountain, Tennessee
An offbeat, highly refined holiday retreat in the mountains
The imposing Great Smokey Mountains can be intimidating at a distance, but within its lofty floors, there is comfort: a gracious wooden mansion sits inside the renown Blackberry farm. The structure stand on stone foundations, most of them with glass wall panels and brick roofs that echo the humble beauty of the sylvan era. Rooms are decadent, with plush beds, rugs and bronze lamps, echoing the cosiness of a cabin. The quiet retreat affords trips by the creek, camping by the woodlands, or even a quick forest bathing.
Little Beach House Barcelona
Quaint fishing spot transformed into a luxury oasis
The member-only resort is a 30-minute drive from sun-kissed Barcelona. Rows of white beach houses, all lined with green, radiates with a minimalist, tropical tinge. Locals call them boutiques. At the reception, soft colours on upholstery and handcrafted wood furniture immediately put one at ease. In the rooms, coastal ornaments surround the bed, most of them with a cosy, unmade patterns that incite curiosity. Imbibed with Spanish influences, meals are sublime, peppered with a spicy tang over seafood. Search for the Cowshed spa. After long hours of sunbathing, indulge into a Spanish-style facial treatment.
The First Roma Dolce, Italy
A visually luxurious treat for the sweet-toothed
The 18th-century palazzo perched beside the touristy Piazza del Popolo takes a new look, one that is fashioned out of a pastry box and indulges one with the true meaning of dolce vita. Delicious tinges of orange deck the mouth-watering, biscuit inspired palette. To match its aesthetics, the hotel’s pastry chef offers a sumptuous cooking session, along with gastronomic treats from the patisserie styled Arte. Submit into a tray of scones and enjoy strolls to the nearby Piazza di Spagna.
Jumeirah Al Wathba Desert Resort & Spa, Abu Dhabi
An otherworldly retreat in the middle of a modern oasis
Mimicking the peaceful vistas of a desert village, Jumeirah Al Wathba stuns with its row of opulently decked villas, each inspired from old Arabia, perched by the swinging palm groves and willowy grass. The main pool swivels into the desert, like a modern-day oasis, and spirals into a cavern equipped with a pool bar. Earthy colours pervade the lushly decorated rooms with leather couches and embroidered ottomans. At night, the venue becomes alive with the soft glow of the lamps across the Bedouin camp.
The Roseate Ganges, Rishikesh, India
A hillside oasis starring the surreal landscape of the Himalayas
The resort, a collection of 16 villas in dark colours and chunky glass windows, exudes a contemporary edge in contrast to its environment–the tranquil mountains that gazes down the Ganges. A temperature-controlled infinity pool overlooks the valley. Each suite is endowed with modern-day conveniences, private balconies and the glorious views of nature while inhaling the peaceful air. The venue proposes signature dining options, including ChidhyaGhar, whose old-world appeal harmonises with the setting. Indulge in many outdoor activities or submit into meditative sessions of yoga for a healing holiday.
Andronis Arcadia, Greece
Classic Mediterranean sanctuary overlooking the idyllic Santorini
Commanding white minimalist structures are perched on the hillside of Oia, inciting feelings of tranquillity from the first view. Its quaint charm vibrant with a coastal spirit; private suites are embellished with wicker chairs and neutral fabrics that easily soothe the glare of the Cycladic sun. Daylight paints more glorious colours with the precious beachside backdrop. Its minimalist look is photographic, its restaurants a treat, especially at Opson, where ancient Grecian gastronomy becomes the theme. Service is fine-tuned to please, and the venue absorbs all of Oia’s congenial atmosphere.
Public Hotel, New York
Minimalist opulence in the heart of the Lower East Side
Hotelier Ian Schrager’s idea of a luxury retreat is a smart conjuring of sleek-lit interiors, mirrored rooms, and a rooftop bar that affords 360-degree views over the bright, bustling city. Guests are invited to check-in through a phone app; there is no reception. A vibrant team of Public Advisors, spotted by their shirts, offer assistance. Rooms are wrapped with floor-to-ceiling windows that blacks out at command, with device docks that allow one to bring in their own amusements. Clean-lines, clutter-free design, but a decadent heaping of eye-soothing gardens and filling gastronomy, where one can drop by in their pyjamas at the grocer-cafe-cocktail bar Louis any time of the day.
A serene star sitting in the busy district of Ploenchit Road
Bangkok’s busy skyline is gifted with the serene presence of The Rosewood’s remarkable architecture, portrayed in an angular, glassy escape standing tall within the metropolis. With an old-world charm, ornate chandeliers pervade the lobby and the wooden-panelled entry – pale, jewel-toned motifs are accentuated with gold and copper. The smooth surface of the pool on the ninth floor creates a vibrant colour against the literally rosy palette. Lakorn offers casual feasts on the sixth floor, serving up muesli, Thai omelette and fluffy blueberry pancakes – essential fuel for the adventures of the day.
Rosewood Hong Kong
The nostalgic grace of Kowloon with striking views of Victoria Harbour
Distanced from the many skyscrapers in the city, Rosewood Hong Kong rises by the bay, pleasantly perched to offer first-in-line views of the sweeping harbour. The entry is less frivolous, but the real wonder is the interiors. Inside the lobby, one is whisked into the sight of thoughtful, geometric patterns and heart-stopping artworks. Most rooms have harbour views; baths portray old Hollywood, and large, glass windows indulge the view of the ferries crossing the waters. For a soothing afternoon tea, head to The Butterfly Room, a colourful wonder of shell-shaped seats glimmering with acrylics by Damien Hirst.
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© This article was first published in Oct-Nov 2019 edition of World Travel Magazine.