The Best Hotel Renovations of the Year

Blake Marvin/Courtesy Waldorf Astoria

The 2020 Legend Awards are meant to serve as inspiration for future travel—when it is safe to do so. Learn more about this year's awards on our methodology page.

Sometimes the best hotel renovations are born out of necessity, but more often than not, they are born out of creativity. The world's most exceptional hotels constantly strive to improve on their already incomparable design. One of their primary goals is to create new art and culturally relevant architecture that guests have the privilege of spending the night in. These Legend Awards honorees have expanded their luxury accommodation offerings, with new, over-the-top suites. They have reimagined lobbies, rooftops, courtyards, bars, and restaurants on their property. And with each shift, the space has found a higher tier of luxury and a further element of gravitas. Here, the best renovations of the 2020 Legend Awards:

La Réserve Eden au Lac Zurich, Switzerland


Stefano Candito/Courtesy La Réserve Eden au Lac

Following a two-year renovation led by Phillippe Starck, La Réserve Eden au Lac Zurich reopened on January 8, 2020 as the only luxury property on the lake. Housed in a refurbished 1909 building, most rooms and suites on property have private terraces or balconies and views of the lake. The building’s original, early 1900s iron elevator is now preserved with enclosed glass to introduce a mod architectural touch, and the lobby now features stained-glass windows by Starck’s daughter, artist Ara Starck.  

Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection 


Courtesy Auberge Resorts Collection

Auberge Resorts Collection’s first foray into the Hawaiian hospitality market, Mauna Lani sits along the Kohala Coast on the Big Island. Rife with the area’s noted spiritual power, the 32-acre oceanfront resort has been refreshed to feature three pools, five restaurants, and 333 rooms and suites.

Rosewood Little Dix Bay


Ken Hayden/Courtesy Rosewood 

Over a four-year closure, Rosewood Little Dix Bay was reimagined by New York-based design team Meyer Davis. It reopened in January 2020 with 80 new rooms, suites, and villas. The property also features the redone Sense, A Rosewood Spa, two luxe pools, and four restaurants.

Eden Rock - St. Barths


Courtesy Eden Rock

With 37 rooms, suites, and villas, Eden Rock - St Barths has undergone a full transformation over the course of their two-year renovation. The epitome of St. Barths luxury, the Oetker Collection property offers waterfront dining with a menu orchestrated by Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and a spa that incorporates luxe island-made products into every treatment.

Raffles Hotel, Singapore 


Courtesy Raffles Hotel 

This 1887 hotel went through a 2019 refresh that brought new bars, restaurants, and courtyards to the iconic Singapore hotspot. However, throughout the restoration, Raffles Singapore guaranteed the building’s breathtaking facades and quintessential Singaporean hospitality remained well preserved.

The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas


Courtesy The Ritz-Carlton

The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas reopened in November 2019 after a $100 million renovation enhancing the 180 guestrooms and suites, remodeling the infinity pool, and introducing a new restaurant concept, Alloro. Perhaps our favorite upgrade at the hotel is the unveiling of Lady Lynsey II, a brand-new 60-foot catamaran replacing the original Lady Lynsey. 

andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, Namibia


Courtesy andBeyond

Following a 10-month rebuild, andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, sitting on Africa’s only dark sky reserve, reopened in October 2019. The stunning lodge on NamibRand Nature Reserve was redesigned by South African collective Fox Browne Creative revitalizing the 10 self-sustaining suites with awe-inspiring floor-to-ceiling glass walls and retractable skylights.

Rosewood Mayakoba 


Durston Saylor/Courtesy Rosewood

The gorgeous Mexican enclave of Mayakoba is home to four properties, one of which saw a refresh completed in October 2019. Rosewood Mayakoba went through a $20 million renovation bringing modern Mexican craftsmanship to the forefront of the hotel’s already stunning design. The property introduced eight Wellness Suites, enhancements on their three and four-bedroom Presidential Suites, and a new bar concept, Zapote.

Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France


V.Mati/Courtesy of Cheval Blanc

The palatial Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France radiates French luxury and their chic ambiance has only escalated following their recent renovation. The six-month renovation wrapped up in late November 2019, when the hotel debuted new rooms overlooking Flamands Beach, a second swimming pool, and their brand-new culinary venture, La Case.  

Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal


Blake Marvin/Courtesy Waldorf Astoria 

Formerly the Resort at Pedregal, the idyllic 24-acre resort reopened post-renovation as Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal. From the infinity pool that seemingly cascades right into the Pacific Ocean, to the high-end local cuisine served at El Farallon, and the new Waldorf Astoria Spa, visitors to Cabo San Lucas will instantly fall for this property. 

andBeyond Ngala Treehouse


Courtesy andBeyond

In February 2020, andBeyond Ngala Treehouse, a brand-new, four-story private accommodation opened on the same private reserve as already thriving sister properties andBeyond Ngala Safari Lodge and andBeyond Ngala Tented Camp. The treehouse is essentially an expansion and brand-new experience on the existing property. It hovers 39 feet above the ground with panoramic views of the bush, and features an outdoor rooftop bed and lounge area for guests who want to sleep out under the stars.

Grand Hotel Minerva, Florence


Andrea Getuli/Courtesy Grand Hotel Minerva

Redone by architect Piera Tempesti Benelli, the Grand Hotel Minerva retains medieval detailing from the initial build as well as work by the hotel's 1958 architect, Carlo Scarpa. In this redesign, each of the 97 rooms and suites were elevated with luxe, Italian-sourced marble and leather. One of our favorite dining rooms in the hotel has a mid-century modern flair and features chairs by Scarpa that have been newly restored.