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.
For the second year running, Departures set out to honor the very best new hotels in the world. This year, we broke them out into two categories, separately celebrating the best new city hotels and the best new resorts and lodges around the world. Between May 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020, we have collectively visited, researched, and corresponded with an astounding number of worthy luxury hotels. These commendable new properties raised the already-high bar on five-star hotel openings. They opened our eyes to new destinations, and allowed us to see places we’d already fallen for in a new light. They have, of course, been met with unthinkable challenges in their hotel’s infancy, and we are even more in awe over the way they are handling this time with such grace under pressure. Suffice it to say, we’re counting down the days until we can return to these architecturally spectacular, hospitality pioneering hotels.
Here, the best new city hotels of the 2020 Legend Awards:
The Oberoi, Marrakech
On December 1, 2019, Oberoi Hotels & Resorts opened their 33rd venture and first Moroccan property, The Oberoi, Marrakech. Radiating opulence and Middle Eastern glamour, The Oberoi, Marrakech is already known for their lavish, manicured gardens with intricate water features and over-the-top villas and suites with private infinity pools.
J.K. Place Paris
On the left bank of the Seine, boutique Italian hotel group J.K. Place renovated a former consulate to create their first venture in France, open as of January 2020. This is actually the brand’s first foray outside of Italy. Decorated with finds from local flea markets and imported Italian trinkets, the glamorous J.K. Place Paris looks like the Musée d'Orsay would if the interiors were redone by a mod designer in 2020.
When Aman Kyoto opened its doors on November 1, 2019, it became the third Aman in Japan. The property, of course, lives up to the Aman reputation, with traditional Japanese onsen bathing pools, artfully designed relaxation pavilions, and on-site omakase restaurant Taka-An, a dining concept by executive chef Chef Shinichiro Takagi, where no two meals are alike.
Equinox Hotel, Hudson Yards
Opening a hotel in 2019 was a first for the Equinox brand; Equinox Hotel, Hudson Yards further solidifies the brand's presence in the luxury hospitality space. With a 27,000-square-foot spa, SoulCycle, and Equinox Club all on the premise, Equinox Hotels welcomes brand loyalists to “high-performance living” at Hudson Yards.
Tucked between two nearly hidden alleyways in Tokyo’s Kagurazaka neighborhood, TRUNK(HOUSE) opened to the public on August 1, 2019. The restored 70-year-old geisha house is two stories and meant to be a “townhouse hotel” that mirrors high-end Japanese residential living.
Hotel de la Ville
To stay at Hotel de la Ville is to stay in the depths of Roman history. Sitting at the top of Rome’s Spanish Steps, Hotel de la Ville is Rocco Forte Hotels’ second breathtakingly romantic property in Rome. The 104-room boutique hotel has a rooftop bar, Cielo, and is decorated with lavish wares from local artisans, including handmade wallpaper by Rome-based designers Rubelli and Deda and woven tapestries by Zardi & Zardi.
With minimalist interior design by Swedish collective CLAESSON KOIVISTO RUNE, K5 Tokyo opened February 1, 2020 and is so named because the building was originally called Kabuto 5th Building. K5 is home to a 20-room luxury hotel, but also features a high-end restaurant, a luxe coffee shop, and Ao, a cocktail bar that doubles as a library. Finally, K5 welcomes B, the first and only international flagship for Brooklyn Brewery.
1 Hotel West Hollywood
1 Hotel West Hollywood opened in June 2019 as the hotel’s first west coast outpost, marking coveted Angeleno territory on Sunset Boulevard. The fourth property for 1 Hotels, following their Central Park, Brooklyn, and South Beach openings, 1 Hotel West Hollywood occupies a LEED Silver-certified building featuring a gym collaboration with Performix House, 1 Kitchen headed by Chris Crary, and chic rooftop bar and lounge.
Park Hyatt Kyoto
Park Hyatt Kyoto opened on October 30, 2019, bringing the regal Park Hyatt brand to one of Japan’s most exciting destinations. Nestled in the hills of Higashiyama, the hotel feels secluded and intimate with only 70 rooms and nine suites. Between the luxurious, local craftsmanship felt throughout the guesthouse-style retreat and the remarkable view of Yasaka Pagoda seen from the hotel’s restaurant and bar, a stay here will rejuvenate and inspire.
Six Senses Kocatas Mansions
In Istanbul’s high-end Sariyer neighborhood, Six Senses Kocatas Mansions transports guests back in time with their Ottoman-inspired architecture. The property has just 45 luxurious rooms and suites, nearly half of them looking out at the Bosphorus, a strait connecting the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara.