This year has seen a mix of one-of-a-kind luxury hotels opening in classic destinations alongside properties giving unparalleled access to untapped parts of the world. Here, our eight favorites.
Courtesy Rosewood Luang Prabang
Rosewood Luang Prabang, Laos
When France annexed Laos in the late 1800s, the hills beyond the ancient town of Luang Prabang became an aristocratic retreat because of their spectacularly lush climate. Since the opening of the Rosewood in March, visitors can experience the area in all its splendor—or, as designer Bill Bensley envisions it. Located just 10 minutes from the town of Luang Prabang, each of the resort’s 23 accommodations (including rooms, suites, and luxury tents) is bordered by a stream or riverbank, and many offer views of the mountain range in the distance. Rooms from $620.
Courtesy Awasi Iguazú
Awasi Iguazú, Argentina
This third luxury hotel from Chile-based Awasi group is set within earshot from the Argentinian side of Iguazú Falls, the largest waterfall system in the world. Its 14 freestanding villas, which sit on a bluff over the Iguazú River, feature minimalist interiors outfitted with sustainable hardwoods and local textiles. The hotel also takes full advantage of its stunning surroundings: guests can explore the falls and rainforest by booking kayaking, birding, or hiking excursions lead by one of the property's expert guides. Rooms from $950.
Courtesy Resplendent Ceylon
Wild Coast Tented Lodge, Sri Lanka
For a safari experience unlike anything else in the world—but also on par with the luxury camps in Africa’s top destinations—head to Wild Coast Tented Lodge. This Relais & Châteaux property is located on Sri Lanka's southern coast near Yala National Park, home to the biggest concentration of Sri Lankan leopards in the world. Despite the name, the resort isn’t made up of tents but pods that shield guests from the elements and feature luxury amenities like air-conditioning, four-poster king-size beds, and free-standing handmade copper bathtubs. Rooms from $435.
Courtesy Habitas Tulum
Habitas Tulum, Mexico
The first property from Habitas—a new lifestyle brand from Oliver Ripley, Kfir Levy, and Eduardo Castillo—this stylish haunt combines its founders' passions (music, design, and hospitality) for an experience that truly captures the spirit of Tulum. The hotel, which opened last fall, has 32 individual guest rooms (in the form of luxury tents), a three-story, glass-encased clubhouse with a restaurant, and one of the most private stretches of beach in this stylish enclave. Rooms from $350.
Michael Weber/Courtesy The Middle House
Middle House, China
Anyone who’s stayed at any of the House Collective’s three existing properties (in Chengdu, Beijing, and Hong Kong) will tell you the same thing: that the service is some of the best they’ve ever experienced. That’s why its new property in Shanghai is our pick for the city’s most luxurious new opening, despite other big-name debuts like the Capella Shanghai, which occupies a townhouse, and Amanyangyun, which involved relocating a centuries-old village to a rural suburb just outside the city. Like the other House Collective properties, Italian architect Piero Lissoni is behind the 111 bedrooms. Rooms from 430.
Courtesy Berber Lodge
Berber Lodge, Morocco
Another passion project, this hot opening from Swiss architect Romain Michele-Ménière came from his love for a small village called Oumnas, which he would pass while on his way to Kasbah Bab Ourika, a retreat he was working on in the Atlas Mountains. The result is a collection of nine adobe-like structures scattered among sprawling gardens and olive groves just outside of Oumnas. Within each room, you’ll find tribal rugs and furniture from the architect’s own collection. Rooms from $210.
James Baigrie/Courtesy 1Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, USA
Of all the diverse luxury hotels to have opened up in New York this past year (The Whitby, Public, and Made are our close favorites), this 194-room property set on Brooklyn Bridge Park gets our vote for the way it honors its spectacular setting. From the floor-to-ceiling windows that look out to the river and Manhattan skyline to the indoor plants, reclaimed wood surfaces, and repurposed leather furniture, every element makes you feel connected to the dynamic Dumbo neighborhood, where industry meets a swatch of riverfront greenery. Rooms from $350.
Courtesy Hotel Sanders
Hotel Sanders, Denmark
Copenhagen is having a moment, and this 54-room property is at the center of it. It has all the makings of an icon: excellent mid-century Danish design from London studio Lind + Almond, a newly opened rooftop conservatory-cum-restaurant with city views, and a fascinating origin story. It’s owner, Alexander Kolpin, a former principal dancer with the Royal Danish Theatre, bought the property across from it and turned it into an ode to his passion. That’s not to say that the hotel feels at all theatrical—rather, Kolpin has appointed the spaces to evoke distinct moods as if setting a stage. Rooms from $330.