We’re not saying that you should choose your next holiday based solely on the below selection of hotels, but we certainly wouldn’t blame you. Our worldwide pick of new and recent openings takes in multiple continents and a variety of luxury accommodation from private island escapes to inner city sanctuaries. Whether you’re after a weekend break or want to expense somewhere extra special on your next business trip – stylish surroundings await.
The Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Israel
Starchitect alert: John Pawson of London Design Museum and stylish monasteries fame is behind the beautifully airy clash of modern and ancient design at the The Jaffa, situated in the hip namesake neighbourhood of Tel Aviv. Aesthetics galore, pieces from the likes of Damien Hirst and George Condo sit side by side with stained glass and beautiful chessboard floors.
New York royalty in the kitchen complements a sleek bar and the whole package is a wonderful experience that’s constantly framed by such a mesmerising building. Most importantly, in a city that at peak tourist season can become hot and frenetic, is the courtyard’s relaxed and equally stunning pool area. The ideal lounging spot with a handy bar to beat the early afternoon thirst.
Soho House Mumbai, Mumbai, India
Although there’s nothing particularly ground-breaking about what is essentially the Soho House treatment, it is fascinating seeing the group’s luxury bases pop up in far-flung places. There’s an English country house feel to this 11-story tower with flecks of Indian textiles and locally-sourced furniture, with a familiar pool area to be seen lounging around. Four restaurants, two of which serve the same menu, offer an ample selection and there’s plenty of trademark activities from screenings to yoga.
Rooms are quaint, with warm furnishings and vintage flourishes, whilst the generous Cowshed bathroom products are a nice touch, too. The beachfront location makes for a relaxing backdrop and a short drive to the airport is handy.
Omaanda, Ondekaremba, Namibia
Namibia might not be top of your list, but for the holiday of a lifetime, it deserves to be higher. Leading the recent surge in the country’s high-end accommodation is Omaanda, a recently opened luxury lodge situated on the edges of the Zannier conservation reserve. The land for the reserve was recommended to hotelier Arnaud Zannier by conservationist friends of Angelina Jolie and the lodge makes sure its presence is considered and subtle against a truly breathtaking backdrop.
Safari and conservation trips are open to guests, as is the opportunity to unwind in stylish accommodation in-keeping with authentic local design. Impressive dining and spa options complete an alternative but nonetheless rewarding hotel choice.
Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
When a hotel has no less than five swimming pools, one of which is of the all-seeing infinity variety, you know said hotel is special. The Mandarin Oriental, close to Dubai’s Mercato beach, is the hotel experience pushed to its limits, keeping up with the city’s forever-trend of one-upmanship. Walking into to the lobby past suave fedora-topped door staff, guests are met by the hotel’s unique scent and dramatic light feature – a walkway of bronze-cast trees.
Elsewhere on the premises, there’s Michelin-star food courtesy of Portuguese culinary hot property Jose Avillez and delicious wagyu beef at Japanese steak restaurant Netsu. Almost all of the 256 rooms have a balcony or terrace and all rooms come with decadent Natura Bissé toiletries.
Bulgari Hotel, Shanghai, China
At the Bulgari Hotel in Shanghai, it’s a tale of above and below. On the top floor sits one of the best rooftop terraces in the city with incredible views across a critical mass of Blade Runner-esque skyscrapers. Below ground, the facilities rival the awe-inspiring view. A spa and gym boast: a palatial 25-metre swimming pool (surrounded by four-poster loungers), a 24-hour gym equipped to the hilt with state-of-the-art machinery, gold-tiled vitality pools and a host of spa treatments.
The highest priced hotel in the city, the rooms continue the theme of designer luxury: underfloor heating, complimentary goodies in the minibar and a welcome pack of Bulgari gifts. If a room is out of budget, there’s always the opportunity to settle for a drink on the rooftop.
The Datai Langkawi, Langkawi, Malaysia
Although you get the sense that The Datai Langkawi resort aims to be one of the best in Asia, its unique location makes it one of the best in the world. Situated less than an hour away from the airport on 46 acres of virgin rainforest, the luxury retreat provides a unique base to experience nature whilst relaxing in accommodation that emphasises the surrounding beauty.
Rooms make the most of stunning rainforest views and all rooms and villas have either a balcony or terrace for taking in the surroundings. Facilities include a fully-equipped gym, spa and yoga studio with further activities centred around the local wildlife including nature walks. Head to The Beach Club for delicious food and watch the sun set over the tranquil waters of the nearby bay.
United Places, Melbourne, Australia
United Places was born out of a particular need in Melbourne: Australia’s foremost city of cool needed a specific type of hotel. One that was on the same wavelength as its hip café and bar scene, as well as its longstanding foodie record. Step forward fledgling hotelier Darren Rubenstein and his hotel United Places – an apartment hotel that emphasises privacy, modern interiors and faultless service.
Rooms are certainly considered. A smart mixture of glass and smooth concrete provides a satisfying aesthetic experience, with the bathroom sectioned off within a mirrored cube. Without a conventional check-in service or lobby, a personal assistant greets you upon arrival and acts as concierge and host. A fabulous location looking out over the Royal Botanical Gardens adds to a chic and forward-thinking hotel experience.
The Fife Arms, Braemar, Scotland
The Fife Arms is a warm, extremely comfortable and marvellous exhibit of wild imagination and attention to detail. There’s tweed, antiques and the odd stuffed animal, with a clear dash of modern thrown in for good measure. Rooms range in size, with suites akin to film sets and the more modest croft rooms offering a simpler yet still thoughtful stay.
The hotels central location in Braemar offers a prime location for a weekend retreat with the surrounding countryside and quaint stoned-walled shops offering a variety of artisanal wares and discoveries. The Flying Stag, the hotel’s public house, provides pub favourites with an upmarket twist, whilst Elsa’s Bar, pink and gloriously petite, offers another flamboyant contrast.
Hotel Épi 1959, Ramatuelle, France
If the thought of St Tropez makes you think of loud and brash Wolves of Wall Street disembarking on luxury yacht day trips, the charming Hotel Épi – around the corner from the town’s hustle and bustle – is just the ticket. Ten beautifully white-washed cabins sit on a delightfully candid plot with a classic 1950s riviera feel permeating through the place. Inside, the cabins are warm and cosy, having had a recent interiors upgrade and all are close to a centre-piece pool that wouldn’t look out of place in Palm Springs.
Relaxation is key at Hotel Épi and staff are attentive and friendly, providing a constant supply of watermelon and blueberry juice to your allocated pool-side spot. The beach is close too and after an hour or two on the twin clay tennis courts, head to the hotel’s restaurant for delicious seafood and a tantalising wine list.
Islas Secas Resort, Gulf of Chiriqui, Panama
The Maldives is an obviously choice for private island resorts and recent years have seen various impressive openings. But if you’re in need of a change, why not try a private archipelago? That’s what’s on offer at the Islas Secas Resort, which boasts a tagline of 14 islands, 18 guests, 20 miles from civilisation. Has a nice ring to it, huh? On land, the service and privacy is second to none.
Needless to say, with views aplenty, the multi-room accommodation follows suit. Luxury treehouse-style dwellings, complete with first-class amenities, overlook tranquil lagoons. Fishing and diving trips can be arranged, whilst a host of other relaxing or adventurous activities can be organised depending on your mood. After, glorious dining awaits at the central Terraza. Islas Secas Resort certainly puts Panama on the luxury retreat map.
Hotel St George, Helsinki, Finland
Another stylish hotel that provides a reason to visit somewhere that isn’t necessarily at the top of your list. A splash of luxury and style – in a friendly and often overlooked city where hotels tend to opt more for pragmatism – the Hotel St George is sophisticated option in a prime location in the centre of the city. The interiors are subtle and welcoming, showing off mainly Finnish pieces of modern and contemporary art, with the odd splash of extravagance by the likes of Ai Weiwei, whose kite installation is one of the hotel’s first impressions.
Each room is uniquely decorated, following the lead of the public areas, using a palette of pastel hues and neutrals. Televisions are hidden behind moving shades and attic rooms look out over quaint rooftops. The bathrooms are noticeably luxurious with quirky toilets, rainforest showers and products courtesy of Swedish brand L:a Bruket. Make the most of the hotel’s own bakery with delicious pastries and a relaxed hangout space.
The LINE Austin, Texas, USA
The Sydell Group has a reputation for breathing new life into former landmarks (see hotels in Washington D.C and Los Angeles) and in Austin, Texas the LINE treatment has worked wonders once again. It’s funny to think that the hotel once standing on such a precious plot overlooking the Congress Bridge and Lady Bird Park had a TGI Fridays as its main food offering. Sacrilege in a food city like Austin.
All 428 guest rooms have sweeping water or city views and artists from across Texas were commissioned for unique artworks in each room. Interiors channel topography, warm lighting and earthy tones, complete with books on local history and geography. The new Arlo Grey restaurant is a treasure that banish all thoughts of TGI hot wings.