The Best New Hotels in the World: The 2020 Stay List

These new hotels also build genuine connections between their guests and their local communities.

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Courtesy of Nayara Tented Camp

The essentials of hospitality never change. Great hotels have always done everything they can to make every guest feel truly welcome. But today, the very best hotels also build genuine connections between their guests and their local communities. Of the many hotels that opened in the past year, our editors and contributors personally reviewed and selected these 27 because they do all of that and more. We invite you to read on for the new hotels worth traveling for.

Design Havens


Photos courtesy of Aman

Aman Kyoto


Wait for the forest to invite you in. So goes the first rule of shinrin-yoku, or Japanese forest bathing. Savvy travelers will await the invitation at the Aman Kyoto resort in the foothills of Mount Daimonji. Surrounded by 80 acres of moss-covered forest that’s thick with native maples, cedars, and blue oaks, the resort’s 26 suites all have tatami mats, washi lanterns, charcoal timber slats, and cypress-wood soaking tubs. Even modern touches—heated stone bathroom floors, e-bikes—are discreetly incorporated into the ancient surroundings. From $1,400. —ADAM H. GRAHAM


Photo by Serena Eller/Palazzo Daniele

Palazzo Daniele

Gagliano del Capo, Italy

The Puglia region has no shortage of restored palaces and farmhouses. But Palazzo Daniele took a less conventional approach, adopting the signature rustic-chic style that made its sister property, the G-Rough in Rome, an immediate hit. Inside the sun-faded palazzo’s guest rooms and public spaces, original 19th-century mosaic floors and frescoed ceilings are juxtaposed with contemporary art. The warm staff includes a pair of exuberant chefs, Donata and Patrizia, who belt out Italian pop hits while cooking up handmade pasta. From $480. —A.H.G.


Photos courtesy of The Joshua Tree House

Posada by the Joshua Tree House

Tucson, AZ

Drive 30 minutes west from Tucson and the number of saguaro cacti increases until you reach a tiny dirt road next to Saguaro National Park. Here, the five-suite Posada by the Joshua Tree House is a lovingly designed escape for desert lovers. Rich and Sara Combs, the husband-and-wife team behind California’s popular Joshua Tree House, have brought their boho-chic style to the suites, all outfitted with retro-inspired Smeg appliances, wood-burning fireplaces, and earth-toned fabrics. On and around the 38-acre property, hiking trails offer scenic solitude. From $185 (two-night minimum). —SARA BUTTON


Photo by Stephen Kent Johnson/Maison de la Luz

Maison de la Luz

New Orleans, LA

The antidote to the rowdy scene in the French Quarter? Maison de la Luz, a refuge in the trendy Warehouse District that’s across the street from its sister property, the Ace Hotel. The Maison’s 67 guest rooms were designed by L.A.-based Studio Shamshiri and Atelier Ace with custom designed settees and snake handles on the shower doors. Paris-based Quixotic Projects created Bar Marilou, where locals congregate for cocktails and French bites, including pommes Marilou, crispy potatoes topped with crème fraîche and caviar. From $389. —LYNDSEY MATTHEWS


Photo courtesy of The Chedi Al Bait, Sharjah

The Chedi Al Bait

Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

The Chedi Al Bait, in the emirate of Sharjah, is an elegant answer to the glitz of nearby Dubai. Housed in an adobe-walled compound, the 53-room property evokes the history of Sharjah’s wealthy pearl-trading families. Guest rooms with timber ceilings, antique brass artifacts, and Arabic-style floor seating, are connected by a warren of lamplit alleyways and secluded courtyards. Escape the midday heat in the shade of the outdoor café, where you can sample the house-made camel milk ice cream as the prayer call rings out from the mosque next door. From $325. —ANDY ISAACSON

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Photos courtesy of J.K. Place Paris

J.K. Place


Paris isn’t lacking for grand palace hotels. But when a new property from Italian hotel collection J.K. Place opened on a residential corner of the Left Bank, it brought a more intimate kind of hospitality to the city. The former European consulate was converted into a hotel that feels like a chic friend’s townhouse, and it’s located within walking distance of the Saint-Germain-des-Prés shops and one block from the Musée d’Orsay. Florentine designer Michele Bonan outfitted the 29 guest rooms with Italian cashmere throws in a nod to the brand’s home country, and French antiques from local flea markets—a reminder to guests that they’re in the City of Light. From $870. —L.M.

Off the Grid Retreats


Photo by Jennifer Chase

Kachi Lodge

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Kachi Lodge—an arc of six geodesic domes in the middle of Bolivia’s famed Salar de Uyuni salt flats—is the first retreat to offer guests world-class accommodations in the otherworldly landscape. Each tent is kitted out with flamboyant paintings by Bolivian artist Gastón Ugalde, and meals are prepared by a small team from Proyecto Nativa in Sucre. Guests spend their days on guided walks and drives through the salar, then in late afternoon sample local wines and watch the sun sink into the white landscape. From $2,280 (two-night minimum). —MARY HOLLAND


Photo courtesy of Nayara Tented Camp

Nayara Tented Camp

Costa Rica

The glamping trend shows no signs of waning, and one of the most spectacular new options is located in northern Costa Rica’s rain forest. Sharing 62 acres with its sister properties, Nayara Gardens and Nayara Springs, Nayara Tented Camp features 21 tents on a hill facing the Arenal Volcano. The tents keep nature front and center, with dual indoor and outdoor showerheads and jungle-inspired wallpaper, plus verandas with infinity pools that draw water from hot springs. Between relaxing in the six thermal rock pools and nibbling on ceviche, guests can take walks with a naturalist to spot the red-eyed tree frogs, toucans, and sloths that live among the guarumo trees. From $1,200. —DEVORAH LEV-TOV


Photo by Jason Ierace

Mt. Mulligan Lodge

Queensland, Australia

Mt. Mulligan Lodge shows travelers a part of Queensland that’s much less visited than the beaches on the coast. It takes a 35-minute helicopter trip or a three-hour car ride 100 miles inland from Cairns to reach the solar-powered property, set on a working cattle station. Near the main lodge, four pavilions, which hold up to 16 guests total, feature outdoor bathtubs with views of the sandstone escarpment called Mount Mulligan. Visitors can explore an abandoned mining town and drive all-terrain vehicles through boulder-strewn riverbeds and river red gum forests before returning to a flute of chilled champagne. From $1,070. —LINDY ALEXANDER

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Photo courtesy of Eleven Experiences

Rio Palena Lodge

Chile’s Lake District

It’s a bumpy, 30-minute car ride from the tiny Palena airfield to this fly-fishing and skiing retreat in Chile’s Lake District. But the wild beauty of Patagonia’s snow-dusted peaks and the crystalline rivers and lakes teeming with brown and rainbow trout make it well worth the trip—even if visitors never pick up a rod. At the seven-room Rio Palena Lodge, owned and run by Eleven Experience, visitors spend their days fishing, hiking, mountain biking, or heli-skiing. At night, they retreat to pine-paneled guest rooms outfitted with indigenous Mapuche textiles. From $2,500. —NORA WALSH

Urban Sanctuaries


Photo courtesy of The Belmond Cadogan Hotel

The Belmond Cadogan Hotel


Five-star properties in London can often feel stuffy, but the Belmond Cadogan Hotel is a welcome exception. With just 54 guest rooms, the Queen Anne–style retreat in Chelsea has the trappings of world-class hospitality: dapper doormen, marble floors, and original artwork. But personal touches invite you to feel at home. A nearby bookshop curated the in-room libraries, and chef Adam Handling’s mother hand-knit all the tea cozies for her son’s on-site restaurant. Access to the Cadogan Place Gardens across the street, reserved for residents, offers a locals-only experience. From $605. —S.B.


Photos courtesy of Labotessa


Cape Town, South Africa

In recent years, Cape Town’s Central Business District has become a hub for restaurants and bars, and its hotel scene is finally catching up. Opened last August by first-time South African hoteliers Jan Fourie and Johan du Plessis, Labotessa is located in a 17th-century building on tree-lined Church Square. The hotel has enormous rooms: The smallest are 700 square feet. All have French armoires, velvet-lined couches, Diptyque amenities, and covetable views across the square toward Lion’s Head mountain. Even when the nightlife is in full swing, it remains blissfully quiet. From $340. —HEATHER RICHARDSON


Photo courtesy of Conrad Hotels & Resorts

Conrad Washington D.C.

Washington, D.C.

The sleek and modern Conrad in Washington, D.C., is the antithesis of a stuffy old Beltway hotel. Built as part of the new CityCenterDC development, the Conrad was designed by Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron. The hotel has 360 serene rooms and 32 suites, all with floor-to-ceiling windows, some with views of the Capitol dome. A central atrium fills the lobby with natural light, and art installations encourage guests to stop and reflect. From $700. —JULIA COSGROVE


Photo by Joe Thomas/@joethomas

The West Hollywood Edition

Los Angeles

Just beyond the clamor of Sunset Boulevard, the West Hollywood Edition balances the dreamy minimalism of British architect John Pawson with inviting spaces guests can settle into, whether in the chic seating nooks of the art-adorned lobby or in one of the 190 light-filled guest rooms clad in neutral woods. A collaboration between legendary hotelier Ian Schrager and Marriott International, the Edition has two restaurants overseen by chef John Fraser of Michelin-starred Nix in New York. At the Roof, the Latin-inspired dining space, Peruvian scallops and empanadas dipped in pistachio mole pair well with mezcal and panoramic city views. From $475. —JANE SUNG


Photos courtesy of Four Seasons Philadelphia

Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center


Occupying the top 12 floors of the Comcast Center, the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia secures Philly’s place on the jet-setter’s map. The 60th-floor Sky Lobby, reached via a hair-raising glass elevator ride, presents unrivaled views. Digital artworks in the public spaces project a future-is-now sensibility, and the 219 birchwood-accented guest rooms offer a contemplative respite. Acclaimed local chef Greg Vernick runs Vernick Fish (try the salmon-belly ceviche), and Jean-Georges Philadelphia presents the culinary icon’s most beloved classics, such as caviar egg with vodka whipped cream. From $625. —ANN SHIELDS


Photo courtesy of Raffles Singapore

Raffles Singapore


Opened in 1887 and an icon of Singapore’s colonial past, the recently transformed Raffles remains sensitive to history while meeting the needs of modern travelers. Bathroom floors are covered in Peranakan-inspired tiles, and mahogany chairs and beds furnish the 115 suites, but today’s guests summon the hotel’s famed butlers with an iPad. Inventive cocktails await in the lobby’s new Writers Bar, and you can also order a classic Singapore Sling at its birthplace, the Long Bar, where the floors are still strewn with peanut shells. From $930. —SHAMILEE VELLU

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Photo courtesy of Rosewood Hong Kong

Rosewood Hong Kong

Hong Kong

As Hong Kong navigates its political future, residents are embracing its cultural identity—and the Rosewood is a shining example. The local Cheng family, owners of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, pay homage to their hometown on 43 floors of the former New World Centre skyscraper. The 413 guest rooms, with their plaid wool rugs, textured walls (some covered in cashmere), and books and antiques, invite guests to gaze out at Victoria Harbour. The hotel’s best asset, though, is staff who make visitors smile, whether guiding them to the best egg tarts or leaving fresh pink peonies in their rooms. From $440. —JENNIFER FLOWERS

Seaside Resorts


Photos by April Nemeth and Meraki Narrative

Captain Whidbey Inn

Whidbey Island, Washington

With its tranquil maritime charm, Whidbey Island, a two-hour car and ferry ride from Seattle, has always felt like a local’s secret. But the restored 113-year-old Captain Whidbey Inn just might change that. The main lodge was built from madrona and fir logs and has a large stone fireplace; the 12 upstairs rooms recently got a gentle refresh. The real draw, though, is a group of four new stand-alone cabins—each designed by a different creative business from the Pacific Northwest. Edit, a modern home store in the town of Langley, curated its airy cabin with art by David Price. From $225. —AISLYN GREENE

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Photo courtesy of Oetker Collection’s Eden Rock-St Barths

Eden Rock St. Barths

St. Barthélemy

On the island of St. Bart’s—the epitome of barefoot luxury in the Caribbean—Eden Rock has reopened its doors following an extensive two-year renovation in the wake of Hurricane Irma in 2017. The 1953 grande dame is set on a hill above turquoise-hued St. Jean Bay, where the resort’s 37 guest rooms were reimagined by owners Jane and David Matthews with bright splashes of color and contemporary art. Some rooms now have private plunge pools. The Swedish designer Martin Brudnizki has revamped the Sand Bar restaurant in shades of green and gold—a color palette that extends to the Rémy Bar, which debuted in a new building. From $990. —J.F.


Photo courtesy of Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski Dominica

Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski Dominica

Portsmouth, Dominica

On a Caribbean island known for its untamed beauty, the Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski Dominica puts nature front and center. Opened in late 2019 alongside a national park, the island’s first true five-star resort showcases the teals and turquoises of glistening Douglas Bay from its glass-walled lobby. The same view is on display in most of the hotel’s 151 guest rooms. Around the firepit at the RumFire bar, “bush rums” infused with island-grown spices such as ginger and turmeric distill the Caribbean’s essence into something drinkable. From $545. —TERRY WARD

Rustic Getaways

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Photos courtesy of The Lodge at Blue Sky

The Lodge at Blue Sky, Auberge Resorts Collection


For all the beauty of Utah’s Wasatch Mountain Range, most of the area’s hotels are located in Park City for easy access to the ski slopes. But the remote setting of the Lodge at Blue Sky—a 25-minute drive from Park City—allows guests to feel truly immersed in the American West. Part of the Auberge Resorts Collection, the lodge features 46 rooms and suites, some with outdoor fireplaces, built from wood and limestone that blend with the landscape. Adventure seekers will love the cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and horse riding on the property’s 3,500 acres, but downtime is taken just as seriously: A 90-minute High West Whiskey Rubdown includes a shot of the local spirit. From $900. —L.M.

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Photo courtesy of Casa Maria Luigia

Casa Maria Luigia

Emilia-Romagna, Italy

One of Italy’s most famous chefs has gotten into the hotel business. Massimo Bottura and his partner, Laura Gilmore, opened Casa Maria Luigia in the northern region of Emilia-Romagna. The 18th-century manor, located in the countryside 15 minutes from Modena, doubles as a gallery for the couple’s art collection, which is on display in the 12 guest rooms and public spaces. Onsite restaurant Francescana at Casa Maria Luigia serves a nine-course menu with hits from Bottura’s three-Michelin-star Osteria Francescana in town. From $490. —ALEXANDRA CHENEY


Photos courtesy of Wilderness Safaris

Wilderness Safaris Magashi Camp

Akagera National Park, Rwanda

Until recently, Rwanda’s main draw was its mountain gorillas. But it’s now a prime place to spot lions, black rhinos, leopards, and hippos—thanks to African Parks, an NGO helping to manage Akagera National Park. At Wilderness Safaris’s Magashi, a six-room lakeside camp that introduced world-class luxury to the park, straw “manes” on lampshades mimic Rwandan headdresses, and the black-and-white bar evokes local imigongo art. From $540. —HEATHER RICHARDSON


Photo courtesy of The Newt in Somerset

The Newt in Somerset


With the arrival of notable restaurants, shops, and art galleries, there’s much more to southwest England’s Somerset County than the spa town of Bath. And the Newt in Somerset is a destination unto itself. Inspired by Babylonstoren, its sister hotel in South Africa, the Newt is set inside a 300-year-old family home. The 23 rooms, many with fireplaces and huge bathrooms, are divided between the original Hadspen House, Clock House, Granary, and the former Stable Yard. The true draw is the 30 acres of gardens and groves, which grow vegetables for farm-to-table dishes at the retreat’s Garden Cafe. $360. —ANNIE FITZSIMMONS

Wellness Escapes

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Photo by Hannes Niederkofler

Adler Lodge Ritten

Südtirol, Italy

The strikingly designed Adler Lodge Ritten is reinterpreting the centuries-old wellness tradition of the Italian Alps. From the Bozen train station, a cable car ride takes guests up the slopes of the Renon mountain area to a main lodge and a constellation of modernist timber chalets that face a pond. The 42 guest rooms are clad in knotty wood grain and have terraces with views of the Dolomites; each has a private sauna and a wood-burning stove. Don’t miss the spa, with its heated infinity pool facing the alpine landscape. From $600, including meals. —A.H.G.

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Photos courtesy of Equinox Hotel

Equinox Hotel

New York City

Located in a New York City skyscraper along the Hudson River, the new Equinox Hotel—the first from the fitness and lifestyle brand—is adjacent to the city’s new Hudson Yards multiuse complex and its newest landmark, the Vessel. Those attractions draw plenty of tourists, and the hotel itself also brings in New Yorkers with its most impressive fitness club and spa to date. (Guests have access to it all, from the cryotherapy treatments to the indoor and outdoor pools.) The 212 guest rooms—sleek, soundproof cocoons with blond-wood floors, stone-topped vanities, and breathable, all-natural fiber mattresses—are designed to optimize rest. From $700. —J.F.


Photo courtesy of Hoshino Resorts

Hoshinoya Guguan


Embraced by a curve of the Dajia River, Hoshinoya Guguan rises against a dramatic tableau of emerald peaks. The hot spring resort, which lies two-and-a-half-hours’ drive south of Taipei, comprises 50 duplex maisonettes, each with a private indoor-outdoor bath with views of the surrounding mountains. A stroll through the stream-laced garden or a spa treatment is an ideal precursor to the restaurant’s kaiseki dinner, a multicourse feast that might include such Japanese dishes as steamed eel with tofu made from local ingredients. From $600. —LAUREN HO

Jennifer Flowers is an award-winning journalist and the senior deputy editor of Afar.
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