These Are the Best New Hotels of 2024

AFAR’s picks for the 31 best new hotels in the world.

8-photo collage of hotel interiors and exteriors

A great hotel can define an entire trip. So each year, AFAR’s team of experts selects the world’s best new and renovated arrivals, whether it’s an Edwardian landmark in central London, a high-design hideaway in Marrakech, or a canvas-walled luxury camp set against the Utah desert’s sweeping rock formations.

The 31 hotels we chose all opened in 2023 and were personally visited by our global network of seasoned editors, writers, and travel advisors. We vetted each of the properties for their noteworthy locations, standout design, exemplary service, and remarkable guest experiences. In addition, we paid attention to the work they’re doing to tread lightly on the environment and to meaningfully engage with the communities around them.

Above all, the variety of lodgings on our list mirrors the thoughtful, eclectic, and wide-ranging ways travelers are exploring the world now. Read on to find inspiration for your next adventure.

Ambiente Sedona

A corner guest room at Ambiente Sedona in Arizona, with wooden floors and floor-to-ceiling windows

A guest room at Ambiente Sedona in Arizona

Photo by Jeff Zaruba

  • Location: Arizona, USA
  • Why we love it: A stylish new retreat that connects travelers with Sedona’s rust-colored landscape
  • Loyalty program: Leaders Club (Leading Hotels of the World)
  • Book now

Sedona’s red rocks are world famous, but at Ambiente Sedona, they are merely part of the backyard. The adults-only hotel is made up of 40 cube-shaped villas designed to celebrate the natural surroundings. In each “atrium,” as the resort calls the villas, floor-to-ceiling windows capture 180-degree views of those rocks and the Coconino National Forest. Private rooftops are outfitted with a firepit and chaises for epic stargazing. (Sedona is a certified Dark Sky Community.) The hotel also has direct access to the region’s Adobe Jack Trail, a well-marked path that connects to more difficult hikes. But with the comforts of the cube—down bedding, an oversize soaking tub, complimentary snacks— getting out there might be tougher than it sounds. From $999/night. —Katherine LaGrave

The Fifth Avenue Hotel

A guest room at the Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York City, with two beds, green walls, and blue headboards

A guest room at the Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York City

Photo by William Abranowicz

  • Location: New York, USA
  • Why we love it: A design-forward independent hotel that channels New York City’s Gilded Age
  • Loyalty program: Leaders Club (Leading Hotels of the World)
  • Book now

In an early 20th-century bank in New York City’s NoMad neighborhood, the Fifth Avenue Hotel brings a maximalist approach to the liminal stretch between downtown and midtown Manhattan. Diverging from the stately limestone facade, designer Martin Brudnizki’s whimsical interiors channel the ornate aesthetic for which the Gilded Age was known. The 153 rooms and suites—which span the top four floors of the original building (aka “the Mansion”) and a new 24-story tower—have a Wes Anderson vibe with botanical wallpaper, mother-of-pearl inlaid mini bars, tiger-stripe rugs, and chandeliers dripping with colorful baubles. Café Carmellini is earning buzz thanks to beloved New York City chef Andrew Carmellini, but don’t miss the Portrait Bar, a wood-paneled boîte where the cocktail menu takes cues from the staff’s travels: Try the Cartagena-inspired Barrio Getsemani (a crisp gin martini with passion fruit notes) or the St. James (an English milk punch with gin steeped in Earl Grey tea, cucumber, and blackberries). From $895/night. —Lyndsey Matthews

Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo

Exterior of Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo in Jalisco, Mexico, next to beach

Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo in Jalisco, Mexico has a secluded sandy beach.

Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo, Mexico

  • Location: Jalisco, Mexico
  • Why we love it: A secluded, eco-conscious retreat in a biodiverse nature reserve showcasing the best of Mexican design
  • Book now

When creating the Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo, set within a 3,000-acre protected nature reserve in Jalisco on the Pacific coast, the Mexican owners left 98 percent of the biodiverse jungle landscape alone. Guests can explore it on guided hikes and bike tours, biologist-led night safaris, or boat excursions along six miles of shoreline. The hotel itself is a showcase of Mexican talent, from the brutalist structures using local marble and volcanic rock (by architecture firm LegoRocha) to traditional crafts in the 157 guest rooms, such as framed textiles and handwoven hammocks. Suites come with private infinity pools, while beach and “nature” rooms are closer to the spa, three tiers of pools, a casual taquería, and a restaurant run in collaboration with chef Elena Reygadas of Mexico City’s beloved Rosetta. From $1,600/night. —Lyndsey Matthews

The Inn at Mattei’s Tavern, Auberge Resorts Collection

The Inn at Mattei's Tavern with outdoor pool (L) and a guest room with high ceiling and wood floor (R)

The Inn at Mattei’s Tavern, Auberge Resorts Collection

Photo by Rachel Weill (L), Courtesy of the Inn at Mattei’s Tavern, Auberge Resorts Collection (R)

  • Location: California, USA
  • Why we love it: A transformed 19th-century stagecoach stop that’s now Santa Ynez wine country’s most luxurious hotel
  • Book now

A new generation of chefs and vintners has brought fresh energy to southern California’s Santa Ynez Valley wine country recently, but aside from a few roadside inns and B&Bs, there hasn’t been much in the way of luxury lodging— until Mattei’s arrived. Set in a 19th-century stagecoach stop and tavern in Los Olivos surrounded by oak-studded hills, cattle ranches, and vineyards, its 67 guest rooms and four historic cottages are meticulously designed. The architecture, interiors, and culinary offerings are attuned to the location, from the poolside platter of seasonal produce to the antique horseshoes on the walls. What’s more, this is a rare wine country resort that welcomes kids: The Tavern has a “pequeños” menu, and child-friendly experiences include a visit to a llama farm. From $648/night. —Julia Cosgrove.

Check out AFAR’s full review of the Inn at Mattei’s Tavern.

Kona Village, a Rosewood Resort

A guest room bathroom at Kona Village, a Rosewood Resort, with large black soaking tub facing the Pacific Ocean

A guest room bathroom at Kona Village, a Rosewood Resort

Courtesy of Kona Village, a Rosewood Resort

  • Location: Hawai‘i, USA
  • Why we love it: A culturally sensitive reimagination of an iconic retreat
  • Book now

Kona Village opened on the island of Hawai‘i in 1965 and gained fame for its surroundings: the blue waters of Kahuwai Bay, volcanic landscapes, swaying palms, and ancient petroglyph fields. Sadly, a tsunami destroyed the resort in 2011, but now Rosewood Hotels & Resorts has unveiled its long-awaited comeback, upping the ante on luxury while reinforcing cultural, environmental, and historical connections. The decor, from award-winning designer Nicole Hollis in collaboration with Kona Village’s cultural committee (composed of direct lineal descendants of the land and other Hawai‘i Island kūpuna, or honored elders), includes artworks commissioned by more than 30 native and resident Hawaiian artists, salvaged items from the original property, and handmade beds shaped like boats to reflect the area’s fishing village past. Many of the 150 thatched-roof hales, or houses, feature large tubs, outdoor showers, and lanais, while the standalone Asaya Spa offers holistic treatments with views of lava flows. To top it off, the resort is solar-powered. From $1,800/night. —Dobrina Zhekova

Maroma, a Belmond Hotel

A white guest room at Maroma, with patterned tile floors (L) and a white-sand beach with a few palm trees (R)

Maroma, a Belmond Hotel, in Mexico’s Riviera Maya

Photo by Edgardo Contreras (L), Photo by Pia Riverola (R)

  • Location: Riviera Maya, Mexico
  • Why we love it: An environmentally sensitive stem-to-stern renovation of a beloved retreat in the Riviera Maya
  • Book now

A half-hour drive south of Cancún airport, crowded resorts with beachside parties are the norm. But one hotel stands out here, thanks to its location on a secluded stretch of sand: the Maroma, a Belmond Hotel, Riviera Maya. Belmond has overhauled the resort, now with 72 rooms and villas, while paying homage to the environment. There’s a sea turtle sanctuary, a nursery dedicated to rescuing endemic plants, a conservation program for endangered bird species, and even a sustainable ocean golf experience. (The balls turn into fish food.) Guests get taken care of too: Accommodations come with sun hats, sandals, and cotton caftans for the beach—plus carafes of tequila and plates of fresh fruit. Staff are ready to arrange a yoga class or a cenote-inspired spa treatment. Just as soothing is an evening with margaritas and ceviche à la minute at the oceanfront Freddy’s Bar. From $1,095/night. —Corina Quinn


View of ULUM Moab's glamping accommodations  on rocky slope

ULUM Moab offers upscale glamping accommodations near some of Utah’s most famous national parks.

Photo by Kelsey Bumsted

  • Location: Utah, USA
  • Why we love it: The new sister brand of a beloved glamping company ups the ante on luxury in Moab
  • Loyalty program: Invited (Small Luxury Hotels of the World)
  • Book now

A higher-end 2023 spin-off of the Under Canvas glamping brand, ULUM Moab offers visitors to Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park an upscale experience through its luxurious design and amenities. Each of the 50 suite-style tents is 400 square feet and includes a king-size bed, a rain shower with Aesop bath products, a seating area with West Elm slingback chairs and coffee tables, a private patio, and a wood-burning stove. The main lodge is beautiful, with a chandelier made of quartzite rocks gathered on-site and floor-to-ceiling windows that frame the ocher desertscape, famed for its hiking, biking, and canyoneering. Outside, guests can use hot and cold dipping pools, a yoga deck, firepits, and a sprawling patio where local musicians play acoustic sets under the stars most nights. From $629/night. —Bailey Berg

Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo Panama City

The lobby of Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo Panama City has intricately patterned tile floors and walls.

The Lobby of Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo Panama City

Courtesy of Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo Panama City

  • Location: Panama City, Panama
  • Why we love it: A historic social club is now one of the best hotels in Panama City’s historic center
  • Loyalty program: Accor Live Limitless
  • Book now

An anchor of Panama City’s UNESCO-designated historic center, the Sofitel’s French colonial–style manse started as a social club in 1917, hosting the likes of Queen Elizabeth II, Albert Einstein, and Helen Keller. Today, the rebuilt property’s 159 rooms and suites are still fit for VIPs, decorated with four-poster beds and wrought-iron balconies overlooking the city and the ocean, with thoughtful nods to sustainability throughout. (There’s no single-use plastic anywhere, for example.) The hotel also showcases Panamanian culture: The embroidery on staff uniforms is by celebrated fashion designer Federico Visuetti, lanterns on display in the lobby speak to the city’s maritime roots, and a nearby farm is responsible for the house coffee. From $345/night. —Billie Cohen.

Check out AFAR’s full review of the Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo Panama City.

Bulgari Hotel Roma

This suite bathroom at the Bulgari Hotel Roma has a deep marble soaking tub and a large window.

A suite bathroom at the Bulgari Hotel Roma

Photo by Francesco Luciani

  • Location: Rome, Italy
  • Why we love it: A remarkable four-year restoration of a rationalist building in central Rome
  • Book now

Situated in what was a former social security office in Rome’s Piazza Augusto Imperatore, this hotel in the Campo Marzio district is one of many 1930s public administrative buildings designed by notable rationalist architects. An ancient statue of Augustus Caesar from the private Torlonia Collection greets visitors at the entrance, accompanied by a rotating exhibition of several other works from the collection—a nod to the marble sculptures that line the Pantheon nearby. The 114 rooms and suites have a contemporary design filled with light tones; the 16,000-square-foot spa is a modern vision of Roman baths; and the enormous rooftop terrace, with its couches and pergolas, is an ideal spot for watching the sun set over the city. From $2,050/night. —Erica Firpo

Carlton Cannes, a Regent Hotel

White arch entryway (L) and wrought-iron balconies on Carlton Cannes's tan exterior (R)

Carlton Cannes, a Regent Hotel

Photos by Amaury LaParra

  • Location: Cannes, France
  • Why we love it: The careful revival of an icon in the resort city of Cannes
  • Loyalty program: IHG One Rewards
  • Book now

When it arrived on the scene in 1913, the Carlton helped turn Cannes into a well-heeled summer beach destination. More than a century later, following a painstaking restoration by Regent Hotels & Resorts, it endures as a symbol of the Belle Époque French Riviera. Gone are the false ceilings and large concierge counters that used to confine the lobby. Instead, the eye is drawn to soaring marble columns (uncovered under eight layers of paint) and Murano glass chandeliers—and beyond sits a tree-lined garden with an infinity pool. Of the 332 rooms and suites, choose a sea-view option with French windows opening onto a wrought-iron balcony. Here, cream-colored love seats offer the perfect place to study the ever-changing Mediterranean light. From $550/night. —Mary Winston Nicklin.

Check out AFAR’s full review of the Carlton Cannes.

Grand Hotel Son Net

Exterior of Grand Hotel Son Net (L); rows of keys (R)

Grand Hotel Son Net is in the Tramuntana Mountains of Mallorca, Spain.

Courtesy of Grand Hotel Son Net

  • Location: Mallorca, Spain
  • Why we love it: The restoration of a 17th-century family estate from the owners of Finca Cortesin in Andalucia
  • Book now

Grand Hotel Son Net is set in the foothills of the Tramuntana mountains on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca, just a 20-minute drive from the center of its capital city, Palma. To stay in this freshly refurbished 31-room mansion is to time travel—through a baroque world of gold-flecked tapestries, stone archways, and portraits of royalty whose gazes contain lifetimes of intrigue, sex, and splendor. “Rooms” are more like a series of tasseled chambers, accented with such details as carved wooden ceilings, antique fireplaces, or elegant four-poster beds. The hotel’s outstanding cuisine spotlights dishes such as salt-grilled beetroot tartare and Mallorcan lobster stew. The property also has a private vineyard of malvasia grapes, from which Son Net bottles its own wine. From $653/night. —Sophie Mancini

Highland Base Kerlingarfjöll

This guest room at Highland Base Kerlingarfjöll has wooden floors and views from large window-seat out to countryside.

A guest room at Highland Base Kerlingarfjöll in Iceland

Courtesy of Highland Base Kerlingarfjöll

  • Location: Kerlingarfjöll, Iceland
  • Why we love it: A sleek retreat from the hoteliers behind the Retreat at Blue Lagoon in a less-visited part of Iceland
  • Book now

Iceland’s remote central highlands have long been off the radar of most visitors, but Highland Base Kerlingarfjöll, the first all-season destination in the area from the team behind the Retreat at Blue Lagoon, is a game changer. A three-hour drive (at least) northeast from Reykjavík, half on gravel roads, it’s for adventurous travelers who want to ski the region’s backcountry or hike to natural hot springs, but prefer creature comforts such as rain showers and spiked hot chocolate. The 26 rooms, two suites, and six private lodges are decorated in a Nordic style with blond wood, textured linen sheets, and reading nooks set inside large picture windows. An on-site bathing area with a trio of geothermal outdoor pools and a sauna will open this year. From $430/night. —Lyndsey Matthews

Le Grand Mazarin

Interior of guest room with yellow rug (L); exterior of white hotel (R)

Le Grand Mazarin in Paris

Photos by Vincent LeRoux (L) and Lane Oliveri (R)

  • Location: Paris, France
  • Why we love it: 18th-century France meets modern maximalism in this Martin Brudnizki-designed hotel
  • Book now

Blink and you might miss Le Grand Mazarin’s discreet entrance in the heart of Paris’s Le Marais district, but even in the small lobby—with its pleated moiré fabric ceiling, basket-weave parquet wooden floor, and tasseled wall sconces—this hotel makes a bold statement. Swedish designer Martin Brudnizki is behind the look; he took inspiration from 18th-century French literary salons and eastern European houses to design everything from the restaurant and bar to the spa and pool area. The 50 guest rooms and 11 suites, all with nonuniform shapes due to the historic building’s architecture, are filled with brightly patterned furnishings. One-of-a-kind details created in partnership with local artists include ornate tapestry bed canopies juxtaposed with funky painted table lamps. From $560/night. —Devorah Lev-Tov.

Read AFAR’s full review of Le Grand Mazarin.

The Hotel Maria

A white and beige guest room at the Hotel Maria in Helsinki, with a glass chandelier and floor-to-ceiling curtains

A guest room at Hotel Maria in Helsinki

Courtesy of Hotel Maria

  • Location: Helsinki, Finland
  • Why we love it: A sumptuous new luxury hotel in a historic building in Helsinki
  • Loyalty program: I Prefer (Preferred Hotels & Resorts)
  • Book now

The Hotel Maria is the latest luxury accommodation to open in Helsinki. Spread across four historic buildings built between 1885 and 1930 on chic, residential Mariankatu street, it radiates a regal elegance: The ivory-on-white lobby makes for an impressive welcome, and an understated aesthetic of creams with brass accents creates a relaxed ambience throughout the 117 rooms and suites (most about twice the size compared to other luxury hotels in Helsinki). More than 150 chandeliers are suspended from the complex’s high ceilings, and, in true Finnish style, many of the suites have fireplaces and private saunas. Guests can connect with a wellness concierge and an experience manager before their arrival to customize activities for their stay. From $496/night. —Kate Doyle Hooper

One&Only Aesthesis

This white seaside guest room at One&Only Aesthesis has floor-to-ceiling windows and wooden furnishings.

A seaside guest room at One&Only Aesthesis

Photo by Rupert Peace

  • Location: Athens Riviera, Greece
  • Why we love it: A reinterpretation of a famed Athens Riviera hangout for the modern traveler
  • Book now

The One&Only Aesthesis is a 51-acre beachfront retreat just steps from the bars and boutiques of the swanky Athens Riviera neighborhood Glyfada, a half hour south of the city. But once inside the serene resort, all thoughts of urban life melt away. On this site in the 1950s and ’60s, shipping magnates and celebrities gathered at the aptly named beach club Asteria (which comes from the Greek word for star). Today, One&Only’s reinterpretation of that legendary hangout is a polished yet thoroughly relaxed sanctuary with 127 accommodation options including suites, breezy beach bungalows, two- and three-bedroom residences, and a pair of private seafront villas. At the hip restaurant Ora (from Italian-Greek chef Ettore Botrini, whose eponymous northern Athens restaurant bears a Michelin star), it’s easy to conjure images of movie stars dining on langoustine dolmades in the backlit booths. From $1,280/night. —Helen Iatrou.

Read AFAR’s full review of One&Only Aesthesis.

The Peninsula Istanbul

The outdoor pool at Peninsula Istanbul is flanked by white daybeds.

The pool at Peninsula Istanbul

Photo by Visionary Media Group

  • Location: Istanbul, Türkiye
  • Why we love it: Superlative hospitality in a historic setting in Karakoy, with an emphasis on Turkish artistry
  • Book now

The new Peninsula Istanbul has a distinct East-West sensibility that harmonizes with the way this ancient metropolis literally bridges Europe and Asia. Located on the lively Karaköy waterfront, the hotel restored three heritage buildings that had been closed to the public for decades, and constructed a fourth specifically for the complex. The best local ustas (craftspeople) were enlisted to work on its marble, stained glass, and sedef, a type of traditional mother-of-pearl inlay. Additionally, designer Zeynep Fadıllıoğlu incorporated cultural nods throughout the 177 guest rooms, such as the curtains’ subtle embroidery, as well as in the underground spa, where light fittings modeled on Islamic honeycomb niches (muqarnas) reflect on a swimming pool. Don’t miss the views or the food at Gallada, the rooftop restaurant by chef Fatih Tutak, the city’s reigning sultan of creative fine dining. From $755/night. —Anya von Bremzen.

Read AFAR’s full review of the Peninsula Istanbul.

The Peninsula London

The lobby of the Peninsula London, with high white columns, square tables, and light red chairs

The lobby of the Peninsula London

Courtesy of Peninsula London

  • Location: London, England
  • Why we love it: A legendary Asian hospitality brand makes its London debut
  • Book now

Designed to suggest an understated version of a Renaissance palazzo, the Peninsula London wraps around a courtyard embellished with jasmine and wisteria vines, along with two 120-year-old Japanese maples. In the 190 rooms and suites—many with views of Wellington Arch or Hyde Park, others with terraces overlooking fancy Belgravia homes—celebrity designer Peter Marino’s color scheme harmonizes off-white and palest blue with furniture accents of orange, jet black, and stony brown. Marino also designed the two-story below-ground fitness center and spa, with an 82-foot heated pool and wood-paneled treatment rooms. Even in London’s thrilling food scene, the Pen’s dining and drinking options are in a league of their own. At Brooklands, chef Claude Bosi (of the two-Michelin-star Bibendum) serves Franco-British fare under a 46-foot model of a Concorde airliner. And at Canton Blue, chef Dicky To fuses Chinese techniques with regional ingredients in such dishes as British wagyu beef fried rice. From $1,640/night. —Anya von Bremzen.

Read AFAR’s full review of the Peninsula London.

Violino d’Oro

A white guest room at Violino D'Oro in Venice with wooden floors, a small gilt mirror, and floor-to-ceiling curtains

A guest room at Violino D’Oro in Venice

Courtesy of Violino D’Oro

  • Location: Venice, Italy
  • Why we love it: A family-owned Italian hospitality group’s homage to Venetian craftsmanship
  • Loyalty program: Leaders Club (Leading Hotels of the World)
  • Book now

Set along a canal near Piazza San Marco in Venice, Violino d’Oro (from the family-owned Florentine luxury brand Collezione EM) celebrates the city’s artisan legacy in every fabric, furnishing, and piece of glass. Public spaces feature hand-placed Venetian seminato terrazzo flooring and Venini chandeliers, while the 32 guest rooms and suites—spread out across three palazzi—incorporate dark greens and smooth beiges. Details traverse local design history from the curtains, headboards, and pillows fashioned by 130- year-old Venetian textile company Rubelli to contemporary coffee tables and lamps. While enjoying a Doge’s Fizz and cicchetti (Venetian tapas) at the cozy Il Piccolo bar, be on the lookout for hotel co-owner Sara Maestrelli, who has created a series of adventures outside the hotel, such as archeo-running tours (which combine sightseeing with jogging) and introductions to artists. From $865/night. —Erica Firpo

Raffles London at the OWO

A large suite at Raffles London at the OWO, with high ceiling, chandelier, and original carved wood paneling on walls

A suite at the Raffles London at the OWO

Courtesy of Raffles London at the OWO

  • Location: London, England
  • Why we love it: A building steeped in world history becomes one of London’s grandest hotels
  • Loyalty program: Accor Live Limitless
  • Book now

The much anticipated Raffles London at the OWO (pronounced “oh-whoa”—aka Old War Office) opened in September 2023 after an eight-year overhaul under the guidance of 37 heritage consultants. This Edwardian baroque landmark has seen a lot of history: Winston Churchill presided here; T.E. Lawrence, or Lawrence of Arabia, worked here; and MI5 and MI6 conducted operations from its halls (perhaps the reason the building appears in five James Bond films). The 120 guest rooms and suites are fashioned from former offices and state rooms and detailed with original oak paneling, marble, and a collection of bath products with a fragrance created just for the hotel. And thanks to several bars and restaurants—including three by Argentina-born superstar chef Mauro Colagreco—the OWO promises to turn the sleepy-at-night Whitehall area into a happening dining and drinking hub. From $1,264/night. —Anya von Bremzen.

Read AFAR’s full review of Raffles London at the OWO.

andBeyond Punakha River Lodge

A family suite bedroom at andBeyond Punakha River Lodge in Bhutan, with wood beam ceilings, carpeted wood floors, and wall of windows

A family suite bedroom at andBeyond Punakha River Lodge in Bhutan

Courtesy of andBeyond

  • Location: Punakha Valley, Bhutan
  • Why we love it: Africa-based andBeyond introduces its conservation-driven mission to the Himalayas
  • Book now

Travel outfitter and lodging company andBeyond has taken its conservation mission to the Himalayas with the Punakha River Lodge, on the banks of the Mo Chhu River in Bhutan’s green Punakha Valley. Guests can choose from six safari-style tents hung on traditional Bhutanese timber structures, the two-bedroom family suite, or the private River House with its large windows framing views of the forest. Outdoor excursions double as introductions to the area’s culture and bounty, such as a hike to an 18th-century Buddhist monastery for a private blessing, followed by a mountainside breakfast of buckwheat pancakes with local fruits. Ease post-trek muscles with a soak in the spa’s wooden hot-stone bath filled with aromatic herbs. From $890/night. —Jane Broughton

JW Marriott Jeju Resort & Spa

A staff member in white suit at front desk at JW Marriott Jeju Resort & Spa, with  colorful mural in background

The front desk at JW Marriott Jeju Resort & Spa

Photo by Chris Schalkx

  • Location: Jeju Island, South Korea
  • Why we love it: JW Marriott shines a spotlight on a new South Korean destination for international travelers
  • Loyalty program: Marriott Bonvoy
  • Book now

The island of Jeju, an hour’s flight south of Seoul, had long been a getaway spot known mostly to regional travelers in search of sun, sand, and nature. But the opening of the clifftop JW Marriott Jeju Resort & Spa has helped put the destination—with its waterfalls, volcanic crater, and miles of coastal walking trails—in the international spotlight. Bangkok-based designer Bill Bensley infused interiors with eye-popping yellows, a nod to the canola fields that carpet Jeju Island in spring, and dark grays inspired by the basalt stone walls that hem nearby farms. There are plenty of tongue-in-cheek elements, too: Look for the faux taxidermy pigeons by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan perched on the hanok-style eaves in the lobby. Wellness lovers will appreciate the sprawling spa and the natural hot spring facility that’s expected to open by spring 2024. From $900/night. —Chris Schalkx.

Read AFAR’s full review of JW Marriott Jeju Resort & Spa.

Mondrian Singapore Duxton

A Shophouse Suite at the Mondrian Singapore Duxton with wood ceilings, large seating area, and bar counter

A Shophouse Suite at the Mondrian Singapore Duxton

Courtesy of Mondrian Singapore Duxton

  • Location: Singapore
  • Why we love it: Local creativity comes front and center at this fun-loving and social hotel
  • Loyalty program: Dis-loyalty (Ennismore)
  • Book now

This smart newcomer taps into a side of the Lion City few hotels have explored. Instead of leaning into the city-state’s colonial heritage or status as a fast-paced business hub, Mondrian Singapore Duxton celebrates its creative undercurrent. Staffed by former Olympians, DJs, and part-time drag queens, it’s a social hub for clued-in locals, whom you’ll find tapping away at laptops at Christina’s (the hotel’s café and cocktail bar) or schmoozing at one of several other bars and restaurants, such as Bottega di Carna, a meat-focused Italian affair by mustachioed celebrity butcher Dario Cecchini. Out-of-towners stay in the 302 rooms, some furnished with augmented reality–enhanced paintings and tall arched windows inspired by Singapore’s traditional shophouses. From $320/night. —Chris Schalkx

Shinta Mani Mustang, a Bensley Collection

A guest room at Shinta Mani Mustang in Nepal, with floor-to-ceiling windows, a stone wall, and a bed with an orange blanket

A guest room at Shinta Mani Mustang in Nepal

Photo by Elise Hassey

  • Location: Mustang, Nepal
  • Why we love it: This sustainably built, design-forward retreat brings luxury travelers to less-visited Mustang
  • Book now

The Shinta Mani Mustang brings Nepal’s luxury circuit to new heights. Sitting at 9,200 feet on a rocky mountainside in northern Nepal’s Jomsom town, the original 2017 hotel structure (by Nepalese architect Prabal Shumsher Thapa) recently received a beautiful makeover by award-winning designer Bill Bensley. Now the 29 suites come furnished with custom-designed cashmere throws and Tibetan antiques; the restaurant serves fine-dining riffs on Himalayan staples such as noodle soup and momo (dumplings); and at the glass-walled spa, guests can schedule consultations with a traditional healer. Most notably, the lodge is a base camp for expeditions around Mustang, a Himalayan kingdom that only fully opened to international tourists in 1992. Day trips include drives to ancient mud villages, tours to Buddhist and Hindu sites, and hikes to glacier lakes that end with picnic lunches. From $1,800/night for two people. —Chris Schalkx.

Read AFAR’s full review of Shinta Mani Mustang.

Six Senses Vana

Exterior of Six Senses Vana, with walkway covered with wooden trellises

Six Senses Vana in Dehradun, India

Courtesy of Six Senses Vana

  • Location: Dehradun, India
  • Why we love it: Six Senses brings its sustainability and well-being-driven ethos to a beloved retreat in Dehradun
  • Book now

Six Senses Vana fuses ancient Ayurvedic medicine and modern spa rituals to create a wellness retreat in the foothills of the Himalayas, on the outskirts of Dehradun. The 82-room resort features bamboo-clad ceilings, handcrafted art installations, and massive windows overlooking a forest of sal trees, considered sacred in Hindu tradition. An Ayurvedic doctor tailors programs toward individual guest needs by tapping into practices from Tibetan medicine, Chinese acupuncture, and reflexology, combined with 20th-century treatments like compression boots and gold-leaf facials. And you can make it as intense or laid-back as you like. Want to drink wine? It’s on the menu. Feel like sleeping in rather than rising for sun salutations? That’s your choice. There are, however, some rules that guests need to play by: No cell phones in public spaces, and everyone gets organic cotton kurta pajamas to wear during their stay. From $630/night. —Laura Begley Bloom

Atlantis the Royal

A few people standing in infinity pool outside Atlantis the Royal

The pool at Atlantis the Royal in Dubai

Photo by Miriam Hähnle

  • Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • Why we love it: All the sizzle of Dubai glamour with the down-to-earth friendliness of a boutique hotel
  • Book now

Allow yourself to give in to the sheer exuberance and vast scale of Dubai’s Atlantis the Royal, and you might find yourself falling for it. This is a place with fountains that burst into flames, a see-and-be-seen beach club run by chef Nobu Matsuhisa, and mesmerizing views from the sky-high Cloud 22 infinity pool. Towering over the edge of man-made Palm Jumeirah island, the stacked-block architecture includes 795 light-filled rooms and suites, many with huge terraces and glass-sided plunge pools for a dose of Dubai-level bling. Perhaps the real secret to the resort’s success, though, is the service, delivered by a team of 2,000 staffers with the level of genuinely attentive friendliness you’d expect of a hotel one-tenth its size. From $580/night. —Nicola Chilton

Fairmont Doha

A junior suite at Fairmont Doha with a pastel theme and floor-to-ceiling windows facing the city

A junior suite at Fairmont Doha

Courtesy of Fairmont Doha

  • Location: Doha, Qatar
  • Why we love it: Luxury brand Fairmont pulls out all the stops for its Doha debut
  • Loyalty program: Accor Live Limitless
  • Book now

The Fairmont Doha is a bold step forward for a brand that has, at times, felt a little staid. True to its seaside location—in the scimitar-shaped Katara Towers—the hotel’s 362 rooms and suites have a yacht-like feel, with big windows, scalloped leather headboards, and backlit onyx bathrooms. Impressive elements abound, from the skyline views on poolside sunbeds to the 4,807 pearl-shaped lights that cascade through the atrium. There’s a good sense of fun here too: A towering acrylic cloche in the lobby is filled with cakes, and life-size ice sculptures (think mermaids and Barbie) are hand carved in the Asian restaurant Provok every few days. From $270/night. —Nicola Chilton

Angama Amboseli

Guest accommodations at Angama Amboseli include private plunge pools (L) and wildlife photography (R)

Guest accommodations at Angama Amboseli

Photos by Tanveer Badal

  • Location: Amboseli, Kenya
  • Why we love it: A people-driven approach to wildlife experiences in a special corner of Kenya
  • Book now

The new sister property to Angama Mara brings the safari lodge’s people-driven ethos to the 5,700-acre Kimana Sanctuary, Kenya’s first community-owned conservancy. Everyone on the staff, more than 70 percent of whom hail from the surrounding area, treats each guest like a family member and a partner in conservation. For instance, they will explain how the sanctuary serves as a vital corridor for wildlife, including some of Africa’s last super tusker elephants, who move between the nearby Chyulu Hills and Amboseli national parks. The 10 suites, styled with serene natural tones offset by stark modern blacks, feature outdoor showers, private verandas, and views of Mount Kilimanjaro. The camp’s aesthetic complements the environment: The round infinity pool sits above a lowered trench so that resident elephants can take a drink; elephant dung is used to add texture to exterior walls; and a semicircle chartreuse sofa is inspired by the leaves of the ubiquitous acacia trees. From $1,650/person/night. —Sarika Bansal

Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, Loapi Tented Camp

A guest room at Loapi in South Africa with four-poster bed with gauze curtains and open wall of outdoors

A guest room at Loapi in South Africa

Photo by Andrew Morgan

  • Location: Kalahari, South Africa
  • Why we love it: The third retreat in a vast desert conservation area built for small private groups
  • Book now

Tswalu Kalahari, in South Africa’s semiarid Kalahari region, is the country’s largest privately protected conservation area; at 282,000 acres, it’s about the size of all five boroughs of New York City combined. In 2023 it welcomed Loapi Tented Camp, the third accommodation in the entire reserve. The camp ensures a highly personalized experience, making it ideal for families and multigenerational groups looking to shape their own trips. Each of the six “safari homes,” as they’re referred to, comes with a vehicle, guide, and tracker, as well as a private chef and butler, allowing guests to set the pace of each day. The decor is striking: pavilions of steel and canvas, with accents of wood, leather, and woven grasses. The information boards and maps in each home are a lovely touch; they highlight recent wildlife sightings and the ongoing conservation work at Tswalu. From $2,452/night. —Richard Holmes.

Read AFAR’s full review of Loapi.

Riad Rosemary

Overhead view of shaded courtyard seating area at Riad Rosemary in Marrakech

A courtyard seating area at Riad Rosemary in Marrakech

Photo by Marina Denisova

  • Location: Marrakech, Morocco
  • Why we love it: A jewel box of a retreat from a designer couple with individually designed rooms
  • Book now

The Riad Rosemary strays far from the mosaic-and-carved-plaster aesthetic usually seen at Marrakech riad hotels. The result of a two-year renovation by Ayoub Boualam and Laurence Leenaert (the couple behind Marrakech-based design company LRNCE), this cozy five-room house centers on a calming courtyard where a towering jacaranda tree reaches up to a rooftop terrace, perfect for lazy breakfasts or afternoons lounging on a daybed with a good book. Each individually designed room combines Leenaert’s swirling motifs (rendered in ceramic, textiles, and plaster) with flea market finds, vintage furniture, and handlaid terrazzo floors. The result feels part art deco, part midcentury modern, and fully Marrakech, like staying in the home of fun-loving friends who have exceptional taste. From $250/night. —Nicola Chilton

Capella Sydney

Bartender behind bar at Capella Sydney (L); white circular soaking tub in guest room next to floor-to-ceiling window

Capella Sydney is on the city’s harbor front.

Photos by Timothy Kaye

  • Location: Sydney, Australia
  • Why we love it: Understated luxury in the heart of Sydney
  • Book now

The Capella Sydney feels like an oasis amid the city’s vibrant harbor front, even though it’s just steps from the iconic Opera House. Subtle indulgence is the reason to check in: Guests walk into a sun-soaked lobby, which spills into an indoor courtyard with a 23-foot vertical garden of local plants. As you settle into one of the 192 guest rooms (with harbor or city views, beds draped in Frette linens, and in some cases, huge freestanding tubs), impeccably dressed staff will deliver your bags. And if there are younger guests along, they’ll bring a hunk of homemade rocky road candy and a freckle lollipop too. From $650/ night. —Krisanne Fordham

Southern Ocean Lodge

Distant aerial view of exterior of Southern Ocean Lodge, with ocean in foreground

Southern Ocean Lodge

Photo by George Apostolidis

  • Location: Kangaroo Island, Australia
  • Why we love it: After having been decimated by wildfires in 2020, Southern Ocean Lodge has returned—and is better (and more sustainable) than ever
  • Book now

Can you improve on perfection? The rebuilt Southern Ocean Lodge may be proof positive. Anchored on limestone cliffs on the edge of Kangaroo Island (eight miles off the coast of South Australia), the lodge was razed by wildfires in 2020, but has reopened with several considered upgrades. Its 25 suites are oriented to take in uninterrupted views of the thundering surf, some with plunge pools overlooking the coastal bluff. Suites manage to be cozy as well as part of the spectacular wilderness, with terraces and fireplaces to boot. The island’s wildlife is thriving once again, and everything that was much loved about the award-winning resort is back—including Sunshine, its kangaroo sculpture mascot. From $2,218/night. —Lee Tulloch.

Read AFAR’s full review of Southern Ocean Lodge.

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