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The World’s Best (And Worst) New Luxury Hotels 2020

December 18, 2020 Luxury Hotels No Comments

This has been an unprecedented year. But in the middle of all the sadness and chaos the world over, the global luxury hotel sector has demonstrated how bold and resilient it can be. While we estimate that around 75 per cent of the anticipated new luxury hotel openings have been postponed, a number of impressive properties have found a way through. So, of the 31 new properties we have managed to visit this year, we have settled on an exceptional 15 (and one particularly disappointing project).

In reverse order, here is our Best of 2020:

15. The Lake House USA
On Lake Canandaigua in the Finger Lakes, a talented and passionate team of hands on owners have created this beautiful, design led and laid back affordable luxe bolthole.

14Paragon 700 Puglia Italy
An impressive rustic red brick property, that stands out among the otherwise whitewashed buildings of Ostuni. We love the exposed brick, cathedral ceilings and french parquet floors. Each of the 11 rooms and suites are different, so take your time choosing the perfect option.

13Cayo Exclusive Resort Greece
Exclusive is a much overused word, but this chic new resort has every right to be called the Cayo Exclusive Resort. We are impressed with the location (on Elounda Bay), the choice of four restaurants and the small but oh so perfect spa.

12. Alamayah Boutique Retreat Indonesia
This luxury boutique retreat on Sumba Island (a 50 minute flight from Bali) is a slice of paradise. With just six suites and their ‘everything included’ policy, this is one of those rare properties where you simply don’t want to ever leave.

11. One&Only Desaru Coast Malaysia
The first ever One&Only resort in Asia and the last project by the supremely talented late architect Kerry Hill, this sumptuous 45 key beachfront sanctuary, managed by the ever present GM Jerome Colson, sits in 128 acres of lush rainforest. The Ember Beach Club and Chenot Spa are particularly impressive.

10. Zannier Bai San Ho Vietnam
Arnaud Zannier is a luxury hotel operator to watch. His latest property, located in peaceful Phu Yen, sits in 240 acres of jungle landscape and rice paddies, complete with a private half mile stretch of pristine beach. There are 71 spacious villas, three restaurants, a panoramic infinity pool and a beautiful spa.

9. Maslina Resort Croatia
On Hvar Island, the resort successfully fuses classic mediterranean styles with contemporary French touches. Led by the passion of highly respected luxury hotelier Zoran Pejovic, the attention to detail is evident throughout. Staff are friendly and engaging.

8. Banyan Tree Krabi Thailand
Three years in the making, this is an idyllic beachfront resort with a world-class spa and superb dining options. All 72 spacious suites and villas face westwards towards the sea and have their own private pool.

7. Four Seasons Madrid Spain
The first ever Spanish property for Four Seasons – it has taken its time to create this beautiful urban oasis within a collection of seven historic buildings. There are 200 rooms and suites (the most spacious in the city), including the spectacular Royal Suite.

6. Raffles Bali Indonesia
The 15th property from this highly regarded and iconic luxury hotel operator, with just 32 villas, each with its own pool. Set on its own secluded beach and overlooking Jimbaran Bay. The hilltop Rumari restaurant is particularly impressive.

5. Montage Healdsburg USA
In the heart of Sonoma wine country in a spectacular 258 acre vineyard setting. The property (opening this week) offers 130 luxury bungalow style rooms, with private outdoor living space and fire pits. With four dining options and a 12,000 square foot world class spa, this is a true luxury escape for wine loving, discerning guests.

4. Arctic Bath Swedish Lapland
Rarely does a hotel deliver a once in a lifetime opportunity, but with Arctic Bath this really is the case. The location, the architecture and the elements combine to deliver something quite exceptional. This 12 room floating spa hotel offers guests a unique Arctic wellness and dining experience. Breathtaking.

3. The Mayfair Townhouse UK
This is the latest project from Iconic Luxury Hotels. Andrew Stembridge – much respected – is the man in charge, so this will be a glamorous, well run and special retreat for discerning visitors to London. Opt for one of the Penthouse Suites – well worth the splurge.

2. JK Place Paris France
The original JK Place in Florence impressed. Then came JK Place Capri (equally impressive), followed by the exceptional JK Place in Rome – completing a trilogy of very special and discreet ‘home away from home’ retreats for a legion of discerning followers. Now, after several years in the making, hotelier Ori Kafri has finished his most spectacular and audacious hotel ever, right under the noses of Paris’s iconic Grand Dames. Truly Special.

The World’s Best New Luxury Hotel for 2020 is…

1. Capella Bangkok Thailand
Capella really is one to watch. In fact, we have been following the team with great interest for several years, as they have crafted six very special luxury hotels throughout the world. With Capella Bangkok, they have created another exceptional property. A blueprint for what a luxury hotel now needs to be – personal, memorable, authentic and inspiring.

And the Worst?

Dolce Hanoi Golden Lake
Even pre-pandemic, this ‘all gold’ hotel (with their gold crust topped hamburgers) would have been considered too ostentatious and out of touch with the needs of today’s luxury traveller. This is an embarrassment for the luxury hotel sector – as it struggles with the biggest global challenge it has ever faced.

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