- 1 BEST NEWCOMER
- 2 BEST OVER-THE-TOP LUXURY
- 3 BEST DESIGN
- 4 BEST BIG CITY SLEEP
- 5 BEST NIGHTLIFE
- 6 BEST COMEBACK
- 7 BEST FOR COMMUNING WITH NATURE
- 8 BEST FOR FOODIES
- 9 BEST STYLE STEAL
- 10 BEST FOR WELLNESS
- 11 BEST ECO-LODGE
- 12 BEST BUSINESS-MEETS-PLEASURE
- 13 BEST FOR ROMANCE
- 14 BEST ON THE BEACH
- 15 BEST FAR-FLUNG ESCAPE
- 16 BEST GROUNDS
- 17 BEST LOOKING GUESTS
- 18 BEST FOR FAMILIES
- 19 BEST HIGH-TECH HOTELS
- 20 BEST POOL SCENE
- 21 BEST ALL-INCLUSIVE
- 22 BEST BOUTIQUE
- 23 AUDIENCE FAVORITE
2015 Best of the Best Hotel Awards
Your mother taught you not to play favorites. At Jetsetter, we follow no such rule. Our annual list of top-ranked hotels highlights the best of our exclusive portfolio of properties. We polled experts and insiders to select the top places to stay in 23 categories. From a family-friendly resort in South Carolina to a Bauhaus-style boutique in Tel Aviv, these are our Best of the Best. Mom would be proud.
Mondrian London, England
A glamorous reimagining of what was once a South Bank corporate park, Mondrian’s London hotel winks at its past role as the Sea Containers office building. An oversize copper hull sweeps through the lobby, housing reception desks and inspiring countless Instagrammers, and there’s a 56-seat theater decked out in nautical navy and gold. Designer Tom Dixon, whose previous projects include East London’s Shoreditch House, kitted out the guestrooms in gray leather with bright pops of color and gave the Sea Containers Restaurant one heck of a conversation piece by installing a yellow submarine that dangles from the ceiling above a sleek chrome bar. It’s tempting to linger there, sipping a dry-hopped gimlet and contemplating Ringo Starr, but don’t miss the restaurant within. New York City star chef Seamus Mullen makes his international debut, serving seasonal oysters, yuzu-scented bream ceviche and crab salad on toast. Anchors aweigh!
BEST OVER-THE-TOP LUXURY
Baccarat Hotel and Residences New York
Baccarat’s first foray into the hotel business is an opulent affair. Within this 114-room property in Midtown Manhattan can be found 15,000 pieces of crystal stemware, 17 glittering chandeliers and the first American outpost of France’s chic La Mer spa. Chef Shea Gallante’s Chevalier restaurant operates under the watchful eye of Charles Masson, former general manager of Franco-Gotham institution La Grenouille. The spacious guestrooms and suites are done up in custom Mascioni jacquard linens, bespoke Maison Francis Kurkdjian amenities, and red enamel minibars filled with treats from Paris’s venerated Fauchon. Oh la la.
The Miami Beach EDITION, Florida
Nearly 20 years after opening Miami Beach’s seminal Delano Hotel, Ian Schrager transformed a 1955 seaside sleeper into a sleek new Edition. The bright red Hotel Seville sign remains on the exterior, and the interior spaces blend original Melvin Grossman design details with Schrager’s ultramod touch. The palatial lobby, one of the few in the city with an ocean view, retains Grossman’s gold mosaic columns and Carrara marble flooring; it’s partitioned into intimate spaces by leafy potted palms and a Delanoesque white marble pool table. Party animals head to the Basement for what Schrager calls “a microclub” as well as a retro skating rink and a bowling alley named Bowl. Upstairs, all 294 guestrooms, suites and bungalows have unadorned wood panel walls, custom Le Labo bath amenities and white marble bathrooms with rainfall showers and/or oversize soaking tubs. Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Matador Room has a masculine, clubby feel thanks to dark wood paneling, an original recessed dining room floor, and a Midcentury chandelier. The space feels both rooted in history and utterly fresh — much like the hotel itself.
BEST BIG CITY SLEEP
Shangri-La Hotel Paris, France
Shangri-La’s European debut occupies an 1896 limestone manse near the bustling Trocadero that was once the private residence of Roland Bonaparte (yes, one of those Bonapartes). Pierre-Yves Rochon’s sleek interiors give the hotel’s 101 guestrooms and suites a preternatural calm, as do the Carita spa treatments and the indoor swimming pool near the leafy terrace. The hotel has two Michelin-starred restaurants, L’Abeille and Shang Palace, as well as the airy La Bauhinia, which serves Asian-accented fare beneath a Maurice Gras–designed cupola. Oh and those dead-on views of the Eiffel Tower don't hurt either.
25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin, Germany
We know about Berlin’s reputation as nightlife central, but 25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin brings the party with a serious dose of design. Well-dressed locals and jetlag-defying travelers groove until the wee hours on the hotel rooftop, where the Neni Berlin restaurant specializes in Middle Eastern plates with exceptional views of the Tiergarten. The adjoining Monkey Bar turns out tiki drinks, classic cocktails and fair trade coffee to the tunes of rotating DJs and live musical acts.
Malliouhana, An Auberge Resort, Anguilla
Following an $80 million renovation, the storied home of the 1980s private jet set is back, baby. Now part of Auberge Resorts, Malliouhana Part Deux has 44 guestrooms (down from 55) on 25 oceanfront acres, plus two infinity pools and a spa that specializes in therapies using local ingredients like bananas and chocolate. Chef Jeremy Bearman, previously of New York City’s Michelin-starred Rouge Tomate and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Las Vegas, helms the hotel restaurant. Best of all, half of the hotel’s staff returned for its 21st-century incarnation.
BEST FOR COMMUNING WITH NATURE
Lion Sands River Lodge, South Africa
Proof that style and substance are not mutually exclusive, Lion Sands’ 20 suites are located within a private reserve and decorated with freestanding tubs, indoor/outdoor living areas and elegant wooden decks that look out onto the bush or the Sable River. The fourth-generation owners have exclusive traversing rights in the Lion Sands Private Game Reserve, and they employ a full-time ecologist to preserve their surroundings, so feel free to enjoy guided bush walks and twice-daily game drives with a clear conscience. Plan to spend at least one night in one of the lodge’s three luxe treehouses, where you can have a candlelit picnic overlooking the bush, and sleep under the South African stars.
BEST FOR FOODIES
The LINE Hotel, Los Angeles, California
This Koreatown spot has style for days, but what keeps guests — and locals — coming back is Roy Choi’s irresistible take on hotel dining. Think creative veggie-centric fare in a greenhouse at the poolside Commissary restaurant, or red bean mooncakes from a former Momofuku pastry chef at the creatively capitalized POT caFé. Room service is both unforgettable and utterly Angeleno, spanning breakfast burritos, Cobb salads and a thermos filled with egg-and-cheese ramen. All arrive at your doorstep via hand-pulled wagon and are wrapped in vintage cloth as a nod to the way Choi’s Korean-American parents used to deliver food to friends’ potlucks. It’s not every hipster-chic hotel that has us thinking, When you’re here, you’re family.
BEST STYLE STEAL
The Dean, Providence, Rhode Island
Housed in a former brothel and filled with custom ironwork and paintings from Les Puces, Providence’s new Downcity hotel is a sexy steal starting at $79 per night. Sip locally roasted Bolt coffee on the handsome leather pommel horse/couch in the lobby, quaff cocktails by candlelight in the Magdalenae Room, and get to know your neighbors in the quirky, closet-size cage elevator. The hotel also has a German beer hall, Faust, and Seoul-style karaoke lounge with cherry-red vinyl banquettes.
BEST FOR WELLNESS
Terme di Saturnia
Many trips to southern Tuscany are characterized by heavy pastas and hearty pours of Chianti. This 128-room wellness retreat provides a lighter experience under the glorious Tuscan sun. Set on top of Etruscan thermal springs two hours from Rome, Terme di Saturnia has a hydrotherapy-centric spa with 54 treatment rooms, as well as six outdoor pools, an 18-hole golf course, stress management and fitness instructors, and access to mountain-biking and horseback-riding trails. The Michelin-starred restaurant, All’Acquacotta, blends traditional fare with ultra-fresh seasonal produce, as in black cabbage–stuffed homemade ravioli. Think of it as spa cuisine, Italian-style.
Mukul Beach, Golf & Spa, Nicaragua
Nicaraguan billionaire Carlos Pellas is Central America’s answer to Donald Trump — if El Donald were a fervent environmentalist. Pellas invested $250 million in Mukul, a collection of 37 suites, villas and ultra-glam treehouses along an azure stretch of Pacific coastline. Here, Nicaragua anoints its first luxury lodging, and the region gets a game-changing exemplar of conscientious development. Pellas replanted 1,500 trees uprooted during construction and granted microloans to entrepreneurial shop owners in nearby beach communities. The 1,670-acre grounds have a spa with Turkish baths, a David McLay Kidd–designed golf course, and miles of hiking trails populated with undisturbed indigenous flora and fauna.
The Langham Chicago, Illinois
Langham’s fourth North American outpost occupies the first 13 stories of a Mies van der Rohe skyscraper on the Chicago River. In the sleekly efficient white marble lobby, hanging Czech glass fixtures seem to wink at the Midcentury furnishings below. Travelle, the hotel’s critically lauded seasonal restaurant, is equally suited to business dinners and anniversary celebrations, and travelers of all stripes (and pinstripes) will appreciate the guestrooms’ Nespresso machines and spacious granite bathrooms. Corporate guests may be more apt to indulge in a 30-minute treatment at the Chuan Spa, but far be it for us to deny any traveler the pleasure of a dip in the 67-foot indoor swimming pool or the hydrotherapy Jacuzzi.
BEST FOR ROMANCE
When the One&Only Palmilla reopened its doors in April 2015, after being closed for several months due to damage from 2014’s Hurricane Odile, honeymooners and bighearted travelers everywhere breathed an enormous sigh of relief. Concierges at the Baja resort arrange candlelit dinners on white sand beaches, the spa villas have rainfall showers and daybeds, and all 172 guestrooms and suites feature private patios or balconies overlooking the turquoise Sea of Cortes. The resort also recently launched Seared, a sultry new steakhouse with Aztec marble floors and a Jean-Georges Vongerichten menu. We love a happy ending.
BEST ON THE BEACH
Uxua Casa Hotel & Spa, Trancoso, Brazil
Leave Rio to the tourists. Trancoso, a former fishing village that has been turned into an elite retreat, has UNESCO-protected architecture and Brazil’s best untouched beaches. Uxua, the first boutique hotel on the historic quadrado, combines five-star service (all 10 casas have a private chefs on demand) with breezy, barefoot-with-a-pedicure élan. The lodgings include a treehouse suite made with reclaimed wood, and a studio with a vertical garden. We doubt anyone ever gets tired of Uxua’s white sand beach, which is a seven-minute walk from the quadrado and has private showers, capoeira classes and a killer cocktail bar, but the hotel pool, constructed from thousands of aventurine quartz stones, is not to be missed.
BEST FAR-FLUNG ESCAPE
Soneva Kiri, Koh Kood
There’s remote, and then there’s Koh Kood. This tiny Thai isle is a private jet and speedboat ride away from the nearest international airport, but the 35-villa Soneva Kiri makes distant memories of Bangkok’s baggage claim. All 35 villas have personal infinity pools, private buggies for cruising the resort grounds, outdoor bathrooms and organic linens. Dedicated concierges (called Fridays, per Robinson Crusoe) meet guests’ every whim, be it arranging a private screening at the beachside Cinema Paradiso, underwater shiatsu lessons at the Six Senses Spa, or treetop private dining with a ziplining waiter.
The Oberoi Rajvilas, Rajasthan, India
Mind the peacocks when you check into this 71-room retreat five miles from buzzing Jaipur. The Oberoi Rajvilas’s 32 acres of verdant orchard and rolling hills are home to an 18th-century Shiva temple, glittering reflecting pools and more than a few stately birds. Modeled after Mughal walled palaces, the grounds are every bit the urban respite, with lush gardens, marble elephant fountains and domed fountains over the showstopping swimming pool.
BEST LOOKING GUESTS
Macakizi Hotel, Türkbükü, Turkey
Hey there, Naomi Campbell. Pass the rosé, Olivier Martinez. An international set of boldface names and Bar Refaeli lookalikes favor this sexy resort overlooking the Aegean Sea on Turkey's Bodrum peninsula. Grab your Hermès bikini or Etro trunks and wander the bougainvillea-lined grounds with a glamorous crowd of beachgoers from dawn until dusk — and until dawn again. The swinging scene at the beach bar includes rotating DJs, and the open-air restaurant, helmed by Turkish chef Avet Sahakyan, is one of the country’s best.
BEST FOR FAMILIES
For a taste of Southern hospitality all ages can enjoy, follow the rows of oak trees dripping with Spanish moss to this collection of suites and cottages in South Carolina’s Lowcountry. The inn is set in a 20,000-acre nature preserve, and it provides bikes for exploring the terrain, as well as vintage yacht rides up the May River and family-friendly kayaking and fishing expeditions. There’s also a family pool near the resort marina, where chirping crickets drown out cries of “Marco” and “Polo.” In the evenings, hotel staffers provide s’mores fixings around two large outdoor firepits. Oh and did we mention there's a treehouse?
BEST HIGH-TECH HOTELS
Hotel 1000, Seattle, Washington
Do Not Disturb signs are so last millennium. The guestrooms at Hotel 1000 have silent infrared doorbells with body heat–activated sensors, so housekeeping knows when not to enter, plus smart climate control and free VoIP global phones. Proximity keycards unlock your door as you approach, and flat-screen HDTVs display digital art. The 21st-century fitness center has a virtual golf course that brings St. Andrews and Pebble Beach to downtown Seattle at the push of a button; it gives new meaning to the phrase “See you on the links.”
BEST POOL SCENE
There was a time when Palm Springs was a geriatric hotspot of early bird specials. Then came Coachella and the Ace Hotel, bringing peace, love and Pendleton. Now pretty people sip cocktails poolside all week long, but the biggest scene is on summer weekends. Pool club dance parties bring star DJs, like California’s Tribe of Kings and Meessinja, to the hammock-strewn concourse, while bright young things pass pitchers of white sangria and groove to reggae, electronica and old-school hip-hop.
Blue Diamond Riviera Maya, Mexico
For the second consecutive year, our top-ranked all-inclusive is this adults-only enclave on the Caribbean. The 36-acre grounds house 128 thatch-roofed limestone bungalows with bamboo floors, 400-thread-count linens and private beach access. Skin feeling a little lackluster after your flight? Reserve a black pearl facial or obsidian stone massage at the 25,000-square-foot spa and hammam, which also offers yoga and janzu instruction. Complimentary scuba instruction, Spanish lessons and mangrove treks can make a person hungry, but forget crowded buffets and cattle call–style seatings: Blue Diamond has seven bars and restaurants, including an intimate chef’s table and a buzzy waterfront tapas bar. Don’t miss Ambar, where a jazz guitarist strums while comely sunkissed couples sample tequila cocktails, roast quail and octopus ceviche dressed in tangy lime, ginger and cilantro. Afterward, fire up a stogie at the rooftop cigar lounge. Hey, you’ve earned it.
The Norman Tel Aviv, Israel
The term “boutique hotel” can be applied to everything from major chains’ brand extensions to indie sleeps one step removed from B&B status. But Tel Aviv’s smart, stylish Norman is the real deal. Its 50 guestrooms, many of which have private balconies with French doors, occupy two Bauhaus-era buildings surrounding a citrus garden on King Albert Square. The interiors have hand-painted tile floors, high ceilings, creamy leather seating and original Israeli artwork. The hotel also has the first international branch of British-Japanese small plates restaurant Dinings, a cocktail bar called the Library and a rooftop infinity pool.
The Standard, High Line, New York
We asked, you clicked: Jetsetter’s Facebook fans voted Andre Balazs’s Standard High Line in New York’s Meatpacking District their favorite in all the world. Why all the likes? The Standard has unbeatable views of the High Line and Hudson River, plus a hip brasserie, a bustling beer garden, a seasonal skating rink and an invitation-only rooftop nightclub. (See you in the hot tub, Madonna.) All 338 guestrooms have floor-to-ceiling windows that are, ahem, notably not made of one-way glass, as well as beds with fluffy Italian linens and minibars stocked with everything from Smarty Pants vitamins to Tate’s Cookies, a cult confectioner from Southampton, Long Island.