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12 Best New Hotels We Can’t Shut Up About

Each new season brings with it a slew of hotel openings around the world in places both near and far-flung, but only a select few stand out from the rest. Here are 12 best new hotels we can’t wait to check in to.

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1

The Watergate Hotel, Washington D.C.

Can scandal be sexy? Yes—if you’re talking about the new-and-improved Watergate Hotel, ground zero for one of America’s biggest political stories in modern history which just reopened to the tune of $125 million. While Italian architect Luigi Moretti’s curvaceous, no-corner exterior was left untouched, the same can’t be said of the inside, where a top-to-toe renovation harkens back to the building’s 1960s origins. The 336 rooms (most of which overlook the Potomac River) have taken on a glamorous midcentury-mod feel, new staff uniforms have been designed by Mad Men costumer Janie Bryant, and the Next Whisky bar, with its amber-lit wall of 2,500 whisky bottles, is the stuff of Don Draper’s dreams. “No need to break in” reads the guest room keycards—though you can’t get us in here soon enough.

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Photo courtesy of April Ellis

2

The Asbury, New Jersey

It seems everyone this summer is talking about Asbury Park, a formerly dilapidated Jersey Shore resort town that’s now on the up and up. Case in point: a former Salvation Army building has been transformed into The Asbury, the area’s first hotel in more than 50 years and one of the best new hotels for 2016. Just two blocks from the boardwalk, it’s a spot for basically everyone—business suits, local artists, young socialites—thanks to Instagram-worthy nooks at every turn, two rooftop hangouts that host regular movie screenings and sunrise yoga classes, and an eclectic lineup of daily musical acts in the lobby bar—no doubt inspired by the neighborhood's rock-n-roll past. (This is, after all, the hometown of Bruce Springsteen.) A grab-and-go kitchen takes the place of any full-service restaurant, forcing guests to get out and explore.

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Photo courtesy of Christian Horan/Four Seasons

3

Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina, Hawaii

Hawaii’s most anticipated opening this year does not disappoint. On Oahu’s west coast, the newly branded Four Seasons has replaced a former JW Marriott, doling out a whopping $500 million to rethink the floor plan and bring in those didn’t-know-you-couldn’t-live-without-em extras including a 75-foot yacht, a helicopter, and a fleet of BMW convertibles. The 358 newly spacious, brightly lit rooms and suites are sophisticated visions of Hawaiiana—banana-leaf wall coverings, lanais—while fun-filled afternoons for all ages can involve any combination of the property’s four pools, five restaurants, golf club, and spa (which comes with a lap pool of its own). ‘Ko olina, in Hawaiian, means “place of joy.” Families, couples, and even staycationers are sure to find it here.

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4

Mar Adentro, Mexico

We’ve lost count of how many new and improved properties have risen up along Cabo’s shores—each like a phoenix from the ashes left by devastating Hurricane Odile. The latest from Mexican architect Miguel Ángel might be our newest favorite: all clean lines and muted colors, this whitewashed modular retreat provides a blank canvas for “hyper-customization,” a hands-off hospitality approach that allows guests to tailor every detail—controlling room lighting and temperature, ordering room service, operating curtains—all from an in-room tablet. After walking the property's faux canals and checking out its private cinema and public art, head to the alfresco sushi restaurant, cocooned by a giant nest of woven twigs.

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5

Explora Valle Sagrado, Peru

Adding to its portfolio of luxurious, remote properties scattered throughout Chile, the all-inclusive explora brand has broken ground in Peru. An hour from Cusco, high in the Sacred Valley, Explora Valle Sagrado is an adventure-junkie’s dream: all 50 guest rooms, which look out onto the cornfields of Urubamba Valley and the Andean Highlands, are blissfully free of WiFi, TVs, or minibars, while daylight hours are spent off property on eye-opening excursions (by foot, bike, or van) led by a team of explorers. But that’s not to say there isn’t more to be discovered back home. The hotel itself features painstakingly preserved Inca platforms that were found during its construction, while a nearby 17th-century bath house once belonging to Inca noble Mateo Pumacahua debuts in October.

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Photo by Vincent Leroux

6

Ritz Paris, France

After much ado, the Ritz Paris has finally reopened its doors. Four years and $200 million later, the additions are expectedly exciting: there’s now a Versailles-style garden, a subterranean ballroom, and the world’s first Chanel spa (just think of the blissful facials). Thankfully, much of the romance once possessed by the former Coco Chanel home—the red carpet entrance, original furniture, the iconic Bar Hemingway—remains relatively untouched, ensuring its glamorous, spirited past lives on.

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7

Leeu Estates, South Africa

Following the debut of his 12-room Leeu House in a quiet corner of South African wine country, Indian billionaire Analjit Singh has done it again, transforming a 168-acre working wine farm minutes from Franschhoek into a five-star estate complete with a restored 19th-century Cape Dutch manor house, restaurant, library, and manicured gardens featuring giant bronze sculptures by native artists. The rooms, split between the house and surrounding cottages, blend a serene color palette of taupes and creams with textural elements like Springbok hides, original oil paintings, and black-and-white marble bathrooms. After exploring the grounds, catch a tuk-tuk transfer into town and take in the idyllic countryside along the way.

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Photo courtesy of Elewana Africa Ltd.

8

Loisaba Tented Camp, Kenya

The feeling of loss was palpable when a bush fire claimed Loisaba Lodge back in 2013—a huge hit to East Africa’s largest conservancy. Which is why the Elewana Collection's March debut of Loisaba Tented Camp, built on the same site in Loisaba (a 56,000-acre sanctuary for over 700 elephants and a stable lion population) was such a joyous one. At the edge of an escarpment overlooking the Laikipia Plains, you’ll now find an infinity pool, bar, open dining area, and six expansive en-suite tents complete with high ceilings, wood floors, Africa-meets-Europe furnishings, and verandas featuring stunning views stretching to Mount Kenya. Take a bush walk with a Samburu guide, track lions on an open-vehicle game drive, or go horseback riding alongside herds of Grévy’s zebra before heading back for sundowners.

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9

Ace Hotel New Orleans, Louisiana

Thanks to New Orleans' new Ace Hotel, the emerging Warehouse District is now officially on the tourist—and local—map. A 1928 Art Deco high-rise was transformed into Ace’s ninth U.S. outpost, where every detail is appropriately on brand: there's artsy touches like custom-painted armoires and fridges stocked with cocktail ingredients in many of the 234 rooms, a restaurant from James Beard Award-nominated chefs, a buzzing terrazzo-tile-floor lobby complete with the South’s first Stumptown coffee bar, the Three Keys music venue (a heavy nod to the city’s roots; thankfully soundproof), and a rooftop pool and garden that’s fast becoming a destination all its own.

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Photo courtesy of Aman

10

Amanemu, Japan

We couldn’t dream of a better spot than the ethereal Ise-Shima National Park, home to Japan’s oldest shrine, for the country’s second Aman resort. The 24-room hotel, on a quiet forested hilltop, feels worlds away from its urban Tokyo counterpart: inside low-hanging tile-roof pavilions that overlook Ago Bay, it’s all minimalist bamboo, wood, and stone, with sliding screens, garden courtyards, and an onsen in every villa and suite. If you can drag yourself away from the heaven that is your own hot spring, there’s also rentable bikes, a stocked library, and a 22,000-square-foot spa where treatments incorporate wasabi and cedar leaf oils.

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11

St. Regis Langkawi, Malaysia

When it comes to ends-of-the-earth romance, it doesn’t get much better than the St. Regis Langkawi, the brand’s first outpost in Malaysia. Four overwater villas and 85 suites make up this all-suite resort, spread along a sugar-white beach in a cove overlooking the palm-tree-fringed Andaman Sea. Days can be spent just taking in the surrounds (the Europe-meets-Middle-East vibe features Mashrabiya-inspired screening as well as gardens filled with date palms and bourgainvillea), though we’d suggest chartering the resort’s private yacht to get a better look at the first UNESCO Global Geopark in Southeast Asia—and the kind of undeniable beauty we’d argue is worth the flight it takes to get here.

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12

Katamama, Bali

Indonesia possesses a uniquely rich artisanal heritage, and no property has done more to embrace it than Katamama in Seminyak, the latest from native lifestyle company PTT Family. Behind balconies with perforated brick screens sit 58 suites, where everything from the teak furniture, throw rugs, and ceramics down to the Java tiles and bricks in the walls has been made (or hand-picked) by native artisans following age-old traditions of Balinese craft. In addition to over 100 original artworks scattered throughout the property is a bar helmed by celebrated mixologist Dre Masso, who is as much a master of his art as anything else you’ll see on site.

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