Signature Suite at Britannia in Norway

These 7 Iconic Hotels Are Finally Reopening—and We’re Super Excited About It

Time is a cruel mistress. No matter how beautiful a hotel is at its birth, inevitably, the paint will chip, the design will grow old-fashioned, and the glamour of "newness" will all but fade away. Of course, all these buildings need is a little—or, in the cases below, big—refresh to bring them back into their heyday. Which is why we can hardly contain our excitement that these seven sleeps, after being shuttered for years undergoing complete makeovers, are finally ready for their second closeup.

Senior Editor, Jetsetter | @lindseytravels |

See recent posts by Lindsey Olander

Bedroom at Raffles Singapore
Bar at Raffles Singapore
Pool at Raffles Singapore
Exterior of Raffles Singapore

Raffles Singapore

It’s been a long two-year wait since Singapore’s esteemed Raffles Hotel shuttered to the world, but the 1887 landmark finally reopened this month, and the results are as magnificent as we’d hoped. Rooms are brighter and airier, suites feature new enhancements and butlers for every guest, and an overhauled food and beverage program includes new restaurants like Le Dame de Pic along with new details for old classics such as herringbone floors in the Tiffin Room and plantation-inspired patterns on the iconic Long Bar (where the Singapore Sling was famously invented). Don't fret: despite these new trimmings and trappings, the hotel’s colonial heritage was kept perfectly intact. Plus, thanks to Singapore Airlines’ new nonstop flight from Seattle to Changi Airport launching September 3, getting here has never been easier.

Bedroom at InterContinental Hayman Island Resort
Living room at InterContinental Hayman Island Resort
Outdoor restaurant at InterContinental Hayman Island Resort
Aerial view of InterContinental Hayman Island Resort

Images Courtesy of InterContinental Hayman Island Resort


InterContinental Hayman Island Resort

Hayman Island, one of Australia’s most stunning private island resorts sequestered in the northernmost reaches of the Whitsunday Islands, has changed owners a few times but has finally settled into the very capable hands of InterContinental. After two years of rebranding and renovating, the property reopened in July with five new restaurants and bars (from modern Australian to pan-Asian to its own kombucha brewing production), a spa with 13 treatment rooms, and all those over-the-top experiences—jet ski excursions to hidden beach coves, seaplane rides over the Great Barrier Reef—Hayman is famous for.

RELATED: Check Out These Jaw-Dropping Private Island Hotels

Entrance to San Ysidro Ranch
Restaurant at San Ysidro Ranch
Pool at San Ysidro Ranch

Images Courtesy of San Ysidro Ranch/Miguel Fairbanks


San Ysidro Ranch

A-listers have been obsessed with this idyllic hillside resort ever since John F. Kennedy and Jackie O. honeymooned here in 1953—that is, until last January, when mudslides tumbled through Montecito and all but wiped it out. Stars (and star seekers), we’ve got good news: San Ysidro has officially rebuilt and reopened, and, aside from the grounds (which have been re-landscaped), looks just as it did before—save for a few convenient updates. Guests pass through a stone gatehouse via a winding driveway lined with centuries-old olive trees and lavender, where 41 bougainvillea- and vine-covered cottages are decorated country-house–style with antiques, fireplaces, and four-poster beds. The ones you want to book come with their own private plunge pools overlooking the 500-acre grounds.

Bar at Britannia Hotel
Signature Suite at Britannia in Norway
Suite bathroom at Britannia Hotel

Britannia Hotel

After a three-year, $150 million overhaul, Norway’s historic Britannia Hotel is once again giving travelers a compelling reason to make the journey up to Trondheim. Built in 1870, the Britannia was the rendezvous point for significant Norwegian events—including where explorer Fritjof Nansen recounted his journeys in the Arctic to world geological societies—and remains one of Scandinavia’s most important hotels. Today, you’ll find six restaurants and bars including one run by Bocuse D’Or-awarded chef Christopher Davidsen along with a glass-domed Palm Court, a spa with an indoor pool, and 257 rooms across 11 room categories outfitted with Hästens beds.

RELATED: 8 Stunning Scandinavian Castle Hotels You Can Actually Sleep In

Suite at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
living room at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
Lobby at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park

Images Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group


Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London

Talk about bad luck: one week after London’s venerable Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park hotel reopened after a $130 million refurb, a fire ripped through its roof and upper floors, forcing it to close once more. But even smoke and flames couldn’t keep this icon down, and in April, it opened again, even better than before. Just like its original 1889 itineration, the hotel’s Edwardian roots shine through in the lobby’s grand staircase and marble columns as well as the 181 Art Deco guest rooms, which are done up with leather headboards, copper-leaf mirrors, and patterned carpets whose foliage motifs echo the leafy park across the street. The spa is its own kind of destination, featuring an amethyst crystal steam room and basement lap pool—the perfect place to burn off those calories you inevitably consumed at London’s only Daniel Boulud restaurant onsite.


Hotel Ritz Madrid

King Alfonso XIII's storied Hotel Ritz Madrid was a place where luminaries like Eva Perón, Gabriel Garcia Márquez, and Salvador Dalí called home, and where Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco kicked off their honeymoon back in 1956. As time passed, however, the hotel lost its luster, finally closing last February in preparation of a $121 million overhaul. If all goes according to plan, the property will reopen later this year as a new-look Belle Époque stunner once again worthy of its “Golden Triangle” address. Expect a new basement spa with its own indoor pool, a fully restored glass-roof lounge and terrace garden, and a see-and-be-seen bar poised to become the city’s hottest hangout.

RELATED: 15 Iconic Hotels Worth Checking Off That Bucket List


The Okura Tokyo

The demolition of Tokyo’s historic (but not earthquake-proof) Hotel Okura three years ago was hotly contested, but naysayers might sing another tune once they see the remake. Despite being much bigger (100 more rooms than the original, topping out at 508) and much more modern than its predecessor (the low-slung profile has been replaced with a 41-story skyscraper), steps were made to keep some of Okura’s old magic alive. The lobby, which featured prominently in the 1960s Bond novel and accompanying film You Only Live Twice, was redesigned by Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi after his father’s original design, incorporating some of the same décor—hexagonal lanterns, midcentury chairs—along with reproductions of the space’s signature shoji paper windows and woven silk wall tapestry. The dimly lit fifth-floor Orchid Bar was also recreated and is an atmospheric alternative to the hotel's sleek new restaurants and contemporary guest rooms.

Women’s Outfit for Iconic Hotel Stay

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