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The Coolest New Hotels in South America

A wave of stylish hotel openings in South America means new opportunities to explore Peru’s Sacred Valley, sample Bogotá’s booming restaurant scene, and hit the sandy beaches in Rio. Here are 10 standouts across the continent.

See recent posts by Nell McShane Wulfhart l Photo courtesy of INKATERRA

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Tcherassi Hotel + Spa, Cartagena, Colombia

The second hotel by Colombian fashion designer Silvia Tcherassi, set to open in October, is a 16th-century building turned 42-room jewel in buzzy Cartagena. It's right around the corner from her 2009 debut, a seven-room colonial mansion that will assume a different name when the new one opens. Tcherassi's collaboration with New York-based interior decorator Richard Mishaan mixes parts of the original mansion like its rustic stone walls with updated details including hand-stained frescoes and carved wood ceilings. Look out for the four-story vertical garden, which borders one of the restaurants, and rooftop pool — a cure-all to counteract Cartagena's tropical heat.

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Photo courtesy of Explora


Explora Valle Sagrado, Sacred Valley, Peru

The first project in Peru by luxury adventure brand Explora might outpace its Chilean predecessors: José Cruz Ovalle, the winner of Chile’s 2012 National Architecture Award, designed this hacienda-style property on an old corn plantation in Peru’s Sacred Valley, where each of the 50 spacious rooms overlook the Andes. We doubt you'll be spending much time indoors, with some 20 excursions to choose from, but still—with an onsite spa built in a restored colonial house and a heated swimming pool in the works, the hotel is the perfect place to recover from a demanding mountain trek.

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Photo courtesy of INKATERRA


Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba, Sacred Valley, Peru

Peru’s Sacred Valley is suddenly getting a fair shake in the luxury hotels department thanks to this opening from Inkaterra, a much-needed diversion for travelers headed to Machu Picchu. The lavish lodge sits on 100 acres of rolling hills surrounded by mountains and Inca trails; inside, 36 rooms pay tribute to local craftsmanship, with everything from the furniture to vintage textiles sourced from nearby villages. Tours are on offer for exploring the nearby Ollantaytambo ruins or on-site organic farm, where visitors are welcome to roll up their sleeves and help out. Otherwise, feel free to simply order a pisco sour and curl up in front of the fire with an alpaca throw.

RELATED: Exploring the Mysteries of Machu Picchu

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Photo courtesy of Grand Hyatt Rio


Grand Hyatt Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

This spectacular oceanfront hotel, in Rio's chic Barra da Tijuca neighborhood, opened just in time for the Olympics. Almost entirely surrounded by water, each of its 436 rooms has a balcony and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Atlantic (in front) or the Marapendi Lagoon (behind). The Yabu Puschelberg-designed interiors make use of indigenous Brazilian stones and fabrics, while oversized bathrooms feature deep baths and separate showers with amenities from Granado, Brazil’s oldest pharmacy. (we love the gratis Havaiana flip-flops.) The final dose of carioca flair? The mosaics and vertical gardens throughout the property, which were inspired by the work of Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx.

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Photo courtesy of Arenales Hotel


Arenales Hotel, Buenos Aires, Argentina

The chic Arenales Hotel isn’t in the trendiest part of Palermo, but that just means you're off the tourist radar – it's perfect for those seeking a scene without the crowds. The boutique hotel opened in January in a 1970s building renovated by local architect Julio Oropel, who leaned heavily on sleek details like white steel, mirrors and oak to create a modern background for custom-made furniture, vintage pieces pulled from the owner’s family collection, and chairs by Knoll's Max Pearson and Thonet Bresso.

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Photo courtesy of Christian Horan/Four Seasons


Four Seasons Hotel Bogota, Colombia

For its second property in Bogota, Four Seasons chose the ultra-posh Zona T, the center of the city's upscale shopping and dining district. Inside, 64 modern rooms (almost half of which are suites) are kitted out in a palette of neutrals – think natural fibers, marble bathrooms, and hand-knotted carpets on custom-tinted wooden floors. While the spa pays tribute to the “Emerald City” with colorful gemstones and deep green marble, it also brings a Euro touch with products from French skincare line Biologique Recherche.

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Luciano K, Santiago, Chile

Santiago’s hip Lastarria neighborhood has never been buzzier, thanks to a clutch of trendy hotels and restaurants drawing the city’s well-heeled. January welcomed Luciano K, in a 1920s apartment building designed by pioneering Chilean architect Luciano Kulczewski (from whom the hotel gets its name). Inside, you'll find 39 rooms and era-appropriate details everywhere, from the parquet floors and Art Deco furniture to a preserved marble staircase and retro elevator (this was the first building in Chile to have one). Head upstairs to the multi-level rooftop terrace for a dip in the pale pink plunge pool—or better yet, sink into a Windsor chair, order up a cocktail, and watch the sun set over the nearby Parque Forestal.

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Photo courtesy of Florian Schweer


Casa Wirth, Salto, Uruguay

Swiss hotelier Peter Wirth fell in love with peaceful Salto, a small city in lesser-known northwest Uruguay, so much so that he decided to launch Casa Wirth, a five-room guesthouse (read: passion project) where privacy and peace are paramount. Set in the center of town, the restored colonial mansion includes a sunny terrace and everything you need for a traditional asado (wood-fired barbecue). When—if—you tire of lounging in the garden, the hosts can arrange a city tour or horseback riding, gaucho style, at nearby ranch Estancia Don Pipo.

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Photo courtesy of Aloft Hotels


Aloft Asunción, Paraguay

Finding decent, affordable accommodation in Paraguay’s capital can be hard, but the opening of the Aloft Asunción earlier this year has helped considerably. Despite its proximity to the city’s finance hub, this modern stay seems tailor-made for young travelers—there's free and fast WiFi, a “Re:Charge” gym, a grab-and-go pantry that’s open 24 hours a day, and live music acts playing in the lounge. The rooftop terrace has a pool and fabulous city views, while the striped carpets and gleaming white bathrooms in each room keep the vibe comfortable and spotless.

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Photo by Javier Csecs


La Alondra Factoría, Asunción, Paraguay

La Alondra, in a beautifully restored red brick factory, is one of the more brilliant additions to Asunción’s hotel scene. The property was a joint effort by historians, architects, and interior designers to recreate the mid-1800s, Paraguay’s golden age: rooms are decked out in red velvet, marble, and antique leather, with Chesterfield and Louis XV chairs, while public spaces combine old-fashioned elegance with industrial chic flair, from Victorian-era red brick to recycled eucalyptus and pine wood, plus a decorative grab-bag of modern art, antiques, and Persian rugs. The aesthetic might sound chaotic, but everything looks just right.

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