Travel is back in a big way in 2023, and travellers want next-level unforgettable experiences. Naturally, the best hotels around the world stand at the ready to oblige, with dozens of brand new luxurious properties opening in recent months – and more on the way. Whether you’re looking for a wildly scenic Maldives getaway, a pied-à-terre in Athens, a falconry adventure in Dubai or a meditative retreat in Nepal, here are 23 hotels you should have your eye on for your next bucket list adventure.
1. InterContinental Khao Yai Resort
At a glance: Despite its hidden location amid Khao Yai’s forested mountains, InterContinental Khao Yai Resort is just a two-hour drive from Bangkok. The region was once a gateway to railroad expansion to the northeast during King Rama V’s reign and the new InterContinental property brings this to life by refashioning heritage train carriages from all over Thailand into luxurious suites.
The rooms to book: Choose between the 45 lakeside rooms in the main building or hop into one of the 19 suites and villas in repurposed train carriages. You’ll enjoy uninterrupted mountain views and feel the old-world glamour of train travel even more so in the Heritage Railcar Two-Bedroom Pool Villa (223 sqm), which is made up of two carriages that you can walk through.
Sign up for: The formal afternoon tea can be experienced at the Tea Carriage, set inside one of their upcycled train carriages parked by the lake. Also set in carriages are Poirot, their French brasserie, and Papillon Bar, which serves elegant Champagne-based cocktails and many fine French spirits and wines. For quick one-dish Thai and international staples, head to Somying’s Kitchen.
Go if you: Want to experience a smooth and luxurious overnight stay inside a train carriage, with a fully marble-lined bathroom and outdoor sofas to lounge at. – Parisa Pichitmarn (PP)
2. The Standard Bangkok Mahanakhon
At a glance: Located in one of the most iconic skyscrapers in the heart of Bangkok’s central business district, this Tetris-like building is the place to be spotted at. What better location for The Standard’s flagship property in Asia, packed with a solid lineup of events to keep you coming back.
The rooms to book: The 155-room hotel gets super spacious starting from the suite room and above. The Suite Spot and Balcony Suites, start at 64sqm, with luxury amenities like a bathtub jet and striking curvy sofas that beg to be photographed.
Sign up for: A luxe Mexican meal at Ojo which also offers funky, retro-glam interiors. The other six restaurants are just as photographable – Mott 32’s offering of modern Cantonese food is ever popular with the stylish set.
Go if you: Want some urban pizazz on your hotel stay, without sacrificing any of the traditional luxury touches. – PP
3. The Hoxton Shepherd’s Bush, London
At a glance: The fourth London outpost of boutique hotel brand The Hoxton recently opened its doors in the multicultural Shepherd’s Bush neighbourhood. The swish property stays true to The Hoxton’s DNA – from the mid-century furniture right down to the buzzing lobby (slash public workspace) beloved by MacBook-toting digital nomads. But the interiors also take cues from the local area, with retro patterns drawn from the archives of the nearby London Transport Museum Depot.
The rooms to book: The 237 bedrooms are small in size but big on style. Opt for a Cosy Park room, a peach-hued hideaway with vintage accents (including a rotary-dial phone) and views across Shepherd’s Bush Green.
Sign up for: Fiery, fragrant flavours at Thai-Americana restaurant Chet’s (the firecracker lobster noodles are a must-try), followed by lychee martinis at the sleek wraparound bar in the lobby.
Go if you: Want to bed down at what’s currently West London’s most fashionable address. – Delle Chan (DC)
4. Pillows Maurits at the Park, Amsterdam
At a glance: A 20th-century university building on the fringe of Amsterdam’s leafy Oosterpark has recently been reimagined as a stately hotel. Pillows Maurits at the Park marries its historic bones – think soaring ceilings and sweeping staircases – with tasteful contemporary décor, and the result is an absolute feast for the eyes.
The rooms to book: The 88 elegant, light-filled rooms feature muted tones and tactile fabrics, including plush carpets and premium bed linen made from Egyptian cotton. Plump for the Pillows Grand Suite, a sprawling 70sqm sanctuary complete with a grand piano and access to a private sauna.
Sign up for: A superlative meal at fine-dining restaurant VanOost, where celebrated Dutch chef Floris van Straalen and his team work their magic in an open kitchen. There’s also a handsome spa, gym and sauna for those seeking some downtime.
Go if you: Are seeking a sophisticated stay away from Amsterdam’s bustling canal belt. – DC
5. Casa Baglioni, Milan
At a glance: As the fashion capital of Italy, Milan certainly isn’t short on design-forward hotels – but Casa Baglioni ranks among the best-looking of the lot. Opened in January 2023 in the artsy Brera district, the hotel’s sleek, polished aesthetic pays homage to 1960s Milan, with décor courtesy of top Italian design houses: lighting by Panzeri, wallpaper by Rubelli and fabrics by Dedar.
The rooms to book: The 30 generously proportioned rooms and suites are decked out with sleek brass fixtures, matte walnut panelling and herringbone wood floors. Book a Junior Suite for the best views of Brera’s cobbled streets.
Sign up for: A private walking tour of Brera’s art scene, during which you’ll get to visit the studios of local creatives. Be sure to also book a table at Sadler Restaurant, which showcases inventive fish and seafood dishes by Michelin-starred chef Claudio Sadler.
Go if you: Are looking to immerse yourself in Milanese art and culture. – DC
6. Hotel Dame des Arts, Paris
At a glance: It’s hard to believe this alluring new bolthole was formerly a nondescript Holiday Inn. Set in the heart of the Latin Quarter, Hotel Dame des Arts encapsulates the neighbourhood’s bohemian spirit, with chic interiors dreamt up by Paris-based designer Raphael Navot and even its own signature scent crafted by master perfumer Arthur Dupuy.
The rooms to book: Each of the 109 rooms is fitted out with bespoke furniture, thoughtfully curated artwork and Diptyque bath products. Ask for a Terrace Room on one of the higher floors, where you can soak up the Parisian sun on your private balcony.
Sign up for: Cocktails at the hotel’s rooftop bar, which offers cinematic views of the capital’s headline attractions – from the Eiffel Tower in the west to the Sacré Coeur in the north and, of course, the Notre-Dame Cathedral a stone’s throw away. Back on ground level, the in-house restaurant dishes up playful French-Mexican plates such as Breton oysters with yuzu and guajillo chilli oil.
Go if you: Want to experience the magic of the Left Bank – and indeed, all of Paris. – DC
7. Wunderlocke, Munich
At a glance: UK-based aparthotel brand Locke continues to expand its European footprint with Wunderlocke, which opened its doors in Munich’s up-and-coming Sendling neighbourhood in August 2022. In keeping with Locke’s millennial-friendly aesthetic, its 360 apartments are characterised by pastel hues and potted plants, juxtaposed against plenty of light oak and concrete. They come complete with handy kitchens and laundry facilities, too.
The rooms to book: Splash out on the recently unveiled WunderLocke Penthouse Suite, where you’ll get to soak in your private outdoor jacuzzi with the Bavarian Alps as your backdrop.
Sign up for: A bona fide farm-to-table experience at Mural Farmhouse, which comprises five restaurants and bars spread across seven floors – each of which sources fresh, seasonal ingredients straight from WunderLocke’s own rooftop garden or from producers in and around Munich. Do also make time for sweat sesh at the on-site gym or a dip in the heated outdoor pool.
Go if you: If you’re looking for a stylish stay with all the comforts of home. – DC
8. Six Senses Kanuhura, Maldives
Opens Summer 2023
At a glance: Just a 40-minute seaplane flight north of Malé is the newest addition to the Six Senses portfolio: Kanuhura. The tiny island is fringed with powder-white sands and 80 exclusive private overwater villas. Remaining true to Six Senses’ commitment to sustainability, a brand new organic herb and vegetable garden will supply their restaurant with farm-to-table goodness.
The rooms to book: Spring for the newly upgraded categories with private pools or, for larger groups, the family suites.
Sign up for: An introduction to vibrant marine life of the surrounding Lhaviyani atoll. Trained dive masters can guide you through 40 pristine dive sites around the atoll. You can also indulge in a romantic picnic under the stars, Robinson Crusoe-style, on one of the two deserted islands that are part of the property.
Go if you: Want to get away from it all and to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of blurred horizons between sea, sand and sky. – Stephanie Zubiri (SZ)
9. Shinta Mani Mustang, Jomsom, Nepal
Opens August 1, 2023
At a glance: Located in Jomsom, in the Kali Gandaki valley between the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri Mountain ranges, at an altitude of almost 3,000 meters, Shinta Mani Mustang is the perfect base from which to explore the Himalayas in style. With an all-inclusive, 5-night-minimum stay, guests can leave their worries at the door and succumb to the magic of the ancient kingdom of Mustang.
The rooms to book: Each of the 29 suites are designed in the style of the traditional local home, with floor to ceiling windows looking over the snow-capped peaks of Nilgiri Mountain. Not only has design genius Bill Bensley left his imprint on the décor, the hotel is also the first internationally flagged Bensley Collection property outside Cambodia.
Sign up for: Private treks with trained local guides where you can camp under the stars by the Tibetan Border. Delve deep into the world of Tibetan Buddhism and meditate with monks in one of the many monasteries that dot the dramatic terrain.
Go if you: Are looking for a life-changing experience where spirituality and adventure come alive amid an awe-inspiring landscape. – SZ
10. Westin Resort & Spa Himalayas, Rishikesh, India
At a glance: With the exhilarating rush of the nearby Ganges, mysterious lush forests, and myriad temples and ashrams, Rishikesh is known as the Yoga Capital of the World. The Westin provides the perfect setting for a family-friendly wellness retreat amid the foothills of the Himalayas.
The rooms to book: Book the King Garden suite for your own private sanctuary complete with a plunge pool.
Sign up for: The Westin Wellness Escape that curates activities for the whole family to bond together while cultivating a culture of mindfulness and wellbeing. More adventurous guests can also opt for white water rafting day trips while those seeking a more spiritual experience can be entranced by the rhythmic chants and spellbinding ringing of temple bells of the nightly Ganga Aarti in Rishikesh.
Go if you: Want to combine a luxe family holiday with relaxing self-care and soothing mind-body experiences. – SZ
11. Ace Hotel Sydney
At a glance: A 1915 brick factory plays host to the first southern hemisphere outpost of Ace Hotel, an American chain known for its synthesis of creativity and community. The 264-room property, designed by Melbourne’s acclaimed Flack Studio, features a lobby bar that’s a canvas for Sydney art stars and a programme of talks, parties and cultural events.
The rooms to book: Ochre, caramel, eucalyptus – Ace’s Medium and Double rooms, Suites and Lofts couple the earthy palette of the Australian bush with offbeat touches such as in-room record players. Book the Terrace for floor-to-ceiling views of the city.
Sign up for: Ace counts all-day café Good Chemistry and Loam, a low-lit space that champions local producers, among its dining options. Don’t miss rooftop diner Kiln, home to inventive small plates that riff on Japanese and Italian cuisine by chef Mitch Orr.
Go if you: Are a design obsessive for whom travel is shorthand for the artisanal and carefully curated. – Neha Kale (NK)
12. Hotel Indigo Brisbane City Centre
At a glance: This sleek riverside hotel is a love letter to the Queensland capital. At Hotel Indigo Brisbane City Centre, moody interiors collide with colourful references to the likes of Boy Swallows Universe, a novel by local author Trent Dalton and other visual allusions to Brisbane culture and life.
The rooms to book: The Standard rooms at this 212-room property feature king or queen beds, a subtly retro aesthetic and elegant, tiled bathrooms. Book the Suite for a spacious private balcony.
Sign up for: Izakaya Publico, home to Australia’s only Warayaki grill, and follow up with a sake-inspired cocktail at Bar 1603. You can start your walking tour of the neighbourhood with a flat white from the on-site coffee cart.
Go if you: Are looking for a hotel that blends style with substance and is a short walk from cultural attractions such as Roma Street Parklands and GOMA, the Gallery of Modern Art. – NK
13. Wonil Hotel Perth – Handwritten Collection
At a glance: Named after the First Nations Noongar word for peppermint tree, Wonil Hotel Perth unfolds at the University of Western Australia’s Crawley campus on the banks of the Swan. At this one-of-a-kind space, net revenue is re-invested into scientific research. It’s a study in sustainable ethos and eco-conscious design.
The rooms to book: The debut property from Accor’s new Handwritten Collection, Wonil Hotel offers a range of Standard, Deluxe and King rooms, fitted out with flat-screen TVs and in-room coffee machines. The spacious Executive rooms feature glittering panoramas of the Swan.
Sign up for: A glass of Margaret River wine at Wonil’s 80-seater restaurant, where dishes pay homage to West Australian produce, or an evening cocktail on the outdoor terrace under a starlit Perth sky.
Go if you: Seek considered accommodation that combines the convenience of the city with the magic of nature – while wearing its social mission on its sleeve. – NK
14. The Royce Hotel, Melbourne
At a glance: A St Kilda Road hotel, housed in a historic Rolls Royce showroom, intent on reimagining the golden age of Melbourne hospitality via Art Deco chandeliers, Italian marble fixtures and a 24-hour concierge.
The rooms to book: The 94 rooms at The Royce span everything from Deluxe rooms that are home to freestanding baths and Molton Brown toiletries, King rooms with private balconies and Terrace suites, perfect for admiring the lights of the city by night. Choose the two-storey Loft for a slice of Paris in Melbourne.
Sign up for: An extended brunch in The Conservatory, an elegant courtyard space featuring white tables, glass doors and an open roof that lets the outside in. At night, the opulent Showroom bar is the ideal backdrop for a dry martini.
Go if you: Dream about a modern take on old world luxury, in addition to being a short walk from Melbourne’s legendary galleries, gardens and restaurants. – NK
15. Hotel Indigo Inuyama Urakuen Garden, Japan
At a glance: The Hotel Indigo Inuyama Urakuen Garden in the picturesque and historic city of Inuyama is a quick 25-minute train ride from central Nagoya. This luxury boutique hotel nestles inside Inuyama’s tranquil Urakuen Garden and is a stone’s throw from the city’s impressive castle overlooking the city. The Urakuen Garden is also home to Jo-an – a 17th-century Japanese teahouse designated as a National Treasure.
The rooms to book: The décor in all 156 guest rooms is inspired by the culture, history and nature of Inuyama. It combines elements of traditional Japan with a vibrant, modern aesthetic.
Sign up for: Indigo Home Kitchen Yamateras is the hotel’s signature restaurant and a highlight of any stay. The dishes are influenced by Inuyama’s original food culture and the chef insists on only using the finest locally sourced, seasonal ingredients.
Go if you: Need time to reflect, refresh and enjoy all that Inuyama has to offer. If you time your visit with cherry blossom season, expect to see the cherry trees along the Kiso River burst into life. – Tom Miyagawa Coulton
16. Mondrian Singapore Duxton
At a glance: Taking both name and inspiration from artist Piet Mondrian, this new hotel pushes its bold concept in the heart of the heritage neighbourhood of Duxton, near Chinatown. Instead of a traditional lobby, the main entrance opens up to a vibrant restaurant and bar space. The rooftop also features a show-stopping pool and lounge area that offers stunning views of the neighbourhood.
The rooms to book: Spring for the quirky Shophouse suites that are inspired by traditional Singaporean elements, heightened with a little contemporary flair. The four spacious suites offer separate living and resting areas and are privately accessed by the hotel’s garden.
Sign up for: Helmed by 8th-generation butcher, Dario Cecchini, Bottega Di Carna is a contemporary Italian restaurant that promises a playful gastronomic experience that highlights fine cuts of meat. If you’re in the mood for an after-dinner cocktail, head to Jungle Ballroom – a glamorous concept that takes ingredients and inspiration from the wildest corners of Southeast Asia.
Go if you: Want modern luxury in the heart of a heritage neighbourhood. – Dinesh Ajith
17. Aman New York
At a glance: Aman New York transforms Manhattan’s landmark Crown Building into a Gilded Age design icon and urban sanctuary. The 83-suite hotel with its 22 branded residences draws from organic motifs that also reference the brand’s Asian heritage. It is the third of Aman’s hotels to open in the US.
The rooms to book: Choose between Suites and residential-style Signature Suites – each comes with its own fireplace. With corner views of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street, the elegant Aman Suites occupy the building’s top floors.
Sign up for: Two signature restaurants make their North American debut. Arva features rustic, sustainably sourced Italian fare while Nama serves sophisticated Japanese cuisine. Beyond the hotel’s top-end culinary atmosphere, guests will also discover a luxurious spa that inhabits three floors dedicated to wellness along with private Spa Houses that comprise double treatment rooms and either a Banya or Hammam.
Go if you: Seek unparalleled luxury inside a New York City icon. – Megan Snedden (MS)
18. The Line San Francisco
At a glance: The Bay has welcomed a new, high-design addition to its Theater District: The Line San Francisco. Opened September 2022, the 326-room hotel pulls inspiration from the surrounding city with such design elements as exposed concrete walls, graffiti-tagged headboards and commissioned works by local artists.
The rooms to book: Perched on floors six through twelve, the skyline rooms – such as the Skyline Corner Studio and Skyline King – boast iconic views of the city below. The Balcony Suite features additional outdoor access, not to mention walk-in showers and deep soaking tubs.
Sign up for: Four dining and drinking spaces inside The Line celebrate California culture and city nightlife, including Tenderheart, which offers a multicultural menu, and Dark Bar on the lobby-floor. A solarium encloses Rise Over Run rooftop bar, which is just an elevator ride away from Alfred’s Coffee, the establishment’s first location in Northern California. Between meals, enjoy the property’s Peloton bikes, or take to the streets with on-site Priority Bike rentals.
Go if you: Like city-chic escapes that celebrate the arts. – MS
19. Drift Santa Barbara, California
At a glance: Enjoy your best coastal California life in this dreamy 45-key boutique hotel centred in Santa Barbara’s hip downtown area. At the new Drift, a 1920s building enjoys fresh bohemian-style interiors that are minimal yet cosy and just steps from this small town’s beaches.
The rooms to book: Premium rooms feature a lounge area as well as views of State Street or the Santa Ynez Mountains. The coastal vibes continue in the Penthouse, which not only has a private balcony but also a fire pit.
Sign up for: At Drift, quintessentially Californian amenities abound. Check in to take advantage of the hotel’s free yoga equipment, surfboards and bikes. They also offer soft board racks, so you can hit the road and take to the waves outside of town. Dust the sand off between activities and don’t forget to grab a bite at the Baja-inspired Dusk Bar, or a cold brew coffee at Dawn Cafe.
Go if you: Crave a classy beach escape that’ll leave you California dreamin’. – MS
20. The Chifley Houston
At a glance: Just three blocks from Houston’s largest shopping center, the Galleria, this newcomer embraces H-Town’s art, culture and industry. The stylish, 284-suite Chifley Houston is upscale yet approachable, designed with meetings, business engagements and social gatherings in mind.
The rooms to book: As it is said, everything is bigger in Texas, so it’s no surprise the Chifley’s well-appointed all-suite accommodations are among the largest hotel rooms in Houston. Light-filled and contemporary, the rooms offer separate living quarters for spacious dwelling.
Sign up for: The on-site restaurant Rouse that fuses barbecue, Mexican and Asian cuisines to form an eclectic menu. At Rouse’s bar, sip on the Chifley Red beer blend, brewed exclusively for the hotel by the local 8th Wonder Brewery & Distillery. If you are hosting a gathering, the hotel’s 740sqm of private event space include a dedicated events team.
Go if you: Need space to soak up the Texan spirit in contemporary digs. – MS
21. Bab Al Shams Desert Resort
At a glance: The OG of Dubai desert resorts, Bab Al Shams has just reopened after an extensive renovation, bringing a new look and feel to this much-loved hotel, just a 45-minute drive from the city.
The rooms to book: Terrace Desert View rooms offer magnificent views of the vast expanse of sand that surrounds the resort.
Sign up for: Three huge swimming pools that beckon with cool, refreshing waters, and the Al Hadheera dinner show, a high-energy spectacle with an impressive variety of food – think grills, seafood, mezze, Arabian desserts – accompanied by Arabian singers, belly dancers, horses galloping across the dunes and much more. Simply put, it’s dazzling.
Go if you: Want to give the kids a family-friendly desert adventure. Falconry, camels, fat-bike dune rides, desert drives, cultural experiences and more are on offer here too. – Nicola Chilton (NC)
22. The Dolli, Athens
At a glance: Set within a light-filled neoclassical mansion dating back to 1925, The Dolli is located in the historical neighbourhood of Plaka and it’s well within walking distance of many of the city’s top archaeological sites, as well as the bustling Monastiraki and Ermou shopping districts.
The rooms to book: Interiors in all 46 rooms and suites are crisp and clean, with nods to ancient Greek heritage and contemporary art pieces. Pretend you live here by booking the Acropolis Pied-à-Terre, a two-bedroom suite with floor-to-ceiling views of the Acropolis from French doors.
Sign up for: The rooftop, home to Dolli’s restaurant, is the real showstopper here. The views are extraordinary, perfect over coffee on a sunny Athens morning, a sunset cocktail on a summer’s evening, or from the warm waters of the swimming pool.
Go if you: Are looking for a chic stay in the heart of Athens’ most fascinating neighbourhood. – NC
23. The Peninsula Istanbul
At a glance: Located on the edge of the Bosphorus in the historical Karaköy neighbourhood, The Peninsula Istanbul is the latest addition to Galataport, the city’s revitalised harbour area. Made up of four handsome buildings, including the main glass-fronted central edifice built in the 1940s to house Türkiye’s first modern cruise terminal, the hotel’s sprawling waterfront terraces are filled with flowering gardens and lovely spots to watch the boats go by.
The rooms to book: If you’re feeling flush, the views from the Executive Bosphorus Suites with Balcony are some of the best in the city.
Sign up for: The Peninsula Istanbul is a great introduction to Turkish creatives and artisans – they’re the driving force behind many of the hotel’s offerings. Turkish-born fashion designer Arzu Kaprol has created the staff wardrobe, the hotel’s Citrus Fig and Bosphorus Breeze fragrance is by Mert Güzel and Murat Katran of niche perfume brand Nishane, and Fatih Tutak, the only Turkish chef to be awarded two Michelin stars, will lead the kitchen team at rooftop Gallada, opening in June.
Go if you: Want to swim in a dramatic 25-metre outdoor pool right on the edge of the Bosphorus, one of the world’s most alluring waterways. – NC