New and Now

The 16 Best Hotel Openings of Spring 2019

by Berit Baugher
Palazzo Photo courtesy of Palazzo Daniele.

With summer vacation in our sightline, we’re taking a moment to examine the latest crop of new hotel openings around the globe. As always, we’re mightily impressed with what we’ve found – a mix of old and new structures that have been thoughtfully pieced together to create homes away from home for worldly travelers who require something much better than any old hotel. Some are housed in new buildings (a 65-floor skyscraper overlooking Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour), while others have taken up residence in old-world structures (a legendary Eero Saarinen-designed airline terminal). What they all have in common is a place on our ever-growing list of hotels we applaud and that we’re dying to visit.

Photo courtesy of August.

Where: Antwerp, Belgium
Why We’re Excited: A former Augustinian convent has been transformed into a modern-day sanctuary by the team behind Antwerp favorite and Belgin architect . Set in the former Military Hospital site, not far from the city center, the 44-room boutique hotel is spread across five neo-classical buildings that have been restored and decorated in a soothing palette of soft green, black, and white. Chef Nick Brill (of Michelin-star restaurant ) is running the internationally inspired bar and restaurant. The wellness center uses products. And a small shop offers cafe-style fare (fresh juices, salads, and soups) alongside a selection of homeware, skin-care products, and books. Belgian fashion designer was brought on to design the staff’s timeless uniforms.
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Photo courtesy of Casa Fortunato.

Where: Lisbon, Portugal
Why We’re Excited: A true family affair, this nine-room casa is run by a local couple who had long dreamt of turning the 100-year-old townhouse into an elegant hotel. A thoroughly modern space with an old soul, the Pombaline-style brick and limestone building has been outfitted in handwoven carpets bought in the markets of Morocco, geometric wallpaper, and a mix of contemporary and old world furnishings – some of which come from the homes of the owners’ grandparents. Daily yoga classes, cooking lessons, and delicious communal meals round out the offerings at this Portuguese hideaway.
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Photo courtesy of Palazzo Daniele.

Where: Gagliano del Capo, Italy
Why We’re Excited: Italy’s rustic Puglia region, which seems to be growing more and more popular every summer, has a new nine-room hotel housed in a 158-year-old family palazzo. Formerly home to an art philanthropist, the sister property to Rome’s (an absolute Tabootoystore Favorite) has a minimalist vibe with pared-back interiors that showcase the building’s original frescoes and mosaic flooring. Public spaces, like the open kitchen and living room fireplace, encourage mingling among guests, while monastic guest rooms are ideal for quiet contemplation. A contemporary art collection includes site-specific installations by artists like Luigi Presicci and Nicolas Party.
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Photo courtesy of Puro Vik.

Where: Millahue Valley, Chile
Why We’re Excited: Set amidst 11,000 acres of stunning nature, this collection of nineteen uniquely designed glass houses offers travelers a new way to experience the Chilean wine country. With three walls made entirely of glass, the surrounding vistas are on full display at each house, while treetops and foliage ensure complete and total privacy. Rooftops are covered with wild grass or solar panels (depending on the structure's exposure); bathrooms feature globally-sourced marble and Japanese washi wallpaper. A robust art collection is dispersed among the houses and includes pieces by Dale Chihuly and Utagawa Hiroshige. Vik Chile’s amenities are open to guests, including two Chilean restaurants, an infinity pool, and activities like yoga and horseback riding.
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Photo courtesy of Atelier Ace.

Where: New Orleans, Louisiana
Why we’re excited: The latest project from (, ) is an elegant southern guesthouse in Nola’s Warehouse District. With just 67 rooms, a private, guest-only sitting room with an adjacent breakfast room, and a curated concierge service, travelers can expect an intimate experience. Next door, Bar Marilou, a collaboration with Parisian culinary group (, ) is accessible through a special entrance and offers a mix of lively spirits and small plates inspired by French, Louisianian, and West Indian flavors.
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Photo courtesy of Shou Sugi Ban House.

Where: Water Mill, New York
Why We’re Excited: The first comprehensive wellness retreat in the Hamptons is located on three acres of verdant land adjacent to the Parrish Art Museum. The Japanese-inspired sanctuary was created by a former corporate attorney who wanted to “blend global wellness philosophies with state-of-the-art practices” in a tranquil space that “allows for quiet contemplation and introspection.” There are thirteen guest studios, a swimming pool, demonstration kitchen, treatment spa, and fitness center. Meals are designed by Noma co-founder Mads Refslund with the help of a resident nutritionist and feature produce from the on-site organic vegetable and herb gardens. All-inclusive four-, five- and seven-day itineraries are offered for overnight guests; day guests can partake in half- and full-day spa rituals.
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Photo courtesy of The Royal Portfolio.

Where: Kruger National Park, South Africa
Why We’re Excited: One of South Africa’s most revered hospitality brands has opened a new safari lodge just twelve minutes from their first property, the iconic . Comprised of a main lodge, three free-standing luxury farm suites, and a three-and-a-half-bedroom villa decorated in owner Liz Biden’s signature contemporary-meets-classical style, this more intimate experience is sure to become one of the area’s premiere safari experiences.
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Photo courtesy of Gorgeous George.

Where: Cape Town, South Africa
Why We’re Excited: Our favorite Cape Town hotels are on the pricey side, so we’re especially excited for this affordable (rooms start at $200) and cool new hotel in the city center. Just around the corner from the historic Company’s Garden and overlooking Green Market Square, the Design Hotel has a rooftop restaurant, swimming pool, bar, and a mission to become a “living room for the neighborhood.” The 32 rooms range from studios to two-bedroom suites and are outfitted in South African-made furniture and decor with raw details like exposed concrete and steelwork. A gorgeous hand-painted wall mural at the check-in desk is worth mentioning: It was created by local artist , who works out of a studio at nearby art gallery and shop .
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Photo courtesy of Finca Serena.

Where: Pla de Mallorca, Spain
Why We’re Excited: This 100-acre, adults-only countryside estate feels like a slice of Mediterranean paradise for its ancient olive groves, fields of lavender, and lemon trees. Twenty-five sun-drenched rooms and suites scattered throughout the property are decorated in a relaxed wabi-sabi style with natural fabrics, stone, wood, and other locally sourced materials. Regional recipes made with ingredients sourced from the property or nearby purveyors are served at Restaurant Jacaranda, a peaceful dining room adjacent to the garden with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. There’s so much to do here (jogging paths, yoga classes, a spa and fully outfitted fitness center), but you can just as easily spend your days reading by the pool and soaking in the simple life.
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Photo courtesy of Rocco Forte Hotels.

Where: Rome, Italy
Why We’re Excited: With a coveted spot at the top of the Spanish Steps, the 18th-century palazzo-turned-boutique-hotel will surely become one of Rome’s most desirable addresses. The hotel has 89 elegantly appointed rooms and fifteen suites, including one presidential suite with terraces overlooking the city. Classic Italian bistro-style fare is served in the lobby lounge and restaurant run by Michelin-starred chef (and Tabootoystore pal) Fulvio Pierangelini, while a glamorous rooftop bar offers aperitivo, imaginatively-crafted cocktails, and the kind of views you’ll want to write home about.
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Photo courtesy of Palisociety.

Where: Los Angeles, California
Why We’re Excited: Palisociety’s fifth and latest LA offering is a 55-room boutique hotel housed in an historic three-floor property that was once home to the neighborhood’s first hotel. Located on a quiet street in the heart of Westwood Village, the interiors are a mix of mid-century modern and Parisian eclecticism. Guest rooms are decorated in a neutral palette (grey, cream, white, taupe) with playful details like glossy black mini Smeg refrigerators and wood-etched wallpaper adorned with animals and wildlife landscapes. The lobby serves as a central point for guests looking to relax outside their rooms. A complimentary continental breakfast is served daily, and those looking for a place to work will find lots of space to do so.
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Photo courtesy of Quinta da Comporta.

Where: Comporta, Portugal
Why We’re Excited: There’s a new hotel for travelers looking to experience the Hamptons of Lisbon. Inspired by the area’s landscape of white sand beaches and lush foliage, the 73-room compound-like retreat was designed to blend in with its surroundings. Interiors have a distinct boho-chic vibe, with lots of neutral colors, natural materials like rattan and wood, and the occasional pop of color. Accommodations range from deluxe rooms to three-bedroom pool villas. There’s a heated outdoor infinity pool, cinema, organic garden, restaurant and bar, and a spa with a robust menu of offerings.
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Photo courtesy of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts.

Where: Hong Kong
Why We’re Excited: The Pearl of the Orient has another new luxe hotel skyscraper on its fast-growing Kowloon side in the dockside district of Tsim Sha Tsui. The 65-story building houses 413 guest rooms and suites (considered to be among the largest in the city), 186 Rosewood Residences for long-term stays, and a wellness center with an 82-feet-long outdoor swimming pool. The eight restaurants range in size and style and include Holt’s Cafe (traditional Cantonese) and DarkSide (specialty cocktails and nightly jazz sessions). The hotel has plenty of meeting and event space, including one of Hong Kong’s few truly private gardens with postcard-worthy views of Victoria Harbour.
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Photo courtesy of Natural Selection.

Where: De Hoop Nature Reserve, South Africa
Why We’re Excited: Set on the site of former South African President F.W. de Klerk’s retreat in De Hoop Nature Reserve (one of the most dramatic beach locations in South Africa), the seven-room eco-lodge has some of the world’s best land-based whale watching. Guest rooms have an earthy vibe, drawing inspiration from more than three miles of pristine beach and uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean that can be seen through large sliding glass doors. Stays are limited to two nights and include activities like caving and nature drives within the reserve.
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Photo courtesy of TWA Hotels.

Where: Jamaica, New York
Why We’re Excited: The iconic Eero Saarinen terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport has been transformed into a striking, 512-room hotel that feels like a time capsule dedicated to 1960s-era travel. In keeping with the building’s design, the decor has a mid-century modern feel, with custom-made details like a split-flap departures board and a font inspired by Saarien’s own sketches. At 10,000-square-feet, the world’s biggest hotel gym can be found on-site, along with a rooftop infinity pool and observation deck. Collaborations include a 200-seat Jean-Georges restaurant, an Intelligentsia coffee bar, a Shinola custom watch bar and leather goods store, and a Warby Parker Pencil Room where visitors can write postcards to friends and family.
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Photo courtesy of Britannia Hotel.

Where: Trondheim, Norway
Why We're Excited: Since 1897, the Britannia has served as the living room of the charming northern city of Trondheim — a place where royalty, politicians, Arctic explorers, international artists, and locals alike gathered to dine at the famous Palm Court restaurant, share stories in the Britannia Bar, and relax in elegant accommodations. Following a four year, $150 million-dollar head-to-toe renovation, the 246-room hotel relaunched in May for a new generation of regulars. The bright and beautiful guest rooms include cloud-like Swedish Hästens mattresses, luxurious marble bathrooms, and reclaimed wood from the original property. The six on-site restaurants and bars range from cool, Korean-style BBQ, an elegant wine bar with a 7,000-bottle cellar, and the modern Hall of Mirrors-inspired fine dining Speilsalen restaurant by World Champion Chef and Bocuse d'Or silver medalist Christopher Davidsen. The hotel can arrange day trips to cruise up the fjords and surrounding fishing islands to experience the local catch of the world's freshest scallops, shrimp, and, of course, salmon.
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