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Best New Hotels of 2021: Our Top Picks from Around the World

Whether you’re ready to start planning summer and fall trips, or you’re still in dreaming mode, our curated list of the best new hotels of 2021 is here to inspire future getaways. These spectacular properties—both recently opened and coming soon—have our staff and members buzzing, thanks to unique locations off the beaten path, mouthwatering food and wine programs, immersive nature experiences, exceptional design and more. Some destinations to watch include New York, London and Paris, as well as open-air enclaves of arcadian beauty—like the Maldives, Brazil, Mexico and, closer to home, the Catskills. Certain names on this list may sound familiar, due to delayed openings—after all, 2020 was the year of best-laid plans gone awry—while other brands accomplished the herculean feat of launching projects from the ground up during the pandemic. Whichever pique your fancy, we have the latest intel and strategies for getting you there and back safely, when it’s the right time.

Contact your Indagare Trip Designer or Indagare if you are not yet a member to start planning a getaway to the best new hotels of 2021—this year and beyond. Our team can match you with the accommodations and activities that are right for you and provide information on coronavirus travel safety, destinations that are open to travel, Covid-19 hotel policies, transportation options, private villas and charters and more.

EUROPE

One&Only Portonovi, Montenegro

Occasionally overlooked for its cousins Croatia, Greece and Italy, Montenegro is a tiny jewel of a destination with crystal-cerulean waters, ancient history and wild mountains (for which it is named) that beckon hikers and picnickers alike. This spring, One&Only will open a new resort—its very first European outpost—in the town of Portonovi, a charming coastal village situated at the entrance to the famous Boka Bay (often referred to as “the fjord of the Mediterranean”). Throughout the complex, the bay is omnipresent—visible through floor-to-ceiling windows and from private balconies and terraces, and mirrored in the many wading and reflecting pools scattered around the grounds. In addition to 113 rooms, suites and villas, there is also a private beach and jetty, where guests can schedule sunset boating tours before dining at one of the four restaurants or detoxifying at the wellness center. Opens March 21, 2021; Open to guests May 1, 2021

Kalesma, Mykonos, Greece

Just two miles from town, overlooking the peaceful Ornos Bay, this new boutique resort from a local trio behind some of Athens’ most popular restaurants feels utterly cool and fresh—thanks to architecture by K-Studio and interiors by Greek designer Vangelis Bonios—with a dose of the Mykonos scene, without being in the center of it. With only 25 suites (each with their own personal pool) and two 2,600-square-foot villas, Kalesma will work for the romantic, family or hip traveler. The name Kalesma means “invite” or “calling,” and the resort experience promises to radiate the full warmth of Greek hospitality across its five acres of hillside grounds, through such traditions as family-style dinners and sunset dance parties (post-Covid) at the panoramic restaurant Pere Ubu. Plus: here, you’ll get to wake up every morning to the smell of lavender, honeysuckle and freshly baked horiatiko bread (there’s a brick oven on property, manned by a local breadmaker). Opens April 29, 2021

Six Senses Kitzbuehel Alps, Austria

In honor of the late Christopher Plummer, I recently revisited The Sound of Music. Though I could recall the lyrics to every song from my childhood, I had forgotten that the movie begins with a spectacular opening sequence, before we meet the wayward Maria, in which the mountains that surround Salzburg introduce themselves as the film’s true star, and main character. The wind whistles fiercely, and the camera pans over shimmering glacial lakes, dense forests of deep green, dappled in sunlight, and white cliff faces chiseled to perfection. If, like me, you find this image has suddenly compelled you to move Austria to the top of your “As Soon as the Borders Reopen” list, there’s something else to look forward to: the opening of a new Six Senses, amid these very alps, just over an hour’s drive from Salzburg. The resort will feature 80 rooms and suites, along with 60 private residences (including 15 freestanding chalets), and center around the Six Senses’ celebrated wellness philosophy and seasonal, simple cuisine. There will be excellent hiking and skiing—and, if you like, I’m sure you can caper and rollick about in those meadows, and sing from the hilltops, just out of sheer euphoria for being there. Opens later this year

Contact your Trip Designer or Indagare if you are not yet a member to start planning a trip.

Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid, Spain

Madrid’s most iconic hotel—originally built by César Ritz in 1910, at the request of King Alfonso XIII to bring luxury hospitality to the capital—will reopen this spring in the upscale Retiro neighborhood, after a three-year, 121-million-dollar renovation (the most extensive in the hotel’s history). Envisioned by Spanish architect Rafael de La-Hoz and French design firm Gilles & Boissier, the update preserves the building’s Belle Époque grandeur, while elevating the property to modern standards. Expect 153 rooms and 53 suites with lots of light and luxe accents, five restaurants and bars conceived by celebrated Spanish chef Quique Dacosta, and a heavenly spa, where you can look up at crystal chandeliers gently dangling overhead from within the heated swimming pool. Throughout the hotel, the artwork will take center stage, with rotating collaborations with local creatives and artisans—fittingly, as the Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid is the third point of the Retiro’s Golden Triangle, opposite the Prado and Thyssen museums. Opens April 2021

Villa Igiea, Palermo, Sicily, Italy

Just outside of Palermo, Rocco Forte has transformed a crumbling turn-of-the-century palazzo into one of the island’s top new addresses. Tucked between the foothills of Mount Pellegrino and the soft waves of the Tyrrhenian Sea, Villa Igiea will offer 100 Art Nouveau rooms and suites, enlivened by Olga Polizzi’s signature contemporary flair; Carrara marble bathrooms with handmade Sicilian floor tiles; and terraces that overlook blooming tiered gardens. From this refined home base, travelers will be able to explore the area’s luscious markets, ancient and medieval ruins, mountainous forests and, certo, azure coastlines. Opens early summer 2021    

Cheval Blanc Paris, France

Cheval Blanc Paris is one of the year’s most eagerly awaited hotels, and the latest creation from the ultra-chic brand with existing properties in the Maldives, St. Tropez, Courchevel and St. Barth’s. Positioned on the Seine, steps from the Louvre and the Marais, this historic 1928 hotel has been reinvigorated by Peter Marino, with gold-speckled Art Deco-style interiors, Parisian craftsmanship and artwork by Vik Muniz and Sonia Delaunay in the 72 rooms and suites. On-property highlights will include the Dior Spa, cuisine from Arnaud Donckele and pastries from Maxime Frédéric—while just outside your door, the magic of the City of Light awaits. Opens later this year

Also On Our Radar: The NoMad London, England; The Londoner, London, England; Airelles Château de Versailles, Paris, France; The Woodward, Geneva, Switzerland; Castello di Reschio, Perugia (Tuscany), Italy; Il Tornabuoni, Florence, Italy; Borgo Santandrea, Amalfi Coast, Italy; The Cashel Palace Hotel, Ireland

Related: Coronavirus Travel Information: What’s Open To Americans

U.S. & CARIBBEAN

Aman New York

New York City grows ever upward, and this year, one of its Gilded Age jewels—The Crown Building, erected in 1921 on 57th and Fifth, overlooking Central Park—will receive a new lease on life, after an extensive renovation at the hands of Jean-Michel Gathy for the Aman brand. The former first home of the Museum of Modern Art, the building is slated to house 83 suites, as well as an underground jazz bar, a wraparound garden terrace with park views, Japanese and Italian restaurants, a wine library and a 7,500-square-foot, three-story, indoor-outdoor Aman spa with all the trappings (the pièce de résistance: an indoor swimming pool circled by fire pits and daybeds). The long-awaited project wants for nothing, with the perfect balance of historic reverence and dazzling novelty—a reflection of the city itself—and there will be plenty of locals (this one included) who will be snapping up long weekend dates for the ultimate staycation; for those who inevitably become completely enamored, there are also 22 private residences on the top floors to choose fromOpens spring 2021

The Chatwal Lodge, The Catskills, New York

Sister property to Manhattan’s Midtown landmark The Chatwal, The Chatwal Lodge will open this spring on 30 acres of preserved land, within the gates of the 2,500-acre Chapin Estate community—a two-hour drive north of the city. The property will provide a serene escape into nature, with lake views and plenty of hiking trails through forests of white pine and chestnut, where explorers can hope to spot nesting bald eagles. With only 10 suites (designed by Steve Dubrovsky using reclaimed wood and all featuring private patios), the atmosphere will be intimate; the larger suites have lakeside decks, soaking tubs and spaces for entertaining. Property highlights include a farm-to-table dining program that promotes local products and offers hands-on classes; treehouse and glamping experiences; classic outdoor activities like fly-fishing, boating, kayaking, horseback riding, mountain biking and golfing; Ayurvedic wellness treatments, yoga and meditation; and wine tastings, which can be hosted in the cozy Chatwal cellarOpens Summer 2021

The Aurum, The Catskills, New York

While the Chatwal Lodge will be the go-to for traditionalists, boutique hotel aficionados seeking a unique Catskills getaway may prefer the region’s other 2021 newcomer: The Aurum. From Million Dollar Listing New York’s Steve Gold and designer Samuel Amoia, this debut project will open towards the end of the year within a historic lodge on 131 mountainous acres, featuring 36 rooms, private residences and a truly singular Roman hammam that celebrates the ancient spa and social rituals of the imperial bathsOpens fall 2021

Contact your Trip Designer or Indagare if you are not yet a member to start planning a trip.

Bishop’s Lodge, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe has gained renown as one of America’s coolest cities, thanks to its vibrant art and food scenes, Colonial Revival and Pueblo architecture, desert-mountain climate and Spanish-Mexican cultural heritage. And the opening of a soulful new Auberge Resort—Bishop’s Lodge—in a restored local landmark is the perfect excuse to visit this year. Ground first broke on the property in the 1850s, when a French missionary built a homestead on the border of the Santa Fe National Forest. Today, the lodge encompasses 317 acres, within minutes of the entertainments of downtown. Spread across the land, guests can now find a wellness sanctuary (inspired by Southwestern healing rituals); stables; trout streams; hiking, biking and riding trails; an art gallery; the SkyFire restaurant and bar, and a gourmet café; and a wide range of accommodations: guest rooms, suites (some of which are freestanding and include outdoor plunge pools), private three- and four-bedroom casitas, and the 12-room bunkhouse (ideal for large pods). Throughout, the décor is completely stylish and authentic to the region. In the days until Bishop’s Lodge opens its doors, we suggest picturing yourself here when you need a little escape—enjoying a mezcal tasting, a desert meditation session, a hike to a picnic or simply kicking your boots up and taking in the viewOpens spring 2021

Four Seasons Resort & Residences Napa Valley, California

After a particularly brutal year, Napa Valley is once again rebuilding itself—and a 2021 trip to the region is a wonderful way to lend your support. The much-anticipated, years-in-the-making Four Seasons Napa Valley in Calistoga offers the chance to see and savor the wine country from a fresh perspective. Here, farmhouse-chic décor from designer Erin Martin creates a warm ambience where the wines are allowed to shine, and guests can immerse themselves in the property’s “grape-to-glass” experience, promoting first-hand, up-close education in the seven-acre vineyard and winery, best known for producing Cabernet Sauvignon, with world-class vintner Thomas Rivers BrownOpens spring 2021

Rosewood Le Guanahani, St. Barth

Nestled on an 18-acre private peninsula overlooking Marigot Bay, the fabled Le Guanahani resort, first established in 1986, will reopen this spring under the Rosewood banner with 66 completely renovated rooms, suites and villas, and updated amenities that make this one of the only full-service resorts on St. Barth (a new pool and beachfront dining experience; a fitness club, tennis courts and spa; and a kids’ club). Plus, guests will have direct access to two beaches and a reef-protected lagoon ideal for snorkelingOpens later this year

Also On Our Radar: Downtown L.A. Proper Hotel, California; Stanly Ranch, Napa Valley, California; Montage Big Sky, Montana; The Green O, Montana; The St. Regis Bermuda Resort; Six Senses New York

Related: Best New Hotels of 2020: Our Top Picks from Around the World

SOUTH & CENTRAL AMERICA

Rosewood São Paulo, Brazil

In a Tetris-like high-rise of latticed wooden panels, snaked over by leafy ferns and palms, the Rosewood São Paulo marks a futuristic luxury addition to the hotel scene in Brazil‘s fashion capital (and the Sense of Place brand’s first South American address). The garden tower—which is located within a complex of historic buildings that will also house high-end retailers and private residences—was designed by Jean Nouvel, and the 150 guest rooms and suites and 124 privately owned apartments are by Philippe Starck. Additionally, the property will contain six restaurants and bars, an Asaya wellness retreat and two swimming pools—one on the rooftop, and one in the garden. Opens later this year

Six Senses Botanique, Mantiqueira Mountains, Brazil 

On 700 acres in the Mantiqueira Mountains—a three-hour drive north of São Paulo, and a five-hour drive west of Rio—a new Six Senses property is bringing access to the three isolated river valleys that converge within the mountains’ center. Fusing Japanese ryokan and rainforest lodge vibes, the seven open suites and 11 villas emphasize views and privacy, and on-property experiences focus on meditation and rejuvenation through the healing powers of the forest and its waters. Standouts include thermal and mineral bath treatments (including floating in an isotonic pool), foraged and fired flavors at the three dining venues and activities like birdwatching, horseback riding, paragliding and meeting local artisans. Brazil is currently open to American travelers—which means that an herb-loaded cocktail (crafted with homemade probiotics and medicinal tonics) beside a fragrant wood fire that keeps away the bugs, but not the birds (more than 165 local species can be found here), could be in your not-so-far-off future. Open now

Cielo Lodge, Costa Rica

Hidden in the southern mountains of Costa Rica, near the rainforest-covered Osa Peninsula, Cielo Lodge is the land of pura vida‘s newest eco-luxury lodge. With only six modern-style treehouse accommodations (a total maximum occupancy of 15 people), it’s ideal for social distancing, and can even be an option for an exclusive takeover with your pod. The property runs on its own solar energy system and is the passion project of Nicole and Keith Goldstein, a couple based in Silicon Valley. Open now

Contact your Trip Designer or Indagare if you are not yet a member to start planning a trip.

One & Only Mandarina, Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

Just a 55-minute drive from Puerto Vallarta, this brand-new One&Only resort commands a rare cliffside perch overlooking the Pacific Ocean, nestled among the lush beachfront jungle of Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit coastline and surrounded by the Sierra del Vallejo Mountains. The resort is comprised of 104 standalone treehouse and cliff-top villas (each with a private plunge pool), a one-mile, private, swimmable beach and beach club spaces, multiple restaurants and an 85,000-square-foot kids’ club. The rare location of One&Only Mandarina emphasizes peace and privacy, and each villa is designed to blend seamlessly with the ambient biodiversity in both indoor and outdoor living spaces. The adventure activities—including horseback riding, snorkeling, sailing, zip-lining and hiking—as well as the leisure experiences—infinity pools, beach clubs, a movie theater and open-air spa—are likewise integrated with the palm-fringed coves, volcanic reefs and jungle canopies that abound in this unspoiled area.

In the words of an Indagare Member who recently stayed with her husband: “We loved O&O Mandarina! The view from our room was incomparable (room 321 in case you want to request it for others). Basically the entire front wall opens up. There’s a screen, but the bugs were minimal for much of the day, so we usually left it fully open—and it felt so fantastic to sit and watch the waves and birds or read or talk. They kindly set the plunge pool to a warm temperature that felt good even in the cooler evenings. The room was really beautiful and comfortable. The food was great, particularly at Carao, and the service was warm and efficient. We ended up scheduling fairly limited activities (hike to a 500-year-old tree and meditation, massage, “wine and stars” astrological reading)—[but] when we return with the kids we’ll do more (likely zip-line, horseback ride, boat ride, maybe surfing lessons).” Open now – plus: access special perks, flexible cancellation policies and the services of our expert team with our exclusive Seasonal Offer!

Also On Our Radar: Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo, Mexico; Etéreo Riviera Maya, Mexico; Susurros del Corazón, Punta de Mita, Mexico; Amanvari, Baja California, Mexico; Paradero Todos Santos, Baja California, Mexico

Related: Spring Break Vacation Ideas for 2021

THE MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA

Six Senses Shaharut, Negev Desert, Israel

Built into a cliff in the midst of the Negev Desert, a place steeped in Biblical history, 60 stone suites and pool villas, all decorated in soothing yet modern cream color palettes, comprise the impressive Six Senses Shaharut. Visitors can expect the usual high-caliber wellness and dining experiences of the Six Senses brand—but here, the overwhelming highlight is the setting of dunes, sun and stars. To explore the area, top activities include hiking, biking, Jeep rides; outdoor tent dining and movie screenings; and, best of all, overnight camel camping and dune walking, with plenty of storytelling, in the company of Bedouins. Plus, the resort is accessible by a three-hour drive from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem or Petra—making it the perfect add-on to a longer itinerary (as well as a destination in its own right)Opens August 5, 2021

Sussurro, Nhamabue, Mozambique

The white-sand beaches and prime snorkeling and diving of Mozambique, a sought-after post-safari and honeymoon destination, have welcomed a delectable new boutique property on its southern shores. In the hotel’s sprawling private bungalows, guests will find incredibly chic interiors defined by smooth earthenware fixtures, rattan lighting and woven-grass roofing, and stone-washed linens that will kiss sun-washed skin after hours in the nearby lagoon, which opens out into floating forests, deserted islands and fishing villages that can be explored by the hotel’s dhow boats. When you’re not simply soaking in the delicate grace of this haven from the beach—sussurro means “whisper” in Italian and Portuguese—you can hang out in the gallery, library or bar; exercise in the lap pool or yoga pavilion; indulge in the creations of the open-plan kitchen, where plates include roast beet, ginger and coconut soup, crispy salt and pepper chili squid, char-grilled piri-piri Mozambique chicken with pilau rice and aubergine ravioli in arugula-cashew pesto (yum!); and even arrange guided overnight safaris focused on conservation in the Gorongosa and Zinave national parks. Open now

Contact your Trip Designer or Indagare if you are not yet a member to start planning a trip.

One&Only Gorilla’s Nest, Virunga National Park, Rwanda

In the foothills of Volcanoes National Park, surrounded by 86 acres of eucalyptus forest filled with exotic birds and butterflies, One&Only Gorilla’s Nest offers a design-focused retreat from which to trek to the see the endangered mountain gorillas and their chimpanzee and golden monkey cousins (the lodge is just five minutes away from the park headquarters). The 21 wooden lodges and suites—which rest on stilts to give a floating effect—come in a variety of configurations, with two-bedroom options, viewing decks, outdoor tubs, fireplaces and private plunge pools, making this a great option for families and groups. Other lovely property features include a rose garden, organic spa and the Nest restaurant and bar—but the access to Volcanoes and its wildlife is the true star. Open now

Hotel Eden, Nairobi, Kenya

After a 45-minute drive from the Nairobi airport to the city’s Langata neighborhood, you arrive at the oasis that is Eden, only to be swiftly enveloped into designer Anna Trzebinski’s world. Samburu warriors greet you in traditional clothing, as you pull through the gate and up to the main house. The fire in the living room is blazing; the sounds of the forest ring in your ears. While Nairobi has traditionally been looked at as an overnight destination before moving to the bush, Eden might change your mind. Anna’s hope is that her new hotel is seen as a retreat, a place to spend multiple nights to reconnect while disconnecting. Set on leafy grounds, the property comprises two houses and eight rooms in total: three in the main house and five in the studio annex. The main house is equipped with a beautiful open-plan dining area, bar, living room with fireplace and veranda where local creatives, guides and foreigners alike come to mingle, having received negative PCR-test results. The décor is exceptional, which comes as no surprise when you see Anna’s collections (which you can shop on-property, and in Anna’s studio through private tours). For a true taste of Nairobi culture, there’s nowhere better. Open now

Plus: Read our exclusive first look of the Hotel Eden Nairobi here.

Xigera Safari Lodge, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Xigera (pronounced kee-jera) is tucked away on a remote island called “Paradise” in the Moremi Game Reserve, in the heart of the astounding Okavango Delta in Botswana. This new eco-friendly tented camp is completely solar-powered, with 12 spacious, air-conditioned, design-minded canvas suites decorated with the work of southern African and Marrakech-based artisans—plus a pool, spa and gym, and a fantastic baobab tree house where you can experience the bush under the stars. Activities include daytime game drives to see wildlife like elephants, leopards, hippos, antelopes and a variety of birds, seasonal mokoro  rides, catch-and-release fishing, helicopter tours, guided walks and more. You may not be the first guest to check in—allegedly, a leopard mother and her two cubs gained early access to one of the suites, which temporarily delayed the project’s opening—but we are certain that, upon arrival, the red carpet will be rolled out just the same. Open now

Also On Our Radar: Kisawa Sanctuary, Mozambique; Nobu Marrakech, Morocco

Related: Explore with Insider Journeys

ASIA

Hoshino KAI Kirishima, Kagoshima, Japan

The expanding Hoshino brand’s latest ryokan stunner will bring travelers to a lesser-known prefecture of Japan: Kagoshima, which is located in the south-westernmost region of the country, known for its natural beauty. Within the Kirishima-Kinkowan National Park, the KAI Kirishima offers striking views of the Sakurajima Volcano, Kinko Bay and and Kirishima Plateau from 49 regionally inspired rooms, accented with materials like volcanic white clay and Satsuma washi paper. A quick trip by monorail brings guests to the hotel’s pristine bathhouse, with an outdoor sulfur hot spring as well as indoor pools. Plus: don’t miss the kaiseki dining program. Open now

Higashiyama Niseko Village, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Hokkaido, Japan

Japan’s rapidly developing ski destination has just welcomed another luxury hotel to its ranks: Higashiyama Niseko Village, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve (only the fifth in the portfolio and the first in Japan). The property is ski-in/ski-out, but Niseko‘s powder-covered slopes are just as beautiful in the springtime, and the area is also known for its food and art—making this a year-round destination. Open now

Six Senses Fort Barwara, Rajasthan, India

This former 14th-century fort, once owned by the Rajasthani royal family and facing the Chauth ka Barwara Mandir temple, will open later this year and is a must-watch for history buffs. With 48 suites inside the fort’s original walls (and a preserved palace, with two temples), the property is a vessel for time-travel. Guests are invited to immerse themselves in the richness of the region, whether by studying the principles of Ayurveda in the 30,000-square-foot spa, wandering through traditional gardens or sampling classic Rajasthani cuisine at one of the several dining venues. Opens late 2021

Capella Hanoi, Vietnam

This 47-room boutique hotel, which was delicately designed for art lovers by the inimitable Bill Bensley (also behind Capella Ubud, Shinta Mani Wild and Oberoi Udaivilas), uniquely celebrates the world of opera legends—composers, singers and designers—with an early 20th-century vibe, in a charming building on a promenade facing Hoàn Kiếm Lake. Don’t miss a meal at Backstage—the signature restaurant—or Vietnamese tapas and cocktails at the bar, Diva’s Lounge. Open now

Also On Our Radar: The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands; Patina Maldives; Azumi Setoda, Ikuchi Island, Japan; Aman Nai Lert Bangkok, Thailand; Capella Bangkok, Thailand (open now)

Related: Best New Hotels of 2019: 13 Picks from Around the World

Contact your Indagare Trip Designer or Indagare if you are not yet a member to start planning a getaway to the best new hotels of 2021—this year and beyond. Our team can match you with the accommodations and activities that are right for you and provide information on coronavirus travel safety, destinations that are open to travel, Covid-19 hotel policies, transportation options, private villas and charters and more.

– Elizabeth Harvey on February 18, 2021

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