The latest boutique & luxury hotels added to our selection.
We're relentless in our search for the best hotels, and we're religious about keeping our selection up to date. Below you'll find this week's crop of hotels that have managed to survive the rigorous vetting process. We've done our part, and now it's your reviews that decide whether they stay or go.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
There was a time when Asia’s luxury villa hotels were pretty uniformly modernist and minimalist. But lately the traveling public has developed a taste for something a little more rustic, a little more handmade, and Sala Lodges, in Siem Reap, just a few miles from the temples at Angkor, are precisely that. These houses are no reproductions — they’re authentic handmade houses, some fifty years old or more, transported from all across the Cambodian countryside and reassembled here on this site.
San Diego, California
A bit of poolside lounging might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you imagine a Baltimore boutique hotel, but the Sagamore Pendry Baltimore is anything but typical. The harborside neighborhood of Fell’s Point isn’t just the city’s liveliest corner, with the highest concentration of restaurants and bars, it’s also home to the historic Recreation Pier — on which, above the waters of the harbor, stands the Sagamore Pendry, a renovation of a grand century-old building (whose façade might be familiar from Baltimore’s own Homicide television series).
There are areas where the French language has a clear advantage over English. The Loving Deer, as the name of an Alpine lodge hotel, would be strange at best. Le Cerf Amoureux, however, strikes just the right note. It’s a side project — a true labor of love — for a Parisian hotelier, and it aims to create the same warm welcome you’d expect from a family-operated chalet. It doesn’t hurt that Le Cerf Amoureux looks directly out at Mont Blanc, or that it’s five minutes from a cable car connecting you to hundreds of miles of first-rate skiing.
Brazil’s got no shortage of wild, extraordinary places, but even here, Paraty is unique. This town, on the Costa Verde between Rio and São Paulo, was a colonial-era gold-exporting center, and the churches and cobblestone streets from the 18th century still stand today, against a backdrop of verdant jungle. And if that’s not enough, it’s also got a bit of a Venice vibe — the original foundations were laid just below sea level, so its pedestrian-only town-center streets are occasionally subsumed by the tides. Casa Mar, thankfully, is elevated above a fishing village a few minutes’ drive up the coast from Paraty proper — in its case Casa Mar refers not to the ocean’s waters lapping at the house’s threshold, but to the expansive views of the island-dotted bay that lie just to the east.
The continuing ascendance of Portuguese tourism is bringing some spectacular places to global attention — among them is Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, on the Atlantic coast just to the west of Lisbon. It’s here that you’ll find not just spectacular landscapes but spectacular Islamic architecture as well, including the medieval Castle of the Moors as well as Sintra Palace, a truly unique 500-year-old aristocratic residence. And not far from Sintra Palace is a lodging that’s only slightly less lavish: the stately, sedate, pistachio-hued guest house known as Casa Holstein Quinta de São Sebastião.
Bluffton, South Carolina
The Inn at Palmetto Bluff may be the first East Coast hotel from the California-based Montage Resorts, but it would take a keen eye indeed to notice much Laguna Beach influence here — this place, though brand new, is absolutely authentic, its fifty clapboard cottages built in the local Low Country style of the South Carolina coast. This is the old South, make no mistake: you're midway between Hilton Head and Savannah, Georgia, and that famed Southern hospitality is on display from the moment you check in.
The Dutch-based Pillows Hotels chain isn’t notable just for putting its soft, plush stamp on familiar places like Amsterdam and Brussels. It’s also taking us to some of the region’s less-traveled places — like the Dutch city of Zwolle, home of Pillows Grand Hotel Ter Borch. And while it’s clear from the exterior that this building has some history — it’s a 19th-century police station, in fact — the hotel inside is brand new. Thus classic architectural style meets contemporary design and modern comfort, a combination which, when it comes to hotels, is more or less the best of all possible worlds.
San Diego, California
The Montage resorts are known for their no-expense-spared luxury and for their near-total seclusion from their surroundings. Which makes their brand-new line of Pendry hotels a fairly dramatic departure. The first one, the Pendry San Diego, is an urban boutique hotel, through and through — from the loft-apartment styling in its guest rooms to the six restaurants and bars, all of them intended not just to serve hotel guests but to tempt the locals who frequent the city’s Gaslamp dining and nightlife district. And while it’s no bargain-basement operation, it’s rather more affordable than its Montage cousins, to suit a wider and perhaps more youthful audience.