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.
Baa Atoll, Maldives
When we say Maldives, you say: that’s right, overwater bungalows. This tiny island nation’s most salient cultural export is that most extravagant of hospitality forms, where the shallow, crystalline waters of the Indian Ocean lap gently at the deck of your luxury villa. Actually, to focus too much on the overwater villas is to sell Vakkaru Maldives short; the beach villas are scarcely less extraordinary, and are ideal for guests who prefer to stride across a stretch of soft sand on their way from the bedroom to the water.
California’s Napa Valley is an extraordinary destination from top to bottom, as the heart of the state’s wine industry and home to more than its share of fine cooking. But Yountville deserves special notice; inch for inch it’s more densely packed with extraordinary restaurants than anywhere else in America. With The Estate, a new luxury development at the heart of town, its fortunes continue to rise — here you’ll find two upscale hotels of note, the quietly elegant Vintage House and the livelier, more contemporary Hotel Villagio.
Los Cabos, Mexico
Los Cabos is pretty close to paradise already, but there are few locations that wouldn’t be improved by the addition of a top-class hotel. This is where the California-based Auberge Resorts comes in. Though they’re best known for their luxury resorts in the Napa and Sonoma valleys, they’ve got history here, having operated the nearby Esperanza for almost two decades — and now, just up the road in the direction of San Jose del Cabo, Chileno Bay Resort & Residences.
When Tablet first came online the boutique hotels in Amsterdam were avant-garde affairs, parlaying the success of modern Dutch design into a hotel scene straight out of the future. Hotel Mercier, however, belongs to a later generation, one that integrates Amsterdam’s historical charms with eclectic contemporary decoration and the kind of personality-driven boutique hospitality.
From the perspective of a hotel aficionado, the best thing about Marrakech might be the wealth of small, private riad hotels in the medina. These inward-facing courtyard houses hide behind the walls that line the streets of the old city center, each one containing a subtly different mix of classic Moroccan romance, contemporary elegance, and modern luxury. Dar Kandi, a 1915-vintage residence in Bab Doukkala, near the central Jemaa el Fna, has always been among the notable ones, but it’s only now, after a 2018 renovation by its new Italian owners, that it’s become an absolute must-stay.
The Garden Island of Kauai is wild enough to have featured as a filming location for TV’s Lost and various Jurassic Park films, but what’s perhaps most appealing about it is that its unspoiled landscapes and seascapes aren’t all that hard to reach. Timbers Kauai is a case in point; here you’re surrounded by impossible vistas, pressed right up against the water’s edge, and yet you’re minutes from Lihue, the island’s largest settlement (and, crucially, the home of its commercial airport).
To the extent that there is such a thing as the “typical” castle hotel (arguable, but bear with us), Domaine des Étangs is a departure. The storybook stone château, flanked by fortified towers, is present and accounted for. But rather than shoehorn a dozen modern hotel rooms into a medieval floor plan, inevitably leaving some unlucky guests with circular rooms, or staring out at the countryside through a three-inch-wide arrow-slit, here they’ve done something slightly more clever.
When it comes to brand-new high-end luxury hotels, there’s no place in the world that comes even close to being on China’s level. Not only are extravagant new towers going up in the booming secondary cities, but Beijing’s hotel scene continues to scale new heights as well. A member of the same Urban Resort Concepts group that brought us the extraordinary PuLi in Shanghai, the PuXuan Hotel and Spa is a monumental addition to the capital city’s hospitality scene.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
The original O:live Boutique Hotel was a smash hit, a funky, atmospheric, but nevertheless high-end boutique hotel in Condado, an emerging, upscale quarter of the Puerto Rican capital, San Juan. For a second effort, however, they’ve resisted the temptation to stick too closely to the original template. O:LV Fifty Five is a sleek, ultra-modern tower, and its interiors trade O:live’s bohemian vibe for a glossy gold-and-white color scheme, made even richer by gemstone-colored accents and marble floors and bathrooms. It’s a relentlessly high-end experience, and the confidence with which it’s executed is a sight to behold.