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.
Taormina, Sicily, Italy
In a region with such a long and rich history as Sicily — the Greeks settled on the island in the 8th century B.C.E. — a hundred-year-old villa is practically brand new. It’s true that the hilltop Villa Mon Repos is not one of the older buildings around. But it’s certainly one of its more glamorous. Marlene Dietrich was a guest even before the the Art Nouveau-style structure was turned into Taormina’s first casino in the early sixties, and it went on to attract the likes of Cary Grant and Gregory Peck along with stars of the Italian cinema.
It’s an authentic antique building, to be sure, but the Dewberry, in its current incarnation as a boutique hotel, is new. The downtown Charleston landmark formerly known as the Mendel L. Rivers Federal Building now bears the name of John Dewberry, the Atlanta developer who spent the better part of a decade transforming the structure. He didn’t just reimagine the building’s plain red brick facade, he commissioned local artisans to apply a custom-made gray limewash to the exterior...
Baron, Provence, France
The Provençal garrigue may be the finest scrubland in this or any world, its lime-rich soil supporting signature Mediterranean flora from oak shrubs to lavender and thyme. This sort of trivia becomes quite meaningful when you’re staying at a fortified, luxe-rustic, 16th-century farmhouse like La Maison d’Ulysse — the views, the cuisine, and the architecture are all perfectly adapted to that picturesque backdrop. Apps and screens hold no power here. When you come to the south of France, you adapt to the rustic rhythm of life, not the other way round.
Panama City, Panama
Sleeping in a modern mixed-use skyscraper might not be what you had in mind when you first thought of a trip to a tropical destination like Panama. The concept does sound a little cold, especially since the Grace Panama is one of those hotels that doesn’t occupy the whole building, just the ground level and six upper floors. But hear us out. This is one of the most popular hotels in Panama City. Not because it’s terribly cozy, or for the style, which is pleasant enough. It’s in other categories that the Grace Panama really delivers: excellent service, solid amenities, and location, location, location.
Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia
The name sounds like an undergraduate English elective, but Elements of Byron has nothing to do with Romantic poetry. Unless, of course, you’re thinking metaphorically — there’s plenty of poetry and romance to the spectacular setting of this beachfront resort in Byron Bay, a coastal town in New South Wales. With just over a hundred private villas, Elements of Byron Resort & Spa is a modern take on the resort concept. There’s the requisite spa, of course, and a range of dining venues, the massive infinity pool, the indoor-outdoor cocktail bar...
It’s one of our favorite tunes. Start with a small industrial city that’s on the upswing, find a charming old landmark building, bring in a hotshot design team, then give ‘em the old razzle dazzle: bespoke furnishings, Frette linens, farm-to-table cuisine, craft cocktails. That’s the Kimpton Schofield Hotel in a nutshell. The city is Cleveland, and the historic landmark, in this case, the Schofield, an 14-story office building constructed in the city’s downtown in 1902.
Cheltenham, Cotswolds, England
From nowhere Georgina and Sam Pearman’s Lucky Onion hospitality group have cornered the market in the Cotswolds and Gloucestershire for a certain kind of hybrid hospitality — part urban-inspired boutique chic, part classic country-house coziness. No. 38 The Park is their second venture in Cheltenham, a quieter, more intimate foil to No. 131, housed in a Regency townhouse a short walk from the town center.
When some hotels profess minimalism, you get the impression that they’re striving for an aloof, inhuman emptiness rather than simplicity, clarity and thoughtfulness. Not so with Noku Roxy, a medium-sized number at the southwest corner of Kyoto’s imperial palace complex. Simplicity rules the day here — as it should, to distance the neighborhood from the city’s hectic retail sectors — but it’s a warm, breathing simplicity built on acknowledging and fulfilling travelers’ needs.