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.
For serious skiers, the Austrian resort village of Lech am Arlberg needs no introduction. For the rest of us — those of us who might confuse St. Anton with St. Moritz, those who wouldn’t attempt a black diamond run, let alone venture off-piste — a bit of artful name-dropping should do the trick. Lech was the preferred ski destination of Diana, Princess of Wales, as well as the late Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. Non-royals (hallo, Tom Cruise) like it too, but you get the picture. It’s an exclusive resort, and the impossibly picturesque village is old as the hills, no pun intended: it was founded by the Swiss in the 14th century.
New Delhi, India
You’ve got to hand it to New Delhi’s urban planners — they’re ambitious, if that’s the word for the “aerocity” metro-hotel-retail complex right at the airport’s doorstep. Conveniently accessible both to the city proper and to Gurgaon, its swelling business-district twin, this development is a temple to growth that reads as if the global recession was just a minor blip. Just one among many planned ultraluxury hotels is the Roseate House New Delhi, whose rooms and suites should give an idea of the scale we’re playing with here.
For English-speakers, the word “crayon” instantly evokes scenes from childhood — of standard-issue yellow Crayola boxes featuring eight classic colors. But “crayon” is French for “pencil” — so while there’s plenty of vivid color and an unmistakable playful energy to Hotel Crayon, located around the corner from the Louvre in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, it’s a more sophisticated, finely drawn sort of place than your first associations might suggest.
Sometimes a hotel’s name sums it all up. Nordic Hotel Abuja is just what it sounds like: a Scandinavian-inspired hotel in the Nigerian city of Abuja. The notion of it might seem, at first, like a mere novelty, but this stylistic transplant works better in practice than in theory. Stepping into Nordic Hotel is like escaping the city into a cool oasis with a swimming pool and a stylish continental breakfast, not to mention an eco-friendly ethos.
In the cultural history of France, Belleville plays an important role. The neighborhood has served as the setting and inspiration for various films and operas, not to mention La Vie en rose, the 1946 pop single written and performed by its most famous resident, Edith Piaf. But for years, Belleville wasn’t part of Paris: it was a working-class village on a hill outside the city. The Eiffel Tower didn’t exist back then, but if it had, local residents would have seen it from far away, a highlight on the panoramic skyline that spreads out beautifully beneath the slope of Parc de Belleville.
Well, there’s something to be said for a name that helpfully spells things out for you. We’d argue that nature should be first, in fact. It’s not that Parque Natural Serras de Aire e Candeeiros, where the hotel is located, is so essential: it’s not a fundamental destination on the must-see-before-you-die list. But it’s a gorgeous landscape within easy reach of a city that is on that list. And Cooking and Nature - Emotional Hotel, with its sleek concrete and glass exterior and its dozen individually decorated guest rooms, is an ideal place to hang your hat during a side adventure...
Most of us are past the hostel stage of our traveling lives. But reserve your judgment for a moment. The Share Hotels Hatchi offers both shared and private rooms, but it’s not like the rowdy hostels you stayed in that one summer when you had a Eurailpass. This is Japan, after all. And not the touristy epicenter of it, but Kanazawa, the elegant capital city of Ishikawa Prefecture, a four-hour train ride northwest of Tokyo. (If you’d guess that a small hotel here, yes, even one with shared rooms, would be futuristic yet adorable, you’re right.)
Cogne, Valle d'Aosta, Italy
As Alpine resorts go, Cogne is low-key. Though close to the Swiss border and within easy reach of the Piedmont wine region, it’s tucked away in a quiet and relatively undeveloped corner of the Aosta Valley, on the edge of Italy’s oldest national park, the fittingly named Gran Paradiso. It’s not, in other words, the kind of place where new boutique hotels are opening every season. Bellevue Hotel & Spa, for instance, is a family-owned, and it’s been in business for ninety years — since just after the park was founded, even before the concept of a modern ski resort existed around here.