It hasn’t been a year for travel but amidst the hard times, the global luxury hotel sector has demonstrated how bold and resilient it can be. A few dozens new hotels still broke onto the scene and stole the show.
Luxury Travel Intelligence (LTI) recently released its list of top 15 best new luxury hotels in 2020 and it’s a list worth paying attention to, especially with the hopes of international borders opening up soon with the Covid-19 vaccine now available.
Even if borders don’t lift, there’s one local Malaysian property that made the list for some local travel that will be worth your while.
Without further ado, behold the top 12 in reverse order:
Alamayah Boutique Retreat, Indonesia
Born from the essence of the words Alam meaning nature, and Ayah referencing “a wise elder”, Alamayah is intentionally tucked away in a jungle beachside village in Sumba, home to one of the last flourishing prehistoric tribes on earth. Located a 50-minute flight from Bali, Alamayah is consciously designed using ancient traditions and innovative technology for a sustainable retreat experience that leaves a footprint only in the sand. This exclusive resort is a harmonious blend of opulence and nature woven with Sumba’s cultural riches, where a love of art & craftsmanship can be found in the finest of details. . With just six suites and their ‘everything included’ policy, this is one of those rare properties where you simply don’t want to ever leave. W alamayah.com
One & Only Desaru Coast, Malaysia
Nestled on the south-eastern shoreline of Malaysia between lush jungle flora and South China Sea, One&Only Desaru Coast is a spectacular retreat that embodies the essence of her location, known as the ‘village of palms’. The first ever One&Only resort in Asia and the last project by the supremely talented late architect Kerry Hill, this sumptuous 45 key beachfront sanctuary, managed by the ever present GM Jerome Colson, sits in 128 acres of powdery white sand. The Ember Beach Club and Chenot Spa are particularly impressive. W oneandonlyresorts.com
Zannier Bai San Ho, Vietnam
Located in Phu Yen, Vietnam, on a 98-hectares of garden close to Quy Nhon, Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô is a first-rate holiday resort surrounded by spectacular hills and lush vegetation, as well as an untouched and well protected coastline with an impressive coral bay.The luxurious resort is composed of 71 suites & villas, built according to three different architectural styles, each of them melting into the lush natural background. The “Hill Pool Villas” are reminiscent of Eden tribes, “Beach Pool Villas” evoke the Cham tribes and the “Paddy Fields Villas”, lying next to the rice paddies, are built on traditional stilts. With 3 restaurants and 2 bars set in different atmospheres, Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô turns every stay into a culinary voyage, where fresh, varied and healthy food are the common points of those outlets, serving respectively international, Vietnamese and seafood cuisine. W zannierhotels.com
Maslina Resort, Croatia
Maslina Resort fuses classic Mediterranean styles with contemporary French touches, respecting the nature already in place as the foundation of the design philosophy. To cultivate the same feeling the designers had upon first visiting Maslinica Bay, native and local species are used to maintain the landscape language already in place, where wild Mediterranean vegetation thrives thanks to thick Aleppo pines, mature olive trees, and fragrant herb bushes. The landscape is linked with the colours of the materials, which are all natural and locally-sourced. The low-intrusive architecture floats on the landscape like scattered pavilions, decorated with a ventilated wooden facade that blends in with the island environment. W maslinaresort.com
Banyan Tree Krabi, Thailand
Each of Banyan Tree Krabi’s 72 luxurious suites and villas has its own private pool, offering privacy and intimacy in a tropical rainforest setting. Whether as a romantic hideaway for couples or as a fun-filled family vacation, you will bathe in nature among fragrant gardens, graceful water features, and stunning views of the mesmerising Andaman Sea. Wake up to a glorious breakfast on your private balcony or start the day with a swim in your secluded pool as you wallow among the sounds of birds and the aroma of the sea in this natural paradise. Spend the day sunbathing in tranquility or unwind with a treatment at the Banyan Tree Spa. Savour the finest in mouthwatering cuisine, and raise your glass to a slow soothing sunset over the sea horizon. W banyantree.com
Four Seasons Madrid, Spain
History comes to life with vibrant modern energy at Four Seasons Hotel Madrid. In the very heart of the capital – within walking distance of all the key attractions – seven historical buildings have been transformed into one dynamic destination. With rooftop dining by Spanish celebrity chef Dani García, a four-level spa and a sun-splashed pool terrace, Four Seasons is bringing a new level of luxury and service to Madrid. W four seasons.com
Raffles Bali, Indonesia
Raffles Bali is an intimate oasis of emotional wellbeing, inspired by a spirit of generosity that invites you to rediscover yourself and your loved one. Indulge in the 32 most private and generous ocean view villas in Jimbaran. The resort’s sprawling private beach and lush garden, away from the bustle of Jimbaran Beach gives it the feeling of an oasis, a treasure to be stumbled upon by only the most fortunate and intrepid of travellers. Choose to spend your days at leisure, in the privacy of your villa garden with its full-sized pool and outdoor gazebo; or beneath the hands of a Balinese healing practitioner at Raffles Spa. If you prefer a more active approach to travel, options range from fishing trips and yoga sessions to a round of golf or our Balinese Dance Enchantment experience. W raffles.com
Montage Healdsburg, USA
With its captivating blend of wine country charm, rustic natural beauty and impeccable flavours, Healdsburg consistently ranks as one of America’s favorite small towns. Whether sipping your way through world-class tasting rooms or unwinding amid understated luxury, this historic enclave is certain to suit your palate. With one-third of each space dedicated to outdoor living on a balcony or deck, 130 bungalow-style guestrooms and suites blend contemporary influence with environmentally conscious design. W montagehotels.com
Arctic Bath, Swedish Lapland
Situated under the northern lights in winter, and the midnight sun during the summer months, Arctic Bath is a unique hotel and spa experience that welcomes guests to immerse themselves in the elements while leaving a minimal environmental footprint behind. Even though you will lay your head indoors at night, it has incorporated the surrounding nature into its cabins and suites. Natural, sustainable materials with a rich history such as wood, stone, leather and luxurious textiles harmonize together with Scandinavian design. It is your perfect hide-away under the northern skies. W arcticbath.se
The Mayfair Townhouse, UK
Curious, engaging, witty and effortlessly intuitive, The Mayfair Townhouse is a new generation lifestyle hotel delivering the unexpected in the heart of Mayfair. At the Townhouse, you’ll find thoughtfully spacious interconnecting and/or adjoining two, three and four-bedrooms. The open plan layout provides enough room to entertain, sleep the whole family and indulge in opulence all at the same time. A slightly quirky sense of style plays out on the walls and through the rich jewel tones. Enhancing the sense of Mayfair luxury, the master bedrooms and guestrooms are fitted with the highest quality linens, robes, bespoke toiletries and exclusive amenities that can only be found here. Start the morning on your secret private patio and soak in the views of London’s vibrant West End. W themayfairtownhouse.com
JK Place Paris, France
The original JK Place in Florence impressed. Then came JK Place Capri (equally impressive), followed by the exceptional JK Place in Rome – completing a trilogy of very special and discreet ‘home away from home’ retreats for a legion of discerning followers. Now, after several years in the making, hotelier Ori Kafri has finished his most spectacular and audacious hotel ever, right under the noses of Paris’s iconic Grand Dames. Parisian chic underlines all its rooms and suites to restaurants and spa for a stay that will stay with you for a many years. W jkplace.paris
Capella Bangkok, Thailand
With panoramic views of the majestic Chao Phraya River, Capella Bangkok is a gateway to the eternal beauty of nature, and the urban oasis of the city. Inspired by the soul of riverfront life, there are 101 suites and villas with views of the river, offering both intimacy and immersion in this privileged position. Imbued with the personality of a boutique pied à terre, this philosophy extends across all the elements, from contemporary dining to the renowned Auriga spa. W capellahotels.com
Learn more about LTI – Luxury Travel Intelligence at the official website here.
(Photos: Respective hotels)