Even though travel was thwarted for many in 2020, the outlook for 2021 is promising. Hotels pivoted with creative offerings like workations and unusual takeout menus, the resilient hospitality industry has made health security its top priority and brands big and small are forging ahead with new hotel openings all over the globe.
After a year filled with quarantines, lockdowns and sheltering in place, we can’t wait to check into a luxury hotel. Here is Forbes Travel Guide’s definitive list of the hot new places to visit when you travel next.
Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid
Madrid’s grande dame will undergo the most extensive restoration in its 110-year history. When it reopens as a Mandarin Oriental hotel, it will still carry vestiges of its Belle Époque style, but with updated offerings like suites in the top-floor turrets with balconies facing the Prado Museum and Lealtad Square.
Resorts World Las Vegas
The Strip’s first new casino resort in 11 years, Resorts World will pack its ruby towers with three hotels — Crockfords Las Vegas, LXR Hotels & Resorts; Conrad Las Vegas; and Las Vegas Hilton — 117,000 square feet of gaming, nightclubs from popular Asia party purveyor Zouk Group, a 5,000-capacity theater and a 222,000-square-foot pool complex.
Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences New Orleans
Moving into downtown’s riverfront World Trade Center, the 341-room hotel intends to be a culinary contender, enlisting NOLA chef Alon Shaya (whose Saba is a must-visit) for its modern Louisiana restaurant and Instagrammable bar. And there will be a restaurant from Donald Link, the stalwart behind local institutions like Herbsaint, Cochon and Pêche Seafood Grill. Before you feast, visit the spa, outdoor pool and 34th-floor observation deck overlooking the city.
Bulgari Hotel Paris
The City of Light will gleam even more with the addition of this gem from the luxe jewelry company in the exclusive Triangle d’Or area. Expect top-notch craftsmanship in its 76 accommodations (mostly suites), spa and restaurant and bar that open onto a courtyard.
Aman New York
The Aman brand will debut its first urban hotel in the 100-year-old Crown Building. Architect Jean-Michel Gathy’s sleek East-meets-West design will impress, as will the working fireplaces in all rooms (a rarity in NYC), the 10th-floor terrace, the jazz club and a 25,000-square-foot spa.
Tucked on tranquil Singer Island, this oceanfront resort will deliver an essential dose of wellness that melds Eastern philosophies with Western technology. Its 100,000 square feet of wellness offerings include Florida’s first indoor/outdoor hydrothermal circuit, robust yoga programming and a team of naturopaths, nutritionists, acupuncturists, osteopaths and more.
Montage Big Sky, Montana
Big Sky Resort’s first luxury hotel, this year-round modern mountain retreat will be a playground for outdoor enthusiasts. It will offer ski-in/ski-out access to 5,800 skiable acres (it’s the second-largest U.S. ski resort after Park City), entry to a Tom Weiskopf-designed golf course, three fly-fishing rivers and trails for hiking, snowshoeing and more.
Regent Phu Quoc, Vietnam
On Long Beach in Phu Quoc, Vietnam’s idyllic island getaway, you’ll encounter the all-suite-and-villa resort (villas will have infinity pools and up to seven bedrooms). Follow your path to wellness at the expansive spa, which includes a rooftop yoga pavilion, and replenish at six spots, including Oku, a Franco-Japanese steakhouse and omakase counter.
Resort at San Manuel Casino, Highland, California
This SoCal casino is betting big on an expansion. To go head-to-head with destinations like Vegas, San Manuel will add an as-yet-unnamed luxury resort with 429 accommodations in desert hues, a full-service spa, a sprawling pool deck with a bar and cabanas, and an entertainment venue (the latter will arrive in 2022).
Shangri-La Hotel, Jeddah
Along the Red Sea, Shangri-La’s 235 rooms feel beachy and modern with softwood; splashes of teal, blue and gray; and water vistas from floor-to-ceiling windows. The white-marble-filled bathrooms are pure indulgence. The Jeddah hotel also will welcome Saudi Arabia’s first outpost of acclaimed Chinese restaurant Shang Palace.
Rosewood Le Guanahani St. Barth
Severe damage from the 2017 hurricanes forced Le Guanahani to shutter, and it’s remained closed since then. But this summer it will emerge with a new look and a new name. While Rosewood will take over, you can expect the same polished service, plentiful amenities (tennis, a kids club and a spa) and incredible views from its perch on a secluded sun-drenched peninsula.
The Rome EDITION
Italy’s first EDITION will reside in a historical building designed by Cesare Pascoletti and Rationalist architect Marcello Piacentini. Among the 95 accommodations, keep an eye on the penthouse with its 1,300-square-foot terrace. Other things to watch for: excellent cocktails at Punch Room Bar and a rooftop swimming pool.
The Ritz-Carlton, Paradise Valley, Arizona
Stretched across 20 acres overlooking Camelback Mountain in The Palmeraie development, the hotel provides room to roam. Suites and detached casitas will connect by courtyard gardens and shaded walkways. The nearly 400-foot resort pool will be one of North America’s longest, and an indoor/outdoor spa will specialize in desert-inspired healing.
The Londoner Macao
Following Macau’s The Venetian and The Parisian, Sands China will take on London. The British-themed resort will launch two all-suite properties, Londoner Court and The Londoner Hotel, the latter boasts Macau’s first celebrity-designed suites on its top two floors from David Beckham. Overall expect fun English touches, like a Changing of the Guard ceremony featuring 20 artists, statues of everything from a punk to a beefeater near the elevators, and a red phone booth.
The St. Regis Bermuda Resort
While the soft sand and placid waters steal your attention, don’t bypass the beachfront hotel’s casino — the first for both the St. Regis brand and Bermuda — the adjacent historic Fort St. Catherine, BLT Steak restaurant, a St. Regis Kids Club and the elegant and soothing white-and-cream rooms.
The Woodward, Geneva
Sitting along the banks of Lake Geneva, this Oetker Collection hotel could get by on location alone. But with 26 individually designed suites, restaurants L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon and Le Jardinier, a Wellness Institute by Maison Guerlain and Geneva’s longest indoor swimming pool, The Woodward just might make you forget about the Jet d’Eau.
Bishop’s Lodge, Auberge Resorts Collection, Santa Fe
Bordering Santa Fe National Forest is a landmark that was originally the home of Archbishop Jean Baptiste Lamy and later the Pulitzer family. Pretend the 100-room hotel is your domicile with local décor (kiva fireplaces, woven Navajo rugs), an art gallery, stables, chef Dean Fearing’s Southwestern restaurant SkyFire and a 12-bedroom bunkhouse.
Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Fort Lauderdale
Miami-based architect Kobi Karp (who also worked on the renovated Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club) told us that he took inspiration from the yachts that glide by the property when he conceived his distinctive design. The 22-story, block-long waterfront hotel will be anchored in a linear park with tropical gardens.
The Ritz-Carlton, Turks & Caicos
Staking a prized parcel along Grace Bay Beach, this will be Providenciales’ tallest hotel when it opens this summer. Within its three 12-story towers, The Ritz-Carlton will have a casino, several restaurants and bars and a spa. Despite these lures, the crystal-clear waters just outside likely will be its biggest attraction.
Fairmont Century Plaza, Los Angeles
Built on a former 1950s movie studio lot, this icon debuted in 1966 as a large midcentury-modern marvel from Minoru Yamasaki (the architect behind NYC’s original World Trade Center). Design firm Yabu Pushelberg will honor that past while updating the 400-room hotel with amenities like a state-of-the-art spa outfitted with a Himalayan salt room.
Sea Palace Resort, Dubai
Dubai is a destination filled with outlandish, futuristic hotels. The latest entrant will be this floating hotel encircled by six detachable houses that’s docked near Dubai Marina. Powered by solar energy, the houses will have self-sterilizing air filters, glass floors to watch the marine life below and contemporary furniture from Aston Martin.
Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle
The sole hotel within the grounds of the Palace of Versailles will undoubtedly deliver opulence (the property’s buildings have been restored to their original 18th-century splendor). And the 14-room hotel will provide ultra-exclusive perks, like private estate tours and direct access to the Orangerie and Pièce d’Eau des Suisses. You’ll also feel like a modern-day Louis XVI with an Alain Ducasse restaurant and a Valmont spa.
Grand Lisboa Palace, Macau
Much like Macau itself, this integrated resort will fuse Eastern (Chinese motifs and chinoiserie) and Western (European buildings) sensibilities. It will encompass three hotels: Grand Lisboa Palace; Palazzo Versace, overseen by Donatella Versace; and, our pick, The Karl Lagerfeld, the world’s only tower with its interiors fully designed by the late fashion legend.
The St. Regis Chicago
Downtown’s undulating blue-green-glass-covered tower — Chicago’s third-tallest building — will house the Midwest’s only St. Regis. Inside the 101-story structure, there will be restaurants (a fine-dining option and a casual spot overlooking the river) from the group behind Five-Star Alinea, a sky bar, an indoor pool with a terrace and a spa.
Roku Kyoto, LXR Hotels & Resorts
LXR, Hilton’s new luxury collection, will introduce its first Asia Pacific hotel. It also will mark the first Kyoto property across all Hilton brands. Nestled in the foothills of the Takagamine mountains, the 114-room Roku will be part of the 28.6-acre Shozan Resort with its Japanese gardens, historic architecture and authentic tea houses.
One&Only Portonovi, Montenegro
One&Only decided on Montenegro as the setting for its first European hotel. The Adriatic coast hideaway will make its mark with Chenot Espace, a spa with cutting-edge treatments to boost vitality, and Sabia, a restaurant from popular Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli. Another distinguishing feature will be a presidential suite whose wine cellar can be stocked with your choice of 260-plus bottles from the region.
Live Aqua Beach Resort Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
This will be the first Live Aqua outside of Mexico from Posadas, the country’s leading hotel company. Like its San Miguel de Allende and Mexico City sister properties, the 347-suite hotel will showcase design, but it will be unique with peaceful gardens, soothing fountains, gushing waterfalls and a private beach.
Pan Pacific London
Pan Pacific’s Europe debut will flaunt design from Yabu Pushelberg, a well-being floor with a dramatic infinity pool and more landscaped outdoor space than any other luxury hotel in the area. But fans of Bake Off: The Professionals will want to visit to taste confections from executive pastry chef Cherish Finden, who is a judge on the show.
Susurros del Corazón, Auberge Resorts Collection, Riviera Nayarit
One side of the Punta Mita escape will have a thick jungle and the other will have the white sands of Banderas Bay. The 59-suite hotel will take the boho-chic aesthetic that’s popular among area properties and elevate it with handcrafted finishes, artisanal wall coverings and local artwork. Another luxe addition: three scallop-shaped pools cascading down to the beach.
Yorkville will get a surge of energy when this nine-story, 255-room hotel hits the scene. It will have a lobby lounge with a DJ booth, a recording studio and a coffee and cocktail bar, though you’ll be drawn to the Mediterranean-inspired rooftop bar pouring vermouth and amaro cocktails.
Mandarin Oriental, Boca Raton
The brand’s second Florida property (Miami is the first) will land in Boca. The 158-room hotel will unveil two rooftop pools; a spa; a Mandarin Oriental cake shop; and rooms with vistas of downtown or the fairways (Jack Nicklaus is redesigning the adjacent 18-hole golf course).
Condo towers frequently sprout up in Atlanta’s tony Buckhead, and now the area will have a new tenant: Thompson will bring 201 rooms with chevron-patterned wood floors and marble mosaic-tiled bathrooms; a lobby with an intimate bar and local art; and a rooftop pool and lounge.
The 45-suite hotel lies behind the gates of Puerto Cancun (which also has an 18-hole Tom Weiskopf-designed golf course, a private marina and 100-plus shops). But SLS will furnish its own amenities, like interiors from contemporary Italian designer Piero Lissoni, a sizzling beach club and Japanese-Argentine fusion from chef Jose Icardi.
Rosewood Villa Magna, Madrid
Rosewood’s inaugural property in Spain will make a home for itself on Paseo de la Castellana, a major boulevard teeming with shopping, restaurants, cultural attractions and historical landmarks. The hotel will offer 150 well-appointed guest rooms and suites and a Sense, A Rosewood Spa.
The Dubai EDITION
EDITION snagged a prime location for its second Middle East hotel (the first is in Abu Dhabi): it’s across from Dubai Mall, one of the world’s largest shopping destinations. Inside the fashionable hotel, expect 210 rooms and suites, seven restaurants, pools and deck dining and a spa.