Virtuoso Life September 2018 The 12 Coolest New Hotels in the World

The 12 Coolest New Hotels in the World

Montage Los Cabos. 
Montage Los Cabos. 
Photo by Luis García
We’re always excited about debut accommodations, but what’s really thrilling is when one pops up and totally changes the game: It provides access to a less explored corner of the world, for example, or brings an entirely new vibe to an already beloved place. We’re checking out where travelers should be checking in next (it’s kind of our job), and the properties on the following pages officially make our list.

An Inn-to-Inn Trek in Bhutan

Encompassing 82 suites and villas across five separate lodges, Six Senses Bhutan is set to open its first three lodges (in Thimphu, Punakha, and Paro) in November and the other two (in Gangtey and Bumthang) early next year, with the aim of taking guests on a journey through the famously happy Buddhist kingdom’s most distinctive regions. Stays are designed to be progressive – and typically around two weeks total – and are guided by the lodges’ Guest Experience Makers, or GEMs, who craft custom activities and help arrange passenger transfers between properties. Here’s what the adventure looks like.
 

  • Start at Six Senses Thimphu in Bhutan’s capital, where a stone foundation, horizontal lines, and whitewashed walls mimic the region’s dzongs (fortresses). Hike to local monasteries and return to meditate at the prayer pavilion set amid the lodge’s reflecting ponds, which overlook a giant Buddha statue across the valley.
  • Six Senses Punakha looks like one of the bridges that span the agricultural terraces of the verdant valleys in Bhutan’s rice-farming region – and the sleek building cantilevers over a pool. Trek through the forest to the seventeenth-century Chorten Ningpo, a Buddhist shrine associated with the unconventional monk Drukpa Kunley.
  • Overlooking a valley that’s an annual stop on the migration route of the black-necked crane, Six Senses Gangtey resembles a stone bridge that’s vaulting a stream in the middle of a meadow. Plant seeds, plow fields, and learn about traditional harvesting practices at a local farm, then take a tranquil break in the spa’s meditation room.
  • Head to the spiritual heart of Bhutan – marked by lavish monasteries and increasingly rugged terrain – at Six Senses Bumthang, which was carefully constructed in a pine forest. (Pine trees grow through the middle of an interior courtyard.) Dinner at the lodge’s tree-house restaurant highlights Bhutanese cuisine.
  • Fit for a finale, Six Senses Paro is in Bhutan’s most famous valley, home to the dramatic mountainside monastery known as Tiger’s Nest. Windows frame Himalayan views from stone- and wood-clad suites, and the spa’s treatment rooms overlook fifteenth-century fortress ruins.
A Lodge Suite at Six Senses Thimphu.
A Lodge Suite at Six Senses Thimphu.

Dive into Cabo 

Santa Maria Bay sparkles with Imax intensity from the sleek open-air lobby of the 122-room Montage Los Cabos, which opened in May. It’s a scene you’ll find yourself drawn to time and again, whether from the resort’s two restaurants, three pools, or any lounge chair or cabana. Mezcal takes a starring role here as well – in welcome drinks; blended into essential oils for treatments in the peninsula’s largest spa; at bars, which serve 54 varieties; and, most prominently, in Mezcal restaurant’s nouveau-Mexican dishes, such as lobster ceviche, Baja hamachi with smoked dashi and cracklings, and tuna tostadas with dried chili ashes. Montage designed its first resort outside the U.S. with a minimalist feel befitting Baja’s breezy desert landscape. Travertine, copper and dark wood accents, and woven wall hangings soften guest rooms, which are set in low-slung blocks of four among elephant cacti, desert rose, and other indigenous plants on the 39-acre property. Inside, beds, sitting areas, and expansive patios and terraces – nearly every guest-room feature, save the outdoor showers – focus on the bay, which offers one of the few safely swimmable beaches on the entire coastline between Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo. Best of all: Aside from the odd yacht or snorkeling group, guests have it all to themselves.

Montage’s pool area. 
Montage’s pool area. 
Photo by Luis García

Blissed Out in Vietnam

Expect plenty of peace and quiet at the 26-villa Anantara Quy Nhon Villas, set to open in November. Overlooking a private South China Sea cove in south-central Vietnam (between Hanoi and Saigon), the resort is the first luxury property in this largely untouristed area.

The resort’s one- and two-bedroom, butler-staffed villas each come with their own pools and sundecks; at Bai Xep beach, a bar adjoins an oceanfront pool. Shrouded by rain forest on a cliff overlooking the sea, the spa sets a harmonious tone with sunrise yoga, Vietnamese martial arts lessons, guided meditation practices, and indoor and outdoor spa treatments.

Beach buffs meet wellness pilgrims here, the former drawn to some of Southeast Asia’s most pristine coastline – a place where golden beaches stretch uninterrupted between small fishing villages. The holistic spa will play host to a roster of visiting wellness practitioners, from yogis to aestheticians.

Healthful options season the culinary program, which features fresh-pressed juices and raw veggie dishes made from indigenous produce. Guests can fish for their own dinners alongside a local in a small wicker coracle. Butlers will ferry trays of iced Vietnamese coffee and street-food bites to guests as poolside pick-me-ups.

The Quy Nhon region is rich in Buddhist pagodas and 1,000-year-old tower ruins from the Cham civilization. Visit the Quy Nhon town market to shop for handwoven beach bags, purses, and baskets that resemble local fishing boats in miniature.

Anantara Quy Nhon’s Hillside Pool Villa.
Anantara Quy Nhon’s Hillside Pool Villa.

Shanghai’s New Jewel 

A few months after the debut of its Beijing outpost, Bulgari has added another property to its Chinese portfolio. The Bulgari Hotel Shanghai opened in June, framing some of the city’s best views from the tallest building in the waterfront Bund district. Its 82 rooms, located on floors 40 through 48, bear the polished marks of Milan-based design firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel: black-stained wood floors, Italian furniture, and, in Roman-inspired suites, marble jetted tubs. (The tiny bottle of Bulgari perfume left at turndown is a fittingly lavish touch.) Head to Nanjing Road’s designer shops in one of the hotel’s chauffeured Maserati house cars, or settle in at the 21,500-square-foot spa – there’s an indoor pool, yoga and Pilates studios, and a Workshop Gymnasium, modeled after the brand’s popular London location. Culinary choices honor Italy and Shanghai: Behold the 500-label wine list at banquette-ringed Il Ristorante – Niko Romito, or venture next door to the 1916 building that once served as the city’s chamber of commerce for chef Justin Tan’s Cantonese fine dining at Bao Li Xuan. Bartenders shake up nightcaps at the rooftop Terrazza bar, where potted palms and breezy cabanas channel a bit of la dolce vita in the middle of China’s biggest city.

La Terrazza.
La Terrazza.
Photo by Seth Powers

Reconnect with Nature in Utah

Here’s a solid ratio of humans to wide-open spaces: Guests of 46-room The Lodge at Blue Sky, outside Park City, Utah, will have access to 3,500 acres of ranchland. Accommodations at the Western-focused retreat, opening next spring, include rooms built into hillsides or on stilts above wetlands. Get ready to learn horsemanship, practice aerial yoga, and try your hand at fly-fishing.

Horseback riding on The Lodge at Blue Sky’s land.
Horseback riding on The Lodge at Blue Sky’s land.
Photo by The Lodge at Blue Sky, Auberge Resorts Collection

The Caribbean’s Hippest New Hideaway

With blond-wood walls and white-curtained beds, the 43 minimalist suites at Silversands Grenada will play it cool in the tropics. The sophisticated resort, opening in November, pivots around a 330-foot infinity pool, and its Asian-influenced restaurant draws on Grenada’s reputation as the region’s “spice island.”

Silversands Grenada.
Silversands Grenada.

High Style in Hong Kong

When it opens this winter, the 413-room Rosewood Hong Kong will tower over the city’s new Victoria Dockside arts district – occupying 43 stories in a Salisbury Road high-rise. Eight restaurants and a holistic spa are also in the works.

A digital rendering of Rosewood Hong Kong.
A digital rendering of Rosewood Hong Kong.

From Desert to Sea in Oman

Modeled after an ancient Arabian castle, the Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa overlooks the Bay of Al Jissah from a clifftop perch. Tucked between the mountains and the sea in Muscat, the 180-room resort keeps activity options varied, from scuba diving and yacht excursions to desert adventures – and there’s a L’Occitane spa for guests to retreat to afterward.

Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa.
Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa.

A Sophisticated French Countryside Retreat

Villa La Coste overlooks the biodynamic Provençal vineyards of the art-filled Château La Coste winery, with 28 white-washed, one- and two-bedroom suites that feature marble soaking tubs and private terraces. An on-site organic garden supplies its locavore restaurant, helmed by renowned chef Gérald Passedat.

Villa La Coste.
Villa La Coste.
Photo by Richard Haughton

All-Out Wellness in Switzerland

From the shores of Lake Lucerne, guests take a restored 1888 funicular up 1,640 feet to reach the dramatic Bürgenstock Hotel and Alpine Spa. Upon arrival, there’s little reason to leave the 102-room forest- and mountain-ringed modern getaway, home to a sprawling 107,000-square-foot spa, three pools, a nine-hole golf course, and 43 miles of hiking and biking trails. 

Bürgenstock Hotel and Alpine Spa.
Bürgenstock Hotel and Alpine Spa.

A Stunner for the Senses in Cambodia

Designer Bill Bensley distills Khmer style into luxe retreats at the ten-villa Shinta Mani Angkor in Siem Reap, 15 minutes by tuk-tuk from Angkor Wat. Each walled villa features a garden, its own private pool (scattered with lotus flowers on request), and a rooftop deck, where dedicated butlers will arrange a bed under the stars come sundown.
Shinta Mani Angkor.
Shinta Mani Angkor.

An Exciting New Orleans Restoration

The city’s 1920s power and transit bureau building is now home to the Nopsi Hotel New Orleans, and the space’s reclaimed original terrazzo floors and vaulted ceilings are best ogled over Sazeracs in the grand lobby bar. After a dip in the rooftop pool and a locally sourced dinner at Public Service restaurant, plan to power down in one of 217 refined rooms. 

Nopsi Hotel New Orleans’ rooftop pool.
Nopsi Hotel New Orleans’ rooftop pool.

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