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The Best (And Worst) New Luxury Hotels Of 2017

December 23, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

LTI delivers the inside track on this year’s luxury hotel openings. We have 12 highly experienced and discerning experts covering the globe – and we thoroughly research every property, on our own dollar, as we are passionate about what we do. LTI gives honest and unbiased opinions, to bring truth to luxury travel. This year, we visited 74 new hotels, and discovered 14 truly exceptional properties. Only two disappointed us enough to make our Worst list.

So, who got it right this year and who got it so wrong?

This is our Best and Worst of 2017 (announced in reverse order). 

THE BEST 

14 The Whitby, New York

A real New York ‘slam dunk’ for the London based Firmdale Hotels, who rarely put a foot wrong. Ideally located, we are particularly taken with the eye-catching design and contemporary art. There are 86 individually styled room and suites (go for one with a private terrace), plus a Firmdale special touch – the guests only drawing room and terrace.

 

13 The Silo, Cape Town

This is a brilliant new addition to Cape Town’s luxury hotel scene. It’s in the perfect location (an elevated position above the V&A Waterfront|), with a wonderful design and just 28 impressive rooms and suites, all etched out of what used to be a concrete grain silo. In the know locals have really taken to the hotel’s Granary Cafe and Willaston Bar. The glass framed rooftop pool and terrace is a big plus for LTI. 

12 Palacio Tangara, Sao Paulo

This new and impressive urban resort has 141 spacious rooms and suites with refined contemporary decor, a Sisley spa, restaurants overseen by Jean-Georges Vongerichten and two stylish pools (outside/inside). Be sure to visit the eye catching glass walled wine cellar with engaging sommelier Gabriele Frizon. 

11  Jackalope, Victoria, Australia

We picked up on this under the radar opening back in May, and are impressed with what we found. Located in the heart of its own boutique vineyard with just 46 spacious and well thought out ‘dens’ (20 have vineyard views), two restaurants (the food is exceptional) and a great cocktail lounge, this property is everything you could wish for from a relaxing urban escape. More Jackalope properties are in the pipeline for Melbourne, Shanghai and Los Angeles. 

10  Four Seasons Surf Club, Miami

Our new favourite resort style property in Miami, this is classic Four Seasons. It has just 77 stylish rooms and 28 residences (we suggest that you go for an Ocean View Cabana Studio), and is also home to the impressive Le Sirenuse restaurant, the first outpost from the famed Amalfi coast icon. 

9  Kokomo Island, Fiji

A true paradise, this exclusive private island resort has just 21 spacious Fijian styled beachside villas (each with its own private pool), prime white sandy beaches and a relaxed but expert service. For pure barefoot luxury we recommend that you take one of chef Daniel Johnson’s exceptional picnics on an island excursion. 

8  Hotel Eden, Rome

This hotel is now our top choice in Rome, following its 18-month renovation that saw a reduction in rooms and suites from 121 to 98 and a very positive revamp. Although we loved the location before, the property was looking a little tired. Now, rooms are spacious, full of natural light, with impressive marble bathrooms and all the latest technology. 

7   Nobu Ryoken, Malibu

This delightful property epitomises everything a Nobu hotel should be (unlike some of Nobu’s earlier offerings). It has just 16 rooms – 11 of them have ocean views and terraces – and all guests have access to the Nobu restaurant next door (a real hot ticket). We particularly love the minimalist style, teak soaking tubs and beachside location. 

6  Burgenstock Hotel, Lucerne

The hugely anticipated Burgenstock Resort, perched 2,800 feet above Lake Lucerne, opened in August after nine years of planning and construction – and US$500m investment. Of the four hotels at the resort, it’s the contemporary Burgenstock Hotel that is LTI’s favourite property. It has 102 rooms and suites, a restaurant, alpine spa, lobby bar, wine cellar and cigar lounge. All rooms and suites have fireplaces and impressive bathrooms. Guests may arrive directly at the hotel entrance via the famous Burgenstock funicular railway.

 5  Chable Resort, Yucatan

The stunning design, standout cave-like spa, laid back vibe, contemporary Maya cuisine and 750 acres of private grounds are just a few of the things that wowed us on our recent visit to Chable Resort. And then the world’s largest tequila collection sealed the deal. There are 38 spacious casita style rooms and two expansive suites, situated in lush tranquil gardens, and with great views. 

4  Hotel de Crillon, Paris

Following an impressive four-year US$200 million renovation, the exceptional 124 rooms and suites, perfect location, new subterranean spa and swimming pool make this our new top choice in Paris. We suggest that you go for one of the Karl Lagerfeld designed Grand Apartments – ideally the one with a two-tonne black marble bathroom. 

3  Villa La Coste, Provence

This unique property has the distinct feel of a private home, with just 28 spacious and contemporary villa suites, each with a private terrace and views over the Luberon. It also has an impressive array of art and sculpture on display, 600 acres of woodland, vineyards and olive groves, three restaurants overseen by Gérald Passédat, and open flame dining from Francis Mallmann. 

2  The Ned, London

You cannot help but be impressed when you walk into the vast 3,000 square metre lobby of the Ned, with its 92 versite columns, restored walnut banking counters and eight restaurants and bars. It’s big, bold and brave – and more New York that anything in New York itself. Beyond this, hotel guests have exclusive access to Ned’s Club, with its own late night bar, gym, spa (with a beautiful basement pool) and expansive rooftop with a pool area, restaurant, bar and superb 360 degree London views. An exceptional and exciting hotel. 

And our Best New Luxury Hotel for 2017 is… 

The Bulgari, Dubai

This sensational property – that only opened its doors on December 5th –impressed us so much it became this year’s last minute LTI top pick. It is low level (just four floors), private and understated – everything most Dubai hotels are not. We also love its striking architecture. It’s an ultra exclusive Mediterranean style resort, spread over 13 hectares, and has a private beach club and beach, a 50-berth marina, excellent spa and an impressive Italian restaurant with chef Niko Romito at the helm. We have advised LTI members to go for a Beach Villa. 

THE WORST 

Dukes Dubai

This property is far removed from the classic elegance of its sister property, Dukes Hotel in London. In terms of design, service, style and location it simply bears no resemblance. The heavy discounting of room rates is always a sure sign that things are not as they should be, and on our two recent visits we found poor service standards, excessive noise and disturbance from the surrounding construction, and sub standard in room technology and fittings. Many of the issues can be addressed over time, so we are hoping to find a big improvement when we revisit towards the end of 2018. 

Five (originally Viceroy), Dubai

After a shaky start, this property – fairly impressive overall – seemed to be recovering nicely, when Viceroy management were removed from the property overnight and a new name hung over the door (ironically a V, meant to represent Five, but confusingly similar to the Viceroy brand). The resulting legal battle appears to be far from resolved with significant accusations being made by both sides. It may not concern some, but to LTI, airing this dispute in public has a long-term effect on a property. This is not a situation that the luxury traveller wishes to encounter.

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