The World's Most Beautiful New Resorts
Encuentro Guadalupe Antiresort™, Baja California, Mexico
Is Valle de Guadalupe the next Mendoza? The owners of Encuentro Guadalupe are betting on it. They’ve built a knockout of a hotel: 20 chic cabins perched on a rocky slope in the heart of Baja California’s wine country (there are more than 50 wineries in the area). Casual poolside dinners feature fresh catches from the nearby Ensenada coast—seafood tostadas, lobster tacos—and Baja red wines. Doubles from $175; encuentroguadalupe.com.
The Alpina Gstaad, Gstaad, Switzerland
This is the first high-end hotel built in the ski-resort town of Gstaad in 100 years, and the architecture (gabled roofs, wooden balconies) fits in with its traditional Swiss neighbors. Inside, the vibe is modern luxury, with a movie theater, a 21,500-square-foot spa (with a stunning indoor lap pool surrounded by slabs of local limestone) and an outpost of the modern-Japanese spot Megu. Doubles from $919; thealpinagstaad.ch.
Palacio Nazarenas, Cuzco, Peru
This former convent has been turned into an Orient Express hotel in the Incan town of Cuzco; rooms that once housed nuns are now stocked with pisco cocktail–making kits. The staff’s evening uniforms were created by Peruvian fashion designer Fátima Arrieta; the chef hails from Gastón Acurio’s modern Astrid & Gastón restaurant in Lima and cooks with local ingredients like purple prickly pear. Doubles from $788; palacionazarenas.com.
Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort, St. Lucia
Over the past three years, Sugar Beach, formerly The Jalousie Plantation, has undergone a major renovation. Guests now stay in roomy white adobe bungalows on the beach, or in villas in the 100-plus-acre rain forest. The resort’s restaurants weave in Caribbean influences, like pan-roasted mahimahi with grilled plantains. Doubles from $350; viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/en/sugarbeach.
Amanzo'e, Porto Heli, Greece
Celebrity architect Ed Tuttle designed this resort, scheduled to reopen for the season in March, in an olive-grove-filled stretch of the Peloponnese peninsula overlooking the coast. Like all Aman Resorts, it is ultra-luxurious; each suite has its own pool. During harvest season, the staff can arrange olive-picking excursions followed by olive-oil-making lessons in the kitchen. Doubles from $1,047; amanresorts.com.
Hôtel La Ferme, Quebec, Canada
To lure travelers to the Charlevoix region, an hour-and-a-half drive east of Quebec City, Cirque du Soleil co-founder Daniel Gauthier built a rustic hotel—and installed a train station on the grounds. The stylish furnishings include wool cushions and wood bed frames made by local artisans. The restaurant menu reflects Quebec’s Francophone culture in dishes like a torte of fennel and foie gras. Doubles from $149; lemassif.com/en/ferme.
Hotel Jerome, Aspen, Colorado
The Jerome, now an Auberge resort, has added a chapter to the story that started in 1889, when it opened as the grandest hotel in the West. New design touches nod to earlier eras: Leather steamer trunks act as minibars, and there’s floral wallpaper inspired by the 1920s. The J-Bar, a favorite of the late Hunter S. Thompson, remains unchanged and is still one of Aspen’s best hangouts. Doubles from $595; hoteljerome.aubergeresorts.com.
Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Puerto Rico
Only the second Reserve property in the world (the first is in Thailand), the Dorado Beach mixes ultra-luxury service with an eco-friendly aesthetic. A 35-minute drive west of San Juan, the resort is a 1,400-acre coconut plantation that used to belong to Laurance Rockefeller. The rooms—think Spanish colonial villas as outfitted by Giorgio Armani—are stunning, but the greening of the LEED-certified resort is impressive, too. Walkways are built to curve around trees, and no cars are allowed anywhere on the property. Super-inventive chef José Andrés has a restaurant onsite called Mi Casa, where he says he “honors Puerto Rican food traditions, elevating them too, and mixing them with Spanish dishes.” Doubles from $800; doradobeachreserve.com.
Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, Vietnam
The gorgeous beachfront property was designed by Bangkok-based architect and landscape designer Bill Bensley and has three restaurants and two bars, including the upscale La Maison 1888, helmed by three-star Michelin chef Michel Roux (of London’s Le Gavroche), and a more casual outdoor grill that serves Vietnamese dishes. Doubles from $225; danang.intercontinental.com.
Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas
This property, now taking reservations for its February opening, has a lot of big names behind it: Designed by David Rockwell and owned in part by Robert De Niro and chef Nobu Matsuhisa, Nobu Hotel is an upscale boutique hotel (with 181 rooms) within the larger Caesars Palace. At more than 11,000 square feet, the onsite Nobu restaurant will be the largest in the world. Doubles from $249; totalrewards.com/nobu.
St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, Miami
This is one of the splashiest hotels to open in America in 2012, thanks to the stunningly glamorous Art Deco interiors by Toronto-based firm Yabu Pushelberg. Guests can also look forward to plush cabanas on a private beach and easy access to the high-end stores (Alexander McQueen, Versace) that make up Bal Harbour Shops. Doubles from $559; stregisbalharbour.com.
Selman, Marrakesh, Morocco
A number of amazing hotels opened in Marrakesh in 2012, but this one in particular stands out. Five riads located in a 15-acre park are glamorously decorated by French design star Jacques Garcia. The owners’ Arabian horses trot around the grounds. Doubles from $720; selman-marrakech.com.
This former music conservatorium is now a stylish hotel designed by Milan architect Piero Lissoni (who has created furniture for Kartell); the lobby and restaurant are housed in an impressive four-story, glass-enclosed atrium. Doubles from $345; conservatoriumhotel.com.
Song Saa, Cambodia
After being captivated by the beauty of Cambodia, an Australian couple created this incredible private-island resort where guests have the Blue Lagoon-like experience of taking over a tropical island. Doubles from $1,336 per night, meals included; songsaa.com.
True to the Shangri-La brand, this hotel looks sleek and emphasizes service. But we were most impressed with the food: There are dim sum carts in the lobby, and star chef David Chang runs not one but three restaurants, plus a bar. Doubles from $425; shangri-la.com/toronto/shangrila.