Last May, when we reported on the best new hotels that opened in early 2021, we noted the industry's gusto in emerging from lockdown. The trend has only continued, as evidenced by the terrific new openings around the world since summer. Let's just say it's a good thing we have a lot of catching up to do on our travels. Here's a rundown of independent hotel highlights in the United States and around the world, followed up new openings and news of note from the bigger hotel brands.
Around the United States
Where: Accord, New York
Why We’re Excited: Lauded American landscape painter George Inness is the inspiration behind the pastoral scene that is this 40-room countryside retreat for weary New Yorkers (it’s only 90-minutes from the city). A series of beautifully utilitarian buildings filled with Shaker-esque furnishings — farmhouse, cabins, restaurant, events barn, farm shop — frame the Arcadian scene just so. Outside, a delightful mix of the untamed (meadows, fields) and the manicured (orchard, garden, eco-friendly nine-hole golf course) root guests in the natural spoils of the Hudson Valley.
Where: Jackson, Wyoming
Why We're Excited: Jackson's historic Town Square is instantly recognizable for its Old-West marquees of the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, Jackson Drug, and elk-antler walkways, but a new landmark is generating buzz around town. Housed in what was Jackson Hole's first bank, The Cloudveil, a new Autograph Collection hotel, has 100 generous guest rooms and three suites, an outdoor heated pool and jacuzzi, and a French bistro. The cozy living room style lobby, which features a large mantle made from reclaimed wood from every national park across the United States — and is the perfect après-ski hang in this nature-surrounded town, while the 5,000-square-foot spacious rooftop terrace yields uninterrupted views and is home to daily yoga and meditation sessions.
Where: Saratoga Springs, New York
Why We're Excited: Lark Hotels, who are making waves with their cute hotels in beachy destinations along the East Coast, launched sister brand Bluebird by Lark this summer, inspired by the great American tradition of hitting the open road and letting nature and spontaneity to take the lead. Bluebird's first entry is a reimagined roadside lodge in the Hudson Valley with 42 artist studio-inspired rooms in the heart of Saratoga Springs, within walking distance of lively restaurants and bars and Beekman Street Arts District. Also nearby are great nature spots like hot springs and Saratoga Lake.
Where: Stowe, Vermont
Why We're Excited: It's more than just pumpkin spice and everything nice in Stowe with the arrival of Tälta Lodge. Bluebird's third opening is a refurbished 51-room roadside motel catered to the adventure-seeking mountain maven. Nearby outdoor activities are abundant — e-bike and brewery tours, guided hikes of Mount Mansfeld, and backcountry ski adventures — but if you prefer to snuggle up in the Scandinavian-inspired lobby with low-hanging lounges and a roaring fire, s'mores, and craft-brews on tap, that's okay too.
Where: Los Angeles, California
Why We're Excited: The city lights of Downtown just got a little brighter with another LA hotel from the all-star team behind Proper Hospitality. Designer Kelly Wearstler seamlessly blends the past and present of an iconic Broadway landmark, using using local art and Moroccan textiles in 148 rooms of vintage-meets-modern decor. James Beard Award-winning locals chef Suzanne Goin and restaurateur/sommelier Caroline Styne (of Lucques and a.o.c. fame) are behind Caldo Verde on Broadway and Cara Cara on the rooftop, which has jaw-dropping city views. And, yes, a pool.
Where: Malibu, California
Why We're Excited: Malibu is not a town known for affordable hotels (or affordable anything, really), which makes Proper Hospitality's new entry even more welcome. The iconic Point Dume motor lodge along Pacific Coast Highway has been refurbished into simple bungalows that are crisp and airy, each with a private patio, Casper beds, and robes custom-made from deadstock African textiles. Vintage B&W photos of Malibu's surf-bum past by Wayne Wilcox (another local icon) hang amid vintage surfboards. A new heated pool and deck joins the property, along with all-day takeout from nearby Cal-Mex restaurant Scenic Route.
Where: Venice, California
Why We're Excited: When you want the true Dogtown vibe of Venice Beach, head straight to the heart of the surf break along the boardwalk. Yet another LA newcomer from Proper Hospitality (we weren't kidding when we said the industry has been busy!), this one is housed in the historic 1915 Waldorf, a landmark that served as the backdrop for many Old Hollywood films. Rooms reflect the eclectic style of the building, with spacious bungalows and suites with postcard-perfect views of Santa Monica and the Pacific piers. Bikes, surfboards, and skateboards are at the ready, as are wood-fired pizzas, avocado toast, and adaptogenic lattes delivered to your door from the neighborhood’s favorite cafe, Great White. It’s all so LA, in the best way.
Where: Los Angeles, California
Why We're Excited: A contemporary desert oasis has landed at the center of West Adams, one of LA’s oldest and most historic neighborhoods. Surrounded by a serene interior courtyard with an outdoor pool, boutique fitness studio, and forthcoming restaurant and wine bar by Danny Elmaleh, the hotel is modern and free-spirited, designed in rich earth tones and mid-century furnishings. While WeHo, Santa Monica, and Beverly Hills are typically the destinations favored by new hotels companies, Alsace deserves credit for staking a claim on an emerging neighborhood with great nightlife, Japanese cuisine, and a modern music scene.
Where: Greenough, Montana
Why We're Excited: That we've loved The Resort at Paws Up forever makes their new, adults-only hotel nestled within 37,000 acres of untouched Montana gorgeousness make The Green O an easy entry onto our YES PLEASE list. A dozen cabins — "Haus" is their term for them — are configured in four categories — Green, Light, Round, and Tree — all designed to blend into the surrounding pines. The food is local; the cooking is over a live first. When it's warm out, you'll spend days along 100 miles of trails — on a bike, horseback, or an easy walk; take in 100-mile views of the Swan Range and Garnet Mountains from a hot air balloon; and fly fish, canoe, swim, and tube along the Blackfoot River. You can much of that on snow in the winter, including more on skis and skates.
Where: Hudson, New York
Why We're Excited: If the eight-room getaway in Hudson Valley feels extra perfect, credit its notable feng shui — a nod to the owner’s Chinese heritage — with cozy rooms, outdoor gardens, a library, and outdoor fire pits. Intended to be a cultural hub, the hotel also hosts author seminars, artists' workshops, and a monthly concert series in partnership with nearby Bard College of Music.
Where: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Why We’re Excited: Auberge Resorts transformed a historic chapel and 19th-century spiritual retreat brimming with Southwestern design heritage into a collection of 100 guest rooms, suites, casitas, and a 12-room stone-and-wood bunkhouse overlooking the Tesuque Valley. A quick ride into town, it’s also surrounded by hundreds of private acres next to the million-plus acres of Santa Fe National Forest, giving guests easy access to city culture as well as outdoor adventure. A fresh menu of incredible views, dining options, and activities make it a destination in itself. Some options include fresco painting classes, Native American art experiences, ancient healing arts, culinary journeys, and horseback rides with cowboy cookouts under the stars.
Where: Brooklyn, New York
Why We're Excited: It's almost shocking that it took until 2021 for Ace to open in the land of all-day cafe workers. But it's here, and it delivers on all the things you expect from your OG neighborhood boutique hotel: cool artwork, cozy meeting areas, strong coffee game, lots of Apple computers, great seating-to-outlet ratio.
Read More on Fathom: An Ace Grows in Brooklyn
Where: New Orleans, Louisiana
Why We're Excited: Liz Lambert, the visionary hotelier behind Bunkhouse Group, has launched her first project as Lambert-McGuire Design in a former 19th-century orphanage in the Lower Garden District. The 75-room hotel still has that ominous wrought-iron gate exterior, while the interiors evoke an Art Deco paradise with candy-colored wallpaper and hidden corners filled with charming discoveries. While the neighborhood is a city-walkers bliss, with overgrown ivy-covered Greek Revival and Italian mansions at every turn, the hotel amenities are hard to leave — an outdoor pool, two bars (one for guests only), two restaurants, a curated shop, and several Insta-ready moody spots.
Around the World
Where: Rome, Italy
Why We're Excited: We spent five days here the week it opened, and it immediately became a new Rome favorite. The sister property to Hotel Vilòn nearby is mere steps from the Trevi Fountain on one of the busiest streets in Europe. Yes, you'll see hordes when you walk outside, but the location couldn’t be more central. Opera composer Gaetano Donizetti called this building home in the 1800s, and a dramatic spirit fills the space, from the playful artwork on the ground floor — Old Masters-style paintings reimagined with contemporary tattoos and 'tudes — to the 30 rooms furnished with custom-made pieces built by local artisans and decorated with pictures that all feature hats, an homage to the Marvin Gaye tune "Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home)." A fitting sentiment for a welcome hotel run by a helpful and charming team.
Where: Amalfi Coast, Italy
Why We're Excited: We’re calling it now: This will be the best Amalfi Coast opening of the 2020s, a game changer for the area. Two Italian brothers spent four years restructuring an old hotel in a mellow cove between Positano and Amalfi. A handful of private villas dot the area to the north, Sofia Loren just sold the villa on the southern bluff, and the hotel's beach is expansive by local standards. The decor is a sharp and chic mix of mid-century (design fans will swoon for the many original Gio Ponti pieces) and classic Amalfi (the ceramic tiles include 31 floor patterns and an original installation in Alici, one of two on-site restaurants). The 45 rooms (a few more are on the way) overlooking the sea are airy and bright. One more great detail: The flowers throughout are from the hotel’s own gardens.
Where: Venice, Italy
Why We're Excited: A hotel so chic and discreet, it didn't even put its name on the door. Located between Piazza San Marco and Arsenale, the Patricia Urquiola-designed hotel will fast establish itself as Venice HQ for the movers and shakers (and wannabes, of course) of the global art world, who will hold court in the interior courtyard, Alchemia Bar, or intimate VERO restaurant, notable for the dramatic ceiling fresco. And when the Biennale circus isn't in town, the hotel will be a serene and elegant retreat for the rest of us.
Where: Paris, France
Why We’re Excited: The iconic Louvre post office building in the heart of the 1st arrondissement is one of the most recognizable in the city, and it took nearly a decade of challenges to transform the unique space into a hotel. Bordered by cafe- and gallery-lined streets, the creative energy seeps into the lobby and up to the fourth floor roof terrace and sky garden, where locals and visitors can rendezvous with a gorgeous panorama of the City of Lights. Eighty-two sunny and sleek rooms, including 19 suites — some of which have those jaw-dropping views of the Eiffel Tower, the Sacré-Coeur, or Notre-Dame Cathedral — are handsomely furnished with blond leather, wood, marble, and Parisian parlor furniture that fit together like pieces of a puzzle. Pink floor-to-ceiling mosaic tiles in the bathroom add a dose of glamor to every trip to the loo.
Where: Paris, France
Why We're Excited: When the LVMH hotel company set out to transform the Seine-facing building of La Samaritaine into its first city outpost and a n'est plus ultra Parisian hotel, they recruited flamboyant American architect Peter Marino for the job. And, wow, has he delivered, starting with the double-height lobby featuring two original Vik Muniz pieces based on Delaunay paintings of the Eiffel Tower. The 72 rooms and suites, many overlooking Pont Neuf, are awash in every shade of white to cream known to the human eye. The four restaurants are stunners — the cheese cave at Plentitude, the horseshoe bar at Le Tout-Paris, the whimsical table toppers at Langosteria — rivaled only by the sweeping city views from indoor and outdoor tables. The subterranean pool, the biggest in Paris, has a video installation that makes you feel like you're swimming in the Seine itself, while the ceilings in the treatment rooms at The Dior Spa twinkle. Like so many lucky stars.
Where: London, England
Why We're Excited: NoMad Hotels made its way across the pond, landing in Covent Garden in a listed building across from the Royal Opera House that was once The Bow Street Magistrates' Court and Police Station. This also marks the European debut of esteemed New York-based designers Roman and Williams, who did justice (pun intended) to the spaces we've come to expect from a NoMad: a stunning library filled with theatrical touches (you won't want to leave); sumptuous rooms filled with lovely features like marble fireplace mantles, coffee table books, sink-into-them chairs, enviably stocked mini bars, and even high-tech toilets (you won't want to leave the rooms, either); a cool bar with great cocktails called Side Hustle; and, of course, a NoMad restaurant helmed by Ashley Abodeely a former NoMad NYC chef, housed in a double-height, plant-filled atrium. The more than 1,600 pieces of art fill the rooms and public spaces include a series created for the hotel by a scenic painter from the Royal Opera House.
Where: London, England
Why We're Excited: A joyful air permeates the Chelsea outpost of Beaverbrook, the grand Surrey estate hotel. Everywhere you look, you’ll spot something punchy and fun, starting with bright paint colors, elaborate wallpapers, and patterned textiles in curtains and cushions. Saucy Japanese matchbooks cover the tables in Sir Frank's Bar, which leads into Fuji Grill and Omakase Sushi Bar. Vintage advertisements for the Underground and Orient Express train line the hallways and the library/reception nook. Old theater posters and black and white photos (a young Dame Maggie Smith getting ogled by chaps backstage!) decorate 14 colorful rooms named for London theaters, many overlooking private Cadogan Gardens across the street. (The hotel has five keys available for guests.) The spitfire plane pins the staff wear are an homage to Lord Beaverbrook, the English-Canadian newspaper magnate who served as Minister of Aircraft Production during WWII.
Where: London, England
Why We're Excited: It bills itself as the world's first "super boutique" hotel and is located in tourist-clogged Leicester Square, but don’t let that turn you off because there’s so much to love here, starting with the Yabu Pushelberg design, a collection of spaces that feel seductive, swank, and intimate (giving off a very Halston / Tom Ford for Gucci vibe); event spaces filled with the art from the National Gallery and Somerset House (you can take an art tour via iPad); three sumptuous rooms reserved for guests; two screening rooms; and nine food and beverage outlets, including 8, a Japanese izakaya lounge with a retractable roof and expansive city views, and Joshua's Tavern, a gin joint that pays homage to 18th-century artist Joshua Reynolds. Top that off with what might be the most impressive wellness center we have ever seen in a city hotel: It fills an entire subterranean floor with a huge pool, a massive and well-equipped gym, a barber shop and beauty salon, and a terrific spa. They spent a half billion dollars on the hotel, and it shows, down to the blue, diamond-shaped terra cotta tiles on the exterior, which were hand-made to better reflect the city’s light.
Where: Oaxaca, Mexico
Why We're Excited: Because no one wants to drink tequila and then figure out how to get home, artisanal spirit company Mezcal El Silencio opened a six-suite boutique hotel at their sustainable distillery in a quiet valley an hour from downtown Oaxaca. Natural elements like fire pits and a plunge pool lend a dash of drama to the 60-person communal stone table, which offers classic Oaxacan dishes and pop-ups from notable chefs.
Feel-Good Factor: Using a native-to-the-area construction system that integrates with the landscape, maximizes natural light, reuses refurbished materials and antiques, the retreat reduces energy output and looks absolutely stunning.
Where: Crete, Greece
Why We’re Excited: Hello, heartthrob. This eco-friendly hideaway on a rocky cliffside has sleek and stunning cave suites, raw silk bedding, private infinity pools, and endless views of the Aegean Sea. There’s a Byzantine style hammam in the Bath House, a cold water pool, rain showers, and a “fitness house” — though taking a swim and absorbing vitamin D feels like plenty of action.
Where: Fari Islands, Maldives
Why We're Excited: The latest project from the esteemed Capella Hotel Group is a collection of villas overlooking the beach or the sea, spaces that embrace indoor-outdoor living through floor-to-ceiling windows, living rooms with glass walls, and natural elements like bamboo, wood, cotton, and stone. Culture is at the forefront of programming, with a museum-worthy art collection topped by a James Turrell light installation.
Feel-Good Factor: The resort’s dozen restaurants use fresh ingredients, many sourced from resort gardens. The team rescued and planted thousands of plants and trees that would otherwise have been cleared in the building. The resort is largely solar powered; water is preserved and recycled; and you won’t find single-use plastic anywhere.
Read More on Fathom: Paradise Found at Patina Maldives, Fari Islands
Where: Mozambique, Africa
Why We're Excited: Forest, beach, and sand dunes come together on 700-plus acres on the Bazaruto Archipelago, one of the most untouched subtropical ecosystems on the Indian Ocean. Skilled artisans ensure a light footprint and exceptional design — a dozen elegantly furnished bungalows each have a private beach, open-air deck, kitchen, and infinity pool. Excursions range from conservation and community building to remarkable diving expeditions to dune glamping.
Feel-Good Factor: Ninety percent of the operational team is from Africa; there’s a zero-waste policy in the kitchen; the sister non-profit operates an ocean observatory to support environmental management and marine science at the local, regional, and international levels — and is funded directly by the (for-profit) hospitality business.
Where: Naples, Italy
Why We're Excited: The hotel game in Naples is pretty weak, which makes this six-room B&B a welcome and interesting addition. The married couple behind it — Inès the artist and Vincenzo the jewelry designer — transformed what was once an open-air theater, then his family home and father's art studio, into a hotel / cultural center / art experience.
Where: Vienna, Austria
Why We're Excited: We're loving this delicate play on old world grandeur. The design is “a little bit of Paris, a little bit of Scandinavia” and feels like you’ve been gifted the guest room equivalent of a box of bon bons. The restaurant/bar has a lovely sage green booth that snakes along a mirrored wall, a perfect perch for cocktails or an all-day kaffeeklatsch.
Where: Piedmont, Italy
Why We're Excited: You only have to check in to begin your culinary journey, as the extremely elegant 39-room sustainable hotel has working vineyards, a garden and green house, a fine dining restaurant, traditionally minded cooking courses, and a truffle concierge. But the rooms themselves will leave you fully satiated — each is beautifully appointed with terra-cotta, leather, stone, and oak, and a spacious terrace overlooking rolling hills.
Feel-Good Factor: Parent (American) company Krause Group gives ten percent of all profits to community causes.
More Openings, Renovations, and Updates
Lemala Wildwaters Lodge in Central Uganda reopened this summer after being impacted by flooding on the Nile River. Accessible only by boat or helicopter, the ten-suite retreat is nestled within a dense rainforest reserve and makes for an adventurous addition to any gorilla trekking trip.
Le Meurice in Paris recruited the talented young designers at Lally & Berger to refurbish 30 suites overlooking the Tuileries with light colors and playful textiles. This was their first hotel project, but won't be their last. If ever you find that money is no object, the new, four-room Belle Etoile Penthouse Suite with terrace is the take-your-breath-away splurge from which you can see 18 Parisian monuments.
Built into a cliff in dramatic style, Six Senses Ibiza is the Balearic Islands' first sustainable BREEAM-certified resort. Four restaurants, all organic, serve produce grown in the hotel's own farm. On the other side of the world in Rajasthan, India, the company opened Six Senses Fort Barwara, a 48-suite resort in a former 14th-century palace near Ranthambore National Park.
By now, you know theie drill, and Soho House Tel Aviv has it down cold: great restaurant scene, pool, art collection, location. We’d spend all day in the Jaffa Garden, an outdoor lounge with a retractable pergola roof hemmed in by 300-year-old olive trees from Galilee before retiring to one of the 24 Bauhaus-inspired rooms (one of the dominant architectural styles of the city).
New Yorkers who can't get enough of mod cabin living will be happy to discover Piaule, a two-hour drive away in the Catskills. Dinner is served on weekends, and the hot pool and mineral plunge will sooth any muscles aching from hiking the nearby trails.
For its Spanish debut, Rosewood Villa Magna, the company collaborated with four designers to refurbish an already beloved hotel at the heart of Madrid's Golden Triangle of Art (Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza, and Reina Sofía museums). Of special note are the expansive gardens (you a rare find in the city) and Amós Restaurant by three-Michelin-starred chef Jesús Sánchez.
Airelles Saint-Tropez, Château de la Messardière is the latest incarnation of the 19th-century palace on the Côte d'Azur. The two-year renovation under Airelles saw new additions like a lap pool overlooking Pampelonne Bay, an impressive Valmont spa, and a beach club. Of course the cupolas and turrets have remained, along with the beautiful 25-acre surroundings.
Pendry Hotels continues opening impressive — and very stylish — outposts in major US cities with Pendry Chicago in the 1929 Art Deco Carbide & Carbon Building in the Loop and Pendry Manhattan West in New York's newest mixed-use retail, dining, office, and residential development just south of Hudson Yards.
With the redesign of The Vanderbilt, a grand Gilded Age manse in Newport, Rhode Island, Auberge Resorts Collection adds another looker to its Northeast portfolio, which already included Mayfair Inn and Spa in Washington, Connecticut, overhauled in 2020.
Pan Pacific London, the Asian chain's first European outpost, brings a slice of Singapore to London. Located paces from the Liverpool Street station, it's a great, stylish, convenient, service-filled option for those doing business in the City.
Les Hôtels d’en Haut, the 25-room hotel in an 18th-century mill in Lourmarin, Provence, is now Le Moulin and part of Beaumier, the collection of charming boltholes in France's best vacation spots: the Alps, Provence, and the Riviera.
The former Curtain Hotel has been transformed into Mondrian Shoreditch London, sbe's third London hotel, joining Sanderson and St. Martins Lane. (The former Mondrian London along the Thames is now Sea Containers, and not affiliated with sbe). Funky Shoreditch is an ideal neighborhood for the vibrant and arty Mondrian. Cue the striking artwork and design, co-working spaces, screening room, pop-ups and performances, eateries (including chef Dani García's BiBo), and the return of the Curtain Members' Club.
Thompson Hollywood opened 190 rooms in the center of the city. Thompson Central Park New York occupies the former Le Parker Méridien location on West 56th Street and is still home to the beloved not-so-secret secret Burger Joint and the excellent Indian Accent.
Virgin Hotels New Orleans in the emerging Warehouse District has 238 chambers and suites (don't call them mere "rooms"), a rooftop Pool Club, a 24-hour gym, and Funny Library Coffee Shop, the communal space for working, snacking, drinking, board gaming, and chilling.
W Hotels Worldwide has opened W Philadelphia — 51 stories filled with original art commissioned from local artists, floor-to-ceiling windows for the great downtown views, and a year-round pool. W Nashville in the Gulch neighborhood sees the debut of the brand's new Welcome Den, a guests-only space with special cocktails.
Fairmont Taghazout Bay is a new beach resort on the Atlantic Ocean in southwest Morocco, just north of Agadir.
LXR Hotels and Resorts, a luxury division of Hilton, has opened Mango House, a collection of 41 villas and suites along the sea in the Seychelles, and Roku Kyoto on the site of a former artisan colony in the mountains north of Kyoto.