Celebrity Travel & StyleInterviewsJet Set PetLuxury VoyagesSuite Dreams - The World's Best SuitesTime TravelerLuxury Travel TrendsWeekend Away
Destination WeddingsFamily Vacation PackagesSpa & Fitness PackagesRomantic & Honeymoon PackagesGirls GetawaysSpring SpecialsWinter Getaway Packages
ArticlesThe Best Hotels, Resorts & Villas Around the World
Beach & Island Resorts5-Star City HotelsAdventure Lodges & Eco EscapesBoutique City HotelsCountry House HotelsRomantic RetreatsLuxury Guest RanchesLuxury Safari Camps & LodgesGolf Resorts & LodgesSpa Resorts & Wellness RetreatsSki Resorts & LodgesWine Country GetawaysLuxury Family Travel & ResortsNew HotelsHot Hotel Openings
Beach, Coastal & Island VillasCountry VillasGolf VillasSki VillasLuxury Villas & Vacation Rentals Around the WorldHotel Branded Residences
Luxury Cruises & YachtingLuxury Car RentalTravel Tips & AdviceAirline NewsUltimate TripsBusiness TravelFamily TravelLuxury SafarisPrivate Jet TravelRail Journeys: The World's Most Scenic Train Rides
Events
RestaurantsBars & NightclubsAfternoon TeaCoffeeCooking ClassesCulinary TravelWine Travel
Spa & Wellness RetreatsYogaGolf GetawaysTennisSki Vacations
Gift GuideBeach and ResortwearBeauty and FragranceBooksFashionHome StyleLuggage and HandbagsLuxury Autos & Driving ExperiencesMen's StyleTravel EssentialsWatches & JewelryWine and SpiritsWorld's Most Expensive
Back to:  Home >

The Best (and Worst) New Luxury Hotels of 2016

December 20, 2016 -

Luxury Travel Intelligence (LTI) delivers the inside track on this year’s luxury hotel openings.

This year, LTI visited 53 new hotels and discovered several standout properties. Only five properties disappointed them enough to make their Worst list. So, who got it right this year and who got it so wrong?

This is the best and worst of 2016 announced in reverse order.

(These are the opinions of LTI and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Luxury Travel Magazine)

THE BEST

10 Les Neiges – Courchevel

This is a good example as to why LTI holds off announcing its annual list until the very last minute. Les Neiges opened on Dec 16, and from what we have seen, fully deserves to make our top ten of this year’s openings. This is exactly what you should expect from a luxury ski in/out property. The attention to detail is impressive.

9 The Lodge Feline Fields, Kalahari

We ventured out to this ‘under the radar’ new opening to find an exceptional lodge, with rustic but luxurious suites, warm, friendly staff and wonderful food. The seclusion and magnificent wildlife complete a magical experience.

8 Il Sereno, Lake Como

Once again, we compliment owners and management for delaying the opening to ensure everything is perfect for guests. Long may this positive trend continue. This whole property has a beautiful contemporary style that is clearly designed to take full advantage of the breath-taking location. A first-class restaurant – already the best on Como – makes it even more worthwhile.

7 Fendi Private Suites, Rome

The location is unbeatable: just seven luxurious suites sit comfortably above the Fendi flagship store. More the ultimate pied-a-terre than a luxury full service hotel, as there is very little in the way of services, beyond the beautiful accommodation (although there is the excellent Zuma restaurant on the Fendi rooftop, independent of the hotel). This is a different but very worthy option for the discerning traveller, when in Rome.

6 Ritz, Paris

A long overdue major refurbishment, which took four years and cost $360M, has revealed a fresher, more relaxed Ritz. But we love that it’s still a Grande Dame in every way, with 630 charming and wonderfully efficient staff. This has become our new ‘go to’ when in Paris.

5 Le Barthelemy, St Barth’s

Such was our anticipation, we were one of the first through these doors when they finally opened in November. We are pleased to report that everything is on point and St Barth’s now has a new star turn. The La Mer Spa is an added benefit, with first class therapists.

4 The Beekman, New York

A gem of a property that feels as if it has been here forever - Grande Dame in style, with Old School elegance, this offers all the up to the minute detail and technology. The friendly and efficient staff are also a real asset. Two exceptional destination restaurants complete the picture.

3 Soneva Jani, Maldives

As ever, the Maldives delivers another knock out luxury property, with Soneva Jani raising the stakes even higher. There is so much we love here. Each of the 24 villas comes with its own pool, retractable roof in the bedroom and lots of innovative touches, such as TVs concealed in a stack of well-travelled luggage trunks. Breathtaking.

2 Pink Sands Club, Canouan

It’s been worth the wait. There was a time when we thought this opening might never arrive, but it is nice to see such an exclusive luxury property taking its time before welcoming guests. LTI is impressed by everything from the private jet transfers (virtually to the door) to the spacious, elegant accommodation, cutting-edge technology and the beautiful deserted beaches.

And the Best new luxury hotel for 2016 is…

Helena Bay Lodge, New Zealand (pictured at top)

Expectations are high here when you consider the $5m per guest investment: this unique $50M property has just five suites, accommodating no more than ten guests. And while financial investment doesn’t guarantee luxury and service, we are pleased to report that it does here. Every conceivable luxury is to hand. The architecture and décor is intentionally on the bland side, so as not to distract from the beautiful surrounding landscape. This is destined to become one of the world’s best hotels.

THE WORST

5 W, Punta de Mita

Yes, we get it (and appreciate it). W is a hip brand, but not everything needs to be so endlessly, achingly cool. Service, quality and style still come first and we encountered a few too many negatives in this regard. Thankfully, these are minor issues, which W can iron out with this particular property. We look forward to our return and hope to bring more encouraging news.

4 Four Seasons, Dubai DIFC

A second disappointment this year from Four Seasons and we truly hope this is just co-incidence and not a trend. There is no wow factor with this property, which is something you can usually rely on Four Seasons for – and why therefore guests happily pay premium rates. We suggest that you opt for the excellent Four Seasons on nearby Jumeirah Beach instead.

3 Trump International, Washington DC

The building itself is undoubtedly impressive, but once inside we start to ask questions. LTI finds the décor a little garish and more quantity over quality. Service is poor on occasions and lacks confidence. The whole experience seems a little forced and therefore this place is not for the true discerning luxury traveler. But no doubt the tourist hordes will keep the place eternally busy.

2 Four Seasons, Oahu

As avid followers of Four Seasons we are always excited to explore their latest properties, but in this case we were left underwhelmed. This was not built to the usual exacting Four Seasons standards for an upscale resort. It is a refurbished Marriott, located on a small man made beach, next door to a sometimes boisterous mid-market family timeshare resort. We sincerely hope this is just a rare slip by this legendary luxury hospitality brand.

And the Worst new hotel of 2016 is…

Palazzo Versace, Dubai

This is an impressive property, but in totally the wrong place. It’s surrounded by heavy construction that will go on for years, and even when completed, guests will still find themselves on the wrong side of this buzzing metropolis. A bizarre situation, which suggests this iconic fashion brand should stick to what it knows best.

Visit website: www.lti-members.com

(These are the opinions of LTI and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Luxury Travel Magazine)


 

Featured Luxury Hotels

 


 

LUXURY PARTNERS

 

BINA - Luxury Yacht Charter 142'
Offering remarkable quantities of luxury for a yacht of her size category, nothing but unadulterated bliss awaits you on board BINA.

 

 

 

Rawai VIP Villas - Phuket, Thailand
A brand new family community and kids' park that epitomizes modern Thai luxury. Each of the 40 villas boasts a private pool in terraced courtyards.

 

 

 

Hurtigruten Cruises
Go beyond a traditional cruise line - explore the world in an authentic, unique & natural style. Hurtigruten offers voyages to Antarctica, Norway, Iceland, Greenland & more.

 

 

 

Hotel del Coronado - San Diego
The iconic Hotel del Coronado has been the world's choice for creating inDELible moments and connections for over 128 years.

 

 

 

The Luxury Signature
Southeast Asia's most exclusive collection of luxury villas rental and vacation homes, located in some of the most beautiful destinations including Phuket and Koh Samui in Thailand, and Bali in Indonesia.

 

 

 

Luxury Black Book
The World's Best Addresses. The Jet Setter's Guide to the World. A curated portfolio of the best the world has to offer.

 

 

 

Eden Roc at Cap Cana
Offering exclusive luxury in the Dominican Republic, Eden Roc at Cap Cana, the only Relais & Chateaux hotel on the island, features 34 freestanding suites with private pools and stunning views.

 

 

Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor - Siem Reap, Cambodia
Set across from the Royal Palace, Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor is one of the landmark historic hotels of the legendary Grand Tour of Indochina.

 

 

Villa Sabai Jai - Koh Tao, Thailand
Three exclusive, boutique pool villas for rent on the small island Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand -- the perfect place for those seeking privacy, luxury and tranquility.

 

 

Home in Italy: The Most Stunning Villas Imaginable
The Home in Italy portfolio includes handpicked properties located in the most beautiful regions of Italy; a team of specialists personally selects each villa and only the finest properties become part of the exclusive Home in Italy collection.

 

 

Sago Hotel - New York City
The Sago is an atmospheric medley of urbane fragments and light, the lustrous inner world of the hotel is the quintessential launchpad into your perfect New York City experience.

 

 

Meadowood Napa Valley
One of the true luxury resorts in Napa Valley offering golf, tennis, croquet, hiking, swimming, fitness, spa, wine education and a Michelin three-star restaurant dining experience...all on a private 250-acre estate in the heart of the Napa Valley.

 

 

AutoEurope - Luxury Car Rental
Rent the car of your dreams and treat yourself to the best in style, comfort and automotive engineering on your next getaway.

 

 

Etu Moana - Aitutaki, Cook Islands
Etu Moana Boutique Beach Villas are situated directly on the beach on Aitutaki's North-West coast, famous for its breathtaking sunsets.

 

 

Rocky Mountaineer
This world-renowned, luxurious train travels by daylight through the wild beauty of Canada's West and is the best way to experience the majestic Canadian Rockies.

 

 

A.M.A Selections
The premier luxury vacation rental agency on the French Riviera. A.M.A Selections, offers an exclusive portfolio of villas from Monaco to St. Tropez complemented with an exclusive range of concierge services.