What does it take to be one of the world’s buzziest hotel openings? An incredible setting, for one. Our picks span stunning beaches, remote parts of Africa, unexplored islands, prime city locations and places deep inside forests. Next, beautiful and thoughtful design that inspires and provides a strong sense of place. Local materials, art and antiquities (at one, even a village of ancient houses) play a role, but ultra-luxe elements such as giant slabs of imported marble and shimmering, curved glass facades bring these hotels to the next level. Finally, impeccable service and amenities, including Michelin-starred chefs, decadent spas and experiences that immerse you in the destination, provide the finishing touches that make these hotels so special. Read on to find your next must-visit locale.
BULGARI RESORT DUBAI
Opened December 2017
Designed to feel like an Italian village on the Mediterranean Sea, albeit one on a man-made, seahorse-shaped island in the Arabian Gulf, Bulgari’s sprawling 1.4m-sq-ft compound has apartments, private mansions, a hotel, 50-boat marina and yacht club. Reputed to be Dubai’s most expensive resort—which in a city as over-the-top as Dubai is really saying something—it has every conceivable amenity, including dining from a three-Michelin-starred chef and an incredible spa with views of Dubai’s skyline from its infinity pool. Marble and stone abound throughout the resort; the exterior walls are dramatic slabs of Arabescata marble, and inside there’s rare Iranian green onyx, Mongolian black granite and, of course, Italian marble. The brise-soleils resemble coral, and they cut a striking profile throughout the property. Providing absolute privacy is a collection of 20 villas, the most luxurious of which is the 5,800-sq-ft Bulgari Villa. The living room’s double-height floor-to-ceiling windows open to a suspended wooden walkway that leads to an oval pool overlooking the ocean and a private beach. Butler service, a security entrance, full bar, kitchen that can cater for up to 100 people and a 5,400-sq-ft private garden make it the perfect spot for entertaining.
Have an Italian feast with a menu by three-Michelin-starred chef Niko Romito in La Limonaia, a walled secret garden filled with lemon trees. Designed as an ancient Roman garden, a birch walkway follows a geometric pattern as it winds its way through the fragrant trees.