February 20, 2024

Banos Online

Traveling Around the World

The 12 Most Over-the-top New Hotels of 2023

In 2022, Beyonce showed up in Dubai to christen one of the most expensive hotels ever built, and New Yorkers clamored to gain entry to the long-awaited Aman New York. If that’s not a banner year for luxury hotels, we’re not sure what is. Here, the 12 most indulgent new stays around the world.


Atlantis The Royal Dubai

Brandon Barré Photography/Courtesy of Kerzner



Most major cities have one hotel icon: the Ritz (Paris), Claridge’s (London), Raffles (Singapore), the Peninsula (Hong Kong). But Dubai, arguably, now has three. Atlantis The Royal joins the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab, which floats in the Arabian Gulf, and the pink palace of Atlantis The Palm, atop the Palm Jumeirah. The cost was rumored to be around $1.5 billion, making Atlantis The Royal one of the most expensive hotels ever built. It had a launch party to match: Beyonce performed in front of thousands of guests at January’s opening bash. The massive structures fit together like jenga, each with suites unfolding onto vast terraces with private infinity pools. Spend the days taking in the cityscape and ocean views, before dining at restaurants run by José Andrés, Heston Blumenthal, Nobu Matsuhisa, Gastón Acurio, and Ariana Bundy, who opened her first restaurant, Ariana’s Persian Kitchen, in the hotel. atlantis.com; doubles from $521. —John Arlidge



Passalacqua — Lake Como, Italy

Courtesy of Passalacqua



Lake Como is one of the most beautiful places in Italy, so it’s difficult to imagine that a hotel could compete with it. But Passalacqua has done just that. A passion project for third-generation hotelier Valentina De Santis, the property is set in an opulent 1767 villa and adjoining former stable block with a storied past: originally built for a noble family, it has hosted Napoleon Bonaparte and Winston Churchill, as well as composer Vincenzo Bellini, who wrote the opera “La Sonnambula” there in 1831. Today’s visitors will experience a similarly grand welcome; there are only 24 rooms spread across the two buildings, so the atmosphere of a private estate remains intact. To furnish the property, De Santis and her father spent years scouring Italian flea markets and auctions for antiques, intent on maintaining the property’s historic feel. Also impressive are Passalacqua’s seven acres of manicured lawns and flower and vegetable gardens, particularly so in the late afternoon, before dusk settles over the lake. passalacqua.it; doubles from $1,592. —John Wogan



Aman New York

Kelly Marshall



Here it is, the year’s least surprising It List awardee: Aman New York. An absolute fortress of luxury, from the subterranean Jazz Club to the 14th-floor Garden Terrace, Aman was arguably the most anticipated and lusted-after hotel opening of 2022. When I visited in August — in the early days following the late-summer opening — I was most taken with the fireplaces in each of the 83 rooms. They’re flanked by two windows, which legendary Aman designer Jean-Michel Gathy kept from an early iteration of the Crown Building’s design. Within the 102-year-old building (which is tinged with French Renaissance and neoclassical flair), the goal was to “bring the Aman resort experience from the horizontal to the vertical,” Aman CEO Vlad Doronin previously told T+L. How? A three-floor spa with a 65-foot swimming pool; massive rooms (the largest of which is 2,780 square feet and has an unlisted price); and the Garden Terrace’s Belgian blue stone–covered fountain with a fire pit in the middle all make the hotel feel like a private island resort at 57th and Fifth. aman.com; doubles from $1,950. —Maya Kachroo-Levine



VIlla Palladio Jaipur

Atul Pratap Chauhan/Courtesy of Villa Palladio Jaipur



The Pink City’s newest boutique hotel will have you seeing red — in a good way. The nine-room Villa Palladio is designed almost entirely in punchy shades of vermilion, cherry, scarlet, and carmine. Over-the-top color is something of a signature for owner Barbara Miolini, designer Marie-Anne Oudejans, and artist Vikas Soni, the team who famously wrapped Jaipur’s Bar Palladio in blue. Though the aesthetic might initially seem overwhelming, Villa Palladio quickly becomes a respite from the cacophony of the city, about a 30-minute drive away. Spend some time at the spa (where the massages and “grounding rituals” incorporate powdered pearl and quartz) or reading in the garden, surrounded by the scent of jasmine, pink laurel, and hibiscus. villa-palladio-jaipur.com; doubles from $390. —Prasad Ramamurthy



Mandarin Oriental Palace — Luzern, Switzerland

George Apostolidis/Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental Lucern



Solar systems of chandeliers, rose-marbled scagliola plaster pillars, checkerboard marble floors — the Mandarin Oriental on Lake Luzern, the brand’s second Swiss property, wears its Palace surname like a crown. But this 136-key hotel, housed in a 1906 apricot-and-coral second empire–style residence, also finds grounding in its natural setting, from the velvet pillows cushioning the tea salon’s cane-barrel chairs (they change colors based on the season) to the woodsy-floral house scent diffused through the vaulted hallways (you’re detecting notes of pine, cedar, lavender, and moss). Meanwhile, windows everywhere never let you forget Luzern’s raison d’etre. Seventy percent of the airy rooms, furnished in a cool palette of champagnes and grays with sublime jet lag-busting beds, look out on the lake. This is the time to splurge. mandarinoriental.com; doubles from $780. —Adam Erace



Saint James Paris

Patrick Locqueneux – Mr. Tripper/Courtesy of Saint James Paris



From the outside, this 1892 neoclassical château has a stately persona, with a dramatic stone-arch entrance and meticulous gardens. But scratch that surface just a tad, and the hotel’s playful whimsy is revealed. There’s a housecat, Pilou, who roams the space as the true king of the castle (he even steps into the Michelin-starred Bellefeuille restaurant at times). The property — which has been open as a hotel since 1991 and part of  Relais & Châteaux since 2011 — was recently redone by French of-the-moment designer Laura Gonzalez. Throughout the 48 luscious rooms and suites, flowery IKSEL wallpaper now mixes with classic Pierre Frey fabrics. There is also a separate building with four apartments, plus a villa that sleeps 12. On the 4,000-square-foot subterranean level is one of the city’s two Guerlin spas, plus a 50-foot-long swimming pool under a glass roof. It feels like a fresh escape from the city, even though it’s in the heart of the 16th arrondissement, just a short walk from views of both the Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower. saint-james-paris.com; doubles from $739. —Rachel Chang



Jumeirah Bali

Courtesy of Jumeirah Bali 



To get a sense of just how idyllic Jumeirah Bali’s setting is, consider that it sits on Dreamland Beach. The name feels completely apropos when you walk its honeyed sands or catch sight of skilled surfers slicing through the waves. Luckily, the resort’s own amenities keep pace with these surroundings. The two-tiered infinity pools are the star attraction, but the vast Talise Spa and tip-top gym are rainy-day sanctuaries. Dining is next level and the service superb: all-day Segaran serves punchy Indonesian dishes; elevated grill restaurant Akasa offers subtly sweet steaks cooked over smoldering coconut wood. Enveloped by bougainvillea and hibiscus, the villas each come with a generously sized pool and standalone teardrop-shaped bathtub. jumeirah.com; doubles from $619. —John O’Ceallaigh



Castle Elvira — Trepuzzi, Italy

Air Commission/Courtesy of Castle Elvira



The backstory of this early 20th-century castle is, admittedly, a bit macabre — it’s named for a young girl whose parents built the property as their summer home. Elvira tragically died there, and the parents abandoned the castle about a hundred years ago, which remained vacant until filmmaker Harvey B-Brown and his husband Steven Riseley purchased it. The couple hopes to honor Elvira’s memory by restoring the property to its original purpose as a joyful country retreat. And oh, how they have succeeded. Set on nearly 40 acres of parkland and olive groves, near Lecce, in Puglia, the 12-room guesthouse is a deliciously colorful and over-the-top escape. (It’s even got celebrity cred — actor Kate Beckinsale spent a recent Christmas holiday there.) There are lots of activities (pasta making and drawing classes among them), but the most magical moment for me was a sunset cocktail on the roof terrace. castleelvira.com; doubles from $535. —Becky Sunshine



Santo Mauro, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Madrid

Courtesy of The Luxury Collection



Like many aristocrats of his era, the Duke of Santo Mauro gravitated to Madrid’s elegant Chamberí neighborhood, settling in a palace built for him between 1889 and 1902. Now, that sprawling noble residence is a 49-key hotel named for its original denizen, and it continues to exude a regal air. The property’s cozy restaurant, situated in the former library, is appropriately decorated with books and burnished wood, while the salon (the old ballroom where current visitors can gather to socialize, read, or have a drink) is outfitted in deep red hues and a flamboyant assemblage of Louis XIV–inspired textiles. After sipping a Casilda nightcap on the terrace (the vodka and Campari concoction is brightened with chestnut syrup, as an ode to the courtyard’s more-than-a-century-old trees), guests ascend the dramatically winding staircase to their rooms: the most alluring of which is the duke’s former bedroom, a suite wrapped in green velvet and adorned with antiques. marriot.com; doubles from $670. —Alia Akkam



Cashel Palace Hotel — Ireland

Michelle Chaplow/Courtesy of Cashel Palace Hotel



The medieval fortress and cathedral ruins known as the Rock of Cashel are a few of County Tipperary’s main attractions. Now, just below the limestone outcrop of this site, the reimagined Cashel Palace Hotel gives visitors a new reason to stay awhile. The Palladium manor was built for the Archbishop of Cashel and has been a hotel since the ‘60s; the recent renovation preserved period details but added new construction, like a Garden Wing (a block of rooms overlooking the property’s lush gardens) and a sleek spa with an indoor-outdoor swimming pool. Exploring the verdant hills so famous to the area is a highlight — especially on horseback. There’s even an Equine Concierge, who can also arrange visits to see the famous stallions at Coolmore Stud Farm and horse treks up nearby Tipperary Mountain. cashelpalacehotel.ie; doubles from $384. —Casey Hatfield-Chiotti



Regent Phu Quoc — Vietnam

Chris Schalkx



This sprawling resort on southern Vietnam’s palm-fringed Phu Quoc island is Regent’s opening gambit in an ambitious cross-Asia plan (properties in Hong Kong, Bali, and Kyoto are set to open in the coming years). It’s all suites and villas here — and all that space comes with extraordinarily luxe touches. The 126 villas feature private pools, generous living rooms (and terraces or decks), and kitchens stocked with everything from craft sodas to artisanal Vietnamese chocolate. Even the 176 suites have spacious balconies and, in some cases, plunge pools. The kids’ club is kitted out with a mini cinema and jungle gym, which gives their grown-up caretakers ample time to sip rosé at the beachfront Ocean Club or slurp excellent pho noodles at Rice Kitchen. regenthotels.com; doubles from $360. —Chris Schalkx



The Peninsula Istanbul

Courtesy of The Peninsula Hotels



The 177-room Peninsula Istanbul is as much a love letter to Turkey as it is an outpost of a global luxury hospitality brand. Peninsula’s latest property is a four-building complex that soars high above the rushing waves of the Bosphorus. Turkish designer Zeynep Fadıllıoğlu, credited as the first woman to design a mosque, placed culturally relevant reference points throughout the property: bathrooms done in Marmara marble, kilim-style carpets. It’s hard to pick which room you’ll want to book — some come with floor-to-ceiling windows, balconies, and private terraces that frame the water beautifully. Or maybe you’d prefer suites with direct access to the lush, manicured gardens or the pool. But no matter what, come June, everyone will head straight to the rooftop to eat at Gallada, Fatih Tutak’s highly anticipated Turkish Asian restaurant. It hasn’t opened yet, but it’s already where all of Istanbul wants to be. Until then, see you at one of the sexiest pools around: an 82-foot long indoor basin surrounded by theatrically lit Marmara columns. peninsula.com; doubles from $959. —Chadner Navarro