With new luxury pied-à-terres becoming increasingly prevalent, it has become harder to decide where to call your home away from home. Many boast a sense of place, and some hotel brands spend years trying to find the perfect balance of neighborhood and an elegant design sensibility. But local design and authenticity have, thankfully, become de rigeur, cropping up in spades in new builds. In our hotel hot list for 2019, we’ve selected new and refurbished properties that not only are stunning in terms of design, but actually help transform the location they’re in for the better.
“Today’s luxury explorers crave places with a personality that embraces their surroundings or tells a story,” says Jack Ezon, president of New York–based Ovation Vacations. “As travelers’ taste in design and art becomes more sophisticated, they actually seek out enclaves fashioned by celebrated designers or those with unique design elements that truly push the needle when it comes to fusing comfort, space, and sense of place with a big dose of character.”
Some brands, like the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, are committed to really picking the right destinations. Bart Carnahan, executive vice president of global business development says that new builds, strategic conversions, and adaptive reuses of historic buildings have helped fuel the brand’s growth. Four Seasons will open several hotels in 2019, including those in Philadelphia and Boston. “With each new property, our goal is to always operate in the destinations where our guests want to be, in the very best locations,” he adds. Herewith, 21 noteworthy places to consider as you look forward to packing your bags in 2019.
1. Shinta Mani Wild, Cambodia
Architect Bill Bensley, who designed Shinta Mani Wild, which opens at the end of December 2018, created luxury tented camps hidden on a pristine wildlife corridor in Cambodia’s South Cardamom National Park. After purchasing more than 1,000 acres of land at an auction a few years ago, complete with a wild river, rapids, and three mammoth waterfalls, he wanted “a way for this land to stay untamed.” The result is a truly sustainable solution, with a high-yield, low-impact camp of 15 tents inspired by the spirit of the Golden Age of Cambodia during the 1950s and ’60s. “The 1962 Phnom Penh Jackie Onassis state visit hosted by King Sihanouk is well documented, but lesser known are the details of their royal glamping safari into the wilds of the Cardamons,” says Bensley, who re-created what he envisioned the Cambodian sovereign would have provided for Onassis’ life-changing experience. Guests can now enjoy what Bensley describes as his most ambitious project to date and can take heart in the resort’s own private army committed to protecting the private nature sanctuary. shintamani.com