top destinations


  • Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa - Torres del Paine, Chile

    Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa, Torres del Paine, Chile

  • The NoMad Hotel - New York City, NY USA

    The NoMad Hotel, New York City

  • Castello di Casole, Siena, Italy

    Castello di Casole, Sienna, Italy

  • Armani Hotel Milano - Milan, Italy

    Fasano Boa Vista, Sao Paulo, Brazil

  • Tribe Hotel - Nairobi, Kenya

    Tribe Hotel, Nairobi

  • Dar Nanka - Marrakech, Morocco

    Dar Nanka, Marrakech

  • Atrio Restaurante Hotel - Cáceres, Spain

    Atrio Restaurante Hotel, Cáceres, Spain

  • Hotel Endemico - Ensenada, Mexico

    Hotel Endemico, Ensenada, Mexico

  • Tantalo Hotel / Kitchen / Roofbar - Panama City, San Felipe, Panama

    Tantalo Hotel / Kitchen / Roofbar, Panama City, San Felipe, Panama

  • Armani Hotel Milano - Milan, Italy

    Armani Hotel Milano, Milan

December, 2012

It’s the end of the year again, which can only mean one thing: time to make some year-end best-of lists. This one’s more than just another top ten, however — it’s a contest as well. We chose our 10 favorites among all the new hotels we added to Tablet this year, and rather than rank them ourselves we left it to our readers to choose their favorite — and enter to win a three-night stay at the hotel they chose.

The contest is now closed, and we’re tabulating the results — stay tuned for the official results, to be announced in our weekly email newsletter on January 29th. Not signed up for the newsletter? No problem! You can do it right here.

The finalists:

1.

Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa
Torres del Paine, Chile — It sounds easy: just combine one of the planet’s most stunning locations — the Torres del Paine national park, in Chilean Patagonia — with a hotel that’s nothing short of extraordinary, a low-profile modernist marvel that’s jam-packed with understated luxuries. Throw in some activities that make the most of the setting, whether it’s horseback riding in the company of a proper gaucho or a nice long trek in the Paine massif, and you’ve got an experience very few hotels can match. But it’s easier to describe than it is to create, which is why a hotel like Tierra Patagonia only comes along every once in a long while.
Book it →

2.

The NoMad Hotel
New York, New York — From the decidedly Haussmannian aspect of the architecture to the interiors by the Parisian designer Jacques Garcia and the on-site shop by Maison Kitsuné, the brand-new NoMad Hotel is proof that New Yorkers are still mad about Paris. And it doesn’t hurt that Daniel Humm and Will Guidara are in charge of all things culinary. The two-story library bar, with its outstanding cocktail program (and a sleeper beer list), turned into a regular pageant of the beautiful and beautifully dressed. And for all the admirers hurrying through the hotel’s doors to the bar and the shop and the restaurant, it also turned out to be a damn fine place to stay.
Book it →

3.

Castello di Casole
Tuscany, Italy — Even among Tuscan country estates, Castello di Casole manages to distinguish itself — no mean feat, given the quality of the competition. And while it’d be a stretch to call this thousand-year-old aristocratic estate “new,” its tenure as a luxury hotel has only just begun, after an extremely meticulous renovation courtesy of a small army of architects and designers. This means it’s chock full of thoughtful contemporary details, from fully wired guest rooms to a thoroughly modern spa, even as the concept behind the experience it delivers — that whole “king/queen of the castle” thing — remains the same as it ever was.
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4.

Fasano Boa Vista
São Paulo, Brazil — We generally try not to bore you with an exhaustive list of amenities, but in the case of Fasano Boa Vista, it’s probably the simplest way to get the point across: here you’ve got twin eighteen-hole golf courses, an equestrian center, a heliport, a club house with a country-club dress code, all of it set on 2,500 acres of farmland in the countryside outside of São Paulo. On top of that it’s all designed by master architect Isay Weinfeld in a palette of warm organic materials, and it showcases the Fasano family’s customary attention to the culinary end of the hospitality experience.
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5.

Tribe Hotel
Nairobi, Kenya — It’s hard to imagine a better hospitality ambassador for Nairobi than the Tribe Hotel, set in the leafy embassy district — it’s about as inviting an urban business hotel as you’ll find anywhere in the world. Art from all over Africa adorns airy, free-flowing interiors, and architecturally there’s hardly a straight line in sight. There are rooms that have quite literally been designed for diplomats, security features and all, but just as much thought has gone into the rooftop bar, the spa, the restaurant, and certainly the elaborate heated pool. Right now Nairobi is too often seen as nothing but a stopover on the way to the bush, but the Tribe just might change all that.
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6.

Dar Nanka
Marrakech, Morocco — When an eight-room hotel has a 4,000-foot spa, it doesn’t take a mathematician to point out that there’s something a bit unusual going on. For while there’s no shortage of lovely little riads in Marrakech, none of the others are quite like this. Dar Nanka’s aesthetic is clean, restrained and decidedly local, and they’ve loaded the property with the amenities of a much larger hotel: the aforementioned spa, a salt water pool, clay tennis courts, plus multi-day cooking courses and stylist-led makeover programs — all set on the quiet outskirts of town, with views of the Atlas Mountains in the distance.
Book it →

7.

Atrio Restaurante Hotel
Cáceres, Spain — Full marks for confidence — hanging the Andy Warhol and Georg Baselitz pieces on the walls, stocking the cellar with decade after decade of vintage Pétrus and Latour, dressing the restaurant’s waiters in fine suits and the tables in white linen, and doing it all at a tiny fourteen-room guesthouse in rugged Extremadura, of all places. But if anyone knows the power of a little hotel with world-class food, it’s the Spanish. And even simply as a hotel, Atrio is nothing short of remarkable. Meanwhile the ancient walled city of Cáceres, where Atrio makes its home, is all Roman arches and Moorish towers and winding cobblestone streets, and the countryside beyond an agricultural and culinary wonderland.
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8.

Hotel Endémico
Baja Peninsula, Mexico — This one’s a bit of a departure for the usually hyper-social Habita hotel group. Comprised of twenty freestanding “EcoLofts,” tiny hyper-modern pods set on stilts above the Baja wine country, Hotel Endemico is the sort of place that invites you to fantasize about taking up a different sort of life. From your little private deck, basking in the solitude of desert life, you’ll wonder why it is you need all that space back home. Maybe 215 pared-down square feet of glass and polished concrete, accompanied by some tasty food (and yes, an infinity pool, just for good measure) is all one really needs.
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9.

Tántalo Hotel / Kitchen / Roofbar
Panama City, Panama — For a little window into the goings-on in Panama’s hip Casco Viejo neighborhood — a former no-man’s-land of crumbling buildings that’s once again the artistic center of the city — it’s hard to do much better than Tántalo. The hotel is like a live-in art gallery, with every room a life-size canvas for a different local artist. The roof bar is both genuinely stylish — strung with lights, overlooking old church steeples in one direction and skyscrapers in the other — and a genuine local hangout. It’s a sociable sort of place, to say the least, but with thoughtful touches like insulated windows, it’s just as easy to get some sleep.
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10.

Armani Hotel
Milan, Italy — Let’s start with this: Armani Hotel is within easy walking distance of what’s arguably the finest shopping district in the world. Then again, you’re already inhabiting a living Armani showroom — not just a space for the iconic fashion house to hang its wares, but a place where you step into its particular, idealized vision of Milanese life. And as long as they’re inviting you in, they’ve gone to the trouble to take care of all the luxurious details that don’t show up on film — rich textures and materials, delicious food, a tranquil spa. As high-fashion fantasies go, it doesn’t get much more immersive than this.
Book it →

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