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Our Year-End Hotel Awards

This is traditionally the time of the year-end countdown, a high-stakes tournament pitting our newest hotels against one another to see who’ll make it into the Tablet Ten. This year we thought we’d try something a bit less competitive, and single out a few hotels — both new and old — which, in their various ways, made a great impression in 2015. The envelopes, please….

Viña Vik
FOR ACHIEVEMENT IN ARCHITECTURE
Viña Vik

Their hotels in and around José Ignacio, Uruguay are impressive enough. But Alex and Carrie Vik outdid themselves when they decided it was time to set up shop in the Chilean wine country. Now their museum-worthy art collection has a museum-worthy building to match. It’s not every day you get to use the word “monumental” and mean it to be taken entirely literally.

Ludlow Hotel
FOR GOING THE EXTRA MILE
The Ludlow Hotel

We expected great things from the first Lower East Side venture from the group that brought you such Tablet favorites as the Bowery and the Marlton, and we knew our customers would embrace its lived-in style (and its excellent restaurant). What we couldn’t have known is that the Ludlow would take such good care of us — without naming names, they’ve come through big this year, with things like upgrades and last-minute reservations for guests whose plans have fallen through elsewhere. It’s good to feel loved.

The Rose Hotel
FOR RETHINKING THE L.A. CLICHÉ
The Rose Hotel

Instead of another exclusive Sunset Strip party spot, photographers Glen Luchford and Doug Bruce opened an inclusive, low-key Venice Beach hideaway. As they put it themselves: “We never set out to create the perfect hotel; our walls are thin, and the building is wonky… But it’s not like any other hotel. And we like it just like it is.” Approach with the proper attitude — or lack of attitude, really — and you just might find you agree.

Chambers
FOR KEEPING MIDTOWN COOL
Chambers

Chambers is by no means new, either to Tablet or to the world. But this year in particular, when midtown Manhattan went luxury-mad, it was an excellent reminder that there are still enclaves of what you might call “downtown” cool. Chambers is swanky and luxe, to be sure, but it’s got style to spare — and a pair of culinary secret weapons in the form of David Chang’s Má Pêche and Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar. Let’s keep this one a bit quiet, shall we? We’d like to still be able to get a reservation….

SoprArno Suites
FOR THE SPIRIT OF THE RENAISSANCE
SoprArno Suites

Speaking of masterpieces — the owners and operators are design connoisseurs, and their hotel combines modern design and historical architecture in that particularly Italian manner which feels like the most natural thing in the world. SoprArno Suites has drawn rave reviews from Tablet’s customers and staff alike, not just for the aesthetics but for the atmosphere and the hospitality as well.

The Thief
FOR THE SCANDINAVIAN GOOD LIFE
The Thief

There’s a backstory to the strange name, which we won’t get into here. Suffice it to say that crime and punishment are the last things on your mind here. The Thief unites what we think of as two opposed strengths of Nordic cultures — on the one hand, the modern design that’s famous the world over, and on the other hand the industrial-strength coziness that makes these Northern winters bearable.

Batu Karang Lembongan
FOR REINVENTING A FAMILIAR DESTINATION
Batu Karang Lembongan

Bali is, of course, as naturally beautiful as it ever was. But as the island fills with more and more hotels in the same familiar styles, it’s hard to remember what once made it such a special destination. Batu Karang, on the island of Lembongan, just off the coast of Bali proper, is a reminder — the same gorgeous setting, designed in a subtly different Javanese style and still mercifully far from fully developed. Recapture the old magic….

Ace Hotel London Shoreditch
FOR DEFINING A NEIGHBORHOOD
Ace Hotel London Shoreditch

Yes, Shoreditch was here before the Ace. But visit now and you’d be hard pressed to find a more concise introduction to what makes this East London neighborhood special — the hotel’s café, restaurant, nightclub, record store, and florist (!) are all among Shoreditch’s greatest strengths, and here they’re collected under one roof.

Hotel Fauchère
FOR CLASSIC AMERICANA DONE RIGHT
Hotel Fauchère

Never mind the distinctly French name, the legacy of its Swiss founder. Hotel Fauchère is the distilled essence of Americana, right down to the charming setting in Milford, Pennsylvania. The historic Italianate structure is meticulously preserved, but the guest rooms are updated with contemporary luxuries like heated bathroom floors. You might not see the ghost of Jimmy Stewart wandering the halls, but it’s a wonderful life all the same….

mama thresl
FOR BRINGING SOPHISTICATED DESIGN TO THE MOUNTAINS
mama thresl

Most of what you find at high elevations is traditional mountain lodges, blingy luxury hotels, or some combination of both. But in the Alps, and especially in the Austrian Tyrol, there are murmurs of modernity. Mama thresl amounts to more than a murmur: “urban soul meets the Alps” is their motto, and it’s apparent at a glance that it’s no overstatement. More like this, please….

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