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2016's Most Memorable Hotels

As we look back at the year’s most memorable Tablet hotels, we’re taking a page, figuratively speaking, from our high-school yearbooks — with a focus on what makes each of them such a unique character. This was a year of great diversity in hotels, with new trends emerging and old styles slowly fading, so the hotels that impressed us were the ones with the most clearly defined personalities.

Good Hotel London - boutique hotel in London
Most Likely to Succeed
Good Hotel London

Talk about an overachiever! London’s Good Hotel isn’t just an impressive hotel, managing the rare dual distinction of stylishness and affordability, but it’s an accomplished one as well. Today it floats in East London’s Royal Docks, providing jobs and training in hospitality for the long-term unemployed — but it somehow found the time to do the same thing in Amsterdam before making its way up the Thames.

Pestana CR7 Funchal - boutique hotel in Funchal, Portugal
Most Athletic
Pestana CR7 Funchal

Say what you will about Cristiano Ronaldo, but there’s no denying that he’s a man who knows how to keep himself fit. No surprise, then, that his boutique hotel isn’t exactly the sort of place where you sink into a sofa and lose yourself in a good book. Here, surrounded by Ronaldo memorabilia, you’ll feel inspired to take on the swimming pool, the outdoor gym, the in-room yoga mat, and the personalized training program, so that, just this once, you’ll come back from holiday in better shape than when you left.

Phum Baitang - boutique hotel in Siem Reap
Most Instagrammable
Phum Baitang

Some hotels are set up for a single perfect shot, one ideal angle from which it looks more or less the way it did on the internet. Phum Baitang, by contrast, looks incredible from just about every angle, inside and out. The salvaged-wood interiors and the thatched-roof villas are full of rich textures, and the setting is one of effortless natural beauty. And that pool….

Ritz Paris - boutique hotel in Paris
Most Amazing Makeover
Ritz Paris

It was far from an ugly duckling before, and you can’t exactly accuse a hotel that’s been synonymous with opulent luxury for more than a century of being a late bloomer. But when the Hôtel Ritz shut down for a four-year renovation, it was sorely missed. And in its new incarnation, not only has it been thoroughly modernized (to satisfy the stringent requirements of its Palace designation), it’s also somehow just as it was, only more so — more elegant, more finely wrought, more perfectly, discreetly luxurious.

The Watergate Hotel - luxury boutique hotel in Washington DC
Biggest Gossip
The Watergate Hotel

In a town whose high-end hotels are conservative almost to a fault, the Watergate is refreshing for the fact that it’s not just luxurious, but visually decadent as well. Ron Arad’s interiors blend retro modernism with cutting-edge curves, and staff uniforms come courtesy of Mad Men designer Janie Bryant. The ideal venue for hosting a (hopefully not career-ending) scandal of your own. (We’re assured that the Watergate is in fact incredibly discreet….)

Alegra Boutique Hotel - luxury boutique hotel in Jerusalem
Most Spiritual
Alegra Boutique Hotel

On the inside, Alegra is simply a delightful mix of historical architecture and up-to-date contemporary boutique-hotel style. But its setting, in the Jerusalem suburb of Ein Kerem, lends it more than a little spiritual significance — this is recognized as the birthplace of John the Baptist, and it’s visited by pilgrims from all over the world. These 13 rooms go fast….

Alex Hotel - luxury boutique hotel in Perth
Most outgoing
Alex Hotel

We’re aware that Perth isn’t exactly the world’s crossroads. But the relative remoteness might be one of the reasons for Alex Hotel’s sociable personality. If you make it all the way to Western Australia, you deserve the red-carpet treatment, and the generous souls at the Alex are hell-bent on ensuring that you’ll have the time of your life.

Off Paris Seine - cool boutique hotel in Paris
Most likely to become famous
Off Paris Seine

Apologies to the Good Hotel London, but of the two floating river hotels, OFF Paris Seine is likely to be the headline-grabber. Rather than a studious humility, OFF cultivates an instinct for showmanship — and the fact that it’s right smack on the Seine, rather than tucked away on a shipping canal, means it’s right in the thick of the tourist action. See Paris from a whole new perspective.

Zoku - luxury boutique hotel in Amsterdam
Most Organized
Zoku

Leave it to Dutch designers to figure out how to pack a presidential suite’s worth of distinct spaces into a standard room’s square footage. Kitchens, workspaces, a clever little bed loft, even a gym of sorts, in the form of a pair of gymnast’s rings — this place is proof that sometimes the best things come in small packages.

The Time Nyack - luxury boutique hotel in Nyack
Biggest Dreamer
The Time Nyack

Nyack, a charming Hudson River town just outside of New York City, is normally where you’d expect a lumberjack-chic rustic pastiche. But the folks from the Time hotels are thinking bigger. This place combines style that wouldn’t be out of place in Manhattan with the kind of bucolic country views that tempt us away from the city. Who knows if Nyack will ever be the next Hamptons, but either way, the Time Nyack is ready.

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