Who doesn’t want to plan a vacation by throwing a dart at a map? Pure, unbridled spontaneity is great when you’re short on anything, but most of the time it helps to get a nudge in the right direction. A single piece of advice, a glowing recommendation from a friend, or a small nugget of ideas, like learning about a spectacular new hotel that is worth planning a whole trip, can be the inspiration you need.
Welcome to the first edition of the Hotel Hot List. These are hotels we have recently stayed in and can vouch for. More than that, they are relevant to you and your travel planning right now. This is because the properties have just debuted or have had a major overhaul. Instead of spinning a globe with your blindfold on, think of it a little more like a dealer-choice approach. When you’re looking for the perfect place to stay, from a weekend in the USA to something further afield, we’ve got you covered with some of our latest finds right here, sorted pane just for you.
Sonesta Ocean Point
Maho Beach, St. Maarten
A station within a station, Sonesta Ocean Pointyou is a renovated five-star hotel in Sint Maarten in the Dutch Caribbean. Located along Maho Beach, not only is Sint Maarten’s airport a five-minute taxi ride away, but the hotel is positioned with a direct view of its infamous runway, where massive jets land with what appear to be mere feet to spare above the crowds of beach revelers. Aviation geeks are uniting because witnessing a series of landings from the beach is a must-do activity on the island. And never fear, there’s a finite midday window where big planes come and go, so there are no nasty awakenings at night.
Sonesta Ocean Point is an adults-only offshoot of Sonesta Maho’s larger beach estate that has all the trappings of a family-friendly all-inclusive. While the food and drink continues to flow as much as you want on the adult side, you’ll also find a trio of new gourmet a la carte restaurants here. Each specializes in a different cuisine and takes advantage of the stellar clifftop positioning for sensational sunset views.
These restaurants debuted this spring, completing a larger overhaul of the property that was originally completed just before Hurricane Irma, and was later completed again after the devastation it wrought, only to then sit idle for an extended period during the pandemic. After half a decade, Sonesta Ocean Point is finally fully armed and operational.
Choose from accommodation categories with tempting options such as ground floor rooms with pool access or rooftop suites with butler service. The on-call and dedicated staff members assigned to you can take care of all the little things, like reserving a lounge chair in your preferred position; the big stuff, like stocking your in-room bar with bottles full of your favorite spirits (hello Johnnie Walker Black); and all things in between.
In addition to the resort’s main pool, swim-up bar, and beach, there’s also an adult-only rooftop pool, and tucked away at the rear of the property is the Edge pool, a beautiful artificial beach and a flowing lagoon serenity awaits. Opposite the hotel is Casino Royale, a popular destination for hitting the tables and enjoying the nightly entertainment.
What you will like the most: Friendly butler service via WhatsApp challenging you to keep them busy with unusual requests.
Whether you pass through Atlanta frequently with long layovers between Delta’s international flights — raise your hand with me if that’s you too — or want to experience ATL’s thriving culinary scene over a weekend, Thompson Buckhead is a good starting point. Opened in December 2021, the hotel puts guests in the middle of Buckhead with its countless shops, restaurants, and bars, and an area far removed from the city center, even though it’s only 15 minutes away.
Rooms feature the signature Thompson style, with a boutique and local-centric approach mixed with modern aesthetics and luxurious amenities. Elsewhere in the hotel, guests can find a rooftop pool and lounge, plus an excellent fitness center, while the lobby becomes a late-night hotspot thanks to the lively Dirty Rascal bar and restaurant. , known for its hearty Italian cuisine with a common red sauce approach in terms of generous portions and classic dishes.
But the real buzz is for rooftop hideaway Tesserae, a social club designed to cater to people who move and shake up Atlanta’s arts community, through music, fashion and other creative fields. It’s a massive indoor-outdoor space featuring a bar, restaurant, and lounge, and the good news is that guests staying in the suites have access to the otherwise closed-door festivities.
What you will like the most: Sneak into Tesserae to mingle with Atlanta’s best. Order the C’s, an all-in-one aperitif featuring caviar, crab and champagne, or choose from an excellent cocktail menu and a list of strong spirits.
The Madrid edition
One of the latest arrivals from the chic hotel group, The Madrid edition hits the scene in Spring 2022. Located just off Puerta del Sol and a short walk from Plaza Mayor, the 200-room property boasts a prime location that puts you right in the heart of Madrid’s top sights.
Guests are welcomed into the property by an extravagant white spiral staircase that takes them from street level to the chic and artsy environs of the lobby. This is perhaps what The Madrid Edition does best: taking guests to different spaces that seem a world away from where they were a moment before. See for yourself as you retreat to the rooftop pool and lounge to soak up that Spanish floor from a lush green perch above the city.
The decoration of the rooms is made of contrasts. The largely white and off-white interiors look vibrant when placed in dark-paneled hallways and entryways, and king-size beds are adorned with faux fur. Oversized showers are covered in marble tiles, and powerful rainfall showerheads provide the perfect way to clean up after a session in the well-equipped gym and spa.
These neutral tones give way to the bright pops of color and imaginative flair displayed throughout the hotel’s food and beverage spaces. First there is Jerónimo, a restaurant run by Enrique Olvera and Santiago Pérez de Pujol (Mexico City) and Cosme (New York), which offers Mexican dishes and ingredients that pair well with Spanish staples. Oroya is no slouch, run by chef Diego Muñoz, best known for Lima’s famed Astrid y Gastón and offering the pisco and Peruvian cuisine to go with it, as well as an intimate, hidden cocktail bar, Punch Room. , specializing in a dozen signature punches riffing on Spanish ingredients while serving up both small bites and big vibes.
What you will like the most: The sexy and stylish rooftop pool deck that transports you to the Mediterranean coast while keeping you right in the heart of Spain’s thriving capital.
Enjoying a spectacular location on the edge of Piazza di Santa Trinita, along the Arno River, Il Tornabuoni is a recent entrant to Florence’s crowded hotel scene, having opened in fall 2021. However, it’s the way the property capitalizes on its past that really sets it apart.
Originally built in the 12th century as Palazzo Minerbetti, Il Tornabuoni preserves this prestigious past with restored Renaissance frescoes adorning the ceilings and walls of some rooms, as well as eye-catching aesthetics like the enormous staircase that served as the main artery of the palace. . The five-star hotel, a member of Hyatt’s Unbound Collection, is grand in scale and heritage, but still feels a bit like an intimate palace with just 62 rooms.
These accommodations feature different color palettes depending on the floor, creating a playful atmosphere throughout the property, with pops of bright artwork such as small circular portraits of monkeys or butterflies working on features such as soaring ceilings, breathtaking views of the city and sumptuous furnishings. Due to the unique layout of the original building, there are a number of singular rooms that regular visitors will surely request in droves, whether because of their private terraces or those sensational frescoes.
Il Tornabuoni has two full-service restaurants, Il Magnifico and Lucie Gourmet, a rooftop bar and lounge, a wine cellar, and a casual all-day cafe.
What you will like the most: Restored frescoes offer an unbeatable charm of yesteryear from the hotel’s perfect setting in Florence.
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