These are the pads that had us at ‘hello’: the ten best new hotels to join our collection in the last year, as decided by a travel-savvy public and our expert judges at the Smith Hotel Awards 2015…
WINNER | The Battery San Francisco, US
Every city has a hotspot that everyone’s dying to get into: the winner of Best Newcomer is San Francisco’s. This one-time sweet factory maintains an industrial air with its exposed brick walls and sky-high ceilings, and the cool factor is ramped up with modern art and taxidermy on display. You’d be hard-pushed to find a better-looking take on the zeitgeist-tapping, speakeasy vibe.
RUNNER UP | Halcyon House, Cabarita Beach, Australia
Take one faded surf motel, then muddle one part Mediterranean pool chic, one part breezy Cali cool and one part Long Island sailing set. Shake well and serve over a laid-back Cabarita beachfront. Stand back and await overwhelmingly positive reaction from industry, press and guests.
RUNNER UP | Hotel Urso, Madrid, Spain
Madrileños are known for their style, and the Spain-goes-Scandi elegance of Hotel Urso does its city proud. There’s plenty to back up the good looks, too: top-notch service, a small but serene spa and an innovative restaurant.
The Laslett, London, UK
The Laslett embodies the same sense of community spirit and creativity as its namesake, Rhaune Laslett (founder of the Notting Hill Carnival). British brands have shaped the modish interiors, and the involvement of local heroes – restaurateur Sally Clarke, artist Barbara Hulanicki, Jerome Dodd of Les Couilles du Chien antiques – ensures a true sense of place.
Prati Palai, Lake Garda, Italy
An eight-room B&B might sound unassuming, but, perched in the tranquil olive groves above Lake Garda, Prati Palai is on a mission to house bons vivants in understated farmhouse chic. With warm wood floors, plumply upholstered armchairs and timber beams in pastel hues, rooms here channel refined rural style, and are decked out with white-sheeted beds and colourful tubs.
Foxhill Manor, Cotswolds, UK
Foxhill Manor, the little sister and near neighbour of boutique hotel Dormy House, is a lot like its sibling, but that little bit, well, boutiquier. It’s an exemplar of the new breed of hotels showcasing a service style that adapts to meet guests’ every whim, putting them at the helm of their holiday.
Coral Tulum, Mexico
Coral Tulum is a luxe Riviera Maya retreat that will have you off the grid and steps from the beach, with palapas-inspired architecture, clean lines, lots of light and natural materials. The stylish suites have lofted thatched ceilings, shamelessly romantic four-posters, and pops of coral and orange to echo the beach.
Fresh on the polished heels of its London stable mate, the New York Edition is ready for its close-up (as are the catwalk-worthy staff who welcome you to this latest collaboration from haute hotelier Ian Schrager and Marriott). Artwork abounds, with hundreds of gilt-framed photos of New York City and celebrity mugs, and Melvin Sokolsky’s dreamy ‘Bubble’ series prints in the suites.
Alex Hotel, Perth, Australia
Perth’s Alex Hotel struck up an instant rapport with its cultured Northbridge neighbourhood’s galleries, bars and restaurants. Created by the die-hard gourmands behind some of the region’s best-regarded restaurants and bars, the hotel has a healthy supply of Fremantle craft ales, Margaret River wines and Italian edibles.
Kings Head Hotel, Cotswolds, UK
Once owned by an Elizabethan bailiff, Kings Head Hotel in Cirencester cherishes its history, but adds a warmly sympathetic stamp of contemporary country cool to its old stone walls, wooden beams and original Roman mosaic.
To see more of the world’s best boutique hotels, check out our Smith Hotel Awards winners.