10 Favorite Hotels Of 2021

Most of December, I look (maybe self-indulgent) at my new and new favorite hotels for the year. The timing is weird again this year, but now I have a greater appreciation for the places I’ve been able to unlock – or just keep – during another year-long roller coaster.

The world is still full of great places – hotels that not only benefit their guests, but also dreams come true for passionate entrepreneurs and workplaces for hundreds of dedicated employees. They are places where history has lived, where preservation is everything, and where imagination flies.

There are still challenges, of course, but much of the weirdness has faded. (In 2021, I’d never find a big bottle of hand sanitizer on the counter, as I did the year before.)

Here (in alphabetical order) are my favorite finds for another weird year.

Adega do Fogo, Pico Island, Portugal

An abandoned home distillery farm in the most picturesque corner of the Azores’ most wild and volcanic islands gained new life last summer as a six-bedroom vacation home. The distillation part is still intact, and once the permits arrive, the owner – a hospitality center on the island – plans to start producing fiery water again. For now, it’s a dreamy place to settle in the slow rhythms and stark beauty of the archipelago’s smallest island. Black lava stones dominate much of the landscape, and the rest is impossibly bright green. Above that is Mount Pico (“the summit”), Portugal’s highest point, symmetrical just like a child’s drawing of a volcano. The view from the pool is amazing.

Atzaró Agroturismo, Ibiza

Everything is sun-washed and dreamy, trees strewn with lanterns and fairy lights at night, laden with oranges or lit with flowers (depending on the season). The 300-year-old farmhouse – with several original buildings – is located on a 13-hectare estate of orange orchards, flower gardens, lily ponds and vegetable grounds in the rural heart of Ibiza, and was one of the island’s first agro-tourists when it opened in 2004 – a Strong evidence that there’s a lot more here than the party scene.

Donna Caroli, Sicily

The fifth generation of the family that owns this Misseriya (Italian fortified farmhouse) on the San Michele farmhouse – with over 600 years of history – transformed into a rustic boutique hotel that combines history and authenticity with romance and playfulness. Its renovation, completed six years ago, is very impressive, with six individually furnished and thoughtful suites, all feminine in nature and each with their own private garden or patio. The name is a tribute to her grandmother, a French baroness named Coralie. This is not the only element of history – the estate became the headquarters of the United States during World War II, and the Armistice of Caspel, marking the surrender of Italy, was signed in the building.

The High Line Hotel, New York City

The park in New York has always felt like a special place, and this year, more than ever. The hotel, in a former seminary that now looks like something between a private residence and a club, has hardly any indoor common areas. Alternatively, in summer, guests use the communal gardens at the front (with intelligentsia coffee during the day and signature frozen negroni in the evening) and private gardens at the back as a place to relax, work, and meet. It’s a quiet little oasis just for hotel guests who enjoy very fast wifi. Upstairs, there are 60 comfortable and elegant rooms from another era, with little writing desks and cool rotating telephones.

Ivins, Lisbon

Lisbon’s coolest new hotel hit the scene this fall, with a restaurant that recalls the city’s smartest dining rooms — those at JNcQOUI restaurants — and extreme design throughout. The concept is a celebration of 19th century explorers, and the place is filled with vintage furniture, tropical plants, preserved beetles, and archival photos. It’s not just a design concept – the hotel is located on the corner of two streets named after the actual 19th-century explorers, Roberto Ivins and Hermenegildo Capello (which also gives it a prime spot in one of the city’s finest neighborhoods). With 87 rooms, the hotel combines whimsy, design and international style – it is a member of the Marriott Autograph Collection.

Maslina Resort, Hvar, Croatia

The first thing you notice when you arrive at this new hotel is the check-in desk. It is a huge piece of raw white stone, weighing 12 tons. It defines the style of the place, which considers itself a haven of “conscious luxury”. Nothing luxurious. Instead, it’s organic and elemental, all natural materials – terra cotta, glass, wood and that local stone – and great views of the Adriatic. The 50 rooms feature ultra-comfortable organic linens, cleverly designed custom furniture, and private terraces. Many also overlook the sea, and a few have private plunge pools.

Seneca Palace, Norcia, Italy

Five years after a devastating earthquake, Norcia writes her comeback story. One of the stars is the gorgeous Palazzo Seneca, the Relais & Châteaux just a block from the main square. It occupies a 16th-century palace built by a Bedeval family, where the residents were known for their skilled wood carvers. It’s been owned by another family since 1850, and they’ve made renovations with a strong respect for history (and fortunately seismic stability). In everything, they committed themselves to promoting tradition, simplicity and quality. The hotel was among the first in Umbria when it opened in the early 1900s, and on the ground floor retains the 16th-century vaulted rooms, but the forty bedrooms are just as beautiful, with their antique furnishings and the luxury of space.

Schuster Boarding House, Brasov, Romania

Contrasting with the historic vibe of Brasov – medieval Transylvania and one of Romania’s most visited – all around, the new Schuster Boarding House is a small, modern hotel tucked away in an Art Nouveau building with Viennese secession influences. Some rooms are tucked under sloping ceilings, with slanted windows and cozy reading nooks, and the rooftop bar offers some of the best 360-degree views in the city.

Senhora da Rosa, Sao Miguel Island, Portugal

After nearly two decades in an international hotel career, the newly arrived owner has restored her family home – a seven-acre farm with more than 200 years of history – on São Miguel, the main island in the remote Portuguese archipelago. Her parents opened part of their farm as a guest house in the 1990s, but lost it during the previous Portugal crisis. With partners, she bought it again and set out to turn it into a hotel worthy of a (half) trip across the Atlantic. The main building retains its former effect, with 33 fine rooms and suites, all with balconies overlooking the flowers and greenery. The best additions are the two new lodges in the garden, designed in the old style pimps (granaries) of nineteenth century farms. It’s erected on stilts, scented with cedarwood and as romantic as possible. Their terraces, in front of the lush banana trees are so well protected that it is possible to sit on them, read, have breakfast or relax while it rains.

Vermejo, Ted Turner Preserve, New Mexico

The media mogul turned conservationist’s signature ecotourism project, which spans an impressive 585,000 acres in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. When he launched it five years ago, with his lavish villa renovated and opened to guests, it still looked like a graceful farmhouse. not longer. For nearly a year, after renovations and now under the management of a former manager of Relais & Châteaux and Aman Resorts, it could rival any luxury ranch in the American West.


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