The best (and worst) new luxury hotels of 2018

LTI - Luxury Travel Intelligence

Luxury Travel Intelligence (LTI), an organisation that provides digital reports for travel, has revealed its list of the best and worst new luxury hotels in 2018.

During the past year, LTI thoroughly researched the latest properties to get the inside scoop on global luxury hotel openings. Of the 42 new hotels visited this year, its team discovered 15 exceptional properties — and two that disappointed. Listed below are the Best and Worst of 2018 (announced in reverse order):

The best

Hotel Gloria de Sant Jaume, Mallorca
Hotel Gloria de Sant Jaume, Mallorca
  1. Hotel Gloria de Sant Jaume, Mallorca

A magnificent 16th-century mansion in the heart of Palma, this has been lovingly restored by passionate hoteliers Heidi Wolf and Jordi Cabau. The cosy subterranean spa with its long pool is a particular plus point.

  1. Six Senses, Fiji

Six Senses has seen a very busy year, with the launch of several new and impressive properties. This Fiji resort though is the real standout – for pure barefoot luxury.

  1. Nobu Hotel, Marbella

This iconic brand may have taken a few wrong turns over the past few years, but we are excited about this Marbella property – a hotel within a hotel that reflects the true style and exclusivity of Nobu. It has a stylish maturity that has been lacking on occasion with some of the brand’s other properties.

  1. The Murray, Hong Kong

It’s no secret that Hong Kong is filled with iconic luxury hotels, but the Murray has delivered something extra special to earn its place on the global scene. The Calcutta marble bathrooms are truly impressive, as are the four floors of suites and the five in-house dining venues.

  1. Solaz, Los Cabos

In an enviable location, right on the beach, this 128-room luxury resort is set in 34 acres. The five swimming pools and the Thalasso therapy wellness spa contribute to earning Solaz a deserved place on this year’s Best list.

Solaz, Los Cabos
Solaz, Los Cabos
  1. COMO Uma Canggu, Bali

COMO delivers yet another uber cool and relaxed Bali resort, this time in the quieter hipster area of Canggu. The three-bedroom duplex penthouses – each with its own rooftop swimming pool and large deck – are among the most impressive new suites anywhere in the world this year.

  1. Royal Champagne, Champagne Region

LTI has been won over by the extra special location of the Royal Champagne – which has just 49 rooms, an excellent restaurant and an exceptional spa that overlooks the vines. It’s worth noting that the four corner rooms give panoramic views and extra privacy.

  1. Capella Ubud, Bali

In demand hotel designer Bill Bensley has scored another home run with this 22-tented retreat. Each tent is accessed by its own mini suspension bridge, as well as its own salt-water pool and private deck. The décor is both intriguing and extraordinary.

Capella Ubud, Bali
Capella Ubud, Bali
  1. Rosewood Luang Prabang, Laos

All praise to Rosewood for undertaking a passionate project with just 23 rooms – yet again linked to Bill Bensley. He has created spacious and individual spaces, including four deluxe rooms, four specialty suites, three riverside villas, six pool villas and six luxury tents.

  1. Chable Maroma, Mexico

The ultimate escapist resort, this is a dream property that comprises 70 private pool villas, a 17,000 square foot spa with eight treatment rooms, a beautiful beach and some world-class dining options.

  1. Zuri, Zanzibar

This exciting and surprisingly affordable luxe resort set on a beautiful beach has 55 thatched roof villas and a second to none wellness facilities. A real find.

  1. Shinta Mani Wild, Cambodia

Prolific hotel designer Bill Bensley features on our list yet again – this time with his very own property, Shinta Mani Wild. It’s a remote and radical new concept for a luxury camp experience, set in a wildlife reserve in the Cardamom Mountains.

Amanyangyun, Shanghai
Amanyangyun, Shanghai
  1. Amanyangyun, Shanghai

This stunning, light-filled resort on the outskirts of Shanghai has the look of a centuries-old forested village, but in fact, the ancient camphor trees and Ming and Qing dynasty buildings originally sat 400 miles away in Jiangxi province until they were relocated by Aman to escape destruction due to the construction of a new dam. The buildings have been reassembled, brick by ancient brick, to create peaceful, refined spaces.

  1. Joali, Maldives

The epitome of sustainable glamour, this ultra-luxe resort has been designed with families in mind. There are 70 elegant one to four-bedroom villas and residences, four exceptional restaurants, a beachside bar and a magnificent spa. And all the while, ever-present GM Steven Phillips makes sure every guest is taken care of.

And the Best New Luxury Hotel for 2018 is…

Kudadoo Private Island, Maldives

Kudadoo Private Island, Maldives
Kudadoo Private Island, Maldives

Kudadoo is a truly special and intimate private island resort, with just 15 expansive overwater ocean residences. Everything is included, from fine dining to in, on and above the water adventures, as well as luxury spa treatments. And the real bonus? Sister property Hurwalhi is just as spectacular and is only a short boat hop away.

The worst

NoMad, Las Vegas

Having conquered New York City with the original and still exceptional NoMad hotel, the brand moved on to Los Angeles – and created a reasonable replica of their already iconic NYC property. But a poor renovation of the old Monte Carlo hotel in Las Vegas has left the brand with real problems. But there are some smart minds behind this venture and the many issues we found with this ‘hotel within a hotel’ (The Nomad has the top four floors of the Park MGM) could well be resolved over time.

The Setai, Tel Aviv

We have been long-time admirers of The Setai in Miami Beach and it remains one of our top choices in our Miami Report. However, the new Setai in Tel Aviv is a very different story. While the building itself is attractive, following a well-executed renovation, the location is poor, and the service is most definitely lacking. There are lots to do before this property can be considered a worthy option for the luxury traveller.

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