In compiling Travel + Leisure’s fourth annual It List, our editors once again visited hundreds of new hotels around the globe. What makes 2009 different? Properties closer to home really caught our attention: There are a record number in the United States alone.
Take the Montage in Beverly Hills, where a Maybach parked out front sets the tone. Despite the fact that the hotel opened last fall in the midst of a major economic downturn, it oozes glamour, mixing Old Hollywood feel with New Hollywood perks (a rooftop pool and a Pilates studio).
On the East Coast, it’s affordable style that’s making waves. André Balazs’s fourth Standard hotel, a glass-and-concrete edifice towering over New York City’s Meatpacking District, has fast become a destination for international travelers. The walls of windows showcase postcard views of midtown in one direction and the Statue of Liberty in the other — and doubles start at an un-Manhattan-like $195.
Miami Beach is stocked with a slew of new hotels, including Dutch designer Marcel Wanders’s Baroque-minimalist Mondrian; a David Rockwell–designed branch of Canyon Ranch; and the legendary Fontainebleau, expanded and revamped from its Rat Pack days.
In other great news for travelers, Banyan Tree has ventured into North America for the first time, with a resort on Mexico’s Riviera Maya. The Firefly Bequia is turning the Grenadines into an up-and-coming Caribbean destination. Across the Atlantic, the glass-and-steel ME Barcelona has added another layer of sleekness in that design-centric city.
And far-flung locales also caught our eye. The island of Mauritius added to its luxury quotient with the Four Seasons Resort at Anahita, which offers views of either a crystal-blue lagoon or the Bambou Mountains. And for true exotica, try the Six Senses Hideaway at Zighy Bay, in Oman, on the Arabian Peninsula. Just getting there is an adventure — whether by a dirt road cresting a jagged mountain, by speedboat, or by paraglider. But once you’ve arrived at this hideaway and its white sand beach, you may not ever want to leave.
Whether you’re looking for a quick getaway or hoping to get away from it all for a while, we’ve found the place for you.