The weather turns warm and you start itching to travel. Maybe you want to explore the Nicaragua countryside or go gambling in Macau. But your daydreaming hits a wall when the next question comes up: Where should I stay?
Our Forbes Travel Guide editors rounded up a list of hot hotels that are destinations unto themselves. Whether we’re talking about a freshly reimagined classic in Paris or a brand-new wonder in California wine country, these cool properties are where you’ll want to be when things heat up over the next few months.
Eden Roc at Cap Cana, Dominican Republic
Punta Cana was already one of our favorite things about the Dominican Republic even before this Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star beauty debuted 26 two-bedroom suites in late March. But now that those spectacular units — the 1,000-square-foot-plus suites are filled with local art, natural woods, handy gadgets and sparkling terraces — have opened, we’ve fast-tracked our return trip to the island.
Las Alcobas, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Napa Valley
We’ve been in love with Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Las Alcobas, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Mexico City for some time. But with the March debut of this wine country wonder, we realize that, henceforth, our heart must reside in two places.
Be it with its rooms (freestanding tubs, 60-inch TVs), restaurants (the May-opening Acacia House by Chris Cosentino) or recreation (spa, yoga studio), this St. Helena entry will woo you with ease, too.
Faena Hotel Miami Beach
Alan Faena and Len Blavatnik’s Faena District is a splashy, six-block project in South Florida that includes a cultural center, retail complex and condominiums. Yet even with all of that showmanship, the visionary twosome’s most impressive work may be this Five-Star hotel.
Every turn at this over-the-top masterpiece — from the elegant rooms and eye-popping eateries to a woolly mammoth display and a wondrous swath of private beachfront — feels like a piece of art.
Sheraton Grand Hotel Dubai
Accommodations in Dubai are often stuffed with gaudy numbers. This Sheraton stunner plays right along by presenting itself as a 54-story gem towering over bustling Sheikh Zayed Road.
But beyond its impressive stature, the hotel flaunts more than 400 rooms, four restaurants and a spa on the 52nd floor. There’s no way to quantify exactly how special the views are from your treatment room, but we’d guess the number is pretty high.
If you’d rather keep your games indoors, we have no problem with redefining lounging (seven room types) and dining (Nobu, Rockpool Bar & Grill, among others) as sports. But when it comes time to rid those calories, we suggest getting in a few laps in one of Australia’s largest indoor pools.
Hotel Eden, Rome
It’s difficult to tinker with a classic. A Five-Star staple that has held its head high above Rome since 1889, Hotel Eden could have gotten by on reputation alone for another 25 years. Still, the property deemed a renovation in order, reducing the rooms from 121 to 98 in the process.
While that total went down, per-unit square footage and the property’s overall wow factor (redesigned restaurant, new spa) soared. The staff also increased by 30 percent, giving the address the manpower it needs to help retain its legendary status.
The Shilla Seoul
You’d never guess that this is Seoul’s oldest luxury hotel. A muted, sleek and minimalist aesthetic makes this Four-Star charmer feel timeless, and rooms come with the latest technology, like smart TVs (thanks to hotel owner Samsung).
The amenities keep it fresh: locals love its pool area, Urban Island; the 23rd-floor Executive Lounge, a penthouse that’s part living room and part bar, affords Mt. Namsan panoramas; superb restaurants like La Yeon warrant return visits; and Asia’s first Guerlain spa makes for a relaxing distraction.
Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina, Hawaii
Discover Oahu’s less-touristy west coast at this new hotel, the brand’s first on the island. The Curators program arranges unforgettable experiences, like hitting the ocean with a prominent big-wave surfer or a competitive free diver.
For something more low-key, lounge at the infinity pool (especially at sunset) or get the passion fruit lomi lomi massage at its Four-Star spa.
Nekupe Sporting Resort and Retreat, Nicaragua
Nicaragua has topped travel itineraries because of hot new hotels like Nekupe, a 1,300-acre mountainside property with only eight villas. The sprawling grounds will be your playground for horseback excursions, mountain bike rides and more.
Each villa comes with its own ATV and a team of four rangers, who will do everything from serve as a butler to accompany you on outdoor adventures.
The Ritz-Carlton, Macau
This gem made a dazzling debut in the Galaxy Macau entertainment complex in 2015. Bathed in white marble, blue and lilac, the all-suite hotel oozes luxury — crystal chandeliers in the hallways, Rivolta linens and Tivoli sound systems in the rooms, and enormous whirlpools in the bathrooms.
In 2012, Paris’ grand dame shut down for the first time since its 1898 opening. After a comprehensive four-year renovation, it emerged with lavish Louis XIV-inspired rooms with updated technology seamlessly integrated (panels controlling the TV and lights have jewel-like buttons), one the of the biggest pools in the city, a courtyard with a retractable glass roof, the word’s first Chanel spa and its first Five-Star award.
Sky Tower at Solaire Resort and Casino, Manila
Manila’s Entertainment City was made to rival gaming hubs like Macau and Vegas. Solaire is helping lead the charge with a first-class casino, high-end shopping, 19 restaurants and bars, a theater and this newly minted Five-Star hotel.
The all-suite Sky Tower offers sleek, stylish accommodations with panoramas of Manila Bay or the city skyline.
The Darling, Sydney
Sydney earned its first Five-Star distinction with The Darling. Set in the Pyrmont neighborhood within casino and entertainment hub The Star, the luxurious hotel impresses with floor-to-ceiling vistas from every stylish room, a spacious and indulgent Four-Star spa and, most importantly, impeccable service.
The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka
This Osaka icon — the Ritz-Carlton’s first Japan hotel — marks its 20th anniversary this year. Join in the celebration, which includes a gala dinner with chef Rolf Fliegauf (formerly of heralded Noma in Copenhagen) on May 23, numerous events at its six restaurants and bars, 20 bottles of a special-issue Glenfarclas whiskey and the completion of guest room and Club Lounge renovations.
Suiran, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Kyoto
Steep yourself in Japanese culture at this intimate Four-Star hotel with a picturesque perch along the Hozu River. It offers a traditional ryokan (“guesthouse”) feel with tatami mat floors, shoji screen doors and two guests-only outdoor onsen (“hot spring baths”) but with top-notch service. (Tip: some rooms have their own private onsen.)
Shangri-La Hotel, At the Shard, London
Occupying the 34th to 52nd floors of Western Europe’s tallest building, Shangri-La’s U.K. debut offers a tranquil respite in the capital city.
With panoramas from every room (and an infinity pool overlooking London’s most notable landmarks), afternoon Chinese tea and incredibly luxurious touches (body-contouring beds with Frette linens), you won’t have to leave this Four-Star dazzler to experience the city in style.
The Villas at Ayana Resort Bali
For the ultimate romantic getaway, check into this Five-Star Bali hotel’s cliff-top villas. Then have your personal butler set up a picnic on the secluded beach or serve a floating champagne breakfast in your own private pool.
With breathtaking ocean views (even from your bathtub); 18 restaurants, bars and entertainment venues; a full-service spa; and an 18-hole golf course, there will never be a dull moment.
The Towers at Lotte New York Palace, New York City
A New York hotel with a Hollywood resume (CSI: NY, Law & Order, White Collar), the Four-Star Towers is as iconic as it is exclusive. A stay affords you access to a private lobby, a concierge and the by-invitation-only Rarities lounge.
While oversized suites offer sweeping city vistas, opt for one of the three-level specialty rooms on the 52nd floor that feature a rooftop deck with a wet bar and hot tub.
Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest
This historic Five-Star masterpiece sits on the banks of the Danube, offering stunning views of iconic Budapest landmarks. Yet some of the finest treasures are found inside.
Hints of the hotel’s eclectic past lie hidden in plain sight, like the stained-glass windows that miraculously survived World War II and the Zsolnay mosaic tiles lining the lobby.
Of course, it also provides modern comforts with 179 rooms (the most in Budapest), Kollázs Brasserie & Bar and a Four-Star rooftop spa.
Located on Passeig de Gracia (the city’s luxury row), this design-forward hotel is just steps away from the action, but also provides an escape from the bustle with a world-class restaurant, rooftop pool, Four-Star spa and tucked-away garden serving up seasonal cocktails.
Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Cartagena
Sitting on the popular Plaza San Diego (a picturesque square packed with things to see and do), the this Forbes Travel Guide Recommended favorite naturally hosts some of the hottest spots in town, like its Restaurante 1621 and El Coro bar.
With its blend of artistry, historical integrity and warm hospitality (it’s the only luxury property in the city with butler service), this hotel is a great starting point to get immersed in Colombian culture.