17 new stellar hotels that match their geography

Opening a new hotel, especially in an ongoing pandemic, is an act of optimism, an invitation that says: “come see us, be our guest”. Hundreds of new spots to stay debuted in 2021 and early 2022.

From campgrounds under the stars in Maine to eco-lodges in the African wilderness, they are an inspiration for future trips, whether you leave next month or next year. Here are some of the most notable:


Habitas AIUIa, Saudi Arabia
The Nabataeans, the ancient civilization behind Petra in Jordan, also built the monumental tombs and water wells at Hegra, the first UNESCO World Heritage site in Saudi Arabia. The neighboring 96-room Habitas eco-lodge, framed by the same sandstone canyons, has an infinity pool, site-specific art installations, and impact-free, tent-like suites that meander along the river. desert sand.

Cielo Lodge, Costa Rica
This striking newcomer, once a logging site, has been transformed into an off-grid eco-lodge, powered by solar panels and small-scale hydropower with sewage used for landscaping. This is Costa Rica, so expect full nature immersion, with wildlife walks along a series of waterfalls and a nighttime frog trail.

Xigera Safari Lodge, Botswana
Relaunched in early 2021, Xigera is located in the Moremi Game Reserve, home to kingfishers, hippos and leopards in the Okavango Delta. In Botswana, where most lodges make sustainability a priority, Xigera goes the extra mile with a renewable energy hub, water treatment plant and electric safari vehicles. Sleek interiors feature eye-catching fabrics, handcrafted furniture, and sculptures by contemporary African artists.

The Britomart Hotel, Auckland, New Zealand
New Zealand’s first hotel to receive the country’s Five Green Star certification produces greenhouse gas emissions about 50% lower than required by the building code. Other elements that exemplify green hospitality include low VOC paint on the walls, driftwood knobs on the doors, and a sustainable seafood restaurant serving underrated but delicious local fish.

Cool historical conversions

Reschio Castle, Umbria, Italy
Count Benedikt Bolza lived in this 1,000-year-old castle, but he recently moved, transforming the estate and its old chapel into a magnificent 36-room hotel. The location sells itself: nestled among the green furrows of the Italian countryside, with cypresses and pines. What sets Reschio apart is its modern, swirling dig into the past. Bolza, an architect, designed everything from beams to lampshades, as well as a Roman spa in the old wine cellar. Rooms deviate slightly from the aesthetic of stone walls, with modern canopies paired with decor-style lamps and mid-century chairs.

Murtoli Estate, Corsica, France
Twenty-five years after renovating a series of shepherds’ huts, the owners of this rural French retreat have converted an adjacent farmhouse into an elegant hotel nestled between organic gardens and olive groves. Guests have full access to the estate, with its wild walks and peaceful Mediterranean sands.

The Harrison Chambers of Distinction, Belfast, Northern Ireland
A 19th century merchant’s house near Belfast Botanic Gardens has been transformed into a chic sanctuary dedicated to local authors, lavish antiques and quirky design. It’s a quirky and welcome addition to the city’s hotel landscape: expect freestanding tubs on reclaimed wood floors, rooms named after local heroes like CS Lewis and singer Ruby Murray, and Bridgerton-stylish four-poster beds under lush wallpapers.

Hotel Saint-Vincent, New Orleans, Louisiana
A former 19th-century orphanage, rich in red brick and wrought iron, has been renovated and reinvented into a 75-room boutique hotel in NOLA’s Lower Garden District. The legendary Texan hotelier Liz Lambert has infused the place with a moody decor (bathrooms adorned with coral tiles, a chapel transformed into a nightclub) and playful comfort (a tiled swimming pool by Saltillo, gelatin bears in the rooms. minibars).

Kruger shalati, South Africa
Permanently parked on an out of service railway bridge in Kruger National Park, this charming lodge offers accommodation in converted wagons and along the bridge itself. A pool deck suspended above the Sabie River offers views of hippos, elephants, and other animals in the waters below.

Bottle hotel, Indianapolis, Indiana
A 1920s Coca-Cola bottling plant is now the lavish setting of the most distinctive new hotel in Indianapolis, Indiana. Flag bearer of the city’s revitalized Bottleworks district, the 139-room property has revived the site’s art deco details: brass railings, terrazzo tiled floors, and a grand spiral staircase built to resemble a soda fountain. . The on-site Garage Food Hall, located where cola delivery trucks were once parked, is home to a dozen vendors selling ice cream, Asian food, and local drinks.

Big spaces

Paradero Todos Santos, Lower Mexico
The sunny desert of Baja Mexico may not be the most obvious place for Brutalist-inspired architecture, but Yektajo Valdez Architects perfectly blended an expanse of low-rise concrete buildings into a landscape of farmhouses and of cactus fields. The 35 suites all have private outdoor spaces such as rooftop relaxation areas or bathtubs. The 130-foot-long infinity pool and half-moon shaped solarium are ideal for lovers of photogenic minimalism.

Under Canvas Acadia, Maine
One hundred acres of wooded waterfront property near Acadia National Park on the Maine coast contains 63 tent suites, bookable from late spring through early fall. This family-friendly glamping resort, a 30-minute drive from the park’s rocky trails, offers morning yoga, a restaurant serving sophisticated camp food, and live music in the evenings (with s’more roasting) around communal fireplaces. .

Zannier Bãi San Hô Hotels, Vietnam
In an unspoiled corner of central Vietnam between rice fields, rolling hills and a coral reef, Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô is the stuff of honeymoon dreams. The villas borrow the vernacular of Southeast Asia: all thatched roofs and woven bamboo walls, topped off with muslin-draped beds and giant tubs. Activities include snorkeling trips to secluded bays and planting or harvesting rice. Làng Chài, the restaurant, is located on the fine sand.

Camp Sarika by Amangiri, Utah
This rugged branch of luxury icon Amangiri carves its own niche with 10 canvas-roofed one- and two-bedroom lodges with plunge pools, industrial furnishings, and views of the otherworldly Utah desert. . The most beautiful feature of the pavilions? A foyer under the stars, where guests can swap stories of day trips to nearby national parks (Zion, Bryce).

The city sleeps

Arthaus Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
With Ottoman-inspired decor and a garden dotted with Roman relics, this chic newcomer can be found in the bohemian district of Gemmayze, the Lebanese capital, which is bouncing back from the devastating port explosion of 2020. Its 25 rooms, spread over several historic structures, present antiques, rare books and contemporary art.

The Hoxton, Rome, Italy
The lines between work and family life have blurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some hotels have the concept reduced to an art, like this newcomer to the Eternal City with lobbies that look like lounges and chic cocktails to end the day. In a modernist building with a dusty pink facade, the 192-bed urban retreat mixes 1970s furniture and Murano glass chandeliers salvaged from interiors inspired by Italian cinema. Open all day, the Cugino restaurant is as comfortable for breakfast as it is for aperitifs.

The Social House, Nairobi, Kenya
This is no ordinary African boutique hotel, skillfully dodging both the colonial tropes and the corporate vibe of many regional options. Instead, the people of Nairobi are packing four stylish bars and restaurants, with menus ranging from Scandinavian to Peruvian-Japanese. Sleep in one of the 83 guest rooms with smartphone controls and contemporary Kenyan-inspired decor.

This article originally appeared in National Geographic traveler United Kingdom. It has been updated and extended.

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