17 new hotels in 2017
Story by Nicholas DeRenzo | Hemispheres May 2017
For Road Warriors
21c Museum Hotel, Oklahoma City
In a city where converted car dealerships and tire shops account for an outsize portion of the revitalized downtown (see the upscale Automobile Alley district), it's fitting that the Oklahoma capital's newest boutique hotel would occupy an iconic auto industry edifice: the onetime Fred Jones Assembly Plant, where Ford Model Ts were built. Opened last June in the 101-year-old Albert Kahn–designed building, the 21c Museum Hotel Oklahoma City shows off its heritage in ways big and small, from the original water tower on the roof to the 135 guest rooms' generous casement windows to the massive concrete columns still marked with codes denoting their positions on the factory floor. Like other properties in the 21c Museum Hotels mini-chain, the property's claim to fame is its renowned contemporary art collection. A standout here is James Clar's continually rolling, assembly line–inspired acrylic piece River of Time, at the entrance to Mary Eddy's Kitchen x Lounge, which occupies the former automobile showroom.
For Rock Stars
Sir Adam Hotel, Amsterdam
Sir Adam Hotel
As the home to the local offices of Gibson guitars and Sony, plus a real-life school of rock for kids, the imposing A'DAM Tower is something like Amsterdam's answer to LA's Capitol Records Tower. This January, the tower welcomed the Sir Adam Hotel, a member of the rapidly expanding Sir boutique chain, which also includes the Sir Albert, housed in a former diamond factory across town, and new or in-the-works properties in Berlin, Hamburg, and Ibiza. Complete with Bluetooth-enabled Crosley Cruiser turntables, Gibson electric guitars, and a curated vinyl collection, the 108 industrial-chic guest rooms (expect lots of raw concrete) are decked out with concert posters and mirrors etched with classic lyrics—the ideal crash pads for jet-lagged rockers on their big stadium tour.
For Summer Campers
The Suttle Lodge & Boathouse, Sisters, Oregon
Earn your merit badges—in kayaking, fishing, Nordic skiing, and arts and crafts—at the lakeside Suttle Lodge & Boathouse, which opened last August in central Oregon's Deschutes National Forest. The Mighty Union, the hospitality team behind Portland's trendsetting Ace Hotel, created a Moonrise Kingdom for millennials, complete with Pendleton blankets and toiletries by OLO Fragrance in scents inspired by the surrounding Cascade Range. Because it wouldn't be Oregon without a love for all things locavore, the owners have also brought along another Portlander to create the menu, chef Joshua McFadden of the award-winning Ava Gene's. Despite McFadden's James Beard nominations and inclusion on Bon Appétit's best new restaurants list, don't expect anything fussy: It's all about the potato-chip-crusted trout sandwich, salmon-and-trout chowder, and Oregon-made beers, wines, and ciders.
For Beach Bums
The Asbury, Asbury Park, New Jersey
Opened last Memorial Day just a guitar-pick toss from Bruce Springsteen's beloved Stone Pony, The Asbury is this Jersey Shore resort town's first new hotel in decades, taking over a long-disused Salvation Army building. Conceived by Anda Andrei, Ian Schrager's former head of design, the airy, bungalow-inspired rooms pair blond wood furnishings and crisp white linens with black-and-white vintage photos of beach and boardwalk scenes. In keeping with the breezy seaside decor and fun-loving spirit of this summer playground, the space is brimming with whimsical amenities, such as a carless rooftop “drive-in" theater, pinball machines in the lobby, and a curated library of VHS tapes, audio cassettes, and vinyl records.
The Warehouse Hotel, Singapore
The Warehouse Hotel's Singapore Sazerac
The Lo & Behold Group hospitality firm's first hotel venture opened this January in an 1895 godown (warehouse) on the banks of the Singapore River. Though the surrounding Robertson Quay is now rather well-heeled, the area was once a red light district known for its underground distilleries and opium dens. The 37-room hotel cleverly nods to this seedy past with its Minibar of Vices, which is divided into gluttony (salted egg yolk chips), vanity (Alexiares & Ani Mattifying Sunscreen), and lust (take a guess). For more indulgence, head to the on-site restaurant, Pó, which features chef Willin Low's “Mod Sin" menu and cocktails that play on the area's spice trade past, such as the Singapore Sazerac with pandan leaf bitters and the chamomile-whiskey-based High Tea.
Nekupe Sporting Resort & Retreat, Nandaime, Nicaragua
The view from the Nekupe Sporting Resort & Retreat
It's not surprising that Nicaragua's first luxury mountain resort takes its name from the indigenous Chorotega word for “heaven." Creating a slice of Paradise was precisely the goal of Theresita and Alfredo Pellas Jr., who constructed this 1,300-acre nature reserve by building greenhouses, installing solar panels, planting organic farms, and reforesting with more than 14,000 trees. Located 30 minutes from colonial Granada, in the shadow of a dormant volcano, the resort is an old-school sporting getaway, perfect for skeet shooting, horseback riding, ziplining, or communing with sloths, howler monkeys, and 73 species of bird.
For Architecture Buffs
The Poli House, Tel Aviv
An eclectic staircase at The Poli House
Tel Aviv's White City district is home to an eclectic collection of more than 4,000 Bauhaus and other structures, built in the 1930s by German-Jewish architects escaping persecution. Nitza Szmuk, the conservation architect who helped the district achieve UNESCO World Heritage status in 2003, next turned her attention to the restoration of the Polishuk House, a curvy 1934 beauty by Swiss architect Shlomo Liaskowski that has since housed offices, shops, and even a secret political printing press. Last October, it reopened as the 40-room Poli House, which designer Karim Rashid has filled with witty decor flourishes such as egg-shaped chairs upholstered with yolk-yellow fabrics, a pink neon “HELLO" sign, and Op Art floors that might make you a little woozy after a cocktail at the rooftop pool bar. Keep an eye out for a particularly meta touch: a landmark Bauhaus stairway with a mural based on Oskar Schlemmer's 1932 painting Bauhaus Stairway.
Explora Valle Sagrado, Urquillos, Urubamba, Peru
Opened last July in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, between Cusco and Machu Picchu, the 50-room Explora Valle Sagrado consists of a series of low-slung wooden structures that seem to melt into the surrounding ancient cornfields. (A nearby colonial mansion once owned by War of Independence revolutionary Mateo Pumacahua houses the spa.) While the lodge is filled with smart references to Andean culture, such as alpaca-wool blankets, it's best to think of it more as a base camp for Explora's 26 guided tours to off-the-beaten-path spots, including Incan archaeological sites, salt mines, indigenous Quechua communities, and llama-filled pastures.
Explora Valle Sagrado
For Social Butterflies
The Robey, Chicago
You've always hung out in Chicago's Wicker Park, but now you can finally sleep there. The Robey, a sleek and masculine boutique property from Grupo Habita—a Mexico City–based hotel chain known for promoting a young, communal vibe—opened in November at the epicenter of the city's coolest 'hood, in the 1929 Art Deco Northwest Tower, the only skyscraper in the area (a sister hotel, The Hollander, occupies the 1905 warehouse next door). The well-appointed rooms (Woolrich blankets, marble accents) may be short on square footage, but high ceilings and uninterrupted views of downtown make them feel airy. Think of the hotel's four restaurants and lounges as your extended living room: Meet friends for breakfast at the first-floor Café Robey, make new friends over cappuccinos in the spacious second-floor lounge, and then join all of them for martinis at Up & Up, the sexy rooftop cocktail bar, where you can toast to not having to cab anywhere.
For Seafood Lovers
Thompson Seattle, Seattle
The views from the Thompson Seattle
You can practically see the salmon-tossing fishmongers of Pike Place Market from your bed at the Thompson Seattle, which opened two blocks from the historic venue last June. The glass-and-steel design by award-winning area firm Olson Kundig Architects is all about transparency, meaning the 158 guestrooms can often feel like the world's chicest fishbowls. Twelve stories up, at The Nest rooftop cocktail lounge, take in views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. And back down on solid ground, at Scout PNW—which is kitted out with Douglas fir furnishings and Northwest-appropriate plaid upholstery—sample the bounty of these surroundings, including smoked trout tartine; maple-cured crudo with raw beets, yuzu, and pickled berries; and a killer chowder made with mussels, clams, and Dungeness crab.
For Design Heads
Il Sereno Lago di Como, Torno, Italy
Unlike the Neoclassical grande dames that dominate nearby stretches of George Clooney's favorite lake in the foothills of the Italian Alps, this minimalist all-suite hotel, which opened last August in the tiny village of Torno, would look more at home an hour's drive south, in fashion-forward Milan. That's very much by design. Spanish-born, Milan-based designer Patricia Urquiola—twice named designer of the year by Wallpaper—had a hand in creating almost every aspect of the property, from the bespoke furnishings to the floating walnut lobby staircase to the silk scarves worn by the staff (a nod to Como's long history as the silk capital of the world). Urquiola is even responsible for the interiors of the hotel's Vaporina del Lago boat, custom-made at the family-run Ernesto Riva boatyard, which has operated across the lake in Laglio (home to La Casa di Clooney) since 1771.
Huus Hotel, Gstaad, Switzerland
Gstaad's newest hotel, opened in December, trades in the posh town's usual ostentatious glamour for a homier aesthetic—hence the name, Swiss German for “house." The 136 lumberjack-chic rooms incorporate mismatched plaids, polished pebbles from the River Saane, and, yes, cuckoo clocks, plus Mammut backpacks and Zeiss binoculars to explore the craggy peaks and green valleys of the Bernese Alps. After all that skiing and snowshoeing (or summertime rafting and rappelling), refuel with fondue and raclette at Chalet Hüüsli, the cozy garden restaurant.
Coombeshead Farm, Cornwall, U.K.
The morning spread at Coombeshead Farm
British chefs Tom Adams (who brought American-style barbecue to London at Pitt Cue) and April Bloomfield (who earned a Michelin star for New York's The Spotted Pig) teamed up last July to open this five-room inn in a 1748 Georgian farmhouse on 66 acres in Cornwall. At the communal table, guests dine on locally grown, cured, and foraged fare, such as mutton from the farm's flock of Hebridean sheep and honey from Cornish black bee hives. And befitting two pig lovers (Bloomfield wrote a book called A Girl and Her Pig), it's only natural that their prize possession is a herd of rare, woolly Mangalitsa pigs, whose ruby-red, marbled meat is often called the Kobe beef of pork.
For Boat Enthusiasts
Off Paris Seine, Paris
The pool at Off Paris Seine
Ernest Hemingway dubbed Paris a moveable feast, but chances are he never imagined that the City of Light would someday welcome a moveable boutique hotel. Opened last June, the Off Paris Seine is built on a custom-made catamaran that was constructed in Normandy and towed more than 200 miles upriver to its current home on the Left Bank near the Gare d'Austerlitz railway station. The interiors of the 58-room floating hotel—the largest vessel moored in the Seine—play off the boat's aquatic surroundings; a salvaged-wood check-in desk evokes driftwood, while 8,800 metal panels on the lounge's ceiling reflect the glimmering river surface. Speaking of glitter, while the city's old-guard hotels aren't above a little gilding, the gold accents here are just a bit more playful, taking the form of an inflatable swan in the pool that runs down the boat's center and oversize Fatboy beanbag chairs on the deck.
For Mid-Century Modernists
The Dwell Hotel, Chattanooga, Tennessee
The Dwell Hotel's leafy lobby
Hoteliers the world over are smitten with the timeless lines of 1950s Modernist furnishings, but few have taken full advantage of that other mid-century design staple: deliriously bold patterns and colors. Built in the shell of a 1909 hotel on the site of a Civil War–era stone fort, this city's first luxury boutique property, which debuted its new incarnation last spring, is brimming with authentic period trappings that owner Seija Ojanpera sourced from estate sales, thrift stores, and eBay. Expect velvet chairs, lucite tables, brass wall hangings, and shaggy textile art, all in a palette of poppy oranges and canary yellows and jade greens. But the true showstoppers in the Dwell Hotel's 16 bespoke rooms are the retro patterned wallpapers—bees and flamingos, dandelions and banana leaves—which would have looked right at home in the Draper family house.
The Pendry, San Diego
Just in time for the Gaslamp Quarter's 150th birthday, San Diego welcomes an amenity it has been sorely lacking: a modern luxury boutique hotel. Enter the Pendry, the flagship in Montage Hotels' new design-driven lifestyle brand (a Baltimore property is set to follow this year). Think of this place as an urban take on the resort model—multiple dining outlets, a spa, a pool, and a club, all neatly tucked into one city block. You could spend an entire vacation stuffing yourself without leaving the premises: avocado toast at Provisional, a café and curated boutique; brats and microbrews at Nason's Beer Hall; oysters and nigiri at Lionfish; cocktails at Fifth & Rose—and then another two or three at Oxford Social Club, the basement lounge.
For Fish Out of Water
Palafitos Overwater Bungalows at El Dorado Maroma, Riviera Maya, Mexico
The bungalows at El Dorado Maroma
You don't need to fly to Tahiti or Bora Bora to stay in an overwater bungalow anymore, thanks to last September's opening of this first-of-its-kind-in-Mexico collection of 30 standalone suites within an existing Karisma Hotel resort. Each 800-square-foot palafito (stilt house) boasts glass floor panels so you can spot passing needlefish from the comfort of your bed, as well as snorkeling gear for rent when you're ready to dip a toe in. Design inspiration comes from the ancient Aztec homes built over Lake Texcoco (now buried beneath modern Mexico City), with palapa-style thatch roofs and furnishings made with local zapote wood—plus more modern amenities, such as outdoor and indoor showers and private infinity pools.
Canada's largest city spreads out along the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario, and it's a dynamic, multicultural and inclusive experience like almost no other place on earth. Not only is Toronto a thriving living city,it's also become one of the world's truly must-visit destinations. Regularly ranked as one of the greatest places to live, Toronto is the cultural center of the country and home to the biggest events, the most pro sports and the greatest concentration of theaters and restaurants.
Recent decades have seen regular multi-million-dollar upgrades to the city's public spaces, with a slew of great museums, iconic architecture and the redevelopment of the now glittering lakefront adding to the city's appeal.
Add in an ever-growing number of world-class hotels, upbeat nightlife that runs from dusk until dawn and a vibrant and diverse culinary scene influenced by the eclectic makeup of the city's people. Bright and bustling, cosmopolitan and cultured, unpredictable and energetic, Toronto has become one of the greatest cities on earth.
What you see and where you go will depend on the length of your stay. A week is good, longer is better. But even a long weekend will give you a taste of 'The Six' — one of the city's many nicknames, reworked recently as 'The 6ix' by one of its most famous sons, Drake.
However long you stay, you can't hope to see it all. So, consider what follows a starting point for your first visit…
City Hall, Toronto
The checklist sites
No visit to The Six can be considered complete without ticking off several of Toronto's true heavyweight sights. All of the following are in or within easy reach of the city's compact, walk-able and very vibrant center.
The CN Tower is unmissable in every sense, a vast freestanding spire that looks down upon the city and takes its place as one of the 'Seven Wonders of the Modern World'. Head up for the city's best 360-degree views, or get your heart racing on the EdgeWalk — a journey around the circumference of the tower's main pod, 116 stories high and tethered by a harness.
Back on solid ground, Ripley's Aquarium is almost right next door to the CN Tower and is home to 16,000 aquatic animals and the Dangerous Lagoon. A moving sidewalk that whisks you through a long tunnel surrounded by sharks and stingrays is guaranteed to make your heart race all over again.
Also close to the CN Tower is the Rogers Center, home to Canada's only baseball team, the Toronto Blue Jays. Visit on game day for the full experience, or take the stadium tour to go behind the scenes and through closed doors.
In a city of so many museums and galleries, the Royal Ontario Museum stands out. Not just because it's home to a world-class collection of 13 million artworks, cultural objects and natural history specimens, but as much because it hosts exciting Friday night events that include dance, drink and top DJs.
Two other must ticks include the Art Gallery of Ontario, which houses 95,000 works of art and is free for visitors under 25, and the Hockey Hall of Fame, which taps into Canada's national obsession in stunning depth.
Art Gallery of Ontario
Casa Loma is a must-visit Gothic castle in the heart of the city. North America's only castle is filled with artworks and treasures from Canada and beyond, but its big pull is the network of hidden tunnels to explore as they stretch out beneath the city.
Toronto's multi-cultural makeup is visible all across the city but reflected best in its remarkable culinary scene (see Where to eat and drink). The city's 'fresh and local' mantra is perfectly showcased at St. Lawrence Market, one of the world's greatest food experiences. Pay it a visit and grab a peameal bacon sandwich — a Canadian staple invented in Toronto and now considered the city's signature dish.
St. Lawrence Market
Afterwards, walk off the calories by wandering the historic cobblestone and car-free Distillery District. Once a vast whiskey distillery and an important spot during prohibition, historians mention that even Al Capone would visit the Distillery to load alcohol destined for the States . This iconic landmark now distils creativity within the 19th century buildings now home to hip restaurants, bars, independent boutique stores, galleries and theaters. Visit in December for the Toronto Christmas Market.
Finally, don't even think about returning home without having had a picture taken with your head poking through an 'O' of the multicolored, 3D Toronto sign at City Hall — the most Insta-worthy location in a city of so many. You'll need to head there early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
If you stay long enough, take a ferry and hop across to Toronto Islands, a chain of 15 small islands in Lake Ontario just south of the mainland. They're home to beaches, a theme park and a breathtaking view of the city's skyline and will very happily fill a full day of your stay.
The bucket list
You absolutely cannot leave Toronto without having witnessed the power of the Niagara Falls and its hypnotic mist up close. Trying to visit the Falls from the States is a trip on its own, but it's almost non-optional when you're less than two hours away in Toronto. Take the trip, buy the T-shirt and tick off one of the world's must-see sights.
Explore like a local
Away from the sleek, gleaming towers of downtown lie many of Toronto's less obvious but no less essential attractions. West Queen West is Toronto's hippest neighborhood and artistic heart, a one-mile strip of very chic galleries, stores, restaurants and boutique hotels. Kensington Market is a fantastically chaotic neighborhood and perhaps the best example of the city's famous multiculturalism. It's not a market as the name implies, but a collection of independent shops, vintage boutiques, art spaces, cafés, bars and restaurants from every corner of the globe.
The Bata Shoe Museum is one of the city's quirkiest collections, an unexpectedly fascinating exhibit that retraces the 4,500-year history of footwear. And as you wander the city, you can't fail to notice that Toronto's walls are alive with graffiti. Take a free 90-minute walking tour through the back alleys of Queen Street West and down Graffiti Alley to gain a better understanding of the city's street art scene. If you visit during the sunnier months, escape the hustle by heading just east of the center to High Park, the green heart of the city where forests, walking trails, picnic spots and even a zoo await you. Ideal to unwind after a long day of urban adventures.
When to go With the sun shining, May through October is a great time to visit, but the city is alive through all four seasons. The Spring and Autumn months are ideal as the humidity and visitor numbers are lighter, while Toronto comes alive through the colder months through a wide array of winter celebrations. One of the most spectacular is the Aurora Winter Festival, a six-week celebration that sees the Ontario Place, West Island transformed into four mystical worlds. Whichever season you choose, plan to stay for at least five nights to get a true flavor of the city.
Toronto skyline view
Where to stay To be at the heart of most of the attractions you'll want to see, aim for downtown. One of the best options is the Marriott City Center, not only because it's located right next to the CN Tower but also because it's attached to the iconic Rogers Center where the Toronto Blue Jays play and countless concerts and popular events are held.
Toronto Blue Jay stadium
Opt for a Stadium room and you'll look out onto the field. If you want to experience Toronto's non-stop nightlife, the Entertainment District is the place to be. If you're looking for a luxury experience, discover Canada's first St. Regis hotel in the heart of downtown.
Where to eat and drink Nowhere is Toronto's incredible diversity more evident than in its food scene — taste Toronto and you're tasting the world. The city is brimming with restaurants and cafés serving everything from high-end fine dining to comfort food from an informal neighborhood joint — plus every option imaginable in between.
For fine dining, consider Alo, Canis and Edulis. Book a table at Canoe, Lavelle, The One Eighty or 360 at the CN Tower and you're guaranteeing a view as spectacular as the food. Or experience the city's remarkable fusion food at DaiLo (French-Cantonese), El Catrin (Mexican-French) and the unexpected mashup of Rasta Pasta (Jamaican-Italian).
The above suggestions don't even scratch the surface of a food scene to rival any city on earth, with options to suit every taste and any budget.
How to get around Toronto is perfect to explore on foot or via a growing network of cycle routes. For a quicker journey, buy a Presto card to use the TTC, Toronto's subway, streetcar and bus system.
How to get there Fly into Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) with United and you're around 15 miles west of the city center. The most comfortable route in is via the Union Pearson Express, which runs every 15 minutes and gets you downtown in 25 minutes ($13).The TTC is a cheaper option at under $5, but it can take an hour and a half and involves a number of transfers, while a taxi will take around 30 minutes and cost $45.
United flies to Toronto from numerous U.S. cities including our Hub city locations. Book your trip via united.com or by downloading the United app.
Around the web
Following the devastating wildfires in Australia and powerful earthquakes that shook Puerto Rico last week, we're taking action to make a global impact through our international partnerships as well as nonprofit organizations Afya Foundation and ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency).
Helping Puerto Rico recover from earthquakes
Last week, Puerto Rico was hit with a 5.2 magnitude earthquake, following a 6.4 magnitude earthquake it experienced just days before. The island has been experiencing hundreds of smaller quakes during the past few weeks.
These earthquakes destroyed crucial infrastructure and left 4,000 people sleeping outside or in shelters after losing their homes. We've donated $50,000 to our partner charity organization Airlink and through them, we've helped transport disaster relief experts and medical supplies for residents, as well as tents and blankets for those who have lost their homes. Funding will go towards organizations within Airlink's partner network, which includes Habitat for Humanity, Mercy Corps and Americares, to help with relief efforts and long-term recovery.
Australian wildfire relief efforts
Our efforts to help Australia have inspired others to make their own positive impact. In addition to teaming up with Ellen DeGeneres to donate $250,000 and launching a fundraising campaign with GlobalGiving to benefit those impacted by the devastating wildfires in the country known for its open spaces and wildlife, our cargo team is helping to send more than 600 pounds of medical supplies to treat injured animals in the region.
Helping us send these supplies is the Afya Foundation, a New York-based nonprofit that seeks to improve global health by collecting surplus medical supplies and delivering them to parts of the world where they are most needed. Through Airlink, the Afya Foundation will send more than $18,000 worth of materials that will be used to treat animals injured in the Australian fires.
These medical supplies will fly to Melbourne (MEL) and delivered to The Rescue Collective. This Australian organization is currently focused on treating the massive population of wildlife, such as koalas, kangaroos, and birds, that have had their habitats destroyed by the recent wildfires. The supplies being sent include wound dressings, gloves, catheters, syringes and other items that are unused but would otherwise be disposed of.
By working together, we can continue to make a global impact and help those affected by natural disasters to rebuild and restore their lives
Australia needs our help as wildfires continue to devastate the continent that's beloved by locals and travelers alike. In times like these, the world gets a little smaller and we all have a responsibility to do what we can.
On Monday, The Ellen DeGeneres Show announced a campaign to raise $5 million to aid in relief efforts. When we heard about Ellen's effort, we immediately reached out to see how we could help.
Today, we're committing $250,000 toward Ellen's campaign so we can offer support now and help with rebuilding. For more on The Ellen DeGeneres Show efforts and to donate yourself, you can visit www.gofundme.com/f/ellenaustraliafund
We're also matching donations made to the Australian Wildfire Relief Fund, created by GlobalGiving's Disaster Recovery Network. This fund will support immediate relief efforts for people impacted by the fires in the form of emergency supplies like food, water and medicine. Funds will also go toward long-term recovery assistance, helping residents recover and rebuild. United will match up to $50,000 USD in donations, and MileagePlus® members who donate $50 or more will receive up to 1,000 award miles from United. Donate to GlobalGiving.
Please note: Donations made toward GlobalGiving's fund are only eligible for the MileagePlus miles match.
In addition to helping with fundraising, we're staying in touch with our employees and customers in Australia. Together, we'll help keep Australia a beautiful place to live and visit in the years to come.