The TPG 20: The best new hotels of 2021

The pandemic has curtailed many travel plans over the past 18 months and many hotels already under construction delayed their official opening dates, some by 12 months or more.

But as travel now quickly resumes, new and completely renovated hotels have been rapidly opening across the globe.

Today, as part of Travel Week at the TPG Awards, we’re thrilled to introduce The TPG 20, a list of brand-new and recently reimagined or renovated properties.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Some are the places TPG staffers personally visited and loved, but we have also included game-changing properties that will open before the end of 2021. A few are in locations currently off-limits to travelers, but we have our fingers crossed that will change next year.

These incredible places opened during the pandemic, and not enough travelers have had the opportunity to visit. But trust us: You have so much to look forward to when you get out on the road again.

In This Post

United States

Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas, Encinitas, California

Here’s what we love:

  • Amazing beachfront location.
  • Incredible views of the ocean and Pacific Coast Highway.
  • Focus on sustainability.

One of a handful of Alila hotels and resorts in the U.S. that opened this year, Alila Marea Beach Resort is an upscale charmer right on the water just north of San Diego. Chic and laid-back, this resort offers solo travelers, couples and families a design-forward home away from home where the only chore is walking from your room to the pool to relax with a cold drink.

Vaga, the resort’s main restaurant, is the place to go for a seafood dinner (try the seared scallops and grilled octopus) at an outdoor table overlooking the Pacific. A special concierge can reserve lounge chairs with umbrellas on the beach for guests or even help coordinate a surfing lesson. Beyond the sweeping views, pool and beach, guests can retreat to the spa for a sea salt-infused body treatment or borrow an electric bike to cruise Highway 101 or the lively surrounding villages.

At this Hyatt property, opt for a room with a balcony overlooking the ocean to capture the magic that is a Pacific Coast sunset.

Closest airport: The Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas is not located in Encinitas, but 5 miles north, between the beach towns of Leucadia and Carlsbad. It’s about 33 miles north of San Diego International Airport (SAN), or just under 100 miles south of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

How to book: As a World of Hyatt Category 6 resort, a standard room at the Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas costs 25,000 points per night, or 12,500 points plus half the cash rate as a copay. The World of Hyatt Credit Card’s 60,000-point sign-up offer can help you cash in on a night in the SoCal paradise. Cash rates average around $647.

Bishop’s Lodge, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Here’s what to love: 

  • A great place to escape in the Land of Enchantment.
  • Preserved historical landmark.
  • Close to Santa Fe’s historic areas and art scene.
room overlooking mountains with adobe fireplace wooden wall with rustic decor, bed and chair adobe building with sky and trees

If you haven’t been to Santa Fe, a cultural, historical and natural oasis in New Mexico, Auberge Resorts Collection’s new Bishop’s Lodge should be the catalyst to get you there.

The 317-acre resort near Santa Fe National Forest has brought new life to the original chapel and lodge built on the property in the 1860s. Here, 100 rooms, suites, multiroom casitas and a 12-room bunkhouse reflect the history and culture of Santa Fe, with rustic yet elevated accents, adobe walls that blend in seamlessly with the surrounding mountains, fireplaces and reclaimed wood. All of this — and more — was created during Auberge’s $75 million renovation of the resort.

Today, guests can take advantage of the amenities of the luxury resort, like the saltwater pool and outdoor sauna and shower, after enjoying the area’s best experiences out in nature, such as hiking, fly fishing, horseback riding and more.

Or, find peace by participating in the hotel’s Healing Art Therapy program designed to eliminate inner stress with the help of a certified art therapist. At the end of the day, head to SkyFire restaurant, where a resident “chile host” can help diners find the perfect pepper and chili oil combination to go with any meal.

Closest airport: Guests going to Bishop’s Lodge can fly in and out of Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ), about an hour’s drive away, or catch a flight from Denver, Dallas or Phoenix to Santa Fe Regional Airport (SAF), a mere 15-minute drive from the resort.

How to book: Room rates booked directly through the hotel average $649 a night.

Walt Disney World Swan Reserve, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Here’s what we love: 

  • A Marriott rewards hotel on Walt Disney World property.
  • Within walking distance of Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
  • A significant number of suites for larger families or groups.
  • Great views of Disney’s fireworks.

Fifty years after Walt Disney World opened its doors in central Florida, it’s safe to say it just keeps getting better with age. Now, Walt Disney World Swan Reserve is bringing a new level of sophistication to the parks when it officially opens its doors on Nov. 12.

Home to 349 rooms, including 149 suites that can hold families or groups from six to 10 people, this new hotel might just be the perfect place to anchor your next visit to see Mickey as it’s within walking distance of Epcot and Hollywood Studios. There’s also free transportation to all four Walt Disney World parks and Disney Springs, including a water taxi to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.

Guests of the hotel also get access to all of the amenities of the neighboring Swan and Dolphin resorts, which include a private beach, six pools and a whopping 18 restaurants. Wald Disney World Swan Reserve also has its own pool, a Mediterranean restaurant, coffee shop, fitness center with Pelotons and over 27,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including rooftop areas.

But what really makes the Walt Disney World Swan Reserve a standout hotel for Disney vacationers is that it’s a place where Marriott Bonvoy members can earn and redeem points, making a stay here even more magical.

If you need help planning your trip, we’ve pulled together everything you need to know about visiting Walt Disney World.

Closest airport: Most trips to Walt Disney World by air start and stop at Orlando International Airport (MCO).

How to book: As a Category 6 Marriott hotel, award nights run between 40,000 and 60,000 points (at least until Marriott introduces its new dynamic pricing next year). Cash in a 50,000-point Marriott certificate or explore how a Marriott credit card can help you earn a free night here. Cash rates vary from $400 to $600 per night.

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Here’s what to love:

  • A fresh take on one of Walt Disney World’s original hotels.
  • Easy access to the Disney monorail system.
  • New “Moana” theme is great for families.

When Walt Disney World opened in 1971, it only had two hotels: Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Now, 50 years and a pandemic later, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is back with the facelift and retheme the storied property deserved.

An official Disney hotel located on Disney property, “The Poly,” as it’s commonly known, is a great place to root a Disney vacation considering it’s located along the monorail system to Magic Kingdom and just one transfer away from Epcot. Plus, guests get all of the perks of staying at a Disney Deluxe Resort, including extended evening theme park hours.

Now themed around the Disney movie “Moana,” the resort hotel is still paying homage to its Polynesian roots, seemingly transporting guests out of central Florida but with a more upscale design, plus playful elements like “hidden Mickeys” in the rooms. Guests can also take advantage of the pool, motorized boat rentals, movies under the stars, fishing and even beach volleyball.

Closest airport: Plan to fly into and out of Orlando International Airport (MCO).

How to book: At TPG, we recommend using a Disney vacation planner, like our no-cost partners at Mouse Counselors, to help organize your trip. For Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, average rates when booked directly are about $688.

Four Seasons Napa Valley, Calistoga, California

Here’s what we love:

  • It’s located on a working winery.
  • Every aspect of the hotel is centered around the wine and food produced in the area.
  • It’s a luxurious new take on classic Napa.
sweeping views of Napa valley with swimming pool at Four Seasons Resort large hotel room with dark wood fireplace, large white bed, and windows looking out onto vineyard and wooden barn

We didn’t think Napa could get any better, but then Four Seasons went and built an ultra-luxurious yet welcoming and warm resort right in the middle of a working winery — the only one of its kind in the area. Four Seasons, known for its service and attention to detail, seems to have gone above and beyond when crafting the Four Seasons Napa Valley, fusing together its signature style with Napa’s appreciation for fine food and wine.

Described as “farmhouse chic,” the resort offers a variety of rooms and residences that would make Joanna Gaines feel right home. Not many people can say they’ve been swimming in a pool in the middle of a vineyard but guests here can say exactly that — and with a glass of cabernet sauvignon wine made with grapes from that vineyard in hand. To take the grape-to-glass experience to the next level, the resort offers a wine tasting room and hands-on wine-making experiences from experts. And at the spa, grape-to-glass becomes “seed-to-skin” with treatments infused with grape seeds and olive oils grown on the property.

Combine all of that with its proximity to the nearby and picturesque town of Calistoga, and Four Seasons Napa Valley might just become your favorite new vacation destination.

Closest airport: To get to the Four Seasons Napa Valley, fly into San Francisco, Oakland or Sacramento, all of which are about a 90-minute drive to the resort. There are also flights into the smaller Sonoma County Airport (STS), about a half-hour drive to the resort.

How to book: Book directly through the hotel with rates for vineyard rooms starting around $1,200 per night.

Montage Big Sky, Big Sky, Montana

Here’s what we love: 

  • Surrounded by some of the most picturesque views in the U.S.
  • A great escape for families, friends or couples.
  • Offers year-round fun and is in a prime location for winter sports.
snow ski chalet/resort with snow-capped mountains, tall pine trees and people playing in the snow Montage Big Sky in springtime Montage Big Sky bowling alley Montage Big Sky spa Montage Big Sky guest room bedroom Montage Big Sky living area

Whether you’re looking for snowcapped mountains and an après ski scene or a luxurious summer escape that’s equal parts hiking and spa, Montage Big Sky — one of the most anticipated hotel openings of the year — has it all.

Officially opening on Dec. 15, just in time for the holiday and winter seasons, the 139-key resort is a destination within a destination in Big Sky, Montana, about an hour from some of the world’s most stunning natural features at Yellowstone National Park.

At Montage Big Sky, rooms, suites and residences are well-appointed, with many including balconies, fireplaces and views of the surrounding Spanish Peaks mountain range hugging the resort. Winter sports fans can catch fresh powder with ski-in, ski-out access to 5,850 acres of Big Sky Resort, with lessons available for newbies. There’s also snow tubing, cross-country and Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and ice skating and in warmer weather guests can go horseback riding and fly fishing or golf at the iconic Spanish Peaks Mountain Club.

When guests aren’t adventuring outdoors, Montage Big Sky has seven dining venues, from hearty meals and local beer at Backcast Bar & Grill to handmade pasta inspired by Northern Italy at Cortina. At Spa Montage, heated plunge pools, an indoor swimming pool and 11,000 square feet of bliss await to help guests relax while on vacation. And at night, s’mores are available to enjoy around a fire pit under the stars.

Closest airport: Montage Big Sky is located about an hour from Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN) which offers direct flights from a number of major U.S. cities.

How to book: For now, booking directly through the hotel is the best bet before it officially opens in December. In August, TPG was quoted $1,595 per night, before taxes, for a resort-view room for Dec. 16 and 17 and $,1845 per night for a similar room with a better view for Jan. 3 and 4. A two-night minimum stay is required for December and January, and an eight-night minimum stay is required between Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.

Pendry Manhattan West, New York City

Here’s what to love:

  • Pendry’s first boutique hotel in New York City.
  • Ultra-sleek rooms in an up-and-coming area.
  • Stylish bar that feels like a place to be seen.
Pendry Manhattan West

People who love Pendry hotels really, really love Pendry hotels — and we expect the Pendry Manhattan West to be another star in the lineup. Located near New York City’s Hudson Yards, an area breathing new life into Manhattan’s west side, the Pendry is one of many new hotel developments in the area, including the first Equinox Hotel from the famed fitness brand.

But at Pendry, fitness is not the main goal: style is.

The brand is known for seamlessly blending the best in luxury hotel service with high design and, most importantly, a true sense of place. Focused on bringing “California-inspired luxury” to New York, the Pendry Manhattan West has 164 chic rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, many with incredible views of New York’s massive skyscrapers, Fili D’Oro bed linens and seamless technology that allows guests to stream their favorite shows and movies directly to the television — something all hotels should have in 2021.

One of the highlights of the Pendry is its entertainment and dining experiences, including Bar Pendry, an elegant room that harks back the golden age of travel with, well, a literal gold ambiance that says, “Yes, I will have another Manhattan.”

At Zou Zou’s, a Mediterranean restaurant, light bites are served from an open kitchen by chefs Madeline Sperling and Juliana Latif while the rooftop features a reservation-only whiskey bar created in partnership with Japanese brand Suntory, scheduled to open in 2022.

Closest airport: To get to the Pendry Manhattan West, fly into any of New York City’s major area airports: Newark (EWR), LaGuardia (LGA) or New York-JFK.

How to book: Book directly with the hotel for nights starting around $548 for a deluxe city king.

Resorts World Las Vegas

Here’s what to love:

  • Three Hilton brands where you can earn and redeem points under one roof.
  • The first new casino to open on the Strip in 11 years.
  • Convenient location near the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Bigger is usually better in Las Vegas, and that rings true for Resorts World, a massive casino and resort complex on the northwest end of the Strip — and the first new casino to open on the Strip in 11 years.

A dream come true for Hilton loyalists, Resorts World is home to three Hilton properties: the 1,774-room Las Vegas Hilton; the 1,496-room Conrad, a more premium option; and the 236-room Crockfords Las Vegas, the most expensive of the trio and part of Hilton’s new luxury brand, LXR.

Resorts World may be new to Las Vegas but it’s a familiar name in Asia and that heritage runs throughout the property, especially with touches of red — a lucky color in many Asian countries — around the property and in its dining venues. There are more than 40 restaurants and bars within Resorts World and on-property delivery from many of them to rooms and the pool, powered by Grubhub.

All of the individual hotels offer something different to guests, too. The Las Vegas Hilton, the most affordable, seems to attract the largest crowds and TPG found it comparable to the pricier Conrad. In fact, some would argue that the Las Vegas Hilton has the most well-appointed rooms — and it’s the most affordable of the three.

On the fifth floor, there are three main pools with lounge chairs, usually included in the hotel’s resort fee, perfect for beating the intense desert heat, plus other pools reserved for VIPs. Other great amenities are a spa, more than 117,000 square feet of gaming, a dayclub and a nightclub with some of the hottest musical acts in the world in residence, including Celine Dion, Katy Perry, Carrie Underwood and Luke Bryan.

Closest airport: Resorts World is one of the farthest places to stay on the Strip from McCarran International Airport (LAS), but still just a 5-mile drive.

How to book: All three hotels are part of Hilton Honors and nights can be redeemed for points at the following rates: the Las Vegas Hilton, between 42,000 and 70,000 points; Conrad Las Vegas, between 54,000 and 80,000; and Crockfords, between 80,000 and 95,000.

It’s worth noting that all three Resorts World hotels qualify for the up-to-$250 annual resort statement credit you receive as a cardholder of the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. The information for the Hilton Aspire Amex card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

The Cloudveil, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Here’s what to love: 

  • A chic hotel in the heart of Jackson Hole.
  • Located at the gateway to some of the best national parks in the U.S.
  • Cozy amenities like fireplaces and large, freestanding bathtubs in select rooms.

Wyoming as a whole has been attracting A-list celebrities and the ultra-wealthy for a while now thanks to its abundance of space and beauty. And Jackson Hole, one of the gateways to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, is one of the busiest little towns in the U.S.

Now, with this year’s opening of The Cloudveil, part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, the western outpost has an equally buzzy hotel.

With 100 rooms and suites, many featuring fireplaces and balconies and a special suite with a jaw-dropping soaking tub, The Cloudveil is an ode to its mountain location in the West, with wood and stone accents, furs and hides and a rustic aesthetic that’s cool, not clunky. At The Bistro, the hotel’s Parisian brasserie-inspired restaurant, an oyster bar complements menu items like seared halibut, wagyu beef tartare and craft cocktails.

On the rooftop terrace, guests can sit around large fire pits to unwind after a long day exploring nature or start the day with sunrise yoga. A heated, outdoor pool and hot tub, along with a fitness center, round out the hotel’s amenities. Adventure and nature enthusiasts can get help organizing skiing excursions, fly fishing trips and trips into Yellowstone or Grand Teton perfect for families or solo travelers.

Closest airport: The Jackson Hole Airport (JAC), the only commercial airport inside a national park, is about 15 minutes from the hotel.

How to book: As a Category 7 Marriott Bonvoy hotel, award nights range from 50,000 to 70,000 points with a standard rate of 60,000 points per night.


Chateau de Versailles, Le Grand Controle, Paris

Here’s what we love:

  • Located on the Palace of Versailles grounds.
  • An immersive experience in royal history.
  • Restaurant from chef Alain Ducasse.

Renowned five-star luxury developer Airelles opened the unique Chateau de Versailles, Le Grand Controle boutique hotel in June this year in one of the most iconic royal buildings in the world.

The building was built in 1681 by Jules Hardouin-Mansart, King Louis XIV’s architect, and it’s stunning, with just 14 luxury rooms and apartments including a 1,300-square-foot signature suite. Each room features 18th-century-style chandeliers.

Guests can enjoy views of the breathtaking gardens of the palace, including the Orangery and Piece d’Eau des Suisses. Amenities include a 49-foot indoor swimming pool, a spa run by the Swiss beauty brand Valmont and a restaurant by lauded chef Alain Ducasse.

There are also private guided tours to get behind-the-scenes access to the Domaine de Versailles including after-hours access to the famous Hall of Mirrors and the Petit Trianon.

Closest airport: Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) is an 80-minute drive from the property.

How to book: Rooms start at $1,470 per night.

InterContinental Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

Here’s what we love:

  • Fantastic city views.
  • Rich Catalan design and history.
  • Michelin-starred cuisine.

Previously the Crowne Plaza Barcelona Fira Center, the InterContinental Barcelona has undergone a full renovation and promises to be one of the leading IHG properties in the popular Spanish city of Barcelona. With 273 rooms, including a 2,000-square-foot presidential suite, it’s located in the heart of Montjuic, on a hill offering scenic views of the harbor and the city. Close by is Palau Nacional, the iconic palace home of the National Museum of Catalan Art.

Natural wood interiors and a color palette of blue and ocher are inspired by the history of Catalan as well as Jewish culture. Fans of Catalan cuisine can dine at the hotel’s Quirat restaurant, run by chef Víctor Torres, the youngest Spanish chef to receive a Michelin star.

Closest airport: Barcelona El Prat Airport (BCN) is a 20-minute drive from the property.

How to book: Room rates start at $330 per night. IHG Rewards now uses dynamic pricing but you can expect to redeem around 70,000 IHG Rewards points per night here.

Kimpton St Honoré, Paris

Here’s what we love:

  • 360-degree rooftop views of central Paris.
  • Housed in a former department store.
  • 1930s art deco design.

A 100-year-old department store converted into a luxury boutique hotel? Only in Paris.

France’s first Kimpton property opened earlier this year in the Opera district, close to major attractions including the Paris Opera, Place Vendome and the Tuileries Gardens. The 123 rooms and 26 suites at the Kimpton St Honoré draw inspiration from Parisian apartments.

If you need a break from foie gras, escargot and croissants, the ground-floor Montecito Restaurant & Bar offers flavors from California with dishes like fish tacos, langoustine tostada and beef asada. The rooftop bar Sequoia offers spectacular 360-degree views across Paris capturing iconic sights including the Eiffel Tower and Opera Garnier. Guests can enjoy complimentary drinks daily at 5 p.m. in the Mezzanine Library as part of the brand’s daily Social Hour.

Closest airport: Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) is a 60-minute drive from the property.

How to book: Room rates start at $465 per night. IHG Rewards now uses dynamic pricing but you can expect to redeem around 100,000 IHG Rewards points per night.

Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid

Here’s what we love:

  • A stunning restoration preserving unique history while embracing modern, understated luxury.
  • Arguably Madrid’s most luxurious hotel.
  • The staff offers smiles and helping hands to every guest.

It wasn’t until the pandemic hit that Madrid’s luxury hotel scene began to really flourish, including the Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid, which effortlessly marries 21st-century modernity with classic history and tradition.

Madrid’s brilliant blue sky shines down through a canopy glass ceiling in the Palm Court, an original design feature from 1910 that came from César Ritz. Rooms feature crisp white linens, gold details that glisten in the sunlight, and dark wood that provides a modern look against the subtle beige furnishings and marble desk.

The most glamorous of the numerous dining options is Deessa, led by Spanish chef Quique Dacosta. The restaurant’s space is incredibly chic, decked out in sculptures, gold, and art inspired by salt (yes, salt) — a nod to its Mediterranean-focused menu. The property takes its Serrano ham so seriously staff will use an app to advise you where it came from, how the animal was fed and what year the ham was salted and cured.

Closest airport: Madrid Bajaras Airport (MAD) is a 30-minute drive from the property.

How to book: Room rates start at $980 per night, up to $1,350 for Christmas dates. The brand’s loyalty program, Fans of M.O., offers members perks such as room upgrades, daily breakfast, late checkout, free Wi-Fi, dining and spa credits and more.

Mondrian Shoreditch London

Here’s what we love:

  • Rooms refurbished to an exceptionally high standard.
  • Leafy, potted tropical plants make common spaces feel like a modernist greenhouse.
  • Excellent cuisine from rooftop breakfasts to basement Spanish suppers.

After just four years as the popular Curtain Hotel, Accor has revamped its recognizable brick facade into the European flagship of its Mondrian brand, imbuing an element of luxury into London’s edgy-but-chic Shoreditch neighborhood with the Mondrian Shoreditch hotel.

While you might struggle to wheel your suitcase around the tight bedrooms (not uncommon in London), it’s worth the space crunch to enjoy the moody decor by Goddard Littlefair, the design firm responsible for projects like the Mandarin Oriental Vienna and the iconic Gleneagles Scotland. The hotel’s rooftop, where a la carte breakfast is served daily, is a sanctuary decorated with tropical plants, vibrant fabrics and eye-catching geometric patterns that provides a colorful respite from the bustle of the city below.

Closest airport: It’s around an hour from London’s Heathrow (LHR) and Gatwick (LGW) airports to the hotel in London’s East Side.

How to book: Cash rates for a base room range from $250 to $350 per night depending on the season. The hotel is a member of Accor Live Limitless, and you can reduce the cost by about $46 for every 2,000 Accor points redeemed.

Reykjavík Edition, Iceland

Here’s what we love:

  • Prime waterfront location alongside the iconic Harpa Concert Hall.
  • 253 rooms and suites, massive by Icelandic hotel standards.
  • Game-changer in Marriott’s small Iceland portfolio.
rendering of the Reykjavik Edition hotel, with large glass windows, wooden benches and people sitting

With 250 rooms and suites, three restaurants, a cafe and a spa, the six-story Reykjavík Edition will be a dramatic entry in Marriott’s small portfolio of hotels in Iceland when it opens this year. The hotel, designed in collaboration with Ian Schrager Company, designer Roman & Williams and architects T.arch, also has the brand’s signature nightlife space, plus a private rooftop.

The hotel was announced back in 2015 and was originally supposed to open in 2018, but was continuously pushed back. The hotel is currently accepting reservations. Travelers often go to Iceland to experience all its various outdoor activities. Opening a high-end property in the city shows that the city is now a destination in itself, and has a world-class hotel to prove it.

Closest airport: Keflavík Airport (KEF) is a 50-minute drive from the property.

How to book: Standard rooms start at $410 per night. This is a Marriott Bonvoy Category 8 property — rooms currently cost 70,000 points per night on off-peak dates, 85,000 on standard dates and 100,000 on peak dates.

Asia and the Middle East

The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands

Here’s what we love:

  • The property checks all the boxes for a stay of a lifetime.
  • Attention to detail that would impress even the pickiest of travelers.
  • Luxurious in a classy, contemporary and restrained way.

The Maldives has a reputation for being an exclusive, ultra-lavish destination — and The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands fits right in. Yes, the prices are just as extravagant as the overwater villas themselves.

This property gets it right when it comes to the little things. Every guest gets a “butler,” though the Ritz calls them your “aris meeha.” In the local language of Dhivehi, that refers to a person who is assigned to a royal member of the Maldivian family. And at the Ritz, that royal person is you.

Once you step inside the overwater villas, you’ll immediately notice how the interior and exterior blend together in harmony. The floor-to-ceiling glass doors can fully retreat, creating an indoor-outdoor space of more than 1,600 square feet. There are no gimmicks — no glass-bottom bathroom, waterslide into the ocean or floating breakfasts. The Ritz doesn’t need them — it just focuses on doing everything well.

Almost anything that you can imagine — within reason, of course — can be done at the Ritz. The level of customization and detailed planning is what sets a resort of this caliber apart from others. It all comes at a price, but for many guests, that is beside the point.

Closest airport: From Velana International Airport (MLE), it’s an extra $680 per person for a 45-minute round-trip ferry ride between the resort and the airport. This is not waived on points bookings.

How to book: Nightly rates start at $1,500 for a base-level room, which is a 1,600-square-foot overwater villa. As a Category 8 Marriott Bonvoy property, The Ritz-Carlton will range in price from 70,000 points per night during off-peak season to 100,000 points per night during peak season.

Roku Kyoto, LXR Hotels & Resorts, Kyoto, Japan

Here’s what we love:

  • Hilton’s first Kyoto property.
  • Thermal hot springs and classic teahouses.
  • A modern interpretation of traditional Japanese simplicity.

A classic and authentic Japanese experience can be found in Kyoto, once the capital of Japan, at Roku Kyoto, the first LXR property in the Asia-Pacific region and Hilton’s first in Kyoto. This landmark hotel has been keenly anticipated by Hilton Honors members and luxury hotel fans alike.

Guests of the 114-room property can enjoy views of the Takagamine mountains, Japanese cultural activities including tea ceremonies and soaking in onsen-style thermal hot springs as well as a 24-hour fitness center. There are also spa treatments performed in the traditions of Ayurvedic philosophy.

Nearby sites include the Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Zen temple of Daitoku-ji.

Closest airport: The drive from Osaka Kansai International Airport (KIX) is approximately one hour.

How to book: Nightly rates start at $799. You can redeem 95,000 Hilton Honors points per night for a standard deluxe king room.

Six Senses Shaharut, Israel

Here’s what we love:

  • A true desert oasis.
  • All-suite property.
  • Sunset camel trekking.

Six Senses knows a thing or two about wellness, luxury and sustainability. And the Six Senses Shaharut is dedicated to bringing this ethos to the Negev Desert in Israel.

An all-suite property with rooms measuring at least 645 square feet each, guests can enjoy uninterrupted desert views and private swimming pools. You can be as active or passive as you like during your stay, with activities ranging from luxurious spa treatments to mountain biking or off-road adventures through the rugged terrain.

Ride camels as the sun sets, gaze up to the stars each evening (you won’t have any light pollution in this remote location) and then dine on yard-to-table Israeli delicacies curated by chef Amir Kalfon, from the famed Carmel Forest Spa Resort.

Closest airport: Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV) is a 3.5-hour drive from this remote location.

How to book: Nightly rates start at $817. You can earn and redeem IHG Rewards points at some Six Senses properties around the world, but this new property does not yet have this capability.

Caribbean and Mexico

Hilton Cancun, an All-Inclusive Resort, Cancun, Mexico

Here’s what we love:

  • A Hilton that looks like a Conrad.
  • No resort fees.
  • Excellent Hilton Honors redemption.
large white tropical resort with swimming pool and palm trees next to beach

Hilton has been slower to dive into the all-inclusive market than its competitors, but that’s all about to change with this outstanding new property. The Hilton Cancun is located on 100 acres in the Riviera Maya and is a short and easy drive from nearby Cancun International Airport (CUN).

Forget what you might know of Hilton hotels — this looks more like a luxurious Conrad. Standard rooms are a spacious 430 square feet with large bathrooms and furnished balconies. Those pesky resort fees aren’t charged at the Hilton Cancun either; there’s also no charge for parking and kids under 12 stay for free.

Guests can also enjoy a dozen different on-site restaurants, so you’re unlikely to become bored of the cuisine at this all-inclusive property.

Closest airport: Cancun International Airport (CUN) is just a 15-minute drive away.

How to book: Rates start from $500 per night. An award night in a standard room will set you back 95,000 Hilton points and it looks like free night certificates will be valid at this property.

Rosewood Le Guanahani  St. Barth

Here’s what we love:

  • Many rooms have private pools.
  • Unique location surrounded by two beaches.
  • Views of Grand Cul de Sac.
aerial view of beach resort with lush green trees, chairs along the water, and mountains in the distance.
(Photo courtesy of Rosewood)

The island of St. Barts has seen celebrities like Paul McCartney, Lionel Richie and Beyoncé flock here to enjoy its beautiful tropical beaches and laid-back, French-influenced lifestyle. While the island paradise is known for hotels spaced close together, the Rosewood stands apart with its spread-out, individual bungalows.

Scheduled to open at the end of November, the 66-room Le Guanahani property has been renovated from top to tail, having been closed since 2017 because of the devastating damage caused by hurricanes Maria and Irma.

It’s just a short distance from downtown, though you may not want to leave the property during your stay, since it has a brand-new pool and is just steps from two different beaches, including a reef-protected lagoon. There’s a multilingual kids club where your little ones can learn a touch of French during their stay, too.

Closest airport: The hotel is a 15-minute drive from Gustaf III Saint Barthelemy Airport (SBH). There are no direct flights from the U.S. so you’ll need to connect in San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU), or St. Martin (SXM).

How to book: Rates start at $1,800 per night. Rosewood Hotels does not have a loyalty program.

Featured photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy.

Get Discount