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Our Favourite Hotel Stays of 2018

From spa treatments in a warm lagoon to cool bands in a basement bar, here are 15 new hotels to check out.

NATURE

Montage Kapalua Bay

Photo: Montage Kapalua Bay

MAUI, HAWAII

Montage Kapalua Bay

On a peninsula on northwestern Maui, this lush property embodies ahupua’a, the Hawaiian concept acknowledging the connection between land and sea. The hotel’s 50 residences have been completely renovated, with fully equipped kitchens, down to the pizza cutter. Enjoy views of Kapalua Bay while lounging on a poolside daybed. But who wants to stare at the scenery when you can explore it? Rent a mask and flippers and head to the bay, known as one of the best snorkelling spots in Hawaii. The water is clear enough to see needlefish and parrotfish, and deep enough to watch moray eels, from a distance.

Montage Kapalua Bay

Photo: Montage Kapalua Bay

Culture Club

Cultural host Silla Kaina upholds and teaches Hawaiian traditions and, after her hour-long ukelele lesson, you’ll be able to strum a few tunes, as well as correct your friends who pronounce it youkaleylee instead of ookooleyley.

montagehotels.com/kapaluabay

Ventana Big Sur

Photo: Ventana Big Sur, An Alila Resort

BIG SUR, CALIFORNIA

Ventana Big Sur

The Big Sur coast is dotted with hippie hiking camps, wellness retreats and top-end resorts – and this 160-acre property is a flawless blend of all three. Fresh off an eight-month renaissance, Ventana takes a low-impact, high-rewards approach to hospitality, integrating rustic, ultra-luxe guest rooms with eco-friendly prac- tices, like recycling grey water. Ask resident naturalist Jamie Siebold to guide you on a hike exploring the flora, fauna and different terrain that define this coast: pristine ocean shoreline and shady redwood canyons. Afterward, soak in the onsen hot tub, or pair a glass of Navarro pinot noir with a Pacific sunset.

Ventana Big Sur

Photo: Ventana Big Sur, An Alila Resort

Room to Book

In Ventana’s redwood glampsites, tents are outfitted with electric blankets and the almighty hot-water bottle, plus a s’mores kit for your own gas fire.

ventanabigsur.com

Tofino Resort + Marina

Photo: Tofino Resort + Marina (left); Joshua Lawrence (right)

TOFINO, B.C.

Tofino Resort + Marina

British Columbia-born professional hockey players Dan Hamhuis and Willie Mitchell, with business partner Andrew Purdy, took a 1980s motel, stripped it to the studs and turned it into a stylish and simple 62-room hotel with a full-service marina and mountain views, where the ocean’s bounty ends up on your line and on your plate. After a day of heli-fishing or angling for albacore tuna on your GPS self-guided boat, retreat to the resort on the Tofino Inlet and grab a patio table at 1909 Kitchen to feast on cedar-roasted black cod and foraged mushrooms from chef Paul Moran. Order a Diefenbaker smoked cocktail of whisky, amaro and maple syrup to cheers the sun setting behind the sparkling sound.

Tofino Resort + Marina

Photo: Jeremy Koreski

Dish of the Day

Bring your catch to chef Moran, who will prepare it to order in his 1,000°F wood-fired Mugnaini oven and serve it with seasonal veggies.

tofinoresortandmarina.com

WELLNESS

Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita

Photo: Petr Myska (left)

PUNTA MITA, MEXICO

Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita

This hilly Nayarit resort is shaping up for its 20th birthday with a string of wellness retreats based on the four elements. Get grounded with cliffside hatha yoga and twist toward pelicans hanging ten on volcanic boulders, then make waves during an Aqua Forza class – doing burpees and squats on a floating exercise board, you’ll discover muscles you didn’t know you had (and probably fall into the beach-facing pool). Menus at all three on-site restaurants are fired up with healthy vegan options, like dehydrated watermelon that you sear at your table on a sizzling river rock. End the day at Playa la Manzanilla for a meditation session to the sound of singing Tibetan bowls.

Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita

Photo: Efren Alfaro

Souvenir

Retox at the hotel’s tequila workshop and taste four types of Casa San Matías’ small-batch agave liquor before blending your own bottle – our smooth mix of 20 percent reposado, 60 percent añejo and 20 percent extra añejo made it well worth checking a bag.

fourseasons.com

Amanyangyun

Photo: Aman

MINHANG, SHANGHAI

Amanyangyun

In 2002, when a reservoir scheme threatened to flood a Ming-era village, businessman Ma Dadong had 50 stone villas transported to a meadowland 25 kilometres outside Shanghai, and had 10,000 ancient camphor trees transplanted to the relaxation getaway’s grounds. The Aman brand mixed the structures, with swooping gables and carved pediments, into a calm space with minimalist suites in sleek greystone outbuildings. Calligraphy workshops in a Qing-era schoolhouse set the pace for a meditation session over ceremonial incense.

aman.com

Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge

Photo: Lee Horbachewski

KANANASKIS VILLAGE, ALBERTA

Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge

Picture light snow falling as you swim in a heated outdoor pool. Just don’t get too comfortable – you’ll soon be taking a 10°C plunge. At Alberta’s first Nordic spa, part of this revamped Autograph Collection Hotel, the transition between stops in the thermal circuit is toasty. Paths that link steam and sauna cabins are warm on the feet, and heated hammocks sway around the sanctuary. Add a Powder Hound blonde ale at Two Trees Bistro, and you will feel zero guilt about skipping the slopes.

Kidding Around

The skating rink, scavenger hunts and movie nights keep wee ones in the game.

lodgeatkananaskis.com

Retreat at Blue Lagoon

Photo: Blue Lagoon Iceland

GRINDAVÍK, ICELAND

Retreat at Blue Lagoon

Surrounded by milky-blue mineral water, this 62-suite spot feels more like an alternate universe than a luxury hotel. The structure’s hyper-contemporary design flows into the black rock of the Reykjanes Peninsula, and TV-free rooms encourage visitors to gawk at the green-fringed moonscape. Drag yourself away: The main draw remains the private access to Iceland’s famed Blue Lagoon, where you can enjoy an in-water massage while floating in a warm pool far from the selfie-snapping crowds. At the spa, visit the subterranean steam cave and settle in for a three-part scrub using minerals, algae and silica gathered on site. Recharge by settling into a nest chair and letting your mind float away.

Retreat at Blue Lagoon

Photo: Blue Lagoon Iceland

Nordic Noshes

Icelandic cuisine can be a hard sell for the less adventurous (hello, fermented shark), but Moss Restaurant delights with buttery Westfjord scallops, Arctic char sashimi and local reindeer smoked in a tableside spruce log.

bluelagoon.com/accommodation

URBAN

The Plymouth South Beach

Photo: The Plymouth Miami Beach

MIAMI

The Plymouth South Beach

The checked tile deck, potted palm trees and coral-coloured lounge chairs secure the Plymouth pool as the highlight of the courtyard at this 1940s art deco treasure. Renovations by Fernando Santangelo – the genius behind the Chateau Marmont’s restoration – give the swimming area a Côte d’Azur charm. It’s easy to forget that the frenzy of South Beach is only two blocks away from this Small Luxury Hotels of the World property. Settle into a cabana and order a Sake Tini (Sotō sake, Nolet’s gin and Giffard pink-grapefruit liqueur) or take advantage of all-day poolside brunch via a plate of fried quinoa with poached eggs and bacon.

The Plymouth South Beach

Photo: The Plymouth Miami Beach

Raw Ingredients

The Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill now has an outpost in SoBe and, thanks to its late-night menu on Friday and Saturday, you can order delicate raw fish until 2 a.m.

theplymouth.com

Torel Avantgarde

Photo: Luis Ferraz

PORTO

Torel Avantgarde

From the second you see the reception’s light fixture made with empty wine bottles hanging above a wooden desk carved with spirals by sculptor Paulo Neves, you’ll know: This 47-room property takes Portuguese creativity to heart. Local artists and designers transformed the 1940s building into a work of art, so make sure to end a night at the Sala Das Flores living room to lounge on a sleek red divan. Order a tart port and tonic and gaze at the thousands of flowers hanging overhead and adorning the walls – after a few P&Ts, you might be convinced you’re sipping in an enchanted garden.

torelavantgarde.com

Boxotel

Photo: Félix Rioux

MONTRÉAL

Boxotel

Once a commercial print shop, this sleek spot offers an eco-friendly, peaceful hideaway in downtown’s Quartier des Spectacles. It’s no fluke that your teched-out room basks in natural light: The hotel’s sun-oriented windows, solar thermal panels and heat-retaining concrete floors were all designed to reduce energy consumption. Apartment-like lofts have smart features that allow you to control lights, temperature and music from the TV screen, so you never have to leave the bed. That is, until you want to caffeinate at Café Nomade or take in the exhibit at on-site 175B art gallery, like Confluence that mixes pieces by local female artists.

boxotel.com

White City House

LONDON

White City House

When the minibar set-up rivals a Mad Men bar cart, you’d be forgiven for lingering in your mid-century room (we’re talking coupes, green olives and an atomizer for misting your glass with vermouth for a perfect dry martini). But as a guest of this Soho House hotel – located in the sprawling Television Centre, headquarters of the BBC from 1960 to 2013 – you get access to the members-only floors, with chic remote working zones, restaurants, bars and a rooftop pool to see and be seen. Head up for a spectacular view of West London, a Pisco & Plum Sour and tuna tataki in a fragrant truffle soy sauce, as a live band plays bangers like “Royals” and “Despacito.”

White City House

History Class

Bask in the glory days of broadcasting, celebrated throughout with art inspired by the building’s history and pieces from the BBC archives, including a drawing submitted by eight-year-old Sue Webster, now a celebrated British artist.

whitecityhouse.com

STYLISH STAYS

The Anndore House

Photo: Maxime Brouillet

TORONTO

The Anndore House

You could stroll into this spot just south of Yonge and Bloor without knowing it’s a hotel: With its barbershop, third-wave coffee counter and cocktail bar, the main floor is like a self-care arcade for the urban affluential. Upstairs, studio apartment-style rooms feature record players, sofas and tables fit for a work sesh. But why work when you can refresh your shave? Make a breakfast date with Constantine’s avo toast: thick-sliced rye anointed with shallot marmalade, avocado and dukkah eggs.

Tech It Out

Download the hotel app to use your smartphone as a room key.

theanndorehouse.com

Jupiter Next Hotel

Photo: Christopher Dibble

PORTLAND, OREGON

Jupiter Next Hotel

Located next to its sister property – the updated motor inn Jupiter Hotel (hence the name) – this new 67-room building in the city’s Central Eastside has plenty of creative workspaces. Live out childhood dreams of scribbling on forbidden surfaces: Meeting rooms are equipped with a whiteboard table and chalkboard walls for plenty of drawing room. After a day of getting down to business, head to Doug Fir – the 300-capacity basement bar hosts bands like Sports (indie Oklahomans who look like sexy cowboys from the future).

jupiterhotel.com

FAMILY

Rosewood Bermuda

Photo: Rosewood Bermuda

HAMILTON PARISH, BERMUDA

Rosewood Bermuda

Gone are the days when a sunny vacation with children meant dispatching them to the clubhouse. At this 240-acre resort, lounge by the infinity pool as the kids join a game of Marco Polo or slurp banana smoothies (you can sip something more adult). An alfresco chef’s dinner can stretch on when the kids run off to chase wild chickens in the garden. Once your waiter arrives to point out the constellations with an app, you’ll know the stars have aligned.

Rosewood Bermuda

Photo: Rosewood Bermuda

When to Go

Bermuda’s best weather, hovering just below 30°C, comes in late spring and early summer.

rosewoodhotels.com

The George

Photo: Lesley Unruh

MONTCLAIR, NEW JERSEY

The George

Makeup mogul Bobbi Brown knows a thing or two about makeovers, so she teamed up with her husband to transform a sleepy former inn into an upscale destination. The hotel boasts family-friendly British style: See the tartan and Union Jacks designs in rooms named after their children. Family suites with two beds are perfect for your whole clan – tots can camp out in a tent, and even pooches get VIP treatment with custom beds. Spend an afternoon in the library with a glass of Chianti, while your kids plot their next tic-tac-toe moves.

thegeorgemontclair.com

Tags

ALBERTA     BERMUDA     BRITISH COLUMBIA     CALIFORNIA     CANADA     CHINA     ENGLAND     FLORIDA     HAWAII     HOTELS     ICELAND     LONDON     MEXICO     MIAMI     MONTREAL     NEW JERSEY     ONTARIO     OREGON     PORTLAND     PORTO     PORTUGAL     QUEBEC     SHANGHAI     TOFINO     TORONTO     UNITED STATES