While travel remained on pause for many of us in 2021, the hospitality industry forged ahead. With spectacular new options ranging from luxury safari tents to beachfront villas, there’s plenty of material to tide your wanderlust over. Read on for our top 9 must-visit hotels of 2022.
What’s the deal: Opened in June 2021, Airelles Chateau de Versaille, Le Grand Controle is a gorgeous new 14-room hotel set in the grounds of the Palace of Versailles. The 21st century fades away thanks to meticulous attention to period details – though modern luxuries remain are still found everywhere, from the Alain Ducasse-badged restaurant to the stately Valmont Spa.
Why stay: A committee of French cultural experts was convened to ensure the restoration was faithful at every level – from salvaging stonework to restoring parquet flooring and updating the wall panelling. There was also a four-year countrywide hunt to recover original furnishings and artifacts.
Don’t miss: The chance to wander the peaceful palace gardens every morning, like a 17th-century courtier.
12 Rue de l’Indépendance Américaine, 78000 Versailles, France, (+33)1 85 36 05 50
Credit: Andrew Beasley for The Londoner
What’s the deal: After six years of construction and a £500 million (HKD5 billion) investment, Leicester Square’s The Londoner opened in September 2021, making it one of the best new hotels of the year. It is London’s first ‘iceberg hotel’, with the property’s 16 storeys taking up more space underground than above, thanks to a mammoth excavation project. This subterranean wonder boasts 350 guest rooms, 35 suites, a cinema, a floor dedicated to wellness, and six restaurants and lounges.
Why stay: The hotel is ideally situated right in the heart of the West End, next to world-famous London landmarks including Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and The National Portrait Gallery.
Don’t miss: Whitcomb’s: The Londoner’s signature restaurant, which serves up contemporary French Mediterranean cuisine.
38 Leicester Square, London, UK, (+44) 20 7451 0101
What’s the deal: Known by avid safari-goers as the safari camp of the Kalahari, Jack’s Camp recently reopened after a major renovation – and it’s every bit as amazing as we dreamed it would be. This new hotel opening retains the adventurous spirit of the original, but with decadent upgrades including modern cooling systems, outdoor showers, and private veranda plunge pools. One thing that remains unchanged is Jack’s decision to remain refreshingly free of Wi-Fi.
Why stay: As the only safari operation for almost 100 miles, it’s the perfect place to succumb to blissful silence in-between game drives.
Don’t miss: The comprehensive collection of artefacts dotted about the property, from campaign chests to Persian rugs.
Jack’s Camp, Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, Kalahari Desert, Botswana, (+415) 814-6676
Related: 4 of Africa’s finest safari lodges
What’s the deal: Due to open in early 2022, Jumeirah’s Oman hotel debut will be set in a secluded bay in the Gulf of Oman, with the dramatic Al Hajar mountains as a backdrop. The design of Jumeirah Muscat Bay was inspired by local village architecture, with three levels of accommodation mirroring a different lifestyle: Jebel (mountain living), Bustan (oasis living), and Shat’ee (beach-living), with all rooms offering unobstructed views over the Arabian Sea’s turquoise waters.
Why stay: The archaeological ruins that surround this uniquely designed hotel offer the chance to take a deep dive into Oman’s history.
Don’t miss: The state-of-the-art Talise spa: the perfect way to relax and rejuvenate after a hard day’s exploring.
Bandar Jissah, Muscat Bay, Oman, (+968) 2493 1000
What’s the deal: Tucked away in the heart of Jaipur’s jewellery bazaar, The Johri at Lal Haveli is a lovingly restored 19th-century merchant’s townhouse. Designed by New-York-based designer Naina Shah, the three-storey property pays homage to Rajasthan’s rich heritage, featuring antique furniture, indigenous art and textiles and traditional materials. This new hotel is unlike other properties in the area, with just five spacious suites available, all of which overlook a traditional courtyard.
Why stay: This intimate hotel accommodates just 10 guests, making it a one-of-a-kind sanctuary in hectic Jaipur.
Don’t miss: Breakfast served in the central courtyard: it’s the perfect tranquil setting before you embark on a day’s exploration of the Pink City.
3950, MSB Ka Rasta, Johri Bazaar, Ghat Darwaza, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302003, India, (+91) 89055 51681
Related: 10 must-try Indian dishes
What’s the deal: Set to open in January 2022, the newest addition to Hoshino Resorts’ KAI line of ryokans is nothing short of spectacular. Inspired by the art and culture of the indigenous Ainu people, KAI Poroto seamlessly blends traditional culture with modern comforts to create a unique new hot spring hotel experience on the shores of Lake Poroto on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido.
Why stay: From the Ainu motifs in the rooms to stunning lake views, every element has been designed to help you reconnect with nature.
Don’t miss: The onsen itself. The open-air bath is filled with the waters of Shiraoi, which are rich in nutritious plant matter.
1-1018-94 Wakakusa, Shiraoi, Hokkaido, 059-0902, (+81) 50-3786-1144
Related: The art of Japan’s plastic food
What’s the deal: Once a tired motel, The Sunseeker has been given a total makeover and is quickly becoming the coolest spot to stay in Byron Bay. A team of artists and designers has helped revitalise this red-brick building, retaining the original bones and heritage but delivering a thoroughly modern spin. The result? A simple, charming surf-shack with retro design elements that give it a fun, nostalgic feel.
Why stay: The cool, creative, feel-good vibes of Byron Bay are in strong supply, and service is always accompanied with a smile.
Don’t miss: The poolside tiki bar, which serves a tempting list of small-batch organic wines and beer.
100 Bangalow Road, Byron Bay NSW 2481, Australia, +61 2 6685 8900
Related: 6 of Sydney’s best coastal walks
What’s the deal: Located in Boston’s Back Bay area, The Newbury opened its doors in May 2021. But this historic address is no stranger to welcoming guests, having first opened as The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in 1927 and then as the Taj Boston in 2007. The contemporary yet charming rooms feature wood-burning fireplaces, sweeping views of the city, and thoughtful modern touches.
Why stay: The hotel has partnered with Major Food Group (the same people behind Italian-American favourite Carbone) so you can expect dreamy cuisine.
Don’t miss: The rooftop restaurant. Not only does it offer views over the Boston Commons, but in the warmer months you can take it all in alfresco.
One Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116, USA, (+1) 617–536–5700
What’s the deal: 1 Hotel Toronto has opened in King West Village – also known as Canada’s coolest neighbourhood. This urban escape in the heart of downtown Toronto captures the beauty of the city’s natural environment through the use of locally sourced, sustainable materials such as reclaimed fallen trees and limestone. Each room has floor-to-ceiling windows that offer sweeping views of Toronto’s skyline and are decorated in a soothing colour palette of oaty beiges, soft whites, and pastel pinks.
Why stay: The hotel’s sustainability efforts include a zero-waste kitchen, on-site composting and carbon offsets.
Don’t miss: Casa Madera – the first Canadian venture from experiential dining experts The Madera Group. The restaurant serves up reimagined coastal and Mexican cuisine exclusively using organic suppliers located within a 50-km radius.
550 Wellington Street, W Toronto, ON M5V 2V4, Canada, (+1) 416-640-7778