February 21, 2024

The sexiest new hotels for 2024

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The sexiest new hotels for 2024

Editor’s Note: Sign up for Unlocking the World, CNN Travel’s weekly newsletter. Get the latest news in aviation, food and drink, where to stay and other travel developments.



CNN
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This is the time when we start thinking of travels for 2024. Will we go back to our old favorites? Try somewhere new? Or strike out towards somewhere we’d never imagined going, purely to stay in a new hotel we like the look of?

This list tries to do just that – spotlight the hotels opening (or reopening, as one of them is) in 2024 that make us want to visit for the hotel alone. Properties with a little bit of oomph – the sexy hotels of 2024, as we like to call them.

With the caveat that most of them are still under construction, so we have renderings rather than photos, here are 24 of our favorites opening this year.

Matca means “queen bee” in Romanian – and while that’s officially in homage to the onsite colony (as well as the beekeeping tradition in Transylvania), it also doubles as a nickname for the hotel, which is bringing new levels of luxury to the Carpathian mountains, not far from the city of Brașov. Transylvania’s bucolic landscapes have long been a favorite of those in the know – the UK’s King Charles has a house two hours north – and hilltop Matca fills its 16 rooms with the spirit of the region, from handcarved rustic wooden beds and wardrobes, to traditional rugs slung over the floorboards and rough, almost putty-ish walls. The main hotel, with a spa and local-sourcing restaurant, is located across two fortified farmhouses, and there are also 10 private villas scattered amid the grounds. Opened January 1.

From $417

Hotel Maria is here to brighten up Helsinki's dark winter days.

Only one thing can cheer up the perma darkness of a Finnish winter: a fancy new hotel. The Maria is already ready and waiting for you – it flung open its doors on December 15. Two more things to get you through the cold snap: a wellness concierge and, for high rollers, “spa suites” with in-room soaking tubs, plus private saunas or steam rooms.

The hotel sprawls across four protected buildings dating back to 1885, and as such the look is modern classic, with plenty of chrome, copper and dove gray, minimalistic modern chandeliers, and big windows to let as much of that light as possible into the supersized rooms. Restaurant Lilja piles Finnish produce on the plate, including seaweed from its dedicated buoy.

From $497

Hotel Casa Lucia's 52ft pool is a work of art.

Argentina looks set to be entering a period of political and financial uncertainty in 2024, but this new Buenos Aires hotel is looking backward, not forward – to the city’s golden age a century ago. Opening later in January in the Edificio Mihanovich, an art deco skyscraper built by a shipping magnate in the Retiro district, the Casa Lucia is the new iteration of the former Sofitel – but it’s moving up in the world, putting it on a similar swank level to the uber-fancy Faena. With wood and chrome accents, the décor’s relatively minimalist in the 142 rooms, perhaps to put the focus on the views of the city and the River Plate outside. Downstairs is another matter, with contemporary Argentinian art, lashings of marble and a 52-foot pool. Wine buffs will love Le Club Bacan, officially a cocktail bar – but one with 400 labels of Argentina’s best wines.

From $670

The Leinster will bring competition to the famous Merrion Square.

For all too long, there’s only been room for one famous hotel on Dublin’s Merrion Square. The Leinster’s New Year’s resolution for 2024 is to change that. Opening in February, it’s bringing an almost Kit Kemp style of boutique chic to the formidable square, with lively patterned headboards brightening the crisply modern rooms, contemporary Irish artwork splashed around the public areas, and a sexy rooftop restaurant overlooking Georgian Dublin, serving Irish-French-southeast Asian fusion food – now there’s a combo you don’t hear often. The Collins Club cocktail bar looks set to be a hit. The other hotel on the square – The Merrion – had better look to its laurels.

From $275

Kibale Lodge will have a prime position in Kibale National Park.

Volcanoes Safaris has been known for its top-level eco-tourism lodges in Uganda and Rwanda for over two decades, and this new opening, in Kibale National Park, is one for chimpanzee lovers. The park has a community of over 1,000 chimps – the closest species to us humans, with 90% odds of spotting one – as well as 12 other kinds of primate. The lodge, meanwhile, will sprawl across a 150-acre site with views of the Rwenzori Mountains, Queen Elizabeth plains, and the beloved-by-hippos Kazinga Channel, which links Lakes Edward and George. Permits to go chimp spotting are cheaper than gorilla trekking – which helps with the rates.

It’s opening in parts – three bandas (traditional cabins) by May, and five more by the end of the year. There will also be a spa, sauna and pool.

From $1,200pp, including full board plus alcohol, laundry, activities and spa treatments

Palazzo Cordusio is a landmark building in Italy's fashion capital.

Plenty of visitors to Italy skip Milan, leaving all the more space for you in this jaw-dropper of a building. Palazzo Venezia was built as an insurance company headquarters from 1897 to 1901, back when eclecticism was the architectural style of the day. On busy Piazza Cordusio, a short walk from the Duomo (which you’ll spy from the rooftop), this new five star has elegant rooms with a slight turn-of-century feel (all the wood and Rubelli textiles), a cocktail bar in a lovely inner courtyard, and food from the Italian islands on the rooftop. There’s also Japanese restaurant Sachi, with a terrace overlooking the Duomo and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. It opened in December, so feel free to stride on over.

From $890

Anantara Mina Al Arab will sit over a lagoon off Ras Al Khaimah.

Opening in January plum on the Arabian Gulf, this is under an hour from Dubai, but couldn’t feel further away. Ras Al Khaimah, the northernmost emirate on the border with Oman, is focusing on nature and adventure tourism, sprinkling visitors between the mountains, desert and beaches. This is part of the latter, situated on Mina Al Arab, an island just offshore from the town of Al Riffa. Despite being close to civilization, it sits in a mangrove lagoon, surrounded by protected wetlands where turtles, dolphins and flamingos frolic. An eco resort, its 174 rooms feature recycled fabrics and plastics, and sustainable wood, while the overwater villas are the first for the emirate.

From $525

The Residence Douz is bringing Saharan tradition to its five-star digs.

Right now temperatures are hovering around a sunny 60F (16C) in Douz, a gateway to the Sahara in Tunisia – and luckily, this hotel has just opened. Fifty whitewashed, flat-roofed villas sprawl around the grounds between palm trees, with décor inspired by the local tradition: minimalist wood-framed four-posters, brass lantern-style lamps, leather sofas and simple wooden chairs. There are two restaurants (or they can arrange private desert dining on request) as well as a hammam and spa, for when desert lounging gets too hard. Although you should get out, too – whether by Jeep, quadbike or camel – to nearby places including a salt lake and desert hot springs. The semi-underground cave homes of Matmata are within day trip distance, as is Toujane, famous for its handwoven rugs.

From $313

Soho House's budget brand Mollie's will move into a legendary Manchester TV studio.

In 1962, the Beatles made their TV debut in Granada Studios in the UK’s Manchester. Six decades later, it’s time for you to make an entrance, as the venue – now called the Old Granada Studios – will open a sassy hotel that also happens to be affordable. The legendary Manchester landmark (soap opera “Coronation Street” used to be filmed here and the Sex Pistols also made their TV debut in the studios) will be reinvented this year, as Mollie’s moves in. The 130-room hotel will be the third for the budget brand created by Soho House, who’ll also have a private members’ club in the building. Mollie’s venues always pair Soho House-lite décor with a retro US vibe, so you can expect boutique-style rooms (soothing wooden headboards, coyly clashing colors to the walls and furnishings, terrazzo flooring) with a classic diner featuring plenty of chrome and leather booths.

Rates TBC, but other Mollie’s properties start at $88

This gorgeous new ryokan will sit just 90 minutes away from Tokyo.

Nowhere does hot springs quite like Japan, and April sees the opening of this new ryokan traditional inn at Akiu, known for its thermal waters for 1,500 years. While it might have been tricky to get there in the past, today it’s an easy 90 minutes on the bullet train from Tokyo, or 30 minutes from Sendai. There are views of the forested valley and river below from the couch-lined window seats in each of the 49 rooms, while outside are the onsen baths, including hot baths, a body temperature pool and a terrace-set foot bath – perfect for recovering after a day hiking and cycling around the nearby gorges and Akiu Otaki waterfalls.

From $435

One&Only Za’abeel, Dubai (UAE)

One&Only's third Dubai resort looks set to be a knockout.

In a city of superlatives, it takes a lot to stand out. One&Only’s third resort in Dubai, which opens January 5, manages to do that with no fewer than six Michelin-starred chefs working across 11 restaurants, and the longest infinity pool in the UAE. The “vertical urban resort” is part of One Za’abeel, a twin-tower development whose two skyscrapers are linked by a glass corridor 320 feet above the ground. One&Only calls this corridor the “boulevard of the future,” filled with a bar, restaurants from six Michelin-rated chefs, and that pool layered on top, with olive trees for shade. As for the rooms, they’re light and bright, thanks to the glass walls letting the Dubai sun in, with swirls of color behind the beds and on the rugs slung artfully over the floor.

From $470

The renewed Kempinski is in a grande dame German palace with 300 years of history.

The oldies often have the best stories to tell, and this German grande dame, with nearly 300 years of history, is up there with the best. A castle, and a former royal residence to boot, the palace was destroyed in World War II along with much of Dresden, and was rebuilt in the early 1990s. After a 14-month closure for a facelift, it’ll reopen February 16.

It’s more characterful than a lot of superlux hotels – think gorgeous pattered wallpaper, and warm, clashing colors across both furniture and furnishings, although you can also choose a more standard lux room. High rollers will like the new 4,000 square foot Royal Suite, complete with hand-painted walls by French studio Atelier Hector.

From $290

Baja California is about to get another shot of wellness.

Looking for a new year reset? Wait till next month, and this will make it worth it. In the rocky, lunar landscapes of the Valle de Guadalupe, this (opening February 15) will be the second outing for Veya, Banyan Tree’s wellness-focused brand. The super-slick resort, designed by Mexican architect Michel Rojkind, slots in 30 villas on butte-like hills, all with their own pool, and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the valley, from mountain peaks surrounding it to vineyards on the float below. The spa will include traditional temazcal (sweat lodge) rituals and hydrotherapy in a desert spring. Not quite swung by wellness? Valle de Guadalupe is one of Mexico’s best wine regions, and there’ll be a vineyard and winery onsite.

From $599

The Moxy Banff will park up at a 1960s motor lodge.

Marriott’s millennial-focused Moxy brand usually knocks it out of the park when it comes to sassy but affordable, and this addition to Banff’s mountain scene is no different. This is an old 1960s motor hotel, and retro is the name of the game, from the racetrack-style looped bar with an old VW camper van in the corner, to the rooms, which veer from wood-clad walls to plaid-style décor behind the bed. (Speaking of which, with bunks and toe-to-toe twins this is a good bet for groups.) Apres-ski consists of hot tubs and fire pits in the courtyard, and even checking in nets you a free cocktail. Opens January 15.

From $225

The Star Grand Hotel, Brisbane (Australia)

The Star Grand is part of a huge regeneration of Brisbane.

Grand really does mean grand at this April opening. Brisbane is rapidly changing in anticipation of hosting the 2032 summer Olympics, and the riverfront Queen’s Wharf development is part of that. Two arc-shaped buildings turning towards the river form the hotel, with some rooms overlooking the river and others plunged straight into the skyscrapers of the CBD. The décor suits the modern grande dame feel, with marble and chrome-topped cabinets, slightly art deco-style lighting, and fancy swirling carpets. Three pools overlook the river.

Alongside three other hotels, the area will have 50 bars and restaurants to host your jet lag, as well as a restaurant-filled “Sky Deck” 320 feet above the Brisbane River.

From $204

Casa Andina Madre de Dios (Peru)

Casa Andina Madre de Dios will be a remote Peruvian riverside retreat.

This Peruvian chain has carved out a brilliant niche in reasonably priced boutique properties throughout Peru, which are reliably lovely but far more affordable than the big global brands. Its 44th property, opening in March, will be in the remote Madre de Dios region, bordering Brazil and Bolivia in the southeast of the country. From the looks of the renderings, the decor will be comfortingly rustic, echoing the location: on the Tambopata River, perfect for watching birds (including macaws), butterflies and getting up close to the Peruvian jungle.

Rates TBC

Gundari, Folegandros (Greece)

Never heard of Folegandros? You'll be booking your ferry ticket once Gundari opens.

There are 80 acres of wilderness to explore at Gundari, which means you may never make it off Folegandros, an island in the Cyclades, but a world away from neighbor Santorini. The hotel – just 25 suites– sits within a bird-filled nature reserve. Forget the blinding whitewash of traditional Greek island hotels – this brings a more international feel, with putty-colored walls, feature headboards, local wood and stone galore, and private infinity pools overlooking the Aegean Sea. That’s all yours; then to share, there’s a swim-up cocktail bar in the cliff-edge pool, a wine bar, and a subterranean spa, chiseled into the cliffs, which combines ancient Greek tradition with island herbs.

From $554

The Hoxton will bring its affordable style to Vienna in March.

What started out as a single hotel in London’s trendy Hoxton district has mushroomed into a veritable empire of properties in 11 major cities around the world – and the 12th, Vienna, will be graced with a Hoxton in March. In a 1950s building in the third district, Landstrasse, it’s going all out with a midcentury vibe, with rich-grained woods and lashings of velvet in the 196 rooms (there’s always a refreshing honesty about Hoxton room descriptions, so here you can book anything from Shoebox to Biggy). Plus there’s an obligatory rooftop bar, a basement speakeasy and an ambitious events auditorium.

From $132

Voaara will be a barefoot luxury resort off the coast of Madagascar.

What could be more idyllic than Madagascar? Try an island off Madagascar itself. Sainte-Marie, a strip of an island off the northeast coast, will be the home of this small resort of eight bungalows and a villa (though they’re expected to grow to a maximum 45 as time goes on). Owner Philippe Kjellgren is a hotel lover rather than a hotelier, so he’s building this in the footsteps of his favorite retreats around the world, and then adding in touches of responsible travel, from the 80% local staff he plans to employ, and a portion of profits going to local causes, to the reclaimed wood and local stone used in the buildings. This is barefoot luxury – the villa’s living room, for instance, is open to the elements, and throughout the resort you’ll stay surrounded by nature, not least the humpback whales that migrate along the coast from June to October. It’ll open with two restaurants, rising to five as the new bungalows are built. A spa is planned for later in 2024, too.

From $495

Aman fans will love its new urban opening in Bangkok.

If you’ve stayed in an Aman, you’ll already know whether you’re a fan of the brand (a self-declared “Amanjunkie”) or if their hyper personalized service is a little too full on for you. If you’re in the former camp, you’ll be beating a quick path to its first urban hotel, in Nai Lert Park in the Thai capital’s embassy district, planned to open in the second half of 2024. This really is different from the brand’s regular properties – a unusual, key-shaped skyscraper topped with an infinity pool, its 36 floors stuffed with 52 suites and 50 residences.

Rates TBC

Romeo Roma will bring the same pizzazz to the Italian capital that its sister hotel brought to Naples.

Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? In Italy, still. The original was in Naples, revolutionizing the city’s dusty hotel scene with its full throttle, flashy luxury. It’s been so successful that it’s spawned a sibling. Opening spring, Romeo Roma is one of the last projects from starchitect Zaha Hadid before her 2016 death. Right by Rome’s Piazza del Popolo, in a palazzo dating back to the 17th century, it’ll blend signature Hadid touches like the flowing, liquid-like staircase and furnishings as floaty as mercury, with original frescoes and lashings of Italian marble.

Rates TBC

Princeton will get a studiously themed Graduate in May.

We’ll take adaptive reuse over newbuild any day, so this new opening for Graduate Hotels – which sets up in university towns across the US and UK – is one to watch. A former students’ dormitory built in 1918 will reopen in May as the 34th for the brand, with a lounge styled as an Ivy League library (only with a 30-foot communal table there’s no need to be silent in this one), and characterful rooms gussied up with deep blue walls, pinkish drapes and elaborately carved headboards.

Rates TBC

Guests will stay in cabins or glamping tents at this luxury beachfront property.

Habitas (or HABITAS as it calls itself) is a small, hippy dippy American chain concentrating on barefoot luxury properties in countries like Morocco and Mexico. For spring 2024, Costa Rica’s on the cards, with this beachfront hotel at surfer central Santa Teresa, on the Pacific Coast. The rooms are ridiculously plush cabins and glamping tents, scattered from the beachfront to what it calls the “jungle” behind.

This airport resort will focus on the indigenous connections in the local area.

And now for something completely different. Airport hotels aren’t usually sexy – and neither, to be honest, are Mercures. However, pool villas, a larger-than-Olympic-sized regular pool and sustainability programs certainly are, meaning this resort by Darwin Airport might just become a destination in itself.

An amalgamation of two existing hotels – both completely renovated – the resort sits on the land of the Larrakia Nation, which takes center stage in the décor, with aboriginal art all over the resort (including vast outdoor murals) and villas named after Territorians. Different areas of the property are dedicated to different Northern Territory regions, and Larrakia guides will lead guests on walking tours to a nearby creek. There will also be an onsite Indigenous Training Academy to staff up the hotel.

But what are the rooms like? Existing ones have been refurbished, and new pool villas, suites and bungalows have been added to the mix. Pool villas are cute cabins with patio doors opening on the open-to-the-elements plunge pools, while the bungalows will be wood-clad, tropical spaces. Even regular rooms have been given some va-va-voom with bright, clashing colors. TripAdvisor reviews are mixed to say the least so far, but the renovations aren’t complete, so we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for now.

From $129