Twelve properties with barely opened doors have already made it onto your list of favorite hotels—from the cheerful Hotel Vermont in New England to the ultra-romantic, adults-only Nayara Springs in Costa Rica. This year, two iconic properties that had been closed for lengthy and extensive renovations—the 489-year-old Gritti Palace in Venice and the 259-year-old D'Angleterre in Copenhagen—are right back on the Readers' Choice Awards list.
1. Nayara Springs, Arenal, Costa Rica
This new boutique hotel is a Costa Rican dream for anyone looking for a secluded vacation spot. Nayara Springs is perched at the top of a rainforest, surrounded by tropical plants and creeks with gorgeous views of Arenal Volcano. Sixteen private villas include plunge pools, gardens, and open-air showers. Located 2 ½ hours from San Jose, this adults-only hotel gets high scores for service, and the spa has indulgent treatments with volcanic mud and chocolate clay.
2. The Langham, Chicago, IL
The Langham Chicago’s airy lobby boasts accents of pink—the hotel chain’s signature color. (It’s even available in a nail polish hue, for sale in the hotel’s charming gift shop). The ceiling sculpture, one of many interesting works of art collected for the hotel, was designed to reflect the flow of the Chicago River. Decorated in two different color tones, guest rooms feature stunning views of the Chicago River, frosted privacy glass concealing the bathroom, and—our favorite feature—a fantastically slick bespoke "cellarette" (a small, portable wine cooler). The rooms' clean lines and simple elegance pay homage to Mies van der Rohe's minimalist aesthetic.
3. The Thompson, Chicago, IL
Four things really stand out at the Windy City’s 247-room Thompson hotel: the superlative service, the location (in the heart of the Gold Coast), the rooms (with their jewel-toned furniture, enormous windows, especially huge showers, and REN products), and, most of all, the restaurant. Ambitious and delicious, Nico Osteria is noted Chicago chef Paul Kahan’s first venture in a hotel. For breakfast, try the tripe alla romana with a sunny-side up egg on top. At dinner, there’s crudo and house-made pasta, like the killer squid ink bucatini with pine nuts, chili, mint, and sardines in carpione.
4. Hotel Vermont, Burlington, VT
The hotel, opened in 2013, is country-contemporary: modern and sleek, yet also warm and welcoming. It hotel stays true to its home state, offering both locally manufactured products and local food—showcased by three great dining establishments, including the second outpost of ‘Vermont’s favorite restaurant,' Hen of the Woods. Burlington’s urban center—with great shopping, cuisine, and nightlife—is just a few short books away, while Lake Champlain, framed by the distant Adirondacks, remind you that nature is just at hand.
5. The Gritti Palace (Luxury Collection), Venice, Italy
Built in 1525, this Venetian-Gothic palace is the former residence of the Vatican ambassadors to Venice. You can’t beat the location on the Grand Canal; interiors present a hand-painted grand piano, woven rugs, marble tiles, and gold-trimmed ceilings. Rooms are done in green, blue, yellow, rose, and ivory and furnished with period antiques. Take in views of the Grand Canal at Club del Doge while dining on Venetian cuisine prepared with local ingredients from the Rialto Market.
6. The Pearl, Rosemary Beach, FL
Lovers of both technology and luxury will find a happy mix of both at The Pearl, which features in-room iPads and Apple TVs alongside poolside mani-pedis and private balconies overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. The hotel boasts a stretch of private beach, and you can opt for spa treatments in a cabana next to the beach. For a truly luxe experience, book the Pearl Suite, an observatory room inside the resort's clock tower, which provides gorgeous ocean views from nearly every angle.
See the other new and comeback hotels that made the list this year.
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