As the curtain falls on the year, it’s clear that travel has morphed into something far more than just getting from A to B. It’s become a full-throttle escape from the mundane, a headfirst dive into the exhilarating unknown. 2023 wasn’t just another year. It was a game-changer in the world of high-end hospitality, rolling out a global carpet of hotels that took luxury, comfort and sheer boldness to new heights as—let’s be honest—the first true post-pandemic year of travel. This year’s international lineup—setting aside the domestic big hitters for their own spotlight—spanned from the Austrian Alps’ snowy majesty to Melbourne’s electric buzz, from Montenegro’s serene beaches to Japan’s deep cultural wonders.
This guide is your insider pass to the ultimate travel experiences. We’re diving deep into the heart of each destination, offering more than just a room—these are stories waiting to be lived, memories waiting to be made. Whether it’s an eco-luxe hideaway hugged by nature or a swanky urban sanctuary buzzing with life, each spot has been handpicked for its power to thrust you into extraordinary realms. Get ready for a journey through 2023’s most exciting international hotel openings, where each hotel in this distinguished set will spark extraordinary stories and experiences upon check-in. We guarantee it.
4 Marvell St, Byron Bay NSW 2481, Australia
Byron Bay, once a scruffy surfers’ haven 480 miles from Sydney, now has its first five-star hotel. Hotel Marvell is a three-story, eco-chic wonder, rising from the ashes of an old Queenslander, courtesy of Melbourne’s hospitality hotshots, Scott Didier and Scott Emery. It’s a fusion of sustainable swagger and plush comfort, served with a side of Byron’s signature chill. The boutique hotspot boasts 24 rooms, including six suites and lays claim to Byron’s first rooftop pool and bar—a magnet for sunset junkies. The hotel’s design is exemplary of boho meeting bespoke: Rooms decked out with Edie linens, Baina towels and Leif goodies scream luxury, while the raw timber, gold accents and local art scream Byron. Food-wise, the property’s Bonito restaurant is a culinary knockout, with chef Minh Le dishing out Asian cuisine with a sustainable punch. With Hotel Marvell on the scene, Byron Bay is set to make waves on the global stage.
17 Rue de la Verrerie, 75004 Paris, France
Le Grand Mazarin is a triumph of transformation, where six years of meticulous craftsmanship have turned a 700-year-old landmark in the Marais into a dazzling five-star retreat. This 61-room hotel, a brainchild of fashion mogul-turned-hotelier Patrick Pariente, is a maximalist’s dream. Here, London-based Swedish designer Martin Brudnizki’s flair for the dramatic comes alive with lavish fabrics, eclectic patterns and lush textiles adorning every corner, complemented by hand-painted murals that narrate tales of a bygone era. From seashell-embedded walls to tapestries cascading above beds, the hotel is a canvas of textural richness. At the heart of this urban sanctuary is Boubalé, a culinary hotspot helmed by Michelin-starred chef Assaf Granit. The menu is a playful homage to the area’s Jewish roots, offering a gastronomic journey that’s as inventive as it is delicious. For those seeking relaxation, the hotel’s wellness offerings include a chic pool, a soothing jacuzzi and hammam.
Mitropoleos 49, Athens 105 56, Greece
Athens, a city where ancient tales are etched in every corner, has long-awaited a hotel that marries its storied past with a dash of modernity. 2023 saw The Dolli rise to the occasion. Occupying a 1925 neoclassical edifice on Mitropoleos Street, The Dolli cuts a striking figure against Athens’ Brutalist backdrop with its elegant curves and grand windows. Once the domain of shipping magnate Dimitrios Kallimasiotis, this architectural treasure has evolved just like Athens itself. From a prestigious textile hub to a forgotten relic, it caught the eye of Grecotel’s CEO, Marie Daskalantonaki, who spent seven years dreaming up The Dolli as a living gallery. The result is Athens’ first art-centric hotel, where the lobby lounge doubles as a gallery, blending classic and contemporary masterpieces.
Building 23, Street 910, Corniche St, Doha, Qatar
The Ned, a name synonymous with style and exclusivity in the hotel and members’ club scene, has landed its third act in an unexpected locale: Doha, Qatar. Joining its siblings in London and New York, The Ned Doha carves out a niche in a city not typically known for boutique luxury. Housed in a former government ministry building right on the Corniche, this establishment has undergone a transformation at the hands of the Soho House team, emerging as a beacon of cool in a region where hip is hard to come by.
Dr. Evaristo Sousa Gago 2, 7570-635 Melides, Portugal
Vermelho, among the latest entrants in Portugal’s luxury hotel landscape, packs a punch that’s as bold as its owner, Christian Louboutin’s, iconic red-soled shoes. Unsurprisingly, it’s a maximalist masterpiece with 13 rooms; the design is a masterful blend of Spanish and Alentejo influences, set against a serene blue-and-white palette, with each piece of furniture telling its own story of Iberian artistry—from Grenada doors to Carolina Irving fabrics. The hotel’s amenities, though modest in size, like its quaint spa, are big on charm. But the real showstopper is the Xtian restaurant. Named in a nod to Louboutin himself and helmed by acclaimed chef David Abreu, the menu spans a rich culinary background of Macau, Lisbon and the U.K. for a tribute to Portugal’s gastronomic diversity.
Karaköy, Kemankeş Karamustafapaşa Mahallesi, Kemankeş Caddesi No:34, 34425 Beyoğlu, İstanbul, Türkiye
Straddling the European edge of the Golden Horn in the swish Karaköy district, this architectural marvel stitches together a quartet of buildings—from early 20th-century classics to a 1930s Bauhaus gem and a sleek modern addition—all linked by corridors of gleaming Marmara marble. Step into what was once the bustling port’s passport office, now the hotel’s grand entrance and you’re greeted by a Bauhaus ceiling, brilliantly revived by the dynamic Turkish designer Zeynep Fadıllıoğlu. It’s a head-turner, setting the tone for what’s to come. With 177 rooms and suites, including some opening up to the Bosphorus or verdant gardens, the hotel offers a smorgasbord of views and experiences. The design details are a subtle yet sophisticated nod to Istanbul itself: think mineral-blue rugs with hyacinth motifs, desks shimmering with mother-of-pearl and headboards echoing the ochre tones of Anatolia’s Divriği Mosque. Inside, art advisor Çağla Saraç has turned the hotel into a living gallery with an extravagant assemblage of classic and contemporary Turkish art.
Km 7.5 – Carretera Federal 200, Barra De Navidad, 48898 La Huerta, Jalisco, México
Tucked away on the fringes of a sprawling 3,000-acre nature reserve, the Four Seasons is a hidden gem that demands a 20-minute thrill ride through treacherous roads. But the payoff? A jaw-dropping Pacific panorama that greets you at La Mansión, the hotel’s strikingly modernist main building. Some of its 157 rooms perch daringly on cliffs, offering majestic ocean views, while others nestle just steps from the beach, each a sanctuary of contemporary elegance. The design is a masterful blend of nature and luxury—earthy tones, private infinity pools merging with the Pacific, outdoor rain showers facing the sea and floor-to-ceiling windows that blur the line between indoors and out. But it’s the homage to Mexican craftsmanship that truly sets this place apart. Hammocks handwoven by Yucatán communities, Michoacán black clay candles, Mayan cream stone bathroom accessories and henequén wall hangings speak of a deep-rooted cultural heritage. And yes, the temptation is real—many of these artisanal treasures are up for grabs in the hotel shop.
57 Whitehall, London SW1A 2BX, United Kingdom
Raffles London at The OWO, a majestic transformation of the former War Office, is where history and luxury collide. This Edwardian Baroque behemoth, now half occupied by Raffles, is a blend of opulent residences and eclectic dining options. This 1906 landmark, a cornerstone of British military and intelligence history, has been reborn thanks to The Hinduja Group’s $2 billion, seven-year labor of love. Today, it stands as a beacon of luxury, complete with an intimate underground wellness area, nine diverse restaurants, three bars and an expansive Guerlain spa. The design, a final masterpiece of the late Thierry Despont, is a salute to its military heritage, with lavish curtains and deep crimson carpets, creating an ambiance where old-world flair meets modern-day indulgence.
Mamula Island, Mirišta, Montenegro
Mamula Island, a member of Design Hotels, is a masterful fusion of history and nature, just a scenic boat ride from the lively Herceg Novi. The hotel sits on a private island at the crossroads of Montenegro’s rugged mountains and serene coastline, occupying a 19th-century Austro-Hungarian fortress in the Adriatic. Here, the conventional is cast aside, with the fortress’s tower transformed into a luxurious spa and suite complex, breaking free from the typical lobby setup. Piotr Wisniewski, the mastermind behind the interiors, has crafted a space where the Adriatic’s soul is palpable in every corner. Organic materials dance with a sea-inspired color palette, creating an ambiance that’s both raw and refined. Helmed by French-Canadian chef Erica Archambault, signature restaurant Kamena deftly presents French savoir-faire with day-fresh local ingredients.
650 Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Rising to an impressive 80 stories, Ritz-Carlton, Melbourne, designed by Cottee Parker, dominates the skyline as the city’s tallest hotel. Situated at the fringe of the Central Business District, this architectural wonder boasts a unique dual character: a lively and dynamic entrance at street level, contrasted with serene rooms and amenities beginning at level 64. The hotel’s 257 guest rooms and suites, adorned with dark wood, natural stone and gold highlights, reflect Melbourne’s rich heritage. The design is as thoughtful as it is sleek, with firm BAR Studio organically integrating indigenous and First Nations art throughout, like brass door handles by artist Maree Clarke.
JRQ3+937, Punakha 13001, Bhutan
Marking andBeyond’s Asia debut, this sumptuous lodge is an invitation to immerse yourself in the remote decadence of Bhutan. Guests are treated to a selection of luxurious accommodations, from spacious one- or two-bedroom villas to six exclusive tented suites, each infused with local craftsmanship like Bhutanese timber, intricately woven wool and the iconic blue poppy designs. The family suite, spanning two bedrooms, should be your top choice, with windows framing the Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, a towering pagoda that epitomizes peace. For the active and adventurous, the hotel offers a plethora of activities: hiking trails rich with birdlife and kayaking adventures on the river. And for those seeking relaxation, what better way to unwind than with a massage in the midst of an orange orchard?
Kimana Sanctuary, Kenya
Angama Amboseli, Kenya’s latest safari game-changer, is located in the sprawling 5,700-acre Kimana Sanctuary, home to the legendary “Super Tusker” elephants. The brand’s sophomore outpost is a bold twist on the “slow safari” concept, building on the legacy of its sibling, Angama Mara. The ten suites here are a striking mix of canvas, concrete and rattan, each opening to a private patio with lounges and outdoor showers. Guests can kick back in iconic Fermob rocking chairs, soaking up the awe-inspiring views of Mount Kilimanjaro and the wild landscape. But Angama Amboseli is more than its breathtaking rooms. It’s packed with experiences, featuring a games room, art gallery, weaving studio and a photography studio. The infinity pool and the newly erected Mnara viewing tower are the ultimate spots for wildlife watching and getting lost in the stunning vistas.
78-5 Hanazono, Kutchan, Abuta District, Hokkaido 044-0084, Japan
British designer Shouya Grigg flipped the script on Japanese hospitality with his latest project, Shiguchi, just a quick drive from Hokkaido’s ski hotspot, Niseko. Its name is a nod to the art of Japanese joinery—think precision and ingenuity without a single nail—bringing together five guest kominka (traditional villas) meticulously transformed from rural Japanese houses into sleek, modern escapes. The interiors cut through the clutter. You’re met with open, airy spaces, divided by shoji sliding doors that double as a canvas for Grigg’s striking black-and-white Hokkaido shots. The decor is a no-nonsense blend of ink paintings, diverse ceramics and a handpicked book collection, all playing off against the warmth of wood-burning fireplaces and a mix of vintage and bespoke furniture. Each villa boasts its own private onsen, with stone or hinoki wood tubs, set against the backdrop of a serene forest. How do you say dream in Japanese?
Piazza di San Marcello, Rome 00187, Italy
Right in the heart of Rome’s legendary streets, Six Senses makes a daring statement in the historic Palazzo Salviati Cesi Mellini, where 18th-century elegance gets a jolt of modern flair from renowned designer Patricia Urquiola. The hotel’s interiors are a masterful interplay of Rome’s storied past and the sharp edge of contemporary design—exactly what any visitor to the Italian capital would crave. Starting as cozy well-designed spaces, the rooms evolve into expansive, grand suites, each marrying subtle style with sheer comfort. Don’t miss a treatment in the spa, which reimagines the traditional Roman bath circuit.
Parasporos Beach, Paros Island 844 00, Greece
Paros continues to step up as a fierce rival to iconic Cycladic destinations like Santorini and Mykonos, and Andronis Minois has quickly become the go-to spot to experience it all. Found stone’s throw from Parikia village, the Pounda ferry port and the airport, Andronis Minois sheds the traditional all-white Cycladic look for a polychromatic makeover, bursting with terracotta shades, bold blues, bespoke tiles and eye-catching textiles. The 44 rooms and suites, crafted by the creative minds at Athens-based Mutiny, are a mash-up of Mediterranean charm and modern boutique chic. Each space is a masterpiece, adorned with hand-painted sinks, abstract art and terracotta tile panels. The hotel has also carved out a niche with gastronomic destination Olvo, thanks to its partnership with Alexandros Tsiotinis of the Michelin-starred CTC in Athens.
3 Berkeley St, London W1J 8DJ, United Kingdom
Claiming the title of London’s first true sustainable luxury hotel, 1 Hotel Mayfair walks the walk. Guests step into a verdant paradise, where over 1,300 plants from 200 species create a lush living wall, perfectly paired with natural materials, textures and an earth-toned color scheme. The design is a celebration of Scandinavian minimalism, living walls and organic elements, seamlessly blending the wild with the sophistication of the city. Luxury here is inseparable from sustainability, creating a harmonious duo.
Kaiserhofstraße 18, 5640 Bad Gastein, Austria
Part of Design Hotels group, this hideaway in Austria’s backcountry was revealed as a chic alpine bolthole for the modern adventurer, fusing the crisp aesthetics of 1960s modernism with the enduring elegance of Art Deco. Cōmodo’s culinary scene is at the core of its appeal. The restaurant, echoing the finesse of urban boutique hotels, serves up a farm-to-table menu that’s a tribute to local ingredients. This high-altitude gastronomic journey is further enriched by a handpicked selection of boutique wines, each chosen to perfectly complement the dishes.