Best (and worst) new luxury hotels of 2018, according to LTI

Posted at 9:20 AM, Dec 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-21 08:47:27-05

For the ultimate in modern luxury, head to the Maldives, say the experts at Luxury Travel Intelligence.

Two resorts from the Asian islands have topped their annual ranking of the world’s best new luxury hotels: Kudadoo Private Island in the top spot, and Joali as runner-up.

The all-inclusive Kudadoo, with its 15 overwater ocean residences, is “a truly special and intimate private island resort,” says LTI.

The ultra-luxe Joali, meanwhile, is “the epitome of sustainable glamor” and “has been designed with families in mind.”

LTI visited 42 new properties this year, 15 of which they term “exceptional” — and two which left them “disappointed.”

Asian hotels performed well, with Shanghai’s Amanyangyun and Cambodia’s Shinta Mani Wild both in the top five. Bali had two entries: the Bill Bensley-designed Capella Ubud at No.8 and Como Uma Canggu in 10th place.

Zanzibar’s Zuri — an “exciting and surprisingly affordable luxe resort set on a beautiful beach” — was the only showing for Africa.

The Americas were represented by Mexico, with Chable Maroma at No. 6 (“a dream property” with “world-class dining options”) and Solaz, Los Cabos at No. 11 (“five swimming pools” and an “impressive Thalasso therapy wellness spa”).

The highest-ranked European hotel was France’s Royal Champagne at No. 9 (“panoramic views” and “an exceptional spa that overlooks the vines”) while Marbella’s Nobu Hotel (“stylish maturity”) and Mallorca’s Hotel Gloria de Sant Jaume (“a magnificent 16th-century mansion in the heart of Palma”) squeaked in at 13th and 14th place respectively.

The two new hotels that LTI felt weren’t up to scratch were NoMad in Las Vegas and The Setai in Tel Aviv.

Of NoMad, it says, “a poor renovation of the old Monte Carlo hotel in Las Vegas has left the brand with real problems,” but concludes that “there are some smart minds behind this venture” and the “many issues” they found with this hotel “could well be resolved over time.”

As for The Setai, “the building itself is attractive,” but “the location is poor, and the service is most definitely lacking.”

Here are the top 15 new luxury hotels to make the cut:

1. Kudadoo Private Island, Maldives

2. Joali, Maldives

3. Amanyangyun, Shanghai

4. Shinta Mani Wild, Cambodia

5. Zuri, Zanzibar

6. Chable Maroma, Mexico

7. Rosewood Luang Prabang, Laos

8. Capella Ubud, Bali

9. Royal Champagne, Champillon

10. Como Uma Canggu, Bali

11. Solaz, Los Cabos

12. The Murray, Hong Kong

13. Nobu Hotel, Marbella

14. Six Senses, Fiji

15. Hotel Gloria de Sant Jaume, Mallorca