While the travel industry as a whole is still reeling from pandemic-related fallout, there are glimmers of hope on the horizon: The reported number of passenger going through TSA checkpoints is gradually increasing, and international destinations are slowly beginning to open up to US residents (with required safety protocols in place, of course.) On the domestic front, luxury hotels are not only re-opening (and, in many cases, seeing high occupancy rates) but are also welcoming new additions to their ranks—including these nine high-end spots.
The launches of these brand-new or totally re-done properties may not be quite what was originally planned—you’re likely to find more outdoor seating, in-room services and privatization options, to name a few examples—but they are still celebrating the joys of five-star travel with luxuries such as world-class art collections, bespoke guest experiences, on-demand butler service and celebrity-chef dining. From private photography lessons in a San Francisco skyscraper and the chance to design your own boots in Nashville to a DC art collection that celebrates women and political activism, here’s a taste of what you’ll find at these nine new hotels this fall.
Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco at Embarcadero
Once home to the Mandarin Oriental hotel, and then the Loews Regency, the top 11 floors of the 48-story California Center have been completely renovated, redesigned and—earlier this month—re-launched as the Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco at Embarcadero. The high vantage point means the 155 rooms and suites have views of icons like the Golden Gate and Bay bridges, the Coit Tower and Alcatraz, along with such welcome touches as deep soaking tubs and separate lounging areas. (The studio-style two-bedroom Embarcadero Suites are particularly suited to the current “work-from-anywhere” situation.) Enjoy access to the 48th-floor Sky Bridge—from which you can spot all the city’s landmarks—and connect with the city via exclusive experiences like private photo lessons with an award-winning photographer. A restaurant showcasing California products and wine is slated to open in 2021.
Following the $460 million preservation and conversion of the National building, Dallas-based Todd Interests will launch the Thompson Dallas—the first Thompson property in Texas—inside the historic, George Dahl-designed landmark on November 14. The luxe 219-room hotel is part of a mixed-use development downtown that was also the largest adaptive reuse project in the history of the state, with care taken to re-purpose materials salvaged during the restoration. Elements original to the building—including wood panels inlaid with brass and the façade made of 17,555 hand-cut marble panels—have also been retained. The spacious rooms and suites feature rich leather upholstery, walnut-and-brass headboards, lacquered walls and custom Sferra duvets, and the entire property has been outfitted with contemporary art by David Yarrow and David Bates, among others, and one-of-a-kind furniture from names like Barlas Baylar, Hervé Langlais and Ad Hoc.
On the ninth floor, the two acres of indoor-outdoor space includes a wellness center with spa and gym, a pool and a casual daytime restaurant, while one floor up, you’ll find the elegant Catbird restaurant, lounge and rooftop bar. Elsewhere on the property, there’s a floral design studio and workshop and a three-chair barbershop—welcome amenities for both hotel guests and owners of the 324 luxury apartments in the adjacent the National Residences.
Lotte Hotel Seattle
Opened in late-September, Lotte Hotel Seattle—the Korea-based brand’s third US outpost—is set in downtown’s F5 Tower, not far from Pike Place Market, the waterfront and top tourist attractions. Soak up views of the city skyline from the 189 rooms and suites, all of which have floor-to-ceiling windows; the 15th-floor Presidential Suite has particularly stellar vistas, along with a separate dining area, bar, study and baby grand piano-equipped living room.
Stay in to enjoy contemporary, Pacific Northwest ingredients-driven cuisine at the Charlotte Restaurant & Bar, and high-end treatments—including the $500 MBR Liquid Surgery Facial and detoxifying French infrared body wraps—in the breezy spa. While the hotel tower itself is sleek and modern, a glass-enclosed walkway connects it to the Sanctuary, a century-old church that’s been converted into a ballroom and meeting space.
The Joseph, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Nashville
A newly built 21-story tower in downtown’s SoBro district is now home to the only Luxury Collection member hotel in Nashville. The Joseph takes its name from the patriarch of the Pizzuti family, whose real estate management firm conceptualized and developed the hotel—and who have lent over 1,000 pieces from their renowned Pizzuti Collection of contemporary art to the property. The 297-room hotel’s focus on the arts comes to life through its in-house “museum”—dubbed the Tennessee Collection—which also features specially commissioned pieces and works by local artists; standouts include the immersive digital installations by Patricia Dominguez and Wu Chi-Tsung at the entrance, an oversized Hank Willis Thomas sculpture, a stunning Misha Kahn chandelier and 4,400 square feet of living green walls.
Pieces from the collection also adorn the rooms, along with a warm décor made of materials such as copper, leather, oak and Italian marble; the 20th-floor Presidential Suite also has a full marble bar and a restored 1920s Steinway baby grand. Meanwhile, the hotel celebrates the city’s artisan scene through exclusive experiences, including bespoke boot-designing sessions in Lucchese’s VIP studio and a curated shopping trip at designer Billy Reid’s store. Guests can also book a behind-the-scenes immersion with James Beard Award winner and Michelin-starred chef Tony Mantuano, who helms The Joseph’s four dining outlets: the fine-dining Italian Yolan, the rooftop Denim, the Four Walls cocktail bar and the tea-centric all-day Lobby Lounge. The 21st-floor Rose Spa, whose menu includes facials with Biologique Recherche’s Remodeling Face machine, rounds out the offerings.
Hotel Zena, Washington, DC
Hot on the heels of the August opening of its first hotel in Washington, DC, Viceroy Hotels & Resorts has this month launched its second: Hotel Zena, a 191-room hub at the base of vibrant 14th Street. As envisioned by the award-winning design firm Dawson Design Associates and the ownership at Pebblebrook Hotels, the new spot aims to be more than just a place to park your suitcase but somewhere that—through its décor and programming—tells the stories of women who’ve fought for inclusivity, equality and gender and civil rights. You’ll find that theme represented in the extensive art collection, which includes a 20-foot-long “gown” made of 12,000 protest buttons from generations of women’s marches, a hanging installation inspired by a Shirley Chisholm quote and an oversized portrait of the late RBG crafted from 20,000 hand-painted tampons. The plush rooms and suites feature translucent “portraits” of the Greek goddess Artemis, while Hedy’s Rooftop—slated to open in spring 2021—will feature private poolside cabanas painted with artist Rose Jaffe’s Dancing Druids mural. The now-open Figleaf restaurant and bar is a comfortable spot in which to plot your own campaign of change.
Nobu Hotel Palo Alto
Though Nobu Hospitality’s Palo Alto outpost first opened in 2017, it emerged this fall from a multi-million-dollar renovation that re-designed the façade and reception, upgraded the rooms and signature Nobu restaurant and added two ryokan-inspired VIP levels and meeting spaces—resulting in what’s basically an all-new hotel. The 73 rooms have tech touches such as Toto Neorest toilets, smart lighting, Alexa-powered assistants and T3 hair dryers and straighteners, while the new accommodations on the seventh- and eighth-floor Ryokan levels have a décor crafted with oak, teak and marble and grant guests extras including private elevator access, linen yukata robes, 24-hour butler service (accessible via one-touch buttons) and priority seating in the restaurant. Chef Nobu’s renovated restaurant now has a sushi bar, but the perennial favorite will move to a new, larger space next year, making way for an additional restaurant in the hotel. You can also grab a drink by the fireplace in the new Lobby Bar, then work it all off in the Peloton-equipped fitness center.
Hotel Magdalena, Austin
Known for boho-chic boutique properties like Hotel Saint Cecilia, Austin-based Bunkhouse group this September opened its largest hotel yet—and it’s also the first mass timber hotel constructed in North America. Spread out over four treehouse-like buildings connected by walkways and courtyards, Hotel Magdalena sits on one acre of a 14-acre property that once belonged to Willie Nelson, who opened his Austin Opry House here in the late-’70s. Inspired by that history, the 89 rooms and the public spaces all feature pieces by music photographer Scott Newman, while live music and other programming will further tie in the locale. Colorful Spanish tiles, custom walnut wood beds, inlay desks and floors of poured concrete or custom terrazzo help create a décor that pays homage to the Austin lakeside culture of the 1970s. The “weekend at the lake” vibe also comes through at the Summer House on Music Lane restaurant (opening in November), which boasts an open kitchen, live-fire grill and rotisserie and covered patio. A swimming pool and landscaping lush with native Texas trees add to the urban resort feel.
This Autograph Collection hotel, which opened October 15, is the region’s only resort located in a certified Dark Sky Community—a locale that seeks to beat back light pollution and preserve the night sky—so it’s no surprise that the views here take center stage. Nearly all of the 177 rooms and suites look out onto Four Peaks and the McDowell Mountain Range, while sunrise yoga, guided hikes, mountain bike rides and telescope tours led by an official Dark Sky Zone expert further highlight the natural splendor. The newly built resort also features two heated pools, a sundeck, the Cielo restaurant, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and a spa offering treatments infused with amethyst and turquoise, among other gems. Located at the southernmost end of the resort, the Signature Dark Sky Suite affords views of the Sonoran sky everywhere from the wraparound balcony to the deep soaking tub.
The Dupont Circle, Washington, DC
Following a design transformation, the Dupont Circle opened October 16 with spaces that now exude the feel of a European private club—a nod, perhaps, to its place within the family-owned Irish luxury hotel group, the Doyle Collection. (Sister properties include London’s the Bloomsbury and the Kensington.) The vibe is also in keeping with the hotel’s role as the social hub of this bustling DC neighborhood, a place where you’ll find everyone from a well-heeled after-work crowd enjoying cocktails around the Doyle Bar fireplace to diplomats from the surrounding embassies and date night-ers savoring the signature Dover Sole on the Pembroke restaurant’s garden terrace.
Noted interiors architect/designer Martin Brudnizki oversaw the re-imagining of the bar and restaurant, while the renowned Clodagh put her mark on the new lobby and the ninth-floor Penthouse Suite, which features a heated terrace with views of the Washington Monument. (The entire penthouse floor, which includes an additional 12 terrace suites, can be booked for private access-only use for $20,000 a night.) Among the hand-picked artwork now adorning the property are pieces by Irish sculptor John Behan and photographs by the late actor Dennis Hopper.