2010 HOT LIST
Conde Nast Traveler: May, 2010
article by: Conde Nast Traveler
photography: Conde Nast Traveler
The Year's 134 Top New Hotels
Showing amazing resilience, the art of hotel innovation is flourishing. Across the globe, hotels are still opening in strong numbers. We combed through the thousands that debuted in the last year, then bedded down anonymously at the most compelling candidates. A robust 134 properties spread across a record 55 countries won a place on our list with their blend of strong style, skillful service, state-of-the-art technology, and transporting aura. They're a diverse group, ranging in size from a three-suite gem in Lisbon to an eco-forward 4,004 room showstopper on the Vegas Strip, and in cost from $130 a night at a boldly designed Mexico City tower to $3,600 for a slice of the good life on a South Pacific isle once the private retreat of Malcolm Forbes. As more hotels strive to soar above the competition, the bar for excellence, too, climbs-although price tags don't. Nearly a third of this year's list offer rooms for less than $250 a night, so there's no time like the present to ride the wave of good fortune.
CAPELLA PEDREGAL (3 FLAME AWARD)
From the resort's entrance via a jaw-dropping 1,000-foot-long tunnel carved through the mountain, to the seafood restaurant El Farallon tucked into a cliff above the ocean, to the views of whales and dolphins splashing in the surf, the focus at Capella's new property on the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula is on making the impossible feel routine. Eight contemporary buildings (some of which back right into the mountains) house 66 rooms on 24 acres of dramatic yet manicured bluffs. Huge stone vases, metal turtle sculptures, Jurassic size shells, and dozens of varieties of cactus dot the property, while three curvy public pools- two freshwater and one salty- snake through the grounds, Rooms, the smallest of which measure 820 square feet, take on a Mexican Gothic look and, happily, include private plunge pools, stand-alone tubs, on-button fireplaces, and complimentary minibars. Personal assistants assigned to each guest will eagerly fulfill even the most self-indulgent request. Lunch options consist of upscale twist on the usual burgers-and-salads resort fare, but the breakfast buffet at Don Manual's is elevated to craft with bountiful fruits and fresh pastries and no fewer than five milk options, all presented in a warm, rustic kitchen. Which room to book: Ocean View rooms on the third and fourth floors have the same panoramic views as the pricier suites (52-624-163-4350; doubles $550-$925)
AURIGA, CAPELLA PEDREGAL
WHAT: A labyrinth of cozy relaxation areas, saunas steams, and caldaria at Capella Pedregal resort (see "Hot List"). Treatment rooms are linked by a snaking saltwater pool. THE LOOK: Traditional Mexican elements (patterned pillows, turtle statues, cactus combine with Gothic details (wrought iron sconces, gilded sinks) for an eclectic, intimate feel. WHO GOES: North Americans, honeymooners, and local heavy hitters. THE TREATMENT: All begin with a foot scrub and are based on the lunar cycle. The decadent Rose Crystal Lymphatic Facial cleanses, exfoliates, extracts, detoxifies, and moisturizes, ending with a scalp and arm massage. P.S.: Request a facial specialist or your mug might be treated with the same vigor as a knotted back (52-624-163-4350; massages, $120-180).