This year’s annual Hot List of the best new hotels from around the world is a story of resilience. Despite enormous hardship in the travel industry, exceptional properties have continued to open across the globe (nearly a thousand last year in the U.S. alone). As always with this endeavor, each of the 69 picks on this year’s list was safely vetted by our international network of correspondents. But as we’ve learned in the past year, everything is connected, which is why we’ve also expanded the scope of hot to include restaurants, transportation, and destinations, as well as more news we’re excited about set for later this year. In spite of it all, these four stylish hotels represent a success story all their own. We think they’re a pretty great way to mark the 25th anniversary of this list.

Click here to see the entire Hot List for 2021.

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  • ME Dubai
    Courtesy ME DubaiHOTELME Dubai$$ |  HOT LIST 2021In a city of 160,000 hotel rooms, it is increasingly challenging to stand out. But here we have the world’s only hotel designed both inside and out by the late great Dame Zaha Hadid, and with an accolade like that, it had to deliver. The Opus, a gleaming glass structure punctured by an amorphous void that looks like an ice cube melting under the Middle Eastern sun, has sweeping curves and an organic-yet-space-age aesthetic that informs both the structure and a stay in it. The ME by Meliá group brings its artistic bent with a gallery space hosting rotating exhibitions and public areas decorated with vibrant canvases painted on site by Barcelona artist Mr. Dripping. The brand’s Spanish roots are also lightly woven throughout—Natura Bisse toiletries and spa treatments, tapas at Central, and a poolside parrillada producing tantalizing grilled aromas for adjacent restaurant Deseo. But ME doesn’t lean on paying homage to its roots or even that of the Arabian city it’s in—a relief in the U.A.E. where “modern Arabia” tends to be the styling default. Beyond dipping bedrooms in hues of the nearby desert (in the Aura category) and those of the buzzy city at night (in the Vibe rooms), ME plays by its own rules. And with its energetic around-the-clock vibe, it feels less a place to freshen up and sleep between city outings and more like your own playful residence. Rooms from $256. —Laurel MunshowerMAKE A RESERVATIONPowered by Expedia
  • Hotel Chloe
    Courtesy Hotel ChloeHOTELThe Chloe$$ |  HOT LIST 2021The prevailing image of New Orleans is one of Bourbon Street bacchanalia—shimmery beads, frozen Hurricanes, and bold after-dark choices. But the city’s deepest spirit is found in the unassuming quarters where history and culture quietly collects in mesmerizing layers as it has at The Chloe. This 14-room Victorian jewel box on St. Charles Avenue in the city’s Garden District is the imagining of restaurant hit makers LeBlanc + Smith and New Orleanian designer Sara Ruffin Costello. Here, just beyond the live oak-lined avenue, they have dressed the building’s 19th century bones in NOLA’s eclectic style: a Spanish-tiled front porch full of rocking chairs for cocktail hour, a maze of clubby and bohemian low-lit parlors that lead to the backyard bar and lap pool. Since opening day, the restaurant has become a local hot spot and chef Todd Pulsinell’s menu is equal parts new-school New Orleans (crab baked Gulf oysters and brown butter drum) and comfort (double cheeseburger and bavette steak with fries). Upstairs in the bedrooms there are turntables and records from beloved store Peaches—each album by a New Orleans artist or a musician inspired by the city—from Solange to Louis Armstrong, as well as skincare products from the homegrown Oxalis Apothecary and a fridge stocked with local beer. The lingering impression here is one of overlapping universes—old and new, subtle and daring—a grown-up distillation of New Orleans’s raffish charm. Rooms from $319. —Leslie Pariseau ADVERTISEMENT
  • Commodore Perry Estate Auberge Resorts Collection
    Courtesy Commodore Perry Estate, Auberge Resorts CollectionHOTELCommodore Perry Estate, Auberge Resorts Collection$$ |  HOT LIST 2021Commodore Perry Estate in Austin has lived several intriguing lives, including Roaring Twenties party palace, and a Catholic school. But none has been more carefully textured and beautifully executed than its current one as Auberge Resorts Collection’s first city-based property. The drive in can feel as though you’ve entered a European retreat far from Central Austin’s Hyde Park neighborhood. Design titan Ken Fulk spent two years sourcing antiques from Texas’ famous antiques town, Round Top, and then placed his findings with care and intention throughout the 10,800-square-foot 1928 mansion and adjacent terra-cotta-roofed Inn. Texas heritage style in the Inn gives a firm handshake to Italianate and Spanish Revival in cushy whiskey-brown armchairs and rounded archways that are poignantly set against black and rust star-and-cross tiles and vintage rugs. Moving through the peacock-shaped wrought iron door into the restored mansion, your eyes dart from the original swirling staircase to the iron light fixture illuminating Deborah Phillips’ hand-painted fresco. Restored terra-cotta tiles in curry, celadon, and apricot step you into an early 20th century Texan estate as Pierre Frey fox-patterned wallpaper coyly salutes the critter that meanders Waller Creek on the 10-acre property. A cool breeze carries scents from the Estate’s fruit trees on to the terrace. It’s easy to forget the surging tech-opolis of downtown is just 10 minutes away. From $335 per night. —Mandy EllisMAKE A RESERVATIONPowered by Expedia

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  • Hotel Les Deux Gares
    Benoît LineroHOTELHotel Les Deux Gares$ |  HOT LIST 2021It’s hard to imagine that a single corner of the French capital has been left unexplored by hoteliers over the past decade. But, as proven by Adrien Gloaguen’s latest spot in unsung Little India, there are still overlooked pockets to be happened upon. When he first visited the site, then a glum two-star number, and saw the skyline views over the train tracks linking two of the city’s main stations, he knew that he could make something special of it. And the right person for the job would be British wunderkind Luke Edward Hall. The interior designer’s first hotel project is full of joy, with nods to the past everywhere but also contemporary excitement. The Haussmann-style corner building is awash with bold color combinations, which is what drew the creative crowd who booked out the place even before it opened. “It’s my own, very personal and playful take on Parisian style,” says Hall. French antiques sit next to mid-century lamps; checkerboard contrasts with leopard print, and there are seventies geometric carpets alongside Art-Deco details. Edward Hall also transformed the tired bar across the street into the Café Les Deux Gares. The bistro already has a following of locals and food writers who feast on a lunch menu of plates, such as succulent pork loin with beetroot, washed down with natural wines. It takes a bold move to persuade savvy travelers to loiter near the stations, but the duo behind this hotel have cracked it. From $140 per night. —Rooksana HossenallyMAKE A RESERVATION