The travel landscape is constantly evolving, with each year bringing a fresh array of luxurious accommodations to the forefront, promising unique experiences and unforgettable stays. San Francisco’s own Afar magazine, a beacon for travel enthusiasts, has recently unveiled its prestigious list of the 31 best new hotels globally.

This curated selection is more than a guide; it’s a treasure trove of destinations guaranteed to spark the wanderlust in even the most seasoned travelers. Whether it’s a historic retreat in London once occupied by Winston Churchill or the rugged natural beauty of Iceland’s highlands, these accommodations are not just about a place to stay; they’re about the experiences they offer.

For those drawn to the cold, captivating landscapes of Iceland, Afar recommends the Highland Base Kerlingarfjöll. About three hours from Reykjavík, this sleek Nordic retreat promises an escape into the wilderness, managed by the team renowned for the Retreat at Blue Lagoon. The fusion of modern design with nature’s raw beauty makes it a must-visit for adventurers seeking tranquility and breathtaking scenery.

London’s historic heart has a new jewel in its crown with the Raffles London at the OWO. This extraordinary hotel brings luxury to the iconic Edwardian building that served as Winston Churchill’s wartime base, the Old War Office (OWO). With 120 guest rooms and suites, it offers a blend of historical grandeur and contemporary elegance, creating an unparalleled urban retreat.

California’s wine country is no stranger to luxury, and The Inn at Mattei’s Tavern in Los Olivos is a testament to this tradition. Nestled in the heart of Santa Barbara wine country, this 19th-century stagecoach stop has been transformed into a sumptuous 67-room resort by Auberge Resorts. It stands as a sanctuary for those who appreciate fine wines, serene landscapes, and a touch of historical charm.

Hawaii, with its endless allure, welcomes the reimagined Kona Village, a Rosewood Resort, on the Kohala Coast of the Big Island. This resort rises from the aftermath of a tsunami as a reborn paradise with thatched-roof hales, a cultural center, and extensive amenities spread over 81 acres of volcanic majesty. It’s a place where luxury meets culture and nature in harmony.

Afar’s list also highlights other North American marvels, including:

  • The Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York City, offering an epitome of urban luxury.
  • Ambiente Sedona in Arizona, where the landscape’s red rocks frame a serene, eco-conscious retreat.
  • ULUM Moab in Utah, a gateway to natural wonders with a sustainable ethos.
  • Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo in Jalisco, Mexico, which combines luxury with untouched natural beauty.
  • Maroma, a Belmond Hotel in Riviera Maya, Mexico, where elegance meets the serene Caribbean shores.

These selections showcase the diverse and dynamic nature of luxury travel today. From historic renovations that breathe new life into old tales to innovative designs that blend seamlessly with nature, each hotel offers a unique window into the soul of its location. They promise more than just a stay; they offer an immersive experience that could be the centerpiece of your travel memories.

As travel continues to rebound and evolve, these new hotels stand as beacons of hospitality, design, and experience. Whether planning a getaway to the volcanic landscapes of Hawaii, the wine regions of California, or beyond, these destinations offer unparalleled experiences to satisfy the wanderlust in all of us.

Discover the full list and delve deeper into what makes each of these hotels a destination in its own right at Afar’s website and in their upcoming issue on newstands April 23.

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