In this year's list of the top 60 new hotel openings around the world, the Caribbean and Mexico lay claim to six hot properties, including a Marriott in Port-au-Prince that speaks to the promise of a new Haiti, and what may be the hippest new hotel in all of Mexico.www.cntraveler.com
New York–based interior designer Celerie Kemble and money manager Boykin Curry saw the potential in this Edenic coastline. After persuading some of their famous friends—architect Richard Meier, talk show host Charlie Rose, journalist Fareed Zakaria, fashionista Lela Rose, and actress Mariska Hargitay—to go in on a 2,000-acre parcel of land, they transformed this once-private club into an intimate nine-bungalow resort, which opened in 2015. The high-back wicker chairs, ikat pillows and throws, and pink and green tile floors are all assembled in Kemble’s high-WASP style, while the architecture faithfully references the D.R.’s lacy Victorian-era gingerbread buildings with their lattice woodwork and pastel doors that possess an almost fairytale-like quality. A nice touch is the resort’s embrace of local beach vendors—having created a dedicated space akin to a local village where guests can buy food, drinks, and souvenirs. Beyond that, the owners are dedicated to supporting the area’s educational and healthcare institutions. Accommodations are in 6 one-bedroom and 3 three-bedroom residences.
Amanera is the second Aman outpost in the Caribbean (the other, Amanyara, is in Turks & Caicos) and the brand’s first golf resort. Expect Aman's customary polished minimalism and obsessive attention to detail, plus panoramic beach views from the cliffside pool and bungalows. Suddenly, the D.R. feels very much like the place to be. Neighbor to the also new Playa Grande Beach Club (at the other end of this glorious stretch of sand) the differences are striking. The latter is clubby and quirky, whereas Aman has stuck to its inimitable formula of clean lines, clear communication, and ultra-sophistication, attracting an impeccably outfitted clientele looking for privacy and access to new greens and perfectly executed Italian cuisine in the resort's main restaurant. Of note: The offshore breezes in June and July cool the island's northern coast enough to never need A/C.
Photography: Pilar Guzmán
If you like to travel for a healthy dose of isolation, Barbuda Belle might surely please. Fly to Antigua, hop a puddle jumper to Barbuda, then a speedboat to the uninhabited northern tip of the island at Cedar Point. Here, you’ll find six modern bungalows, each with private balcony and endless views of sand, sea, and sky. There’s Wi-Fi, unbelievably, and each room is equipped with a cell phone, pre-loaded to dial the front desk, the upscale French restaurant, or simply to order a drink served on the beach. The staff is uncommonly accommodating, the mood is one of pampered isolation, and guests quickly get to know one another (or not, you often feel like the only person here). Daytime activities include kayaking through mangroves, bird-watching, and hiking the near-endless beach. This truly is an untouched piece of paradise—worth every penny of rather steep nightly rates.
A mod-Mexican restaurant from Enrique Olvera, four bars with note-perfect cocktails (more than 100 and counting), two pools, an amazing spa, and not a trace of hacienda-style architecture—in short, just what Cabo needed. Kudos to Thompson Hotels for introducing a place in an otherwise crowded market with uninterrupted views of El Arco and the Bahía San Lucas horizon. Mexico City architect Javier Sanchez has combined a relaxed 1960s Southern California-meets-Baja aesthetic. It’s refreshingly grown-up, perfect for couples, but without an ounce of pretension. Every room has a balcony to view the Pacific (some with private plunge pools and butler service), plus Cabo’s only rooftop lounge to relish each and every sunset.
Located in Guadalajara’s up-and-coming Lafayette arts district, the quirky Casa Fayette reflects the changing face of the area by blending the traditional with the trendy. The entire hotel is a study in contrasts, from its all-white 1940s Art Deco facade to its eclectic, ultramodern touches: think rooms lined with brightly colored glass panels, edgy, industrial light fixtures, and space-efficient, multifunctional furniture. The hotel’s restaurant is also charmingly offbeat, helmed by New York chef Trevor de la Presle—formerly mentored by Daniel Boulud—and specializing in American comfort food made using Mexican ingredients. Throw in a retro-inspired bar and a sprawling terrace with the city’s best sunset views, and Casa Fayette may just be Mexico’s hippest new hotel.
Haiti, really? Yes. It’s still a tough place to visit as a tourist, but don’t be dissuaded. With nonstop flights now from Boston, New York, and Florida to Port-au-Prince, it’s well worth the journey. Art, music, and splendid beaches abound. Add to that the fact that Marriott and Digicel (the largest cell-phone provider in the region) came together under the auspices of the Clinton Foundation to build a brand new hotel and you’ve reason enough to hop a flight. The hotel, situated mid-way between the NGO-centric suburb of Pétion-Ville and downtown, is a remarkable illustration of what can be done. This is a place best suited to introduce anyone to Haiti (just look at the hotel’s extraordinary collection of curated art and appreciate the gentle nature of its impeccably well-trained staff). It’s secure and safe, with a lovely, shallow pool, and a mood that promises much hope for the future.