By Condé Nast Traveler staff
Every hotel in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2011 Hot List won its place the old-fashioned way — by earning it. After scrutinizing nearly a thousand of the hotels that opened worldwide over the past year, we selected a couple hundred of the most promising candidates, then checked into each one — anonymously, of course — trying out the beds, testing the staff, tasting the food. Finally, 124 properties ultimately won us over.
Spanning 43 countries and six continents, this year’s Hot Hotels are an eclectic group, from tree houses to farmhouses, and they range in size from a three-suite safari camp in South Africa’s leopard-rich Londolozi Private Game Reserve to a glossy 2,995-room tower on the Vegas Strip.
“Built as a labor of love, this 28-room eco-enterprise is a master microcosm of Dominica. Eight years of construction resulted in 22 acres of riotously verdant grounds (frangipani, ginger lily, heliconia, and hibiscus) and a hotel blessedly free of pretension. It has also resulted in a caliber of comfort, service, and dining hitherto in short supply on the island. The gingerbread-trimmed cottages, set in a horseshoe shape, face a rocky Atlantic beach or are set back with views of the Rosalie River and Morne Trois Pitons foothills. Inside, uncluttered, compact Garden View rooms and generous-sized suites have plantation-style interiors, with coarse plaster walls, stained concrete floors, and sturdy wood furniture, locally built. A three-treatment-room spa is elevated above the crashing surf. Controlling its environmental footprint, the resort uses wind turbine, solar panels, on-site water filtration, and Adirondack chairs made from recycled plastic. From March through October, guests can help monitor turtles—green, hawksbill, and leatherback—nesting on the beach. As impressive as the resort’s green sensibilities is its faith in the locals: Many of the cheery staffers hail from the village of Grand Fond, including a mason who, after construction was complete, trained to be the barman at the Caribbean-inflected Zamaan restaurant.”