Gold List: Best hotels for 2019 travel
Updated: Mar 14, 2020
One of my favorite things to do every year, besides traveling, is to select my top hotels in the world and here's the list to checkout in 2019.
After so many trips in 2018, over 75K miles flown with United - phew, I made it to Platinum status this year!- and so many hotels that I stayed at, I love looking back and remembering all the experiences so I can select my best memories. This year included a lot of travel to the Nordic countries, Iceland and Mexico. Not to mention my regular trips to New York City and other business trips in the continental U.S.
Hotels are more than just a place where to stay, they are part of the experience and the memories that you'll take with you so I always emphasize to choose a good hotel that will brighten your experience anywhere in the world, it's not just a sleeping place but an atmosphere where you'll meet people, make connections, learn about cultures, enjoy a good cocktail and more importantly get inspiration to travel and design your life.
So because of all this here's my Gold List for 2019:
CitizenM Bankside, London
This was so much fun! I was traveling solo for work and fun and the hotel delivers in so many ways. From the way you self check-in to manage all in your room with a tablet, it's definitely millennial-driven and chic. How do you combine technology, design and comfort? CitizenM Bankside does it perfectly and I'm curious now to explore the rest of the properties around the world. Two of my favorite things were the large multi-purpose lobby that is used for reading, watching TV, eating (at any time), work, listen to music, meet other people, have drinks, yes, all that in a large and super fun designed lobby, I actually ended up taking some of these ideas for my own home in San Francisco. The second thing that I loved was the top floor bar, which is another large space with great artwork and views of the Tower of London, hanging out with pop-culture prints of HRH Queen Elizabeth. It was a very snowy week and I just loved chilling at the bar, by the fireplace and drinking a glass of wine while looking at the snow covering the city of London. Best find in 2018.
It's hard to see the hotel Bellora coolness from outside. You see a hip restaurant but it turns out that the restaurant is the lobby of the hotel. So it's always lively and packed with great people and energy. The food at the restaurant is amazing. Rooms are so cozy, uniquely decorated with warm nordic trends, colorful wallpapers and all the amenities in compact rooms. We stayed on the top floor and right next to us was the rooftop bar, Cielo, which is so happening for happy hour. DJ spinning great tunes and drinking Aperol Spritz like Italians at the bar. The hotel theme is Italian so it was fun to be in Sweden with a full-theme on Italian life at the hotel, it didn't feel like we were in Italy but more like an homage to Italy, with great food, drinks and energy all day.
St. Regis, Punta Mita
So much to say about this resort. I'm not a resort-kind-of-person but when it's luxury delivered by St. Regis, then yes, sign me up. Located in the secluded tip of the Bahia de Banderas, Punta Mita, the resort feels secluded and exclusive. All rooms are perfectly decorated with a Mexican-Mediterranean influence, warm tones, large spaces, outdoor showers, balconies and your own butler to take care of all needs you may have in the day. The adults-only pool is perfection as it's located by endless water fountains and on the beach, so it's easy to jump in the ocean or the pool. Drinks and food at the pool are fantastic, a true reminder of why Margaritas can be so good all day. Amazing service and they will make anything possible, book reservations to tours and adventures with concierge and they will take care of everything. Paradise delivered with grand Mexican luxury.
Eventi, New York City
So many times that I've stayed here, so I call it my home away from home. Many hotels are starting to pop-up in the neigborhood, just another sign that Kimpton had the right idea when opening Eventi about eight years ago, since year one I've been staying here. Great restaurant options if you don't want to leave the hotel and some other great ones nearby. Amico is a classic restaurant in the area now, changing their menu every season and adjusting it to what's fresh, always with a twist to Italian classics. Not many hotels provide a nice gym, even less provide an option to do CrossFit and Eventi delivers on that promise with a very comfortable gym with basic and useful equipment to do a CrossFit workout. This is a big selling point for me. Rooms of course are amazing, contemporary and super comfortable. Room 501 is my favorite for sure or ask for a corner room with views of the Empire State building.
Member of SLH (Small Luxury Hotels) you'd expect the best as most of their properties, correct. Lydmar Hotel has a great location as it looks right across the water to the Swedish Royal Palace. Small boutique hotel with plenty of character. Every room is designed different from all the other rooms, great selection of furniture and decor and makes it feel like you're a unique guest. The main restaurant in the lobby is setup as a library and lounge, you actually feel like you're at someone's home with great taste. Super friendly staff, we became friends and can't wait to go back and say hi to all of them again. This hotel was definitely a highlight during our trip to Sweden.
This is the perfect definition of Mexican chic. Not many places in the world can do design like it's being done in Tulum. A sense of sophistication, love for natural fibers and still effortless is accomplished at Habitas. Call it glamping or luxury tenting, whatever you want to call it but these tents are so chic that I want to stay there forever. All that you may need in a regular hotel room, plus outdoor shower, a deck and exquisite design throughout the room. The rooms connect through the Mayan jungle with a sandy path that goes through the jungle to the ocean. The main area consists of a grand restaurant with Moroccan influence, a fully decked-out bar and many lounge areas where you can take in the ocean and sun. The pool is positioned right on the edge of the property, a few feet above the ocean so it makes it feel like you're floating on the ocean. Relaxing, very very sophisticated and cool. Nothing pretentious, just bring your flip flops, swimsuit and wallet because it's not cheap but I'd do again any day.
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