DINE IN A BIRD’S NEST IN SINGAPORE, SWIM AMID THE SUMMITS IN ITALY, OR GET LOST IN SPACE AND TIME-WARPING FACADES IN DUBAI – ALL AT THESE DAZZLING DESIGN HOTELS AROUND THE WORLD
BY AMANDA MCCOY
ME DUBAI Duabai, UAE
A relative low-rise in a city of staggering superlatives, this newly opened hotel from luxury group Meliá rises to the top not in vertical feet, but in dizzying proportions. Tucked within the Opus tower, a postmodernist mixed-use concept designed by the late Pritzker-awarded architect Zaha Hadid, the futuristic hotel is an immersive work of art on the inside and out. The sparkling glass exterior presents as a geometric cube with a fluid, eight-story void cut through the center, illuminated at night via a constellation of individually controlled lights. Enter the lobby, housed in a triple-story, light filled atrium, to find equally trippy interiors (fun fact: the ME is the only hotel in the world that can boast interiors and exterior designed by Hadid). Gleaming, snow-white marble floors juxtapose spaceship like magenta ottomans and golden accents. Above your head, three stories of galleries are flanked by projecting balconies lit by strips of golden lights.
The monochromatic rooms and suites are split into six categories: Aura and Vibe for the guestrooms, plus Chic, Passion, Personality, and Suite Me, some with stunning views of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. King-sized, Hadid-designed beds project from the walls, while wavy furnishings complement undulating glass walls. Bathrooms are outfitted with integrated Bose surround sound, massive Jacuzzi tubs, double rain-fall showers, and walk-in wardrobes. There’s also a spa, dedicated health club and fitness center with personal training services, rooftop pool with views of Downtown Dubai, and five eclectic dining options. Nibble signature cakes with organic roasted coffee in the atrium before sitting down to enjoy authentic Japanese Robatayaki cuisine at Roka. There’s also a botanical shrouded gin and tonic bar, Spanish tapas restaurant, and hedonist Latin American eatery by the pool.
Rooms begin at $550 per night. The Opus by Omniyat Al A’amal St – Business Bay, melia.com
FOUR SEASONS LOS CABOS AT COSTA PALMAS Baja California, Mexico
Mere minutes past the sea of all inclusives that line Highway 1 in Cabo, a contemporary hideaway emerges like a cardón cactus-studded mirage. Cabo’s East Cape, anked by the mellow Sea of Cortez and rugged Sierra de la Laguna Mountains, has remained virtually untouched since the 1950s, and the ultra-luxurious 141-room Four Seasons resort was designed to blend into its sand dune-tinted setting, complementing the landscape rather than commercializing it. Native vegetation grows wild here; the low-slung buildings are nearly hidden by an outgrowth of palo blancos, sea grapes, torotes, palms, and cacti.
Guerin Glass Architects spearheaded the design, choosing a slate of natural materials like metal, wood, glass, plaster, and stone to create an air of elemental luxury that would feel both modern and warm. Each facility was design to foster indoor-outdoor living. e gym, for example, props treadmills up on stadium seating-like platforms to maximize ocean views, while each guestroom and suite faces the sea, ensuring every guest is treated to a Mexican sunset. Views of the mountains hang in giant glass walls, while local furnishings like woven baskets and graphic cotton throws (made in Mexico City and Guadalajara) honor the heritage and tradition of the fabled Baja Peninsula. Additional luxuries include private plunge pools (in ground floor rooms), dedicated butler service, and outdoor showers. A particularly indulgent Presidential Villa boats three sun-lit bathrooms, a state-of-the-art kitchen with private chef, and several terraces with three plunge pools.
At the spa, spring for a signature treatment in a private spa suite, such as the Better Together, which includes a 60-minute massage for two with local oils and a 60-minute facial from clean beauty line Tata Harper, followed by an additional hour to enjoy the suite with champagne, cheese, and strawberries.
Rooms start at $2,000 per night. Eureka-Buenavista C. Eureka S/N La Ribera, Los Cabos, CP, 23570, fourseasons.com/loscabos
HOTEL HUBERTUS Dolomites, Italy
Nestled in the shadow of the Dolomites, this wellness haven takes alpine luxe to entirely new heights and we’re not speaking in platitudes, as Hotel Hubertus’ outdoor Sky Pool is suspended nearly 40 feet in the air, propped up by precarious wooden beams and overlooking a stunning backdrop of the jagged Italian peaks. Heated to around 91 degrees, the pool invites the intrepid to swim amid a sea of summits, and a glass bottom offers a glimpse of the ground below. But this is only one of six pools on the property, along with a full-service spa with Turkish baths, panoramic mountain saunas with floor to ceiling windows, cave steam rooms, and whirlpools. A vast menu of Ayurvedic face and body treatments use powerful alpine herbs and fresh mountain water to invigorate and detox the body.
Guestrooms and suites blur the lines between indoors and out, each featuring a large glass front overlooking the peaks. Natural woods and soft hues complement the majesty of the dramatic landscape, and large cozy beds directly face the floor to ceiling windows, allowing guests to fall asleep and wake up to views of the mountains. Spring for a Sauna Suite, which stretches nearly 500 square feet and boasts a private balcony and in-room dry sauna. Each accommodation includes ¾ wellness board, which includes buffet breakfast, afternoon snack, six-course dinner, use of the spa facilities, and in-suite beauty products.
Gastronomy here is also a work of art. The restaurant is fully encased in glass, so guests can feast on mountain views along with modern Mediterranean fare. The menu changes daily but consistently highlights hyper-local ingredients sourced from regional purveyors. Cocktail and wine pairings are also on tap daily.
Rooms start at $200 per person. Via Furcia, 5, 39030, hotel-hubertus.com
PARKROYAL COLLECTION MARINA BAY Singapore
Singapore is home to some of the world’s most spectacular gardens, from the UNESCO-designated Botanical Gardens to the horticulture wonderland Gardens by the Bay, so it makes sense for a five-star luxury resort to bring the tropics inside. The second iteration from the luxury hotel brand, PARKROYAL COLLECTION Marina Bay underwent a $45 million renovation in 2021, emerging as the country’s first “garden in a hotel,” a fascinating stew of biophilic design, rich green spaces, and five-star amenities.
The experience begins with check-in inside Southeast Asia’s largest atrium, soaring 21 stories and topped with UV-resistant glass to cloak the room in natural light. There are more than 2,400 plants and 60 different species of flower woven into the interior, exterior, and grounds of the hotel. Orchidea, a suspended floral sculpture by American wire sculptor Richard Lippold, looms over the atrium, while the lobby is home to a 42-foot living wall and pair of giant sandalwood sculptures of ancient Chinese philosophers Li Bai and Confucius. A suspended sky bridge resembles a forest canopy walk, while wooden pavilions carved into the shape of bird’s nests provide places to sit, sip, or mingle.
An on-site urban farm nurtures more than 60 types of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers and supplies the hotel’s six dining and drinking destinations with organic, farm to table fare and fresh ingredients for everything from cocktails to crudo. Be sure to grab a beverage after sundown at the Skyline Bar, located next to the hotel’s 80-foot outdoor swimming pool (accented with nearly 1,400 fiber optic lights) and sprawling green space with panoramic views of Singapore’s eclectic skyline.
Rates start at $221 per night. 6 Raffles Boulevard, panpacific.com