Spicer's Peak Lodge © Prachi JoshiPin

It’s almost the end of the year and every travel publication is busy putting out its “best of” lists — I particularly enjoyed browsing through Lonely Planet’s “Best in Travel 2024”  as well as National Geographic’s “Cool List 2024“. I’m also looking forward to NYT’s annual “52 Places to Go” list, which should be out shortly. Inspired by these lists, I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon and share one of my own! So here’s my 2023 Hotel Edit — a round-up of some of my favourite hotels this year.

Spicer's Peak Lodge Pin

Altis Avenida, Lisbon, Portugal

Altis Avenida Hotel Pin

Located right in the city centre and within walking distance of major attractions, the boutique Altis Avenida Hotel is a stylish presence just off Avenida da Liberdade. Its art deco rooms are chic with gleaming black surfaces and brass accents. Lisbon has many miradouros or vantage points that give great views over the city. However, I found one of the best views from Altis Avenida’s rooftop sundeck! Grab an al fresco sundowner with a view at the rooftop Rossio Gastrobar followed by contemporary Portuguese cuisine for dinner. Read my guide to Lisbon for Spice Route magazine.

Amankora, Bhutan

Amankora BhutanPin

Aman has five luxurious lodges across Bhutan and I had the opportunity to stay in their Thimphu and Paro locations. Amankora Thimphu is located in a scenic forested setting and is built in the style of a traditional dzong fortress. I loved the stunning views from Amankora Paro looking out over Drukgyel Dzong and Jomolhari, Bhutan’s second highest peak. Suites are minimalist and done up in shades of honey and cinnamon. They come with king-size beds, terrazzo-clad bathtubs, and a bukhari or traditional wood-burning stove. Read all about Bhutan’s arts and crafts in my feature for Travel+Leisure, plus my Bhutan food guide for Zee Zest.

Corso 281, Rome, Italy

Corso 281Pin

Located in an 18th century palazzo, Corso 281 is an all-suite hotel on Via del Corso. Several suites offer a view of the Vittorio Emanuele Monument from the balcony. Even better, many of Rome’s attractions like the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain are within walking distance. The 12 suites are minimalist with a black-and-white colour scheme and come with rain showers and Bulgari amenities. Read my guide to Rome in Air India’s Namaste magazine, plus my food guide for Zee Zest.

JW Marriott Goa Vagator, India

JW Marriott Goa Vagator Pin

JW Marriott Goa Vagator is designed to bring the outside inside. Its walls feature vertical gardens, rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows with views of lush greenery, and water features abound. The understated rooms and suites have a neutral colour palette of greys and browns with strategic blue accents. I particularly loved the all-glass bathroom with sleek black fittings and a freestanding bathtub. I wrote a detailed feature on my experience for Luxury Lifestyle Magazine.

Parador de Santo Estevo, Galicia, Spain

Parador de Santo EstevoPin

Parador de Santo Estevo is located in the Ribeira Sacra region of Spain‘s northwestern region of Galicia. This former 10th-century Benedictine monastery retains three spectacular cloisters in Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance styles. The rooms are what used to be the monks’ cells but have modern amenities. I was quite impressed with how the hotel had incorporated contemporary design into the historic structure. Read my guide to Galicia for Vistara magazine, plus my food guide for New Indian Express.

Quirk Hotel, Richmond, Virginia, USA

Quirk Hotel Pin

When the movie ‘Barbie’ released earlier this year, I read a random listicle on the most pink hotels in the world. I think Quirk Hotel in Richmond definitely qualifies for that list! Located in the Arts District, this boutique design hotel is itself art-forward showcasing many local artists throughout the property as well as in the attached gallery. My light-filled room had rustic hardwood floors, a comfy bed, a spacious bathroom, and a retro pink minifridge that I wanted to steal (I didn’t!) If you’re in Richmond, don’t miss visiting the Poe Museum; read all about it in my feature for Deccan Herald.

Spicer’s Peak Lodge, Queensland, Australia

Spicer's Peak LodgePin

Located 1,100 metres above sea level in Queensland’s Scenic Rim region, Spicers Peak Lodge is Australia’s highest non-alpine mountain lodge. It’s an intimate luxury accommodation with just 10 suites and two private lodges. I loved the country-chic aesthetic of my suite with bluestone and wood, a working fireplace, and sit-out. The hotel also offers one- or two-bedroom private lodges with generous outdoor decks and Jacuzzi.

The Tamara Kodai, Tamil Nadu, India

The Tamara Kodai Pin

The Tamara Kodai occupies the third-oldest bungalow in Kodaikanal (dating to the 1840s). It retains all the colonial architecture and the main buffet restaurant La Providence is particularly atmospheric. The suites are housed in low-rise modern structures spread around the property and they come with vintage furniture and luxury amenities. I loved waking up to great views of the lush Palani Hills! Read my complete guide to Kodaikanal for Conde Nast Traveller.

Utsav Camp Sariska, Rajasthan, India

Utsav Camp SariskaPin

Just 7 km from Sariska Tiger Reserve’s southern gate, Utsav Camp Sariska is one of the pioneering hotels in the area. Choose between Swiss tents, stone cabins, and forest bungalows, all of which give the feeling of staying in the lap of nature. My stone cabin had floor-to-ceiling windows, a large bathroom, and an al fresco star-gazing patio bed. There’s a rooftop pool to cool off in as well as a spa. Read more about my experience in this feature for Zee Zest.

Viceroy, Washington DC, USA

Viceroy Washington DCPin

Viceroy Washington DC is an elegant space done up in deep colours and plush fabrics. Rooms are incredibly spacious by DC standards and have walk-in showers and luxe amenities. There’s an outdoor patio area with firepits and a rooftop pool plus bar. I particularly liked their reception gallery highlighting the work of local artists. Read my guide to Washington for Zee Zest.

Did you stay at any interesting hotels this year? Leave me a comment below. And here’s wishing you a Happy New Year; see you in 2024!

Disclosure – I was on press trips and was hosted by these hotels, views my own.

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