An upscale version of couchsurfing in Thailand, a $99 room in Panama filled with local artwork, and a $2,000 glamping experience in Tanzania among wildebeests and zebras have made Condé Nast Traveler’s Hot List of best new hotels for 2013.
In the May issue of Condé Nast Traveler US, a team of 36 reporter-inspectors whittled down a list of a thousand properties to 154 hotels across 57 countries based on factors such as style, location, service, comfort, and value.
Properties were evaluated anonymously, and 62 of them clocked in at less than US$300 a night including the Tantalo Hotel in Panama, described as an eclectic and festive stay in a newly gutted and renovated colonial building that offers panoramic views of Panama City on the hotel’s rooftop bar.
Rooms, meanwhile, are modern “exuberant,” its walls and décor sourced from local artists.
At the other end of the spectrum is the Singita Mara River Tented Camp in Tanzania, where renting out one of six luxury safari tents carries a US$2,000-a-night price tag that comes with a front row seat to the annual wildebeest migration.
“During the October migration, thousands of wildebeests, zebras, and eland congregate on the plain just opposite the camp; guests may witness perilous wildebeest crossings of the crocodile-filled river from private sundecks, or even while in bed or in the bathtub,” editors say.
Meanwhile, Howie’s HomeStay in Chiang Mai, Thailand, could be described as a luxury couchsurfing experience as guests essentially stay in architect Bill Bensley’s Balinese-inspired, lavishly decorated guest suite, which overlooks a garden, pond and pagoda.
Like friends and family, house guests are invited to take what they like from the well-stocked kitchen, although the suite is outfitted with a complimentary mini bar.
The full list is in the May edition of Condé Nast Traveler US and is on stands now. See online.