Pursuitist presents the top 5 new luxury hotels and resorts that opened in 2020, curated by Ramsey Qubein.
Hoteliers have been hard at work, even amidst a pandemic, to keep luxury and safety standards high at existing properties while also turning attention to new projects (many of which were already on the cusp of opening).
Most interesting of all is that many of 2020’s celebrated, luxury hotel openings aren’t where you might expect. It’s not just the nation’s top-tourist, coastal destinations (the Four Seasons Embarcadero District in San Francisco is an exciting addition, of course), but there were several big-name openings in places you may not usually expect this year.
It may seem counterintuitive, but 2020 could not slow the progress of hotels about to open as it’s not reasonable to stop with so many things in motion already, according to in-the-know hotel advisors. While grand opening ceremonies were hardly the norm, hotel owners and managers moved forward to preserve staff jobs and support community businesses as much as possible.
With road trips and staycations bigger than ever, these Americana destinations have unlocked the doors on some luxe new addresses worth exploring. Here are five exciting boutique and luxury hotel openings that will turn heads the next time you travel.
Hotel Kansas City, Unbound Collection by Hyatt
In the heart of Kansas City’s popular Power and Light District, this new boutique hotel was reborn from the bones of a downtown architectural gem. Once a private social club and later private residences, this historic building has welcomed past presidents and celebrities aplenty. Since its October opening, its dramatic design and Victorian-style meeting spaces are making it a favorite of small group functions, weddings, and visitors looking to experience old-world glamor with modern touches.
Don’t miss the statues and busts in the lobby designed by local artists to represent some of the most well-known members of the social club like past-presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Harry S. Truman.
Chefs Patrick Ryan and Johnny Leach of the hotel’s The Town Company restaurant are winning accolades for the nostalgic comfort food menu served in a chic dining room with exhibition kitchen and open stone hearth. The menu is approachable, varied, and delicious (reservations are a must if you want to secure a spot). If you’re in a hurry, Leach’s wife is the hotel’s celebrated pastry chef, and many of her flaky, fresh creations are available from the lobby coffee shop.
Everything about this hotel pays homage to Kansas City (even the coffee beans from a local roastery). Most notable, however, is the bespoke, barrel-aged whiskey from J. Rieger Co. that only guests of the hotel, its bar, and restaurant can sample. Locals stop in to take a bottle home, and some guests book a staycation in one of the top-floor, duplex suites overlooking the city to entertain with this highly favored tipple.
Omni Viking Lakes, Minneapolis
Luxury is not always about chandeliers dripping with crystal and tuxedoed staffers delivering drinks on a silver tray. Sports fans will find a hot new place to hob knob with NFL stars at Omni Viking Lakes, a chic, Nordic-inspired hotel within the Viking Lakes development that opened in September. It is adjacent to the Minnesota Vikings team headquarters and practice fields. This is also where the team will stay before home games giving guests the chance to get up close and personal with their favorite sports stars.
Light wood accents and artwork inspired by the outdoors (in a nod to both Minnesota and the Viking/Nordic ancestry of the region) abound. Guest rooms feature impressive attention to detail including in bathrooms with quartz shower stalls and well-thought-out power outlets. The top-floor suites are ideal for entertaining with crackling fireplaces, wet bars, dining areas, and balconies overlooking the practice fields.
It’s not just football fans that are in for a treat. Spa goers have a lavish facility with beauty and massage treatments using thermotherapy rituals. Relaxing in the steam or sauna before refreshing in the ice fountain plus a soak in the al fresco whirlpool during a Minnesota snowfall is a special treat.
Foodies will find tasty Korean-inspired cuisine at Kyndred Hearth under the helm of James Beard award-winning chef (and Minneapolis resident) Ann Kim. Arrive early to get a spot in the cocktail lounge, which is designed to look like a mountain lodge, serving craft concoctions in designer ware. On a snowy day, you might think for a moment you were in Aspen or Vail.
Kimpton Cottonwood Omaha
In downtown Omaha, the Kimpton Cottonwood Omaha delivers the boutique and independent spirit of the Kimpton brand to this cosmopolitan Midwestern city. Within walking distance of great dining and shopping, the former Blackstone building was transformed into a new luxury hotel from InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) that opened last month.
The Cottonwood Hotel is said to be the birthplace of the Reuben sandwich. Many of the building’s original architectural details have been restored to their former glory giving guests a taste of old-world glamor. Today’s guests will find dozens of local works of art on display, too.
It’s on the National Register of Historic Places and features its original marble staircase, tile and hardwood flooring, 800 fully restored windows from the original building, and vaulted ceilings of its historic Schimmel ballroom that has hosted so many important city functions.
Like other Kimpton properties, guests are treated to free PUBLIC bikes to cycle through the downtown area plus free coffee each morning and a daily happy hour with complimentary wine and local craft beer to get the evening off to a nice start.
According to the hotel’s owners, they want the property to become the “living room for the city” again the way it was in the 1950s. With so much commercial and residential growth in the downtown sector, it’s sure to be on the right path.
Quirk Hotel Charlottesville
In this quintessential college town, art and design are nothing new, but a boutique hotel that melds chic interiors with conversation-worthy art is. Quirk Hotel Charlottesville, which opened in March just before the pandemic (and then closed briefly before re-opening again), is sibling to the Quirk Hotel Richmond. It features plenty of local art in its public-area galleries with a rotating selection on display to appeal to repeat visitors.
The lobby’s architectural design is a marvel with curvaceous ceilings indicating the space is more than just for reception formalities; it’s a gallery for gathering and cultural appreciation.
The building’s quintessential pink interiors (said to be a favorite color of the owner) change to a different hue with each floor. College-town visitors have a new level of luxury to enjoy now that this Destination Hotels property has opened within the World of Hyatt portfolio.
If you want to appreciate the hotel’s location within walking distance of the University of Virginia campus, climb to the rooftop bar to tipple with the hotel’s own rose wine and tasty southern fare.
Miraval Berkshires Resort & Spa
This Lenox, Massachusetts, wellness resort and spa, affiliated with World of Hyatt, is an outdoorsy fan’s dream and perfectly suited to those looking for rest and relaxation. Whether you are doing solo yoga or horseback riding with friends, the roster of activities at the resort, which opened in July, has something for everyone.
They vary by the season, but all focus on personal well-being and self-improvement. Let’s face it, we can all use a little bit of that right now. Activities include meditation, culinary programming, gardening, spa treatments, hiking, biking, archery, beekeeping, water activities, and a challenge course. During the winter months, snow shoeing and cross-country skiing are also on the roster.
Miraval Berkshires Resort & Spa’s rates are all-inclusive of meals and most activities with laid-back luxury the name of the game at these high-end cottage and suite-style rooms. With so much outdoor space, social distancing is a breeze with outdoor firepits and patio dining ideal for small, safe social gatherings with friends and family.
Ramsey Qubein is a freelance travel journalist covering hotels, cruises, airlines, and loyalty programs from around the globe.