Each December we find ourselves in a difficult predicament—trying to narrow down what we consider to be the most exciting hotel openings of the year. With the industry bouncing back and hotel construction and development at a steady pace, we had our hands full trying to narrow our openings down to a shortlist of just 10 properties.
Our 2013 list of the biggest hotel openings are comprised of slick boutiques, new luxury hotspots, and brand standouts:
Nobu Caesars Palace– The addition of the 181-room Nobu Caesars Palace signaled the first celebrity chef-branded hotel to open in Las Vegas and the first lodging output for acclaimed chef Nobu Matsuhisa. The glitzy property is owned by Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro, and Hollywood film producer Meir Teper. David Rockwell brought the hotel design to life and focused on origami-inspired motifs and natural textures. The location offers the world’s largest Nobu restaurant, with 327 seats and a selection of the chef’s signature dishes. An in-room dining menu is also available from the upscale restaurant.
The Refinery Hotel—The opening of this boutique property, located in the garment district of Manhattan, was delayed several times before finally welcoming guests in May. Stonehill and Taylor Architects transformed the 1912 Colony Arcade building, which served as a former hat-making factory, into an industrial chic 197-room hotel. The guestrooms provide a loft-like feel with high ceilings, reclaimed wooden floors, and exposed beams. A highlight of the property is the 3,500-square-foot rooftop bar, which caters to guests with indoor and outdoor lounge seating, skyline views, and a killer cocktail program.
Radisson Blu Mall of America– Carlson Rezidor’s Radisson Blu brand made strides in the U.S. in 2013, with a conversion in Philadelphia and the opening of this flagship hotel connected to the country’s largest shopping destination. The 500-room, 13-story Radisson Blu Mall of America opened in March and features an indoor saltwater pool, cutting-edge gym, and a sky bridge that connects guests directly to the mall’s 520 stores. The upper-upscale hotel’s design was loosely inspired by the local landscape and provides a subtle nod to its mall connection with tissue paper-inspired wall meant to represent a shopping bag.
The Capella Georgetown– Capella Hotels and Resorts, the luxury hotel company owned by Ritz-Carlton co-founder Horst Schulze, decided to debut its first U.S. property in the posh, upscale Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Despite the low room count—the property offers just 49 rooms—the hotel makes an effort to offer its guests exclusive experiences such as dedicated fashion concierges and personal assistants. Additional features include a rooftop pool and fine dining options including The Grill Room, offering artisanal cuts of meat, and the Rye Bar, serving rare rye whiskeys and creative bar fare.
The Omni Nashville– Nashville, Tenn., remains a hot hotel market, and this year saw the opening of a major convention-center hotel in the Omni Nashville. The 800-room property is adjacent to the new Music City Center and connected to the Country Music Hall of Fame, making it a prime location for city visitors. The 21-story hotel changed the Nashville skyline and cost approximately $250 million to build. When the property opened in September, it had more than 395,000 definite room nights booked with 450 meetings and conventions contracted through 2014.
Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort and Spa– The opening of Andaz Maui in September marked the first resort destination for Hyatt’s locally focused luxury brand. Rockwell Group designed the property to reflect the pure simplicity and beauty of its surroundings with a palette of natural materials that showcase the warmth of Hawaiian hospitality. The resort offers 297 guestrooms, an infinity-edge swimming pool, `Āwili Spa and Salon, and Morimoto Maui, a full-service restaurant by acclaimed Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. See also: Hotels Elevate the Guest Experience With Resort Amenities