Travel

The goop List: 26 Exceptional Hotels to Stay at This Year

Written by: the Editors of goop

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Published on: April 11, 2024

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The goop List is our way of distilling, annually, what we consider to be the most exceptional places to visit right now—and sharing them with you.

Of course, this hotels edition began with Gwyneth’s picks: places she’s stayed that were so extraordinary, she’d stay there again. Then we went out to about 50 of Gwyneth’s friends and peers to ask: What’s your favorite place you stayed in the past year, and why? We sorted through their feedback, cross-referenced it against travel notes from our own editors, spent approximately 99 times more than a normal amount of time deliberating, and went through every hotel with Gwyneth. And the list was completed the way it began, with her stamp of approval.

In this inaugural edition, you’ll find English country manors, Riviera Maya resorts, and some of the world’s finest city hotels. Every property here offers not just something spectacular but everything spectacular, from accommodations to activities to food. As GP would say, 10 out of 10, across the board.

(Coming next: our lists for destination spas and restaurants.)

Photo courtesy of Martino Dini (bedroom)

Four Seasons Hotel Firenze

FLORENCE, ITALY

This is Florence at its most grand. The hotel, exceptional within (and beyond) the Four Seasons portfolio, could double as a museum. It’s filled with original works of art, antiques, frescoes, and decorative stucco. It occupies two buildings, an opulent restored palazzo and a converted 16th-century convent. The latter, La Villa, operates as a private hotel within the hotel. La Villa has its own concierge and an exclusive restaurant, and it can be rented in its entirety—all 37 rooms—for celebrations and business. The rooms in both buildings are warm and comfortable, but the real standouts are the historical suites.

There are 11 acres of manicured, utterly romantic gardens—featuring a long lap pool and sculptures that date back as far as the 15th century. For heaven on a summer afternoon, the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Il Palagio, will pack you a picnic lunch.

The property is just removed enough from the heart of the city to feel like an escape, but close enough that you can still walk to major attractions. The Duomo is 15 minutes on foot; and the Uffizi Gallery, 20.

Soneva Jani

NOONU ATOLL, MALDIVES

At Soneva Jani, every accommodation is a house, with one to four bedrooms, a private pool, a full kitchen, and a retractable roof in the master bedroom for crystal-clear stargazing from bed. Restaurant options abound. Zipping across the island on bikes, barefoot, is the norm.

This property is especially good for kids, who can cruise for sunset dolphin sightings or pick up a surfboard for the first time under the guidance of a private coach. Nearly every villa has a two-story waterslide that plunges either into the pool (for beach villas) or directly into the turquoise sea (for overwater ones).

The spa—which occupies two complexes, one perched over the jungle and the other over the sea—is home to a talented permanent staff and roster of visiting experts. Some are well-versed in ancient remedies (they offer up to 14-day Panchakarma detoxes), and others specialize in less traditional therapies (like hyperbaric oxygen therapy, IV drips, and microneedling).

Ett Hem

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN

Ett Hem” translates to “a home” in English. And this is why, in part at least, it is one of the most celebrated hotels in the world: It does feel like home. Across the property’s two houses—they just expanded—there are 22 suites and three apartments, none quite the same as any other, all outfitted with exquisite amenities. Designer Ilse Crawford’s touch is evident in the sheepskin throws, chaise longues, and mix of textures, from wicker to silk.

Special touches are what make staying here so enjoyable, from the freshly baked cakes put out every afternoon in the drawing room to the roaring fires. Breakfast in the walled garden may be the best in Stockholm. The requisite Swedish buffet heroes are all there, of course: homemade lingonberry jam and bread, granola, and smoked salmon. Leaving is terrible.

Aman Tokyo

TOKYO, JAPAN

Many hotels in Tokyo occupy the upper floors of skyscrapers, but none can compete with the majesty of Aman’s first city hotel, which opened in 2014. Step off the elevators and your head will instinctively swivel upward; the lobby is a 100-foot atrium, and a showstopper.

More delights await: 84 rooms designed in elegant, modern simplicity, with a deep soaking tub in every single one. Floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the Imperial Palace, the Tokyo skyline, and Mount Fuji (when visibility is good, mostly in autumn and winter). And a spa and swimming pool that are so high up, they may as well be in the clouds. The hotel is in a solidly business-oriented neighborhood, but it’s close to the action in Ginza and sits above five subway lines.

Maison de la Luz

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA

In the buzzy New Orleans hotel scene, no one does it like Maison de la Luz. Staying here feels like being let in on a good secret. Visitors should note design details like astrological symbols etched into copper tables and a window, hidden behind a painting, where you can order a drink. And while the common rooms hum with the energy of the city, the guest rooms are a true escape—with soaring ceilings and sumptuous velvet headboards.

There’s no full-service restaurant here, but there’s a solid breakfast, and in New Orleans you really shouldn’t be eating at your hotel anyway. The library bar, Bar Marilou, is known to be one of the coolest in town. Even cooler: Through a revolving bookcase door, there’s a private salon reserved for hotel guests only.

Photos courtesy of Ritz Paris

Ritz Paris

PARIS, FRANCE

As one of our sources told us, “Paris is just not Paris unless you’re staying at the Ritz.” And while Paris is a city of great hotels, the Ritz is the gold standard: charming and traditional and unmistakably French, down to the grand window treatments, gilded frames, and copious chandeliers.

The hotel, which opened in 1898 and completed renovations under the eyes of design legends Thierry Despont and Alain-Charles Perrot in 2016, feels rooted in its history. And as ever, the rooms are exceptionally luxurious. Each is outfitted with a marble bathroom, generous windows, and famously soft sheets.

There’s a stunning fitness center—also available to private club members—where guests can swim laps in a tiled pool or be pampered in the spa. There are three restaurants, two of which now have retractable glass ceilings on their patios. Go to L’Espadon for a white-tablecloth French dining experience, Bar Vendôme for a moody brasserie with red velvet booths, and the Ritz Bar for a more casual spot with shared plates and Art Deco inspiration. But whatever you do, don’t miss Bar Hemingway, a historic haunt of Paris creatives that’s now famous for some of the world’s best cocktails.

Photos courtesy of Caldera House

Caldera House

JACKSON HOLE, WYOMING

With a coveted location right by Jackson’s tram, Caldera House has just eight suites, each with two or four bedrooms. It’s spot-on without hitting you over the head with alpine charm: blonde wood throughout, marble and brass details, worn-in leather chairs, and Moroccan rugs. The team here keeps a low profile, and you won’t see much of them if you’re not seeking out their (excellent) services; they can set up a day of heli-skiing, a sleigh ride through the National Elk Refuge, or naturalist-guided snowshoeing through the Tetons.

Nothing comes cheap here—during peak season, four-bedroom suites go for upwards of $20,000 a night. But if you’re traveling with a couple of families and would have rented a house in the area, the location at the base of the lift makes it a compelling option. Coveted amenities don’t hurt, either: namely the seamlessly organized ski valet, luxurious locker room, and valet parking, which is otherwise nonexistent in Teton Village.

Photos courtesy of Mark Anthony Fox

Estelle Manor

OXFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND

Estelle Manor opened in 2023 after a head-to-toe reimagining by Sharan Pasricha, the founder of the fashion-forward hospitality brand Ennismore, which was responsible for transforming the Hoxton Shoreditch and Gleneagles. The limestone-clad neo-Jacobean mansion is now a 108-room five-star hotel and members club connected with Mayfair’s Maison Estelle.

While some parts of the property are members-only, nonmembers won’t feel a shortage of space. Guests can enjoy the bright brasserie, weekend dim sum in the billiards room, family-style dining in a glassed-in arboretum, and the living room bar. The grounds include 60 acres of stables, padel courts, and a pool. And the spa is inspired by a classical tepidarium, with five thermal pools in a Roman-style villa, treatments that draw on ancient healing traditions, and a tea lounge.

The property is family-friendly, and there are activities for all ages (like archery, guided foraging, and an intro to falconry with the resident Harris hawk), but note that some bedrooms are off-limits for kids under 13.

Hotel Castello di Reschio

UMBRIA, ITALY

On an Umbrian hillside right on the Tuscan border, Castello di Reschio is the epitome of secluded luxury. Count Antonio Bolza and his architecturally inclined family spent decades restoring this 3,700-acre thousand-year-old estate to glory.

Rooms inside the castle—as well as the freestanding cottages, palazzos, and for-sale villas—are outfitted with custom fixtures, ultrasoft linens, and nods to the castle’s past inhabitants. Visitors enjoy the property’s stables and tennis courts, a pool overlooking ancient mulberry groves and fragrant lavender fields, workshops in needlepoint and paper marbling, and drivers for off-property excursions.

The Reschio vineyard is famous for its rosés, which you can sample at the property’s private restaurant, Ristorante alle Scuderie (where they also serve expertly prepared locally sourced meals). The property hosts live music daily—you might hear a 1908 Steinway during the Palm Court’s cocktail hour, dueling blues trombone and contrabass at the restaurant, or, if you feel like dancing after dinner, swing quartets.

Blackberry Mountain

SMOKY MOUNTAINS, TENNESSEE

Sister to long-standing favorite Blackberry Farm, Blackberry Mountain (just “Mountain” to Blackberry loyalists) is the brand’s wellness-focused concept. The culinary program is supportive to these ends, with nourishing, farm-fresh meals and snacks. Activities center around mindfulness: Sometimes that’s a gentle guided hike (forest bathing, iykyk) or meditative watercolor. Guests looking for a faster pace might lean toward trail running, mountain biking, and bouldering.

Guests stay in stony cottages, intimate tree houses, and multibedroom homes, which are great if you’re coming with friends. Those who come here with intentions to unplug might choose the intimate and isolated cabins, which are a solid hike from the lodge and don’t have TVs. The spa, the Nest, offers facials with Biologique Recherche and Augustinus Bader products, and it recently became the first-ever Joanna Czech–certified spa in the US.

Photos courtesy of Cap Rocat

Cap Rocat

MALLORCA, SPAIN

You might have guessed—if you clocked the Moorish ramparts, moats, and crenelated gates—that Cap Rocat was originally built for military defense in the 19th century. But in its current life as a boutique hotel, oh how open and peaceful it feels.

Take your pick from rooms nestled in the original citadel, suites with sunny terraces, or—get this—chambers set directly into the cliffs where the fortress used to keep its cannons. There’s a romance here: evergreen gardens, wide-open ocean vistas, avant-garde Mallorcan food, and miles of protected coastline. You have access to golf carts, an infinity pool, a movie theater, two restaurants (try the local limited-production wines), and a subterranean hammam. And when you’re up for it, Palma proper is just a 20-minute taxi away.

Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc

CÔTE D’AZUR, FRANCE

Perched at the rocky tip of Cap d’Antibes, this 111-room resort is a jewel of the French Riviera on 22 landscaped acres of parasol pines and seaside palms. The highlights are the restaurant (memorable, if overtly fancy) and the heated saltwater pool, which is expertly cantilevered over the sea (and which inspired many a Slim Aarons shoot). The hotel concierge can arrange for outings to nearby Antibes or Cannes or, for guests who’d like to venture a bit further, to Nice.

The guest rooms are old-fashioned. One features floor-to-ceiling drapes, French doors that open up to a marble terrace, and a Louis XV writing table. Windows look out on either the Mediterranean or the property’s manicured gardens. And while there’s no beach access, there is an overwater trapeze and carefully placed diving boards for those who want to plunge straight into the crystal waters.

Photos courtesy of La Mamounia

La Mamounia

MARRAKECH, MOROCCO

Those who best know luxury hospitality genuflect to La Mamounia, which manages to be many things at once: A romantic retreat from the busy Marrakech medina. A wellness estate with a world-class hammam. A party palace for all-night-casino-goers. And a haven for anyone who’s most themselves in a caftan, sipping champagne.

The grounds—Moorish architecture, colonnaded courtyards, and a 20-acre garden—are reason enough to book. And you won’t want for much beyond what’s on site: restaurants by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, a patisserie and tearoom by Pierre Hermé, four bars, and a spectacular pool. But even those in pursuit of everything else Marrakech has to offer should reserve time for drinks at one of the bars, Le Churchill. It’s named for Winston Churchill, who decamped to La Mamounia often, and it hosts a lively jazz orchestra.

Photos courtesy of Secret Bay

SECRET BAY

PORTSMOUTH, DOMINICA

On the volcanic island of Dominica—which is already less touristy than nearby Antigua and St. Lucia—Secret Bay is so private, you might never run into other hotel guests. Very little of the property is communal space. Instead, visitors settle into one of the 25 villas on-site, each perched on a rocky sea cliff or nestled into the jungle, with private plunge pools, open-air terraces, mattress and pillow menus, and views of the Caribbean.

You might never be called to leave your villa, except to explore the rainforest on horseback, spelunk through sea caves, or eat dinner at the restaurant, Zing Zing. Although that, too, is optional: Every villa has a fully equipped kitchen, and guests can request a private chef or spend evenings cooking for themselves. (Some may consider this more romantic when you aren’t responsible for groceries or the dishes, which are handled by the dedicated and thoughtful staff.)

Photos courtesy of John Athimaritis Photography

Six Senses Rome

ROME, ITALY

The first urban Six Senses property is surrounded by heritage sites with household names—the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps—but inside, Six Senses Rome has a contemporary feel. And true to the hallmark serenity of the Six Senses brand, it’s a respite from the tourist throngs outside its doors. The rooms are plush and done in warm, neutral tones and natural materials. Organic mattresses, a pillow menu, and a sleep program (which visitors can opt in to at the spa) enhance a deeply restful bedtime setup.

At the spa, facialists use products from the Tuscan brand Seed to Skin, the pools are inspired by traditional Roman bathhouses, and treatments aim to help guests with jet lag. And there are two excellent restaurants on-site. Bivium, an all-day spot that flows off the lobby, for coffee, cocktails, and ingredient-focused local dishes. And Notos, which serves cocktails and antipasti in the rooftop garden.

Photos courtesy of the Connaught

The Connaught

LONDON, ENGLAND

The Connaught is a London institution, full of modern surprises while maintaining its elegant, historical charm. Rooms are well-appointed; service is top-notch. The Connaught Bar, led by award-winning mixologist Agostino Perrone, has reached legendary status for its martini trolley, which makes something special out of the classic drink. And every meal you can spend at Jean-Georges is worth spending; the burger is topped with black truffles, and it’s insane.

The Aman Spa, which opened under the hotel in 2022, is the only one of its kind outside of Aman resorts, and incredible to experience. The spa offers acupuncture, Reiki, and whole-body hydrofacials. There’s also an essential-oil-infused steam room and a stunning black granite swimming pool.

Park Hyatt Kyoto

KYOTO, JAPAN

Four reasons to book the Park Hyatt Kyoto: One, modern design that thoughtfully nods to traditional Japanese ryokans, with sloped ceilings and (reason two) expansive views of Kyoto’s tiled rooftops and pagodas. It suits the neighborhood, which, reason three, is an ideal home base for sightseeing. The hotel sits right on Ninenzaka, one of two connecting pedestrian alleys lined with traditional wooden houses, souvenir stores selling fans and matcha bowls, and shops offering specialty snacks, like pickled cucumbers on a stick. The vibe is bustling during the day and eases out at night.

But our reason four is perhaps the most notable thing about the Park Hyatt: the main restaurant on-site, which predates the hotel by over 140 years. Kyoyamato is a traditional kaiseki spot and a destination in its own right—plan to spend an afternoon in the garden here.

Photos courtesy of Jake Eastham

Lime Wood

NEW FOREST, ENGLAND

Just far enough from London for weekend getaways, this country manor turned luxury hotel bumps up against the New Forest and lies just 20 minutes from the coast. Guests will appreciate the ample roaming space (ask and you can borrow a pair of Wellies), pots of fresh-cut daffodils, and charming features. There are brick fireplaces, tufted velvet chairs, roll-top tubs, four-poster beds, and portraits of forest creatures throughout the main house and in the cottages and cabins that are tucked into the forest.

Chefs Angela Hartnett and Luke Holder helm the primary restaurant, Hartnett Holder & Co, which serves traditional English dishes with Italian influences; the spa’s Raw & Cured offers (you’ll never believe it) mostly raw and cured vegetable-forward meals. And in the central courtyard, visitors spend the afternoon getting their fix of tea, scones, and clotted cream.

Spanning three floors and overlooking the grounds, the spa offers a slew of stress-melting treatments, thermal rooms, self-guided mud baths, and an on-site caldarium. And in a market where it seems like every hotel is launching wellness programs (to varying ends), Lime Wood’s are legit, and good, thanks to the leadership of Kamalaya alumni Rajesh Ramani and Smitha Jayakumar, whose retreats are rooted in mindful practice.

Photos coutesy of Alexandre Tabaste

Cheval Blanc Paris

PARIS, FRANCE

Unlike so many of Paris’s grandes dames, the bulk of which are nestled into quieter neighborhoods off the Champs d’Élysées, Cheval Blanc sits in the historic center of the city. It’s a location prime for sightseeing and culture: just off Pont Neuf, a few minutes on foot to some of Paris’s most important museums and historical sites, including Notre Dame, Sainte-Chappelle, and the Louvre. Rooms on the higher floors have views of more-distant monuments; from the terrace garden on the rooftop, guests get 360 degrees, sweeping from the Eiffel Tower to Sacré-Coeur.

Cheval Blanc’s 72 spacious rooms and suites occupy what was once the south end of La Samaritaine, one of Paris’s great department stores, and the hotel retains much of the building’s original Art Deco character. (Samaritaine, also now under LVMH ownership, continues to operate next door.) The mostly subterranean Dior spa is one of only three in the world. It has six lush treatment rooms, a tiled indoor pool that looks out over the Seine, a hammam, a sauna, and a snow shower, which is exactly what you think it is. And as one might imagine, LVMH has put together an impressive culinary program, the crown jewel of which is the three-Michelin-starred Plénitude. It’s not easy to find an open reservation, but it is worth booking your trip around one.

Photos courtesy of Ruben Ortiz

Passalacqua

LAKE COMO, ITALY

Lake Como is home to more than a few spectacular hotels. But when Passalacqua opened in 2022, it eclipsed even the area’s most enduring institutions, and soon enough it was the only hotel we heard anyone talking about in the same breath as the lake.

Passalacqua inhabits a mansion built in 1787. Here, it’s classic Italian opulence—gleaming golden chandeliers, a Venetian terrazzo, and a vast collection of antiques. At the restaurant, traditional ingredients and simple preparations take center stage. The sunroom, decked in La DoubleJ prints, is where guests retire for aperitivos after a swim or a game of bocce. The spa is distinctly modern and includes a sauna, steam room, cold plunge, ice bath, and lounge.

Photos courtesy of Signe Bay (bedroom) and El Fenn and Igor Demba (courtyard)

El Fenn

MARRAKECH, MOROCCO

El Fenn is a bright spot in a city that’s already wildly colorful. It’s set in a stately riad (restored to its former glory, and then some, after owner Vanessa Branson found it in a state of disrepair in 2002). The bedrooms are stunning; each is unique and drenched in color, with midcentury furniture and distinctly Moroccan fixtures. And the hotel has a vast collection of contemporary art; Fred Pollocks and David Shrigleys hang in the bedrooms, and temporary exhibitions regularly roll through the hotel’s public spaces.

While it’s within striking distance of most of Marrakech’s biggest hits, the concierge is also impressively plugged in to what’s new and cool in the city. And visitors can round out their stay at the hotel’s two restaurants, two cocktail bars (one on a rooftop terrace), three intimate swimming pools, and notable spa.

Round Hill

MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA

Grace Kelly, Alfred Hitchcock, Ian Fleming, and Oscar Hammerstein have all stayed at Round Hill. The Kennedys honeymooned here. But it’s Ralph Lauren (he bought a home here in the ’80s and describes the property as Eden) who’s left an indelible mark on the place: He designed the rooms. They’re washed in white, with big windows and views of the coastline—and although they’re not incredibly spacious, they’re comfortable. The property’s villas, which have plenty of space to spread out, are privately owned and have personal touches to match.

This is not a resort where guests are inclined to hide away in their rooms. There’s too much to do. Tennis is a fixture here; there are five courts and tennis clinics with big-name players. An attendant will teach you to sail a Hobie Cat and leave you to it. Waterskiing? Glass-bottom boating? You’ve got it. And for families, there’s also the option of a nanny program, plus a kids’ club with a calendar of activities that changes daily.

Hotel Esencia

RIVIERA MAYA, MEXICO

Originally built as the private getaway of an Italian duchess and revamped in 2014 into a collection of whitewashed suites and villas, Hotel Esencia is favored for its privacy. The current owner is an art collector; you can see his influence across the board, from the art curation to the chic crowd.

The two pools distinguish between family-friendly and adults-only, although one goop editor who visited mentioned that there weren’t many kids on the property in the first place. Seaweed might hinder beach swimming in the spring, but in late summer through the winter high season, the beach is typically clear and pristine.

There are several restaurants on the property: a café and juice bar, a sushi spot with Mexican inflections, a seafood grill under a grand palapa, an outpost of a Monaco steak house, and somewhere to grab a margarita without leaving the beach behind. In the morning, you’ll find coffee and breakfast baskets in a locked cabinet outside your door. (“The birds are smart,” another editor told us.)

Photos courtesy of Mattia Aquila

Castello di Casole

TUSCANY, ITALY

A visit to Castello di Casole is a lesson in villeggiatura: Visitors allow any sense of urgency to unravel on the grounds of this 10th-century Tuscan castle, set snugly into a landscape of working farmland. (Cabernet, Sangiovese, Merlot, and Petit Verdot grow in the property’s vineyard. And from the olive groves come just 2,500 bottles of private-label EVOO every year.) All suites are well-appointed and comfortable, but the villas, in the former farmhouses that surround the central castle, are a class apart.

Standard offerings include horseback riding on country trails, daybreak wildlife-spotting guided by a local naturalist, and truffle hunting with the help of curly-haired Lagotto Romagnolos (followed by a four-course truffle dinner). The spa occupies the former wine cellar. Our friend who had been here recently called out the staff as a highlight: personable and warm, with an uncanny ability to turn any request into an unforgettable experience.

Photos courtesy of Aleks Danielle (pool) and Barbara Kraft (room)

Four Seasons Resort Lanai

LANAI, HAWAII

A few years ago, there wasn’t much on Lanai to interrupt the lush landscape but two Four Seasons properties and a tiny downtown. And while the island’s new owner, Oracle founder Larry Ellison, has big plans to reimagine the island as a sustainable tourist destination, it’s still relatively untouched. Now’s the time to go, either as a day trip from Maui or for a weekend stay at the beach resort on the southeastern coast. (The island’s second Four Seasons property, which lies inland, is now part of Ellison’s wellness hospitality venture, Sensei.)

People who have stayed at Four Seasons Lanai will tell you it’s even more breathtaking in person. The service is impeccable. The championship golf course overlooks steep ocean cliffs. There’s an observatory for guided stargazing and a lesson in traditional wayfinding—delightful for kids. The Nobu and Malibu Farm on-site may be particularly exciting if you’re a fan of their outposts elsewhere but don’t live near any. But perhaps what’s most notable is the sense of seclusion; the extra effort it takes to get here (by seaplane or ferry) is rewarded.

Photos courtesy of Grégoire Gardette

La Réserve

PARIS, FRANCE

At La Réserve, references to the Belle Epoque would be hard to miss. Common spaces are replete with gilded columns, heavy drapes, and velvet tufting. The bedrooms and suites—there are only 40—are still lavish and very fin de siècle French, but slightly more pared back. Televisions are hidden behind mirrors, and special details come in spades. The Swiss antiaging clinic Nescens runs the spa.

Executive chef Jérôme Banctel oversees both restaurants in the hotel. Le Gabriel, the fancier of the two, earned a third Michelin star just this year. The library, which hosts lunch but also welcomes guests to lounge with tea and a book, is named for the building’s most famous former occupant: Napoleon II’s half brother, the duc de Morny.