With Michelin star-worthy cuisine and expertly curated decor, these hotels and resorts stood out the most in 2022.
When traveling the globe, where you stay definitely matters. Some will say this is where you can skimp on quality since you'll be spending most of your time exploring the destination. But we are here to remind you that there's nothing like laying your head down at one of the world's best hotels or resorts.
Even beyond the luxury bedding and expertly curated decor, you have Michelin star-worthy restaurants, top-notch spa treatments that instantly put you in a state of zen, as well as stunning pools and backdrops that look like they could only exist in dreams.
This year, the EBONY team had the opportunity to experience several stunning properties that check off all things mentioned—and more. From a luxury safari lodge in South Africa to a quiet escape tucked away in Miami Beach, here are our picks for the world's best hotels and resorts of 2022.
Thanda Safari: Luxury Private Game Reserve, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa
This 5-star property is located on the outskirts of Durban, South Africa. During our stay, we were welcomed by the warm yet knowledgeable Thanda Safari rangers, who whisked us to our accommodations via the open-air game trucks. You can opt between the main lodge, a luxury campsite or the owner's private villa. For this trip, we were able to spend our nights in the stunning villa that had 5-bedrooms, each with touches of South African culture in the decor and en suite bathrooms; a private chef; private pool; and a massive wooden terrace that provided an up-close (yet safe) view of giraffes grazing from nearby trees. Also, the twice daily game drives were insanely mind-blowing and the rangers made the wildlife encounters even more interesting with their energetic storytelling.
Hotel Cerro, San Luis Obispo, California
While San Luis Obispo may not be the first West Coast city that comes to mind for leisure travel, we can assure you that this hotel will make you reconsider. Located in the middle of the town's center, Hotel Cerro is a charming boutique property that has everything you didn't know you needed. Let's start with the en suite soaker tubs. Although common these days—even in most homes—what sets these apart are the fact that the faucet is built into the ceiling. It's like having your own waterfall. Also, our room had a closed in patio with a giant fire pit. It was nothing like cozying up with a glass of red wine by the fire, after a day of winery hopping in the area. Oh, and yes, there's a spa, too.
NOPSI Hotel, New Orleans
Technically, we didn't get to stay at this stunning Black-owned New Orleans hotel this year, but, the NOPSI is high on our list of places to stay in 2023. Perfectly situated just 5-minutes away from Bourbon St.—in the Central Business District—you're only steps away from all the action that NOLA brings. But on-site, there's a rooftop pool that's complete with views of the city as well as the hotel's restaurant, Public Service. Menu favorites among guests are the peach waffle featured at brunch and the Rotisserie BBQ ribs found on the lunch and dinner menus.
Magma Resort Santorini, Santorini, Greece
The views are infinite in Santorini, but couple that with a brand-new luxury resort, and it takes your vacation to new heights. The Magma Resort Santorini, part of the Unbound Collection by Hyatt, is one of the island's newcomers, and it's already setting itself apart as world-class. For starters, the property is home to the longest infinity pool on the Greek isle, and its restaurant's menu was curated by a Michelin star chef. Then, there are the rooms. On this trip, we stayed in a sea view junior suite with private pool. The Earth-toned decor set against the deep blue waters of the Aegean Sea often left us in a trance for hours—in a good way. To top things off, the resort spa offered hot shell massages using pieces found along Santorini's shores.
The Standard Spa Miami Beach, Miami
When the word spa is already in the name, you know it's going to be a great stay. The Standard is tucked away on Miami's quieter side, which means you can assure that coming back to your room will be more of a retreat versus the often party-filled atmosphere of South Beach. During our stay, we opted for one of the large bath terrace rooms, which included a soaker tub on our patio. Inside, the rooms included a stacked mini bar that had Moet for those times when we felt the need to live out our champagne dreams. On-site there was a popular pool area that overlooked Biscayne Bay as well as a delicious waterside restaurant. As for the spa, well, it had a Turkish Hammam—which tells you everything you really need to know.