IIn the depths of the lockdown, where do you dream? Remote islands and deserted beaches? Mountain peaks or bustling cities?
I dream of hotels: the ones I have visited; those where I want to go. I even created a full wishlist on the first lockdown. I love everything about them (hardly surprising given my role as hotel editor and guide for this journal). The ritual of arrival, the culture by the pool, the emphasis on fun: they are an antidote to our anxious time, Covid.
Throughout history, people have often retreated to hotels during times of unrest. Today more than ever, they present the possibility of escape. Not just from our daily life (a little more static), but also from our homes, where we have all spent more time than usual this year.
When the lockdown was lifted this summer, I went to Greece after a timely flight lane announcement and a few last minute bookings. I arrived late at night, and there was nothing like the excitement of waking up the next morning to see blue skies and even bluer seas. I collapsed on a deckchair on a pontoon, in the glow of the sun with the soft sounds of lapping water leaving me in an almost meditative state. I didn’t move all day – except for jumping. The beer tasted better; the fresher Greek salad. Life, for that moment, was wonderful.
Many of us need days like these on vacation. But it was as if I had restarted my brain after months of endless uncertainty. I came back sunny, feeling refreshed in body and mind.
2020 was supposed to be an exceptional year for remarkable new hotels. And then we all know what happened. As the world has tentatively reopened to tourists – and closed again for many destinations – so have new hotels.
While their time has so far been fraught with social distancing rules and regulations, there is still cause for celebration. The fact that they opened in these times is reason enough to remain hopeful.
Here are the best hotels that quietly opened their doors during the pandemic.