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The Best New Hotels in Central America, South America, and Antarctica: 2023 Hot List

Nothing makes us more excited to get up and go than putting together our annual Hot List of the best new hotels, cruises, restaurants, cultural destinations, and transportation projects. Now in its 27th year, this curated collection is a labor of love for our global team, which spends the year researching, visiting, and vetting the entries to bring you a definitive directory of places whose style, ethos, and service set new standards for hospitality. This year’s best new hotels in Central and South America extend all the way to our first hotel winner in Antarctica. All that’s left is for you to decide where you’re going first.

Sofitel Grand Casco Viejo Panama


Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo — Panama

$$ |  HOT LIST 2023

Casco Viejo is the historic and walkable heart of Panama City’s nightlife scene for visitors and tourists alike, so for those in-the-know it may come as no surprise that Sofitel’s sixth Legend property in the world came to town in early 2022. The brand has garnered a loyal following by preserving famed addresses and transforming them into luxe cultural getaways true to the history of a place. This one, a former social club, fuses the country’s Spanish- and French-colonial pasts (France tried and failed to build the Panama Canal here before its U.S. completion) to a truly show-stopping and high-design renovation that stays true to the building’s original French-colonial architecture. Rooms range from 375-square-foot superior level options to spacious suites with large sitting balconies—and 87 percent of rooms have an ocean view. All floors except the bottom level have balconies, which make for in-room breakfasts with an incredible view of the cityscape and adjacent historic district. Rooms from $369. —Shannon McMahon

SB Winemaker’s House and Spa Suites


SB Winemaker’s House and Spa Suites — Argentina

$$ |  HOT LIST 2023

Mendoza has long been a magnet for well-heeled Malbec lovers, so Susana Balbo, Argentina’s first female enologist, has done the logical thing and created a swank retreat there for oenophiles. Together with daughter Ana Lavaglio Balbo, she refurbished a century-old property in Chacras de Coria, blending well-being with art, haute cuisine, and a plethora of wine-making references across the seven exquisite suites. It’s Ana’s former home, so she knows every nook and cranny, and her eye for detail honed by winemaking has translated well, as evinced by touches like the wellness butler who organizes in-room experiences, the thought-provoking Espejos mirror collection by renowned Argentine artist Julio Le Parc, furniture from female designers, and even heated sun loungers and firepits on each private patio. Meals are a focal point; at lunch, don’t miss the entraña (skirt steak), grilled your way over open flames at the outdoor parrilla counter and best enjoyed alongside Susana’s very own Nosotros Malbec 2018. Come dinner, book a table at La Vida restaurant and sample the paired 14-course tasting menu created by chef Flavia Amad Di Leo. After a day around the swimming pool or sipping and swirling in local vineyards (the family’s Susana Balbo Wines bodega in Agrelo is a must-visit), kick back in extremely comfortable living quarters. Each suite has a wet room or a soaking tub (the ingeniously upcycled egg-shaped wine fermentation tank), and opening a Torrontés from the generously stocked minibar to savor in a bubble bath is a perfect way to end the day. Rooms from $839. —Sorrel Moseley-Williams

best hotels in south america central america antarctica winner white desert echo

White Desert Antarctica/Echo


Echo White Desert — Antarctica

$$$ |  HOT LIST 2023

When you feel like you’ve nearly done it all in “bucket list” travel—and you have the financial bandwidth to partake in a one-of-a-kind, ultra-exclusive journey that could potentially outshine most (if not all) of your previous global pursuits—Echo Camp is waiting. Tour operator White Desert’s space-themed property is one of the world’s most audacious eco-luxury projects, featuring an otherworldly design set in an even more otherworldly landscape in Antarctica’s glacier-lined Henriksen Nunataks. It’s the most luxurious base from which to explore coastal colonies of dawdling emperor penguins and to reach the near-mythic South Pole, while near-camp activities include ice wall climbing, skiing, nunatak summit hikes and abseils, and fat biking through scenic wave-textured ice plains. If you can afford it, I suggest going “all the way” and booking the 7-night/8-day South Pole & Emperors trip. Not only will you enjoy the soul-stirring scene of a 1,000-plus colony of bumbling, chirpy penguins on Akta Bay, but you’ll also get to experience what only about 500 tourists achieve per year: a journey to the geographic nadir of Mother Earth. Itineraries from $65,000. —Travis Levius

Source : CN Traveler