Looking back: The top 10 hotels of 2010

The Chatwal, which opened in New York in September, makes our list for the top 10 hotels of 2010.
The Chatwal, which opened in New York in September, makes our list for the top 10 hotels of 2010.

It's been a crazy year in the hotel world. Despite the recession, there have been a slew of luxury hotel openings -- especially in New York -- as well as some major new developments at existing properties. We've also been fascinated to see which hotels have quickly emerged as customer favorites this year. So, without further adieu, behold our 1o favorite new, improved, popular, or otherwise noteworthy hotels of the year.

The Smyth, New York City: This stylish Thompson hotel opened in TriBeca last year, but 2010 has seen it evolve from under-the-radar boutique gem to certified hot spot. Both the charming French restaurant, Plein Sud, and the cool bull fighting themed lounge, Toro, opened this year, and celebrities have started popping up here more and more. Kourtney Kardashian's move into the penthouse this fall with boyfriend and baby sealed the deal, in our opinion: The Smyth is officially living up to the hip standards set by sister hotels like the 60 Thompson, New York City and Hollywood Roosevelt, Los Angeles. But not only celebrities love it -- Oyster customers do as well, and this year it was one of our most popular hotels. See photos of The Smyth

The James New York
The James New York

The James New York: We've been wondering for a long time why there aren't more hotels in fabulous SoHo. This year, our prayers were answered: We got not one, but two new SoHo hotels, including The James, which opened in September. (And there's going to be a third early next year when the Mondrian opens! We can hardly stand the excitement!) This 114-room SoHo boutique, with a stunning rooftop bar and pool, great freebies (including free Wi-Fi and free nightly wine and cheese), forthcoming restaurant by David Burke, and a hotel art curator, embodies the hip, creative neighborhood it inhabits. See photos of The James New York

The Chatwal, New York City: It's been a long time since Times Square has seen anything this lovely. The Chatwal, which opened in September with a bang (Bill Clinton attended the opening party!), is one of the nicest luxury hotels we've ever set foot in. The 83-room boutique evokes the glamorous 1920s, with timeless Art Deco interiors and playful touches in the rooms like backgammon sets, custom playing cards, and desks that look like steamer trunks. A restaurant by Geoffrey Zakarian and a small, lovely spa are the hotel's stand-out features. See photos of The Chatwal

Fisher Island Hotel, Miami: This 45-room luxury hotel, set on a lush, private island that was formerly the winter estate of William Vanderbilt II, completed an impressive $60 million renovation this year. The rooms, golf course, tennis courts, restaurant -- almost everything got an upgrade (see our full blog post on the renovation here). Fisher Island certainly proved that it deserves to stay in one of the top spots on our Miami luxury list. See photos of Fisher Island Hotel

City Center, Las Vegas
City Center, Las Vegas

Aria Resort & Casino, Las Vegas: This 4,004-room mega-resort, the shiny centerpiece of the $11 billion City Center, opened in December 2009 -- but 2010 is when it emerged as one of the hottest new hotels in Vegas. Everything at Aria is done on a grand scale, from the soaring ceilings to the 16 restaurants, and not at the expense of good service, either. And the design, while whimsical and creative, aims for refinement and class rather than Vegas kitsch, creating a lovely luxury hotel -- and one that's still affordable. See photos of Aria Resort & Casino

Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas: Like the Aria, the Mandarin Oriental opened in December 2009, and came into its own in 2010. A new breed of Las Vegas luxury, with 392 elegant rooms and some of Vegas' best service, the Mandarin Oriental is a quiet haven on the glitzy Strip. The hotel lacks the characteristic excess that many people come to Vegas for (including a casino), opting instead for a more restrained approach: a beautiful spa, two fine dining restaurants, a peaceful pool, meeting space, and the rarest of Las Vegas features -- serenity. But the convenient City Center location means easy access to all the excess you want. See photos of the Mandarin Oriental

Metropole South Beach, Miami
Metropole South Beach, Miami

Metropole South Beach, Miami -- The Jersey Cast shore is best known for fist pumping, GTL, and hair gel, but they made another important contribution to society in 2010: Putting the cool 42-room Metropole on the map. The cast made the hotel its Miami headquarters when it headed south to party it up earlier this year, and this under-the-radar gem earned some much-deserved recognition. When it's not invaded by reality stars, this relaxed, quiet property a block from the beach draws families and low-key groups with its reasonable rates and adventurously designed apartment-style rooms with full kitchens and private bedrooms. See photos of the Metropole South Beach

Hotel Monaco, San Franciso: We've always liked this quirky Kimpton, but this year it proved itself to be one of San Francisco's best hidden bargains. It's surprisingly low rates (and we mean low -- sometimes as low as $120 a night), colorful but sophisticated style, luxurious beds, free wine receptions, cozy lobby (complete with a massive fireplace), and ideal location near Union Square made it one of Oyster's most-booked hotels this year. See photos of the Hotel Monaco

Trump SoHo, New York City
Trump SoHo, New York City

.Trump SoHo, New York City -- Trump SoHo, which opened in April, was a much-needed addition to a neighborhood with too few hotels. Donald Trump's first hotel in downtown New York has the attention to detail and hands-on service you'd expect from a Trump property, but the slightly hipper vibe and great SoHo location cater to a younger set. The exclusive, celebrity-filled Kastel bar and the pricey Quattro restaurant are the hotel's main features, but a spa and pool are forthcoming. See photos of Trump SoHo

Andaz 5th Avenue -- This Tony Chi-designed hotel, opened in July, woos guests with beautiful public spaces, amazing bathrooms, great attention to detail (like chilled towels in the fitness center), and freebies galore — mini-bar snacks, a book lending library, Wi-Fi all over, bottled water in the lobby, and a treat of your choice upon check-out (like a small C.O. Bigelow toiletry or Fat Witch brownie). The convenient location across the street from the New York Public library doesn't hurt, either. See photos of Andaz 5th Avenue

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