-- Kristen McKenzie, HotelsCombined.com
It's been a big year for the hotel industry -- from the opening of America's first LEGOLAND resort to the introduction of the innovative "Instagram hotel," there's been a slew of amazing new accommodation options on offer for travellers to enjoy. As we now look forward to 2014, we decided to take a look back at some of the most exciting properties added to the HotelsCombined database over the last 12 months:
Conveniently located at the main entrance of San Diego's new LEGOLAND adventure park, the family-friendly LEGOLAND Hotel is a kid's dream come true. Featuring colourful pirate and castle-themed rooms, there's also a large interactive play area, an outdoor pool and a family restaurant dotted with incredible LEGO creations.
This unique property made headlines around the globe when it opened in October thanks to its ground-breaking design. A 27-story arched structure made to look like an inverted horseshoe, the hotel is actually an oval with two floors below ground. Now informally known as the Horseshoe or Doughnut Hotel, the incredible property has 321 rooms including 44 suites and 39 villas.
This heritage boutique property is located within the trendy harbour district of Pyrmont and is only a hop, skip and a jump away from Sydney's central business district. But the real attraction of this funky new abode is its designation as the world's first-ever "Instagram hotel." Guests with over 10,000 Instagram followers are granted free stays while photo opportunities abound throughout every nook and cranny of the building- there's even a dedicated "selfie" check-in lobby space!
The Parkroyal on Pickering, Singapore
This breathtaking urban hotel earned rave reviews when it opened last January mainly due to its lush "sky gardens" and extensive rooftop facilities. We also love the hotel's dedicated wellness floor which boasts a dramatic outdoor infinity pool, oversized cabanas, a state-of-the-art fitness centre and a top-notch spa.
Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi, UAE
This picturesque luxury beach resort, which opened last March, offers superb views of the Grand Canal and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Inspired by Italian Renaissance architecture, the glittering waterfront property houses a 2,000 square meter spa with a hammam and outdoor plunge pools, a kids club, two poolside bars and three signature restaurants.
Both stylish and budget-friendly, the Hotel Indigo Hong Kong is perfectly situated within walking distance of shops, markets, restaurants, bars and a subway station. But our favourite aspect of this sleek new property is the infinity glass-bottomed pool located along the rooftop - ideal for thrill-seekers!