HOTELS • December 2019
If a swanky hotel stay or two is on the cards for the new year, then buckle up, because a raft of openings in all corners of the globe are getting ready to lay on the charm. Whether you want rural beauty, a jungle adventure or sky-scraping luxury, our top 10 destination experts each reveal two of the most hotly anticipated boltholes for the year ahead
Says who: Devinder Bains, Dubai-based editor
A 43-storey Jenga block of glitz and Dubai glamour, the long-awaited second property of the Atlantis portfolio (pictured) is one part exclusive residences (luxury lodging for those with cash to splash) to three parts luxury hotel, with 795 rooms and suites designed with the modern city-breaker in mind. If you thought its sister property, Atlantis, The Palm, was big, expect bigger still, with an incredible 90 swimming pools and the world’s largest jelly fish tank on show.
Honourable mention: ME by Meliá – Melia’s most stylish brand – will open its doors in Dubai at the start of 2020. Lovers of all things design will revel in the futuristic architecture, brainchild of the late, great Zaha Hadid, while gourmands can tuck in at a choice of 15 restaurants.
Says who: Richard MacKichan, editor at Mr & Mrs Smith
Self-styled ‘Aman junkies’ who flit from Bhutanese mountaintops to shoreside Montenegrin fortresses can rest easy in the city next year, as the group makes a rare urban foray: Aman New York, smack-bang in the middle of Manhattan. Its home is the iconic Crown Building (pictured) on 57th and Fifth and it promises 26 storeys of unrivalled luxury, including a three-floor spa, an underground jazz bar and a Central Park-spying wraparound terrace.
Honourable mention: Another high-end hospitality group taking a bite of the Big Apple next year is Six Senses. In two artfully twisted towers between the Hudson and the pedestrian friendly High Line, courtesy of starchitect Bjarke Ingels, the XI (as it will be known) aims to provide some calming respite from the city that never sleeps.
Says who: Ianthe Butt, hotel expert and travel journalist
Brit classic Poldark may have departed from our screens, but there’s a new reason to make a beeline for Cornwall. In summer 2020, Grade II-listed Harlyn House will open its doors as the latest PIG hotel, just a hop from Harlyn village and Constantine Bay’s beaches (pictured). Expect Judy Hutson’s quirky interiors, a kitchen-garden-to-table restaurant, an old pig sty revamped into a hip surfers’ hangout and serious wild-at-heart vibes.
Honourable mention: Throwing open its doors on one of the most famous streets in the Scottish capital is 100 Princes Street. Boutique whizz Red Carnation Hotel Collection – behind London’s Hotel 41 – is set to respectfully renovate this historic property, which will have uninterrupted views of Edinburgh Castle and lashings of local touches.
Says who: Heather Richardson, South Africa-based safari journalist
Xigera Safari Lodge (pronounced kee-jera) is set to reopen next summer after what the owners claim is the most expensive rebuild of an African camp of this size. The 12-suite lodge is in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, famed for its wildlife (lions hunting buffalo, wild dogs chasing impala…) and outings in a mokoro (dug-out canoe). A whopping 105 staff will be employed to cater for 24 guests, so service is set to be the ace card.
Honourable mention: Gorilla’s Nest joins luxury heavyweights Bisate Lodge and Singita Kwitonda as the latest lodge in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, where the main activity is hiking into the forest to spend an hour with the endangered mountain gorillas. There will be 14 earthy-toned rooms and seven suites overlooking eucalyptus forest.
Says who: Rachel Truman, Scandi-enthusiast and travel writer
Copenhagen’s grand old post office has been transformed into an upscale hotel that’s set to open its doors in spring 2020. The capacious Villa Copenhagen, brilliantly positioned next to the capital’s central train station, will have 390 Nordic-designed rooms, a signature restaurant, rustic brasserie, wine bar and rooftop pool. Great pains have been taken to preserve original features and celebrate the heritage of the beautiful 1912 Central Post & Telegraph building while clever design elements, including a striking glass-roofed central courtyard, will add some contemporary wow factor.
Honourable mention: Arctic Bath (pictured), is a stunning new floating hotel and spa set to open in Swedish Lapland. Consisting of 12 rooms and a spa complex including pools and saunas, all connected by floating walkways, the property will be open for guests from February 2020.
Says who: Ella Buchan, travel writer and USA specialist
Luxury and Napa go together like vines and sunshine, yet the valley’s first Four Seasons (pictured) somehow manages to amp up the opulence higher still. In the working winery, several of the rustic-chic rooms have terraces jutting just over the vines. Michelin-starred Erik Anderson helms the locally focused restaurant, while the spa draws from the area’s natural thermal springs and volcanic mud.
Honourable mention: Ambiente Sedona, on Arizona’s Highway 89A, is touted as North America’s first ‘landscape hotel’, built to blend with, and have minimal impact upon, its surroundings. Cubic rooms will have floor-to-ceiling windows, framing views of the rust-red canyons and pine-clad bluffs beyond.
Says who: Annie Bennett, Spain specialist travel writer
Right on the splendid Guadalmansa beach between chic Marbella and pretty Estepona, and less than an hour from Malaga airport, five-star Ikos Andalusia (pictured) is pushing the boundaries of what it means to be all-inclusive. Outside of the 411 rooms and suites, guests can get a taste of authentic Andalusia by driving a Mini to hilltop white villages and exploring the Picasso and Pompidou museums in Malaga – all part of the all-inclusive package.
Honourable mention: Like the summer home of your most stylish friend, Can Ferrereta in Santanyí, a medieval town in south-east Mallorca, exudes gallery vibes, dotted with artworks from the owners’ collections. Original beams, local sandstone and contemporary details bring the boutique edge.
Says who: Travis Levius, globetrotting travel writer
A long-awaited urban retreat alongside the Chao Phraya River, Four Seasons Bangkok will finally debut in early 2020. The hotel’s 299 rooms and suites sport creamy, contemporary interiors and floor-to-ceiling windows, many of which face Bangkok’s spectacular riverside scene (pictured). A pair of sleek outdoor infinity pools will likely be the prime spots to appreciate the ‘cascading’ designs and terraces of famed hotel architect Jean-Michel Gathy.
Honourable mention: One&Only will soon open what is being pegged the most luxurious sanctuary to hit Malaysia’s latest beach resort: the Desaru Coast, just under an hours’ flight away from Kuala Lumpur. All suites and villas come with their own private pool, while the surrounding hike-friendly jungles are perfect for guests prone to cabin fever.
Says who: Caroline Craig, French travel expert
There are hotels, and then there are hotels. Set within the grounds of the Palace of Versailles, Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle has at times been owned by a duke, a lonely widow and the kings of France. With views over Paris’ Orangerie gardens (pictured), 14 bedrooms decked out in 18th-century splendour, a spa and exclusive access to the palace, an overnight stay in Versailles just became de rigueur.
Honourable mention: A rationalistic façade (and 25-metre pool) will set the new Bvlgari Hotel Paris apart when it opens on the corner of one of the world’s most exclusive roads. Inside, the look harks back to the classic with its 76 rooms decorated Haussmann-style.
Says who: Marisa Cannon, Londoner and travel journalist
Minutes from Buckingham Palace and the leafy promenades of St James’s Park will be The Guardsman (pictured), a handsome boutique offering 53 elegant rooms and six residences, with no expense spared on its decadently British design. Herringbone parquet floors, free-standing baths and vintage furnishings meet a gourmet, guest-only restaurant serving small but perfectly formed dishes, packed with produce from organic farms and London’s finest markets.
Honourable mention: Frequenters of London’s Soho will have noticed the vast structure slowly taking shape in Leicester Square, set to house The Londoner from spring 2020. A staggering 16 storeys and 350 rooms will be matched with six eye-popping concept restaurants, including a panoramic rooftop bar.