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By Lauren Hill | January 15 2019
Find out where you should be heading this year for the most-talked about hotels of the moment. From a vineyard resort in the Napa Valley to a hotel in an ancient Rajasthani fort, these are the most anticipated luxury hotel openings of 2019.
When it opens this month, The Nautilus Maldives will strive to set itself apart from the archipelago’s other private island resorts with an ‘absolute freedom’ principle at its core. The tiny island resort (just 250 meters in diameter) is designed to feel like a private residence. One-, two- and three-bedroom villas come with separate living rooms, spacious sundecks and private pools, and they all afford uninterrupted ocean views. Instead of being assigned a butler, you’ll have a House Captain attend your every need and the resort’s freedom philosophy is upheld with complete flexibility in dining and activities. The resort has three restaurants where menus are curated to spark conversation; the spa hosts yoga and meditation classes as well as offering treatments; and the onsite marine biologist will introduce you to the abundant marine life of the Unesco Biosphere Reserve this resort lies within.
The entirely new luxury hotel brand, Bless Collection Hotels, is opening the doors of its first property this month. Bless Madrid is a stylish boutique hotel tucked into the city’s fashionable Salamanca district. In addition to housing 111 rooms, the new property will have a rooftop pool, bowling alley, three bars, and what it perhaps its biggest global draw, the Basque restaurant Etxeko by Michelin-starred chef Martin Berasategui. With as many as 10 Michelin stars to his name, Berasategui is considered one of Spain’s most prominent chefs. Not only standing out for its gastronomy, the hotel shines a light on Spanish design. The interiors of this property were designed by renowned Spanish designer and architect Lázaro Rosa-Violan whose vision was to give the space a distinctly local character infused with contemporary style. While you’re here, experience Madrid through the hotel’s inspirational cultural program encompassing live music, visual art, fashion and gastronomy.
The resort brand known for light-and-bright design-led properties in spectacularly beautiful locations, LUX* focuses on helping people celebrate each moment. The latest property to join the collection, LUX* North Male Atoll is the brand’s second hotel in the Maldives. This one will stand out for replacing the classic Maldivian thatched-beach-villa aesthetic with penthouse-style overwater residences, each featuring a private Sky-Lounge, with nautical forms and tones. This bold style will flow throughout the resort, from its dining venues — Glow Restaurant, which serves world cuisine, Peruvian and Japanese restaurant INTI, bespoke dining spot Barium, feet-in-the-sand Beach Rouge, and Café LUX* — to its two swimming pools and translucent overwater LUX* ME Spa. There is of course plenty to do: embark on a private yacht voyage, play tennis and beach volleyball, and join a variety of expert-led workshops.
With its promise to combine Four Seasons hospitality and luxurious space with the beauty of California wine country, this is an opening people have been looking forward to. The resort lies within a sprawling vineyard with terraces taking in the vineyard and mountain views. Each aspect of the property reflects its location, with the region’s identity brought into the rustic-yet-refined interior design, fine food and wine offering, and the local experience. There are two outdoor pools and two cabanas tucked into the vineyard for spa treatments during the day and private dining at night, as well as a signature restaurant, pool grill, fitness center with outdoor terrace and world-class winery. Immerse yourself in the experience by participating in a wine-making workshop or wine-tasting session, then venture out to discover the independent cafes and boutiques of downtown Calistoga and cycle through wine country.
The first Belmond property in London, this hotel is the result of a three-year, $48m restoration. Here in the heart of Chelsea and just steps from the high-end stores of Knightsbridge, the original architecture of this townhouse hotel is enhanced with sumptuous modern interiors and luxurious facilities. Find a seat in the fine dining British restaurant, elegant bar, tea lounge or pavement café, unwind in Cadogan Place gardens, the spa suite and library, and take to the estate’s own tennis courts. Excitingly, acclaimed UK chef Adam Handling, who’s known for modern British seasonal and sustainable cuisine, is leading the hotel’s culinary programming.
A small private island off Ream National Park in southern Cambodia is the setting for this new Six Senses hideaway. Designed to blend into the lush tropical flora and tree canopy of the island, the resort is made up of 40 free-standing pool villas with green-living roofs, sundecks with infinity plunge pools and rain showers; the Khmer Kbal Spean River-inspired Six Senses Spa; sunset bar, two restaurants and ice cream parlor; open-air cinema, sky observatory, oceanfront boardwalk and horizon lap pool. The restaurants here are focused on quality local produce and seasonality in Khmer and Southeast Asian cuisine. When you’re not luxuriating in the facilities at the resort, venture out for water sports such as snorkeling, and organic farm visits with cooking classes.
Well placed in the heart of the City of London, this new hotel joins architectural landmarks such as The Shard in the historic streets that line the Thames. Drawing on its location, the hotel aims to connect guests with the story of London’s past and best of the modern day capital, while reflecting its place in the Vintry Ward where the Vintry Guild once traded wines and Mercer Guild traded in fine fabrics. See this inspiration in the contemporary décor of its luxury suites and social venues. The hotel will house three restaurants — Vintry Kitchen for small plates with Asian flavor; Mercer Roof Terrace for infused spirits, farm-to-plate and charcoal grilled food; and Do Not Disturb (DND) for barrel-aged and vintage cocktails — and three private event spaces, plus a gym with equipment from Life Fitness. A flourish of greenery will bring nature into the hotel and solar panels and a green roof contribute to its sustainability.
Joining sister property, The First Roma Arte, this five-star boutique hotel aims to celebrate La Dolce Vita of modern Rome through contemporary design, creative gastronomy and well-being. The hotel is set within a 19th-century palazzo on Via del Corso near Piazza del Popolo. Now, this historic building has been re-imagined by Studio Marincola Architects with 23 inviting suites distinguished by wood paneling, bookcases and bathrooms wrapped in Nero Saint Laurent Italian marble — stay in the Suite View with Balcony or Suite Dolce. This accommodation will be complemented by an Italian Pasticceria for both guests and locals with an elegant dining room.
Located on the Tsim Sha Tsui harbourfront in Victoria Dockside, Rosewood Hong Kong sits proudly within the city’s new arts and design district. In line with this setting, the hotel aims to play an important role in the narrative of the city through creative innovation and its unique offering. See the contemporary residential design of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates and Tony Chi in guestrooms and suites including the largest accommodations in the city, as well as the hotel’s lounging and dining areas. Eight different dining concepts will include the contemporary Chinese tea house Holt’s Café, Cantonese fine dining restaurant The Legacy House, and cocktail bar DarkSide. You’ll be able to relax in the signature Manor Club lounge and unwind at holistic wellness concept Asaya.
Not one, but five separate lodges, Six Senses Bhutan will encompass boutique properties in five different areas of the western and central valleys of Bhutan. This will enable you to travel between all five properties for an introduction to the country’s mountains, towns and fertile valleys. The largest of these lodges, Six Senses Thimphu, incorporates elements of the country’s fortress-like dzongs, giving it the name, Palace in the Sky; the second is located in the low-lying valley of Punakha; and the third, Six Senses Gangtey, sits in the glacial valley of Phobjikha, known for its resident black-necked cranes. These are joined by Six Senses Bumthang in the spiritual center of Bhutan, and Six Senses Paro on an elevation overlooking the Paro Valley. Activities will showcase the local landscape and culture, and each lodge will have its own spa with treatments reflecting the region. The lodges will open in stages between February and May.
Soho House has announced Soho Warehouse, its second house in Los Angeles and third in California, will be opening this spring. Located in the Industrial District of Downtown LA, the new house will take over a five-story warehouse covering more than 110,000 sq ft. As well as being one of Soho House’s biggest standalone properties to date, Soho Warehouse is the first to have guestrooms, which are open to the public as well as members, on the West Coast. The new house will also have club areas including restaurants and bars, a gym and rooftop with sun-lounger-lined pool.
This new Six Senses property sits within the dramatic landscape of the ancient Negev Desert’s Arava Valley, with a cliffside vantage point commanding panoramic views of the sunsets and rolling sand dunes. This region fascinates with its rich history, and here in the community of Shaharut, this history and the unique cultural identity comes with great hospitality. The resort itself covers around 46 acres of land, with 58 villas and suites (many with private pools), an all-day restaurant for which ingredients are sourced from local farmers and the resort’s own gardens, a poolside bar and grill, juice bar, and a Six Senses Spa with indoor and outdoor pools. Desert activities include gaining insight into the ecosystem and resort’s sustainability efforts at Earth Lab; early morning and twilight camel rides; Cinema Paradiso beneath the stars; and a Bedouin dining experience. Hiking, jeep tours, craft workshops and wine-tasting are also on the horizon, along with trips to the Red Sea resort town Eilat for snorkeling and diving excursions.
Adding to the growing portfolio of Ritz-Carlton Reserves, this ocean-side resort sits in a dramatic position on the San José del Cabo coast, between the desert and Sea of Cortez. Embracing the beauty of its surrounding, the resort’s 115 villas and suites are dotted across the natural slopes of this desert landscape, which is also the setting for a desert botanical park, 27-hole golf resort featuring three courses designed by Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman, two ocean-view pools, and a five-acre spa. Recognizing the importance of the surrounding ecosystem, the resort will be working with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment. On the culinary side, restaurants will include Latin American dining spot Humo; Barrio for an authentically local culinary experience; the beach- and pool-side restaurant Equis; and agave bar Candil.
Located within 300 acres of parkland originally landscaped by legendary landscape designer Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, this new Marriott property in Buckinghamshire is taking over and transforming the estate’s historic manor house. Brought up-to-date with interior design by Dennis Irvine Studio, the hotel’s rooms and suites are spread across the main building and Grade II listed outbuilding, The Brew House. The new hotel will have an extensive spa with thermal facilities, fitness suite and indoor and outdoor swimming pool. And naturally there’ll be a signature restaurant, as well as a bar and lounge for afternoon tea.
The first Mexico property by the Nobu Matsuhisa and Robert De Niro led brand, this new Nobu hotel combines the modern architecture and stylish interiors the resort collection is known for with the laidback luxury of Los Cabos — in the beachfront hotel’s 200 guestrooms, Japanese minimalism is paired with Mexican design elements and local materials. The culinary creations of chef Matsuhisa naturally play an important role, with the main restaurant, Nobu, serving his signature Japanese-fusion cuisine. But, you can also enjoy farm-to-table dining at Malibu Farm and a range of cocktails and international bites at the Lobby Bar, Lobby Café, and Pool Bar & Grill. Wellness is another focus here. Try Asian-inspired spa treatments using products by Natura Bisse at the Nobu Hotel Los Cabos Spa where there’s also an outdoor hydrotherapy garden.
Safari specialist Natural Selection is making its debut in South Africa with the opening of this new eco-lodge, which was in fact built on the site of former South African President FW de Klerk’s retreat, in the De Hoop Nature Reserve of the Western Cape. In this dramatic beach setting famous for affording some of the world’s best land-based whale watching, there are just seven standalone suites. Each one comes with uninterrupted views over the pristine beach and verdant fynbos, and ocean-inspired interiors integrating shades of blue, hand-woven baskets and rattan. Not just a destination for natural beauty, this location is steeped in history, and some of the earliest evidence of human presence has been unearthed at nearby Klipdrift cave. You can delve into this history and explore the reserve — southern right whales congregate in the area July through November — before returning to the lodge for a home-cooked meal with the region’s finest wines.
Lauded for its seclusion, pristine beaches with world-class surf, lush jungle and rich local culture, Sumba is an island that beguiles all those who come here. Now, you’ll be able to revel in these surroundings while staying in one of the luxury standalone suites of this cliff-side, rainforest-enclosed resort overlooking a private lagoon. The resort’s 27 villas complete with Sumbanese interiors, marble bathrooms and private pools are scattered across 10 acres of land, along with two restaurants and Maraga Spa. Spend your days trekking, horseback riding, taking part in yoga sessions, and exploring the island’s coastline, lakes, waterfalls and villages. The new hotel is a part of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts collection.
Rocco Forte Hotels will be making its debut on Italy’s glamorous Adriatic coast this spring with the opening of Masseria Torre Maizza. Taking over a renovated 16th-century masseria amid ancient olive groves, the hotel combines contemporary luxury with inspiration taken from local heritage and design accents that give a sense of place. Stay in one of the stylish Olga Polizzi-designed suites, which come with fireplaces, roof terraces and private gardens; see the sun go down from the rooftop bar; and dine in the Italian restaurant overlooking the pool and garden. You’ll be able to tee off from the nine-hole golf course, unwind in the private beach club and indulge in wellness therapies at the spa.
One of the most talked-about hotel openings of 2019 has been the soon-to-open safari lodge at Royal Malewane. The new lodge will be positioned a 12-minute drive from the existing Royal Malewane lodge on an elevated patch of land overlooking the reserve. As well as having a central area for lounging, dining and sharing stories around a fire, the new property includes three Luxury Farm Suites and a three-and-a-half-bedroom exclusive-use Farmhouse. Just like the other properties in the Royal Portfolio, the interiors here have been styled by the collection’s owner Liz Biden, with furnishings and artworks handpicked for each room. The Farmstead has its own fitness area and spa treatment room, and all suites come with a deck overlooking the bush and private pool, which you can enjoy between game drives.
Stay just above the Spanish Steps at this grand new hotel in Rome. Hotel de la Ville by Rocco Forte is inspired by the era of the Grand Tour, fusing its 18th-century architecture with contemporary design and amenities including De la Ville Spa. The interiors, which marry these original design elements with state-of-the-art facilities and modern luxury, are the work of designer Olga Polizzi and architect Tommaso Ziffer. Drawing on its central location, the hotel aims to become a gathering place for the city’s elite, with six different restaurants and bars including a restaurant led by Michelin-starred chef Fulvio Pierangelini and a glamorous rooftop bar.
When it opens in March, Baglioni Maldives will become the first Italian five-star resort in the archipelago. Here on the island of Maagau in the Dhaalu Atoll, Italian hospitality, cuisine and design will be paired with the white sand and turquoise sea of the Indian Ocean. The resort will have 96 garden, beach and overwater villas, an Ayurvedic Garden Spa with Thai therapies, and three restaurants with aperitifs served throughout the day in collaboration with Ferrari Trento Wines. If you can tear yourself away from here, venture out into the water from Maagau Dive Center and set out on sunset and dolphin cruises.
Located in Loisaba Conservancy, Kenya, this new five-star tented property by the Elewana Collection promises an ultra-private experience of the bewitching landscape that stretches towards Mount Kenya. Designed by renowned architects, Chris Payne and Jan Allen, with landscape architecture by Jo Silvester, the luxury camp has just eight individual tented rooms distinguished by their generous space and impressive views. Each tent will come with the service of a Elewana Guest Ambassador, safari vehicle, driver and field guide. The grasslands of this 56,000-acre conservancy are home to elephant, zebra, giraffe and lions, as well as a community of livestock herders, and the arrival of this lodge will contribute to the wildlife and habitat protection and local livelihoods.
The US fitness brand, Equinox, is set to launch its first fitness hotel in soon-to-open Hudson Yards on Manhattan’s west side. Combining the science of fitness with the art of luxury travel, the concept hotel promises to encourage a well-balanced lifestyle through state-of-the-art facilities, active programming and a nourishing culinary offering. All of this will be provided in sumptuous surroundings encompassing a 60,000-sq-ft fitness center, which is Equinox’s largest yet, and a variety of wellness facilities including a spa.
Namibia has been garnering global attention in recent years for its steadily growing luxury travel offering. Sonop Namibia is set to add to that appeal. The new lodge will be positioned within a nature reserve on the southern edge of the Namibian desert, with its ten 1920s-style explorer-inspired luxury tents constructed on top of the landscape’s boulders. This new property gives you the ideal base for exploring the breath-taking desert dunes of this isolated destination and it provides a wealth of luxury amenities to come back to. Dine in the gastronomic restaurant and sip cocktails in the bar, take a dip in the outdoor heated pool and indulge in a treatment at the spa. The lodge has stables too, enabling you to explore the landscape on horseback.
Following on from its property by Lake Garda, this is the second luxury resort and spa in Italy by Lefay. This time, the brand will be making its mark in a Unesco World Heritage area of the Dolomites. The sustainably built mountain resort lies within the Madonna di Campiglio ski area of the Trentino region, making the most of its spectacular mountain views through the use of floor-to-ceiling glass. Take in these impressive vistas from Lefay Spa, which will champion Lefay’s award-winning wellness method, along with its swimming pools and relaxation areas; dine on seasonal, organic Italian cuisine in the two restaurants; and make the most of your time here by taking to the slopes. The slopes here are ideal for skiers of all levels, and the region has miles of hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding trails for the summer months.
Rocco Forte’s first hotel in this part of the world, and second in Asia following on from Assila Hotel in Saudi Arabia, The Westbund Hotel will make its debut on the Huangpu Riverfront of West Bund. In keeping with the vibrant arts district it’s in, the hotel will showcase the bold design of Olga Polizzi and Muzalab, with a curved all-glass facade distinguishing the building. The new hotel occupies this striking building’s highest floors, with a spa and pool on the 51st floor, three restaurants, and a panoramic 52nd floor al fresco bar. Staying true to the Rocco Forte brand, much of the focus is placed on exemplary hospitality and providing bespoke experiences, which here are likely to highlight the neighborhood’s arts and culture.
Design lovers are keenly awaiting the arrival of this boutique hotel on the Sri Lankan coast. It’s in the small town of Ahangama in Sri Lanka’s Southern Province that the award-winning architecture practice Anarchitect is paying homage to Tropical Modernism with this hotel’s design. As the first property in the Harding Boutique Hotel collection, this is the inaugural hotel opened by Sri Lankan-Australian entrepreneur Paul Harding. Here, the property sits amid dense coconut groves, facing onto the ocean, with a clean, contemporary aesthetic that sits in harmony with its wild natural surroundings. The hotel will have six suites with balconies and ocean views, a poolside restaurant and lounge, and a roof terrace with 360-degree views over the treetops.
Bringing the luxury tented camp concept to Costa Rica, Nayara is the first resort of its kind in this part of the world. The 18-tent retreat will be tucked into the rainforest of Arenal Volcano National Park, with a hillside vantage point giving the resort a spectacular view of the volcano itself. Each tent’s plunge pool is fed with natural hot springs, and they all come with an outdoor shower, wooden floors, four-poster bed with canopy, and over-sized bathtub. Elsewhere on the resort you’ll find a large pool and swim-up bar, and a gourmet restaurant with expansive terrace. As well as being an area of extraordinary natural beauty, Arenal abounds with outdoor pursuits. Hike the volcano, take a canopy tour and try whitewater rafting.
Six Senses will be opening its first resort in India this year with the completion of Six Senses Fort Barwara. For the realization of this property, conservation efforts have been underway to preserve and convert the historic fort, which was once owned by the Rajasthani royal family. Once it reaches completion, the hotel will house two restaurants, a bar and lounge, 30,000-sq-ft spa, two swimming pools and 48 luxury suites, within the 5.5-acre site’s original walls. The landscaping will then reflect the fort’s royal history through the integration of traditional gardens and water features. As well as being a fascinating area for its history, this site is just a 30-minute drive from Ranthambore National Park where safari drives allow you to go in search of the land’s wild tigers.