Elisabeth King nominates 10 of the year’s best new luxury hotel openings.
High thread count sheets, impeccable service and a hard-to-replicate atmosphere are always top of mind when choosing where to stay. But this year’s crop of new hotel openings around the world offer much more – personal and cultural enrichment, real experiences and the opportunity to put something back.
The Waldorf Astoria,
LA will be awash with new hotel openings over the next three years. The apex of the flood is this 12-storey, Art Deco-inspired newbie on a long-dormant corner of Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards. The storied brand’s first outpost on the West Coast, the Golden Age of Hollywood is the guiding design principle. Michelin-starred uber chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten presides over the restaurant’s menu and there’s a La Prairie spa and VIP cabanas. waldorfastoriabeverlyhills.com
The Silo, Cape Town
Soaring above the Mother City’s Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, this 28-room luxury enclave was crafted out of a grain silo that once ranked as the tallest building in sub-Saharan Africa. In September, the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art will open its doors at ground level as the South African equivalent of New York’s MoMA. The views from the windows are the stuff of Instagram legend – Table Mountain, Lion’s Head and Devil’s Peak.
Miavana Island Sanctuary, Madagascar
2017 has been a boom year for luxury back-to-nature properties from Ethiopia to Nepal. Madagascar’s first five-star lodge on the private island of Nosy Ankao is as much a world apart as the local Malagasy wildlife. Mimic the DreamWorks movie in real life with a lemur trek or walk straight into the Indian Ocean from one of the 14 beachfront villas. Other upscale adventure activities include reef diving, whale-watching and helicopter flipping.
1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, New York
Be honest. You haven’t been to New York 10 times; you’ve been to Manhattan. This eco-luxury hotel runs on wind power and is the pet passion of billionaire real estate investor Barry Sternlicht. Sustainability is the core concern and over 50 per cent of the building materials were recycled or re-claimed. Sleep soundly on hemp mattresses and wash in marble rain showers. The panoramic views of the East River and the Manhattan skyline make being “green” a positive pleasure. www.1hotels.com
The Ned, London
There’s a James Bond connection, for starters. Billed as London’s most spectacular new hotel, The Ned re-purposed the Midland Bank building in the heart of The City. The old vault which stood in for Fort Knox in Goldfinger has been transformed into a schmick-as bar. The name? That’s the sobriquet of Sir Edwin Lutyens, the landmark’s world-famous architect. The swimming pool has views of St Paul’s cathedral, the vast banking hall has been re-jigged with eight restaurants and there’s a private members club for guests. thened.com
Raffles Europejski, Warsaw
Warsaw was pulverised during World War II and the city’s most plush hotel – the Europejski – didn’t escape the mass destruction. Re-built in the 1960s and re-claimed by its former owners after the fall of Communism in the 1990s, 2017 marks the 160th anniversary of its original opening as one of Eastern Europe’s most luxurious hotels. Raffles, the iconic Asian hotel group, has spared no expense in restoring the commanding Neo-Renaissance facade, 103 rooms, bar and cigar lounge that was once a magnet for the cream of Warsaw society. www.raffles.com
When a Berlin hotel says it aims to push buttons and boundaries, attention should be paid. Part of Germany’s Gekko Group, this 58-room boutique property in Charlottenburg is for the up-all-night, sleep-all-day crowd. The decor is 1920s Paris burlesque with a cutting local edge. Chef Duc Ngo (Moriki Frankfurt and Madame Ngo Berlin) helms the ranges of the Chinese/French restaurant. Sign on for the Provocateur Mode, a multi-sensory in-room experience that goes well with a stiff drink and low lighting. www.designhotels.com
MACq 01, Hobart
Saffire Freycinet grabbed global attention as Tasmania’s first world-class resort. The same developers – The Federal Group – are behind the island state’ s latest high-end hotel. As much a headlong dive into the past as a luxurious getaway, each of the 114 rooms is linked to an historic local character from bushrangers to convicts-turned-plutocrats. The spectacular waterfront location and focus on Tassie’s world-beating whiskies, gins and fresh produce make the MACq 01 one of the most exciting new hotel openings in Australia for years. www.macq01.com.au
Kokomo Island Resort, Fiji
Adjacent to Fiji’s Great Astrolabe Reef, Aussie property billionaire Lang Walker has dialed up the definition of luxury in the South Pacific with this stunning $300 million resort. Only 45 minutes from Nadi by chopper or seaplane, the 21 thatched waterfront bures and six palatial “residences” anchor the 56 hectare private island rimmed with white sand beaches. Prices begin at $1,995 per night for a slice of earthly paradise. kokomoislandfiji.com
Located just outside the manic intensity of Shanghai, this tranquil retreat opens in October and is easily the most ambitious project of the prestigious Aman luxury hotel group. Over the past decade, 10,000 camphor trees and 50 Ming and Qing dynasty homes have been transported and re-assembled as 26 luxury antique villas. Yangyun means “nurturing of the clouds” and the harmonious effect of the ornamental lakes, carefully landscaped gardens and traditional buildings mimic
a Chinese water colour painting. www.aman.com
This piece first appeared in our Winter 2017 issue: