We are extremely picky with hotels we select to curate here at TravelPlusStyle.com, which makes the job of sifting through the various industry news sources a bit tricky. How do you find the most promising and interesting new hotels and resorts?
Fortunately, we know what to expect from certain names. Global, regional or even just local hotel brands, some are the trend-setters when comes to the contemporary luxury. Coupled with the hottest locations, they are sure to satisfy even the most demanding sybarites.
From city hotels to private islands, from safari lodges to boutique hotels, see what we look forward to discovering—and note down their opening dates (bearing in mind they may change as things delay).
1 Maalifushi by COMO, Thaa Atoll, Maldives
This is the first luxury resort permitted to open in the pristine Thaa Atoll, in the southwest of Maldives. We are so excited about this one that have already spilled the beans—but what’s more, we booked the stay. Can’t wait!
Planned opening: April 2014 (already operating after “soft opening”). Photos © COMO Hotels and Resorts
*Update: check out our review and photos we took at Maalifushi by COMO—see how COMO encapsulates the spirit of an idyllic tropical life.
2 Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain, China
When it opens, the Qing Cheng will be the only resort located right next to the UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Chinese province of Sichuan.
Using the tried-and-tested Six Senses formula of responsible luxury, the resort designers drew upon regional architecture and traditional landscaping to create design that has a strong sense of place, but with the quintessential Six Senses aesthetics. This suite and-villa resort is set to open in mid 2014. Photos © Six Senses Resorts & Spas
3 One & Only Hayman Island, Australia
This private island is famed for the astonishing natural beauty, not least courtesy of it geographical location: right on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Having undergone a renovation—to the tune of $50M—the resort is re-launching under new management of One&Only, one of the world’s most renowned luxury hotel brands. Opens July 2014. Photos (including the leading glamour shot at the top) © One&Only Resorts
We’ve been to Oman’s Hajar Mountains and can attest: these landscapes are breathtaking. Positioned atop of a cliff that drops hundreds of meters into a dramatic gorge, with stunning views of the mountains, Alila Jabal Akhdar uses the dramatic beauty of this region to the greatest advantage.
Only some two-hour drive from Muscat, the resort is perfectly placed for exploring the mountains and beyond. Planned opening: April 2014. Photos © Alila Hotels & Resorts
*Update: check out our review of the Alila Jabal Akhdar.
5 The Peninsula Paris, France
Hong Kong luxury makes a move into the French capital with the opening of Peninsula’s Avenue Kléber, just off the Champs-Elysées. Highly anticipated after much delay, this is the brand’s début in Europe and it promises to wow its guests with in-room high-tech, indoor pool and underground spa. The hotel will have 200 rooms and five dining outlets. Yum! Opening: summer 2014. Photo © The Peninsula Hotels
6 &Beyond Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge, Botswana
Sandibe Okavango property is being re-build completely, as part of the multi-million investment into &Beyond’s luxury safari camps and lodges across Africa. The suites of Sandibe are to be raised above their surroundings and will overlook the rich in animal life landscape of Okavango delta. Uncluttered and elegant, the lodge will celebrate Botswana craft. Scheduled to re-open in July 2014. Photo © &Beyond
7 Portrait Firenze, Italy
This 34-suite hotel is creating quite a buzz. No wonder—the Ferragamo family is reputed for its luxury-redefining hotels, and now Florence is getting the treat too.
Ranging from 40m² studios to a 130m² Signature Suite, the lavish rooms will be designed with the aim of recalling the high-life of the ’50s. Scheduled to open in the spring of 2014. Photos © Lungarno Alberghi S.r.l.
8 Chedi Club Jimbaran, Bali, Indonesia
Among the destinations we would be happy to visit every year is the island of Bali. Now we have a new excuse to book the flights again. Setting the new standard of private luxury, the Chedi Club Jimbaran pool villas will come with a full kitchen and a Balinese pavilion for al fresco meals and barbecues—and a round-the-clock butler. The hotel is planned to open in the third quarter of 2014. Photo © GHM Hotels
9 La Réserve Paris – Hotel and Spa, France
With a great address in the eight arrondissement just few steps from the Palais de l’Elysée, this tasteful and elegant new hotel from La Réserve will celebrate the French art of living in the luxurious package of ultra-personalized services. Opening in 2014. Photo © 2012 La Réserve Paris
10 &Beyond Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp, Masai Mara, Kenya
&Beyond is on a spending spree. Another luxury lodge from this safari brand is undergoing a refurbishment and redesign, this time in Kenya’s wonderful Mara. The 28 new, elevated suites will overlook the plains, located right in the path of the awe-inspiring Great Migration. African wildlife, romance and nostalgia—it’s a promise of the ultimate safari experience. Scheduled to fully re-open July 2014. Photo © &Beyond
China and beyond: other notable openings of 2014
The sleeping dragon is waking up: China is hot this year.
Banyan Tree is expanding into this exciting market with Banyan Tree Yangshuo (see photo, right), promising exceptional mountain views and idyllic riverscapes in the landscape of dramatic limestone mountains towering over emerald-green rice fields—for which Yangshuo is world-famous.
Entering China, and Japan, is also Aman Resorts. AmanDayan and Aman Tokyo would probably make it to our list proper,
but the information on them is scant (*Update: see our write-up on the Aman Tokyo launch). We know that the Tokyo property will appear as an “urban oasis” in a business complex in Otemachi, and the 32 suite AmanDayan is set to open this summer in the Chinese old town of Lijiang, famous for its waterways, bridges and meandering cobblestone streets.
This is not the only mark Aman will make in China. A stake in a new brand, Ahn Luh Resorts & Residences, has Adrian Zecha, the founder of Aman Resorts. The 99 room hotel Ahn Luh Lanting, 30 minutes from Hangzhou, is to open in 2014 and Ahn Luh Zhujiajiao in 2015, with 35 villas.