Luxury travel can be as much a journey in geographical space as one with an inner destination, in which the promise of slow time and tranquil moments hold the strongest pull for many travellers. This is how we think about the most anticipated openings of 2019.
Most of our readers were expecting a number “90” in the title, following the pattern of 60, 70 and 80 in 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively. But this time we were in a more picky mood and decided to cap it at a lower number — but with some runners-up mentioned throughout, and all the rest listed at the very bottom (it’s more than 80 additional openings!). Some hotels delayed from the last year made the list, if we deemed them particularly worthy.
Finally, we have not arranged this list in any particular order — and if you think we missed a particularly cool new luxury opening, please do let us know.
*Note: the hotel opening dates are subject to changes and delays.
1Waldorf Astoria Ithaafushi, Maldives
Conveniently located only a boat ride away from Male and the Velana International Airport, the new Waldorf Astoria will take over three islands in the South Male Atoll, promising an exclusive experience in the paradisiac surroundings. The property is planned to have as many as 121 villas, and all of them with their own infinity pool and extensive private outdoor space. Available for the guests will be as many as 10 dining outlets, including both a treetop and overwater restaurants.
Website: Waldorf Astoria Ithaafushi. Opening: Early 2019. Images © Waldorf Astoria
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2Aman Kyoto Hotel, Japan
Japan seems like a natural destination for the exclusive properties from Aman Resorts, known for its highly developed wellness offering, refined service, and minimal luxury aesthetics. The third Japanese opening from Aman (after Aman Tokyo and Amanemu) will be in Kyoto, surrounded by forests and gardens, and near the Kinkaku-Ji Temple.
Featuring only 24 rooms and two two-bed villas, the hotel will be as exclusive as they get, and its features will include a spa with indoor and outdoor hot-spring-fed onsens and dining venues offering both highly refined Japanese cuisine and casual picnics in the forest.
3Six Senses Bhutan, Bhutan
“The Happiest Place on Earth now has even more ways to make you smile. Six Senses Bhutan will take you on a spectacular journey, in the truest sense of the word”
— Six Senses Brochure 2018/2019
Six Senses Bhutan is now a regular on our Top Openings lists, as delays pushed its opening year after year. But this unique project, rather than a single hotel, will be a journey, designed to showcase the magical Kingdom of Bhutan on an expedition between five small lodges.
Four of them—Six Senses Thimphu, Six Senses Punakha, Six Senses Paro, and Six Senses Gangtey will be launched progressively throughout the year. The final lodge, Bumthang, will be opened at a later date (2020). The idea behind the journey is that the Six Senses guests will start in the capital and along the way will experience very different locations, each with a different theme reflecting its setting.
Website: Six Senses Bhutan. Opening: Spring 2019. Photo © Six Senses
4Singita Kwitonda Lodge, Rwanda
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Design in its DNA
We absolutely love Singita’s style and approach to the luxury safari hospitality (our regular readers may remember our reviews of Singita Sabora Tented Camp and Singita Grumeti Faru Faru Lodge in Tanzania), and very much welcomed the news that the company will be opening Singita Kwitonda Lodge and Kataza House this year, in Rwanda.
The properties will open on the edge of a national park where one-third of the world’s mountain gorillas dwell deep in the cloud forests. As with other lodges by Singita, the designers infused it with an ethic focused on minimizing the environmental impact.
Website: Singita Kwitonda Lodge. Opening: August 2019. Photos © Singita
5The Oberoi, Marrakech, Morocco
The long-awaited Oberoi in Marrakech is set on twenty-eight acres of Mediterranean orchards, surrounded by citrus trees and centuries-old olive groves. The palatial architecture of the hotel, its carefully landscaped gardens, and water features are inspired by opulence royal Morocco, and its location offers picturesque views of the majestic snow-capped Atlas Mountains. Spacious accommodation, personalized wellness offerings, restaurants serving authentic Moroccan and international cuisines and an engaging children’s activity area complete the full range of features and services.
Website: The Oberoi, Marrakech. Opening: December 2019.
Photo © Oberoi Hotels & Resorts
6Domes Zeen Chania, Crete, Greece
Formerly known as Casa Cook Chania, now rebranded as Domes Zeen Chania, this luxury boutique property launched on the island of Crete with bohemian-chic feel will be mostly focused on families. Located on a hillside overlooking a stretch of Cretan coast, the Domes Zeen will be 104 rooms, many with shared or private pools. The public spaces of the resort, the main pool, the restaurant, the bar, are designed to riff off a tropical beach club vibes. We love the modernist style and earthy tones complementing the bright Aegean skies.
Website: Domes Zeen Chania. Opening: Summer 2019.
Images © Domes Resorts
7Sonop Lodge, Namibia
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Eminently peaceful in Namib Rand
Namibia is an incredibly beautiful country, and its popularity is growing steadily. New luxury lodges in the country keep popping up, and 2019 will be no different. Among them will be the Sonop Lodge, set to open on the edge of the Namib Desert proper, near one of the most spectacular places we’ve ever visited and photographed: the Sossusvlei dunes (you must check out our photo essay from the place!).
Launched by the Zannier Hotels Group, the owners as Omaanda which we included on our Openings list in 2018, Sonop will be an exclusive lodge made up of only ten guest tents, created in the style of an early explorer’s camp. With a restaurant, spa and swimming pool, Sonop Namibia will ensure a sense of a blissful retreat after a day spent exploring the stunning landscape.
Website: Sonop Lodge. Opening: July 2019. Photos © Zannier Hotels
8Parilio, Paros, Greece
With a name based on a “bright, sunlike optical illusion, often on a luminous ring or halo”, this property in Greece is sure going to dazzle—not least thanks to the clean lines of its architecture, and simplistic beauty of the all-white Cycladic style, endemic to the island. Parīlio will have 33 guestrooms only, with interiors also taking inspiration from the aesthetics of Cyclades, but mixing it into their own chic. Exposed concrete, local marble, and natural stone will be the backdrop to warm timber, handmade rugs, elegant furniture—all set in a muted color palette of white and ivory, grey and earthy sienna.
Parīlio is the fourth hotel from hoteliers Kaila and Antonis Eliopoulos, and their small portfolio includes the stunning Istoria Santorini.
Website: Parīlio. Opening: April 2019. Photo © Parīlio
9Six Senses Krabey Island, Cambodia
Here is another long-delayed Six Senses opening, but we think the long wait will be well worth it. When the resort finally opens in Cambodia in 2019, it will comprise 40 beautifully designed villas, landscaped into the picturesque island of Krabey. The property will feature the famous Six Senses Spa, two poolside restaurants, and a deli complete with the ice cream parlour — and it will bring to the Sihanoukville area the hallmark approach of barefoot luxury that embraces modern technology and total convenience and comfort.
Website: Six Senses Krabey Island. Opening: March 2019.
Photos © Six Senses Resorts
10Zadún, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Los Cabos, Mexico
We really loved the quality of service and level of sophisticated luxury at the Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Ubud, Bali, so we have high expectations for the fourth Ritz-Carlton resort branded “Reserve” — and all signs tell us that Zadún will match them. Opening on the dramatic coastline of San José del Cabo, this luxury retreat will have 115 villas, many of them equipped with private pools, as well as Ritz-Carlton Reserve Residences. The place will boast two championship golf courses and will also maintain a botanical park with the desert flora.
Website: Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve. Opening: Spring 2019.
Photos © The Ritz-Carlton
11J.K. Place Paris, France
We have been following the openings of properties branded J.K. Place for some time now, and wrote reviews of the first hotel in Firenze and then in Capri and Rome. They all offer the perfect blend of smart chic and relaxation in a concept that redefined the Italian townhouse hotel. This time, this mini-chain will attempt to import the Italian sense of style to France.
Set in a former embassy building on rue de Lille in Paris, the hotel will infuse its interiors with the sense of place, thanks to furniture commissioned from French designers as well as antiques sourced from Parisian flea markets. J.K. Place Paris will have a spa and pool in the basement and on the ground floor an all-day Italian restaurant Casa Tua.
Website: J.K. Place Paris. Opening: End of 2019. Photo © JK Place
12Raffles Maldives Meradhoo, Maldives
We can easily call the Maldives one of our favourite destinations. We have visited the country many times and reviewed some of the best resorts in the luxury hospitality niche. So we are quite excited for the possibility of seeing and experiencing Raffles Meradhoo, which is a debut in the Maldives for this world-famous hotel brand.
Located near the equator at the southern edge of this island country, the resort will be accessible by an hour-long flight from Male to Kaadedhdhoo Airport in the Gaafu Alifu Atoll. Meradhoo will have only 38 guest villas, four dining outlets, a Raffles Spa, fitness centre and will offer water sport activities.
Website: Raffles Maldives Meradhoo. Opening: 1 February 2019.
Images (including the leading image at the top of the article) © Raffles Hotels & Resorts
13COMO Castello del Nero, Tuscany, Italy
Located in a driving distance from Florence and Siena, and occupying a twelfth-century castle layered with Renaissance frescoes, COMO Castello Del Nero is a unique new development from the wellness-centered COMO. Hidden among the rolling hills of Tuscany at the heart of the historic 740-acre estate, the hotel’s 50 rooms and suites embrace the heritage elements (including rare 18th-century frescoes) with an airy, pared-back aesthetic if their contemporary interiors, designed by Paola Navone. The resort will offer Michelin-starred dining, and, true to the COMO Shambhala Retreat credentials, top-notch wellness experiences.
Website: COMO Castello del Nero. Opening: March 2019.
Photo © COMO Hotels and Resorts
14Rosewood Bangkok, Thailand
Located within Bangkok’s central business district, this opening from Rosewood is set to become a new inner-city sanctuary (this is how we felt about the Rosewood Beijing). The hotel will have 159 guest rooms, including Pool Sky Villas with spacious terraces and private plunge pools. Guests will find plenty of opportunities to unwind and enjoy this new property, thanks to three restaurants and bars, Rosewood’s signature Sense®Spa, a swimming pool and a fitness center.
Website: Rosewood Bangkok. Opening: 2019. Photos © Rosewood Hotels and Resorts
15Haritha Villas + Spa, Sri Lanka
Haritha is one opening in 2019 that we reckon will make the biggest splash among the luxury travel aficionados in Sri Lanka. Surrounded by thick jungle, the seven villas and two larger mansions of the Haritha are located some 25 minutes from the beautiful heritage city of Galle and just a five-minute tuk-tuk ride from Narigama beach. The hotel will have a tea garden, a spa, a yoga pavilion, and a garden-to-table restaurant. The villas, built using recycled teak, concrete and marble will come with salt water plunge pools.
Website: Haritha Villas + Spa. Opening: Late 2019. Photo © Haritha Villas + Spa
16One&Only Gorilla’s Nest Lodge, Rwanda
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A dream world unto its own
This year Rwanda will continue to enjoy the growth of luxury tourism, as discerning travelers seek less-explored destinations. Answering the demand, One&Only is creating the Gorilla’s Nest Lodge, situated in the foothills of the Virunga Volcano Range.
Featuring twenty-two guest tents as well as a restaurant and spa, it will be a luxurious home base from which to discover the roaming grounds of the mountain gorillas. The camp’s restaurant will serve cuisine focused on local traditions using produce grown in the property’s organic garden, while the spa will provide African-inspired treatments.
Website: One&Only Gorilla’s Nest. Opening: Late 2019. Images © One&Only Resorts
17The Nautilus, Maldives
Conceived as a bohemian hideaway resembling an exclusive private home where mealtimes are entirely up to the guests, this new arrival in the Baa Atoll is sure to attract holidaymakers seeking new places to discover in the Maldives. Occupying a tiny island, the resort will have only 26 houses, either one, two or three bedrooms, with a living room, sundeck and private pool. The Nautilus Maldives promises a pure private island experience — and only a 35-minute seaplane hop from Male.
Website: The Nautilus. Opening: January 2019. Images © The Nautilus
18Anantara Tozeur Resort Tozeur, Tunisia
Anantara will be opening a beautiful new resort in the Saharan oasis city of Tozeur, which is known for the film set locations of Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. With 93 guest rooms, suites and pool villas, six dining venues, several swimming pools and a spa (and a souk), the place is promising Arabian Nights themed vacations, and the sandy dunes will serve as the perfect backdrop for the amazing Saharan sunsets.
Website: Anantara Tozeur Resort. Opening: End of 2019. Photos © Anantara Hotels
19One Aldwych – London, United Kingdom
We used to be frequent visitors to London, having been residents in the UK for many years, and Covent Garden was one of our favorite neighborhoods. So our interest spiked when we heard about the One Aldwych refurbishment. The hotel will be designed in the style of an elegant modern residence, with 86 rooms and 16 suites, and two restaurants and bars (including the exclusive guests-only Lounge at One). We strongly suspect that it might just be one of the more interesting developments in the Big Smoke.
Website: One Aldwych. Opening: March 2019. Photo © One Aldwych
20Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai, UAE
Say what you will about Dubai, but one thing they are not short of is the ideas for new and exciting luxury hotels. Mandarin Oriental’s entry to this mirage of a city will lure the future guests with spacious suites and stunning city or ocean views. A spa and kids’ club, and seven dining outlets (including a restaurant with a dedicated dock for patrons arriving by private yachts) completes the picture.
But it doesn’t complete the picture for what else is happening for the group. Mandarin Oriental, Doha in Qatar will open in some time in early 2019, and so will Mandarin Oriental Wangfujing in Beijing, China. Then planned is the opening of Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in London, England. And the Mandarin Oriental Lake Como, in Italy will re-open in April following refurbishment.
Website: Mandarin Oriental Jumeira. Opening: Q1 2019. Photo © Mandarin Oriental
21Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens, Greece
We love coming back to Greece and next time we are in Athens we know where to check-in. Located only 30 minutes from the historical city center, and occupying a lovely spot on the trendy Athens Riviera, the new Four Seasons Astir Palace promises a laid-back seaside escape with easy access to Acropolis. The hotel will have 303 guest rooms, suites and bungalows, three pools, two private beaches and eight restaurants, lounges and bars. The Spa claims to be “inspired by the ancient teachings of Hippocrates.”
Website: Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens. Opening: Early 2019.
Photo © Four Seasons Hotels
22Tuludi Camp, Botswana
Africa features prominently on our list, and Botswana is one of the most interesting destinations on the continent. The Natural Selection, a safari provider of which the Shipwreck Lodge in Namibia we covered in the last year’s Top Openings list, is bringing a brand new luxury camp to the Okavango Delta of Botswana. Surrounded by a vast private reserve, Tuludi camp will consist of only seven tents, each with its own plunge pool. Worth noting that a small portion of the camp’s total revenue will be donated to the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust, focusing on the preservation of the leopard population.
Website: Tuludi Camp. Opening: July 2019. Image © Natural Selection Safari
23Raffles Singapore, Singapore
Raffles’ flagship property in Singapore was due to reopen in late 2018, but its careful, sensitive restoration has clearly taken longer than initially expected. We don’t mind waiting, as long as Raffles gets an upgrade while retaining that unique character of the colonial era it is known for. On one of our visits to Singapore, we popped in for the famous Singapore Sling and loved the nostalgia-inducing interiors decorated with straw fans, vintage lamps and dark-wood furniture. We are looking forward to re-discovering the place, updated to the expectations of 21st Century city dwellers.
Website: Raffles Singapore. Opening: The first half of 2019. Photos © Raffles
24Andronis Arcadia, Santorini, Greece
Oh, we just love Santorini and are always up for any excuse to return to the island. And we may have just found one, in the sensational Andronis Arcadia. This new luxury spa hotel, perched on a clifftop in the village of Imerovigli, will offer as many as 58 suites, all with sunset views and all seemingly carved out of the rich volcanic earth. The hotel will wow with a range of facilities and attractions, including Spa, a man-made beach (with imported sand), and underwater music in the pool. The restaurant menus will be based on two very different traditions: one of the ancient Greece progeny and another will invite for Japanese treats, in the Oishii Sushi Bar.
Website: Andronis Arcadia. Opening: June 2019. Images © Andronis Arcadia
25Jao Camp, Okavango Delta, Botswana
“We have taken a fresh and contemporary approach to the sense of adventure […], creating a feeling of not knowing what to expect around the next corner, adding an element of surprise and delight in this ever-evolving sculptural and architectural language” — Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens
Another new (re)opening in Botswana will come from the well-established Wilderness Safaris, with whom we have travelled extensively in neighboring Namibia. In 2019 they will relaunch the famous Jao Camp, located in the middle of the Okavango Delta in Botswana. Rebuilt and reinvented, the place will offer five twin accommodations with kitchen and dining areas, private plunge pools, and en-suite bathrooms, indoor and outdoor showers included. There will be also two new Jao Villas, designed for up to four guests, with a private vehicle, guide, chef and butler. A spa and a gym are in the plans too, and the main pool will look out onto the floodplain for sweeping views of the delta. The new camp will even have its own museum and gallery.
Website: Jao Camp. Opening: June 2019. Photos © Wilderness Safaris
26Rosewood Hong Kong, China
Delayed from last year, this multi-use tower is poised to become a new landmark on the city’s famous skyline. Twenty-seven floors of the building will be occupied by Rosewood Hong Kong, a new luxury hotel with 398 guest rooms. The property will also offer eight dining options, a swimming pool, a fitness center, and Rosewood’s wellness spa. Rosewood Hong Kong will be located in Tsim Sha Tsui, on a prized Victoria Harbour waterfront. Also in China, this respected hotel chain will be launching Rosewood Guangzhou.
Website: Rosewood Hong Kong. Opening: Winter 2019. Photo © Rosewood Hotels
27&Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, Namibia
Located in the Namib Desert near one of the most amazing locations on Earth (the dunes of Sossusvlei, which we called “the most unreal sight in Africa”), the &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge will relaunch this year after a complete makeover. And what a makeover will it be! Going against the trends in the area, the lodge will relaunch with a contemporary look set to redefine the luxury lodge standards in Namibia. The bold angles of its design will frame the desert landscape, while the floor-to-ceiling glass windows will invite in the outdoors and help to immerse the guest in this remarkable destination.
Website: &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge. Opening: October 2019.
Images © &Beyond
28Chapter Roma, Rome, Italy
With the address on Via di Santa Maria dei Calderari, named after the patron of the metalworkers who used to dwell in this part of the Regola district, the Chapter Roma will take on an industrial style, drawing on raw steel, brass, copper, and bronze to invoke the local connection. The building, which dates back to late 1800 will have elegant rooms kitted out with custom-made storage furniture and clever vanity solutions. This new addition to the Design Hotels portfolio was created with the help of the award-winning designer Tristan Du Plessis of Studio A.
Website: Chapter Roma. Opening: Feb 2019. Images © Chapter Roma
29Namiri Plains, Tanzania
We know Asilia Africa from their amazing Highlands in Ngorongoro, which we visited and reviewed. It is how we know that this is one safari company that knows its craft — and it is why we think the Namiri Plains will be a very special place. Originally just a simple tented camp, in 2019 it will be relaunched having undergone a complete revamp. The new Namiri will feature eight guest suites, which will come with wooden sundeck an outdoor bathtub, and floor-to-ceiling glass doors overlooking the Serengeti Plains.
Website: Namiri Plains. Opening: Summer 2019. Photo © Asilia Africa
30Gorgeous George, Cape Town, South Africa
This unique property will celebrate Cape Town’s art, cultural diversity and rich history. Other than the 32 rooms and a rooftop bar, the hotel will also house an event and art space, befitting the character of the neighborhood, filled with galleries and niche museums. The Gorgeous George’s address is within walking distance to V&A Waterfront, provides easy access to the Table Mountain, and is only a 10-minute drive away from the Clifton and Camps Bay beaches.
Website: Gorgeous George. Opening: March 2019. Photos © Gorgeous George
31Rosewood Yangon, Myanmar
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From the Colonial Past
The former capital of Burma, Yangon, is a perfect getaway to discover Myanmar, and many people start their tour of the country right here. But until recently the city did not have many true five-star hotels. Rosewood is set to move the needle on this statistic, thanks to its new ultra-luxury hotel, planned to launch in a 1927 heritage building on The Strand. The carefully restored property will house a hotel with 205 spacious rooms and suites, and one and two-bedroom Rosewood Residences. Most guestrooms will sport patios and balconies, many offering views of the Yangon River. The hotel will also offer five dining venues, including a patisserie and tea lounge, a contemporary Chinese restaurant, and a rooftop bar, next to the infinity swimming pool.
Website: Rosewood Yangon. Opening: Late 2019. Photo © Rosewood Hotels and Resorts
32Baglioni Resort Maldives
The Italian brand Baglioni is venturing into the Maldivian resort world, and we rather like the idea of marrying the Italian sense of style with a paradise island living. The elegant villas of this resort will be a great match with the beauty of the Dhaalu Atoll. Awaiting the lucky first guests of the Baglioni is a full range of services, which include a spa, three elite restaurants, a large infinity pool, and the Dive Centre. This opening is delayed from last year.
Website: Baglioni Resort Maldives. Opening: Spring 2019.
Images © Baglioni Hotels
33Lelewatu Resort Sumba, Indonesia
Indonesia is vast, beautiful, and diverse, and remote pristine beaches are one of the attractions travelers can expect here. 2019 will see one more popping on the radar of the luxury travelers: the Lelewatu, on Sumba Island. Set on a cliffside overlooking a secluded lagoon, the property will have only 27 villas, designed with the use of local design traditions, combined with indoor marble baths and private swimming pools.
Website: Lelewatu Resort Sumba. Opening: April 2019. Photos © Lelewatu Resort
34Kachi Lodge, Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia
As far as beautiful destinations go, Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni has been in our bookmarks for a while (think tranquil-lake-meets-the-sky Instagram shots). But we are pretty discerning when comes to the luxury hotels — so only now this otherworldly destination gets our full attention, thanks to the space-station-like Kachi Lodge.
This will be the first permanent luxury lodge located on the Salar de Uyuni. Designed with the use of innovative technology, the six domed guest tents match perfectly the lunar landscape of the world’s largest salt flat. The solar-powered structures will come with comforts including en suite bathrooms and wood-burning stoves and will ensure uninterrupted views of the high-altitude landscape and the unpolluted night sky.
Website: Kachi Lodge. Opening: February 2019. Image © Kachi Lodge
35Mason Pattaya, Thailand
The design of this new property built on the Na Jomtien Beach is nothing if not striking. Mason stands out thanks to its minimalist interiors and quasi-brutalist architecture, juxtaposed against the lush nature. 35 private infinity pool villas will be positioned to maximize the ocean views, while the rooftop Sky Pool and Bar will invite for the perfect sunsets. We can’t wait to see the project finished.
Website: Mason Pattaya. Opening: Early 2019. Images © Mason Pattaya
36Amerikalinjen, Oslo, Norway
Let’s switch to a very different part of the world, as Oslo has a very interesting entry in our Top Openings list. Amerikalinjen is a city hotel inspired by the history of its building. Formerly offices of the American Line, which provided sea voyages for emigrants to America, today the heritage property has been reborn as a vibrant boutique hotel. With nods to its maritime history, the interiors are “designed for the modern explorer” — and we reckon it will become the place to be for design aficionados. The hotel will offer 122 high-ceiling guest rooms, an all-day dining venue, a live jazz club, and Finnish sauna and plunge pool.
Website: Amerikalinjen. Opening: March 2019. Image © Amerikalinjen
37Four Seasons Los Cabos at Costa Palmas, Mexico
In 2019, Four Seasons is set to add a new luxury resort to its portfolio, helping Los Cabos in Mexico to make a splash in the luxury hospitality industry. Positioned along a vast stretch of a white-sand-beach in the exclusive Costa Palmas community, the development will boast a private marina and yacht club, and will also include a full-service Four Seasons spa, multiple swimming pools and an 18-hole golf course.
But this is even more news coming from this venerated hotel brand. Four Seasons One Dalton in Boston will open in early 2019, and Four Seasons Hotel Montreal in Canada will both launch in the middle of the year.
Website: Four Seasons Los Cabos. Opening: Mid 2019.
Photos © Four Seasons Hotels Limited
38Magashi Camp, Rwanda
Rwanda is a destination in the vast continent that will see more and more luxury tourism, thanks to its wild and beautiful national parks, and, naturally, the gorillas. That said, the Wilderness Safaris’ second opening in Rwanda (after the Bisate Lodge, which we talked about in The Top 70 Luxury Hotel Openings of 2017), will be more focused on the “Big Five” sightings, expanding Rwanda’s draw as a full safari destination. The revered animals have been successfully reintroduced to the Akagera National Park, and the Magashi camp will contribute to sustaining the conservation initiatives.
Website: Magashi Camp. Opening: May 2019. Image © Wilderness Safaris
39Hotel Amapa, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Amapa is a new design-oriented hotel fuses traditional Mexican aesthetic with a laidback vibe and a strong focus on contemporary design. Filled with bespoke local craftsmanship and artisanal finishes and furnishings, the Amapa will showcase its own brand of luxury set against the dramatic backdrop of the Sierra Madre mountains, Pacific Ocean and old town. This new opening is destined to reinvigorate the area, and the hotel’s rooftop pool and bar, as well as the street-level café and restaurant highlighting local flavours with coastal Mexican cuisine, will all become a talk of the town.
Website: Hotel Amapa. Opening: End of 2019. Images © Hotel Amapa
40The Prestige Hotel Penang, George Town, Malaysia
The name may be referring to “the third act of a magic trick”, in which the disappeared object is brought back—the hotel has a visual trickery at the core of its concept, making the experience of The Prestige magical, quite literally. Thus, a mirrored stainless-steel reception desk appears to float atop shiny chrome spheres, the marble floor is a maze, guest rooms conceal pantries and toilets behind hidden doors, and framed images reference Houdini’s escape box.
But other than this, the hotel is mostly inspired by its 19th-century English colonial building, interpreting Victorian design in its tropical location, through heritage patterns and lattices. The Prestige has 162 rooms, and the site is surrounded by lush vegetation. An infinity pool with a cocktail bar, sits at the rooftop level, maximizing the heat of the Malaysian sun.
Website: The Prestige Hotel Penang. Opening: October 2019.
Photos © The Prestige Hotel
41Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas, Malaysia
Facing a vast beachfront on the edge of the South China Sea, Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas will be a serene retreat, surrounded by tropical gardens, and offering a range of luxury accommodation.
Set in low-rise buildings based on traditional Malay architectural templates, the hotel will have a range of accommodation options, from rooms and standalone villas, ideal for couples, to the expansive residences, offering families and groups privacy and space, with an infinity pool, full kitchen, and chef and butler service at each residence. The resort will offer a signature Anantara Spa and dining options including alfresco beachside dining at the breezy Sea.Fire.Salt.—and the elevated Observatory Bar, set to become the favorite hangout spot.
Another notable opening from Anantara this year will be Anantara Le Chaland Resort in Mauritius, later in the year.
Website: Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas. Opening: December 2019.
Photos © Anantara Hotels
42Nayara Luxury Tented Resort, Costa Rica
Camps and lodges, or even resorts and hotels with tented accommodation are all the rage these days, so we are not at all surprised that this new style is coming to Costa Rica. Nayara Hotels is tapping into the popular trend with the launch of the Nayara Tented Resort, located in the Arenal Volcano National Park, the star attraction in the country. The guest accommodation will come with all the luxuries of a five-star hotel: each will have a bedroom, bathroom and a plunge pool, and the adjoining tent will extra space for an additional bedroom or a lounge.
Website: Nayara Luxury Tented Resort. Opening: Fall 2019.
Images © Nayara Resorts
43The St. Regis Hong Kong, China
This is going to be the first foray for St. Regis into the vibrant hospitality world of Hong Kong, and the 27-floor, 129-room property will be also the newest luxury hotel in Wan Chai. The largest guest suites will offer up to 2583 square feet of pure indulgence, and thanks to the coveted location at the waterfront near the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, they will ensure stunning views across Victoria Harbour and Kowloon Bay. The St. Regis Hong Kong’s dining venues will be run by two chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants.
Also, The St. Regis Amman in Jordan is opening in June 2019.
Website: The St.Regis Hong Kong. Opening: June 2019. Photos © Marriott International
44Vora, Santorini, Greece
With only three suites, Vora will be focused on a very small number of guests, with tranquility and exclusivity as its selling points. Carved into the sheer cliff on the Santorinian caldera, dozens of meters above the surface of the Aegean, Vora Villas is designed to offer sensory contrasts, standing out as one of the most exciting new hotels on the island of Santorini.
Since its launch, we have now stayed at Vora — make sure to read our review!
Website: Vora Villas. Opening: April 2019. Photo © Vora
45Casa Cook El Gouna, Hurghada, Egypt
Not everything at the doomed Thomas Cook was unsuccessful. As the company was collapsing, the Chinese Fosun International took over part of the business, including the award-winning Casa Cook collection of boutique hotels. So, Casa Cook’s plans still include openings in Ibiza and Casa Cook El Gouna in Egypt.
The new hotel in Egypt is the fifth in the small portfolio of Casa Cook. Focused on adults, the 100-room will be the perfect base to relax and unwind amid the desert dunes and rugged Red Sea coastline. The rooms, ranging from Standard Rooms to Villas, will have simple decor, with rattan, raw wooden furniture, and tarnished ceramics adding to the sense of a pared-back, earthy chic.
Website: Casa Cook El Gouna. Opening: late 2019. Images © Casa Cook
46The West Hollywood EDITION, California, US
The EDITION is a boutique hotel brand to watch, and their 190-room hotel in on the corner of West Sunset Boulevard and North Doheny Drive will be a real head turner. The hotel will feature a signature restaurant, spectacular lobby lounge, basement club, expansive rooftop pool and a 6-room spa. Another opening this year from the EDITION will be The Times Square EDITION in New York, US (to launch in February).
Website: The West Hollywood EDITION. Opening: Mid 2019. Images © EDITION Hotels
47Nyamatusi Camp and Nyamatusi Mahogany, Zimbabwe
Bordering the Zambezi River, the Nyamatusi Wilderness Concession will see the launch of not one but two luxury safari camps, being readied by the African Bush Camps company. Nyamatusi Camp made up of 6 tents, and offering beautiful views of the river and escarpment, promises the romance of safari experience, while Nyamatusi Mahogany will have two tents and two-family units and will be geared more towards families.
Website: African Bush Camps. Opening: April 2019. Photo © African Bush Camps
48W Ibiza, Spain
The enigmatic letter “W” is the symbol of the hotel brand of bold character and personality that embraces the fun of life. Ibiza is the perfect location for W, and its address, in Santa Eulalia del Río, is smack in the centre of the buzzing beachside neighbourhood with easy access to Ibiza’s famous beaches and nightclubs. The 162 guest rooms and suites will offer the distinct W amenities, and all the partygoers will appreciate the 4,000-square-foot Away Spa with seven treatment rooms.
Worth mentioning are also openings of W Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (launched in January), W Muscat in Oman (end of 2019).
Website: W Ibiza. Opening: Summer 2019. Images © Marriott International
49Soho Warehouse, Los Angeles, US
Soho House & Co is continuing its rapid expansion worldwide with their new property in the Industrial District of Downtown Los Angeles. The company is transforming an old five-storey warehouse into a fashionable hotel topped with a rooftop pool. The exclusive club spaces will offer dining facilities, but their 48 bedrooms can be booked by both members and non-members.
The company will continue its growth further with openings of the Soho House Hong Kong in China (in March 2019).
Website: Soho House. Opening: Spring 2019. Photo © Soho House
50Awakening, Riviera Maya, Mexico
We wrote about this upcoming opening last year as one of the most visionary projects out there. Its creators clearly experienced delays with launching it, and we will see if the new deadline is met in 2019. “The world’s first happiness-themed boutique hotel”, dreamed up by Adriana Chardí and Martin Loeffler, promises to serve an almost-transcendental experience. The temporal visitors (guests) here will not stay in hotel rooms. Instead, they will check in to “human cocoons”. These futuristic-looking pods can be just described as a cross between a beach cabin and a treehouse.
Website: Awakening. Opening: Late 2019. Images © Awakening
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//Other Notable Openings of 2019
Best of the rest:
Let’s supplement the above 50 Top Openings with the list of additional hotels, lodges and resorts due to launch this year.
Africa & Middle East
Al Bait Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (image below left). Opening in 2019.
Waldorf Astoria Dubai Financial Centre, Dubai, UAE (image below right).
Jumeirah Al Wathba Desert Resort & Spa, Abu Dhabi, UAE. February 2019.
Lekkerwater Beach Lodge, South Africa (image below, middle). April 2019.
The Farmstead at Royal Malewane, South Africa. May 2019.
Elewana Lodo Springs, Kenya. June 2019.
Asia & Pacific
The PuXuan Hotel & Spa, Beijing, China (image below, left). January 2019.
Iraph Sui, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Okinawa, Japan. January 2019.
The Pavilions Himalayas Lake View, Nepal (image below, middle). Jan 2019.
Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa, Maldives. June 2019.
ZAZZ Island Maldives, Maldives. Late 2019.
LUX* North Malé Atoll, Maldives (image below, right). Feb 2019.
The Celino South Beach, Miami, Florida, US (image below, right). Spring 2019.
PUBLIC Hotel DUMBO, New York, US. 2019.
The Hoxton Downtown Los Angeles, US. Spring 2019.
1 Hotel West Hollywood, Los Angeles, US. April 2019.
Downtown LA Proper, Los Angeles, California, US. Summer 2019.
The Hoxton Chicago, US. Spring 2019.
Shinola Hotel Detroit, US. January 2019.
Hotel Emblem, San Francisco, US. Early 2019.
Conrad Washington DC, Washington DC, US. February 2019.
Nobu Hotel Los Cabos, Mexico (image below, left). April 2019.
Islas Secas Reserve & Lodge, Panama. Opens in January 2019.
Santarena Hotel, Las Catalinas, Costa Rica. February 2019.
Cannúa Hotel, Marinilla, Colombia (image below, middle). April 2019.
Vintry & Mercer, London, England. Opening February 2019.
The Dixon, London, England. January 2019.
Belmond Cadogan, London, England (image below, left). Opening early 2019.
The Standard London, London, England. Summer 2019.
Monkey Island Estate, Bray-on-Thames, England. February 2019.
Market Street Hotel, Edinburgh, Scotland. Early 2019.
Mystery Hotel Budapest, Budapest, Hungary. Opening in January 2019.
The First Roma Dolce, Rome, Italy. February 2019.
Hotel de la Ville, Rome, Italy. May 2019.
Experimental Hotel Venice, Venice, Italy. 2019.
Amara Hotel Limassol, Cyprus, Greece. 2019.
Finca Serena, Mallorca, Spain (image below, right). May 2019.
Experimental Hotel Menorca, Menorca, Spain. 2019.
Sir Victor, Barcelona, Spain. March 2019.
The One Palacio de Anunciada, Lisbon, Portugal. March 2019.
Grand Park Hotel, Rovinj, Croatia. April 2019.
Ānanti Resort, Residences & Beach Club, Rezevici, Montenegro. April 2019.
Britannia Hotel, Trondheim, Norway. April 2019.
Hotel Ottilia, Copenhagen, Denmark. January 2019.
Blique by Nobis, Stockholm, Sweden. April 2019.
See all our previous Top Hotels Openings lists here:
The Top 80 Luxury Hotel Openings of 2018
The Top 70 Luxury Hotel Openings of 2017
The Top 60 Luxury Hotel Openings of 2016
Africa’s 20 hottest hotel openings of 2016
The 50 Hottest Luxury Hotel Openings of 2015