Today (December 14, 2018): Travel news: The hottest hotel openings of 2018.
Be the first to explore my selection of the best new luxury hotels, 82 in total, that opened their doors in 2018. Some of these hotel are managed by the world’s most exclusive hotel brands.
There is more information and direct link to the hotel websites below the slide show! Think I missed one? Leave a comment!
Alongside ancient rainforest, within the lush green expanse of a working tea plantation, Nyungwe House offers an exciting window to Africa’s fascinating wildlife and culture. Situated on a working tea plantation on the edge of Nyungwe National Park, One&Only Nyungwe House is the first of two new One&Only resorts to open in Rwanda. Exploratory treks and hikes through the forest give guests access to the park’s nearly 250,000 acres, where they can discover black-and-white colobus monkeys, gray-cheeked mangabeys, and more than 275 bird species. After full days out in the park, guests can retire to the resort’s modern suites and villas, each featuring decor accented with traditional African touches and vast private decks equipped with fireplaces.
Hidden away 130 miles off the coast of West Africa, Sundy Praia is a tented luxury hotel at the wild northwest tip of the island of Principe. Principe’s forests shelter an abundance of endemic birds and plants, rep and amphibians – little wonder the island is sometimes referred to as Africa’s Galapagos. Merging seamlessly with their forest surrounds, the resort’s 15 tented villas lie hidden among a scattering of tropical almond and banana trees, each gazing down to the sea. With weathered wood panelling and timber decks, the villas echo the style of the fishermen’s huts that once stood this spot. The resort’s international chefs refine the best of the island’s produce and traditions, creating seasonal menus bursting with original flavours and fresh, organic ingredients.
Wilderness Safaris opened its newly-rebuilt flagship camps, Mombo and Little Mombo, situated in the heart of the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Long known as “the Place of Plenty,” Mombo and Little Mombo boast enormous concentrations of plains game and predators and is considered to be one of the best areas for game viewing in Africa. Mombo’s nine spacious tents afford sweeping views over a floodplain teeming with wildlife. The sitting room, separate bedroom and bathroom, indoor and outdoor showers and bathtub with copper and brass fittings all contribute to the Wilderness Safaris’ ideal of responsible luxury. With just three tents tucked away on the other side of the same island, Little Mombo is a smaller, more intimate version of its sister camp.
In a country jam-packed with vast, spectacularly beautiful landscapes, Kaokoland may just be the most incredible of them all. Deep in north-western Namibia, the area is a melee of towering mountains, sand dunes, and huge expanses of desert, scattered with unique wildlife and nomadic Himba settlements. This area is home to the new Hoanib Valley Camp, an elegant, intimate affair that immerses you into the wilds of the desert. The six rooms blend seamlessly with the environment, offering a simple aesthetic that matches the rugged landscape down to a tee. Days are spent tracking endangered rhino, desert-adapted elephant, and desert-adapted giraffe, before retiring to your private veranda to marvel at the magnitude of your surroundings (G&T in hand).
Located in the famous Skeleton Coast concession between the Hoarusib and Hoanib rivers in the Skeleton Coast National Park, Shipwreck Lodge is a short drive from Möwe Bay. The shipwreck-shaped chalets are nestled between the dunes with a view of the Atlantic Ocean where the cold Benguela current provides guests with a refreshing breeze. Guests here can look forward to appreciate the harshness of the desert and the beauty of these solitary landscapes filled with geological history, and to learn about the fauna and flora adapted to survive in these harsh conditions – all from the comfort of the restaurant deck. There are 8 twin/double chalets and 2 family chalets.
Meaning “tranquil” in the local Tsonga language, &Beyond Tengile River Lodge is situated in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, next to South Africa’s Kruger National Park and renowned for its high density of wildlife and Big Five sightings. Built with an extremely light footprint, Tengile features nine suites that are raised above ground level to give the impression that they are floating over the riverbed, providing exceptional views from the dappled shade of a cool riverine forest. The spacious suites offer sunken lounges, elegant bedrooms and ensuite bathrooms (with indoor and al fresco showers) that open out into the forest, creating private spaces in the open air. A magnificent spa area offers a haven of tranquility where guests can relax in between game drives.
Adventure and rejuvenation await at Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island – the only resort on this captivating coral island. The castaway sanctuary is located on a pristine tropical island that measures 6 km (4 mi) in length and is edged by 14 km (9 mi) of soft white beaches. Being one hour by plane from the main island Mahe, the destination enjoys unrivalled privacy and absolute freedom. The property is one of the most intimate Four Seasons resorts with just 71 accommodations, including pavilions, villas, suites and residences – all with private pool and beach access. Here, guests discover eclectic cuisine at two restaurants, and fill their days with island activities ranging from world-class diving, fishing and nature walks to luxurious indulgence at the spa.
Set high on a rocky kopje overlooking a landscape dotted with spiky palms and bulbous baobabs, Jabali Ridge is a sophisticated base from which to explore Tanzania’s Ruaha National Park. The remarkable beauty of Ruaha is not only in the landscape and its diversity of flora and fauna, or the impressive big game, but in the feeling of having the wilderness all to yourself. With only a handful of visitors at any one time in an area the size of New Jersey, this is an exceptional safari experience. Jabali Ridge’s 8 suites are hidden amongst the rocky boulders that cocoon the property. An infinity pool, spa and plenty of places to laze ensure that time off is as memorable as time out in the bush. Expert guides lead walking safaris, game drives and night drives.
Mysteriously set in the fragrant Pemba Island along the 2000 years old Indian Ocean trade route, Constance Aiyana is where you will surrender to your senses. Ecologically built with locally sourced materials like limestone, aggregates, coconut brooms, Aiyana is in total harmony with Mother Nature. Inspired by the beautiful African architecture, the Aiyana hotel features high ceilings, pastel colours, fragrant gardens and water feature. There are 30 magnificent villas, all facing the dreamy Pemba ocean and dressed in a minimalist luxury décor with a Zanzibari touch. Pemba is accessible from Dar es Salaam; a thirty-minute light aircraft flight from Zanzibar and can be part of a multi-destination safari trip or a stand-alone exotic holiday.
As the first Design Hotel member on the Tanzanian archipelago, Zuri Zanzibar’s stretch of private, sunset-facing beach embraces the sea-foam green and sky-blue colors of the Indian Ocean, while the hotel’s spice garden immerses guests in the aroma of the island’s exotic flora, providing an olfactory glimpse into Zanzibar’s spice trading history. The property’s west-facing location on the northern coast also promises brilliant sunsets that cast an orange-pink glimmer over the sea; a spectacle that turns the private terraces of the Jestico + Whiles-designed bungalows and villas into theater loges, complete with hammocks, luxury furnishings, and thatched or shingled roofs that epitomize the modern-meets-traditional African design running throughout the hotel.
In 2018, Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon completed a significant expansion, opening the Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland. Encompassing a subterranean spa, a geothermal lagoon, a restaurant that reimagines Iceland’s culinary traditions, and a 62-suite hotel encircled by the Blue Lagoon’s mineral-rich waters, the Retreat is a place where guests can leave the world behind. Modern matte black pendant chandeliers and sleek concrete walls are juxtaposed against warm wood paneling and leather seating in the public areas. This same aesthetic carries over to the rooms, where those on the ground level with a direct view of the lagoon are decorated with blue accents while those on the 2nd floor that showcase the olive-hued moss are adorned with bits of green.
Santorini is one of Greece’s most popular islands. Yet at Canaves Oia Epitome, you may feel you have this enchanting isle almost entirely to yourself. This all-villa luxury resort is located above the picturesque fishing town of Ammoudi (near Oia) and privacy, style and an almost zen-like calm are the order of the day. Then, as evening unfolds, the hotel reveals its greatest treasure: the best sunset views in Oia. When you’re not gazing at the sky, you’ll find a lot to love about Canaves Oia Epitome. From the villa interiors to the innovative rooftop terraces, the contemporary design captures the dusky hues of the surrounding volcanic landscape. Pick out your perfect lounge area and spend the day by the pool – and you don’t even have to leave your villa for this.
Branco Mykonos, located at Platιs Gialos beach, is a sparkling new Mykonos hotel, shifting the island’s hospitality experience to a new level. Stunning luxurious rooms and suites with view, inspiring design, high quality hotel equipment and professional yet friendly service, create the best Mykonos hotel experience. Branco’s Restaurant is an impeccable choice for lunch and dinner in Mykonos. Fine culinary creations, reinventing the traditional recipes of Greek Cuisine, offer a unique gastronomic journey. Branco Beach is an excellent scenery to enjoy the sun and the crystal clear sea of the Aegean. Luxurious sunbeds, exceptional service, vibrant music and refreshing cocktails compose the extraordinary experience of Branco Mykonos.
Nuzzled in a gorgeous setting, above the sun kissed beach of Agios Ioannis in Mykonos, Katikies Mykonos, member of the Leading Hotels of the World, captures the essence of chic seaside living only a breath away from the shimmering sea. Built amphitheatrically with direct sea view, this exceptional boutique hotel, member of the Katikies Group of hotels evokes the island’s Cycladic spirit and cosmopolitan charm in its elegant environs while ensuring a holiday beyond comparison. Here, guests surrender to the temptations of refinement at one of the most enchanting Mykonos luxury hotels and take in the splendid panoramic vistas to the emerald Aegean.
The Grand Hyatt Athens combines dramatic architecture with innovative design, easily accessible to historic sites and best-in-class restaurants. Celebrating iconic Greek culture, the 309-room hotel incorporates curated art reminiscent of ancient Athens. Alongside original pieces from the Museum of Cycladic Art, the hotel also showcases a glamorous lobby with an extraordinary art installation called The Coin, which is made from replicated, ancient Athenian coins representing the Greek economic supremacy in the fifth century BC. The property’s rooftop also offers the spectacular Penthouse Restaurant and an outdoor swimming pool with impressive views of the Acropolis.
Set in the heart of Vilnius’ Old Town—home to a university, a presidential palace, and an abundance of museums, embassies, churches, bookshops, and the city’s coolest spots for dining and drinking – Hotel Pacai perfectly echoes this quarter’s 17th century Baroque grandeur, yet augments it with a contemporary twist. Famous for being the most magnificent mansion in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the stately building has been reborn thanks to the inspired efforts of a passionate team of local architects and designers. The 104 rooms and suites, the inviting restaurants and bar, and the four meeting rooms all celebrate Lithuania’s rich past and Baltic culture, while also pointing it forward in a direction that is young and vibrant in spirit.
In the historic district of Warsaw, next to the Presidential Palace, Raffles Europejski is a significant restoration of a landmark building. The restoration team has worked closely with the local conservation body and with the utmost respect to ensure the hotel’s heritage and character are preserved. Raffles Europejski, Warsaw offers its guests 103 elegant guestrooms and suites; a restaurant with an outdoor terrace with seasonal menus showcasing Poland’s rich produce and cuisine; a bar and cigar lounge; and a pâtisserie that evokes Hotel Europejski’s fascinating story, tempting guests and locals with chocolates, cakes, ice-cream and other sweet delicacies. The hotel also house a luxurious spa featuring six treatment rooms.
The Barcelona EDITION boasts an enviable locale in El Born, the city’s creative hub in the centre of the famed Ciutat Vella district. Under the creative direction of Ian Schrager, alongside the famed Spanish interior designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán the hotel brings together, in a subtle synergy, the integrity and character of a historic environment with a simple, sophisticated design sensibility, creating a seamless blend of charisma and ease. With 100 rooms and suites, three restaurants, two bars, a roof terrace with plunge pool and a buzzing lobby, the hotel offers a dynamic social hub where guests and visitors can work, relax, socialise and dine all under one roof.
Located on the coast Montenegro at Luštica Bay with stunning views over the Adriatic Sea, The Chedi Luštica Bay is the largest 5-star hotel in the Boka Bay, offering 110 guestrooms, two restaurants and a bar, conference rooms and a business centre, along with an outdoor pool, spa and fitness centre, an indoor heated pool, gymnasium and ancillary facilities. The resort also benefits from its position within the resort town of Luštica Bay near Tivat. Designed to blend seamlessly into the style, ambience and community of the town, it is part of a unique whole. Authenticity is key to every guest experience, from the refined grandeur of the architecture to the respectful intimacy of addressing our guests by name.
Billed as Copenhagen’s first luxury boutique hotel, Sanders captures the essence of the past adopting a theatrical prose mixed with the flair of Paris, eccentricity of England and Danish design cool. The hotel Sanders of is all about modern townhouse vibe, luxury without the fuss and a clever design narrative. Already flagged as the new mingling hub of Copenhagen’s cultural scene, expect plush boutique salons, bespoke furnishings, and commissioned artworks by the talented Lydia Cowpertwait of Dais Contemporary create the scene of visual eye candy. The classic and historical hotel consists of 5 floors and 52 rooms with everything from smaller train-like coupe rooms to the Sanders Apartments with reminiscence of big Copenhagen apartments.
Hotel TwentySeven is an extraordinary and sensational all-suite boutique hotel located in the beating heart of Amsterdam’s city centre, Dam Square. Defying logic and re-defining luxury in Amsterdam, no detail has gone unnoticed in the hotel’s 16 sumptuous suites, including a signature scent that infuses the air and the sense of peace that comes from meticulous soundproofing. Service at the hotel is top-notch: as soon as you want something – a glass of champagne, a dinner reservation – your butler is there to take care of it. At Restaurant Bougainville, the culinary masterpiece of Hotel TwentySeven, innovative tastes wait to be discovered, both at breakfast and dinner.
The L’oscar London hotel has been created from a Baroque-style, former church in Holborn, a grand literary hub, and the centre of a thriving mix of bars, shops and restaurants that forms part of the city’s coolest high-end district. Imagination and attention to detail is woven into the fabric of L’oscar, from the sumptuously-decorated bedrooms, velvet and leather interiors, exquisitely-unique champagne coupes, crystal butterfly wing taps and seven-storey chandelier. L’oscar is conceived with the belief that a hotel is a theatre: a stage where performances of the utmost quality are played out. One of the hotel’s highlights is the Baptist Grill restaurant, where opulence and temptation combine in the domed chapel under the guidance of Executive Chef, Tony Fleming.
Six Senses’ new Singapore property is split across two buildings that are an easy wander apart: Six Senses Duxton and Six Senses Maxwell. The Six Senses Duxton site features a row of trading houses that have been sustainably restored under the gifted hand of acclaimed British designer Anouska Hempel. In harmony with a rich Asian history, each of the 49 guestrooms and suites feature a unique individuality so that no two are exactly the same. The Six Senses Maxwell site was originally a nutmeg plantation before 14 colonial-style buildings were constructed and later joined together as a single entity. This property features 120 guestrooms and suites, a spa, outdoor lap pool, Champagne bar and lounge, whiskey bar, boardroom and club lounge.
Fringed by strip of mangroves and a river overlooking the beach, the resort is a homage to the secluded Andaman and Nicobar archipelago, which stretches for 700 km (435 mi) from Burma towards Sumatra. Designed to showcase and nurture the island’s natural resources, the resort is dotted with 50 modern luxury villas on stilts under a canopy of coconut and palmyra trees; a contemporary haven built without cutting off a single tree. Guests can rest over the massive buttresses of an Andaman Padauk tree, ruminate by the water lily pond after a lavish massage or hit the treadmill at the fitness centre built around a majestic Mahua tree that soars up one level to the Olympic-sized infinity swimming pool.
Set up in a 11-storey building in Juhu, Soho House Mumbai offers 38 bedrooms, a floor of members’ space, gym, rooftop pool, and a 34-seat screening room. The architecture of the house is inspired by the Indian culture. The interiors of each floor have colourful block printed fabrics from Rajasthan, with locally sourced furniture and Indian antiques. Each of the 38 bedrooms have been thoughtfully designed with elements like eco-friendly sisal carpet flooring, antique timber furniture, and lampshades created from antique sari fabrics. Its F&B outlets include Cecconi’s Mumbai, a modern classic restaurant serving Northern Italian dishes including spaghetti lobster, crab ravioli and meatballs; and The Allis a lounge and café serving hot drinks, juices and small bites.
Nestled in serene south Goa, amidst lush 45 acres of landscaped gardens, swaying coconut palms and shimmering lagoons – the ITC Grand Goa Resort & Spa (erstwhile Park Hyatt Resort & Spa Goa), with direct access to the pristine Arossim beach, provides all the ingredients for an invigorating or intimate relaxed getaway. This beach-side, village-styled resort’s architecture draws inspiration from the Indo-Portuguese vintage and blends classical elegance with a distinctive regional allure that’s infused in its service, cuisine, rituals and more – promising a truly immersive experience. The resort offers 6 signature food and beverage outlets along with multiple outdoor & indoor venues for bespoke banqueting, special events and weddings.
Fairmont Maldives, Sirru Fen Fushi is a 120 luxury all-villa resort that offers exactly as its name translates – Secret Water Island. The resort includes a 200 m (656 ft) long swimming pool which traverses the length of the island, a reinvigorating destination spa and an intricate open air bamboo bar created by Balinese artisans who did not use any man-made materials in the structure. The architecture and design are typical of this exotic paradise, with the tastefully designed private water villas taking full advantage of the stunning location. Thatched roofs sit atop whitewashed walls, and the villas are erected on posts that let them hover over the crystal blue waters of the Indian Ocean, with private jetties offering panoramic views out over the sea.
Located in one of the largest and deepest atolls in the world, Joali Maldives is teeming with life, surrounded by tranquil lagoons, pristine white-sand beaches and a lush landscape of coconut palms. Accommodations include 73 private beach and water villas and residences ranging from one- to four-bedrooms, influenced by individual stories and designed to take guests on a sensory journey. As one of the first immersive art resorts in the Maldives, Joali is surrounded by interactive and experiential artistic pieces that incorporate surrounding nature and celebrate young designers, including Misha Khan, Nacho Carbonell, Porky Hefer, London-based Studio Glithero, Zemer Peled, Chris Wolston, Doug Johnston, Ardmore and more.
Set on a serene beach, Anantara Quy Nhon Villas welcomes guests to a luxurious hideaway comprising 25 private pool villas inspired by the indigenous beauty of southern Vietnam. Here, guests can spend their days relaxing in elegance, working up a sweat at the onsite gym, refreshing in the resort swimming pool or getting out into the picturesque countryside to discover even more of the real Vietnam. Quy Nhon is a historic city with a diverse surrounding landscape ideal for exploration. From adventurous hikes to secluded temples, discerning travellers can immerse themselves in the culture of this fascinating country. Phu Cat airport is a 50-minute drive away, offering domestic flights to Ho Chi Minh and Ha Noi.
Just off the southern tip of Myanmar, there’s a scattering of over 800 islands making up the Mergui Archipelago (also called the Myeik Archipelago). Rainforest-draped shards of limestone and granite bulge through the crystalline Andaman Sea, the effect of which is nothing short of heavenly. The island of Wa Ale, located in the archipelago’s Lampi Marine National Park, is now host to the area’s first high-end accommodation, Wa Ale Island Resort. Made up of eleven tented villas and three treetop hideouts, this unique resort sit alongside a long stretch of fine white sand. The accommodations were built with local materials (like river stones and reclaimed wood) to minimize impact on the surrounding environment.
Alila Villas Koh Russey in Cambodia is Alila’s first ‘Villas’ resort outside Bali. Located amid the Koh Rong archipelago, the hotel is a 15-minute boat ride from the Cambodian coast, offering pristine bays, dramatic peninsulas, white-sand beaches and tropical forests. The resort features one and two-bedroom villas, each with its own terrace, private pool and garden. For the ultimate in luxury, the resort’s four-bedroom pool villa features a large living area, kitchen, master bedroom, three guest bedrooms and an expansive outdoor terrace and pool area. The resort offers a wealth of in-house facilities including a beachfront Spa Alila, kids club, beachside grill restaurant, sunset bar, and a restaurant with five-star international and local cuisine.
Rosewood Phnom Penh occupies the top 14 floors of Vattanac Capital Tower One in the heart of the Central Business District, providing an ultra-luxury hospitality experience in the exotic capital of the Kingdom of Cambodia. A panoramic view of the city and the fabled Mekong River are seen from its position in the structure – whose shape is inspired by the silhouette of a rising dragon – and the Royal Palace, National Museum and Central market are within easy reach. The hotel features 175 rooms and suites, which rank amongst the largest hotel guestrooms in Phnom Penh. Dining options include a 120-seat bistro, a 60-seat lobby lounge, two specialty restaurants and a sky bar on a cantilevered terrace.
The newly opened Six Senses Uluwatu Resort is set in Pecatu in the southernmost tip of Bali which is the home of “Pura Uluwatu”, the sacred temple considered one of the island’s core spiritual pillars. The beautiful cliff-top Balinese-inspired Uluwatu resort offers uninterrupted ocean views from every angle. The resort comprises 103 suites and villas, inspired by local design, embracing nature and offering every creature comfort. The Six Senses Spa features locally inspired specialty treatments, multi-day integrated wellness programs and complimentary morning yoga sessions. The resort features multiple swimming pools, an open air event venue, function space, three restaurants including a chef’s table, a cooking school and an extensive organic garden and farm.
Nestled between Ubud’s rainforest, rice paddy fields and the sacred Wos River, Capella Ubud brings the wonders and myths of Bali’s exotic past to life. Inspired by the early European settlers from the 1800s, celebrated architect Bill Bensley conceptualized this ultra-luxurious tented camp as a tribute to their spirit of adventure. Each one of the 22 unique tents as well as an extravagant two-bedroom lodge are crafted with an individual inspirational theme, allowing guests to enjoy the essence of Bali’s untouched natural surroundings in personalized comfort. All retreats boast a private salt water Jacuzzi pool lavish indoor and outdoor bathrooms, a spacious lounge and bedroom whilst two outdoor decks offer the perfect setting for an intimate candlelit dinner.
COMO Uma Canggu is the newest addition to COMO Hotels and Resorts. Situated on Bali’s south coast, the beach front destination will offer panoramic views of the soft volcanic sand and rolling waves. The resort’s COMO Shambhala Retreat nurtures wellness through daily fitness classes, hands-on healing and holistic therapies. This is complemented by a peaceful night’s sleep within the resort’s contemporary accommodation, featuring stylish rooms, suites and spectacular three-bedroom penthouses with private rooftop pools. COMO Beach Club, a distinctly modern take on the traditional ‘surf scene’, is a place to gather with family and friends to enjoy an eclectic global menu and a soundtrack of live acoustic musicians and DJ sets.
A haven of hip and contemporary luxury, Alila SCBD Jakarta takes upscale lifestyle living in the Indonesian capital to the next level with unparalleled design architecture, chic pads, world-class restaurants, creative meeting and entertainment spaces in the heart of the city’s most dynamic retail and business district. Stunning picture windows, designer mod cons, trademark Alila amenities, dedicated club lounge and generously indulgent bathrooms are just some of the distinguishing features that are found in the 227 accommodations. The hotel also feature internationally renowned dining and entertainment, an outdoor pool, and a spa.
Elevated above the bustle of Bangsar, one of Kuala Lumpur’s most vibrant and cosmopolitan districts, Alila Bangsar is modern urban retreat that fuses a haven of relaxation with a lively city vibe. Here, comfort and personalised service meet contemporary style and a variety of dining and lifestyle facilities, ideal for young urbanites, leisure travellers and sophisticated executives. Alila Bangsar occupies the topmost floors of a mixed-use development known as The Establishment. The hotel’s sky-level lobby is on the 41st floor while its 143 guestrooms are located on floors 35 to 40, all offering uninterrupted views of the Kuala Lumpur skyline. The hotel also features a stunning three-storey atrium overlooking a pool and some of the hottest new F&B concepts in Kuala Lumpur.
Rising 65 storeys above the busy streets of the capital, the new Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur hotel houses 209 guest rooms and suites, as well as serviced apartments for those guests looking for an extended stay, and Four Seasons Private Residences. The hotel features several restaurants and lounges including the high-style Yun House for Cantonese specialities by Executive Chef Jimmy Wong, the chef showcase CurATE with its show kitchen, and Bar Trigona, a temple of modern cocktail culture. Leisure facilities are highlighted by an outdoor pool oasis with private cabanas and adjacent bar and grill, and an eight treatment room spa offering a carefully designed menu inspired by Malaysian healing traditions and the latest global therapies.
W Kuala Lumpur is ideally located in the heart of the Golden Triangle, surrounded by the main tourist spots in town, and within walking distance to Petronas Twin Towers. The property combines the bold, vibrant design and dynamic lifestyle programming that W is known for globally, but with a unique Kuala Lumpur twist. W Kuala Lumpur comprises 150 guest rooms distributed across 9 floors, overlooking the stellar expanse of the Petronas Twin Towers and city skyline. All rooms showcase the cutting-edge, contemporary design aesthetics of the city. The new hotel also has destination restaurants, bars, a gym, spa and WET pool.
Another newcomer to the capital of Malaysia is this new hotel from the well-known Asian luxury hotel chain. The property occupies the top seven floors of the Banyan Tree Signatures Pavilion Kuala Lumpur building. Offering only 55 rooms and suites, ranging from 51 to 200 square metres in size, in keeping with its positioning as an exclusive “urban resort”, each is furnished with aromatherapy amenities, a chromotherapy shower and, in the suites, a private relaxation pool. The hotel is topped by the Vertigo rooftop bar on its 59th rooptop floor. An open-air pool with stunning views, a state-of-the-art gym, and a Banyan Tree Spa with an extensive offering mean guests need never leave this urban sanctuary.
Rosewood Luang Prabang enjoys an idyllic hilltop forest in north central Laos, where guests are able to immerse themselves in the rich cultural history, spiritual heritage and diverse tropical landscape of Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Famous designer Bill Bensley modelled the property on the concept of a Laotian hill station from the turn of the 20th century. The 23 accommodations are situated adjacent to a river or waterfall or float above the ground amongst the treetop foliage. They include their own private swimming pools, oversized balconies, and outdoor wooden bathtubs. Dining at Rosewood Luang Prabang delves deep into the rich Laotian food culture and chefs place utmost importance on locally sourced and seasonal foods.
Aman, one of the world’s most exclusive hotel brands, has opened its fourth outpost in China, Amanyangyun. Set in a flourishing, tranquil forest, and just a 40-minute drive from Shanghai, the resort is the culmination of years of careful restoration and conservation efforts and safeguards priceless natural and cultural treasures. Amanyangyun features 13 antique resort villas and 24 guest suites that offer serenity in the heart of historic China. The villas are actual, centuries-old structures from the Ming and Qing Dynasties, and each one is equipped with its own swimming pool and a heated Jacuzzi. The resort is home to a spa and six dining venues, including an all-day dining pavilion, Chinese restaurant, informal lakeside café, Aman Deli, and a 200-seat banquet hall.
The Bulgari Hotel in Shanghai presides in the uppermost 8 floors of a 40-story building located in the extraordinary riverside complex of the historic Jing’an district. The hotel juxtaposes ancient and modern architectural themes in a fascinating reflection of the prestigious Suhe Creek surroundings, called ‘Gold Strand of Shanghai’, home to a flourishing art scene. The Bulgari Hotel, with its 82 rooms and suites – including one extraordinary Bulgari suite – offers some of the largest hotel rooms in Shanghai. Its Italian rooftop restaurant and bar are destined to become one of the most desirable venues in Shanghai. Besides the highest standard of service for which Bulgari is famous, the hotel also feature remarkable amenities, including a magnificent spa.
Designed by renowned Italian architect Piero Lissoni, the hotel and residences offer intimate luxury that radiate urban sophistication, providing an elegant and calm oasis amidst the dynamic backdrop of one of Asia’s most sophisticated cities. The spirit of modern-day Shanghai is palpable through The Middle House’s 111 modern studios, varying from 50 sqm to 100 sqm. The Middle House also features a 660 sqm top-floor Penthouse overlooking fashionable Nanjing West Road. The immaculately designed two-bedroom suite offers private terraces, a lounge and an exclusive event space with a private kitchen. The Middle House is the sixth hotel in Asia from Swire Hotels and the fourth House under Swire Hotels’ award-winning – The House Collective.
The Shanghai EDITION, located at the northeast corner of Nanjing Road East and Henan Road in Puxi, West of Huangpu River and just a 5 minute walk from The Bund, is a unique combination of two separate towers featuring 145 guest rooms. The hotel’s design includes 10 levels of public space including 5 meeting studios and 2 forums, totaling to over 265 square meters. Food and beverage outlets include a signature Japanese restaurant on the 27th floor, a Cantonese dining venue featuring 5 private dining rooms, an all-day dining venue, 3 lounge bars, an indoor nightlife venue and 2 rooftop bars.
The St. Regis Changsha offers 188 exquisitely styled guest rooms and suites, boasting sweeping views of the city, forming a luxurious respite from the frenetic pace of urban life. The rooms are beautifully designed and decorated with subtle Chinese touches. Guests can rejuvenate in The St. Regis Athletic Club or the top-level swimming pool. Accomplished chefs present exquisite dining experiences in six excellent restaurants and bar. Spanning 2,000 sqm Grand Ballroom and other eight elegant meeting rooms provide magnificent settings for business and social events. Expect sumptuous décor and high-end amenities with subtle Chinese touches. Every experience is enhanced with St. Regis Butler Service, available any time, day or night.
Overlooking the Wanzai shoreline and just a short ferry ride from bustling Macau, The St. Regis Zhuhai occupies floors 41 to 72 of the Zhuhai Tower, the city’s newest landmark in the business district. Palm tree-lined coastlines and easy access to alluring islands have made Zhuhai a popular travel destination, while its location on the west bank of the Pearl River Delta has made it a key economic city in Southern China. All 251 guest rooms have panoramic views of the waterways of the Greater Bay area, as well as the historical landscapes and bridge structures of Macau and Zhuhai. The hotel offers an epicurean journey in its five distinctive restaurants and bars. There’s also an Iridium Spa on the 68th floor.
With its neon coating shining each night, W Xi-an is quickly becoming an iconic feature on the Xi’an city skyline. The hotel’s design fuses the past and future of Xi’an, showcasing the vibrant history of the region with dynamic visual displays taking guests through five ancient dynasties that once called Xi’an home. The hotel features five intricate labyrinths inspired by the Zhou, Qin, Han, Sui and Tang dynasties. The 385 guest rooms and suites bring W guests a bold representation of Xi’an culture. Large-scale artworks show off the renowned make up style of the Tang dynasty with a colourful modern twist from ATG Beyond, China’s renowned premiere applied design expert.
Located approximately 40 minutes’ drive from the airport and a one-hour train ride from Shanghai, Jumeirah Nanjing is set in the Hexi new business district and in close proximity to office buildings and a conference centre. The mixed-use development comprises office and retail space, a conference centre, a 4-star hotel and a luxury Jumeirah hotel. Designed by architect Zaha Hadid, the 250-room hotel includes 32 suites, an all-day dining and Chinese specialty restaurant, café, lobby lounge, tea lounge, bar, junior ballroom, executive club lounge, business centre, fitness centre, Talise Spa and an indoor swimming pool.
As one of eight historic landmarks under the Conserving Central initiative introduced by the Hong Kong government in 2013, The Murray is an inspiring piece of architecture holding almost 50 years of history, and a landmark building located in the heart of the city in Central, Hong Kong. A high-profile preservation project converted into a luxury hotel, The Murray includes 336 sophisticated suites and guestrooms spanning 25 floors, offering some of the city’s most spacious accommodation. Interiors are embellished with natural fabrics and stones, leathers and plush textiles creating a contemporary chic sanctuary and an ambience of understated sophistication.
Known for its idyllic crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches, thick tropical forests and excellent climate, Six Senses Fiji is located in a magnificent secluded bay on Fiji’s Malolo Island. The private golden sand beach frontage stretches over 2,100 feet (650 meters) in length. Six Senses Fiji offers 24 spacious pool bures (villas), all with private plunge pools, plus an additional inventory of residences, offering from two to five bedrooms. With several food and beverage outlets serving delicious, locally inspired dishes, watersports including sailing and surfing, Six Senses Spa with a yoga pavilion and Alchemy Bar and a weekly activity schedule taking you on out-of-the-ordinary experiences, there is something for everyone at Six Senses Fiji.
W Brisbane is a stylish addition to the up and coming riverside area in Brisbane, appealing to the new generation of domestic and international visitors to the city. The mixed-use development comprises three separate towers – W Brisbane occupies one tower, while the other two towers are used for premium office, commercial space and high-end residences. The hotel offers 305 stylish guestrooms, including 25 suites and an Extreme Wow Suite, the W brand’s reinterpretation of the traditional Presidential Suite. It also features more than 960 square metres of ultra-modern meeting and event space, as well as a 24-hour business centre, a state-of-the-art workout facility, and an indoor heated swimming pool.
Set within Sydney’s Surry Hills neighbourhood, two buildings – the original 1940s former headquarters of Paramount Picture Studios and the adjoining film storage warehouse – have been stitched together by Melbourne-based architects Breathe, to create the new Paramount House Hotel. The property houses 29 rooms, a new restaurant, and a wellness space to the already existing residents which include the Paramount Coffee Project Café, the Golden Age Cinema & Bar and chic co-working area called The Office Space. A newly added rooftop copper-clad extension to the warehouse creates visual drama from the outside, while inside, it functions as a privacy screen casting strips of sunlight into indoor-outdoor terraces.
Located in St. Vincent and The Grenadines, the Mandarin Oriental, Canouan sits on an immaculate stretch of Godahl Beach that is protected by the Caribbean’s largest natural living coral reef. The resort elegantly blends colonial and chic contemporary styles among its lavish suites and stylishly sophisticated villas. The resort features a selection of restaurants that serve a variety of international culinary delights in beautifully appointed settings. The spa indulges guests with stunning sea-views in en suite, hillside treatment palapas and therapists meticulously trained to relax, sooth and decompress. Canouan Island’s immaculate beaches, championship 18-hole, Fazio-designed golf course and luxury super-yacht marina provide a wide range of activities to be enjoyed.
Although Rosewood temporarily cancelled its new Bahamas property two years ago due to problems with the former developers of the Baha Mar Resort, the Rosewood Baha Mar Resort finally opened a few months ago. Featuring elegant British colonial architecture and interior styling, Rosewood Baha Mar epitomizes Bahamian refinement and sophistication. The resort offers 185 ocean view rooms and suites, as well as five luxurious beachfront villas, which are contemporary and residential in style. Each accommodation is elegantly appointed with refined Bahamian art and décor. Of note, all guestrooms boast private balconies with outdoor living areas, while the luxurious four-bedroom villas offers exceptional tranquility, exclusive services and a private pool.
Set on the silver-white sands of Grand Anse Beach on the island’s southwestern tip, Silversands Grenada is a sleek and contemporary boutique property comprising 43 suites and nine villas. The hotel’s aesthetic is cool and pared-down, with lots of pale marble, blond wood and a palette of greyish neutrals. Anchored by a 100 m (328 ft) pool – the longest in the Caribbean – the hotel is defined by its offering of an unpretentious luxury experience radiating with the warmth, originality and energy of the ‘Spice Island’ of Grenada. Guests and the eventual buyers of the nine residential villas share a spa retreat, a beach club and two globally inspired restaurants.
Viceroy Los Cabos is located in the heart of San José del Cabo on the picturesque coast of Baja California. Originally concepted by Mexico-based architect, Miguel Angel Aragonés, and formally known as Mar Adentro, the 194-room masterpiece has re-emerged as a Viceroy property after undergoing renovations and enhancements. With a dreamscape design embracing the natural beauty of water throughout every facet of the resort, the Viceroy Los Cabos is a canvas for discovery with cinematic views and alluring experiences around every turn. Completely reconceptualized and brand new to the resort are a beachfront pool and bar, a refreshed and vibrant lobby and arrival experience, five dining venues, and a state-of-the-art fitness center.
Located midway between the bustling resort town of Cabo San Lucas and the historic San Jose del Cabo, Solaz, a Luxury Collection Resort, rises like a modern mirage out of the dusty Carretera Transpeninsula. The resort features 128 contemporary guestrooms and including 115 deluxe rooms, 12 exquisitely appointed Los Cabos suites and a stunning Presidential Suite. Each room is exquisitely designed with local Mexican Huanacaxtle wood and bamboo textured marble, marble floors, custom furnishings and an original wall sculpture by César Lopez-Negrete. You’re likely to spend most of your time posted by one of the resort’s 50 m (164 ft) infinity pools, which have been designed to dazzle.
The NoMad Hotel Los Angeles continues in the spirit of the original NoMad in New York by taking residence in the historic building, Giannini Place. Originally built in the 1920s as the headquarters for The Bank of Italy, the building’s gold and blue Italianate lobby ceiling has been fully restored and serves as inspiration throughout. Honoring its rich history, The NoMad Downtown LA Hotel naturally balances the integrity and character of the Neoclassical landmark with a contemporary California design. Each of the 241 rooms and suites is appointed with custom-designed furnishings, original artwork curated by Paris-based design studio be-poles, and Bellino linens. Many rooms also feature freestanding pedestal bathtubs and separate water closets.
Tucked among the California forests in one of the most dramatic landscapes on earth, the former Ventana Inn reopened as Ventana Big Sur, an Alila Resort, managed now by Singapore-based Alila Hotels and Resorts, after an eight months multi-million dollar refurbishment. The resort’s 59 guest rooms, suites and villas emerged as refreshed sanctuaries tucked away among
the resort’s meadows and redwoods, many featuring a private balcony or patio with mountain or ocean views. The opening of Ventana Big Sur also marks the North American debut of Alila Hotels & Resorts, the celebrated luxury boutique hotel brand recently recognized as one of the top hospitality brands in the world.
The Hoxton, Williamsburg – the fifth hotel in The Hoxton portfolio and the first American outpost of the brand – is located in New York’s most eclectic and vibrant neighbourhood, full of interesting characters, with a fascinating industrial past and a creative present. Located on the site of the Rosenwach factory that crafted the iconic wooden water towers that today can be seen across the skyline of Manhattan, The Hoxton, Williamsburg is a new-build property, with 175 rooms and several restaurants and bars, including a rooftop bar with views of Manhattan. All the Hoxton’s rooms come with king-sized beds and views of either the Manhattan or Brooklyn skyline, while the larger ‘roomy’ (recommended for longer stays) get a bathtub to boot.
Tucked away on the outskirts of an original gold mining settlement, Under Canvas provides an incredible glamping experience in a majestic location with monumental views of “The Shrine of Democracy”, Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Here, you discover a touch of luxury in the Old West while glamping under the stars, and experience unique Black Hills lodging you’ll remember for a lifetime. The camp seamlessly blends into the dramatic surroundings of the Black Hills and the safari-inspired canvas tents provide all the luxuries of home. A stay at Under Canvas also means endless adventure with opportunities to explore all that the Black Hills of South Dakota has to offer. Take a Buffalo Safari Jeep Tour or discover the Old West on horseback!
Stationed amid the city just steps away from the iconic Forsyth Park, Perry Lane Hotel invites guests to come and immerse themselves in all that is Savannah. Perry Lane Hotel offers you the perfect place to stay in style as you explore the vibrant city. This newly minted member of the esteemed Luxury Collection boasts 167 refreshingly elegant guest rooms, including 12 luxurious suites. Three lively food and beverage venues create a thriving social atmosphere, while the expansive art collection, 9,125 sq. ft. of event space and ever-changing calendar of local on- and off-property programming add up to a truly one-of-a-kind experience.
A towering icon within a vibrant Central Business District, Fairmont Austin is uniquely located amid the lush greenery of Palm Park and Waller Creek and directly connected to the Austin Convention Center. The newly opened 37-story luxury hotel features 1,048 richly appointed guest rooms and suites with picturesque vistas of Lady Bird Lake, a dramatic cityscape and the State Capitol. Guests indulge in exquisite dining, a pampering spa and state-of-the-art meeting facilities. Fairmont Austin engages guests with the city’s famed music scene, as well as the area’s celebrated cuisine and diverse artistic lifestyle.
The St Regis Toronto is a beacon on the Toronto skyline, offering visitors a remcentral location between the entertainment and financial districts. Within close walking distance from preeminent shopping, live theatre, sports and entertainment venues, the hotel places guests just moments from the city’s most distinguished landmarks including the CN Tower, Union Station, and Toronto International Film Festival. Boasting 258 spacious guest rooms, including 124 luxury suites – the most suites of any luxury hotel in Canada – modern elegance and bespoke service come together at The St. Regis Toronto.
The Santa Maria, A Luxury Collection Hotel & Golf Resort, is a five-star urban resort catering to discerning travelers seeking an authentic connection to the destination. The hotel features 182 guest rooms and suites with authentic Panamanian design elements. Surrounded by views of the Championship Nicklaus Design golf course, the resort has three restaurants, a state-of-the-art spa, a fitness center, and an outdoor pool overlooking the golf course. Designed for the current generation of global explorers who seek authentic cultural experiences, the resort offers guests access to some of the destination’s unique cultural attractions, including the iconic and historic landmark of Panama Viejo, the world-famous Panama Canal and the country’s islands and rainforest.
W Panama is part of the 50-floor Evolution Tower, a mixed-use building in Panama City’s financial district. It offers a fully integrated, contemporary lifestyle experience, including 203 stylish guest rooms, with 24 suites, three Wow suites, and one Extreme Wow suite (the W brand’s take on the Presidential Suite), two signature restaurants, the W Living Room experience (reinterpretation of the traditional hotel lobby), destination nightclub, the pool deck, spa and 8,400 square foot fitness facility. It is the first W hotel in the country and has already become the new social hotspot in the city a few months after its opening.
Plugged into and buffered from it all, standing tall between beautiful beaches and the mangroves, W Costa Rica brings a fresh spin to a Costa Rica adventure. Nature gets boldly reinterpreted upon arrival, with a Living Room inspired by the local Guanacaste tree. The 150 locally influenced rooms and suites come with a surf culture inspired MIX Bar, with a keg of Imperial Ale ready to be tapped upon your arrival. Each room has a headboard inspired by local artwork, and a fully glass enclosed shower providing incredible views. Natural elements harmonize with a modern sensibility throughout our resort in Costa Rica. Guests van lounge on the pool deck or at the W Beach Club, be pampered in the spa, work out at the gym, and swing away at Reserva Conchal Golf Course.
Located just 15 minutes from the world’s largest waterfalls, Awasi’s new 12-room lodge is situated on the banks of the River Iguazú. Built on stilts for minimal environmental impact, the 12 villas are spread throughout the jungle, each positioned for utmost privacy but within easy distance of the main lodge. Each villa is assigned with a private guide and 4WD, allowing guests to explore at their own pace, visiting where they want, when they want, and for however long they want. After days spent exploring the impressive natural scenery in and around the Iguazú Falls, guests return to Awasi for a swim in their plunge pool, a drink at the bar in the main lodge and long evening meals in the restaurant.
The Four Seasons Sao Paulo on Avenida Nações Unidas (Avenue United Nations) places guests just steps from corporate offices, plus shopping, entertainment and South America’s best medical facilities. The domestic Congonhas-São Paulo Airport is just 20 minutes away, and São Paulo International Airport is about one hour by car. Located amid the leafy green spaces along the Pinheiros river in southern Sao Paulo, the all-new 29-storey tower include the 258-room hotel as well as 84 Four Seasons private residences designed by Studio Arthur Casas, along with restaurants, spa, meeting rooms and other facilities.
Six Senses Kaplankaya is set on the diverse Aegean coastline, blending world-class contemporary design with natural beauty and history. Nestled in the breathtaking natural beauty of this ancient land, the resort lies directly on the waterfront in Turgutreis, approximately 20 km (12 mi) from the centre of Bodrum. Undulating hills clad in evergreens, wild olives and cypresses amplify the invitation extended by warm breezes and the turquoise sea’s gently lapping waves. Presenting a robust mosaic of architecture, history and art, the resort is within easy reach of many archeological sites including two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The resort features 141 guestrooms and suites, all boasting stunning views to the Aegean Sea, plus 150 residential villas.
Nestled in the heart of new modern Amman, Abdali, the past meets the future at the new W Amman Hotel where local tradition and history of Jordan are instilled with an unmistakably bold design. Guests begin their discovery by entering through an intriguing canyon walk, a breathtaking recreation inspired by the ancient city of Petra, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The first ever W Hotel in Amman features 280 guest rooms & suites, a number of signature beverage and food outlets, in addition to a multitude of extraordinary W amenities. The hotel is also the only building in the area with a helipad. The W Amman is under the umbrella of Eagle Hills, an Abu Dhabi-based private real estate investment and development company.
Reminiscent of a majestic palace, Al Manara, A Luxury Collection Hotel, guards the mouth of Jordan’s Saraya Lagoon, embracing more than 6,000 years of the region’s enigmatic history. Located on the shores of the Red Sea and set against the rugged backdrop of the expansive granite mountain range, the hotel has private sandy beaches where guests can relax and enjoy the year-round temperate climate. As The Luxury Collection’s debut hotel in Jordan, Al Manara is an intimate retreat that combines design and history, reflecting the ancient city of Aqaba, giving it an authentic and enriching Jordanian character. The 208 guestrooms, including 38 suites and 2 villas comprising of 4 exquisite suites each have been styled with indigenous accents and distinctive hallmarks.
The Jaffa hotel resides within Tel Aviv-Jaffa, a lifestyle destination renowned for its historical port, local flea market and culinary scene. The hotel pays homage to its historical surroundings, seamlessly blending a section of the 13th century Crusaders Wall from the courtyard into the contemporary lobby. Signature chef restaurant, Don Camillo, infuses international dishes with indigenous flavors and serves a daily Israeli Italian breakfast. The Jaffa houses an outdoor pool, state-of-the-art fitness center and a world class spa. World renowned designer John Pawson’s signature minimalist style, custom furniture, sumptuous beds, lavish bathrooms and luxurious amenities characterize the 120 rooms & suites.
Housed within a historic Ottoman building, once used as a jailhouse, The Setai Tel Aviv offers an enviable entryway to the wonders of the Jaffa Port, Tel Aviv’s full beach coastline and steps away from the city’s bustling boulevards and urban hub. The 120-room luxury property comprises five buildings of the former and historical Ottoman prison and police station, imaginatively transformed with contemporary touches and classic refurbishments. The Setai Tel Aviv’s marble and stone corridors connect the buildings and converge within a central courtyard. Original design details and stonework harmoniously compliment modern accents, converging with the restored Turkish Hamam Spa and infinity rooftop pool overlooking the entire Tel Aviv skyline.
On a private beach in Manama’s new Seef district, sits the majestic Jumeirah Royal Saray. Beautifully enclosed by the Arabian sea, the serene setting of the hotel brings forth a new wave of understated luxury, making Bahrain a highly desirable leisure destination. Jumeirah Royal Saray is a work of art in its own right. The inspired decor of the resort comprises the best materials and unparalleled statement pieces curated from places around the globe. The resort is like a regal Bahraini summer house replete with a coastal feel. The 174 guestrooms, 10 luxurious summer houses and 4 Royal Residences are decked in lush tones of nacre, silver shimmer and ocean blue; tones that are emblematic of the renowned Bahraini pearls.
Nestled within the community of Al Mouj Muscat encompassing over six kilometers (3,7 miles) of stunning coastline, the Kempinski Hotel Muscat is a new luxury destination in the capital of Oman. The hotel features 310 comfortable rooms and suites, state-of-the-art meetings and events facilities, a business centre and an executive lounge. Ten world-class restaurants and bars provide a remarkable dining experience. Two swimming pools and a kids pool, a kids club and a tennis court, along with various outdoor and water sport activities will ensure to spend an exciting and adventurous time. The hotel leisure facilities also feature a luxurious spa and a fully equipped health club.
Inspired by palaces of Continental Europe, Emerald Palace Kempinski Dubai is a five-star luxury beach resort dedicated to the finest elements of life. Guests are welcome to immerse in an elegantly curated stay, dining and leisure experiences at this landmark destination on Palm Jumeirah, and discover Dubai’s iconic palace by the sea. Each of the spacious rooms and suites is embellished with hand-crafted Italian touches and offset by carefully selected amenities to complete the atmosphere of elegance. The refinement is complemented by exceptional leisure facilities, such as a private beach and lagoon pool, eight culinary experiences including MIX by Alain Ducasse as well as one of the largest wellness centres by Cinq Mondes spa, with 23 treatment rooms.
A jewel of the Emirates, Sharjah is GHM’s newest destination for a luxury escape beyond compare. Meaning ‘The Home’, the 53-room Al Bait hotel in Sharjah is nestled within the fulcrum of the UAE’s vibrant landscape, with convenient access to all the wonders this glittering Emirate has to offer. This ambitious restoration and conversion project of these historic manor houses was undertaken with the vision of embodying the cultural renaissance that has swept the Emirate. The property offers first-class gastronomy with traditional and international cuisine, indulgent spas to rejuvenate and more, all in an atmosphere that will take your breath away.
Set in a prime location on the north-eastern coast of Sa’adiyat Island, the property is the most luxurious five-star resort in Abu Dhabi. Resembling a summer house, its sophisticated interiors offer a backdrop of refined island life and quiet understated luxury. Our seven exciting and indulging dining destinations, an ultraluxe spa with 15 treatment rooms and three outdoor pools, offer thoughtfully personalized service to elevate every moment. The 294 rooms feature expansive sea views and the panoramic suites offer floor-to-ceiling glass walls that open up to the sea breeze. All the villas offer private pools, for a truly exclusive experience.
A short 35 minute drive from Abu Dhabi International Airport and the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the hotel is located along the charming Corniche, offering generous beachfront promenades and stunning landmark city views that feature famed UAE landmarks, including Emirates Palace, the Presidential Palace and The Founder’s Memorial. Meticulously designed with bold and vibrant features, the property houses 332 guestrooms, 36 lavish suites, including the Presidential and Palatial Royal Suites, and 60 full-service one and two-bedroom residences, each thoughtfully conceptualized with key locally inspired details. The hotel is home to a variety of signature bars and restaurants, offers a stunning 50 m (164 ft) outdoor infinity pool, and world-class spa.
The Abu Dhabi EDITION is situated in the downtown district on the waterfront of Al Bateen in the Abu Dhabi Marina. The hotel’s 198 guest rooms are designed using a sophisticated neutral palette. The grey oak timber flooring’s herringbone pattern, drawing inspiration from local basket weaving techniques, contrasts the off-white marble in the bathrooms. The property’s unique food and beverage outlets include 2 signature restaurants, a gourmet market, lobby bar, tea lounge, pool bar and 3-story nightclub. A pool, state-of-the-art fitness center and spa with 7 treatment rooms are also available for hotel guests. The hotel also has over 107k sq. ft. of meeting and event space including several meeting studios, ballrooms and boardrooms.
this month (February 2019) in luxury travel
Today (February 22, 2019): February 2019 luxury travel news.
Every last Friday of the month, you can read my news round-up of what’s happening in the world of luxury travel. In this issue:
- InterContinental Hotels takes over the Six Senses brand
- British Airways unveils stunning retro livery
- Mandarin Oriental opens an ultraluxe Dubai resort
- Air France unveils new A330 Business Class product
- Aman announces a new property in Japan
- Grand Hyatt New York to be torn down and redeveloped
- Boeing is developing a supersonic plane
- A Virgin Atlantic plane breaks the speed record (faster than the speed of sound!)
- Rosewood announces a resort on the Island of Hawaii
- Rosewood Bangkok will open in March 2019
- Airbus puts super jumbo A380 out of production
- A new ultraluxe resort opens in the Maldives
- Air Senegal’s unveils its new A330-900neo Business Class
1. InterContinental Hotels takes over Six Senses
Six Senses – one of my favorite hotel brands in the world – has become part of the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG). IHG is one of the world’s leading global hotel companies with a growing number of luxury brands including InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Regent Hotels & Resorts and Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. IHG purchased the award-winning hospitality and wellness company from private equity fund Pegasus Capital Advisors for $300 USD million. The sale includes the management of 16 hotels and resorts, 37 spas and sister companies Evason and Raison d’Etre. Following the acquisition, Six Senses is now expected to grow to 60 hotels within the next 10 year, including a desert hideaway in Israel’s Negev Desert, the transformation of a series of 19th-century mansions in Istanbul and the group’s first project in North America, a contemporary duo of twisting towers designed by Bjarke Ingles located in Manhattan’s West Chelsea neighborhood and along the High Line. Additional projects are currently under way in Austria, Brazil, Mainland China, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan and Thailand. “This is an exciting new era for Six Senses,” said Six Senses Chief Executive Officer Neil Jacobs. “IHG believes in our purpose to merge the two platforms of wellness and sustainability to promote personal health, and the health of the planet. Joining forces with IHG means we can use a wealth of systems and operational excellence to grow our brand and reach new markets without losing our quirky personality and playful touch.”
2. British Airways unveils stunning retro livery
Last Monday, large crowds gathered at Heathrow to watch the much-anticipated arrival of a British Airways Boeing 747 painted in the iconic design of its predecessor British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC). The aircraft entered the IAC paint bay at Dublin Airport on February 5 where it was stripped of its current British Airways Chatham Dockyard design before being repainted with the BOAC livery which adorned the BOAC fleet between 1964 and 1974. Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said: “The enormous interest we’ve had in this project demonstrates the attachment many people have to British Airways’ history. It’s something we are incredibly proud of, so in our centenary year it’s a pleasure to be celebrating our past while also looking to the future. We look forward to many more exciting moments like this as our other aircraft with heritage designs enter service.” The BOAC livery will remain on the Boeing 747 until it retires in 2023, to allow as many customers as possible to have the chance to see it. By this time, British Airways will have retired the majority of its 747 fleet, replacing them with new state-of-the-art long-haul aircraft. This includes taking delivery of 18 A350s and 12 Boeing 787 Dreamliners in the next four years – which feature new cabins and are more environmentally efficient – as well as another 26 short-haul aircraft, all part of the airline’s £6.5bn investment for customers.
3. Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai is now open
Located in the heart of Dubai, and a stone’s throw from the water’s edge, the new Mandarin Oriental Jumeira is set to bring a new wave of chic design and luxury experiences to the shores of the city. Designed by acclaimed international designer Jeffrey Wilkes, the property features spacious and elegant guest rooms and suites, most with private balconies and terraces, offering pristine ocean views or the dynamic city skyline. Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai has six restaurants and bars, all of which are noteworthy additions to Dubai’s dining scene. The two signature restaurants are Tasca by Portuguese celebrity chef José Avillez and Netsu, a Warayaki-style Japanese steakhouse by Australian-born chef Ross Shonhan. The Spa at Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai takes wellness experiences to another level, with its focus on locally inspired experiences. All nine treatment rooms feature individual changing and bathroom facilities, and some have private terraces overlooking the ocean. This welcoming oasis offers exceptional heat and water experiences, and a range of holistic rejuvenation and relaxation treatments. There is also a state-of-the-art fitness center and a Little Nomads kids’ club with a range of fun activities for younger Mandarin fans.
4. Air France unveils new A330 Business Class product
Completely redesigned, Air France‘s new A330 seats are arranged in a 2-2-2 layout and convert into a lie-flat bed that is 2m (6,6 ft) long and 57.1 cm (22 inch) wide for jet lag-free flying across time zones. Passengers can choose to enjoy greater proximity when they’re traveling with someone or total privacy thanks to a sliding panel separating the seats. The ambient lighting emphasizes the details of the new Business cabin’s decor where leather and the Air France brand’s symbolic accent have pride of place. A brand new, extra-wide HD touch-screen measuring over 18.5 inches offers over 1,400 hours of entertainment. Its intuitive interface comes with a new more user-friendly handset. The toilets, inspired from the cosmetics universe, and the self-service bar in a blue and Champagne color scheme have also been redesigned with customers’ well-being and comfort in mind. Until the end of the winter season, the new A330 Business Class product is available on flights to Accra (Ghana), Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) and Houston (USA). As from the 2019 summer season, the new Airbus A330 will progressively serve Accra (Ghana), Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), Cotonou (Benin), Lagos (Nigeria), Niamey (Niger), Bengaluru and Delhi (India) as well as Seattle, Chicago and Dallas (USA).
5. Aman announces a new property in Japan
Nestled in the verdant foothills of the symbolic mountain of Hidari Daimonji, Aman Kyoto will open in November 2019, representing a place of untold beauty, where small jizo statues sit contentedly among the yamamomiji maples. The resort will combine privacy, relaxation and rejuvenation with the vibrancy of Japan’s ancient Imperial capital, home to 17 Unesco World Heritage Sites. The secluded grounds are part of what was an artistic community that gave rise to the revered Rinpa school of painting some 400 years ago, and are within easy reach of Kyoto’s most important sites, including the stunning golden temple, Kinkakuji. Aman Kyoto’s latticed pavilions will be contemporary homage to the traditional Japanese Ryokan inn, strikingly minimalist in their geometry, and each serving as a window onto their spectacular natural surroundings. The interiors will be spacious and light-filled – ingeniously crafted to foster peace, relaxation and contemplation at every turn. Aman Kyoto’s signature Restaurant in the Dining Pavilion will be a landmark addition to one of Japan’s most celebrated gastronomical regions. The convivial Living Pavilion with its central fireplace and glass doors opening onto an ornate garden terrace will serve home-cooked Kyoto obanzai style cuisine throughout the day. The fresh spring water that flows near Aman Kyoto will be central to the philosophy at the resort’s Aman Spa.
6. Grand Hyatt New York to be torn down and redeveloped
According to the Wall Street Journal, a development group has agreed to buy and tear down the Grand Hyatt New York, the famous glass-sheathed hotel by Grand Central Terminal. TF Cornerstone, a Manhattan developer, and MSD Partners, an investment firm whose clients include Dell Technologies founder Michael Dell and his family, said they plan a new development totaling about 2 million square feet, which will include offices, retail and a scaled-down Grand Hyatt. A hotel has stood on the site of the current property since 1919, when The Commodore Hotel opened. The property was redeveloped by (USA president) Donald Trump and opened as The Grand Hyatt New York in 1980, although Trump is no longer connected to the hotel. The current Grand Hyatt New York will remain open until 2020, and the redevelopment is subject to city and state approval. The plans have been made possible following zoning changes in the area around Grand Central station, to allow for the construction of new skyscrapers.
7. Boeing is developing a supersonic plane
Boeing announced a partnership with Aerion, a Nevada-based company pioneering next-generation supersonic aircraft. As part of the agreement, Boeing will provide engineering, manufacturing and flight test resources, as well as strategic vertical content, to bring Aerion’s AS2 supersonic business jet to market. The AS2 is designed to fly at speeds up to Mach 1.4 or approximately 1,000 miles per hour. With the ability to fly up to 70 percent faster than today’s business jets, the AS2 will save approximately three hours on a transatlantic flight while meeting environmental performance requirements. The aircraft is slated for its first flight in 2023. Founded in 2003 to develop new, more efficient aerodynamic technologies for supersonic aircraft, Aerion introduced its AS2 12-passenger business jet design in 2014. The company unveiled the AS2’s GE Affinity engine design in 2018. “Aerion is the industry leader mapping out a successful, sustainable return to supersonic flight,” said Tom Vice, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Aerion. “The AS2 is the launch point for the future of regulatory-compliant and efficient supersonic flight. Together with Boeing, we’re creating a faster, more connected future with tremendous possibilities for enhancing humanity’s productivity and potential.”
8. A Virgin Atlantic plane breaks the speed record (faster than the speed of sound!)
According to CBS, the fastest jet stream on record provided a turbo boost to commercial passenger planes flying in an eastbound direction over the USA. With the help of this rapid tailwind, Virgin Atlantic Flight 8 from Los Angeles to London hit what could be a record high speed for a commercial plane: 801 mph (1230 km/h) over Pennsylvania at 9:20 pm last Monday night. “Wow, that’s fast,” a Boeing spokesman told CBS News via email. But it’s not something the plane manufacturer tracks, so they can’t confirm if 801 mph is a record. For reference, the speed of sound is 760 mph; but the plane did not break the sound barrier. That’s because part of the plane’s speed is attributed to the swiftly moving 200 mph+ air surrounding the plane. So relative to the air around it, the plane’s speed falls far short. Jet streams like the one Monday can have a big impact on flights. “A 100 mph increase in the jet stream above typical can add or remove about an hour from a five to six hour flight,” according to a spokesperson from FlightAware, a global aviation software and data services company based in Houston. While you might be pleasantly surprised by an early arrival going eastbound, you’re likely to face delays westbound battling the powerful headwind. While winds of this magnitude do affect air travel, FlightAware said changes in the upper level winds are accounted for.
9. Rosewood announces a resort on the Island of Hawaii
Kona Village, A Rosewood Resort is set to open in 2022 after a complete renovation of the current property. Located on the Kona Coast of the Big Island of Hawai‘i, the iconic Hawaiian retreat that has laid dormant since 2011 will once again open its doors and welcome back ‘ohana (family) to the historic and culturally rich destination. Spanning 81 acres of stunning geologic landscape and richness, Kona Village, A Rosewood Resort, will draw inspiration from the history of the site, local culture and natural elements to create a unique guest experience that complements the distinctive Hawaiian setting. Conceptualized and developed by intrepid explorer Johnno Jackson in the early 1960’s, the original Kona Village Resort was best known for its free-standing, palm thatch roof hales and tranquil location. Located close to Kona International Airport, Kona Village, A Rosewood Resort, will debut 150 unique, standalone guest hales with locally-inspired décor, spectacular views and a privileged sense of seclusion. Spearheaded by Hawai‘i-raised architect, Greg Warner of Walker Warner Architects, each accommodation will offer a private lānai and outdoor shower. An array of distinct dining venues, including the original resort’s beloved Shipwreck Bar and Talk Story Bar, will offer elevated yet relaxed food and beverage experiences. Guests will have access to new leisure facilities including Sense, A Rosewood Spa, a state-of-the-art fitness center, as well as multiple pools and tennis courts. A diverse outdoor recreational program will include ocean sports and activities designed to inform, inspire and excite travelers of all ages.
10. Rosewood Bangkok will open in March 2019
Rosewood Bangkok, a visually striking, ultra-luxury property in Bangkok’s prime central business and retail district, will open 31 March 2019, marking the second Thailand property for Rosewood Hotels & Resorts after the opening of Rosewood Phuket in 2017. The 30-story standalone property will help reshape the Bangkok skyline by occupying two connecting high-rise structures that create a modern tribute to the Thai spirit. Its contemporary form is inspired by the wai — the graceful Thai gesture of palms pressed together in greeting. The hotel will be conveniently connected to the BTS Station amidst a luxury enclave of embassies, new office towers and upscale malls. The ultra-luxury hotel will embrace a striking, contemporary architectural design and will be home to 159 guestrooms. Featuring the Rosewood brand’s A Sense of Place philosophy, carefully curated interiors, dining and spa experiences will be an amalgam of contemporary sophistication and touchstones of Thailand’s heritage and customs. Four restaurants and lounges will be complemented by recreational facilities including Sense, A Rosewood Spa; a Fitness Studio; and indoor-outdoor saltwater swimming pool.
11. Airbus puts super jumbo A380 out of production
Following a review of its operations, and in light of developments in aircraft and engine technologies, Emirates is reducing its A380 orderbook from 162 to 123 aircraft. Emirates will take delivery of 14 further A380s over the next two years. As a consequence and given the lack of order backlog with other airlines, Airbus will cease deliveries of the A380 in 2021. Emirates has also decided to continue growing with Airbus’ newest generation, flexible widebody aircraft, ordering 40 A330-900 and 30 A350-900 aircraft. “As a result of this decision we have no substantial A380 backlog and hence no basis to sustain production, despite all our sales efforts with other airlines in recent years. This leads to the end of A380 deliveries in 2021,” said Airbus Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders. “The consequences of this decision are largely embedded in our 2018 full year results”. “The A380 is not only an outstanding engineering and industrial achievement. Passengers all over the world love to fly on this great aircraft. Hence today’s announcement is painful for us and the A380 communities worldwide. But, keep in mind that A380s will still roam the skies for many years to come and Airbus will of course continue to fully support the A380 operators,” Tom Enders added.
12. A new ultraluxe resort opens in the Maldives
With only 26 beach and ocean houses on a tiny coral reef-encircled island, The Nautilus Maldives is a bohemian hideaway located in Baa Atoll, a UNESCO biosphere reserve. Here, a kaleidoscopic wonderland of incredible marine life awaits discovery: trips to world-renowned Hanifaru Bay to swim amongst manta rays; diving on iridescent coral reefs; exploring remote sandbanks and deserted islands or just cruising the ocean on a custom-built yacht are among the many adventures guests can look forward to. Built by a Maldivian entrepreneur, this is his ultimate project in the country, created to express his personal vision of the best that luxury can be – not just in the Maldives, but worldwide. With its modern bohemian style, and concept of absolute freedom for its guests, who enjoy no rules, no dress codes, no set restaurant hours, no fixed menu choices, its driving philosophy is to make guests feel not only completely at home, but also as if time itself no longer exists.
13. Air Senegal’s unveils its new A330-900neo Business Class
Air Senegal’s first A330neo has touched down at Blaise-Diagne International Airport in Dakar. The A330neo, painted in the livery of Air Senegal and named “Casamance,” was presented during a ceremony attended by His Excellency Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal, and Philippe Bohn, Chief Executive Officer Air Senegal. After the ceremony, the plane flew back to Toulouse for more testing and is expected to be formally delivered to the airline within the coming weeks. Air Senegal, which started operations in 2018, is set to become the first African airline to receive and operate the newest member of the leading Airbus widebody family. Fitted with a three-class cabin comprising 32 Business class, 21 Premium Plus and 237 Economy class seats, Air Senegal plans to operate its first A330neo on the soon to be opened Dakar-Paris route and develop its medium and long-haul network. The A330neo is a true new generation aircraft building on the A330’s success and leveraging on A350 XWB technology. It incorporates highly efficient new generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, and a new greater span 3D optimised wing with new Sharklets. Together, these advances bring a significant reduction in fuel consumption of 25% compared with older generation competitor aircraft of a similar size. The A330 is one of the most popular widebody families ever, having received over 1,700 orders from 120 customers.
Review of Bisate Lodge (Rwanda)
I recently enjoyed a sublime holiday in the amazingly beautiful country of Rwanda. You can read my trip reports here:
- Review: KLM A330 (new) Business Class from Amsterdam to Rwanda
- Review: Kigali Serena Hotel
- Review: Bisate Lodge by Wilderness Safaris, Volcanoes National Park (today)
- Review: Encounter with the mountain gorillas (my best travel experience ever!)
- Review: One&Only Nyungwe House (Nyungwe National Park)
- Review: Ruzizi Tented Lodge (Akagera National Park)
- Review: KLM A330 (new) Business Class from Rwanda to Amsterdam (via Uganda)
Today (February 20, 2019): Review of Bisate Lodge (Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda)
Comprising just 6 spacious forest villas, Bisate offers an ultra-luxurious base from where to enjoy an extraordinary gorilla conservation experience and life-changing journey to this beautiful region. Situated within the amphitheater of an eroded volcanic cone, Bisate is surrounded by natural splendor, with sweeping views towards the Karisimbi, Bisoke and Mikeno volcanoes. Bisate’s sophisticated architectural and interior design is rooted in Rwandan building tradition as exemplified in the design of the Royal Palace of the traditional monarch. The spherical, thatched structures echo the thousands of hills that dot the Rwandan landscape, while the richly-detailed interiors exhibit surfaces and screens made from a variety of woven materials with strong resonance in Rwandan culture.
Have you ever stayed at Bisate Lodge? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment.
In this review (more info and photos below my Youtube clip & slideshow):
*** Get the most out of your (luxury) trip to Rwanda with my Rwanda travel guide ***
PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- Situated within the amphitheater of an eroded volcanic cone, Bisate Lodge occupies a 27-hectare steep hillside site of majestic natural splendor, with phenomenal views towards the Karisimbi, Bisoke and Mikeno peaks of Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. The lodge is close enough to Kinigi (the headquarters of Volcanoes National Park) to be convenient for the morning gorilla treks, but far enough away so as to feel remote and even – as a result of the onsite indigenous reforestation project – part of the spectacular Park. Rwanda’s capital city of Kigali (with the nearest airport) is 105 km (65 miles) or a 3 hour drive from the lodge, with most of the scenic journey taking place via a perfectly paved road (except for the last miles, which is on a rocky, volcanic path that requires a 4×4 car).
- Bisate Lodge features only six ultra-luxurious thatched villas, perched on the hillside. Each villa comprises a generous yet intimate combination of bedroom, reception space and bathroom, all warmed by a central fireplace. The domed living room comes with either a kingsize bed or two twin beds (covered with green geometric pattern cushions), a sofa, a small desk, and two armchairs on a cowhide rug in front of a log-burning fire. The spacious bathroom features a black oval, resin bath tub in the center, two sinks with leather-framed mirrors, a walk-in brick rain shower, a separate toilet, and eco-friendly amenities by Africology, a South African wellness company. Both the living room and bathroom have enormous windows that open to a bamboo balcony with breathtaking views of Mount Bisoke ‘s imposing volcanic cone.
- Besides the six thatched villas, Bisate Lodge also features one main lodge sphere, with a design rooted in Rwandan building tradition. Styled in the same decor as the villas, the dome’s interior features wooden floors and walls covered in dried woven grass mats – just like the ones found inside Rwandan homes. One side of the main dome houses a chic bar with a cozy sitting area around an open fire, where guests gather in the evening to share their gorilla adventures of the day while enjoying a pre-dinner aperitif. An intimate dining area with only six tables and a bar counter are located on the other side, and it’s here that breakfast, lunch and dinner are served (more on that below). Both the dining and bar area feature enormous windows, with black steel doors leading to a balcony that offer views of the surrounding volcanoes. The main lodge also houses a wine cellar in its basement.
- Created by Johannesburg-based architect Nick Plewman, the lodge’s unique design is based on the King’s Palace at Nyanza. The spherical, thatched structures echo the thousands of hills that dot the Rwandan landscape, while the richly-detailed interiors exhibit surfaces and screens made from a variety of woven materials with strong resonance in Rwandan culture. The emerald green color in the textiles and chandeliers is reminiscent of the verdant greens of the rainforests and the vibrant markets that dot the villages throughout the country. Many of the furnishings are decorated using “imigongo,” an art form unique to Rwanda that uses cow dung and goes back hundreds of years; the dung is mixed with soils of different colors and then painted in geometric shapes. The use of black and white cow hides also reflect the rural way of life in the villages, and volcanic stone is used in the fireplaces to echo the volcanoes of the adjacent National Park.
- Bisate Lodge offers an all-inclusive formula, with room rates including all meals, drinks, coctails, and some premium wines. Meals are served in the restaurant or on the adjoining terrace. The set dinner menu changes daily, offering slow-cooked, hearty and healthy dishes served in colorful ceramics. Signature dishes include liboke (chicken cooked and served in banana leaves), sambaza (fried, spicy small fish spiced served with ginger rice), and kachumbari (a traditional tomato and onion salad). Ingredients featuring strongly in Bisate’s menus include wild honey, avocado, climbing beans, mango, kale, papaya, plantain, passion fruit, pineapple, macadamia nuts and chilies. A highlight for many will be their first experience of Rwandan coffee – sourced from the local Kigufi Coffee Estate – called Gato Keza.
- Bisate Lodge is managed by Africa’s top safari operator, Wilderness Safaris. Founded in Botswana in 1983, Wilderness Safaris is widely acclaimed as the continent’s foremost ecotourism operator, dedicated to conserving and restoring Africa’s wilderness and wildlife. They do this by creating life-changing journeys for guests in some of the most remote and pristine areas in Africa, hereby helping to conserve Africa’s spectacular biodiversity and share ecotourism’s benefits with the communities that live alongside these areas. Wilderness Safaris operates more than 40 camps in seven countries, including several iconic and ultraluxe properties such as Mombo & Little Mombo in Botswana and amazing North Island in the Seychelles.
- Bisate Lodge is deeply committed to Wilderness Safaris’ 4Cs sustainability ethos of Commerce, Community, Culture and Conservation. Its pioneering reforestation efforts have already seen over 20,000 indigenous trees planted to date. In a country where agriculture has dominated for decades, previous traditional practices have denuded Rwanda of much of its original forest cover, thus leaving indigenous species with very limited habitat. Bisate’s reforestion project has aided in the return of numerous endemic species to the area, such as southern tree hyrax, side-striped jackal and at least one species of genet. Guests are also encouraged to get involved in the reforestation project by planting a tree on the Bisate property during their stay, thus directly contributing to the restoration of the area.
- With only six villas and twice as many staff as guests, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that service at the lodge is exceptional and personalized. More than 50% of Bisate’s staff comes from the neighboring communities. Because there are so few guests here, there’s plenty of time to interact with the superfriendly staff, whether it’s chatting to the barman before dinner, sharing your love for Africa with the general manager, or exploring the nearby villages with the lodge’s guides. To give you an example of the attentive service: after your gorilla trekking, the staff will clean your hiking boots and return them in no time (with your shoes looking better than new). Also, the staff is there to welcome every guest upon arrival, dancing and singing a song in Kinyarwand.
- The prime reason why you stay here is gorilla trekking. Spotting a wild gorilla in the African jungle is on many people’s bucket list and ranks among my favorite wildlife experience in the world. Mountain gorillas are the most majestic, and sadly, rarest apes of all non-human primates. Only 1000 of these magnificent creatures remain in the world, all of them found in the border area between Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A guided gorilla tracking takes anywhere from 2 to 10 hours, and allows you to spend one hour with the apes once you found them. It’s an awesome adventure, often undertaken by travelers as they are overwhelmed by emotions after seeing the movie Gorillas In The Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey. I will publish a review of my gorilla encounter next week.
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
Bisate Lodge is one of the most exclusive accommodation options in Rwanda, comprising just 6 stunning rooms set inside thatched, spherical pavilions containing every conceivable luxury. There’s no much to say against the lodge, but you may want to know the following nonetheless:
- Bisate Lodge is one of the most exclusive but also most expensive lodges in Africa. But you should know that going in, and rates do include all meals, a 20 min shoulder & back massage, and on-site excursions (excluding gorilla trekking). Most importantly, at Bisate Lodge, you don’t pay for an overnight stay, but you pay for a life-changing experience and a memory that will last a lifetime.
- Bisate Lodge features a lot of stairs (built with uneven volcanic stone), which makes the property not ideal for mobility challenged guests. There is a lot of climbing up and down the hillside to get to the room, the restaurant or to go on the daily activities. But that’s nothing compared to what awaits you while tracking the gorillas!
- The location of the lodge is spectacular (with phenomenal views) but the property is not located inside the rainforest but rather in a rural area, just above a local farming community (at the moment, there are no lodges inside the Volcanoes National Park). That may change though in the near future, since the park will be extended and this, combined with reforestation, will practically place Bisate Lodge within the park boundaries.
- Facilities at the lodge are rather limited. There are only six villas and one main lodge building, but that’s it. There is no spa, gym or swimming pool. That said, spa treatments can be enjoyed in the privacy of your own villa. Also, it’s rumored that Wilderness Safaris may build an on-site spa in the near future, enhancing the wellness offerings at Bisate Lodge.
- Location: 10/10
- Design: 10/10
- Pool: the property has no pool
- Rooms: 10/10
- Food: 9/10
- Breakfast: 9/10
- Spa: the property has no spa (treatments are done in the privacy of your villa)
- Service: 10/10
- Value for money: 9/10
- Overall experience: exceptional 9,6/10
TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
- Save money: read here my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like Bisate Lodge (and/or receive many free perks).
- Room tip: There are only 6 villas as Bisate Lodge and they all feature the same layout. The higher located villas have the best view (but reaching them involves more stairs).
- Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
In the heart of Africa, fractionally south of the equator, Rwanda’s relatively high altitude provides it with a remarkably pleasant tropical highland climate, albeit also with plenty of rain. Although it’s regarded as a year-round activity, the best time to visit Rwanda is during the short dry season from December to February or over the long dry season months of June to September. These periods offer by far the easiest hiking conditions (for gorilla or chimp trekking) and the lowest malaria risk. The dry season does not necessarily means sunny season as there is often a light cloud cover, helping to moderate the temperatures. Rwanda’s long rainy season lasts from about March to May, when the rain is heavy and persistent. October to November is the short rainy season, with occasional light showers in the afternoon.
HOW TO GET THERE
Bisate Lodge can be reached from Kigali by car, a journey of around 2,5 hours on an excellent paved road (only the last miles are on a dirt road). However, it’s also possible to charter a flight to the airport at Ruhengeri, which is just over half an hour’s drive from the property.
Top 10 best hotels & lodges in Rwanda
Today (February 18, 2019): Top10 best hotels & lodges in Rwanda.
Twenty five years after the devastating genocide, Rwanda has risen from the ashes and has managed to rebuild itself into one of Africa’s safest and most peaceful nations. Breathtakingly beautiful and largely untouched, Rwanda offers towering volcanoes, emerald green rain forests, privileged access to the endangered mountain gorilla, and so much more. Rwanda has long been an off the beaten track destination, far from the ordinary traveler’s itinerary, but things are about to change in a big way with the installation of Ellen DeGeneres’ new gorilla conservation center with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, and the opening of a new string of ultra-luxurious hotels. Emerging as Africa’s newest luxury travel hotspot, here’s my pick of the 10 best hotels & lodges in Rwanda.
There is more information (with reviews & Youtube clips) below the slide show. Think I missed one? Share your favorite hotel in Rwanda in the comments.
*** Get the most of your (luxury) trip to Rwanda with my Rwanda travel guide ***
Ideally located 5 km (3 mi) from the city center and Kigali International Airport, the stylish Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Center is a 5-star hotel in Rwanda’s capital Kigali. The hotel offers 292 modern and spacious rooms along with an all-day dining, an exquisite Italian restaurant, a bar, lobby lounge and an outdoor swimming pool designed to provide a memorable experience to business and leisure travelers alike. With the capacity to accommodate up to 5000 delegates in its 18 meeting rooms including an auditorium, meeting and events planners can take advantage of the Convention Centers’ versatile event space and state-of-the-art facilities. The on-site spa is designed to offer a relaxing experience for couples, friends and individuals looking for rejuvenation.
Set on a stunning hillside, the magnificent Virunga Lodge boasts panoramic vistas of the Virunga Volcanoes and the beautiful lakes of Ruhondo and Bulera. Each of ten luxurious bandas named after the Rwandan lakes features a spacious bedroom with a cosy fireplace, as well as private terrace with sweeping views of the breathtaking surrounds. Those in need of relaxation can revel in the comfort of the main lodge or spend some time in the Dian Fossey Map Room. Each guest will enjoy the opportunity for a relaxing complementary massage. Adventures include tracking gorillas and golden monkeys, hikes to the top of the volcanoes, scenic walks through the picturesque villages surrounding the lodge, or day trips to the lively towns of Kigali or Kampala.
The elegant Kigali Serena Hotel is perfectly situated within one of the city’s most vibrant boulevards, and is the best hotel in town for a business stay or to start or end a gorilla safari. Here, guests are welcomed into a gleaming granite atrium, adorned with lovely Rwandan artworks. The property features 148 sophisticated rooms, including 25 lavish suites, that come with air conditioning, Wi-Fi connectivity, a satellite television, and a lovely ensuite bathroom. The hotel offers a wonderful selection of dining options, from the Milima Restaurant that overlooks the sparkling swimming pool to the Sokoni Restaurant that has become a popular meeting place for both locals and travelers alike. In the evenings, you can retreat to the hotel’s convivial lounge where two bar areas await.
With a maximum of 20 guests, Ruzizi Tented Lodge is an intimate, charming camp, overlooking Lake Ihema in Rwanda’s Akagera National Park. The camp’s nine tents are spaced widely apart on either side of a thatched reception and dining area, set back from the lake shore and hidden among swaying palms and fruiting fig trees. Each tent has an en-suite bathroom, a dressing area and either comfortable queen or twin beds, with a small patio at the front and accessible by wooden boardwalks. The lodge was designed to blend in with the surrounding environment in order to create a feel of being connected to nature. Where possible, trees and vegetation were left undisturbed during the construction, and even incorporated into the structure. The lodge is powered by solar energy and prides itself on being environmentally conscious.
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is Rwanda’s first ever community owned lodge. The lodge was built and is operated by Governors’ Camp Collection, but the ownership rests with a Community Trust, which uses rentals and community fees from the lodge to drive socio-economic and conservation initiatives in the communities adjacent to the National Park. The lodge, situated in the foothills of the mighty Virungas, the chain of 15,000 ft volcanoes stretching through Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, affords wonderful views of the volcanoes and the surrounding countryside. Accommodation at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge comprises six cottages, two suites, one family cottage. All are stone buildings with Rwandese terracotta tile roofs, and feature large sitting areas, fireplaces, stylish en-suite bathrooms finished with Venetian plaster a dressing room and a sheltered veranda.
Singita Kwitonda Lodge & Kataza House (opening summer 2019) will be located on a breathtaking, isolated but contained 178-acre piece of land right on the edge of Volcanoes National Park. The presence of the lodge on the park border will help to improve the function of the buffer area between agricultural plots and the habitat of the estimated 320 mountain gorillas that find sanctuary here. Set within a landscape of wetlands and lush meadows, there will be eight suites and a four-bedroom villa linked by volcanic rock pathways to a central lodge. Singita Kwitonda will be built to embody the spirit of Rwanda and offer a tribute to the lodge’s namesake – Kwitonda – a great silverback gorilla whose legend lives on in Rwanda and was known for his humility and gentleness.
Magashi Camp (opening spring 2019) is situated in the productive and phenomenally diverse north-eastern corner of Akagera National Park, overlooking scenic Lake Rwanyakazinga. Akagera comprises some of the most scenic savannah in East Africa – open plains, woodlands, lakes, swamp, and grassy low mountains – and is home to one of Africa’s highest hippo densities, some very large crocodiles as well as rare sitatunga and inscrutable shoebill. Six spacious and airy tented guest rooms will offer uninterrupted views over Lake Rwanyakazinga while Magashi’s main area will comprise a luxurious lounge, dining and bar area, wine cellar and pool, as well as an expansive viewing deck with convivial fire pit. The architecture and interiors will pay homage to traditional Rwandan culture.
Nestled amongst a forest of eucalyptus trees, One&Only Gorilla’s Nest (opening later this year) will provide breath-taking views of Rwandan hills and the slopes of the Volcanoes National Park. Guests will be able to discover the magical habitat of critically endangered mountain gorillas, a rare adventure. Bespoke accommodation will honor the location and natural elements will be woven throughout the resort, to inform the design of both the public and private spaces of the resort. Local African cuisine will surround a traditional Boma, providing the perfect location to share adventures from the day and enjoy fruit and vegetables from the resort’s garden. The resort will also offer an indulgent One&Only spa. One&Only also has a second lodge in Rwanda (more on that below), offering guest a journey to the country’s two most spectacular national parks.
Alongside ancient rainforest, within the lush green expanse of a working tea plantation, Nyungwe House offers an exciting window to Africa’s fascinating wildlife and culture. Situated on a working tea plantation on the edge of Nyungwe National Park, One&Only Nyungwe House is the first of two new One&Only resorts to have opened in Rwanda. Exploratory treks and hikes through the forest give guests access to the park’s nearly 250,000 acres, where they can discover black-and-white colobus monkeys, gray-cheeked mangabeys, and more than 275 bird species. After full days out in the park, guests can retire to the resort’s modern suites and villas, each featuring decor accented with traditional African touches and vast private decks equipped with fireplaces.
Comprising just 6 spacious forest villas, Bisate offers a luxurious base from where to enjoy an extraordinary gorilla conservation experience and life-changing journey to this beautiful region. Situated within the amphitheater of an eroded volcanic cone, Bisate is surrounded by natural splendor, with sweeping views towards the Karisimbi, Bisoke and Mikeno volcanoes. Bisate’s sophisticated architectural and interior design is rooted in Rwandan building tradition as exemplified in the design of the Royal Palace of the traditional monarch. The spherical, thatched structures echo the thousands of hills that dot the Rwandan landscape, while the richly-detailed interiors exhibit surfaces and screens made from a variety of woven materials with strong resonance in Rwandan culture.
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