Today (January 11, 2019): The most anticipated hotel openings of 2019.
Last month, I published my list of the best new luxury hotels of 2018. Today, I share with you the 90 hottest luxury hotels that are expected to open their doors in 2019. Some of these hotel openings are managed by the world’s most exclusive hotel brands. Please keep in mind that hotel openings do get delayed from time to time, so to avoid disappointment, try not to book a room before the hotel effectively opened.
There is more information and direct link to the hotel websites below the slide show! Think I missed one? Leave a comment!
Welcoming, cosmopolitan and vibrant, Madrid is a city to fall in love with, and the new Four Seasons Hotel Madrid will position you right in the heart of everything that makes it so dynamic. A historical landmark redefining elegance, sophistication and urban luxury, the Four Seasons property will be home to 200 accommodations, including 39 suites, four restaurants and bars including an expansive roof terrace, a cutting-edge spa, stylish function spaces and luxury retail. Reviving the glamour of Madrid’s golden age, Four Seasons will create a new experience of luxury for a new era in the Spanish capital.
- Official hotel website: not available yet
- Opening date: late 2019
Capturing the essence of Barcelona, this vibrant and lively boutique hotel will be set in a prime central location. Nobu Hotel Barcelona will embody the best of the Nobu brand’s effortless style and laid-back luxury. The Japanese art form of Kintsugi will be the main inspiration behind the design of the hotel. Reminiscent of Gaudi’s work throughout Barcelona, the interiors will see traditional Japanese broken pottery applied to the walls and ceilings. The hotel will offer 250 sleek rooms and suites, an elegant spa, thoughtfully tailored meeting and event spaces, and a world-class Nobu restaurant that will offer panoramic views of its iconic locale from the majestic heights of the 23rd floor.
On the sophisticated Athens Riviera, at the tip of a pine-clad peninsula, Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens will offer the best of both worlds: a laid-back seaside escape, just 30 minutes from the historical city centre. Here, you’ll be able to discover the wonders of ancient civilization at the Acropolis, then return to Four Seasons to unwind and relax. The 303 guest rooms, suites and bungalows will gaze across the brilliant blue Aegean. Three pools and two private beaches will invite you to bask in the sun, while the spa will beckon with treatments inspired by the ancient teachings of Hippocrates. Eight restaurants, lounges and bars will create a dynamic destination for entertaining.
Situated in a 65-hectare beachfront site on the west side of Kea island of the Cyclades, this ultimate ultra-luxury lifestyle experience will include 75 resort villas, as well as One&Only Private Homes available for purchase. Kea is the closest Cycladic island to Athens and is accessible by ferry or speed boat from Lavrio Harbour. A post-modern Greek island, the One&Only resort on Kea will be inspired by the azure ocean waters, providing contemporary Greek elegance, celebrating the incredible natural elements of Greece and the Cyclades. The stylish resort will also be home to 3 restaurants, two bars and an indulgent destination spa, introducing traditional and holistic practices fused with modern spa therapies, with overall wellness at its core.
Cocooned by a hillside on a pristine stretch of the Cretan coast, the ancient city of Chania is awash with stories and secrets. It is here, in Crete’s most evocative city, that Casa Cook Chania wil arise, a bespoke family-friendly hotel, designed with the postmodern family in mind. Set against an enchanting backdrop of deep Mediterranean blues, sandy stretches of beach and an ancient Venetian port, the modernist resort will be the perfect hideaway to rest and reinvigorate. Throughout the boutique property, a series of soulful spaces and sanctuaries will merge minimalist mid-century modernism with sustainable design in one seamless union. The 106 handcrafted rooms will feel earthy and organic, like a home away from home, opening up onto a private terrace.
The island of Ios is located in the middle of one of the most successful tourist areas on earth, right in-between two world class destinations, Mykonos and Santorini. Set in 1,100 acres of atmospheric scrubland, criss-crossed with winding trails, and groves where 485 olive trees (some 700 years old) facing destruction on the mainland have been replanted, Calilo will open on the private 300 m (1000 ft) long Papas Beach. There will be 30 suites, a spa and wellness center, water sports and three restaurants with vegetables sourced from the resort’s organic garden. And if it’s all too peaceful and guests want to check in on the social scene in town, transfers will be available by boat.
- Official website: Calilo
- Opening date: June 2019
Basking in the enticing Dodecanese sunshine on the southwest coast of Kos island, Ikos Aria will offer a compelling mix of contemporary style and traditional hospitality. An elegant collection of more than 370 perfectly appointed suites and rooms will offer a choice of private balconies, gardens and individual pools. You’ll discover beautifully spacious bathrooms together with all the comforts you need to ensure a luxurious and truly relaxing stay. Eight delightful restaurants with Michelin-starred menus will offer a remarkable culinary experience to tempt guests with a world of flavour stretching from the Mediterranean to the Orient.
- Official website: Ikos Aria
- Opening date: May 2019
Since 1870, the Britannia has served as the hub of Trondheim, a place where everyone from politicians to royalty, international stars, and arctic explorers, have gathered to meet, share stories, and enjoy elegant hospitality. Following a three-year, nearly $150 USD million top-to-toe renovation, the fjord-side city’s grande dame will relaunch in 2019. Handpicked furnishings and textiles, fine linens, and marble bathrooms will adorn the bright guestrooms, which include a number of elevated suites. Six on-site restaurants and bars will range from the majestic Palm Court for an unforgettable breakfast spread, to a wine bar that draws from a several thousand bottle-strong cellar, and modern fine dining from Bocuse d’Or-awarded chef, Christopher Davidsen.
- Official hotel website: Britannia
- Opening date: April 2019
The site of the former Savoy Hotel, just a short, scenic walk from the heart of Funchal’s charming Old Town, will become the home of the new Savoy Palace, a modern take on island hospitality. Designed by the award-winning team of RH+ and interior designer Nini Andrade Silva, the bold, curved structure will be home to chic guestrooms, all crafted with high-end materials and featuring balconies from which to soak up ocean views. Sweeping panoramas will be enjoyed from the rooftop lounge, terraced gardens, and multiple pools. An array of stylish restaurants and bars, a world-class spa with hydrotherapy facilities, game rooms, a tea house, and more will make this both Madeira’s premier luxury lifestyle hub and an idyllic getaway.
- Official hotel website: Savoy Palace
- Opening date: spring 2019
Get ready to be spellbound by Belmond Cadogan Hotel. Standing strong since 1887, this grand building has long been central to Kensington and Chelsea’s social scene. Now undergoing careful renovation, it will emerge in 2019 as a sumptuous sanctuary that honours its rich heritage under the Belmond umbrella. Working in tandem with Belmond and Blair Associates Architects, Cadogan Estates is funding the redevelopment, which includes the complete refurbishment of all public areas and the reconfiguration of 64 keys to 54 in order to accommodate demand from luxury travellers for larger junior suites and suites. The interior design project is being carried out by the London office of GA Design International, experts in international luxury hospitality design. Built in 1887 in the Queen Anne style, The Cadogan has played an integral role in the social history of the Kensington and Chelsea area.
The first Andaz-branded hotel in Germany, Andaz Munich will make its mark in the Bavarian capital, increasing the brand’s presence in Europe to three hotels. Situated between Leopoldstrasse and Berlinerstrasse, Andaz Munich will be part of a mixed use site, which will include newly constructed upscale residential apartments, retail shops, offices, theaters, and restaurants. Guests at Andaz Munich will experience the personal style, comfort and sophistication for which the brand is known in the hotel’s 234 guestrooms, 36 junior suites, three executive suites, and a presidential suite. The hotel will also feature an all-day dining restaurant, a lounge and rooftop bar, as well as an extensive fitness center with spa and pool facilities.
Following Prince Eugene of Savoy, one of the leading developers and art collectors of his time, and the man behind Belvedere Palace, the Andaz Vienna Am Belvedere will showcase contemporary local art and design that will immerse guests in the history of Prince Eugene as well as the City of Vienna. The luxury lifestyle hotel, designed by the renowned architect Renzo Piano, will offers 303 rooms and suites connected by interlocking bridges and sharing a spacious lobby on the ground floor. The breathtaking sky bar “Aurora”, located on the 16th floor at a height of 60 m (200 ft), will delight guests with its beautiful view overlooking Vienna. The restaurant Eugen 21, bar, lobby lounge as well as the eatery will be open to both hotel guests and non-residents.
Arctic Bath will be a year round hotel, summertime free-floating and wintertime frozen on Luleriver. Activities will include cold baths, saunas, wellness-spa treatments, reception, shop, lounge, a restaurant focusing on local ingredients, and wellness with an own arctic touch. The circular shape of Arctic Bath will create a protected environment. The center of the bath will be great for both sunbathing, arctic baths and for those who wish to experience the northern lights or starry skies in a harmonic setting. To complete your experience you will be able to stay in one of the 6 spectacular floating hotel rooms.
The 250-room Reykjavik EDITION hotel will be located on the harbor waterfront in the heart of downtown Reykjavik, immediately adjacent to Harpa, the city’s award winning concert and conference hall. Edition combines the personal, intimate, individualised and unique hotel experience that Ian Schrager is known for, with the global reach, operational expertise and scale of Marriott International. Marriott International will manage the hotel under a long-term agreement.
- Official website: not available yet
- Opening date: not specified
The Iniala Harbour House promises to shine in the waterfront St. Barbara Bastion of Valleta, Malta’s UNESCO-listed treasure trove. Historical details will be beautifully preserved in the building’s four sleek and stylish palazzos and vaults, bursting with patterns, colors, and oodles of charm. Each palazzo will have a unique identity. While preserving the island’s rich past is the main focus, the space will be infused with contemporary elements. The propert will feature 24 luxurious rooms and suites. A rooftop restaurant and a spa in the vaults will entice the future guests to chill after a day’s worth exploration of the beautiful capital of Malta.
On the northern Adriatic, close to the border with Slovenia, the Istrian peninsula is a star attraction; the town of Rovinj lures visitors with Croatia’s first Michelin-starred restaurant (Monte). It’s here where the Maistra Hospitality Group – which currently operates a portfolio of nine hotels and eight resorts in Istria – will be opening its new flagship hotel in spring 2019. Located across the bay from the Old Town, the Grand Park Hotel Rovinj will be privy to beautiful views of St Euphemia church and Catarina island. With 193 guestrooms and 16 suites, the five-star hotel will be on the larger scale, however a cascading construction – designed to blend in with the surrounding landscape – will camouflage the six-floor building in greenery.
J.K. Place Paris is being converted from the former European Consulate at 82 Rue de Lille. On the back of the Seine opposite Boulevard Saint Germain, the location and building took the J.K. team over 5 years to find. The group’s first venture outside of Italy will feature a French twist on their signature Italian style, with a design by Michele Bonan. The property will feature an indoor pool, Sisley Spa and a J.K. food & beverage experience in partnership with Casa Tua. Some of the furniture was found in flea markets across Paris and carefully restored to form talking points in the guest rooms and public spaces.
State-of-the-art technology, expert craftsmanship, and thoughtful design will characterize Robert De Niro and Chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa’s new Nobu Hotel Riyadh, the first 5-star luxury boutique hotel in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Located in the heart of downtown Riyadh, the modern 24-story skyscraper clad in glass panels created by the prestigious Rockwell Group, will be custom furnished with subtle Japanese and Saudi influences creating functionally luxurious and thoughtfully equipped spaces throughout the 134-room hotel.
With design concepts by New York-based Perkins Eastman Architects, the St. Regis Amman and The Residences at St. Regis Amman will become a landmark in Jordan’s capital. Located in the affluent Abdoun district, The St. Regis Amman will feature 270 luxuriously appointed guest rooms, including 91 suites, four restaurants, a café, destination bar, pool and pool bar, fitness center, signature spa, and St. Regis’ iconic Butler service. The Residences at St. Regis Amman will include approximately 80 branded luxurious residences featuring two-, three-, four- and five-bedrooms as well as a dedicated lobby, pool, fitness center and lounge. Trained in the English tradition, the butlers will provide ever-present, yet unobtrusive round the clock service while anticipating guests needs and customizing each guest’s stay according to his or her specific tastes and preferences.
Six Senses Shaharut will open in summer 2019, south of Israel’s Negev Desert and featuring just 58 suites and villas with one Retreat Villa. Designed to integrate into the desert topography and preserve the natural terrain, the villas are built from, and inspired by, local rock and pigments, and the landscaping will feature cacti and indigenous desert blooms. Six Senses Spa Shaharut will include single and double treatment rooms plus male and female steam, sauna and hammams. On-site attractions will include the fascinating Earth Lab, camel stables and an open-air amphitheater. The extraordinary desert setting will present a host of activities from overnight camel camping to extreme sports, hiking, jeep safaris and wine tours.
- Hotel website: not available yet
- Opening: late summer 2019
Jumeirah Muscat Bay will consist of two hotel components, one consisting of 206 rooms and the other of 106 rooms, both located in the picturesque cove of Bandar Jissah, near Qantab, nestled between the Hajjar Mountains and the Gulf of Oman. The resort will lie 15 minutes south of the city centre and 40 minutes from Seeb International Airport. The overall development will include a 1,200 m2 Talise spa, a dive centre, a wide range of sports and leisure facilities, a selection of restaurants, bars and cafes and a kids club. The resort will also include conference and banquet facilities to cater for Oman’s growing attraction as a destination for conferences, meetings and large scale events. The resort will form part of a larger development that includes high-end residential townhouses and villas, taking advantage of some of the most beautiful, unspoilt coastline in the Middle East.
- Hotel website: not available yet
- Opening: not speciefied
A truly distinctive journey will await you here as you relive fleeting moments of a place untouched by time, attuned with the Emirati culture and with breathtaking backdrop of panoramic desert views, brought together by the understated luxury and hospitality of Jumeirah. Inspired by the natural Falaj of an oasis, water features will be interspersed throughout, leading to a spectacular pool and the true life of the resort. The five dining destinations and desert camp will infuse a perfect blend of culinary delights, including Italian, Arabic and International favourites with their very own twist. Paired with the signature Hammam treatments, a crystal salt and Cryo room within the Talise Spa will offer you an experience for the senses.
The W Dubai-The Palm will be located in Dubai’s most prestigious residential, leisure and tourism hub, offering spectacular views of Dubai Marina and the waters of the Arabian Gulf. W Dubai-The Palm will feature 283 guest rooms, including 102 suites, five WOW suites and two Extreme WOW suites (W’s interpretation of a Presidential Suite). The hotel will also offer W exclusives including the brand’s signature W Lounge experience (W’s transformation of the traditional lobby), a glamorous WET pool, SWEAT (W’s state-of-the-art fitness centre) and an AWAY Spa. The hotel will feature eight contemporary dining and lounge concepts, more than 2,500 square meters of meeting and event space, and a business center. These offerings will be complemented by the W brand’s signature service promise, Whatever/Whenever, providing guests whatever they want, whenever they want it.
Overlooking both the pristine waters of the Arabian Gulf and Dubai’s glittering skyline, Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai will be a stunning beachfront resort with an enviable Jumeirah Beach setting. Located in one of Dubai’s most prestigious neighbourhoods, the resort’s spacious rooms, suites will enjoy a luxurious, contemporary feel with stunning city or ocean views. With six restaurants and lounges, a destination spa and kids’ club, Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai is the UAE’s most exciting new resort opening for 2019.
This 158-guestroom luxury property will form part of the extension of the Mall’s popular ‘Prestige’ district, which opened in 2012. The district forms Kuwait’s largest luxury shopping destination, home to 47 luxury retail units under a 23 metre dome. The hotel will feature a ballroom, multiple dining options, and an outdoor pool and spa. The hotel’s design concept will complement the Prestige district’s use of copper and rare ‘Portoro’ stone, imported from the mountains of Italy.
- Hotel website: not available yet
- Opening: early 2019
Conrad Doha will occupy a prime location in a rapidly evolving business area of the city and will be easily connected to the main C-Ring Road, which leads to the downtown area and the new Hamad International Airport. Comprising 295 guestrooms and 30 suites the hotel will also offer almost 1,000 square metres of events space including a Grand Ballroom for corporate events and social occasions. Guests will be able to enjoy luxurious spa and fitness facilities, as well as an outdoor swimming pool. Dining options will include seven restaurants and bars, offering diners upscale culinary experiences.
- Official website: not available yet
- Opening date: early 2019
Blending chic, contemporary design with touches of Qatari heritage, the Mandarin Oriental, Doha hotel will bring new levels of luxury to the Qatari capital. Guests can expect an inviting ambience with personalised service, where Middle Eastern charm meets Mandarin Oriental’s legendary hospitality. As Qatar’s premier luxury hotel, the hotel will enjoy a central setting, ideally located within close proximity to the business district, top attractions and the airport. A celebration of traditional Qatari heritage and stylish contemporary design, the 128 guestrooms, 30 suites and 91 serviced apartments will be stylishly appointed with an air of understated elegance. With nine distinct restaurants and a beautifully appointed spa, it promises to be the perfect address for business or leisure.
Anantara Tozeur Resort will present a brand new luxury retreat in the splendid southwest Tunisian city of Tozeur. A hub for Saharan adventures, the oasis city is renowned for its architecture and vast fields of palm trees, and rose to fame as a film location for the original Star Wars movie. The stunning new-build property will epitomise Anantara’s essence of authentic luxury – from its exquisite design to rich indigenous experiences. The 93 guest rooms, villas and pool villas are designed for romance and quality time with family and friends – complemented by inspirational facilities. Travellers will be able to savour the rich flavours of the destination, or broaden their culinary horizons with exotic Thai cuisine. Lush swimming pools will offer sublime relaxation. A luxury spa will assure prestigious pampering with six massage rooms, a hammam, steam, sauna and salon beauty.
Located just 20 minutes south of the city centre and the international airport, the Oberoi Marrakech will be nestled within twenty-five acres of fragrant citrus orchards and ancient olive groves. Its architecture will pay homage to the palaces of ancient Morocco. The resort will offer 84 spacious, modern accommodations, adorned with handcrafted, Moroccan design features that will evoke the romance of ancient Marrakech. All villas and suites will have a private, heated pool and magnificent views of the orchards. The resort’s highlight will be the exquisite spa, a tranquil, light-filled space, situated on a private island on a lake within fragrant orchards. Afforded verdant views and elegant, handcrafted design elements, it will offer Ayurvedic and Moroccan-inspired therapies, Moroccan hammams, a yoga room with an al fresco pavilion and a temperature-controlled indoor swimming pool.
The beauty of the Moroccan landscape and culture will be at the center of the experience at The Ritz-Carlton Rabat, Dar es Salam. Landscaped gardens, 440 acres of oak forest and the renowned course at Royal Golf Dar es Salam will set the backdrop for a collection of luxury amenities. Five restaurants and lounges will offer distinct interpretations of local cuisine, and the spa will draw from ancient rituals to offer treatments including the signature hammam. The resort will benefit from 120 guest rooms, 15 one-bedroom and five, two-bedroom villas, expected to appeal to dignitaries and government delegations from around the world.
The St. Regis Cairo will draw guests to the heart of Egypt’s modern metropolis on the north end of Corniche Road. With sweeping views of the Nile River and proximity to fine shops, restaurants and the pyramids, the hotel will reign as Cairo’s finest address. Michael Graves’ contemporary design will embrace traditional architectural flourishes and graceful geometric lines throughout the hotel’s restaurants and lounge, pools, spa and 23,000 square feet (2.155 square meters) of meeting and conference space. Guests will be able to relax in residential style in 292 lavishly furnished rooms, including 63 suites.
Nestled amongst a forest of eucalyptus trees, One&Only Gorilla’s Nest 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 honour 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.
Magashi Camp will be 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.
Singita Kwitonda Lodge & Kataza House 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.
Nestled on the Southern edge of the Namibian desert in the Karas region within an extraordinary Nature Reserve, Sonop will be created in the form of a luxurious tented camp constructed on top of boulders. Ten lavish tents will invite guests to live the life of yesteryear’s wealthy explorers from the early 20thcentury. Just like those travellers who traded their beloved homes for the bare Namibian desert dunes, the guests of Sonop will get a taste of living in complete isolation while enjoying the comfort of their accommodation.
- Official hotel website: Sonop
- Opening date: summer 2019
A mere three (and a bit) hour drive from Cape Town, in the eastern, most exclusive sector of De Hoop Nature Reserve, will be Lekkerwater Beach Lodge at De Hoop. Undoubtedly one of the most glorious coastal reserves in Africa, the area is also famous for some of the best whale watching on the planet when Lekkerwater itself (literally meaning ‘the place of good water’) offers a homely and comfortable beach experience in a magical setting. Each of the seven rooms are located right on a long private beach, complete with stunning rock pools and fish life. Activities-wise, there are walks with experienced naturalists, an array of fynbos to be discovered, a plethora of marine life to be explored, and a rare vulture breeding colony to be spotted.
The Houghton is a brand new hotel ideally situated in Johannesburg’s upscale Houghton Estate neighborhood. Sitting at the apex of a prestigious Jack Nicklaus designed golf course, and well-placed near all major shopping and business hubs, the hotel will be designed as a home away from home to deliver the utmost comfort and service during your stay. The property will overlook 168 acres of private secure parkland, which includes jogging paths, a fitness and health club, a spa and indoor and outdoor pools. The hotel will also provide access to extensive business meeting facilities, a restaurant and dining rooms, a cocktail lounge, delicatessen, and café culture.
- Official hotel website: The Houghton
- Opening date: early 2019
Scheduled to open in December 2019, Park Hyatt Niseko, Hanazono will set a new benchmark for luxury hotels in Niseko, Japan. Showcasing international architecture and interior design, exceptional accommodations, exquisite culinary offerings, sophisticated works of art, and the legendary service of the Park Hyatt brand, Park Hyatt Niseko will offer a refined and sophisticated experience in one of Asia’s most renowned ski, golf and summer lifestyle destinations. Park Hyatt Niseko, Hanazono will feature meeting spaces, spa and wellness facilities, swimming pool, and priority access to the Hanazono golf course.
Shinta Mani Wild will be a radical new concept for a luxury camp experience in Cambodia, combining world class design, hospitality and conservation. World renowned resort designer and owner of Shinta Mani Wild, Bill Bensley, identified an unprotected wildlife corridor connecting the Bokor National Park with Kirirom National Park, and set out to protect this 350 hectares river valley from poaching, mining and logging. Fifteen custom designed tents will be perched over swift moving waters and waterfalls, providing a view and experience unlike any other resort in Asia. Each tent will be meticulously designed to invoke the feeling of what it would have been like to be on a luxury safari in the jungles of Cambodia with Jacky O’.
Set on a private Cambodian island, Six Senses Krabey Island will comprise 40 pool villas on the naturally landscaped 30-acre isle. Guests will arrive at the mainland reception before the short water transfer to the island. Sihanouk International Airport will be less than a 10-minute drive from the mainland jetty. There will be two restaurants, with snacks, refreshments and light meals presented poolside plus a deli complete with ice cream parlor. Six Senses Spa Krabey Island will feature the Six Senses specialty menu as well as several ancient Cambodian healing traditions and multi-day rejuvenation journeys, Six Senses integrated wellness, detox, yoga and workshops.
Located in one of Singapore’s chicest neighborhoods, the EDITION will reinvigorate the hotel sector with its luxury-lifestyle brand that combines the personal, intimate, individualized and unique hotel experience that Ian Schrager is known for, with the global reach, operational expertise and scale of Marriott International. The EDITION Singapore’s design and services will take into account Singapore’s embrace of the future, technology and arts & culture, and will be a place where travelers and locals alike will want to congregate, to celebrate and contemplate life. The hotel will boast an enviable location in the famous Orchard district, right in the heart of the city, which offers an array of shopping and entertainment options, ranging from luxury malls to unique local finds.
This year, General Hotel Management Ltd (GHM) will bring The Chedi brand to the hospitality market in India’s wealthiest city. The Chedi Mumbai will be situated in close proximity to the Powai region, an area where infrastructure developments, connectivity and social groundwork have laid the foundation for the growth of a diverse expatriate community. Visitors to India’s City of Dreams can look forward to The Chedi Mumbai’s 316 generously sized guestrooms, five outstanding restaurants that will cater to the discerning palates of the well-heeled traveller, extensive meeting facilities with state-of-the-art equipment and technology, and a holistic spa and wellness facility.
Historic Rajasthan is the setting for the 14th century fort that has been beautifully converted to become Six Senses Fort Barwara, a three-hour drive from Jaipur. Originally owned by the Rajasthani Royal Family, it will sit directly opposite the temple, Chauth ka Barwara Mandir. The sensitive conservation effort will feature 48 suites and will incorporate a palace and two temples within the walled site that reinterprets the gracious and regal ambience of a bygone era. Two restaurants will serve classic dishes and modern cuisine incorporating fresh local ingredients, together with a bar and lounge. A 30,000 square foot (2,800 square meter) Six Senses Spa and fitness center will be located in the original women’s palace and will feature an extensive Ayurveda program, meditation and Six Senses Integrated Wellness programs. There will be two swimming pools, banqueting areas, retail boutique and kid’s club.
- Hotel website: Not available yet
- Opening: mid 2019
A perfect reflection of the city’s innovative and cosmopolitan spirit, Four Seasons Hotel Bengaluru at Embassy ONE will make a big statement in the heart of “India’s Silicon Valley.” The property will feature 230 spacious guest rooms and suites with a contemporary, luxurious decor. Here, you’ll be able to host a meeting or gala event in the impressive event spaces, entertain business associates at one of our vibrant restaurants and lounges, or maintain your personal edge at our high-tech fitness centre and outdoor pool.
Spanning three islands in South Male Atoll, the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi resort will have 138 beach and overwater villas, carefully positioned to guarantee exclusivity and privacy for the guests while providing them with unsurpassed views of the ocean. Each villa will be equipped with a private outdoor pool, jacuzzi and lounge deck area. The simple thatched roofed villas may appear simple on the outside, but on the inside they will be decked with luxurious interior furnishing and will come with branded amenities. Some overwater villas will also have spectacular glass flooring for breathtaking views of the lagoon below. There will be a palatial spa as well as numerous food and beverage offerings that cater to a diverse culinary palette.
Located on one of the best atolls in the Maldives, Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa, a collection of 120 private beach villas and overwater bungalows, many with their own pools and Jacuzzis, will combine contemporary creature comforts with warm tropical flourishes. Just a scenic 40-minute seaplane flight from the capital city, Malé, the resort will offer guests pristine white sand beaches leading to clear blue ocean water. The resort’s four restaurants, ranging from Mediterranean, to Asian and South American cuisine, as well as wellness offerings like the spa, diving center, and sports facility will invite guests to relax and recharge amid crystalline blue waters and unspoiled nature in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
A short transfer from Male by luxury speedboat, the intimate LUX* North Male Atoll resort will disrupt the Maldivian mould by replacing traditional thatched villas with over-sized, penthouse residences. A visual feast of nautical forms and tones, the resort will be elegantly styled in a scheme that blends superyacht panache with a vibrant South Beach pulse. Each of the 60 double storey residences will sit either on the beach or over water whose guests will benefit from an insane amount of living are. For the first time in the Maldives, each residence will be crowned with a fully-featured reef terrace – a magnificent private deck, elevated 5 meters (16 ft) above the giant house lagoon – from which guests will be able to marvel at a unique perspective on the planet’s flattest country.
Lose yourself in the vastness of the Indian Ocean, and find yourself again, luxuriating blissfully under a palm tree. This is just one of the unique experiences that will await you at the new Baglioni Resort Maldives. Dreamily resplendent on the island of Maagau in Dhaalu atoll, a 40-minute hop by seaplane from the capital, Malé, this remarkable resort will be awash with tropical natural beauty. Its comprehensive comforts will offer an unforgettable stay with a blend of sport, relaxation and prestigious gourmet dining to suit its exclusive international clientele. It will be the first 5 star ’Italian’ resort in the Maldives, with a low environmental impact, and with 99 villas of seven different types.
Set on the private island of Meradhoo, the Raffles Maldives Meradhoo Resort will open after an extensive refurbishment of the previous Jumeirah hotel. The property will boast 21 island villas and 16 ocean villas with private pools, 3 restaurants, a scenic cocktail bar and an array of facilities and activities to relax, rejuvenate and reinvigorate the body, mind and spirit. These facilities will include an award winning luxury spa, over-the-water fitness centre, yoga programmes, water sports, private dining options, 24-hour butler and private chef service, along with snorkelling and diving at its finest. The resort’s PADI-certified dive centre will offer adventures through the wonders of some of most breath-taking coral reefs in the world.
Alila Koggala will be an ecological escape set amid stunning views and lush serenity, where environmentally sustainable practices, the finest lifestyle experiences and beyond- expectation service infused with locally influences make for an unforgettable stay. The resort will be located in southern Sri Lanka, on Koggala Lake in Habaraduwa, just five minutes from the famed Ahangama Beach and a 20-minute drive along the coast from the city of Galle and its World Heritage-listed Galle Fort. The 35 suites and villas at Alila Koggala will offer luxurious living in naturally beautiful surroundings with exquisite views of the lake – a heavenly setting for an exclusive lifestyle experience. Environmentally conscious architecture, interior design and landscaping will immerse guests in the absolute height of contemporary comfort and thoughtful luxury.
- Hotel website: Not available yet
- Opening: not specified
Situated in Ahangama on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, just a 30-minute drive from the UNESCO-listed Galle Fort, this new hotel will feature an architecture that is inspired by the tropical modernism design pioneered by Geoffrey Bawa, the influential Sri Lankan architect. Surrounded by coconut groves, Harding Boutique Hotel will have sweeping open spaces amidst lush greenery. The six suites will be equipped with king beds, rain showers, sea-facing tubs and balconies overlooking the Indian Ocean. A hotel highlight will be the open-air roof terrace for taking in the views.
Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas has designed a project that is actually five individual satellite resorts in five separate locations, but all under the umbrella of one all-encompassing name: Six Senses Bhutan. It will be five unique experiences crafted into one enchanted journey through the Kingdom. With a total of just 82 guest suites and villas distributed between five intimate lodges, guests will visit the heritage and hospitality of Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey, Bumthang and Paro in the colorful Kingdom known as the Happiest Place on Earth. Each of the five locations was identified with a specific and appropriate theme, so that as guests will move between them they will experience a journey through all their senses.
- Hotel website: Not yet available
- Opening: early 2019
A 128-acre beachfront development, One&Only Desaru Coast will be located in a premium integrated destination located in the south-eastern region of Malaysia, in the state of Johor. Inspired by the azure ocean waters and lush tropical landscape, the property will provide modern Malaysian elegance, showcasing the incredible natural elements of the region. Like all properties within the One&Only collection, the resort, designed by award-winning architectural firm, Kerry Hill Architects, will place an emphasis on privacy, providing the ultimate hideaway. There will be 42 suites, 2 luxury suites and an exclusive 4-bedroom villa. The resort will also be home to an indulgent spa, introducing traditional and holistic practices fused with modern spa therapies.
Jumeirah Bali, located on the southern tip of the exclusive Jimbaran District, will look out onto the pristine sands of the renowned Dreamland surfer’s beach and is adjacent to Bali’s exclusive New Kuta Golf Course. Consisting of 80 spacious hotel suites and 25 private villas, and set amidst lush, tropical gardens, Jumeirah Bali will feature architectural designs reflective of Bali’s rich cultural heritage and modelled after an ancient Javanese-Hindu water palace. The resort will offer a variety of fine international and local cuisines in three restaurants. It will offer Jumeirah’s signature Talise Spa and a state-of-the-art fitness centre. The resort will also feature an exclusive cliff-top wedding venue that captures stunning sunset views. A fully equipped business centre complete with meeting rooms and the latest communications technology will enable Jumeirah Bali to cater to both upscale corporate and leisure guests.
- Hotel website: Not yet available
- Opening: not specified
Park Hyatt Jakarta will be located in the heart of Jakarta at MNC Center, Kebon Sirih. To provide guests with a strong sense of place that complements and connects to the local culture, Park Hyatt Jakarta will feature a modern interpretation of Indonesia’s rich craftsmanship, traditional techniques and indigenous materials. Through contemporary art, architectural and styling elements in the interior spaces, Park Hyatt Jakarta will provide a fresh perspective of modern day Indonesia. The property will occupy the top 20 floors of the 37 floor mixed-use building development by MNC Land, which will ensure panoramic views of the city. Featuring five premium food and beverage outlets, Park Hyatt Jakarta will also bring world-class dining and entertainment options to the city.
Set atop a secluded cliff-side overlooking the Indian Ocean, Lelewatu Resort Sumba will be a tropical island escape that is a perfect slice of paradise. The resort will feature 27 Sumbanese-style villas spread over 10 hectares of exquisite landscape in Indonesia, about an hour’s flight east of Bali. Surrounded by both the jungle and ocean, this picturesque hideaway will offer a relaxing and inspiring stay. Here, guests will unwind in luxurious settings, dine under the stars, explore cultural gems, ignite your sense of adventure, and indulge in everything this serene sanctuary will have to offer.
Situated along the east bank of the majestic Chao Phraya River, Asia’s most revered waterway, Capella Bangkok will be a window to the eternal source of life for Bangkok and the artery of Thailand. Sensitively designed to offer panoramic views of the river, all 101 suites and villas will allow guests to appreciate the prominence of the estate while indulging in a rejuvenated waterfront lifestyle experience. Inspired by the vibrancy and cultural significance of the River of Kings, Capella Bangkok will be a contemporary interpretation of the ancient Thai culture. Each one of the 101 ultra-luxurious suites and villas will reflect the capital’s urbane cityscape enhanced by a rich tapestry of Thai heritage and elegance. Unobstructed views of the river throughout the hotel promise to bring a sense of tranquility despite being in the heart of a bustling gateway city.
Opening in the second quarter of 2019, Park Hyatt Shenzhen will unveil an elegant oasis of culture, artistry and intimate experiences. The property will be housed in one spectacular landmark of accommodation, dining and entertainment in the high-tech and financial hub of southern China – Shenzhen. Crowning the apex of a 48-story building, the hotel will be situated in the heart and central business district, offering breathtaking views across the city and adjacent to the International Convention and Exhibition Center.
Ritz-Carlton plans to open this year the first all-villa property in one of China’s earliest UNESCO world heritage sites, Jiuzhaigou Valley. Located on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau in South West China, the property will enjoy striking views close to multi-level waterfalls, blue lakes and verdant forests for which the 72,000-hectare nature reserve and national park is famed. Juizhaigou Valley which translates as the Valley of the Nine Village Forts, is a land of Chinese legend and folklore, with stories of its creation embedded deeply in the customs of the local Qiang and Tibetan tribes. The Ritz-Carlton, Jiuzhaigou, will feature 87 stunning villas with panoramic views over the valley and the snow-capped Min Mountains. The three restaurants and lounges will feature stone-paved terraces with fire pits for evening relaxation.
Mandarin Oriental Wangfujing, Beijing will be located on the top two floors in the new premier mixed use centre ‘WF CENTRAL’, commanding outstanding views of several famous landmarks in the capital. The hotel is designed by world-renowned architects Kohn Pedersen Fox, and will feature garden terraces intended to capture the intimacy of a grand courtyard residence, ideal for guests to socialize, entertain and relax in. All 74 luxurious guestrooms and suites will be spacious and elegantly styled, and many will have excellent views of the Forbidden City. Mandarin Oriental’s renowned customer-centric in-room entertainment systems will be a prominent feature. Facilities will include two restaurants, an all-encompassing Spa at Mandarin Oriental providing holistic rejuvenation and relaxation in a serene, meditative setting, an indoor swimming pool and a well-equipped fitness centre.
Only minutes from the Forbidden City and Beijing’s main commercial shopping district, The PuXuan Hotel and Spa will be a true gem in the very nerve center of the Chinese capital. The design of the hotel will not celebrate an aesthetic; rather, the city out of which it was born. Spacious and luxuriously appointed guestrooms, many with uninterrupted views of the Forbidden City, as well as two specialty restaurants, a Lobby Lounge, Tea Room, and UR SPA are sure to make this a new destination for luxury business and leisure travelers alike. The PuXuan Hotel aims to offer a guest experience that is handcrafted not only with the pinnacle of luxury and elegance in mind, but also intimate access to the hotel’s destination and culture.
The Chedi Ninghai will comprise 97 rooms in the province’s hilly coastal region, an area famous for its hot springs and lush bamboo forests. As the first hotel under this new Chedi joint-venture partnership, The Chedi Ninghai will bring the brand’s style, quality and product offerings to the luxury travellers in China. In addition to elegant accommodation, guests can look forward to excellent food and beverage options, holistic spa and wellness facilities, an infinity pool and activities that promote an understanding of the destination and culture.
- Hotel website: Not yet available
- Opening: not specified
Rosewood Hong Kong is destined to become a graceful new landmark on the city’s famous skyline when it opens this spring in a prime Victoria Harbor waterfront location at the former New World Centre on Salisbury Road in Tsim Sha Tsui. Occupying 27 floors of a multi-use tower, the ultra-luxury hotel will offer 398 guestrooms, eight dining options and a fitness center, swimming pool and Rosewood’s holistic wellness concept. The Manor Club executive lounge will provide an array of exclusive privileges for its guests and The Pavilion will introduce to Hong Kong Rosewood’s signature, high-end residential-style meeting and event spaces. Rosewood Residences – 199 luxury accommodations for longer stays located on the top 19 floors of the tower – will offer a dedicated lounge, indoor swimming pool and fitness center along with special services and amenities for residents.
Rosewood Guangzhou will occupy the top 16 floors and podium of the 530-meter (1,738-foot) Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre under development, which will be Guangzhou’s tallest building and amongst the 10 highest in the world. The ultra-luxury hotel, located in the heart of Tianhe District’s central business area will feature 251 guestrooms and 355 Rosewood Residences, 23 of which will be duplex apartments. Dining options will include seven food and beverage venues; a bistro, bar, lobby lounge and gourmet corner. Of the nine private dining rooms in the Chinese restaurant, three will be free-standing outdoor garden villas, combinable into one space for celebratory events. On the 107th floor, a contemporary, cosmopolitan restaurant and a sky bar with cigar humidor area and fully equipped wine corner and cellar, will incorporate both indoor and outdoor space.
Located on The Strand in the heart of the city’s historic district, it will be a perfect getaway to discover the wonderful landscapes and culture of Myanmar. The hotel will feature 205 spacious guestrooms. Boasting high ceilings and abundant natural light, most rooms will also feature patios and balconies where guests can take in views of the Yangon River or the landscaped internal courtyards. The hotel will offer five distinct dining venues including a residential-style tea lounge and patisserie, a modern Chinese restaurant, a convivial bistro, an intimate bar and cigar lounge, and a panoramic rooftop bar boasting sweeping views of the city and the Yangon River. Recreational options will include Sense, A Rosewood Spa, a rooftop infinity pool and a fitness studio.
Standing directly on the Uyuni Salt Flats, at an altitude of 3,600 m, at the foot of Tunupa volcano, Kachi Lodge’s white pods will look like a space station from a distance. Designed by Amazing Escapes, the domes will offer the comfort of a hotel room with a private bathroom, comfortable bedding, interior decoration and proper heating. Covered in soft beige carpet, the interiors will feel cozy with the double bed centrally placed for maximum view. A wooden trunk will be placed on the side of the bed to host lanterns, while light wooden stools and a small ladder will compose a minimalist set-up around the central stove. At night, a telescope will be at guest’s disposal to observe the starry night of the Altiplano.
As Pearl Island is renowned for its spectacular white sand deserted beaches, scuba diving, marine life and delicate ecosystems, the resort will offer a bespoke experience that is reflective of the destination. With handcrafted curated offerings and cultural elements woven throughout their stay, guests will have an experience that is transformative, pure, rare, and refined. It will be an authentic extension of true Panamanian hospitality. The centerpiece of the Reserve will feature an open-air resort offering 86 intimate rooms, and a range of select luxury amenities and exceptional services to include a lavish spa, private beach club, swimming pools, restaurants, an 1,800-square-foot pavilion and boardroom with ocean views, and access to a world-class marina.
- Hotel website: not available yet
- Opening: not specified
Nayara Tented Camp will feature 18 luxury tents; 12 of them will be mirror image tents linked together to create a spectacular two bedroom unit that can accommodate two couples or a couple and four children. Set high on the hill and with spectacular views of the Arenal Volcano, the luxury air-conditioned tents will feature plunge pools fed with natural hot springs, an outdoor shower, wooden floors, a four-posted bed with a canopy, and a spacious bathroom with an oversized tub. Other highlights of the camp will include a welcoming tent, swim-up bar, large family friendly pool, and a new gourmet restaurant with an expansive terrace to celebrate the Costa Rican rainforest.
Set along the dramatic coastline of San José del Cabo with panoramic views of the Sea of Cortez, Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve will make its debut in early 2018. This much-anticipated opening marks the fourth extraordinary resort in the prestigious Ritz-Carlton Reserve portfolio, and the second in the Caribbean and Mexico region. Evoking a true sense of San José del Cabo, the resort’s buildings are placed gently along the steppes of the land, as if they are one with the landscape, rising out of the earth to create the ultimate desert luxury. Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve will feature 115 elegantly appointed suites and villas, each with a personal butler and many with their own private plunge pools. The Reserve will also feature a collection of Ritz-Carlton Reserve Residences.
In 2019, Four Seasons will unveil a marina resort, nestled on 3.2 km (2 mi) of untouched private beachfront on Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula. Clean, contemporary design will define the 145 accommodations, all with views of the Sea of Cortez. The property will feature a luxuriouis spa and four pools. Guests will have access to a golf course designed by by Robert Trent Jones II, and find adventure in the sports and activities centre (e.g. yacht cruises, snorkelling trips and excellent sport fishing).
The first property in Mexico from the rapidly expanding dining and hospitality empire helmed by Robert De Niro and chef Nobu Matsuhisa, the beachfront Nobu Hotel Los Cabos will feature guestrooms that seamlessly blend contemporary Japanese minimalism with locally-sourced natural, Mexican materials and finishes. Drawing design inspiration from the sophisticated palette that alludes to the Japanese aesthetic of the Nobu brand, as well as the unique elements of Cabo San Lucas, Nobu Hotel Los Cabos will be the perfect fusion of architectural elegance and laid-back luxury. Not to mention the food—guests would be remiss to visit the hotel without enjoying languorous meals at the coveted Nobu dining outlets.
The St. Regis Kanai Riviera Maya, which will bring the brand’s bespoke style of luxury to the resort area and represent the brand’s third hotel in Latin America, joining St. Regis Mexico City and St. Regis Punta Mita. The property, which was originally scheduled to open in 2011 but encountered massive delays, will feature 124 guestrooms and suites, 32 villas, four restaurants, a signature Remede Spa, oceanfront swimming pools and two 18-hole signature golf courses designed by Jose Maria Olazabal and Nick Faldo. The32 exclusive villas will include private swimming pools and indigenous Mexican design accents with full access to the hotel’s facilities. The resort will be located in the Riviera Maya area, 10 km (6 mi) from Playa del Carmen and 38 km (24 mi) from the Cancun airport.
- Official hotel website: not available yet
- Opening date: not specified
There’s another major Riviera Maya hotel development waiting in the Kanai area. The 180-room W Retreat & Spa Kanai is being designed to appear to float on a carpet of mangroves set against a backdrop of sea and sky. Guestrooms will have unobstructed views of the sea and interior spaces will merge with an exterior deck furnished with lounge seating, cocktail bar, exterior tub and shower. The decks will be enclosed by retractable privacy screens and sun shading louvers. When the resort opens late 2018, it will have W’s signature Away Spa, with more than 10,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor treatment space, and 7,500 square feet of event space.
- Official hotel website: not available yet
- Opening date: not specified
Awakening will be located on the shores of the Laguna Nopalitos on the Caribbean coast of Mexico, 19 km/12 miles south of Tulum, one of Mexico’s most popular and fastest growing tourist destinations. Laguna Nopalitos looks like a Caribbean beach but actually is a “Cenote” filled with crystal clear fresh water. Fed by one of the world’s largest underground river systems, it is surrounded by extensive, uninhabited mangrove and jungle. The name itself, Awakening, promises a transformational travel experience. Guests here will not stay in hotel rooms but in “capullos” or futuristic looking cocoons. Re-connecting to this moment is what Awakening will essentially be all about.
The iconic Rosewood Little Dix Bay is currently undergoing a comprehensive, multi-million dollar restoration, which will be the most substantial beautification project since the resort was founded by Laurance S. Rockefeller over 50 years ago. The restoration will include the complete redesign of the resort’s guestrooms and suites, its three restaurants and overall enhancements to the resort’s gardens and landscaping. The renewal will honor Laurance S. Rockefeller’s unique vision of a luxurious hideaway set amidst the pristine backdrop of Virgin Gorda, and bring about a new level of sophistication in keeping with the natural setting, whilst introducing brand new signature suites for the ultimate in relaxation and style.
Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski Dominica will be a hideaway resort that will rank amongst the best in its class in the Caribbean. The resort will be surrounded by the Cabrits National Park, an area known for its natural beauty. Dominica is renowned for its eco-tourism initiative, being home to 365 rivers, waterfalls and boiling springs. Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski Dominica will be designed to preserve a natural balance between the land and the sea, whilst ensuring a modern contemporary guest experience. Located outside Portsmouth on the northern tip of the island, the property will have 160 rooms, and a spa.
The company’s Secrets all-inclusive brand is coming to St Martin with a new resort, which has been previously operating as a Riu before Hurricane Irma. The former Riu Palace St Martin will undergo a $20 million renovation designed by Luis Pons before it reopens in 2019. The 350-room adults-only resort will be set on the beautiful Anse Marcel in St Martin, about 35 minutes from St Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport. The property will be set on a private enclave with views of Anguilla. The resort will have the largest pool in the Caribbean. The renovation will also add a rooftop pool with ocean views, along with swim-out suites and other enhancements.
- Hotel website: not avialable yet
- Opening: late 2019
Overlooking Jamaica’s famed Doctor’s Cave beach, the 120-room S Hotel Jamaica will artfully combine discrete urban sophistication and a laid-back resort lifestyle punctuated by an authentic, rootsy vibe. At S Hotel Jamaica, buzzing bars, a chic café, a high-spirited pool scene, a sky deck with Bar and Lounge, an international restaurant, spa, boutique, gym and guest rooms with an elevated design aesthetic, will thoughtfully combine to create a modern and effervescent sense of place. The inspiration for the new S Hotel Jamaica will be as cosmopolitan as it comes from Miami to Mykonos, but the feeling will be notably Jamaican as the country’s soul and culture swirl together to create this new multi-experiential beachfront hotel.
Located just a few hundred yards from Devil’s Bridge National Park, and overlooking stunning turquoise waters of a protected bay, Hammock Cove will provide a truly upscale and customizable holiday for discerning travelers. Set to open as The Verandah Resort & Spa’s sister property, Hammock Cove Resort Antigua features a stunning waterfront location with 40 private, freestanding villas to choose from. Each will have a large balcony area featuring a private infinity-edge plunge pool, while the resort will have a wine bar, a romantic restaurant featuring sea views plus a host of wellness and fitness classes.
In North America’s most European city, Four Seasons Hotel Montreal will form the vibrant new epicentre of the Golden Square Mile. With chic, sleekly modern style, the property will offer 169 accommodations, including 19 suites. A visionary celebrity chef will present three venues for dining and drinks, including a specialty restaurant with a sun-filled outdoor terrace. Guests will experience a state-of-the-art spa, fitness centre and skylit pool. For luxury shopping, the hotel will have a direct connection to Holt Renfrew Ogilvy – opening in 2020 – creating a true luxury ecosystem in the heart of downtown.
High atop the skyline’s tallest tower – the 60-storey Comcast Technology Center – the brand-new Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia will provide the city’s most elevated experience. Soaring above Center City at Arch Street and 19th, the Four Seasons hotel will be a landmark of innovation, envisioned by architect Lord Norman Foster. Sleekly minimalist in design, the 217 accommodations – including 38 suites – will be located on the 48th to 56th floors, providing all with unobstructed city views. Beginning with a dramatic sky lobby on the 60th floor, the hotel will aim to create a sanctuary of sophistication, and provide a breathtaking penthouse restaurant, a lively street-level café, a world-class spa, indoor pool, two ballrooms and five meeting rooms.
In 2019, you’ll be able to experience sleek, modern Four Seasons style in a cutting-edge, 61-storey Boston skyscraper with a prime Back Bay location. Just steps from global business, art and music, you’ll find next-generation luxury in the property’s 215 accommodations, including 41 suites. Here, you’ll be able to feel the vibrant energy of Zuma restaurant, renowned for its innovative Japanese izakaya cuisine, before retreating to the spa, fitness centre and pool for soothing relaxation. With two sunlit ballrooms and five function rooms, One Dalton Street will also be the city’s newest address for stylish meetings and events.
Set among the rolling hills of Napa Valley, with a Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard and on-site winery, this unique resort will capture the imagination of even the most seasoned wine aficionado. Guests here will relax in the farmhouse chic of 85 villas – all with a fireplace and private terrace. Each day, they will share in the grape-to-glass experience of the organically hand-harvested vineyard operated by Thomas Rivers Brown, one of the region’s premier winemakers. With views of the vineyard and mountains, the indoor-outdoor event venues will be perfect for bringing people together for meetings, weddings and celebrations, inspiring you to raise a glass to all the best in life.
Rosewood Miramar Beach Montecito will open approximately 80 miles northwest of Los Angeles within the county of Santa Barbara. Montecito is renowned for its stunning landscape, pleasant year-round climate and spectacular residential architecture. The resort will be located on the site of the former Miramar Beach Hotel, an important landmark in the local community, and will serve as a world-class destination. Spread over nearly 16 acres of prime beachfront real estate, the resort will offer 124 guestrooms and 37 suites, many of which will be located in single-story cottages and bungalows. The resort’s private beach is considered to be one of the most beautiful and secluded beaches in Santa Barbara. Amenities at Rosewood Miramar Beach Montecito will include an oceanfront bar and restaurant with an outdoor terrace, a signature restaurant, two swimming pools, a spa, a gym, and an exclusive membership-only beach club.
Slated to open spring 2019, this 150-room hotel will be located in the heart of downtown Palm Springs, within walking distance to trendy shops, restaurants and art galleries. The hotel will also conveniently be located near the convention center and just two miles from Palm Springs International Airport. Constructed as a collection of small buildings and guestroom bungalows surrounding two outdoor pools and garden areas on an elevated patio terrace, the hotel will offer panoramic views of Palm Springs and the San Jacinto Mountains. A full-service spa, a fitness facility, 7,000 square feet of meeting and event space, a signature Argentinian restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating will be available to make the hotel a place to heighten your experience.
With inspiring views of downtown across a range of event spaces and every guest room, as well as its location adjacent to premier shops and dining at CityCenterDC, Conrad Washington, DC promises to be an experience unlike any other in the city. Boasting a soaring atrium, lush outdoor terraces, and captivating art installations, the property will provide a stylish retreat in one of the world’s most influential cities. Guest and premier rooms, and suites will have designer touches of bronze and oak with sunlight welcomed through floor-to-ceiling windows. Guests will be able to enjoy fresh flavors of the Chesapeake at Estuary, a signature restaurant by the Voltaggio brothers, or relax in the open air at the rooftop bar.
The Hoxton Hotel Group has chosen the emerging Fulton Market district as the base for its Chicago outpost. Fulton Market district has an incredible sense of community and is attracting an interesting mix of technology and creative industries, making it the perfect fit for The Hoxton brand. The Hoxton, Chicago, scheduled for a spring opening, is being constructed on a site that was formerly home to a car maker and meatpacker. The Chicago property will be home to a still-unnamed restaurant and bar, a rooftop pool that’s open to the public and lively public spaces. Guests will get free Wi-Fi and one hour of free international calls.
The Lodge at Blue Sky will be a contemporary luxury resort set on a 3,500-acre ranch near Park City, Utah. Blue Sky aims to become a stylish outdoor playground offering guests transformational Western-inspired experiences year-round. The Lodge at Blue Sky will comprise 46 rooms and suites as well as a camp with four luxury tents. Amenities will include customizable outdoor adventures, a signature restaurant, and an Auberge spa. The accommodations will be designed to mirror the unique aspects of the environment on which they are situated and offer guests another powerful opportunity to reconnect with nature.
The Tasman, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Hobart will reside in repurposed heritage buildings in Parliament Square, a new design-led, urban development that is set to revitalize the neighborhood, uniting the city’s unique past with its contemporary culture. Upon opening, The Tasman will boast 128 luxuriously appointed guest rooms and suites with carefully restored features, including original windows, floor boards and fireplaces. The hotel’s corridors will showcase exclusive pieces from local artists, while an upscale restaurant, lobby lounge, and whiskey bar will offer a variety of dining experiences that reflect the spirit of the destination. The original features of the heritage buildings will be revived for today’s luxury traveler by Sydney-based hospitality interior design firm JPDC.
Located on the water’s edge of the Swan River and nestled between the beautiful and expansive Kings Park and Stirling Gardens, The Ritz-Carlton Perth will feature 204 luxury suites accompanied by a wide range of venues and recreational amenities. Both the hotel’s guestrooms and public spaces will embody the design philosophy of The Ritz-Carlton brand, while also incorporating the region’s natural resources through use of materials such as locally-mined stones and precious metals. Each of the hotel’s 205 guestrooms, including 18 suites and one Ritz-Carlton Suite, will be understated and refined, designed to ensure the utmost comfort and satisfaction of the most discerning guests.
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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