Hot New HotelsMarch 2, 2011 By: Joe Pike, Jena Tesse Fox, David Eisen, Meagan Drillinger, Michael Browne Travel Agent
|Rumor, Las Vegas|
While boutique hotels continue to be all the rage in the U.S. and Europe, mega resorts dominated the Asian market in 2010. Here is our selection of Hot New Hotels, all open since January 2010.
U.S. and Canada
Aloft Hotel, New York
Built in the heart of Harlem near 125th Street in New York City, Aloft is the first hotel from a major brand to open in the neighborhood in a century. With visitor interest in Harlem at a peak, it’s the right time for a hotel—and Aloft, with its hip, edgy, uber-cool feel, seems to be the right brand. With 124 loft-like guest rooms, high-tech amenities and brightly colored and lit public spaces indoors and out, there is a dormitory-cum-W Hotel feel that’s perfect for the younger-skewing market that is here to visit nearby Columbia University or the famed Apollo Theater—or just trying to escape higher hotel rates further downtown.
In February 2010, Hyatt’s newest brand Andaz debuted in the site of the Ivy Hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego, following its openings in London, West Hollywood and on Wall Street since being created in 2007. The Andaz feel is vibrant yet relaxed and reflects the cultural scene and spirit of the surrounding neighborhood. Its 159 ultra-modern guestrooms and suites are dressed in rich textures, warm woods and daring architectural elements, creating high-design sanctuaries of comfort. Like its sister properties, Andaz San Diego is full of cool, hip touches such as platform beds, glass-enclosed bathrooms and flat-screen TVs, all right in the middle of the city’s most popular strolling, shopping and entertainment center and the convention center.
|Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail|
Located right on the Strip between CityCenter and the Bellagio, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas propelled itself onto the landscape of the Strip last fall with a nationwide TV campaign that had consumers wondering just what the hotel was all about. First and foremost, the $3.9 billion property, which opened in December, is about style, with 2,995 sleek, high-tech rooms (including private terraces, a rarity in Las Vegas) and designs by interior architects David Rockwell, Jeffrey Beers, Adam D. Tihany and the Friedmutter Group. And it’s about the amenities and attractions, such as the three themed outdoor pools; the 100,000-square-foot, brightly lit casino; the Sahra Spa & Hammam; or the dozen restaurants, Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub or convention and meeting space.
The folks at Kimpton Hotels are keeping up with the times as the company’s new Eventi in New York is very tech-friendly, incorporating the latest trends into its design. All 292 rooms and 53 suites are equipped with LCD flat-screen televisions, iHomes, wireless phone hand sets and complimentary Wi-Fi. Guests can download an iPhone app, for no additional charge, that can be used to order room service or for other needs. The best suite in the house is the Eventi Suite with two full bathrooms, a dining area, living room and wrap-around terrace. The next best category is the Junior Suite. While smaller than the Eventi, its master bathroom covers 200 square feet of space. Adding to the New York community, the public outdoor plaza, which includes The Big Screen Project, provides seating for both locals and guests to enjoy. The highlight of the plaza will be a 20-foot wide multimedia art screen to be used for public and private events.
|JW Marriott Marquis Miami|
When it opened in December, Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail became Four Seasons’ first property in Colorado and only its third mountain property. It’s a short stroll from Vail Village, and guests receive full access to services and onsite amenities that include a dedicated ski concierge at the base of the Vista Bahn Express Lift and a signature Four Seasons spa. The eight-story hotel building houses 121 high-tech guest rooms, but for families and groups, the private residences are the way to go. Accommodations come with all the comforts of home—as well as nice Four Seasons touches like gas fireplaces and furnished balconies.
Steps away from the Air Canada Centre (home of the NHL’s Maple Leafs and the NBA’s Raptors), the large windows and glimmering metal facade of Hotel Le Germain, Maple Leaf Square have already given the building iconic status in Toronto, but it’s what’s inside that your clients really care about. Here, in keeping with Le Germain style, there are lots of natural elements such as wood and stone throughout, and three room types—Superior, Luxury and Suites—all basking in natural light with oversized windows that open. Some of your clients may opt for the hotel’s top digs, the 1,500-square-foot Apartment, with balcony, king bedroom, living room, fully equipped kitchen and a dining room that seats up to 10. (There’s limited availability, so book early.) While its location in the heart of Toronto makes Hotel Le Germain convenient for both business and leisure travelers, we’d especially recommend it for a couples’ intimate weekend, a relaxing girlfriend getaway or a subdued guys’ night out that could include tickets to catch a hockey or basketball game.
|Buccament Bay Resort in St. Vincent and the Grenadines|
Inspired by West Indies style, resort accommodations at this property on Florida’s west coast consist of 250 deluxe, one- and two-bedroom suites with full kitchens. The hotel is the centerpiece of Clearwater’s $30 million Beach Walk and resort amenities include the eco-friendly Sandava Spa, a 24-hour StayFit@Hyatt gym, the Camp Hyatt kids program, an eighth-floor pool deck with 20 air-conditioned poolside cabanas and a children’s pool, as well as a pool and hot tub on the 16th floor Sky Terrace. Three dining options are available including a Hyatt signature restaurant, SHOR, and the beachfront Swim Bar & Grill.
Miami is synonymous with “hot” and it’s also the perfect location for Marriott’s first JW property to be classified a “Marquis,” its new designation for high-end levels of technology, service and amenities. To that end, there are 313 modern, totally wired luxe rooms or Concierge Level suites and plenty of meeting space and event capacity (including the largest ballroom space in downtown Miami), but this is Miami and your clients are probably looking to play. And play they will: the Marquis Miami has an outdoor swimming pool, an NBA-approved basketball court, virtual golf and golf lessons, bowling alley and more. The hotel is also home to a 4,000-square-foot Rik-Rak Salon & Spa and the award-winning cuisine of Daniel Boulud at db Bistro Moderne, located right in the hotel. If that’s not enough luxury, check your clients into JW Marriott’s Hotel Beaux Arts in the same building on the 39th floor, which provides them with their own private check-in and personal escort to 44 guestrooms and suites designed as an upper-upscale retreat within a retreat.
|Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic|
“Barefoot elegance” is the rule at the 162-room Margaritaville Beach Hotel, inspired by the lyrics and lifestyle of Jimmy Buffett. As expected, music, activities, relaxation and dining are the headliners here in the overall atmosphere of the hotel. The island-inspired surroundings feature eye-catching art, teak and reclaimed oak furnishings, ceiling fans and breathtaking views. The pavilion, outfitted for fun with beach ping pong tables, is the place to go for live music, ice-cold beer and margaritas, burgers and hot dogs, and perfect sunsets. Coming soon: A Margaritaville Restaurant will give guests even more food and entertainment choices.
|CostaBaja Resort & Spa, La Paz, Mexico|
Seattle is known as America’s funky, artsy and off-center gathering place for the young and hip. Those terms can also apply to one of its newest hotels, the 139-room Maxwell, which opened in March. Situated near the Space Needle, The Maxwell Hotel is just a short distance from such pillars of the city’s arts community as the Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Seattle Opera and the Seattle Repertory Theater. The murals and mosaic tiles that decorate the property’s interiors reflect the owners’ passion for the arts, with such touches as the mosaic pineapple in the lobby and children’s art tiles accenting the indoor swimming pool. The boutique hotel is, of course, Earth- and dog-friendly: recycling programs and complimentary bicycles are available for the earth lovers, doggie beds and bowls for the pet lovers. In addition to its uber-trendiness, The Maxwell also includes all the necessary features of any quality hotel: 42-inch flat-panel TVs, iPod docks and 24-hour espresso bar (this is Seattle, after all).
Here’s the scoop: Dove Mountain is about a 45-minute drive from Tucson and nestled in the foothills of the Tortolita Mountains in the Sonoran Desert, which means guests have more than 20 miles of hiking and bike trails winding through the mountain landscape. Rooms at the resort drip Southwestern flair. Top Digs: The Ritz-Carlton Suite has a hardwood-floor foyer, double-sided fireplace, soaking tub and three balconies. The resort’s 26 Casita Suites are perfect for families and couples seeking a little extra privacy and exclusivity.
The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles is the first luxury hotel of its caliber in Downtown Los Angeles. Perched on the upper floors of the 54-story tower that it shares with sister hotel the JW Marriott Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE and The Ritz-Carlton Residences at L.A. LIVE, The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles has 123 guestrooms, including 14 suites. The 3,000-square-foot Ritz-Carlton Suite is the hotel’s largest and includes a piano and entertainment room, media corner, lounge, kitchen and formal dining area. The hotel is home to Downtown L.A.’s only full-service hotel spa, The Ritz-Carlton Spa, an 8,000-square-foot sanctuary with nine treatment rooms. Located on the 24th floor of the hotel is Wolfgang Puck’s WP24, offering refined Asian fare from a dining area with floor-to-ceiling windows providing a view of the Los Angeles skyline.
|Tahéima Wellness Resort & Spa|
Formerly the rundown St. Tropez Hotel, The Siegel Group spent $4 million converting the property into the 150-all-suite Rumor boutique resort. “If you had seen what Rumor initially looked like before we took it over—it’s truly night and day,” says Michael Crandall, director of business development, The Siegel Group. Designed in collaboration with Mark Tracy of Chemical Spaces, the resort’s mega-suites come with four chromatic visions for the wearied carouser, boast 1,000 square feet of sexy eccentricity and face Rumor’s signature courtyard, which is dotted with swaying palms and pools. The first-floor suites open up onto the patio, mere steps from the pool, while the second-floor suites come with French doors leading onto an oversized balcony.
The former site of the Sovereign Hotel has been entirely redesigned and expanded to become the hip, happening Soho Beach House. This private members’ club, hotel and spa, which includes a 16-story oceanfront tower, has 50 rooms, all combining vintage furniture and vibrant textiles to create an aura of South American glamour in the heart of Miami. Check out its Bayside rooms in the original, historic Art Deco building. Among other features of the hotel are a screening snug, two pools, a beach club, an expansive Cowshed spa and Cecconi’s, a modern-day classic Italian restaurant, open to the public for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
|The Cedar Court Grand Hotel & Spa|
Thompson Hotels has landed in Toronto with the opening of this 102-room hotel with 18 suites on 16 glass-encased floors. Like its U.S. brethren, Thompson Toronto is located in the funky, artsy part of town—in this case, Toronto’s King West Village. What we love: Thompson Toronto’s rooftop indoor/outdoor bar and pool on the 16th floor. Come summer, guests can dip in the infinity pool by day and lounge in the poolside cabanas by night. Now that’s hot.
|Conrad Sanya Haitang Bay, China|
This 46-story silver-glass hotel has some amazing views of the city’s skyline, the Hudson River, Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building, but would you expect less from Trump? (The hotel’s 391 rooms and suites have floor-to-ceiling windows—a Trump signature—to make the view even more dramatic.) To keep things intimate, each floor has only 12 rooms, all with custom furnishings by Fendi Casa, marble-clad bathrooms, and Egyptian cotton bedding and towels by Bellino. The 11,000-square-foot Spa at Trump SoHo has spacious treatment rooms and indoor and outdoor relaxation lounges spread over two floors. Trump SoHo will be even hotter this summer when its 7th-floor pool deck with private cabanas opens, along with the indoor-outdoor Bar d’Eau.
When the Waikiki Edition opened in Oahu in October, it was the culmination of a new partnership between hoteliers Ian Schrager and Marriott International, and the launch of a new brand. What’s more, the hotel is a vote of confidence in Hawaii’s post-recession resurgence. With a cool and relaxed vibe, the hotel has a post-modern beach-inspired decor (a mural made of broken surfboards graces one wall). On the 17th floor, the Penthouse has a 1,400-square-foot wraparound landscaped terrace with views of the yacht harbor and the Pacific. The Penthouse also comes with private butler service. Another cool touch is the lobby bar, which is hidden during the day behind a large bookcase. Around 4 p.m., the bookcase is pushed back to expose a spacious chic lounge serving drinks and light fare.
|Fullerton Bay Hotel, Singapore|
In a destination mostly occupied with smaller boutique resorts, the Buccament Bay Resort—St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ first-ever five-star property—will instead bring a whopping 368 luxury villas to the islands. It had a soft opening in August and a grand opening is slated for April 3. What puts this resort over the top is that owner-operator Harlequin Hotels & Resorts also has its own planes to fly guests in directly from St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ two hubs, Barbados and St. Lucia. Guests won’t even have to clear customs until they arrive in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Anyone who loves rock ‘n roll, all-inclusives and fun in the sun is sure to flock to the Hard Rock Hotel’s first ever all-inclusive resort, in the Dominican Republic. And since Hard Rock lacked the all-inclusive experience, it partnered with Palace Resorts just to make sure it can compete with the neighbors. Nightlife is sure to be bumping here with a colossal 15 bars on hand, among the highest number of bars we’ve seen at Caribbean resorts. A signature nightclub is slated to open this year. Tip: If guests need a break from the music theme, they can also tee off at the nearby Jack Nicklaus designed golf club.
|St. Regis Lhasa, Tibet|
The focal point of the 1,500-acre Santa Barbara Plantation resort community, this Hyatt property features Old Quarry by Pete Dye, the island’s only 18-hole championship resort golf course; and the Atabei Spa, a holistic retreat inspired by the island’s ancient traditions and rituals. Best rooms: The Sea Tradition Suites with daily butler service, room-service menus specifically designed for the suite’s guests and private outdoor balconies with sea views. And we love the large deluxe spa bathroom with a recessed overflow edge tub, dual sinks and rain shower.
Formerly a Sandals Resort, the 250-room Jewel Dunn’s River Beach Resort & Spa opened in early September and is perfect for couples. Located five miles west of Ocho Rios, the resort is equipped with a full-service European Spa, a nine-hole golf course, two pools and two swim-up bars. Top Digs: The Honeymoon Haven One Bedroom Oceanfront Suite comes with a large balcony and living area, butler service, a wet bar with top-shelf liquor, a whirlpool tub and walk-in closets. Families are welcome at Jewel Dunn’s River, but guests need to be at least 18.
Whether it’s for families or couples, Scrub Island has you covered. With 52 rooms and suites overlooking some of the clearest water we’ve ever seen in the Caribbean, Scrub Island is also home to a fully flushing marina that has 53 deep-water slips available for lease or transient docking, including five for mega-yachts up to 150 feet long. Perfect for a quiet, romantic getaway, but still good for the kids—the restaurant has a children’s menu and there is a water slide connecting two pools, one on the upper level of the resort and another on the first floor.
The 700-room, side-by-side Secrets St. James and Secrets Wild Orchid resorts marked the debut of the Secrets brand in Jamaica. Both share a common area, The Promenade, featuring a number of bars, lounges and gourmet a la carte restaurants. There are also spas with oceanfront massage cabanas, private concierge on every guest floor, an open-air theater and a full array of activities. At Secrets Wild Orchid, the best room is the Presidential Suite, thanks to its expansive balcony. At Secrets Montego Bay, try the Preferred Club Master Suite, with a separate living and dining area, a private balcony with Jacuzzi and all the privileges exclusive to Preferred Club guests. Book either of these resorts for honeymooners and girlfriend getaways.
|The Royal Mansour Marrakech, Morocco|
Boca Chica, Acapulco
After much anticipation, the 36-room resort opened its doors in Acapulco in March 2010. The building was formerly the famous Hotel Boca Chica, the 1950s playground of the Hollywood elite. Carlos Couturier and brothers Rafael, Moisés and Jaime Micha, founders of Grupo HABITA, have restored the 1950s interior, creating a hotel with vintage charm and a chic contemporary design. The hotel is just steps away from a romantic cove and comes complete with an in-house disco and pool terrace. Ground-floor rooms have landscaped gardens while other rooms come with balconies and open-air terraces with hammocks.
With an unbeatable view of “Land’s End”— the very point where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez—the top-tier Capella Pedregal encompasses 24 acres of dramatic mountainside and oceanfront property. Of its 66 rooms, Travel Agent was told the best category is the Capella Room, which range in size from 1,410 to 1,475 square feet with a sitting area leading to a spacious king bedroom. Capella Pedregal is an ideal spot for couple’s romantic retreats as well as honeymoons. Ask about the Yours Truly program for destination weddings, honeymoons and anniversaries celebrated on-property.
It’s always refreshing when you see a new product in an uncharted territory of Mexico. CostaBaja Resort & Spa opened on November 1 and is the centerpiece of the 220-acre CostaBaja development and is the first five-star resort in La Paz, Mexico. Of course, selling your clients on La Paz as opposed to more famous vacation spots in Mexico will be your big challenge but CostaBaja could win over any clients with its amazing white sand beaches and perfect setting along the Sea of Cortez. The resort also overlooks a 250-slip double-basin marina and features a Gary Player-designed golf course with ocean views.
Just when you thought Riviera Nayarit couldn’t possibly get more luxurious, another gem is added to it: Imanta Punta de Mita. The hotel has only seven accommodations—two Casonas and five Casas. The Tops? We hear it’s the beachfront Casona Jaguar, a two-bedroom home (it can host six people) with a private pool and Jacuzzi and outdoor space that includes terraces and decks. Both Casonas—the other is Casona Los Templos—have ocean views, while three Casas are notable for their jungle-like surroundings. There are two restaurants at Imanta: casual dining at Catch of the Day’s beachside palapa (think locally caught fish and authentic Mexican dishes) or the more refined setting of Tukipa, which has a daily changing menu using seasonal ingredients
Wellness resorts are still rare in Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit, so for now the sky’s the limit for Tahéima Wellness Resort & Spa, which opened in June. The beauty of the resort meshes perfectly with its focus on wellness in its healthy gourmet cuisine, luxury spa and full program of daily fitness, art, dance and intellectual classes. A boutique resort with 135 suites, Tahéima is situated in Nuevo Vallarta with the Sierra Madre Mountains as a backdrop and just a short stroll or shuttle ride to its private beach club.
Anything that combines villas and Cancun is sure to be sizzling hot and the most recent addition to The Villa Group Resorts collection is no exception. The new Villa del Palmar Cancun will sport three ultra-luxurious 1,600-square-foot two-bedroom penthouses. They have terraces with patio whirlpools, exterior living rooms under trellises, and extensive areas for sunbathing. Guests can expect contemporary-styled rooms with a relaxing atmosphere and Mexican flair. Away from their rooms, they can take advantage of two pools, one for adults only (with a pool butler!), four Jacuzzis and an activities center. For spa-lovers, two massage huts are located in the pool area. The multi-phase project has a target date of August for completion of Phase Two, which will add an additional 136 rooms. When its phases are complete in December of 2011, the oceanfront resort, part of the Playa Mujeres complex eight miles north of Cancun’s hotel zone, will feature a total of 415 rooms.
Central & South America
Breezes Búzios Resort & Spa
This resort was hot long before it even opened. For at least three years, agents and clients have been anticipating the first-ever SuperClubs in Brazil and they finally got it in August in the form of Breezes Búzios Resort & Spa. It’s not easy finding an all-inclusive that caters to singles (most are best suited for couples and families), but the location of this resort on the 155-mile long Tucuns Beach makes it a great choice for a girls’ or guys’ getaway simply because Búzios is so hot right now. The coolest, hippest hangout in the country, it is, often described as “The Hamptons of Brazil.” But don’t ignore families—the 329-room resort, with one of Latin America’s largest swimming pools, has a vast array of water sports and features a stage for concerts, a Kid’s Club, a Teen’s Club, a music bar, nightclub, game center, eight-hole mini-golf course and more.
This full-service hotel is located in the midst of business, shopping, restaurants and cultural attractions in downtown Barranquilla, adjacent to the Centro Comercial Grand Boulevard on Carretera, and near the new shopping mall, casino and nightclub complex. Book a corner room for spectacular views of the Magdalena River as it meets the Caribbean Sea. The hotel is best for young executives and young couples seeking modern, comfortable facilities with access to nightlife, shopping, health club and swimming pool.
In York, way up in the north of England, The Cedar Court Grand Hotel & Spa is aiming to be the city’s first five-star hotel. The boutique hotel has 107 unique guest rooms, including 13 suites with butler service. The suites, which we hear are the most popular accommodations, have double walk-in showers (great for getting ready during the morning rush) and a separate guest toilet. A word about the butler service: Butlers get in touch with guests prior to arrival to determine what they may want during their stay. The butlers will then welcome guests to their room upon arrival, and be on hand throughout the stay for anything they may need. With butler pantries on each floor of the hotel, food and beverages will be fresh and hot (or icy cold—no worries about melted ice cream!) at any hour.
Located in the Latin Quarter of the 5th Arrondissement, about a 10-minute walk from the Luxembourg gardens, the 28-room Hotel Le Seven is the sibling of the The Five Hotel in the same neighborhood. The beds are designed to look like they’re floating on air, and are illuminated from below. The en-suite bathtubs are only a foot off the floor, and showers are glass boxes in the bedrooms. Even the ceilings are exciting, with several designed to look like the night sky. There are themed suites to honor such culture icons as 007 himself (retro, with lots of cool gadgets) and Marie Antoinette (white leather bedspread and pink fiberoptic lights).
Situated just outside St-Tropez and a short walk from the beach, Hotel Sezz Saint-Tropez is a contemporary version of a Provençal village with a collection of single-story buildings. The resort has an intimate 37 guestrooms (35 rooms and two villas) surrounded by a wooded park, and a swimming pool at its center. Entire walls of glass and oversized windows are used throughout the resort to create an airy atmosphere.
The latest project from Stefano Ugolini of Hotelphilosophy opened in March in Milan. Working with designer Rossella Jardini, Ugolini has created a 65-room hotel (including two junior suites) from an 1840s railway station. The rooms have names like “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Clouds” and “Sleeping in a Ballgown.” The individually designed rooms have quirky touches, like silk rose petals that dangle from the chandelier as if falling from the sky. A bed in one room is designed to look like an enormous ballgown that flowingly transitions from the headboard to the baseboard. Fans of Lewis Carroll will want to check out “The Forest” room, the “Luxurious Attic” and the junior suites on the second floor, which are inspired by Alice in Wonderland.
In St-Tropez, Muse Hotel De Luxe is a chic retreat minutes from Place de Lices nestled within terraced gardens. The hotel, which opened in July, is comprised of 15 suites, 10 of which have pools, and most of which overlook the terraced gardens created by Sophie Agata Ambroise. Cool touch about the hotel’s name: Each suite is named after one of the muses the hotel has been dedicated to, such as ‘Edith,’ after Edith Piaf, ‘Catherine,’ after Catherine Deneuve and ‘Lauren’ after Lauren Bacall (what, not ‘Betty?’). Each suite is entirely individual, all with stone floors and mamorino wall finishes. Many of the rooms have their own spa services room and walk-in closets and oversized showers. Some other nice perks: Guests can take Bentley shuttles to the beaches, and have sun-butlers to administer sun creams.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts opened The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort in Costa Navarino, Greece, last summer as part of a 320-acre, mixed-use beachfront development called Navarino Dunes. Some cool touches: Navarino Dunes has the first signature golf course in Greece designed by Bernhard Langer in cooperation with European Golf Design, a spa, restaurants, lounge areas, retail and entertainment options. The Romanos has 321 rooms and suites, including 121 with individual infinity pools. Almost all rooms have furnished terraces with views of the Mediterranean. Best of all: Guests staying in the suites have access to the resort’s Butler Service.
The Park Plaza Westminster Bridge
Making its debut last February as London’s largest new hotel in a decade, the hotel’s lounges (and many of the rooms) have views of Parliament and Big Ben, and guests can walk easily to most of the major city attractions. The hotel has 1,021 rooms including 54 suites, and the penthouses have panoramic views of the city. Nice touch: The carpets in the hallways and rooms are inscribed with a poem by Keats.
Formerly The Chedi, Radisson Blu opened in April near Milan’s major international trade fairs and 20 minutes from city-center attractions. The 250 guest rooms have an Indonesian design aesthetic, tricked out with all the latest technology. For the top digs (and stellar city views), book the Penthouse Suite on the 10th floor boasting a private terrace accessed by towering glass doors. What else is in store for guests? A cool Lounge Bar, al fresco garden dining at Filini Restaurant, a fitness center with a steam room and sauna, plus a heated indoor swimming pool that’s one of the city’s largest. Flooded with natural light from a glass rooftop, the pool overlooks Milan’s skyline.
In December, the Shangri-La Hotel, Paris opened its doors on the French capital’s Avenue d’Iéna, just across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower. The 81-room (including 27 suites) hotel is the group’s first property in Europe, built in what was once the mansion of Napoleon’s grandnephew. This is an ideal choice for those who want to look out at the City of Light: Almost 40 percent of the rooms and 60 percent of the suites have unobstructed views of the Eiffel Tower and the River Seine, and nearly half of the rooms have balconies and terraces. (Even better: Laws have been passed preventing any further development along the riverfront, guaranteeing that those views won’t disappear any time soon.)
The buzz out of Thailand in 2010 was the debut of Andara Resort & Villa Phuket, located on the uber-chic Millionaires Mile. Guests can stay in one of the 26 pool villas or 37 Residential Suites. Tip: Many have private pools or rooftop Jacuzzis so make sure you inquire. Head to the Spa for the ultimate in treatments including Thai massage, Ayurveda, Swiss, Javanese and Swedish massage, as well as scrubs, detox and body treatments. For elegant Thai cuisine, guests can dine at Silk Restaurant and Bar, where they can recline on sofas while sampling fresh and local ingredients. Fancy a sunset cruise? Andara has two private motor yachts, which can be chartered for full- or half-day cruises to destinations like Phi Phi Island and the Similan Islands.
As Conrad Hotels & Resorts continues its expansion, it makes its first foray into mainland China with the debut of Conrad Sanya Haitang Bay. The 101 villas and rooms, with a distinctive French Riviera vibe, overlook the ocean, lagoons or gardens. Each villa has its own private pool, sun lounger and cabana, along with ample foliage to ensure privacy. There are also two large outdoor common pools. The hotel is centrally located near a number of tourist attractions such as Wuzhizhou Island, Nantian Hot Spring, Sun Valley Golf Club and Clear Water Bay Golf Club.
The top draws of this new Wynn hotel are the 414 suites and villas, as well as two hot restaurants and the swank lobby bar, Bar Cristal. The Spa at Encore features eight private suites, each with its own steam room, sauna and aroma-hydrotherapy bath and shower. For a bit of shopping, Encore provides a Shopping Esplanade, which boasts big names like Cartier, Chanel and Piaget. Encore was opened as an expansion of Wynn Macau, which features a casino, six restaurants, health club, pool and spa.
The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore opened in July 2010, in Singapore’s prime waterfront location of Marina Bay. Each of the 100 rooms, five suites and Presidential Suite offers views of the bay and exclusive balconies. Historical touch: The five suites and Presidential Suite are all named after former Governors of the Straits Settlements, reflecting Singapore’s place in the colonial world. Each suite is decorated with bespoke artwork and antiques alongside contemporary pieces of art that speak to the theme of the room. The hotel offers three dining experiences: The Landing Point, Clifford and Lantern, the stylish rooftop bar that gives off a sexy chic vibe with the hotel’s pool as its focal point. For a nightcap, we prefer The Landing Point, an indoor promenade with delicious cocktails and (of course) more waterfront views.
Approximately one hour by ferry from Hong Kong, this hotel offers all the modern luxuries with accents of the region’s age-old heritage and boasts 213 rooms and suites, as well as signature Vida Rica restaurant and bar and Mandarin Oriental Cake Shop. No Mandarin Oriental hotel is complete without The Spa, which includes a fitness center and outdoor swimming pool. Centrally located, the property is a short walk from the heart of town. Its hot location makes for sweeping views of Taipa Island, Nam Van Lake, Macau Tower and the South China coastline.
Guests were welcomed for the first time to Marina Bay Sands on April 27, 2010, after a celebratory ribbon cutting ceremony. The Singapore resort opened in stages over the course of the year, but its official grand opening was June 23. The much-buzzed-about, integrated resort comprises over 2,500 rooms and suites, a casino, Sands SkyPark (an architectural masterpiece laying across the top of the three hotel towers, providing the absolute best view of the city) and a stunning rooftop infinity pool. It’s also home to restaurants headed by six celebrity chefs, including Daniel Boulud, Mario Batali, Wolfgang Puck, Santi Santamaria, Guy Savoy and Testuya Wakuda.
This 235-room property opened in March 2010 on The Bund, one of Shanghai’s most posh and well-known districts. No doubt the best rooms in the house are its four exclusive themed suites: The Astor, The Majestic, The Palace and The Peninsula. We like The Peninsula Suite for its classic luxury and Art Deco-style. Step onto the balcony for views of the Huangpu River or sink back with a glass of champagne into the master bathroom’s whirlpool tub. For drinks, we like Salon de Ning for its 1930s glamour. This basement hotspot, with live music and a DJ, is open until 1 a.m. and perfect for a late-night adventure. Round out your stay with a trip to The Peninsula Spa by ESPA, with seven treatment rooms and two VIP suites. We love the heated floors and warmed beds.
The 284-room, beachside Sheraton Nha Trang Hotel & Spa opened its doors last May. Three years in the making, the new hotel includes 10 classes of accommodations, each with a balcony, topping them all off with the approximately 597-square-foot Presidential Suite. The Sheraton Club Lounge will provide extra special treatments and amenities. An infinity pool along with reflecting pool and kid’s pool can be found on the sixth floor. Guests should check out Plunge bar, the fitness center, spa with nine treatment rooms, cooking school and more.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts looked to raise the luxury bar in Tibet last November when it opened the St. Regis Lhasa Resort. More than 12,000 feet above sea level, this resort at the “Roof of the World” is being billed as the first international luxury hotel in Tibet. The property boasts 150 rooms and villas and 12 suites; the Presidential Suite and the Honeymoon Suite top the list. The Iridium Spa infuses local ingredients into its therapies, including an herbal treatment, which is great for relieving altitude sickness. There is also a gold-leaf immersion pool and a Meditation Garden for yoga or Pilates. Clients should also experience the resort’s Tea Room, which offers blends of local and imported teas.
Alila Villas Soori, Bali
Alila Villas Soori, in Bali, is part of Alila Hotels and Resorts’ next-generation Villas brand. Top draw: Undoubtedly the eight three-bedroom Pool Villas. There are also 15 Beach Pool Villas and 15 Ocean Pool Villas, the former at ground level while the oceanfront Pool Villas are situated above, maximizing ocean views and privacy. Top table: Alila Villas Soori stresses authentic preparation of produce from the Tabanan region, known as the rice bowl of Bali.
Located on the East Coast of Tasmania, Saffire Freycinet is made of 20 private suites, each with views of Great Oyster Bay and the Hazards Mountains. The main building looks either like a stingray or a gentle wave on a lake, depending on one’s perspective. All guests can use the premium spa facilities and on-site gym. Cool touch: The three-room spa mixes sapphire dust into its products. Exclusive Signature Experiences are being developed accessing little-known areas of the Freycinet Peninsula, and a range of other activities can be tailored to guests’ wishes.
Middle East and Africa
Armani Hotel Dubai, UAE
Open since April 2010 as part of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, the Armani Dubai is the second in a planned collection of hotels branded with the designer’s name and imprint. Each of the 160 rooms and suites are finished with precious materials. The curved walls are clad in custom-created luxe fabrics and handmade leather from Florence, floors are covered with Japanese Tatami and bathrooms feature green bamboo marble from Brazil. Each room is furnished with Armani Casa pieces, including oak tables with liquid metal finish created exclusively for the hotel. The Armani restaurants include some of the best culinary experiences to be had in Dubai, including Italian, Indian and both modern and traditional Japanese cuisine.
This Marrakech hotel is fit for a king—literally. Owned by King Mohammed VI, it’s a palace within the medina walls of the old city. The hotel has a staff of 500 to attend 53 private riads (independent buildings with courtyards) that are connected by tunnels. Each riad has a bar, living area, and, in some cases, a dining room. Bedrooms on the first floors overlook the private courtyard below, and roof terraces have sun beds and private pools. Guests of each riad also has their own dedicated butler. All of the riads are amazing, but the Riad d’Honneur takes the cake, with four bedrooms sprawling out over 21,525 square feet with a private swimming pool, home theater, gym and traditional hammam.
The Views, in South Africa’s Western Cape Province, really lives up to its name. From the windows, most guests can see nothing but ocean and sky. From the enclosed balconies, they can see the beach. There are just 19 rooms and suites, only five of which don’t face the sea. The rooms themselves match the sea-and-sky-theme of the view, with polished driftwood for the flooring and tiny, smooth pebbles in the open-plan bathroom.