The last few years have provided an unparalleled selection of sensational hotels perfect for guests who demand uncompromising, boundary-pushing lodgings. The new year should be no different. Herewith, from restored classics to jungle enclaves, the pick of the bunch. (Check back for individual highlights once they open.)
One & Only Gorilla’s Nest, Rwanda (opens soon)
Where: Ensconced in Africa’s oldest national park, with the looming Virunga volcanoes in the distance, One & Only’s latest will offer a gateway to a much-overlooked – and oft inaccessible – part of the world.
What’s the deal? Expect handsome and homely accommodations that blend into the wilds through teak and gold colours and ample opportunity to spy a captivating animal kingdom populated by exotic birds, elephants, and the phenomenal, and lesser-spotted, mountain gorilla.
Raffles Singapore (mid 2019)
Where: Ideally located just a short ride from the Lion City’s abundant attractions, not least the shopping emporiums of Orchard Road and the always-popular Fort Canning Hill.
What’s the deal? Once frequented by the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, the colonial-period hotel is in the middle of a meticulous upgrade that will see the arrival of new social spaces, the return of Long Bar – rumoured birthplace of the Singapore Sling – to its original spot and, of course, a continuation of Raffles’ incomparable ambiance.
The Hoxton Chicago (spring 2019)
Where: Ennismore’s latest takes up space in the blossoming Fulton Market district of the windy city, a (formerly warehouse-packed) neighbourhood brimming with galleries and boutique properties – and the home of Google in the city.
What’s the deal? A 175-key hostelry inside an 11-storey tower, the Hoxton will feature a restaurant and a bar, along with a rooftop pool providing fine views of the city’s skyscraper-dotted vistas.
Belmond Cadogan (February 2019)
Where: Perhaps there is no better place from which to adventure into everyone’s postcard version of London: quintessentially English tailors, high-end fashion houses see-and-be-seen wine bars in enduringly glamorous Knightsbridge and Chelsea are just minutes away.
What’s the deal? The Cadogan nonchalantly fits into its classy neighbourhood, as it’s all debonair Victorian style and marble flourishes. Aside from the array of plush suites, guest rooms and definitively British cuisine from chef Adam Handling, the hotel will offer a much-needed oasis in the ceaseless metropolis under the lush canopies of the Cadogan Place Gardens.
Six Senses Bhutan (phased opening, spring 2019)
Where: Part of a new collection of five lodges under the Bhutan name around the country, Gangtey boasts awesome views in the glacial undulations of the Phobjikha valley, while Bumthang is the place to relax among the evergreen forest. The other three lodges are set to open earlier.
What’s the deal? Both residences reflect the tranquillity of the kingdom’s landscape through soft-pine interiors, but Six Senses Gangtey provides a bird-spotting vista from its glass-fronted bridge. Bumthang, meanwhile, should sate the spiritual needs of guests; it’s in the heart of the country’s religious arena, populated by many a monastery.
Amerikalinjen, Oslo (spring 2019)
Where: Taking pride of place in the centre of Tiger City, near its Opera House, the former Norwegian American Line building – that company transported people across the Atlantic for a new life in the US – has been overhauled and is reborn as this splendid boutique pad.
What’s the deal? The hotel’s design is in keeping with its grand exterior – you’ll find 122 sophisticated accommodations, a Finnish sauna and a quartet of eateries including Gustav jazz club, which, in a neat link to the building’s roots, pays homage to New York.
Rosewood Hong Kong (March 2019)
Where: The hotel is positioned majestically on the banks of Victoria Harbour, peering over a regenerated area, West Kowloon, which is full of pop-up art, areas for public performance and green spaces.
What’s the deal? Many of the accommodations enjoy unobstructed views of the glistening waters, while all are regally outfitted with marble bathrooms and delightful linens. Go here for the debut Asaya spa in Asia; it has a 25m-long swimming pool, wellness gastronomy and a nail boudoir.
The St. Regis Cairo (February 2019)
Where: The chain’s flagship African lodgings, the hotel sits invitingly on the edge of the historic Nile, opening up fine views of that waterway and the sprawling, old part of town.
What’s the deal? A new landmark, some 366 accommodations are housed in this glowing, 36-storey building. The guest rooms exude sophistication, while there will be seven restaurants and bars offering a fine spectrum of cuisine and cocktails. There’s a St. Regis butler service too.