It’s that time of the year again, when we look forward to industry gamechangers. 2019 promises to be another incredible year for luxury travel, with multiple openings in the wilderness of Africa, yet another luxury hotel in Hong Kong (this particular one, we think, will be in the running for Hong Kong’s very best) and Nepal finally getting luxury accommodation.
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Marrakech has no shortage of fine hotels – with luxury stalwarts Four Seasons and Mandarin Oriental both present, along with the picturesque La Mamounia, the opulent Royal Mansour and the pared back Amanjena (among others) all vying for a position among traveller’s hearts to the historic, charming and chaotic city. But what has been missing since the Taj group’s departure is an Indian royal hospitality take on Moroccan living, which the Oberoi Marrakech will address.
The Oberoi Marrakech is built within twenty-five acres of citrus orchards. Its stunning architecture will pay tribute to the palaces of ancient Morocco, and guests can enjoy the tranquil surrounds in their lavish villas with private heated swimming pools and scenic views of the Atlas Mountains in the distance.
Hong Kong didn’t see new luxury hotel openings for years following The Upper House. But the stretch from 2016-2020 promises to be Hong Kong’s finest, with an overwhelming amount of openings including boutique luxury/upscale hotels/serviced apartments such as The Olympian and Little Tai Hang, while luxury behemoths The Murray, Rosewood Hong Kong and St Regis have already opened or are all set to open (St Regis is also slated for 2019 but has experienced delays), but Rosewood Hong Kong might be the most interesting of all in an extremely competitive environment.
Rosewood is, curiously, a Hong Kong-owned company (through recent acquisitions), but it is better known around North America and Europe where it has an established brand. This is all set to change in the coming few years as Rosewood expands rapidly within East Asia – such as the acclaimed Rosewood Beijing – and Southeast Asia – featuring recent openings Rosewood Phuket and Rosewood Luang Prabang.
The hotel will also feature a private pool suite, unique among Hong Kong (InterContinental’s Hong Kong’s Presidential Suite is the only other such suite – watch the video here). Although a large hotel with a 413 room count, Rosewood Hong Kong will also feature serviced residences. Situated just next to the InterContinental Hong Kong on the Tsim Sha Tsui harbourfront, it is quite likely that Rosewood Hong Kong will take the crown as Hong Kong’s foremost luxury hotel with a view.
Opening: March 2019
This is JK Places’ first venture outside of Italy, where the group operates stylish resorts in Capri, Rome and Florence. The stylish group, renowned for their fashionable, chic and contemporary take on traditional themes, will bring la dolce vita to Paris. Like the other hotels in the group, this will also be designed by Michele Bonan.
Five years of exhaustive real estate search has landed the group in Paris settling on the former European Consulate at 82 Rue de Lille. Located strategically in the unique Rive Gauche next to the Musee D’Orsay, the Italian Boutique Brand features only 30 rooms and suites, with bespoke Italian furnishings set off against locally sourced antiques and art pieces.
Opening: May 2019
As far as luxury destinations go, Israel has traditionally lagged behind. However, that is set to change with the opening of Six Senses Shaharut. Located in a cliff setting to the south of the ancient Negev Desert, Six Senses Shaharut will offer an intimate 58 suites and villas. The guests will experience a multi-sensual journey into a treasure of culture and rich traditions.
Six Senses’ philosophy of sustainability is also visible in the design of the rooms and suites which complement the desert terrain. Signature facilities include a camel stable, offering morning and twilight camel rides, an open air amphitheatre beneath the beautiful sky and a tented Bedouin experience.
With a large and varied footprint in North America, it’s actually surprising it’s taken Four Seasons this long to set up shop in Napa Valley, long famed as the American centre for fine food and wine, and where Auberge already operates two resorts.
Set in Calistoga, the resort is surrounded by two rows of organic vineyards, and features an on-site vinery, fine dining and spa and two outdoor pools for its 85 rooms and suites.
Opening: Mid 2019
While its mountainous neighbour Bhutan has long pushed ahead with high-end tourism, Nepal has been left lagging despite arguably being more scenic, and certainly more mountainous! The Pavilions Hotels and Resorts, renowned for their upscale boutique villa resorts in Southeast Asia, are here to change that. The Pavilions Himalayas opened last year, and the Pavilions Himalayas Lake View takes the experience more upscale, featuring eight tented villas in Pokhara Valley, which are accessed following a paddle across Phewa Lake, Nepal’s second largest.
Opening: January 2019
Photo above is of Nayara Springs, the Tented Camp’s sister resort
Nayara already operates two resorts in Costa Rica, but its third will bring glamping to the Arenal Volcano National Park amid dense rainforest. Unlike most tented camps worldwide, the 18 tents here will be cushioned high up in the hills with spectacular views over the volcanic sites, and will also feature plunge pools. The area is popular for its wildlife, including the sloth.
Opening: Fall 2019
Rwanda is hot, with established luxury lodge and safari operators Singita opening a lodge and Bisate already open, both in gorilla country. One&Only is new to the luxury safari game, but this is the group’s second foray, with its other property One&Only Nyungwe House offering chimpazee excursions, also in Rwanda.
Gorilla’s Nest is set in the foothills of the breathtaking Virunga Volcano range, and offers a once-in-a-lifetime encounter with the majestic gorilla.
Opening: Summer 2019
We had the chance to personally visit Zannier Hotel’s Phum Baitang resort, spectacularly located in a rural setting on the outskirts of Siem Reap, Cambodia, and to say we were extremely impressed is selling it short – if not for Amansara’s wonderful excursions, we’d argue that Phum Baitang was actually our favourite hotel in Siem Reap!
So when Zannier Hotels announced that it will open a tented camp in the Namibian desert, we were most excited. Sonop is set on the southern edge of the Namibian desert on a nature reserve, drawing design inspiration from the explorers of the early 20th century.
The resort will combine well with Omaanda, their existing logde in Namibia.
Opening: Summer 2019
Combining the raw intimacy of the outdoors with luxury is definitely sought after, but very few do it well. The Lodge at Blue Sky, an Auberge will seek to do just that in Utah’s picturesque Wasatch Mountains. The lodge will feature 46 rooms and suites in the Creek Houses, but it’s what’s outside the rooms that will excite guests the mosts: the 3,500 acre area will offer fly-fishing, horseback riding, snowshoeing, along with heli-skiing and heli-snowboarding across North America’s most iconic peaks.
Opening: May 2019