2018 will be an exciting year for the luxury traveler with well-established luxury hotel brands expanding their reach to newer locales, while well-known and lesser established smaller, boutique properties continue to crop up in unique destinations. There are also several re-openings from properties that have been closed or under renovation for a while. While there will be a hundred or so luxury hotels opening around the world, we’ve whittled the list down to a nice, easy to read top 10 that we’ve picked out that excite us the most. Here’s the countdown…
10. The Murray, HONG KONG
It’s been a while since a Hong Kong hotel opening has gotten us this excited, although the upcoming Rosewood and St Regis properties might do just that. Those are new builds, though. This hotel, on the other hand, takes over the former government building (one of eight historic landmarks under the Hong Kong government’s Conserving Central initiative) and provides 336 rooms and suites re-designed by the legendary Sir Norman Foster’s team at Foster+Partners. The rooms are spacious (starting at 47 sqm/506 sqft, huge for Hong Kong) and the design suitably minimalist-elegant, while keeping in touch with modern design and smart-living aspects. What remains to be seen is how Marco Polo Hotels, the parent brand better known for their mid-level mass market hotels, deals with an upscale opening under the Niccolo Hotel group.
9. Six Senses Fiji, FIJI
Perhaps no place in the world is better suited to Six Senses’ unique brand of Robinson Crusoe-esque rustic-luxe than the beautiful island of Fiji. Combining tropical paradise with a warm, friendly people and much local culture to explore, the resort will bring beachfront living with beach-side villas. More Six Senses are set to open soon, including in the ‘happiest country in the world’ in Bhutan in 2018 (led by iconic hotelier Mark Swinton), a Cambodian off-shore resort to rival Alila Villas Koh Russey (see below) and the longer established Song Saa Private Island in Cambodia, and two more announced for Singapore, the latter quite a diversion from Six Senses retreats on islands.
8. Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island, SEYCHELLES
Taking over an old resort on Desroches, the Four Seasons will bring their signature style of elegant luxe to yet another Seychelles destination, this time on a private island with a cumulative 14 kilometres of beach, only a 35-minute flight from Mahe.
7. The Middle House Shanghai, CHINA
The team behind arguably one of the finest city hotels in the world in The Upper House Hong Kong will be opening their fourth House Collective property (after The Opposite House in Beijing, The Upper House in Hong Kong and The Temple House in Chengdu) in Shanghai. They’ll be bringing their sophisticated design focus and warm, thoughtful service standards to the city. We got an exclusive sneak peek at the location and the surrounds in June 2017, and if The House Collective’s reputation is anything to go by, we’re very much looking forward to this one.
6. Amanyangyun, SHANGHAI, CHINA
Anything the legendary hotel brand Aman touches seemingly turns to gold. Amanyangyun, like many other Amans, is not just another hotel in bustling Shanghai. The resort is a decade long project to protect centuries-old buildings from the Ming and Qing dynasties and an even older camphor forest (with a tree dating back more than 1,000 years) from destruction. In collaboration with Aman, brick by brick and tree by tree, the destination has been transplanted more than 700 km from Fuzhou to the outskirts of Shanghai, about an hour from the main city, where it will now be run by Aman, offering rooms, suites, private villas/residences and more. How this ties in to Shanghai as a whole, or if it will be its own destination, will be the big factor setting it apart.
5. Capella Ubud, BALI, INDONESIA
What’s interesting about yet another luxury hotel in Ubud? Well this one’s a bit different: it’s a Bill Bensley-designed tented camp. Setting up camp in the heart of Ubud, the multi-level tents will, of course, bring all the accouterments expected of a luxury Bali hotel (private plunge pool included). Featuring only 22 tents, the resort is (of course) inspired by the spirit of exploration and discovery that Ubud is renowned for.
4. Rosewood Luang Prabang, LUANG PRABANG, LAOS
Laos seems to be another hotspot for luxury brands to enter, and Rosewood will be one of the relatively early ones setting foot in Luang Prabang. Diverting from setting up in a historic building in the French quarters of the town, Rosewood will open just outside in serene surrounds (but within touching distance of the main town) with a tented camp by the river at the foothills of the mountains, a first for the brand.
3. Zadun, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, LOS CABOS, MEXICO
Ritz-Carlton opening a Reserve property is big news. There are only three of them worldwide. Four after the completion of Zadun, opening on the coast of San Jose del Cabo and capturing the captivating contrast between the desert and the Sea of Cortez, featuring 115 villas, two championship golf courses and a desert botanical park.
2. Alila Villas Koh Russey, CAMBODIA
The area off the coast of Sihanoukville seems to be a new luxe hotspot. There’s already the long established Song Saa Private Island offering rustic-style overwater villas and engaging heavily in the local community through its Song Saa Foundation initiatives. Now Alila’s most recent ‘villas’ brand (after Alila Villas Uluwatu and the former Alila Villas resorts Soori Bali and Park Hyatt Hadahaa) will bring Alila’s more modern-contemporary design with one, two and four-bedroom private pool villas and polished style of service to the Cambodian destination.
1. Shinta Mani Wild, CAMBODIA
Bill Bensley-owned and designed, this tented camp will be deep in Cambodia, set at the crosshairs of three of the country’s oldest national parks. This will beautifully complement the soon-to-open ultra-luxe Shinta Mani Angkor – Bensley Collection, which offers 10 private pool villas minutes from the gates of Angkor, as well as the upscale Shinta Mani Angkor, a legendary hotel in Siem Reap, and the Shinta Mani Shack Angkor.
Which hotel opening are you most excited about? Tell us in the comments below.