When was the last time you stayed in a hotel? Feels like years ago, doesn’t it? Thankfully, when this latest lockdown finally lifts — and it will lift eventually — 2021 has some first-rate, five-star offerings opening up for discerning globe-trotters and jet-setters.
From California to Cairo, Osaka to Ibiza, we’ve rounded up eight of the most exciting new hotels in the world below. Prime your passports, gents — it’s time to check in.
In Japan, Zentis Osaka is a hotel for design-conscious travellers
Last year should have been Japan’s year. But, with the Olympics postponed, the country is having a second roll of the tourism dice in 2021. And this hotel, the Osaka-based creation of renowned interior specialist Tara Bernerd, is a winning first hand. With a stone staircase anchoring the lobby, a seamless transition to an impressive garden space and playful encaustic tiled floors, it’s a treat for the eyes; steeped in local culture.
How many rooms? 212 in total, spread over sixteen floors. Each room was devised like a traditional Japanese bento take-out box; divided into geometric sections and using interlocking layouts to optimise on floor space.
Other amenities? The second-floor bar and lounge, UPSTAIRZ, is pretty special. An atmospheric destination, the venue was conceived by a team with a Michelin-star track record and features a menu with Japanese and French influences.
What sets it apart? It has to the those bedrooms again. Added to the innovation of the layout, each is decorated with specifically ‘Osakan’ industrial touches — including ‘shigaraki-yaki’ bedside tables crafted in the kilns of Shiga and ‘shodo’-inspired wallpaper installations.
In Egypt, the St. Regis Cairo is a destination in itself
The St. Regis hotel chain never disappoints. From the Maldives and Mexico City to Mumbai, the hospitality juggernaut has outposts all over the globe. Cairo, Egypt’s bustling capital, is the latest city to win the St. Regis lottery. And what a win it is — located on the banks of the River Nile, this 39-storey hotel brings luxury to a city steeped in history.
How many rooms? 286 lavish guest rooms and suites, as well as 80 apartments — all adorned with dark wood, flashes of shimmering gold and mother of pearl to create a dramatic Egyptian aesthetic.
Other amenities? Name them. The brand’s signature St. Regis Butler service is a highlight; world-renowned for its service and attention — but there’s also a 1,000-square-metre spa, as well as the sweeping ‘Astor’ Ballroom.
What sets it apart? The restaurants. All eight of them. Whether you’re in the mood for Southern Italian cuisine at La Zisa, exquisite Singaporean flavours at Tianma or Egyptian dishes at Sirocco, there’s something to tempt every tastebud.
On the Khomas Highland, Habitas Namibia offers a new style of safari
As the second ‘home’ from sustainable, experience-led hospitality group Habitas (the first, in Mexico’s Tulum, can be found nestled between the jungle and Caribbean Sea), Habitas Namibia has a lot to live up to. Thankfully, setting itself on 50,000 hectares of private wildlife reserve is a pretty picturesque start…
How many rooms? 15 safari rooms — to use as a base for activities including safari drives, sound journey meditation, indigenous spa treatments, drum circles, savannah yoga, and agora gatherings with local live music.
Other amenities? A natural-look swimming pool, outdoor cinema, communal dining area and fire pit — all built and maintained sustainably.
What sets it apart? The other activities offered. Drum circles and yoga may do it for some people, but the more adrenaline-fuelled guests can train with the local anti-poaching unit — or learn survival skills from San tribesman, one of the oldest indigenous tribes in Africa.
In Santa Eulalia, W Hotel Ibiza is as bright and bold as you’d expect
Re-opening in April (although it only opened last year), the latest W Hotel reclaims a beachfront Balearic structure from the 1980s. There’s an immediate retro appeal, then, to the global chain’s new opening. Ever true to the brand’s unique ethos, the hotel is as visually striking and wanderlust-stoking as you’d expect — sitting pretty on the palm-fringed coast of Santa Eulalia.
How many rooms? 162 guest rooms and suites make up the hotel; an incredibly relaxed, meticulously designed social hub that connects guests, sets the scene for a holiday and incorporates the bold and playful themes of both W Hotels and Ibiza itself.
Other amenities? A jaw-dropping rooftop swimming pool is a particular highlight — as is the picturesque sunset bar boasting spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea.
What sets it apart? We hate to sound like a broken record, but — like the St. Regis Cairo above — it’s got to be the restaurants. Again, all eight of them. Rooftop venue Glow may be the best (think party pool and creative cocktails), but we’ll give an honorary mention to brunchy steakhouse La Llama, if not for name alone.
In Munich, WunderLocke is bringing compact living to cosmopolitan life
Continuing its European expansion, home-meets-hotel brand Locke will open a new outpost in South-West Munich in the spring. Staking its own stylish claim to the Bavarian capital, WunderLocke is designed by acclaimed studio Holloway Li — they who completed Locke’s latest London property, Bermonds Locke, earlier this year.
How many rooms? 360 studio apartments — bringing compact living to cosmopolitan life. Peaceful and spacious, all feature kitchens and seating areas; a hallmark of Locke design.
Other amenities? Almost everything you could want — including a co-working area and meeting rooms for this new work-from-home world, a workout studio and outdoor heated swimming pool.
What sets it apart? The urban farm. That’s right, the four on-site food and drink venues (including a rooftop cocktail bar with barnstorming views of the Bavarian Alps) are all farm-to-table, supplied by WunderLocke’s very own farm — so you can put the ‘Munch’ in ‘München’ with a clear, eco-conscious conscience.
In the Vinyl District, the Thompson Hollywood is redefining cool
This is an interesting one. Why? Because the Vinyl District — the beautiful, musical area between Hollywood and Sunset Boulevard — didn’t even exist until this year. It’s a neighbourhood made new; created to foster L.A.’s next generation of artists, professionals, entrepreneurs and creatives. And the first completed project in the Vinyl District? The Thompson Hollywood hotel.
How many rooms? 190 guest rooms — which puts it at the larger end of the ’boutique hotel’ spectrum. But, with in-room bars, banquette sofas and lashings of old-school Hollywood glamour, it’ll still make for a cosy night.
Other amenities? A lobby bar (like any good hotel), as well as a signature restaurant and rooftop terrace — ideal for post-work cocktails or an intimate meet-up.
What sets it apart? Probably that rooftop terrace — or, more accurately, the pool you’ll find up there. With stunning 360 degree views, it also boasts a trail-blazing, envelope-pushing mixology menu.
In Tuscany, the Grand Universe Lucca, Autograph Collection is a piece of living history
Lucca, in Tuscany, is known as ‘the city of a hundred and one churches’. But, now the Grand Universe Lucca, Autograph Collection has opened, they might have to revise that — as it, too, is worthy of worship. Overlooking two of the most beautiful piazzas in the city, the building was previously a Palazzo of the Paoli family during the Renaissance — which should tell you all you need to know about its luxury credentials…
How many rooms? There are 55 superbly furnished rooms and suites to choose from — and a lounge area for communal relaxation (complete with grand piano).
Other amenities? An Italian restaurant, rooftop bar and the intriguing wine cellar, Eterno — where guests can take part in private wine tasting sessions surrounded by remnants of ancient Italian artefacts.
What sets it apart? Prepare yourself for this one. Guests can visit the ‘Symphony Lounge’, where the hotel’s composer (any half-decent hotel has one) will create a personalised ‘Prelude’ — a tune crafted to reflect the guest’s personality. It’ll then be written, rolled and presented to you in a Tuscan leather box. Talk about a souvenir.
In Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle is the only hotel of its kind
Saved the best until last? Perhaps. Certainly the most decadent. Because what else would you expect from Versailles? Once the seat of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, this hedonistic hotel is actually set within the grounds of the iconic Château de Versailles — with views over the Orangerie, the Pièce d’Eau des Suisses and The Palace itself.
How many rooms? 14 luxurious rooms and suites — a suitably small number for such an exclusive escape.
Other amenities? Not that you’d need any more convincing to follow in the footsteps of French royalty, but there’s also a signature Alain Ducasse restaurant and terrace, a well-stocked bar, a restorative spa by Valmont and a 15-metre indoor swimming pool.
What sets it apart? Apart from the fact that it’s Versailles? Possibly the unencumbered access a night’s stay gives you to The Palace and grounds; an unfettered, unchaperoned chance to live your best, most regal life.