It’s been a great year for luxury hospitality worldwide, thanks to a slew of new hotel openings that are pushing the envelope with their design sensibilities and luxe experiences. From boutique resorts in the Maldives to luxury lodges in Rwanda, here’s our pick of the new hotels in 2019 that are sure to make a great addition to your holiday bucket list.
After undergoing extensive renovations, the iconic Raffles Singapore finally opened its doors in August this year. Maintaining the classic sensibilities and historic charm that the 19th century hotel has been known for, the newly refurbished Raffles offers 115 suites across nine categories. Soak in the atmosphere at the Long Bar with the original Singapore Sling cocktail, opt for a traditional afternoon tea service, or Michelin-star dining –the property has lots to offer discerning travellers.
Aman Hotels’ newest property in Kyoto, Japan, will ensure you’re one with nature. Spread over 80 acres, the resort is set amidst a natural, light-filled, and beautifully landscaped Japanese garden. The accommodation pays homage to the traditional Japanese Ryokan inns, with large pavilions, and contemporary suites and rooms. Wellness is a key focus here, offering indoor and open-air onsen pools, and signature treatments. Add to that, some fabulous cuisine to complete your experience.
Opened on December 1, 2019, this is the Oberoi Group’s first foray into Morocco. Spread over 28 acres of landscaped gardens, fragrant citrus orchards and olive groves, the jewel in the crown undoubtedly are the views – overlooking the snow-capped Atlas Mountains.
The luxury resort’s design melds traditional Moroccan architecture with a contemporary aesthetic. 84 spacious rooms, suites and villas make up the accommodation, 76 of which have private pools and enclosures. The resort’s sprawling gardens and plush spa with private therapy suites, add to its tranquil charm.
French hospitality firm, Accor, has recently opened its upscale property, Pullman Maldives Maamutaa in the picturesque south of the island nation. The resort has 122 luxurious villas with plunge pools, including two Aqua villas with the bedrooms submerged beneath the turquoise waters. What’s got us most excited though, is the region’s first all-vegetarian, vegan and organic restaurant, Phat Chameleon, where you can sample farm-to-table dining at its best.
The second Four Seasons property in India doesn’t disappoint, set amidst the lush environs of Embassy ONE, an integrated development in Bengaluru. The 230-room hotel is lavishly designed, paying homage to Indian art, surrounded by landscaped gardens, water features, and a 100 ft. outdoor pool. We love the sound of the garden suites with private terraces, and the Infuse Spa, tucked behind a cascading waterfall. The hotel’s 21st floor bar, Copitas, is a swish spot from which you can enjoy cocktail sundowners.
This is Taj Hotels’ first foray into Himachal Pradesh, located close to the picturesque hill station of Shimla. Perched on the edge of a ridge, offering 180-degree views of the snowy Himalayan peaks and the valley below, the resort’s design and architecture is fittingly provincial, in an ode to its location. The 99-room property houses an oriental restaurant, an all-day restaurant serving Himachali and International cuisine, a spa and more, making for a quaint getaway in the Himalayas.
Located in the scenic Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh is the upscale Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort. The accommodation is contemporary with chic guest rooms and villas, overlooking cedar forests and the snow-capped Himalayas. Spend evenings at the hotel’s cozy bar, 2082- where you can unwind by the fireplace, or, savour high-tea in the sprawling gardens. There’s a focus on wellness experiences as well, and relaxing treatments at the resort’s Shanti Spa.
Jumeirah Hotels’ new addition to its portfolio of luxury resorts and hotels is this awe-inspiring property located deep within the desert dunes of Abu Dhabi (about 50km outside the city). Everything about this resort exudes privacy and exclusiveness- from the private plunge pool villas, to a lantern-lit rooftop bar that lets you enjoy desert sundowners. Choose from six restaurants and bars for a culinary spectacle. The spa is a sensory experience with Turkish hammams, crystal salt rooms and more.
Rwanda is earning a spot on the international map for its rustic African landscape and unique wildlife. The newly opened One & Only Gorilla’s Nest is located in the foothills of the Virunga Volcano range surrounded by Eucalyptus forests. It’s one of the few places where you can encounter the majestic and rare mountain gorillas, roaming freely in their natural habitat. 14 luxury rooms and 7 suites make up the accommodation, in a nod to traditional craftsmanship. Along with curated experiences like local coffee tastings, there’s a plush spa, and several culinary offerings.
As you jet off in a speedboat, you arrive to this 30-acre pristine island in the south of Cambodia. 40 private pool villas make up the boutique accommodation here, complete with sundecks, infinity plunge pools and rain showers. We love that the resort is focused on sustainability, with an organic farm supplying local, seasonal ingredients to its two restaurants. The spa is a tranquil haven offering traditional Khmer treatments.
Dubai’s ever-expanding cityscape has a new addition in the form of the ultra-luxe, Mandarin Oriental Jumeira. At this beachfront resort, designed by the acclaimed Jeffrey Wilkes, you can pick from six fine dining outlets, a spa that offers heavenly treatments with private terraces that overlook the glimmering ocean, and rooms and suites that are the perfect balance of glamour and comfort.
Among the string of new hotel openings that Maldives has seen this year is the newly launched VARU, by Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts. Offering 108 luxurious villas, including 69 overwater villas, the vibe here is decidedly laidback and chic, surrounded by sandy white beaches and a turquoise lagoon. It’s a quick 40 minute speedboat ride from the capital city, Male.
All images: Courtesy hotels