The beach resorts, city hotels, safari camps, and adventure lodges you need to know this year.
A boutique hotel with a floating spa in England’s countryside. Luxury domes in the middle of Bolivia’s salt flats. A top-to-bottom remake of one of the world’s legendary hotels in Singapore. These are just a few of the reasons we’re excited to travel in 2019. As we hunker down for winter, we’re setting the countdown for the openings of some truly incredible properties this year, from spa retreats to lavish resorts to tented camps across the globe. Here, we’re predicting an entire year’s worth of the best in travel—let’s go!
The New Beach Classic: Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
Opening: Summer 2019
After what seems like eons of waiting, the first new Reserve property from Ritz-Carlton in three years will finally open its doors this summer in Los Cabos, Mexico, joining the three other ultra-luxurious properties in the exclusive portfolio. Cabo is seeing an unprecedented number of luxury resorts launching this year, including properties from Four Seasons and Nobu, but we’re most impressed with Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve thanks to its spectacular beachfront location, two pools, five-acre wellness haven, 27-hole golf resort with three distinct courses designed by Greg Norman and Jack Nicklaus, and four restaurants and bars. There will be 115 suites and one- and two-story villas, each with a personal butler and many with a private plunge pool. If you can’t relax here, we’re out of ideas.
The Elite French Retreat: Hotel Château du Grand-Lucé
Opening: Spring 2019
Does France need more chateaus-turned-hotels? If it’s the Hotel Château du Grand-Lucé, our answer is a resounding yes. A former Loire Valley country home of the Baron Jacques Pineau de Viennay from 1760, the château is being returned to its 18th-century splendor after a careful private restoration under the guidance of the French government. Having played host to luminaries like Voltaire, Rousseau, and Mozart, the property oozes an unapologetically opulent (and undeniably French) style. The 45,000-square-foot château, set to open this spring, will have 17 rooms and suites, a spa and fitness center, a grand ballroom, formal and informal dining rooms, orangeries, and nearly 80 acres of impeccable French gardens and grounds. Over-the-top doesn’t begin to explain the lavishness here: From original boiserie walls with wooden details to stunning chandeliers dripping with crystals to custom fabrics from French luminaries like Pierre Frey, Christian Lacroix, and Jean Paul Gaultier, the Château du Grand-Lucé will give Paris grandes dames a run for their money.
The Vineyard Treasure: Four Seasons Resort & Residences Napa Valley
Four Seasons is entering the wine business with the introduction of its Four Seasons Napa Valley this summer. The property will have its own winery operated by Thomas Rivers Brown and a hand-farmed vineyard visible from the 85 rustic-chic rooms and suites with private terraces. Dining options will be top-notch—this is Napa, after all—with a restaurant, pool grill, and a general store stocked with local gourmet picnic necessities. There will also be two outdoor pools and a stone-clad eight-room spa featuring outdoor treatments using mineral-rich local mud. Our favorite detail? The two cabanas hidden among the vines, which can be used for spa treatments and private dinners.
The Soaring High-Rise: Rosewood Hong Kong
Opening: March 2019
Hong Kong has no lack of high-end super-luxe hotels, which makes the March opening of the Rosewood Hong Kong all the more exciting: This hotel is competing with some of the world’s best urban properties and we are positive it will more than hold its own. With some of the largest rooms in the city and more than 80 percent of them having panoramic harbor views, the hotel features impeccable design by Tony Chi, with rich materials, one-of-a-kind art, and thoughtful details like double showerheads, deep soaking tubs, and well-stocked bar carts in all suites.
The 65-story Kohn Pedersen Fox–built tower will devote 43 stories to the hotel, and there will be 322 rooms and 91 suites, including 18 extravagant signature suites like the 10,764-square-foot Harbour House and Garden House, both of which enjoy wraparound sky terraces with Victoria Harbour views. Other hotel amenities include uniquely designed salons with curated artifacts on each floor; the posh and sophisticated Manor Club executive lounge; the brand’s first urban Asaya, Rosewood’s holistic wellness concept set across two levels; and eight restaurants and bars including an authentic Chinese tea house.
The Island Paradise: Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi
Opening: March 2019
Despite the fact that the Maldives keep shrinking, the hotels and resorts on its islands seem to be multiplying. This year will see openings by Baglioni Resorts, Raffles, and the one we’re most curious about: the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi. Spanning three islands in the South Male Atoll, the resort will have 10 dining outlets and 138 carefully positioned beachfront and overwater villas. Each lavishly appointed villa will be equipped with a private pool, hot tub, and lounge deck area. Some overwater villas will also have magnificent glass flooring for crystal-clear views of the lagoon below.
Probably the only thing that will pry you away from the pristine beach is the massive, it-has-everything 21,500-square-foot spa with an extensive outdoor bathing circuit, a VIP spa suite, a hammam suite, four resting pavilions, a vitality pool, a beauty salon, and an indoor and outdoor mind and body studio. A gym, an outdoor fitness center, aqua spinning classes, and an overwater yoga platform complement the spa’s offerings.
The Italian Exclusive: Hotel de la Ville
Opening: May 2019
Rome’s hotel offerings were getting a bit tired. But la dolce vita is making its way back to the Eternal City—first with the spectacular renovation of the St. Regis Rome, and soon, with the arrival of Hotel de la Ville, a Rocco Forte property set to open at the top of the Spanish Steps in May. The historic 18th-century palazzo, which originally opened as a hotel in 1924, will have 104 elegant rooms and suites designed by Tommaso Ziffer in collaboration with Olga Polizzi (director of design for Rocco Forte Hotels). There will be two presidential suites, but you’ll want to book the one on the 8th floor because it boasts private elevator access and spans 1,185 square feet with two terraces, a sitting room, dining room, and study. The hotel will also feature three restaurants and cocktail bars headed by executive chef Fulvio Pierangelini, a stylish rooftop bar with stunning views of Rome, and a two-story spa with a thermal concept and five treatment rooms.
The Desert Oasis: Six Senses Shaharut
Opening: Q3 2019
One of the year’s biggest openings is happening in the arid desert in southern Israel, where the closest attraction is the Red Sea, some 50 miles to the south. Set into a dramatic cliff with panoramic views of the desert landscape, Six Senses Shaharut will have 58 suites and villas, including one three-bedroom retreat, when it opens in the third quarter of this year. The villas will be built from local rocks and feature furnishings sourced from local community artisans. The signature restaurant, poolside bar and grill, juice bar, and Six Senses’ trademark “Alchemy Bar” will use ingredients harvested from the resort’s own gardens or from local farmers at nearby kibbutzim. The massive spa facilities will include an indoor pool, outdoor lap pool, fully equipped gym, yoga studio with desert views, and nail bar.
Worried about what to do in the desert? Six Senses Shaharut will also be a home base for exploration, featuring camel stables with an arena and grooming area, and an open-air amphitheater created from the natural terrain that will transform into a cinema beneath the stars. Activities include off-road driving, mountain climbing, mountain biking, camel safaris, craft workshops, bird-watching, wine tours, and a tented Bedouin dining experiences.
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