The big hotel openings of 2023

 

Tel Aviv, Israel

A white bauhaus style bulding seen in evening light
© Amit-Geron

Born in what is now Lviv and trained at the Bauhaus in Weimar, Pinchas Hütt, aka Philip Hutt, became one of the great Modernist architects of Tel Aviv. Among his masterpieces are two houses on Rothschild Boulevard: the Yitzhaki House at nos 89-91 and no 48, which is poised to open as an 11-room hotel, R48. In keeping with the building’s clean lines, its pale understated interiors have been furnished by Christian Liaigre and its roof terrace (with pool) and gardens are the work of Piet Oudolf, so aesthetically there shouldn’t be anything to fault. The fact that the hoteliers behind it are Ruti and Mati Broudo’s R2M, the partnership behind the city’s Hotel Montefiore, suggests its restaurants will be worth a trip too. Due to open on January 15; double rooms from $1,500 per night; r48.co.il


Huesca, Spain

a well-lit booking hall transformed into a hotel reception desk

When it opened in 1928 on the Spanish-French border 1,000 metres above sea level in the Pyrenees, Canfranc International was one of the most splendid railway stations in Europe, a Beaux Art palace with a 241-metre facade lit by 365 windows. It closed in 1970, and though it became a place of pilgrimage for railway enthusiasts, it fell into disrepair. This January it gets a new lease of life when it opens as Canfranc Estación, a Royal Hideaway Hotel (named in deference to the fact that the original station was opened by King Alfonso XIII of Spain and the then French president Gaston Doumergue). The former booking hall will become its reception; two historic rail carriages will serve as its restaurants; and the rest of the building has been reconfigured to accommodate 104 bedrooms, a swimming pool, spa and library. January 24; from €233; barcelo.com


Sri Lanka

A villa overlooks a palm-fringed pool
Kayaam House, near Tangalle © Shakir Jamaldeen

The Dilmah Ceylon Tea Company first ventured into hospitality in 2005 when it launched Resplendent, the company behind Ceylon Tea Trails and Cape Weligama. It’s now created another brand, Reverie, which has three openings in prospect. The first two are on the south coast: Ahu Bay stands on Ahungalla Point between two sandy coves from which it’s safe to swim (not a given in Sri Lanka) and has four ocean-facing suites and three three-bedroom beach villas; while Kayaam House, near Tangalle, has eight rooms and more of an emphasis on yoga, wellness, birdwatching and kayaking, thanks to its proximity to the Rekawa Lagoon. A third property, Kelburne Estate, is expected at the end of the year, a string of cottages amid the tea plantations of Haputale, 1,500 metres up in the southern hill country. February 1; Ahu from $450; Kayaam from $700 including all meals, a daily spa treatment and yoga. thereverie.life


Crans Montana, Switzerland

Chairs and tables on a balcony overlooking snowy mountains

2023 stands to be a bumper year for Six Senses, with openings in Rome, the Maldives, the Himalayas and the Alps, where its first ski-in, ski-out resort in Switzerland, Six Senses Crans Montana, opens in February. Just above the main gondola in Crans, with 78 rooms all with terraces or balconies facing the final turn of the Chetzeron piste, it has a contemporary take on a chalet aesthetic — lots of larch, oak, quartzite and slate — indoor and outdoor pools, a spa and an outdoor cinema heated by fire pits and supplied with warm blankets. February 1; from CHF700; sixsenses.com


Amsterdam, Netherlands

Just over half an hour by bike (10km) from the Rijksmuseum on the banks of the Ijmeer lake lies the village of Durgerdam, home to about 430 people and, from the spring, a lakeside gastronomic inn, De Durgerdam. Also accessible from central Amsterdam by private boat (or taxi), the newly restored 17th-century timber-frame building will have 14 rooms designed by the modish Dutch design agency buro Belén and a restaurant, De Mark, helmed by chefs Richard Oostenbrugge and Thomas Groot, whose Amsterdam flagship, 212, has two Michelin stars. March 1; from €250; dedurgerdam.com


Sydney, Australia

A hotel room with bed, desk and chairs and large windows

Built in 1915 in a style that came to be known locally as Edwardian baroque, Sydney’s monumental former department of education, which occupies an entire block in a part of the Central Business District now known as the Sandstone Precinct, gets a new lease of life as Capella Sydney, perhaps the first truly splendid grand hotel in the city. Ken Shuttleworth’s MAKE Architects have added a four-storey glass roof extension to what they call its “Florentine palazzo-style facade”, restored the marble that lined its public areas and reinstated its garden courtyard. Its original architect, George McRae, will be remembered in the name of its McRae Bar. March 6; from Aus$775; capellahotels.com


Palm Springs, California

A low-level rustic-looking building surrounded by very tall palm trees
© Chris Miller

Converted from a former motel that has stood opposite the Moorten Botanical Garden since 1965, Life House has been “reimagined”, says Rami Zeidan, the 34-year-old founder of the boutique US brand of the same name, as though it were the mid-century modern home of “a desert-dwelling botanist”, whose “Old Hollywood” type friends would drive out for the weekend. The seventh in a burgeoning portfolio of knowingly retro “hotels that tell stories”, it will have 66 rooms with mountain views, but its pool bar, cabañas and dining terrace will be where the party is. April; from $225; lifehousehotels.com


Rome, Italy

a five-storey hotel with rectangular windows with buildings across it. In the distance is a church with a dome

Given the controversy provoked by Fendi’s decision to move its headquarters into the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, a building that exemplified Mussolini’s preferred architectural style, it’s brave of Bulgari to be opening a hotel in one of the monumental office blocks on Piazza Augusto Imperatore that Il Duce commissioned to flank the circular Mausoleum of Augustus (itself built in 28 BCE and which reopened to the public in 2021 after an 80-year closure). “Mussolini ordered [ . . . ] the location to be adorned with buildings and shrines fitting for the ways of humanity in the year 1940,” reads the inscription on the hotel’s façade, which is adorned with reliefs of winged victories.

Still, there’s no denying it’s an imposing spot for what Bulgari’s CEO, Jean-Christophe Babin, asserts “will be the most luxurious hotel ever built in Rome”. The architects Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel have used a lot of red, yellow and green marble in its conversion. Chef Niko Romito (whose restaurant Reale, in Castel di Sangro, has three Michelin stars) will oversee the restaurant. And as befits Bulgari’s heritage, there’ll be a library of books on jewellery. Summer; rates not yet set; bulgarihotels.com


Puigpunyent, Mallorca

A red-painted villa surrounded by trees and hills

Twenty minutes by car north-west of the island capital, Palma, towards the rolling Serra de Tramuntana, Son Net, an estate of olive groves, citrus orchards and vineyards dating back to 1672, has been one of the loveliest hotels on Mallorca since it opened in 1998. Last year, Finca Cortesin, one of the finest hotels in Andalucía, bought a substantial stake in it and will relaunch it this spring following a major refurbishment (both hotels will have the same manager, René Zimmer). The coral-coloured façades of the manor house have been carefully restored, as have the original coffered ceilings and antique fireplaces, but a new 1,000 sq m spa has been added. Interiors have been transformed by the Spanish designer Lorenzo Castillo. May 1; from €792; sonnet.es

Also in the west of the island, closer to the coast, Son Bunyola is another finca due to open this summer, a partly fortified estate dating back to the 13th century that will be part of Virgin’s Limited Edition portfolio. August 1; from €600; virginlimitededition.com


Cognac, France

Just west of the centre of the medieval town of Cognac, on the banks of the river Charente, lies La Nauve, a Belle Époque mansion and former distillery turned hotel. Its raison d’être is to facilitate tours and tastings of the town’s celebrated brandy distilleries and warehouses (a boat will shuttle you into town), but it should also make a good base from which to explore the Charente region and its ancient villages and vineyards. April; from €350; lanauve.com


Melides, Portugal

A view into a hotel bedroom which has geometric patterns on the floor and walls

A half-hour drive from Comporta, 120km south of Lisbon, brings you to the little beachside village of Melides — Condé Nast Traveler calls it Portugal’s answer to Montauk — which thanks to its spectacular beach has lately become fashionable with architects, artists and designers, among them Philippe Starck, Vincent Van Duysen, Anselm Kiefer and Christian Louboutin, who will open a 15-room hotel there this summer. Hotel Vermelho — its name translates as red, like the soles of his shoes — has been built by a local architect, Madalena Caiado, but the interiors will reflect Louboutin’s own eclectic taste in furniture, art and ceramics. Summer; rates not yet set; vermelhohotel.com


Bhutan

A single-story villa surrounded by lush greenery

Best known for its lodges and camps across southern Africa, &Beyond is opening its first fully owned and managed property in Asia, Punakha Valley Lodge, which will join Aman Resorts, Como and Six Senses in the lush Punakha Valley. One of the most temperate parts of the Himalayan kingdom, the valley is home to the 17th-century Punakha Dzong, the most splendid of the Himalayan kingdom’s fortified monasteries (and the winter home to its largest community of monks), the towering pagoda-style stupa Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, and the 160-metre prayer-flag lined Punakha suspended footbridge. The lodge stands on the banks of the Mo Chhu river (rafting and kayaking will be offered) and will have just six tented suites and two villas, the latter with plunge pools. September; rates not yet set; andbeyond.com


New York, US

The Surrey has long been an Upper East Side institution, discreet, low key and though not exactly under the radar, never, despite its excellence, quite the talk of the town. All that is set to change when it reopens as Corinthia New York, named after the Maltese hotel group that will manage it. The 1926 building is now owned by the Reuben Brothers, and its interiors have been redesigned by the supremely sought-after Swedish maximalist Martin Brudnizki (for whom 2023 is going to be a busy year, what with La Fantaisie, which opens in Paris’s Faubourg-Montmartre this spring, and the Broadwick Soho due later in the year in London). The restaurant, formerly the much-loved Café Boulud, will be replaced by an outpost of the also very fine but flashier Miami institution Casa Tua. Winter; rates not yet set; corinthiagroup.com

For those who’d prefer to stay downtown, the British hotel group Firmdale is opening a third New York property, the Warren Street Hotel in Tribeca, an 11-storey new build with 57 rooms and 12 residences, with floor-to-ceiling windows, many with terraces, and all decorated in Kit Kemp’s colourful and distinctive style. September; from US$925; firmdalehotels.com


Palm Beach, US

A view over a clock tower and palm tress to the sea
© Getty Images

A century ago Venetian architecture was all the rage in Palm Beach — Trump’s Mar-a-Lago is a case in point — and when the Vineta Hotel, which merits a listing on the National Register of Historic Places, first opened in 1926, it was named the Lido-Venice. Like The Surrey, it too was acquired by the Reuben Brothers last year and is undergoing a revamp by the Parisian decorator Tino Zervudachi before relaunching as part of Oetker’s Masterpiece Hotels portfolio, the first in the US. Back when it was new, the Palm Beach Daily News judged it “the most attractive [hotel] in the resort community” with the “best buffet table in Palm Beach”, two accolades it will surely reclaim. That its flushed pink stucco facade recalls that of its sister property, the Hotel du Cap Eden-Roc on the French Riviera, can’t hurt either. Winter; rates not yet set; oetkercollection.com


Indonesia

Palm trees on the deck of a hotel overlooking the sea

An hour’s flight in a floatplane north-east of Batam island (itself just over an hour by ferry from Singapore), the Pavilions Anambas consists of 22 bankirai-wood villas and residences, some with their own beach, strung across two tiny private islands in the Riau archipelago, which lies between Borneo and the Malay Peninsula in the North Natuna Sea. Such is its remoteness, the hotel is striving for self-sufficiency when it comes to water and energy (there’ll be solar panels on its steep shingled roofs as well as on pontoons), and disposable plastic will be banned to minimise waste, in deference to the pristine and unfrequented dive sites and coral reefs nearby. Winter; from US$950; pavilionshotels.com


Les Trois-Bassins, La Réunion

Much of it designated a Unesco World Heritage Site, the Réunion National Park covers more than 40 per cent of this lushly verdant, volcanic Indian Ocean island and département of France. Even so, tourism is in its infancy and, compared with its smaller neighbour Mauritius, it has few alluring hotels. Next winter’s opening of a new 84-room, four-star, Le Wood Hotel & Spa, ought to raise the bar, however. Designed by the French-Mauritian architect Eric Chavoix, who formerly worked for the architect Jean Nouvel, it overlooks the ocean from the grassy black basalt cliffs of Pointe des Diamants on the west coast, close to Saint-Gilles-les-Bains, the closest the island has to a resort town. Winter; rates not yet set; woodhotel.re


Cartagena, Colombia

A view from above of a swimming pool on the top of building in an urban setting

Right on the edge of the city’s walled Old Town — a Unesco World Heritage Site — in the neighbourhood of Getsemani (Lonely Planet calls it gritty, but it may not be for long), the forthcoming Four Seasons has been created from a cluster of historic buildings, among them a 16th-century cloister, a Beaux Arts-style members’ club and four theatres. Carefully restored and reconfigured, they’ve been combined to create a 131-room hotel with six restaurants and bars, one of them serving the rooftop pool, which has views across the Spanish colonial-era heart of the city and towards the Caribbean and Bodeguita Pier, from which boats depart for the Rosario islands. Winter; rates not yet set; fourseasons.com


Tokyo, Japan

High-rise buildings in a city seen against a night sky
© DBOX

Thirty-five years after the company was established, Aman Resorts is launching its first spin-off brand aimed at a younger, marginally less well-heeled crowd who are less concerned with privacy and Zen-like calm and more in search of a scene. The group is planning Janu hotels for Montenegro (2024) and Saudi Arabia (2025), but the first will be Janu Tokyo, occupying floors one to 13 of the 240m-high, 53-storey B-2 District Tower, part of the Toranomon Azabudai project, an 8.1ha “modern urban development” designed by Heatherwick Studio, in Minato City. The hotel’s interiors will be the work of long-term Aman architect Jean-Michel Gathy of Denniston International and, along with 122 rooms, there will be six restaurants, a café, bars and a 3,500-sq metre spa. Opening date and rates to be announced; janu.com

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