100 holiday ideas for 2010: Hotels
Sunday 03 January 2010
Transporting its much-loved Thai luxury formula to China for the second time, Amanresorts opens Amanfayun (amanresorts.com), its 24th luxury retreat, this month. Set amid bamboo groves and botanical gardens just 20 minutes by car from the historical centre of Hangzhou, this village of houses with clay tile roofs feels as rural as can be, with the 42 individually designed rooms, suites and villas resplendent in a unique heritage-steeped tea plantation context.
London's grand dame, The Dorchester, will get a 70-room country-house little sis' this year – Coworth Park (coworthpark.com). The look will be elegant, as you might expect, and quintessentially British, featuring English smoked-oak floors and festoons of cashmere, mohair and linen. The 240-acre plot next to Windsor Great Park, in Royal Berkshire, includes an equestrian centre, two polo pitches, an eco-luxe spa, archery and pitch and putt.
Mexico's Hotelito Desconocido Jaliso (hotelito.com), due to open in May, will offer upscale ecotourism at its sexiest. This year-round resort will be run entirely on renewable energy, featuring home-grown, organic food. Nature's done a great job of laying on the "wow factor", with a sparkling lagoon, canals and virgin beaches flanking the 27 suites and three villas. The decor will be distinctly Mexican, with each boudoir unique in style. And the thalassotherapy spa and wellness centre will take its cue from Asia and the Mediterranean.
Sharp-angled architecture bolsters the design-hotel credentials of The Park Hotel (theparkhotels.com) in Hyderabad, India, the new flagship for The Park Hotel Group. The exterior of this business-meets-pleasure, 285-room stopover also celebrates the city's gemstone heritage by incorporating references to jewellery settings and metalwork. There's also the see-and-be-seen 3D "horizon" pool, which encases a conduit from the sociable outdoor terraces to the eco-conscious hotel's nightclub.
Playa Vik – an art-enhanced avant-garde beachfront retreat on a peninsula in Uruguay – ticks all the boutique-hotel boxes thanks to sharp design, slick service, and its exclusive setting. The new sister to Estancia Vik, due to open in April, will increase Uruguay's allure as a burgeoning luxury destination. Materials at this bougainvillea-framed escape include titanium panels in the knock-out curved exterior. Inside, handmade Japanese parchment hangs alongside an impressive collection of international and South American art. But this is not just a pretty space, feathers in its green cap include intelligent power using renewable energy.
Chocoholics will soon be able to check-in to a hotel dedicated to their favourite treat, thanks to the upmarket confectioner Hotel Chocolat (hotelchocolat.com).
Called, of course, Hotel Chocolat, it will open in April on a 140-acre rainforest plantation in the Caribbean with six deluxe Cocoa Pod Lodges. As well as being able to watch this cocoa farm at work, guests will be able to indulge in a cooked-before-your-eyes chocolate-enhanced menu and treat themselves to special-recipe massage treatments.
Saffire (saffire-freycinet.com.au), a five-star coastal retreat, will add a new level of luxury to Tasmania this autumn. An hour's direct flight from Melbourne, and less than two from Sydney, the views of Great Oyster Bay and the world-class beach will make it worth the trip. A whopping $32m (£20m) has been lavished on this hotel – the most spent on any property on this South Australian island in more than two decades. But don't think that means flashy and vulgar – this is a sanctuary that celebrates its extraordinary natural habitat.
The biggest outpost of media-luvvies club Soho House (sohohouse.com) opens in Berlin in May. This 40-room property with rooftop pool and cinema is set in the Mitte district, bordering Prenzlauer Berg. Rooms will come in five different sizes, from dormitory-look attic bunk-ups to huge suites replete with Art Deco free-standing tubs. The listed late-Bauhaus building, which opened in 1928 as a department store, will include a Cecconi's restaurant and Cowshed spa.
Leicester Square is the fitting bright-lights-big-city spot for W's launch in the UK. The Dutch agency, Concrete, is behind the urbane interiors while Jestico + Whiles has conjured up the LED-augmented architecture for this West-End outpost of Starwood Hotels & Resorts' young-at-heart, lifestyle brand. The 192 guest rooms will, no doubt, be snapped up by tourists and scenesters keen to take pole position in this world-class film, theatre and music hub in a "bleisure"-geared property that aims to soothe by day, and stimulate by night.
Finally, a hotel so hot off the press it doesn't have a name yet. What we do know is that Swire Hotels (swire hotels.co.uk), creator of the Opposite House in Beijing, is building a 60-room hotel in Cheltenham's Montpelier district to herald the launch of a new affordable-luxury hotel brand. It will be set in what was once the Alias Kandinsky, with a contemporary wing added to the original Regency building. "It's a new breed of design hotel," says Brian Williams, managing director of Swire Hotels. "Less Noughties, with a pared-back look for the new decade." Promises of artworks from YBAs, English-made furniture, and a middle-of-the-market restaurant and bar headed up by a famous chef, compel us to watch this space.
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