New hotels for 2013

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Are you sleeping comfortably? Next year promises a bumper crop of exciting openings.  Chris Leadbeater selects 13 imminent arrivals

London’s high life

As yet, western Europe’s tallest building (at 1,016ft) is still a shell, but its 72nd-floor observation deck will open to the public on 1 February, and a hotel will follow in early summer. The Shangri-La group’s first UK property will also be the first new-build five-star in London in over a decade. It will take up floors 34 to 52 of this architectural giant, offering 202 rooms and suites. Epic views of the capital will, of course, come as standard.

0800 028 3337;

Oslo’s ‘criminal’ hideaway

As hotel names go, “The Thief” is decidedly ear-catching. This new boutique option in the Norwegian capital – which opens on 9 January – is so-christened because it sits in Tjuvholmen, a fjord-side district where criminals were once executed. But times change, and The Thief – equipped with 119 rooms – is the latest element in the gentrification of a waterfront that is rapidly shedding its warehouses for cafés, shops and the drama of Norway’s national opera house.

00 47 24 00 40 00;

Hong Kong’s fairytale fantasy

Mira Moon, a 91-room boutique hotel will appear in early summer in the Wan Chai district of Hong Kong Island as a mix of Far East tradition and contemporary flair. Its decor will be themed around the Moon Festival and its legend of a woman who drinks an elixir and soars to the Moon to become a goddess. Expect this left-field vision – created by Dutch designer Marcel Wanders – to mean light, art and space.

00 852 2315 5618;

Nicaragua’s  beachside surprise

Usually viewed as a destination only for the intrepid, Nicaragua will dip its toe into the warm waters of the luxury accommodation market in February, with the unveiling of the Mukul Resort. This splendid possibility will dig itself into the white sands of the Central American country’s Emerald Coast, on its Pacific flank – proffering 37 beach villas. The focus will be on the quiet life, delivered via massages and treatments at the in-house spa. But those averse to full-time relaxation can also pit themselves against an 18-hole golf course.

00 505 852 99 829;

Lima’s arty upstart

Often dismissed as little more than a stop-off on the road to Machu Picchu,  the Peruvian capital is an underrated city whose Spanish colonial heritage  (not least the 17th-century Convento de San Francisco) is arguably as  spectacular as any “lost” Inca treasure. And its appeal will be boosted in February by the arrival – in the bohemian, oceanside district of Barranco – of Hotel B (El Hotel de Barranco), which claims to be “the first arts-boutique hotel in Lima”. Here, 17 suites have been fitted into a 19th-century mansion – where the ambience will be assisted by El Comedor, a bar that sells a range of potent Peruvian piscos.

00 51 17005100;;

New York’s hat trick

The Big Apple scarcely needs another boutique retreat, but The Refinery will still be a welcome arrival. Pitched in the Garment District on West 38th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues), the hotel makes use of the Colony Arcade Building – a former hat factory. The soul of the neo-Gothic structure has been preserved – 12 floors and 197 rooms will retain period fittings. A lobby tea lounge will also greet guests when the hotel opens in March.

001 646 664 0310;

St Petersburg’s  royal retreat

At times, it is easy to believe that St Petersburg entirely ignored the Russian Revolution, so regal is much of the gracious architecture on show in the city. This is certainly the case with the Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace, a 19th-century aristocratic home which is due to find a fresh purpose this spring as a five-star hideaway. Some of the nips and tucks to the building – such as a top-floor pool under a glass roof, plus a sizeable spa – will introduce lavish modernity. But the retention of the original sweeping staircase in the entrance hall will ensure the spirit of 1820s is kept alive.

0800 6488 6488;

Hampshire’s country pile

Tucked amid 400 acres of gardens and woodland 10 miles south of Reading, Heckfield Place will be a celebration of Englishness when it opens in March. The transformation of this 18th-century manor into a weekend retreat has been slow going, but the process will bear fruit in the form of 60 large rooms (as well as a 65-seat underground cinema). Guests can stroll in the grounds and dine on produce sourced from the estate’s farm. B&B doubles from £400 per night.

0118 932 6868;

Oman’s mountain marvel

Most hotels on the Arabian Peninsula tend to gaze out over the water, but the latest offering from the Asian luxury resort specialist, Alila, will opt for the more remote territory of Oman’s Hajar Mountains. The Alila Jabal Akhdar is scheduled to launch in autumn. It is tucked 2,000m above sea level, a two-hour drive west of Muscat. The accent will be on escape, in a retreat that’s beyond the reach of even the desert heat and has 78 rooms and cliffside restaurant.

00 65 6735 8300;

Sri Lanka’s chic escape

India’s near-neighbour will take another small step away from the grim spectre of its former civil war on 14 February, with the opening of the Beach House Pasikudah. This 34-suite resort will bring a five-star presence to Pasikudah Bay, midway along Sri Lanka’s eastern coastline – a portion of this often idyllic Indian Ocean island that was largely cut off in the government’s war on the Tamil Tigers from 1983 to 2009. That said, the resort is close enough to the key sights of Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya for easy insight into the country’s Unesco-acknowledged cultural heritage. Double rooms start at US$198 (£122), including breakfast.

00 94 11 473 6263;

Marrakech’s  spacious statement

Morocco’s most fabled city trades on an image of giddy chaos and clutter. But the Baglioni Marrakech, destined to open at a still unspecified moment in 2013, will cling to a contradictory ethos. The Italian hotel group’s first foray into Africa will spread its arms inside 34 acres of parkland. Here, a luxury 80-room hotel will compete with a Six Senses spa. Marrakech will rarely have seemed so peaceful.

00 212 524 390 930;

Zambia’s wonderful wildlife

March 2013 will see the launch of Chinzombo Safari Lodge, the sixth camp to be opened by the Zambia specialist, Norman Carr Safaris. This top-end option will have six “wildly luxurious villas” – each with private pool – standing next to the Luangwa River. The South Luangwa National Park has a firm reputation for big-cat sightings.

0845 468 2177;

Santa Barbara’s coastal classic

Strictly speaking, there is nothing new about El Encanto, 100 miles north-west of Los Angeles in the seafront enclave of Santa Barbara. However, a hotel that has hosted endless Hollywood stars has been closed for renovation since 2006, under the careful eye of new owner Orient Express. March 2013 brings its long overdue return with 92 luxury bungalows in seven acres of landscaped gardens.

001 805 8455800;

Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
peopleHere's what Stephen Fry would say
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Proust as Captain Laure Berthaud in 'Spiral'
tvReview: Gritty, engaging and well-acted - it’s a wonder France’s biggest TV export isn’t broadcast on a more mainstream channel
Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Laura Carmichael in still from Madam Bovary trailer
Serena Williams holds the Australian Open title
sportAustralia Open 2015 final report
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - Franchised Main Dealer

    £30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

    Recruitment Genius: Group Sales Manager - Field Based

    £21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Guru Careers: Email Marketing Specialist

    £26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Email Marketing Specialist is needed to join...

    Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

    Day In a Page

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
    Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

    The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

    Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
    Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

    A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
    How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

    How books can defeat Isis

    Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
    The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

    The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

    The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
    Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

    Young carers to make dance debut

    What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
    Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

    Design Council's 70th anniversary

    Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

    Bill Granger's winter salads

    Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
    England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

    George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

    No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
    Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links