Luxury Travel Advisor surveyed its Advisory Board (comprising the prestigious group of those who have appeared in our cover stories) to see what has them excited for 2018. What we learned? Wellness, renovated historic hotels and the beach were common threads for many of the hotels. Without further ado, here are the hotels that they’ve been keeping close tabs on, all of which are making their debut in 2018 (with some already having opened their doors), listed in alphabetical order (to eliminate any bias).
Note: Each of these were the finalists on our Awards of Excellence, the winner of which will be announced May 31 at our ULTRA Summit conference at the Eau Palm Beach in Manalapan, FL.
Capella Ubud, Bali
Capella Ubud, which is opening this summer, is nestled between Ubud’s rainforest, rice paddy fields and the sacred Wos River. Inspired by the early European settlers from the 1800s, architect Bill Bensley conceptualized this tented camp retreat as a tribute to their spirit of adventure.
Sensitivity to Ubud’s densely forested terrain was, and is, a top priority, and all products are sourced locally. Good to know: No tree was cut during construction. The property has 22 ultra-luxury tents (each with their own individual plunge pools), a two-bedroom lodge, an Auriga spa wellness retreat, The Capella Library, a tented gymnasium and dining options such as a robatayaki grill and garden specialty dining.
Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens
Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens is set to be the brand’s first property in Greece. Situated on a 75-acre estate on a pine-covered private peninsula, the resort will have two private beaches on what’s considered the “Athens Riviera”—16 miles south of the bustling capital (30 minutes to the city center by car).
When the estate emerges from the 100 million-euro refurbishment (originally scheduled for this spring), the seaside resort will have a room count of 303, including 61 bungalows, a state-of-the-art, 10-treatment room spa and fitness center, eight dining options, three pools (two outdoor and one indoor), a beachside promenade and more.
Montage Los Cabos
Montage Los Cabos opens this spring, at the end of May, in The Twin Dolphin community in Santa Maria Bay (in Los Cabos’ Golden Corridor). Guests can expect a signature Spa Montage, multiple dining venues (with a focus on the region’s seafood), two pools, a children’s program and more. Guests also have access to the nearby Fred Couples Signature Golf Course.
There are 122 earth-toned rooms, suites and cases – all of which are at least 895 square feet and offer at least partial ocean views. The top digs are the Ocean View Casa with Pool options. Casa Twin Dolphin, Casa Santa Maria and Casa Cardón are fully enclosed with sprawling courtyards, an infinity-edge pool and even a garage. Each casa has three to five bedrooms, indoor/outdoor living areas and an open kitchen space.
Raffles Europejski Warsaw
Originally opened in 1857, the historic hotel (it was almost completely destroyed during WWII) in Warsaw reopened its doors this spring after undergoing a restoration project. Raffles Europejski Warsaw (which, in its current form, was rebuilt in stages in the 1950s) has 106 guestrooms and suites, a restaurant with an outdoor terrace showcasing Poland’s cuisine and a patisserie, tempting guests and locals with chocolates, cakes, ice-cream and other sweet delicacies. There is also a bar, a cigar lounge and a spa.
The restoration team worked closely with the local conservation body to ensure the hotel’s heritage and character were preserved throughout the renovation. Raffles Europejski Warsaw is located in the capital’s historic district and is located next to the Presidential Palace.
Rosewood Baha Mar
Rosewood Baha Mar made is making long-awaited debut in The Bahamas this June. All rooms and suites have balconies, and there are also four beachfront residential-style villas (private pools included). In total, there are 237 accommodations; the resort also has two swimming pools, cabanas and a spa for all guests.
Located in the Baha Mar complex, Rosewood—like the other hotels—has access to shared amenities such as the Caribbean’s largest casino, an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course, ESPA flagship 30,000-square-foot spa, and more than 40 restaurants, bars and lounges.
Rosewood Luang Prabang
Rosewood Luang Prabang opened in April in the tropical forests just north of central Laos. The resort has 23 spacious accommodations, broken down by four deluxe rooms, four specialty suites, three riverside villas, six pool villas and six luxury tents. Each of the resort’s guest housings is bordered by riverbank. Each of the 800-square-foot tented villas has its own private dining area and wrap-around deck. Throughout the property, Lao tradition and French colonial style are found in the design and architecture, including the use of indigenous materials, locally inspired artwork and local artifacts and antiques.
At the Great House, the menu changes daily based on what produce is available from local farmers and markets. For something lighter, guests can opt for the riverside Elephant Bridge Bar, which offers healthy snacks and cocktails with a tropical spin. Local herbs and produce are also used in the treatments offered at the spa. Here, therapists are trained in Laotian healing techniques, while native village healer, Mr. Xong, specializes in Hmong Experience therapies using foraged ingredients.
Six Senses Bhutan
One of the most talked-about hotel projects of 2018 is the Six Senses lodges, which will be opening in Bhutan in August. Luxury adventurers can embark on a circuit around the Himalayan Kingdom, visiting the five lodges in Bhutan’s western and central valleys, each designed around a specific theme. (Three lodges will be opening this summer with two more to follow by the end of 2018.) Note: It’s possible to just visit one of the lodges or Six Senses can create a customized itinerary.
The lodges will range in size and facilities, but all will have a focus on spa, wellness, healthy eating, comfort in sleep and self-discovery.
What to expect: Six Senses Thimpu lodge will be perched on a hill overlooking Thimphu Valley and the 170-foot-high Buddha. Punakha Valley, the warmest of the Six Senses destinations in Bhutan, will have a rustic rural vibe. Gangtey is a settlement in a glacial valley known for the its population of endangered black-necked cranes. Bumthang is the farthest location to the east, and the lodge is referred to as “a forest within a forest.” And the lodge in Paro Valley is near the famous “Tiger’s Nest” monastery.
Six Senses Fiji
Six Senses Fiji opened in April as the first foray into the South Pacific for the upscale hospitality brand. Located on Malolo Island, Six Senses Fiji is surrounded by white, sandy beaches, tropical forests and crystal-clear turquoise lagoons. The resort is privy to a private beach (2,100 feet long). The water sports team can arrange a number of excursions, including snorkeling and surf jaunts to nearby reef breaks.
Reflecting the brand’s commitment to sustainability, Six Senses Fiji will be 100 percent solar powered using Tesla batteries. There will be 24 one- and two-bedroom pool villas complete with private decks and outdoor showers. In addition, there will be 10 private residences (an additional 50 will be constructed during phase two of the development). F&B outlets will include two restaurants, a café, an outdoor pizzeria and grill plus two bars.
There’s also a top-notch Wellness Village with a Six Senses spa and gym. Highlights include a sprawling wet area with hot and cold whirlpools, the “alchemy bar” and a yoga pavilion perched in the treetops. Feeling adventurous? The resort offers a weekly activity guide with cultural and wellness experiences.
The Setai Tel Aviv
The Setai hotel brand made its debut in Tel Aviv this January with the opening of The Setai, Tel Aviv. The hotel, which joined The Leading Hotels of the World, is located in the historic Old Jaffa area of the city, steps from Clock Square and the city’s coastline, at the historic site known as the “Kishle,” which was originally constructed by the Turkish Empire to be a prison on the site of a historic Crusader fortress.
During the restoration, much of the building’s ancient roots were kept intact. Original wooden ceilings, wooden doors, ironwork and windows of Kishle were preserved. Two floors and a new wing designed to reflect the style of the historical structures were added.
The Setai has 110 rooms and 10 suites. The top option is the Presidential Suite, with a master bedroom, a guest room, a kitchen with a dining area and a balcony. Deluxe, Premium Plus, Executive and Premium rooms have balconies with views of the Mediterranean Sea.