It is undeniable that luxury travel is back in full force, and with it comes a slew of hot hotel openings. 2013 is sure to be ripe with VIP hideaways. Here we've rounded up our most anticipated hotel openings for 2013.
1.Banyan Tree Kerala
Talk about a dramatic entrance. At the new Banyan Tree Kerala, opening in the first quarter 2013, guests will arrive by boat to the island resort, sailing through Kerala's peaceful backwaters directly into the lobby. Situated in Nedithuruthu, halfway between Kochi and Alleppey, the property will be the first in India for Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts. There will be 59 villas - each with two private pools and unobstructed water views. The Banyan Tree Spa will have a dedicated Ayuvedic Centre. We like the sound of the resort's houseboat - available for cruising Kerala's famously scenic backwaters. Also on site: four meeting rooms for small groups, a kid's club, a gym and two restaurants.
2.Four Seasons Lion Palace St. PetersburgFor over a year now, we’ve been keeping an eye on the restoration of the 19th century Lobanov-Rostovsky Palace as it’s transformed into Four Seasons’ first hotel in Russia. Situated two blocks away from the Winter Palace and Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, the landmark building is guarded by the two stone lions mentioned in Alexander Pushkin’s 1833 poem, The Bronze Horseman. (Hence the hotel name.) Now the hotly anticipated property has postponed its opening, reports Andrew Harper’s blog, until Spring 2013. What’s on tap? 177 guest rooms, including 26 suites; two “see-and-be-seen” restaurants; a glass-roofed winter garden; and a four-storey spa housed in an original courtyard.
3.Le Bristol Abu Dhabi
We hear that Le Bristol Abu Dhabi, inspired by Le Bristol Paris, will open in the second half of 2013. The Oetker Collection senior vice president development Middle East and Africa Samir Daqqaq said a relationship had been formed with the owning company when the chairman of NCTH, HE Sheikh Hamdan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, visited Le Bristol Paris. On the hotel's website, Al Nahyan says that tourism is one the priority areas in the Economic Vision 2030 unveiled by Abu Dhabi last year. "Abu Dhabi’s tourism sector is set for a major boost, buoyed be the inaugural Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix late last year. As per projections by the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, the hotel guest target is estimated to touch 2.7 million annually by 2012." He also compared the upcoming Le Bristol to other cultural attractions like Le Louvre Abu Dhabi and The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum. The hotel will be located on Bainouna Street in Abu Dhabi. Visit www.oetkercollection.com/eng/le-bristol-abu-dhabi/overview.aspx for more information.
Mukul, a luxury boutique hotel and spa in Guacalito de la Isla, a new $250-million, 1,670-acre private beach community on Nicaragua’s Emerald Coast, is scheduled to open in January 2013. Mukul – which is the Mayan word for “secret” – will feature 37 accommodations, each with an ocean view, pool and private staff. Other resort amenities include Spa Mukul, with six private spa-treatment casitas; a beach club featuring dining and lounge areas and a swimming pool; and the 18-hole Guacalito Golf Course. On offer are access to the property’s four miles of beach and coastline, and five kilometers of nature trails for hiking or biking, or observing the four species of monkeys and other wildlife that reside in the coastal forest. There are similarly customized experiences. Mukul and Guacalito de la Isla are the vision of Nicaraguan entrepreneur Don Carlos Pellas, whose family has roots in the country that date back to the 19th century. The Pellas family businesses include transportation, computers, sugar, ethanol, Flor de Caña Rum and the Vivian Pellas Hospital. Pellas also founded the BAC Credomatic financial network in 1985. The property’s designers included Jeff Jensen, principal designer at HKS Hill Glazier Architects, who collaborated with Frank Butler and Song Chia of FAB Studio; SWA Landscape Architects; and Paul Duesing Partners Interior Designers. Their resort projects include Las Ventanas al Paraiso and Palmilla One & Only Hotel in Cabo San Lucas, and Rosewood Mayakoba and Tucker’s Point Club in Bermuda. The Guacalito Golf Course was designed by David McLay Kidd. The concept and treatments at Spa Mukul were created by Angel Vezina Stewart, founding spa director at the Spa at Las Ventanas al Paraiso.
5.Mandarin Oriental Shanghai
Get ready, Shanghai. Mandarin Oriental is coming to town. Hot on the heels of Four Seasons Pudong and Twelve at Hengshan (a Luxury Collection Hotel), the Hong Kong-based luxury hotel group is heading to mainland China for the first time. (You can see why we think Shanghai is such hot hotel turf these days.) Opening on April 1, 2013, the Mandarin Oriental Pudong Shanghai will offer glam, contemporary digs on the banks of the Huangpu River in Pudong’s central financial district. Pierre Barthes has been appointed General Manger. There will be 44 suites, 318 guest rooms, and 210 service apartments with marble bathrooms, panoramic views, and the latest in technology. At 788 square meters, the Presidential Suite will be the city’s largest. Facilities include six restaurants and bars; expansive meeting and function space; a spectacular spa with 13 suites; 25-meter indoor pool and high-tech fitness center. For more information, visit www.mandarinoriental.com/shanghai.