Ten of the best new hotel openings around the world this year …
Despite the testing times of the global pandemic, numerous new hotels did emerge in 2021. Here are ten of the best luxury offerings which also reflect the trends for boutique-sized residences, smaller-scale brands and an increased emphasis on character, local colour and sustainability.
Airelles Chateau de Versaille, Le Grand Contrôle, Paris
Paris was the biggest winner in 2021 with four impressive hotel openings including the LVMH-owned Cheval Blanc with a Dior Spa offering 30-minute “happiness shots” for the time poor, and the Bulgari Paris designed by Italian studio Citterio Viel. Its location, with lemon trees and lawns, overlooked by the Eiffel Tower is spectacular. Though possibly not as spectacular as the Airelles with its astonishing position in the Château de Versailles’ grounds and its out-of-hours palace access. All 14 airy bedrooms delight, their limited number creating an intimate feel, while the period furniture, spa and candlelit Alain Ducasse restaurant enchant; www.airelles.com.
Hôtel Madame Rêve, Paris
After eight years in the making, Hôtel Madame Rêve opened in October 2021. Created by celebrated restaurateur, founder, and art director Laurent Taïeb, the independent hotel has 82 design-led rooms including 19 suites located on the top floor – either overlooking an internal vertical sky garden or the Parisian cityscape. Star suites boast views over well-known sights including the Eiffel Tower, the Sacré-Coeur or Notre-Dame Cathedral. The hotel is located in the iconic 19th-century Louvre post office building, based in the capital’s creative district – dubbed the new “Golden Triangle”. Guests can dine on Mediterranean-style cuisine in the Madame Rêve Café, or enjoy a feast of Japanese-influenced cuisine in the hotel’s destination restaurant which has just opened; www.madamereve.com.
The Bulgari, Paris
Though it has the same designers – Italian studio Citterio Viel – as the jewellery brand’s other six hotels (in Milan, Bali, Shanghai, Beijing, London and Dubai), this Parisian pad offers extra intimacy. Of the 76 rooms, 56 are suites and the largest – the Bulgari Penthouse – is a sprawling two-storey affair with an outside garden and terrace. Ceilings are low, colours muted and lighting seductive – with more than a nod to Art Deco as inspiration. The huge bedrooms and the travel-trunk mini-bars have been major talking points since the opening, as have the bathrooms – lookout for the Maison’s serpent icon discreetly etched onto glass walls or on a bedside tray – and enjoy using the Dyson hairdryers, the leather jewellery holders and the iPad which allow guests to control lights, temperature, television, open the door and order room service from bed. With Italian staff it’s easy to forget you’re in Paris they say – but this seems to offer the best of both Italian design and Parisian elegance; www.bulgarihotels.com.
The Lost Poet, London
Smaller more intimate offerings were trending in 2021, with The Lost Poet channelling the zeitgeist. A contemporary interpretation of a traditional guesthouse, this four-bedroom (adults only) townhouse designed by Cubic Studios is a love letter to Notting Hill. The design harnesses the local colour of Portobello Road and takes inspiration from its famous market, mixing the old with the new. Guests will find modern art, bold wallpapers and bespoke furniture juxtaposed with antique trinkets and reclaimed wood panelling created from old school science labs. Accessible to guests arriving at any time of day or night, the concept offers the independence of a rental property with the design, housekeeping and concierge elements synonymous with a luxury boutique hotel; www.thelostpoet.co.uk.
Can Ferrereta, Santanyi, Mallorca
Located in the town of Santanyí on the south east coast, Can Ferrereta has opened up this lesser-known part of the island (it’s a 40-minute drive from Palma airport). The Soldevila-Ferrer family, who also own the stylish Sant Francesc Hotel Singular in Palma, have meticulously restored a historic 17th-century building, transforming it into a 32-room hotel surrounded by gardens. The interiors are reminiscent of a grand summer house, featuring simple, light and airy design. Rustic wooden beams and original stone work in juxtaposition with sleek furnishings. Art is a defining characteristic, with a focus on local and Spanish artists, (some pieces come from the Soldevila-Ferrer family’s private collection). The hotel’s signature Pool Suite has its own private sundeck, garden and pool and each room is individually designed with bespoke furniture and hand-picked art. There are two restaurants on site – Ocre, overseen by Chef Alvar Albaladejo, serves simple and seasonal Mediterranean fare, while La Fresca restaurant and bar (beside the pool) is the perfect spot to relax for a light bite and has an extensive wine and cocktails menu. Pride of place by the garden and pool, is a stunning sculpture by the renowned Barcelona-born Jaume Plensa. There’s also a spa which offers treatments as well as yoga and meditation sessions; www.hotelcanferrereta.com.
“Kalesma”, meaning “inviting” in Greek, is perfectly suited to the ethos of this boutique, privately-owned property. Modelling itself on a typical, whitewashed Greek village that tumbles down to the sea, Kalesma’s design also extends to lattice work referencing local dovecotes and the same marble used to build the Parthenon in Athens. Decor details include Rick Owens furniture, curved walls, chestnut ceilings and ceramics by Serbian artist Aleksander Vac. The look is organic, heightened by the gardens which are filled with olive trees, vines, citrus fruits and herbs. A private, heated pool in every wood-beamed villa ensures a totally relaxing getaway – Mykonos town is three kilometres away and should you wish to holiday like the A list, private yacht charters and helicopter transfers can be arranged on request; www.kalesmamykonos.com.
Kisawa Sanctuary, Mozambique
Despite the Greek/Danish royal princess Nina Flohr (who recently got married to Prince Philippos of Greece) being behind this 750-acre sanctuary on beach-lined Benguerra Island, the real headline is Kisawa’s devotion to sustainability. “We’ve used design as a tool, not as a style to ensure Kisawa is integrated, culturally and environmentally to Mozambique,” says Flohr who first visited the island when she was 15 and the travel memory lingered. She has created the world’s first 3D printed retreat (made in part from sand and seawater), with exceptional bungalows incorporating local artisanal craft, carpentry and weaving techniques. There are also Mini Mokes for freeform exploring and a coral reef, a zero-waste restaurant, and a sister marine research facility; www.kisawasanctuary.com.
Beaverbrook Town House, London
One of Britain’s best country house hotels has come to West London and is named after Lord Beaverbrook – the former press baron, MP and socialite. A huge investment from Beaverbrook’s passionate owners (including chocolate-family heir Joel Cadbury) has led to numerous 21st century comforts across 14 rooms (each named after a famous London theatre and decorated with clues from the playhouse’s past), plus Japanese fine-dining and – sourced from classic London suppliers – many playful fabrics, fittings and furnishings. The hotel’s best trick, however, is to already feel like it has been here forever; www.beaverbrooktownhouse.co.uk.
Borgo Santandrea, Italy
Overseen by two Italian families, this boutique hotel epitomises everything that makes the Amalfi Coast so romantic. Perched 90 metres above sea level, Borgo Santandrea comprises a private beach, 47 romantic, cliffside rooms and delicious dining. Sensibly letting what’s outside do the talking, the interiors are a serene, sophisticated vision of white and blue, with pearly marble, handmade tiling, eclectic antiques and local stones and linen all adding to the mid-century vibe. There’s a gym you probably won’t use and a library you definitely will (it doubles up as a restaurant and bar). This is a gorgeous addition to the Amalfi coast and is a stone’s throw from Positano and Ravello; www.borgosantandrea.it.
Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid
Formerly the Hotel Ritz Madrid this grande dame reopened having been taken on by the Mandarin Oriental group. The result? Proof that a big brand can boldly inject creativity into a landmark property while retaining its character. The vibe is pure Roaring Twenties – especially in the leafy Palm Court and showpiece restaurant Deessa – there’s a lot of gilding which probably appeals to its clientele of Spanish royals and rockstars. Quique Dacosta’s contemporary cooking and Jorge Vázquez uniforms for the staff are signature details, as are the light, airy rooms and suites. It’s definitely a “special occasion” stay in an enviable location – situated next door to the Prado Museum and the Thyssen-Bronemisza Museum opposite; www.mandarinoriental.com.
The Woodward, Geneva
The Oetker Collection comprises some of the world’s most iconic hotels (Le Bristol, Paris, Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes, The Lanesborough in London to name a few …) and has added this Geneva address to its portfolio. On the shores of Lake Geneva, overlooking Mont Blanc, the interiors have been created by Pierre-Yves Rochon. Yes, it’s ultra-luxe and includes a Joël Robuchon fine-dining restaurant, and a huge 1,200m2 Guerlain Spa. For a totally pampering weekend, connecting its guests to what Geneva has to offer is central to The Woodward’s mission and suggestions range from visiting the market of Plainpalais, to testing the city’s burgeoning cocktail scene or taking in the artisan workshops of Carouge. Watch aficionados should take note: the Patek Philippe Museum is considered one of the world’s finest horology museums displaying over five centuries of watchmaking history, to which The Woodward concierge can arrange private tours. For those who prefer the outdoors, there are few more relaxing ways to explore the region than sailing Lake Geneva and travelling to Montreux, stopping at Nyon, Évian-les-Bains and Lausanne. Geneva is also home to an incredible wine region, with two of Switzerland’s most prestigious Grand Cru appellations, Dezaley and Calamin, located in Lavaux, which is within driving distance from the hotel. Lavaux’s terraced vineyards were established by monks during the 12th century, and the region has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. Lavaux is almost as well known for its hiking trails – The Woodward suggests the popular 10km route that takes in Chexbres, Saint-Saphorin, Rivaz and Epesses, stopping off to sample some of the delights in a traditional “pinte vaudoise”; www.oetkercollection.com.
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