A marine conservation centre, private cinema, oxygen lounge and in-room thermal baths are among the trimmings you can look forward to at the bevy of beautiful hotels opening around the world in 2014. And this year they’ll see you check in to increasingly far flung and exclusive corners of the globe – luxe lodgings in Lhasa, a canyon-side retreat on the outskirts of Muscat, or a private island in Doha, anyone?
Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles
Opened: January 2014
The Ace Hotel group’s fifth American property, and the first to open since co-founder Alex Calderwood’s death in November, this LA hotel highlights everything that the Ace brand stands for.
Set in the historic 1927 United Artists building and theater, the 182-room hotel’s eclectic style is a collaboration between local group Commune and Atelier Ace. Guest rooms reflect the rich architectural heritage of the building, but come with fun features such as hotel-exclusive Rudy’s Toiletries, Pearl+ soaps and Revo Radios.
In addition to a rooftop pool and bar, free Wi-Fi and pet-friendly accommodation options, the property will reactivate the building’s original 1,600-seat performance space, which will also house a screening room.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto
Opening: February 7, 2014
Incorporating a traditional Meiji-era house and courtyard, this Zen gem sits on the banks of Kyoto’s Kamogawa River, with many of the city’s 17 World Heritage sites within walking distance.
Japanese design and style features throughout, from the plush Imabari robes in the hotel’s 134 guest rooms to the artworks by 37 local artists. Some suites come with outdoor gardens modeled on tsukimidai (moon-viewing decks); all rooms offer 600-fretted bed linens and featherbeds, Purple Water luxury bath amenities by Asprey of London, and Kyoto Shabon soaps and seasonal bath salts, also used in the 2,000-square-meter ESPA, set at the base of a waterfall.
The Japanese dining room, with its 11-meter Uwajima-nuri lacquered counter and waterfall, focuses on Edomae-style sushi, while Pierre Hermé Paris, creator of Haute Pâtisserie, has been called in to create an exclusive range of signature desserts.
Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam
Opening: March 2014
Six original patrician houses – all of them World Heritage-listed – from the 17th and 18th centuries form this 93-room hotel, set on one of Amsterdam’s oldest canals, the Herengracht, right in the middle of the city’s historic centre.
Sweeping staircases lead to luxurious accommodations, each unique in design and styled with exposed beams, sloping ceilings and large picture windows overlooking the canal or courtyard garden, the largest of its kind in the city.
As tempting as the city’s dining options are, it would be a shame not to enjoy cocktails in Peacock Alley or a nightcap at the converted underground Vault Bar. Be sure to peek into the Monumental room, a function space decorated with original 17th-century paintings.
Alila Jabal Akhdar
Opening: March 2014
Neighboring Dubai and Abu Dhabi but a world away in pace, Oman has managed to steer clear of record-breaking hotels in glass towers with waterparks and snowfields. The country’s newest offering doesn’t deviate from tradition, set at 2,000 meters above sea level in the remote mountainous Jabal Akhdar region, two hours from Muscat.
Asian-based hotel group Alila’s Middle Eastern debut perches on the edge of a dramatic gorge, with views of the Hajar Mountains particularly beguiling from the outdoor pool.
The 86 rooms, suites and villas are set in stone buildings resembling typical, flat-roofed Omani houses, with traditional artwork and artifacts throughout. There are a surprising array of adventure activities in the area, and a spa and indoor pool to retreat to when the desert heat becomes overwhelming.
Anantara Doha Island Resort & Spa
Opening: April 2014
Move over Dubai – Qatar is on Anantara’s radar, and the hotel group is planning to make a splash with the April opening of its 13-hectare private island resort.
Accessible by speedboat, Anantara Doha’s 141 rooms include a series of overwater villas with plunge pools. If you don’t check in here, you’ll still have access to four other pools: one with a wave simulator, another styled on a lagoon, plus hydro-exercise pools.
An offshore reef is also being regenerated and will be home to a conservation centre, giving guests the opportunity to plant their own coral and learn about the underwater environment – you can also strap on a scuba tank at the fully equipped dive centre.
On land, diversions range from a 10-pin bowling alley and cinema to four restaurants and bars, a holistic wellness centre, tennis courts and a nine-hole golf-putting course.
Park Hyatt New York
Opening: Q2 2014
The Park Hyatt’s first New York hotel enjoys a coveted location opposite Carnegie Hall in midtown, with views of Central Park.
Occupying the bottom floors of the 90-storey One57 – the tallest residential building in the city – the 210-room property comes courtesy of Pritzker Prize-winning architect Christian de Portzamparc, with interiors by Yabu Pushelberg (behind a host of hotels and resorts around the world, not to mention Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys in New York).
Park Hyatt’s signature style of understated luxury will be paired with mid-century modern flourishes, with earthy hues and materials incorporated into rooms and suites plus the spa and indoor pool, capping the tower.
Details on the restaurant and destination bar are yet to be announced, but in the country’s culinary Mecca, you can expect them to be pretty special.
W Beijing – Chang’An
Opening: June 28, 2014
In a city where hotels seemingly open every other day, the W Beijing promises to stand out for its cutting-edge offerings just steps from the World Heritage-listed Forbidden City.
As with other W properties, the Beijing hotel’s public spaces will come with whimsical design flourishes, including lipstick-red lacquered pillars and pink peony patterns in the lobby.
The 340 rooms and suites bring state-of-the-art bells and whistles – like integrated audio systems, built-in recessed screens, adjustable lighting – plus sensory niceties including mood music and signature scents.
The hotel will also offer Wish Workshop, where guests can sign up for everything from cooking classes to yoga positions.
It will be a busy month for W Hotels in China, with Beijing’s sister property (W Shanghai – The Bund) set to open just days before on June 15, offering 600 rooms and Huangpu River views.
Sea Sentosa Bali
Opening: Q2, 2014
It turns out there is still beachfront left in Bali, and Sea Sentosa has snapped some of it up.
Located at popular Canggu surf hangout Echo Beach, on the west coast of the Indonesian resort island, this property features a range of rooms and suites enveloping a lagoon-style swimming pool and hemmed with vertical gardens.
At the top of the resort, the three-bedroom penthouse comes with wraparound balconies overlooking the Indian Ocean, complemented by a private plunge pool and Italian furnishings.
Two beachfront restaurants will provide plenty of opportunities for sunset gazing, and there will also be a gourmet deli and surf shop for those looking to spend a day frolicking on the sand and in the waves.
Opening: Q2 2014
Returning to the location that inspired the brand, the Shangri-La Hotel group’s first luxury property on the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau is within walking distance of Potala Palace and Norbulingka Palace, both World Heritage sites.
Set at an altitude of more than 3,500 meters, the 289-room hotel is designed to maximize comfort above the clouds: if you feel short of breath, retreat to the oxygen lounge surrounded by extensive gardens with indigenous plants to increase oxygen levels.
Traditional Tibetan furniture and furnishings, including turquoise stone, decorative metals, floral patterns and auspicious symbols, brighten accommodations, while public facilities include an indulgent CHI Spa and a Tibetan-Yunnan restaurant – roasted lamb ribs marinated in Tibetan yoghurt, anyone? – draped with handcrafted carpets.
The Gainsborough Bath Spa
Opening: Q2, 2014
Close to four million visitors flock to Bath every year to check out the World Heritage-listed streets and buildings and soak in thermal waters.
The Gainsborough happens to unite these offerings, the hotel occupying three historic structures with direct access to thermal waters (the only hotel in the UK to enjoy such a privilege, apparently).
The lower level of the property will be home to the 1,300-square-metre Spa Village Bath and mosaic thermal pools, set within an atrium flooded with natural light.
The 99 rooms, meanwhile, come with high ceilings, heated bathroom floors and Georgian windows and include three spa suites with roll-top baths – the three taps are marked “hot,” “cold,” and “thermal.”
For added privacy, book Bellotts, a 17th-century annex to the Gainsborough building, available on an exclusive basis and comprised of 14 guest rooms with an underground passageway to the spa village.
The Beaumont Hotel
Opening: Q3, 2014
Jeremy King and Chris Corbin – founders of some of London’s most successful restaurants including The Wolseley, Delaunay, Brasserie Zedel and Colbert – are behind this boutique Mayfair property, overlooking Brown Hart Gardens and designed with “the golden age of bespoke hospitality” in mind.
The Art Deco building’s 73 rooms and suites take inspiration from 1920s Manhattan, while British sculptor Antony Gormley will be the focus of attention in an inhabitable sculpture room.
Needless to say, wining and dining will receive top billing here, with a Corbin & King restaurant on the roster as well as an American-style bar.
Opening: August 1, 2014
Peninsula Hotels make their debut in Europe with the launch of this grand property, occupying a century-old Beaux-Arts building, erected in 1908 and once the Majestic Hotel.
In true Pen style, the lobby will come to life when tiered silver platters are delivered to tables for high tea every afternoon; five other restaurants and bars include an upscale Chinese restaurant, cigar lounge, north-facing terrace and rooftop bar.
There’s also a welcome focus on wellness and relaxation – the 1,700-square-metre subterranean spa includes an indoor pool with LED mood lighting, and there are herbal steam rooms and ice fountains.
Other notable openings in 2014:
Japanese hoteliers Hoshinoya will open a retreat in Ubud, Bali toward the end of the year; the Ritz-Carlton will make a return to Bali, with a resort slated for the Nusa Dua region; the same hotel group will also head to Southern California with the opening of The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage; Anantara will open their second Phuket property, Anantara Phuket Layan Resort & Spa, Thailand, and will also welcome guests to Anatara Emei Resort & Spa in China; and the Russian capital will soon be home to the Four Seasons Hotel Moscow.