As travel editors, it’s our job not to tip our hands too much when it comes to our particular feelings for a hotel. But that’s not to say there aren’t occasions when we hear about a new property and simply can’t contain our excitement. The following newly opened or soon-to-open luxury hotels are those exceptional addresses that have us more than giddy to experience the decorative touches, prime location, delicious sounding cuisine or some delightful combination of all three…
Rosewood Baha Mar
Some hotels would cower at the thought of being a part of a complex the magnitude of the 1,000-acre, $3.5-billion Baha Mar. But Rosewood isn’t your run-of-the-mill brand; the scale of the June-opening Bahamas resort doesn’t frighten it in the least. Once you realize that the 190-unit Rosewood Baha Mar will have four restaurants and bars, a Sense spa, a 4,950-square-foot ballroom and an overall sense of tropical tranquility at its disposal, the confidence makes all the sense in the world.
The St. Regis Dubai
This October, it will be The St. Regis’ turn to play Dubai’s favorite hospitality game—Who Can Top This? The proud chain’s entry is a 233-room wonder being erected on Sheikh Zayed Road, just minutes from Mall of the Emirates, a shopper’s paradise with more than 700 stores. But considering how this Gilded Age-inspired property is slated to include sumptuous dining options, a musical fountain and an Iridium Spa, we’re not sure you’ll even have much time for walking around the boutiques.
Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
When the well traveled speak of the Balinese town of Ubud, they lovingly describe it as “serene” and “scenic.” Those terms will only be used more often once Mandapa formally opens its oversized wooden doors this fall. With 60 suites and villas equipped with Balinese gardens and rainforest views, the place harmonizes wonderfully with its surroundings. Add in restaurants such as the bamboo-accented Kubu and the Mandapa Spa, which sits on the edge of the Ayung River, and guests assure themselves of a blissful stay, no matter how they choose to spend their day.
City of Dreams Manila
As the name suggests, this new entertainment complex in Manila, Philippines is the sort of place that moneyed vacationers fantasize about. The three hotels that comprise the space—Crown Towers, Hyatt City of Dreams Manila and Nobu Hotel Manila—will please those with a hankering for attentive service and fine in-room amenities. Meanwhile, the numerous dining choices (Nobu and Crystal Lounge are two of the more delicious-sounding options) should put a smile on gourmands’ faces, while the 18 luxury outlets on the property (think Rolex and Roberto Cavalli) will make any shopaholic’s day.
The Langham, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
With its 14 extended “branches,” Palm Jumeirah is a man-made marvel best viewed from the sky. The Langham’s first Middle Eastern entry probably appears stunning from the clouds, too, but we’re certain jaws will drop equally at street level. This desert gem assures gasps with 323 rooms (including 53 amenity-stuffed suites), a host of culinary choices (Palm Court) and Chuan Spa, a 26-room sanctuary of Chinese-inspired treatments. Look for this new landmark by early 2016.
Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco
When you visit Italy’s Val d’Orcia region, go with an open heart and an empty photo folder on your smartphone. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004, the place mesmerizes with its picturesque landscapes and charming villages. With this 23-suite, 10-villa in the fold—Castiglion del Bosco isn’t necessarily new; it’s actually a part of an 800-year-old village, and Rosewood is taking over management responsibilities—things are only more snap-worthy. Pictures from the cobblestoned streets will be incredible. Selfies in front of the organic garden are going to be tremendous. And let’s not even get started on how delectable the food shots from rustic Osteria La Canonica and Ristorante Campo del Drago will be.
The Ritz-Carlton, Bali
It would be irresponsible of us to declare that some of the 313 rooms at this February-opened hideaway were better than others. With locally crafted furniture, handwoven bed linens and stone-designed bathrooms a part of every unit, that simply isn’t the case. But considering how 34 cliff-top and ocean-view villas do look onto the beaches of southern Bali, we understand why you might lean in their favor. We’re just ecstatic that the six restaurants and lounges, 14-room spa (opening in August), the wondrous 229-foot glass elevator and other treats are available to guests staying anywhere on the property.
The St. Regis Macao, Cotai Central
Bringing its signature butler service to Macau—a first for any hotel on the Cotai Strip and Macau Peninsula—The St. Regis Macao, Cotai Central will open its grand doors August 1. Relish the hotel’s outdoor pool with more than 26,000 square feet of space (hello, private cabanas), Iridium Spa and 400 chic guest rooms. Of course, no St. Regis would be complete without its very own St. Regis Bar and its unique take on the celebrated Bloody Mary. We look forward to tasting the Macau version.
The Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery
If you needed another reason to visit New Orleans, we’ve got one for you: The Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery, which will open April 30 in downtown’s Warehouse Arts District, is poised to be a hot spot. Part of the reason is because former Top Chef contestant Nina Compton will debut her first restaurant inside the historic 1854 warehouse. She’ll cook up everything from her beloved gnocchi to red snapper and curry goat. Other draws include hitting the “Get It Now” button on your room’s telephone, which encourages you to ask for anything (like champagne).
Baccarat Hotel & Residences
This new 114-room Midtown Manhattan property is coated in crystals. Expect to see everything from shimmering mica-covered vaulted ceilings to Baccarat-red enamel minibars here. Reminiscent of a classic Parisian hotel, designers Patrick Gilles and Dorothée Boissier do a nice job of bringing both European and American influences to the table (keep your eyes open for the massive marble table with crystal elements located in the Grand Salon). And be sure to take to the 60-foot barrel-vaulted bar for handcrafted cocktails served in Baccarat crystal, naturally.
Faena Hotel Miami Beach
Slated to open in November, just in time for Art Basel, the beachfront hotel honors the city’s golden age of glamour with stylish furnishings and Art Deco influences. But if hanging out in Miami on the sunny beach in 80-degree temps isn’t a big enough draw for you, go inside to Faena’s Tierra Santa Spa—the city’s first South American-inspired sanctuary where ancient healing practices alongside natural ingredients work to renew the body. After your treatment, grab a cocktail at one of the bars before indulging in a plate of South American cuisine prepared with local elements.
The Ritz-Carlton, Macau
Macau just got a little more luxurious thanks to the recent addition of The Ritz-Carlton, Macau. Located inside Galaxy Macau on the bustling Cotai Strip, the luxury brand’s first all-suites property offers 254 suites, lavish Cantonese restaurant Lai Heen, a world-class ESPA spa and the oh-so-fun Ritz Kids experience, which perfectly complements the family-friendly push that the “Las Vegas of the Far East” is trying to promote. Keep the family busy with Galaxy Macau’s shopping and entertainment or venture 20 minutes away to discover the city’s historic center.
Virgin Hotels Chicago
Richard Branson injects cool into his buzzed-about first hotel, which debuted in January in Chicago’s Loop. The 250 rooms, or “chambers,” have custom beds with padded ergonomic headboards and a built-in seat at the foot, cherry-red Smeg mini-fridges and swiveling desks. You’ll find touches of Chicago, including a Funny Library curated by famed Second City comedy troupe and pancakes from Ina’s, a now-shuttered beloved local favorite, inside Miss Ricky’s diner. We’re looking forward to scoping out its izakaya-style rooftop bar, which will be unveiled in April.
Park Hyatt Sanya Sunny Bay Resort
As if we needed another excuse to visit Sanya in China’s southernmost province for a sun-soaked escape, the Park Hyatt debuted in February with a private white-sand beach and Baifu Bay, a coral preserve that’s reputed to have great diving. The entire resort was built around the ocean panorama. Book a Park or Ocean View room to score a black stone soaking tub fronting a window that can be opened to get even closer to the South China Sea. A spa will arrive in late 2015, providing semi-open-air villas for a dose of pampering.
Loews Chicago Hotel
Speaking of rooftop bars, this March-opened Chicago hotel will boast the largest one in the city when it debuts in May. The massive 9,000-square-foot Streeterville Social isn’t the only reason that the 400-room Loews made our list: There’s Iron Chef Jose Garces’ Argentine steakhouse Rural Society, a 75-foot lap pool, a Streeterville location near shopping mecca Michigan Avenue and a design from Simeone Deary Design Group (which also did the exquisite interiors of Waldorf Astoria Chicago) that was inspired by Carl Sandburg’s “Chicago” (the poem’s prose even adorns the elevator walls).
Shangri-La, at the Fort, Manila
Business travelers should keep tabs on Shangri-La’s third Manila hotel, which will debut at the end of September. Set in the Bonifacio Global City financial district in an 820-foot-tall tower—one of the country’s largest—the 576-room property will have Horizon Club rooms (which give you lounge access, complimentary suit pressing and more) and the Philippine Stock Exchange will open next door in 2016. Another perk is its top-of-the-line sports club. The two-acre facility will have an NBA-grade basketball court, two tennis and squash courts, and a boxing gym.
The St. Regis Istanbul
Set in Istanbul’s Nisantasi neighborhood among chic boutiques and Maçka Park, The St. Regis Istanbul debuted in April with décor taken from Turkey’s glam art deco period. Among the 141 rooms, the Bentley Suite grabs our attention. Inspired by the Bentley Continental GT, the suite includes a light installation reminiscent of headlights, curved veneer walls that mimic the auto’s lines, a sofa wrapped in Bentley leather and a Bentley-made humidor. Another reason to visit is Spago, a Wolfgang Puck rooftop restaurant serving wood-oven pizzas, handmade pastas and great views.
Four Seasons Hotel Casablanca
In mid-2015, Four Seasons plans to unveil the brand’s second Morocco hotel (there’s one in Marrakech) in Casablanca, the country’s largest city and an economic hub. It will be part of Anfa Place, a mixed-use luxury development with residences and a three-story mall, but even better, it will sit along the ocean. Expect to see Atlantic vistas throughout the 186-room hotel, a French brasserie and bar on the top floor and a spa that will offer progressive Western and local treatments, including a traditional hammam.
Four Seasons Hotel Bogota and Four Seasons Hotel Casa Medina Bogota
For its Colombia debut, Four Seasons will roll out two Bogota hotels in late 2015. Although they are within two miles of each other, Four Seasons Bogota is in the Zona T shopping and dining district and Four Seasons Casa Medina sits in Zona Norte, a financial and cultural epicenter. Formerly Hotel Charleston Bogota and Hotel Casa Medina Bogota, respectively, both were renovated and converted into boutique hotels: More than half of Four Seasons Bogota’s 64 rooms will be suites and it will have a Japanese robata-style grill restaurant, and Four Seasons Casa Medina will have 62 unique rooms with colonial-style beam ceilings and handcrafted doors, as well as a Spanish restaurant with a streetside terrace and a covered courtyard.
Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech
Nestled among 49 acres of olive groves and gardens with the Atlas Mountains rising in the background, the Marrakech hotel’s setting may be enough to lure you in. But its lavish Asian- and Moroccan-inspired interiors seals it. When it opens in 2015, choose from 54 villas with a heated pool, hot tub and alfresco shower in a private walled garden, seven suites with a rooftop plunge pool and mesmerizing vistas, or two spa suites with infinity lap pools. Other luxe touches include a spa with outdoor treatment areas under olive trees and two hammams, along with fine-dining Moroccan restaurant Mes’lalla from noted local chef Meryem Cherkaoui.
Park Hyatt Zanzibar
Hyatt makes its premiere on the East African island with a hotel in Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Opening its doors in March, the Zanzibar hotel has attractions of its own: It sits on the beach, there’s an infinity pool that faces the ocean and the architecture showcases Swahili culture with some Arab, Persian, Indian and European influences. Its 78 rooms are decked out in white, cream and light woods, which lend a contemporary, breezy feel. Snap up the Park View and Park Deluxe rooms for Indian Ocean views.
Situated atop the 565,000-square-foot Brickell City Centre, East, Miami is for the of-the-moment playful type. Offering 255 contemporary rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows with views of Biscayne Bay, the chic hotel is scheduled to open later this year. Designed by Miami-based Arquitectonica (responsible for Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas), its 40th-floor rooftop bar is sure to attract the cool crowd, and when there’s a need to work off those cocktail calories, set up an appointment at the hotel gym with one of its certified trainers.
Mandarin Oriental, Milan
Spend summer in Milan by reserving a room at Mandarin Oriental’s newest property. Slated for a July 1 opening, the 104-room hotel provides a convenient location (just a quick walk to the renowned La Scala opera house and shopping on Via Montenapoleone) and fetching décor, which seamlessly blends Italian and Asian-inspired accents. Take time out to savor both fine and casual fare under the supervision of acclaimed chef Antonio Guida, and when you need a break from it all, head to the nearly 10,000-square-foot spa for a swim in the indoor pool.
Four Seasons Resort O‘ahu at Ko Olina
Opening later this year, Four Seasons Resort O‘ahu at Ko Olina will be the first property in the brand to offer residences in Hawaii. Dubbed as the “place of joy,” the sunny beachside escape, which sits on the west side of Oahu (and is minutes from Honolulu), will feature kama‘aina-style open-air public spaces (say yes to fresh breezes), give you access to the Ko Olina Golf Club and provide the perfect setting for romantic getaways and family-friendly excursions.
Park Hyatt Guangzhou
We expect nothing but the best when it comes to Park Hyatt properties, so we know that the new Park Hyatt Guangzhou won’t let us down. Scheduled to open at the end of the year, the 208-room hotel, which will be located on the 53rd floor of the R&F Ying Kai Plaza, sits above the Central Business District. The highlights: An interior designed by Super Potato (known for creating chic décor at The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong and The Ritz-Carlton Montreal), a rooftop bar with 180-degree vistas of the city and river, a 269-square-foot indoor lap pool, a top-notch fitness center and a restaurant serving Southern Chinese cuisine. It’s the total plush package.