Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class from Honolulu to San Francisco

Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.

Last summer, I traveled to the Hawaiian Islands, where I had a wonderful time. You can read my trip reports here:

  • Review: United Airlines Dreamliner Business Class from Paris to San Francisco
  • Review: United Airlines B777-200ER Business Class from San Francisco to Honolulu
  • Review: The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Hotel (Honolulu)
  • Review: Four Seasons Resort Lanai (Lanai)
  • Review: St Regis Princeville (Kauai)
  • Review: Four Seasons Maui at Wailea (Maui)
  • Review: Travaasa Hana (Maui)
  • Review: Andaz Maui at Wailea (Maui)
  • Review: Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class from Honolulu to San Francisco (today)
  • Review: Swiss B777-300ER Business Class from San Francisco to Zürich

Today (January 10, 2018): Review of Hawaiian Airlines’ First Class in an Airbus A330 from Honolulu to San Francisco.

On August 20, 2017, I flew aboard the premium class cabin of a Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330 from Honolulu (in Hawaii) to San Francisco (in California). Hawaiian Airlines calls this premium cabin ‘First Class’ on domestic flights from Hawaii to the mainland USA, while the same cabin is designated ‘Business Class’ on international flights. I’ve always been intrigued by Hawaii’s flag carrier, especially by the stunning livery with Pualani’s welcoming smile on the tail of each aircraft, kind of overlooking the plane and keeping it safe. IMHO, Hawaiian ranks among the best carriers for domestic service in the USA, on condition that you are flying on one of Hawaiian’s A330 aircraft which all feature a new premium seat and cabin that is a massive improvement on the carrier’s current offering on its aging (and soon to be retired) Boeing 767 fleet. I suffer from a fear of flying, especially for flights over large bodies of water, so this flight was a challenge for me, although it was a comforting thought to know that Hawaiian ranks among the safest carriers in the world that have never had a plane crash.

  • Trip: HLN-SFO
  • Airline: Hawaiian Airlines
  • Aircraft type: Airbus A330-200
  • Aircraft registration number: N380HA (named Makali’i)
  • Flight Number: HA12
  • Date: August 20, 2017
  • On time departure: yes (1.30 pm)
  • On time arrival: yes (21.30 pm)
  • Miles: 2399
  • Flight time: 5 hours
  • Seat: 2A
  • Class: First Class (domestic)

In this review (more information & photos below my Youtube clip & slideshow):

  1. Hawaiian Airlines lounge at Honolulu airport
  2. Fact & figures about Hawaiian Airlines’ longhaul fleet
  3. First Class cabin
  4. First Class seat (+ best & worst seats)
  5. Amenities
  6. Lunch
  7. Entertainment
  8. Onboard internet
  9. Other inflight experiences (views, crew, lavatory)
  10. My verdict (score)

Click to view slideshow.

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1. HAWAIIAN AIRLINES LOUNGE AT HONOLULU AIRPORT

Hawaiian manages two lounges at Honolu International Airport. The Plumeria Lounge, located on the airport’s 3rd floor, is Hawaiian’s most upscale lounge and only accessible to passengers flying Business Class to one of Hawaiian’s international destinations, although a pass is also available for purchase for $40 at time of check in, subject to seat availability. Passengers flying domestic First Class have access to Hawaiian’s other lounge – the Premier Club – which is located near gate 56 in Honolulu’s Interisland Terminal (which is inconvenient when you depart from the overseas terminal since you always have to pass an agricultural inspection checkpoint between both terminals). The Premier Club is a glorified name for what is basically a uninviting albeit contemporary decorated room, without windows and with several seating areas. The main reasons to visit the lounge are the free WiFi and the complimentary beverage at the small buffet station, which offers soft drinks, coffee and tea (but no alcohol or spirits). When you’re not in need of the internet or drinks, you are better off spending your time outside the lounge, and enjoy the views of the appron and runways from the airport’s open-air walkways.

PREMIER CLUB AT HONOLULU AIRPORT
PREMIER CLUB AT HONOLULU AIRPORT
PREMIER CLUB AT HONOLULU AIRPORT
PREMIER CLUB AT HONOLULU AIRPORT
PREMIER CLUB AT HONOLULU AIRPORT
PREMIER CLUB AT HONOLULU AIRPORT
PREMIER CLUB AT HONOLULU AIRPORT
PREMIER CLUB AT HONOLULU AIRPORT
PREMIER CLUB AT HONOLULU AIRPORT

2. FACTS & FIGURES ABOUT HAWAIIAN AIRLINES LONGHAUL FLEET

Hawaiian Airlines currently operates a mixed longhaul fleet for its trans-pacific flights to Asia, Oceania, and the USA mainland.

  • Since 2010, the mainstay of Hawaiian’s current fleet are its 24 Airbus A330-200s, which have an average age of 4,6 years (as of today). Each plane is assembled at the Airbus facility in Toulouse, France, then flown 16 hours and 6,600 miles to Hawaii, often non-stop. Upon delivery, each Hawaiian Airlines A330 is auspiciously named for a celestial body of particular importance to ancient Polynesian navigators, from Hokupaa (Polaris) to Hanaiakamalama (Southern Cross). Hawaiian’s Airbus A330 seats 294 passengers. That’s 30 more than the Boeing B767, which translates, over the course of a year, to 11000 additional seats per route.
  • Hawaiian is currently phasing out its Boeing 767 fleet. The carrier is still operaring 8 B767-300ER aircraft but the last one will be leaving the fleet by the end of 2018. It’s quite remarkable, since its B767 planes are not that old, with most of them being assembled in the 2000s. Neither too big nor too small, the B767 was just right for some of Hawaiian Airlines’ most popular trans-Pacific routes. Since 2008, the carrier’s B767s have been retrofitted with vertical winglets at the end of each wing. They may look small from the window, but they’re actually 11 feet (3 m) tall and help the airline save 300,000 gallons in jet fuel annually per aircraft.
  • Hawaiian is currently replacing its Boeing 767 with 18 brand-new narrow-body Airbus A321neos. The 767s currently seat 252 to 264 passengers, while the A321s will seat just 189, which is a significant reduction in the number of seats, but this is a perfect choice for the carrier’s expansion plans in low-density markets on the USA West Coast. Hawaiian has already taken delivery of its first Airbus A321neo, which will be operated on non-stop service between Maui and Portland later this month. This will be followed by A321neo service on the Kaua’i-Oakland and Kona-Los Angeles routes as Hawaiian receives additional aircraft.
  • Hawaiian has also shown interest in the Airbus A330-800neo. Three years ago, the airline ordered six A330-800neo airliners which are slated for delivery in 2019 and will give the airline the ability to fly even farther to points as far as India, western Australia, London or even Moscow. It’s clear that the airline wants to court leisure travelers from the other side of the world to Hawaii, although it’s not sure what airplane it wants to use since they have recently expressed doubts about the A330-800neo program in favor of its competitor, the Boeing 787.
HAWAIIAN AIRLINES A330-200
HAWAIIAN AIRLINES A330-200
HAWAIIAN AIRLINES AIRBUS A330-200
HAWAIIAN AIRLINES AIRBUS A330-200
HAWAIIAN AIRLINES AIRBUS A330-200
HAWAIIAN AIRLINES AIRBUS A330-200
HAWAIIAN AIRLINES AIRBUS A330-200
HAWAIIAN AIRLINES AIRBUS A330-200

3. FIRST CLASS CABIN

Hawaiian’s A330 aircraft feature one premium cabin, located in front of the plane. This cabin is designated ‘First Class’ on domestic routes to the USA mainland and ‘Business Class’ on the carrier’s international routes. With only 4 rows of 18 seats arranged in a 2-2-2 layout, the cabin feels quite intimate and remarkably open (no private suites here). While this open and suboptimal 2-2-2 layout is not ideal for solo business travelers, this configuration is ideally suited for the carrier’s leisure guests, as most of Hawaiian’s premium passengers travel to Hawaii as couples, families and honeymooners.

The design of the premium cabin – the result of a collaboration between Hawaiian and the West Coast-based design firm Paul Wylde – feels modern and stylish. The cabin decor incorporates flowing curves evocative of Hawaii’s winds and ocean, while marrying organic textures, pops of bright saturated color, and luxury materials like leather from Poltrona Frau. Subtle design elements reflect the natural colors and forms of the island landscape, such as the wave-inspired seatback shells, the privacy dividers of natural reeds embedded in resin, and a ‘constellation panel’ at the back of the premium cabin. The latter features the constellation Makali’i – rendered in subtly twinkling fiber-optic lights – which is is the cluster of stars appearing in the Northern Hemisphere during the winter months. This is significant to Hawaiian Airlines, as Makali’i is the constellation that was high in the sky when the carrier’s first airplane took off on November 11,1929.

For a seat map of Hawaiian’s A330 plane, click here.

FIRST CLASS CABIN
FIRST CLASS CABIN
FIRST CLASS CABIN
FIRST CLASS CABIN (DURING FLIGHT)
FIRST CLASS CABIN (DURING FLIGHT)
FIRST CLASS CABIN (DURING FLIGHT)

4. FIRST CLASS SEAT (+ BEST & WORST SEATS)

I was seated in 2A for the 5 hour trip to San Francisco.

Each seat in the premium cabin is located in its own shell – with curves depicting Hawaii’s ocean waves – and slightly angled towards either the window or aisle. The seats are not very private – and definitely a sharp contrast with the enclosed suites that you now find on many airlines – but that was a well-thought-out choice of Hawaii’s flag carrier, since couples and families outnumber solo travelers among its premium passengers. So the seats are perfect for companions to experience the flight together, although a divider screen between two adjoining seats can be raised in case you are traveling on your own and seated next to a stranger.

In front of the seat is a small ottoman, with a side panel that prevents your feet from dropping off the footrest while you move around. There’s a tiny storage area underneath the ottoman to stow away your shoes in-flight. It’s surprising that Hawaiian didn’t make these footrests a little larger since there’s plenty of room to do so. Both the seat and ottoman are of high standard of quality as they are covered in fine dark-brown leather from Poltrona Frau, a renowned furniture-making company based in Tolentino, Italy, that also has Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, and Maserati among its clients. The shared arm rest between two seats hides the tray table (which needs to be pulled out) and a adjustable, telescoping in-seat arm, which is used to fix the large screen tablet (distributed the crew shortly after takeoff) and which can be adjusted to optimize viewing angle and comfort.

The seat doesn’t have a lot of fringes, except for two USB ports, a full AC power, and a reclining wheel in the arm rest that allows you to set the exact amount of recline you like. The seat does goes fully flat into a 76-inch (193 cm) flatbed at 180-degrees, which is a massive improvement over the old-recliner seats that you still find aboard Hawaiian’s B767 aircraft. The flat bed is quite comfortable, although a little on the hard side (and duvets are not provided on domestic flights).

What are the best First Class seats on Hawaiian’s A330? For a seat map of Hawaiian’s A330, click here.

  • All seats in the premium cabin, except for the first row, are quiet good, especially for couples and friends. Make sure to prebook your seat online (which can be done free of charge) to avoid disappointment at the airport, since Hawaiian’s flights are mostly fully packed.

What are the worst First Class seats on Condor’s B767? For a seat map of Hawaiian’s A330, click here.

  • The 2-2-2 First Class layout does not make the cabin very attractive for solo travelers, since you will always end up sitting next to a stranger. There is a large divider though between seats that can be raised for added privacy.
  • Window seats don’t offer direct aisle access.
  • Passengers seated in the first row may be bothered by the noise of the galley and passengers going to or returning from the lavatories.
SEAT 2A&B
SEAT 2A
SEAT 2A
SEAT 2A
SEAT 2A
SEAT 2A
SEAT 2A
SEAT 2A
SEAT FEATURES
SEAT FEATURES
SEAT FEATURES
SEAT FEATURES
SEAT FEATURES
SEAT 2A: FLAT BED POSITION
SEAT 2A: FLAT BED POSITION

5. AMENITIES

Although taking 5 hour, an amenity kit was not provided during this domestic flights. First Class passengers only receive a blanket and pillow, both of mediocre quality. Noise cancelling headphones are distributed by the crew after takeoff (and collected again before landing).

It has to be noted that Hawaiian does offer amenity kits on its international flight, with a selection of soothing products, including a hand and body balm, lip balm and hydrating mist, dental kit, a bamboo comb, and socks with a playful slipper. An eye mask, plush mattress pad and pillow are provided for added comfort and a restful sleep.

AMENITIES: BLANKET
AMENITIES: PILLOW
NOISE CANCELLING HEADPHONES

6. LUNCH

During this afternoon flight, one lunch was served shortly after takeoff. Lunch service started with the distribution of a hot towel, the menus, and an aperitif with a dish of salted macadamia nuts. I choose the following items from the menu, which was created by Chef Sheldon Simeon of Tin Roof Maui restaurant:

  • Starter: Kim Chee shrimp poke with salted cucumber and pickled Maui onions
  • Entree: Shoyu roast chicken with sweet corn relish and creamy mushroom rice
  • Dessert: passion chocolate cake

The starter and entree were brought to your seat, while the crew rolled a cart down the aisle for the dessert and coffee. I have to admit that I did not expect a lot from the meals (as I never have high expectations for meals offered by an American carrier) but I was utmost surprised by both the presentation and the taste of the meals. All dishes were delicious!

A small gift was offered with the lunch tray: a photobook by Sutterfly. A nice gesture!

WELCOME DRINK
MENU
MENU
MENU
MENU
MENU
MENU
MENU
LUNCH: APERITIF
LUNCH: STARTER
LUNCH: STARTER
LUNCH: MAIN COURSE
LUNCH: DESSERT CARD
LUNCH: DESSERT
A GIFT

7. ENTERTAINMENT

The seats don’t feature an in-seat inflight entertainment system. Instead, in-flight entertainment is provided via large tablets that are distributed by the crew shortly after takeoff and attached to an in-seat metalic arm. Hawaiian Airlines’ inflight entertainment comprises a decent selection Hollywood releases, TV shows, games, and more. It’s offered free of charge to First & Business Class passengers, while passengers in coach have to pay for it (packages start at $7,99 USD for movies on demand or unlimited TV shows).

INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT

8. ONBOARD INTERNET

Hawaiian Airlines is the only USA airline that does not offer inflight WiFi so far.


9. OTHER INFLIGHT EXPERIENCES

# CREW: The crew on this flight was young (most of them seemed in their twinties) but they offered great and efficient service.

# LAVATORY: There is one lavatory aboard the A330 plane for First Class passengers, located directly behind the cockpit.

LAVATORY

# VIEWS: We enjoyed clear weather all the way from Honolulu to San Francisco, and while there was not much to see except for the vast ocean, the views of Oahu island during takeoff were quite spectacular.

VIEWS OF OAHU ISLAND AFTER TAKEOFF
SUNSET FROM 40,000 FEET

10. MY VERDICT (SCORE)
  • Seat comfort (upright): 8/10
  • Seat comfort (bed position): 8/10
  • Seat privacy: 5/10
  • Food (quality):  8/10
  • Food (quantity): 8/10
  • Inflight entertainment : 8/10
  • WiFi: 0/10 (not available yet)
  • Service: 9/10
  • Cabin design: 8/10
  • Overall experience: very good: 8/10

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Top 10: safest airlines that have never had a plane crash

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (January 8, 2018): Top 10: world’s safest airlines that have never had a major accident.

According to the Aviation Safety Network, 2017 was the safest year on record in aviation history, as no fatal accidents with commercial passenger jets occurred (excluding propeller planes and cargo jets). And while USA President Trump took credit for that global safety record in one of his (in)famous tweets, airline accidents have actually been on a consistent global decline since more than 30 years, thanks to strict regulations and rigorous standards in the aviation industry. That said, some airlines are still better performing than others when it comes to safety standards, and that’s why the Australia-based aviation analysis website AirlineRatings.com released an annual list of the world’s 20 safest carriers, which are standouts in the industry and are at the forefront of safety, innovation, and launching of new aircraft. Airlines that can present an impeccable safety record of zero fatalities in their history are very rare though. Here’s a closer look at 10 major global airlines (listed in alphabetical order) that have not had a plane crash in the modern jet era.

There is more information below the slideshow. Think I missed one? Leave a comment.

Click to view slideshow.

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ETIHAD AIRWAYS

Etihad Airways is the flag carrier and the second largest airline of the United Arab Emirates (after Emirates). Etihad, which started commercial operations in 2003, uses Abu Dhabi International Airport as its hub. The airline operates more than 1000 flights per week to over 120 passenger and cargo destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Americas, with a fleet of more than 120 Airbus and Boeing aircraft. Etihad has maintained a perfect safety record in its 15 years of flying passengers across the globe.

  • Official website: Etihad Airways
  • Other accolades: Etihad Airways features in my top 10 lists of the best airlines for longhaul Business Class, the most luxurious First Class suites in the sky, the world’s best airline lounges, the most delicious airline food, and the world’s most luxurious A380 First Class cabins.
  • Review: read here my review of Etihad Airways’ First Class in an Airbus A380.
  • Review: read here my review of Etihad Airways’ Business Class in an Airbus A330.
  • Review: read here my review of Etihad Airways’ Business Class in a Boeing 777.


EVA AIR

EVA Air is the second largest Taiwanese airline (after China Airlines) and based at Taoyuan International Airport near Taipei, Taiwan. The privately owned carrier is a 5-star airline, rated by Skytrax, and flies to over 40 international destinations spread across 4 continents. EVA Air was founded in 1989 and has not suffered any hull losses, accidents, or fatalities since its establishment. The carrier currently operates a mixed fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft, wit A330, A321 and B777 planes mainly used on passenger routes along with B747 And B777 freighter aircraft flown on cargo routes.

  • Official website: EVA Air


FINNAIR

Finnair, which operates out of Helsinki Airport, is one of the world’s oldest operating airlines. Since it was founded over 90 years ago in 1923, the company has grown from a small airline to a strong and respected member of the international airline industry. The carrier flies over 10 million passengers per year to almost 80 destinations in Europe, Asia and North American aboard its modern fleet of Airbus, Embraer and ATR aircraft. With no fatal or hull-loss accidents in the modern jet area, Finnair is consistently ranked one of the safest airlines in the world.

  • Official website: Finnair
  • Other accolades: Finnair features in my top 10 lists of the world’s best airline lounges, and the best Business Class amenity kits in the sky.
  • Review: read here my review of Finnair’s Business Class in an Airbus A350 XWB.
  • Review: read here and here my reviews of  Finnair’s Business Class in an Airbus A330.


HAWAIIAN AIRLINES

Now in its 86th year of continuous service and operating more than 200 daily flights system-wide, Hawaiian is Hawai‘i’s biggest and longest-serving airline, as well as the largest provider of passenger air service from its primary visitor markets on the U.S. Mainland. Hawaiian also offers non-stop service to Japan, South Korea, China, Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa and Tahiti. Having never suffered from fatal accident or a hull loss throughout its history, Hawaiian frequently tops the list of the world’s safest carriers. In addition, Hawaiian is also one of the airlines with the best on-time performance in the USA, as well as the with the fewest cancellations, oversales, and baggage handling.

  • Official website: Hawaiian Airlines


JETBUE

The low-cost carrier Jetblue is the 6th largest airline in the USA, with its main base at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. The company was founded in 1999 by Brazilian-American entrepreneur David Neeleman and based on the success formula of Southwest Airlines, although Jetblue tried to distinguish itself by offering a superior inflight entertainment system and more leg room in couch. Jetblue is now a leading carrier in Boston, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Los Angeles (Long Beach), Orlando, and San Juan, and carries more than 38 million customers a year to 101 cities in the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America with an average of 1,000 daily flights aboard a fleet of Airbus A320 and A321 and Embaer E190 planes.

  • Official website: Jetblue


QANTAS

Founded in the Queensland outback in 1920, Qantas is the world’s 3rd oldest airline (behind KLM and Avianca) and has grown to be Australia’s largest domestic and international airline. Over its 97-year history Qantas has amassed an amazing record of firsts in safety and operations and is widely regarded as the world’s safest airline since it hasn’t suffered any accidents in the modern jet era. Qantas’ reputation for safety gained instant world-wide fame in 1988 because of the movie Rain Man, when Dustin Hoffman’s character claimed that ‘Qantas never crashes’. Australia’s flagship carrier is based in Sydney and flies to 80 destinations in more than 20 countries, using a fleet of modern Airbus and Boeing aircraft.

  • Official website: Qantas
  • Other accolades: Qantas features in my top 10 list of the world’s most luxurious A380 First Class cabins and the best First Class amenity kits.
  • Review: read here my review of Qantas’ First Class in an Airbus A380.


QATAR AIRWAYS

Since its launch in 1997, Qatar Airways has earned many awards and accolades, becoming one of an elite group of airlines worldwide to have earned a 5-star rating by Skytrax. Qatar’s flagship carrier serves 150 international destinations across Africa, Central Asia, Europe, Far East, South Asia, Middle East, North America, South America and Oceania from its base at Hamad International Airport near Qatar’s capital Doha, using fleet of more than 180 Boeing and Airbus aircraft. As an industry leader in aviation safety, the airline has demonstrated a strong safety and security performance record. Back in 2003, it was the first airline to complete the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) audit with 100 per cent compliance.

  • Official website: Qatar Airways
  • Other accolades: Qatar Airways features in my top 10 lists of the best airlines for longhaul Business Class, the most delicious airline food, the world’s best airline Business Class lounges, the best inflight videos of all time, the world’s most luxurious A380 First Class cabins, the best Business Class amenity kits, and the best First Class amenity kits.
  • Review: read here my review of Qatar Airways’s First Class in an Airbus A380.
  • Review: read here my review of Qatar Airways’ Business Class in a Dreamliner.
  • Review: read here my review of Qatar Airways’ Business Class in a Boeing 777.
  • Review: read here my review of Qatar Airways’ Business Class in an A330.


RYANAIR

The Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair is Europe’s largest airline by scheduled passengers flown. Last year, the airline carried over 131 million customers on more than 2,000 daily flights from 86 bases, connecting over 205 destinations in 33 countries on a fleet of more than 400 Boeing 737 aircraft (with a further 240 Boeing 737’s on order). The airline has been characterised by its rapid expansion, a result of the deregulation of the aviation industry in Europe in 1997 and the success of its low-cost business model. Ryanair has a team of more than 13,000 highly skilled aviation professionals delivering Europe’s number one on-time performance, and an industry leading 32-year impeccable safety record.

  • Official website: Ryanair


SOUTHWEST AIRLINES

Founded more than 40 years ago, Southwest Airlines is now the USA’s largest domestic air carrier, operating more than 4,000 weekday departures among a network of 100 destinations in the United States and 10 additional countries. Similar to Ryanair, Southwest operates an exclusive fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft, making it the largest operator of the Boeing 737 worldwide, with over 700 in service, each averaging six flights per day. The carrier has maintained an excellent safety record as not a single passenger has died as a result of an accident, although Southwest has lost two aircraft due to damage at landing beyond repair, and an occupant of a car was killed in 2005, as the vehicle was hit by one of carrier’s B737s who overran the runway in Chicago during a snow storm.

  • Official website: Southwest Airlines


VIRGIN ATLANTIC

Virgin Atlantic was founded by entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson 33 years ago with innovation and customer service at its core. Today Virgin Atlantic carries 5.5 million customers annually, employs over 9000 people worldwide and operates a fleet of 39 aircraft serving 26 destinations across four continents from its bases at London’s Heathrow, London’s Gatwick, and Manchester airport. Alongside joint venture partner Delta Air Lines they operate the leading transatlantic network – offering up to 39 flights per day between the UK and US with onward connections to over 200 US and international cities. The Virgin-branded airline has not incurred a major accident since its launch in 1984.

  • Official website: Virgin Atlantic
  • Other accolades: Virgin Atlantic features in my top 10 list of the world’s best airline Business Class lounges.


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Review: St Regis Princeville Resort, Kauai Island (Hawaii)

Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.

Last summer, I traveled to the Hawaiian Islands, where I had a wonderful time. You can read my trip reports here:


Today (January 3, 2018): Review of The St Regis Princeville Resort, Kauai Island (Hawaii).

Located in the 9,000 acre resort community of Princeville, the St. Regis Princeville lays claim to Hawaii’s most stunning location – a cliff overlooking dramatic Hanalei Bay on the northern shore of Kauai, the ‘Garden Island’. The spectacular views rank among the most beautiful in the world and are framed by lush tropical hills, cerulean blue skies, puffs of clouds, and mist. The resort has 252 rooms and suites which are located in three separate buildings that terrace down from the top plateau of Princeville to the semi-private beach at Hanalei Bay. Calming and seductive, these contemporary Hawaiian designed accommodations reflects the color palette of the sky, sea and earth. The renowned Makai Golf Club at The St. Regis Princeville Resort winds its way around serene lakes, native woodlands and the spectacular coastline with views of Bali Hai and Hanalei Bay.

The St Regis Princeville Resort features in my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels in Hawaii, the world’s best luxury hotels to spot celebrities, the world’s most amazing hotel lobbies, and the best luxury hotels in the USA.

In this review (more info below my slideshow & Youtube clip):

  • Pros & things I like
  • Cons & things to know
  • My verdict
  • Tips for future guests & save money
  • Best time to visit
  • How to get there
  • Photos

Click to view slideshow.

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PROS & THINGS I LIKE
  • With its awe-inspiring scenery and gorgeous beaches, Hawaii is without any doubt one of the world’s most scenic island archipelagos. And the St Regis resort is set on Kauai, also known as the Garden Island, which is by far the most spectacular island in Hawaii. Having emerged from the sea millions of years before its neighboring islands, Kauai is home to the softest sands, grandest waterfalls, most majestic cliffs and the oldest rain forest in all of Hawaii. Kauai’s wildly verdant and prehistoric landscapes may look vaguely familiar since Hollywood has used the island as the stunning backdrop for many of its epic movies, from ‘South Pacific’ to ‘Indiana Jones’ and ‘Jurassic Park’.
  • The hotel is located at the end of the 2 mile (3 km) private road that runs through the ritzy resort community of Princeville on Kauai’s North Shore. Named Princeville in 1860 in honor of Hawaii’s crown prince, Prince Albert, this exclusive resort enclave was once home to sugar plantations and cattle ranches. Standing amid one of the world’s most stunning natural sites, Princeville became a resort area in 1968 and now caters to the discerning traveler with a myriad of facilities. Besides the world-famous St Regis hotel, Princeville also features two championship golf courses, condos, holiday homes, a Westin hotel, and a gorgeous natural attraction, Queen’s Bath, which is a collection of tide pools surrounded by igneous rock.
  • The St. Regis Princeville lays claim on the most fabulous location in Hawaii: the resort cascades down a cliff while overlooking majestic Hanalei Bay and the Napali Coast, with views of jungle clad mountains and the blue Pacific Ocean framed by endless blue skies, puffs of clouds and mist, and cinematic sunsets. Due to the resort’s multi-level layout, these phenomenal views can be enjoyed from most rooms and the pool area, and are the prime reason why you should put the St Regis resort on your bucketlist. It’s the only hotel in Kauai with views of the world’s most spectacular shoreline, the Napali coast, where razor-sharp 1000 m (3,000ft) cliffs tower above the ocean over a distance of 16 km (10 mi).
  • The hotel is the sole property on Hawaii of the ultraluxe St Regis hotel brand. Managed by Starwood hotels and now owned by Marriott, St Regis is one of the world’s most exclusive hotel brands. The St Regis Princeville resort opened in 2009 after the year-long renovation of a 1960s property that was formerly called the Princeville Resort and part of Starwood’s renowned ‘The Luxury Collection’ brand. While the new St Regis Princeville retained the unbelievable views of Hanalei Bay that the Princeville Resort took advantage of, Starwood poured $100 million USD into the project to update the hotel’s guest rooms, pool area, lobby, and spa facilities.
  • During the multi-billion dollar renovation in 2009, the property’s decor was redesigned in collaboration with hotel design firm WATG and local Hawaiian architecture firm Group 70. Bringing a residential feel to the interiors and reflecting Hawaii’s natural surroundings, the resort’s redecoration was inspired by the Hawaiian concept of Ahupua‘a, a philosophy of living in balance with nature. In line with the St Regis brand’s signature interior style, the hotel features a classic, grand decor that lends it a very European, old-world luxe type of ambience. However, Hawaii’s Aloha spirit is retained by the presence of several tropical design elements such as a coffered ceiling of natural woven raffia and palm wood floors in the lobby.
  • The spectacular lobby occupies the resort’s top floor. Although it has an unassuming, almost villa-esque look from the outside, the sheer size of the place will overwhelm you once inside. A giant covered atrium and valet area leads to a small entrance lounge, which gives way to the lobby itself. Eight African mahogany columns in the center of the lobby define a circular seating area, where a Murano glass waterfall chandelier with 4,000 crystals hangs above a lotus blossom fountain. Several facilities are located around this area, such as the reception desk, the spa entrance, a dedicated concierge service, a small shopping arcade, the stairs towards the main restaurant, and a piano bar (with terrace).
  • The St Regis Princeville is designed in a series of tiers, cascading down the cliff. From the resort’s lobby on the 9th floor, elevators take guests down to the 252 designed guests rooms and suites on the floors below. During my Kauai holiday, I stayed in a premium ocean view room which came with a dazzling panorama of Hanalei Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The room was nicely outfitted with a king-sized bed, a seating area with custom furnishings, and a writing desk. The elegant bathroom was clad in green marble and featured an oversized tub, double vanity and Toiletries are by Laboratoire Remède. The contemporary (albeit somewhat dated) Hawaiian decor reflected the calming and seductive color palette of the sky, sea and earth.
  • Among the resort’s signature features is a beautiful, 5,000 square feet swimming pool, situated in the lush gardens near the ocean, enjoying the beautiful views of Hanalei Bay’s rugged mountains. The pool features lovely glass tile and striking water features reflecting Hawai’i’s tropical outdoor lifestyle. It has an infinity edge, although it isn’t a true infinity pool as several rows of loungers separate the pool from the sea. A couple of jacuzzis (one of them built inside the pool) are made for sunset watching and mai tai drinking, and plenty of complimentary chaise lounges in the shade of the swaying palms around the pool invite guests to lounge the day away.
  • The resort is set on a narrow but pleasant golden sand beach – called Pu’u Poa beach – along the warm waters of Hanalei Bay. Protected by the Anini reef, the ocean in front of the hotel remains calm and sheltered year round and provides excellent snorkeling opportunities. Although the beach is public (like all beaches in Hawaii) it feels private since it’s quite difficult for non-guests to access the area. Several row of loungers (free of charge) are set up along the beach, together with a few cabanas which can be rent for a daily fee. Although this is far from Hawaii’s most impressive beach, it will be hard to find any other hotel beach in the archipelago that offers such a spectacular background of dramatic natural scenery.
  • At the St. Regis Princeville Resort, leisure takes many forms. The resort area is home two golf courses at the on-site Makai Golf Club – the PGA-standard Makai Course and the nine-hole Woods Course for the casual golfer – which are not imposed on the land but rather inspired by it and consistently rank among America’s finest golfing destinations. The renowned Makai Golf Club is a Robert Trent Jones Jr. design, which opened in 1971 and was redesigned and reopened in 2010.  The Makai Course winds its way around serene lakes, native woodlands and the spectacular coastline with views of Bali Hai and Hanalei Bay. The course plays to a par 72 with four different sets of tees that can be stretched to more than 7,200 yards from the tips.
  • Following in the tradition of its iconic St. Regis sister property in New York, the St. Regis Princeville Resort features the famed hallmarks of St. Regis hotels around the world including the legendary St. Regis Butler Service. Trained in the English tradition, the butlers provide ever-present, yet unobtrusive service while anticipating your needs and customizing your stay according to your specific tastes and preferences. From a forgotten travel item, to a perfectly pressed suit ready for an important meeting, to a favorite book at hand for an evening read, or a thoughtful, last-minute gift for a loved one, no request is too small or unattainable no matter the hour of the day.
  • The resort offers three distinctive dining venues. The resort’s signature restaurant, Kaua‘i Grill, is housed in a dramatically designed space under a spectacular, spiraling, lit fabric ceiling, and serves a menu of internationally influenced cuisine utilizing the freshest fish and ingredients indigenous to the islands, exclusively developed by Chef Vongerichten. The resort’s main restaurant, Makana Terrace, overlooks Hanalei Bay from its outdoor terrace and soaring glass windows, and offers breakfast, lunch and (sophisticated casual) dining as well as a weekly Hawaiian dinner show, called ‘Mailani’. And finally, the Nalu Kai Grill and Bar is located poolside, and offers light light Mediterranean fare at lunchtime.
  • The 12-room, 11,000-square-foot Halele’a Spa at The St. Regis Princeville offers individualized spa programs for body and mind inspired by Native Hawaiian healing rituals. Each spacious treatment room is enriched with custom millwork of native Hawaiian woods, palm wood floors, natural fiber drapery treatments and a custom Murano glass plumeria flower chandelier. Signature treatments include the Kauai Taro clay wrap and the ‘Voyage from the Sea Signature Four Hands’ massage and facial, which includes a seaweed extract massage and marine repair facial treatment simultaneously.

CONS & THINGS TO KNOW

The St Regis Princeville Resort is designed to impress its guests with amazing vistas and a wide range of amenities and leisure facilities. It is one of Hawaii’s finest luxury hotels. Nevertheless, it does have several issues that you need to beware of before considering a stay here: 

  • This is not an intimate, small-scale boutique hotel, but a massive resort. While the resort is absolutely stunning, its sheer size feels overwhelming from time to time, creating an ambience that resembles that of a large corporate hotel. In many ways, it feels more like a Sheraton or Westin (Starwood’s mid-level luxury hotel brands) than a St Regis.
  • Beware that there is only one pool. An adult-only pool is not available, which can be problematic for those in search for some well-earned tranquillity, given that the resort is a magnet for families with (young) children, and there’s no way to escape them around the pool or on the beach.
  • The St Regis Princeville Resort charges a daily resort fee of $30 USD (excluding tax). Although this is common practise among resorts in Hawaii (with the exception of the Four Seasons properties), it is still a bitter pill to swallow. This fee includes lei greeting, welcome refresher, WiFi, local & domestic long distance calls, shuttle service to the golf course, daily fitness class, daily cultural experience, daily newspaper, daily sabering lesson, and discounted golf and preferred tee time at Princeville Makai Golf Club. If you don’t like golfing, then this fee is an unnecessary obligatory cost.
  • An overnight parking fee of $35 per day will be charged to your guest room. While this fee includes valet parking, entry and exit privileges in a monitored parking location for your ease of mind, this is far from cheap and it’s obligatory since valet parking is the only option (and you need a car to get around and explore the area).
  • The food at Makena Terrace (the resort’s main restaurants) was mediocre at the best (I would not recommend it). Dinner was good, but the breakfast was inedible and not what you would expect from the high-end St Regis brand. I don’t say this easily nor do I consider myself to be a picky person, but this was by far the worst hotel breakfast buffet I’ve ever seen at a luxury hotel: while the quality of the breakfast was ok, it was the poor selection of items available at the buffet and the absolutely unappetizing buffet presentation (e.g. plastic folios covering the fruit bowls, cereals in cardboard boxes) that bothered me the most.
  • Although appropriately rustic for the tropical setting, the design feels dated in certain areas, especially in the guest rooms and bathrooms. Although I could not really care with all those heart-stopping views of  Hanalei Bay and the Na Palí coast, I would have expected a more up-to-date decor for the price tag I paid. It’s clear that the resort is in need of a refurbishment.
  • Remarkably, the lobby of the St Regis Princeville is the one area that was actually downgraded as it was renovated in 2009. The lobby of the old Princeville Resort – which I visited in 2005 – was open on most sides (letting in refreshing sea breezes) and captured the phenomenal vistas from all sides. However, during its transformation to a St Regis resort, the lobby became an enclosed space (with massive windows), its ceilings were lowered, and a new hallway was built, resulting in a total blocking of those fabulous views that wowed guests when they entered the old Princeville Resort’s lobby.
  • The elevators don’t go straight down from the lobby on the resort’s top floor to the pool area on beach level. A first set of elevators shuttles between floors 4 to 9, while a second set of elevators serves the lower 4 floors. It means that guests with a room on floor five or above, will always have to change elevators on the 4th floor to get to the pool or beach. While this is definitely a first world problem, it can get annoying after a few days when you take into account the often long waiting times for an elevator.
  • The small beach is not very impressive, although it does have calm waters and those stunning views of course. The good news is that there are lots of spectacular, public beaches close by, such as Lamahai beach (made famous by Hollywood in the movie South Pacific) and Haena beach (where lush tropical jungle meets golden sands and turquoise waters), but you’ll need a car to explore them.
  • The weather on Kauai’s North Shore isn’t Hawaii’s sunniest, with long cloudy periods and frequent passing showers. If beach combing is a must for you, you should consider a stay on Kauai’s sunny beaches near Poipu instead of the wet North Shore.
  • The hotel’s multi-leveled, white, 1960s exterior is an eyesore in the spectacular scenery of Kauai’s North Shore.

Despite all these negatives, I still consider this resort to be one of the best in the USA, simply because there is no denying that its location is one of the most breathtaking on the planet, albeit breathtakingly overpriced.


MY VERDICT
  • Location: 10/10
  • Design: 7/10
  • Pool: 7/10
  • Rooms: 7/10
  • Food: 7/10
  • Breakfast: 4/10
  • Spa: 8/10
  • Service: 8/10
  • Value for money: 8/10
  • Overall experience: good (but could be much better): 7,5/10

TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
  • Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like St Regis Princeville at Wailea, whether it’s booking a room at the cheapest price or receiving complimentary VIP perks (e.g. upgrade, breakfast, resort credit, etc …).
  • Save money: enjoy free VIP perks at St Regis Princeville when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD resort credit).
  • Save money: book your room with an additional 20% off making use of Starwood’s Best Rate Guarantee.
  • Save moneyStarwood Preferred Guests (SPG) with Gold or Platinum status are well treated, with – amongst other benefits – free high-speed WiFi, complementary room upgrade (when available), early check-in or late check-out  (when available), and free breakfast (SPG platinum). Click here to read my review of the SPG program (with pros & cons).
  • Room tip: my one big room tip for the St Regis Princeville – as for most properties in Hawaii in general – is to book the view that you want and do not count on an upgrade. The property is often fully occupied and you don’t want to end up in a room without a sea view. Rooms on floor four and above enjoy the best views.
  • Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Hawaii’s off-season – when the best rates are available and the islands are less crowded – is spring (April to June) and fall (September to November) – a paradox because these are the best seasons to be in Hawaii, in terms of reliably great weather. Winter (December to March) can be a surprisingly cloudy and wet affair in the archipelago.

Each island has a leeward side (the side sheltered from the wind) and a windward side (the side that gets the wind’s full force). The leeward sides (the west and south) are usually hot and dry, while the windward sides (east and north) are generally cooler and moist. The St Regis Princeville Resort is located on Kauai’s windward side, and experiences an abundance of rain (even in spring, summer and falls), what makes the area so verdant.


HOW TO GET THERE

Most guests of The St. Regis Princeville Resort fly in via Kauai’s principal airport – Lihue Airport – which is located approximately 32 miles (52 km) or a 45 minute drive south of Princeville. Lihue Airport served by inter-island and major airline carriers, including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, United Airlines and Virgin America. Check the wikipedia page of Lihue Airport for an updated list of airlines that offer direct flights to Kauai. 


ROAD TO RESORT
ROAD TO HOTEL
ROAD TO HOTEL
ROAD TO HOTEL
ENTRANCE
HOTEL ENTRANCE
HOTEL ENTRANCE
HOTEL ENTRANCE: VALET AREA
HOTEL ENTRANCE: VALET AREA
HOTEL ENTRANCE: VALET AREA
HOTEL ENTRANCE: VALET AREA
LOBBY: ENTRANCE LOUNGE
LOBBY: ENTRANCE LOUNGE
LOBBY: ENTRANCE LOUNGE
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY: RECEPTION DESK
LOBBY: RECEPTION DESK
LOBBY: RECEPTION DESK
LOBBY: SHOPPING ARCADE
LOBBY: SHOPPING ARCADE
LOBBY: SHOPPING ARCADE
LOBBY: SHOPPING ARCADE
LOBBY: SHOPPING ARCADE
LOBBY: STAIRS TO MAKENA TERRACE RESTAURANT
LOBBY: STAIRS TO MAKENA TERRACE RESTAURANT
LOBBY: ST REGIS BAR
LOBBY: ST REGIS BAR
LOBBY: ST REGIS BAR
LOBBY: ST REGIS BAR
LOBBY: ST REGIS BAR
LOBBY: ST REGIS BAR
LOBBY: ST REGIS BAR (TERRACE)
LOBBY: ST REGIS BAR (TERRACE)
LOBBY: ST REGIS BAR (TERRACE)
LOBBY: ST REGIS BAR (TERRACE)
LOBBY: ST REGIS BAR (TERRACE)
LOBBY: ST REGIS BAR (TERRACE)
LOBBY: ST REGIS BAR (TERRACE)
LOBBY: ELEVATORS TO GUEST ROOM FLOORS
LOBBY: ELEVATORS TO GUEST ROOM FLOORS
GUEST ROOM FLOOR
GUEST ROOM FLOOR
GUEST ROOM FLOOR
GUEST ROOM FLOOR
PREMIUM OCEAN VIEW ROOM: ENTRANCE
PREMIUM OCEAN VIEW ROOM: ENTRANCE
PREMIUM OCEAN VIEW ROOM
PREMIUM OCEAN VIEW ROOM
PREMIUM OCEAN VIEW ROOM
PREMIUM OCEAN VIEW ROOM
PREMIUM OCEAN VIEW ROOM
PREMIUM OCEAN VIEW ROOM
PREMIUM OCEAN VIEW ROOM: VIEW
PREMIUM OCEAN VIEW ROOM: VIEW
PREMIUM OCEAN VIEW ROOM: BATHROOM
PREMIUM OCEAN VIEW ROOM: BATHROOM
PREMIUM OCEAN VIEW ROOM: BATHROOM
PREMIUM OCEAN VIEW ROOM: BATHROOM
PREMIUM OCEAN VIEW ROOM: BATHROOM
PREMIUM OCEAN VIEW ROOM: BATHROOM
CORRIDOR TO POOL AREA (4TH FLOOR)
CORRIDOR TO POOL AREA (4TH FLOOR)
CORRIDOR TO POOL AREA (4TH FLOOR)
CORRIDOR TO POOL AREA (4TH FLOOR)
CORRIDOR TO POOL AREA
RESORT EXTERIOR (AS SEEN FROM POOL AREA)
RESORT EXTERIOR (AS SEEN FROM POOL AREA)
POOL AREA
POOL AREA
POOL AREA
POOL AREA
POOL AREA
POOL AREA
POOL AREA
POOL AREA
POOL AREA
POOL AREA
POOL AREA
POOL AREA
POOL AREA
POOL AREA
POOL AREA
POOL AREA
POOL AREA
POOL AREA
POOL AREA: NALU KAI GRILL & BAR
POOL AREA
POOLSIDE LUNCH
POOLSIDE LUNCH
POOLSIDE LUNCH
PUU POA BEACH
PUU POA BEACH
PUU POA BEACH
PUU POA BEACH
PUU POA BEACH
PUU POA BEACH
PUU POA BEACH
PUU POA BEACH
PUU POA BEACH
PUU POA BEACH
PUU POA BEACH
PUU POA BEACH
PUU POA BEACH
PUU POA BEACH
PUU POA BEACH
POOL AREA AT SUNSET
POOL AREA AT SUNSET
PUU POA BEACH AT SUNSET
PUU POA BEACH AT SUNSET
PUU POA BEACH AT SUNSET
PUU POA BEACH AT SUNSET
PUU POA BEACH AT SUNSET
SPA
SPA
SPA
SPA
SPA
SPA
SPA
SPA
SPA
SPA
MAKENA TERRACE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
MAKENA TERRACE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
MAKENA TERRACE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
MAKENA TERRACE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
MAKENA TERRACE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
MAKENA TERRACE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
MAKENA TERRACE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
MAKENA TERRACE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
MAKENA TERRACE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
MAKENA TERRACE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
MAKENA TERRACE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
MAKENA TERRACE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
MAKENA TERRACE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
MAKENA TERRACE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
MAKENA TERRACE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
MAKENA TERRACE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
MAKENA TERRACE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
MAKENA TERRACE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
MAKENA TERRACE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
MAKENA TERRACE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST (VIEW)
MAKENA TERRACE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST (VIEW)
NAPALI COAST
NAPALI COAST: KALALAU TRAIL
NAPALI COAST: KALALAU TRAIL
NAPALI COAST: KALALAU TRAIL
NAPALI COAST: KALALAU TRAIL
NAPALI COAST: KALALAU TRAIL
NAPALI COAST: KALALAU TRAIL
KOKO’E STATE PARK
KOKO’E STATE PARK
KOKO’E STATE PARK
KOKO’E STATE PARK
KOKO’E STATE PARK
KOKO’E STATE PARK
KOKO’E STATE PARK
KOKO’E STATE PARK
KOKO’E STATE PARK
KOKO’E STATE PARK
WAIMEA CANYON (GRAND CANYON OF THE PACIFIC)
WAIMEA CANYON (GRAND CANYON OF THE PACIFIC)
WAIMEA CANYON (GRAND CANYON OF THE PACIFIC)
WAIMEA CANYON (GRAND CANYON OF THE PACIFIC)
WAIMEA CANYON (GRAND CANYON OF THE PACIFIC)
KAUAI’S WESTERN SHORES
LAMAHAI BEACH
HAENA BEACH
HAENA BEACH
HAENA BEACH
HAENA BEACH
HAENA BEACH
HAENA BEACH
HAENA BEACH
HAENA BEACH
HAENA BEACH
HAENA BEACH

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The post Review: St Regis Princeville Resort, Kauai Island (Hawaii) appeared first on the Luxury Travel Expert.

Top 10: my 2018 trips that I am most excited about

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (January 1, 2018): My 2018 trips that I am most excited about.

Happy New Year! May this new year equip you with good luck, good health, good fortune and amazing travels!

At the end of the past year, I reflected on my most memorable travel experiences of 2017. But now that 2018 is finally here, it’s time to look forward and share with you 10 great trips that I am planning for the coming year and that I am looking forward to share with you in my Wednesday blog posts (which always feature flight trip reports and luxury hotel reviews).

If you have some tips and suggestions for my upcoming trips, please share them in the comments section below!

Click to view slideshow.

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10. A STAY AT DUBAI’S WORLD-FAMOUS BURJ AL ARAB HOTEL

My 2018 travel plans will bring me back to the Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. While I am looking forward to bring a return visit to Six Senses Zighy Bay – one of my all time favorite hotels – in the neighboring Musandam peninsula (which belongs to Oman), I will also spend two nights in one of the world’s most famous hotels, the self-acclaimed 7 star Burj Al Arab, flagship hotel of the Jumeirah Hotel Group. Although I am not sure whether a stay here is worth the money, I’ve always been intrigued by its reputation and its distinctive sail-shaped silhouette, which represents a glittering architectural marvel in the middle of the Arabian Gulf and a symbol of modern Dubai. According to the hotel’s website, the Burj Al Arab features oversized suite-only accommodations where you can glide between the suite’s two floors along a marble staircase and soothe your soul in a spa-like bathroom with Jacuzzi, mosaic floor, and full-size Hermes products. Last year, the hotel unveiled a new manmade outdoor deck area – the so-called North Deck – which comprises two pools, a restaurant and a bar. The North Deck was built in Finland by Finnish firm Admares – which specializes in the construction of cruise ships and yachts – before being shipped to Dubai.


9. A TRIP IN THE WORLD’S NEWEST BEST BUSINESS CLASS, THE QATAR AIRWAY QSUITE

Qatar Airways is one of my favorite carriers for flying Business Class. And the airline – which is currently facing difficulties following a severe diplomatic crisis in the Middle East – took its Business Class product to a new, unprecedented level last year. The so-called ‘QSuite‘ offers the industry’s first-ever Business Class double bed, with privacy panels that stow away, allowing passengers in adjoining seats to create their own private room. Adjustable panels and movable TV monitors on the centre four seats allow colleagues, friends or families traveling together to transform their space into a private suite, allowing them to work, dine and socialize together. Each seat is crafted with thoughtful and luxurious details such as hand-stitched Italian leather and satin rose gold finishing, bringing an unprecedented level of luxury, privacy and style to Qatar Airways’ Business Class offering. The Qsuites are currently being introduced on the carrier’s B777 fleet at an estimated rate of one aircraft a month and I have booked myself into a Qsuite for one of my 2018 long-haul flights. Let’s just hope that Qatar does no make a last-minute aircraft swap since that would ruin the opportunity to make a nice trip report :).


8. AMAN JOURNEY IN SRI LANKA

I cannot count the times I have flown overhead Sri Lanka on my way from Europe to Asia, and last year I even made a stop-over of a few hours on Colombo’s airport when I was returning from the Maldives aboard a SriLankan Airlines A330. But I have never traveled the country itself although that is finally going to change this year as I have put Sri Lanka on my travel itinerary for a holiday in March. Now may be a good time to explore the country since it’s still affordable and uncrowded, something that will change in the future since it is predicted that more and more travelers will flock to the Indian Ocean’s largest island. Sri Lanka is famous for its white sand beaches, shining blue waters, a staggering number of Unesco World Heritage Sites (8 in total), oodles of elephants, verdant tea plantages, and exotic (but spicy) food. Sri Lanka is also home to two Aman resorts – one of the world’s most luxurious hotel brands – where I will spend a few nights. Amangalla is located in the 200-year-old gardens of vibrant Galle Fort, a Unesco World Heritage Site with a cosmopolitan history, while Amanwella is located a short drive away along Sri Lanka’s south on an iconic crescent-shaped golden beach coast amid coconut palms. Besides both Aman resorts, I will also spend a night at the capital’s new Shangri-La Colombo hotel as well as enjoy a stay at Resplendent Ceylon’s latest creation, the luxurious Wild Coast Tented Lodge which is set adjacent to the world-famous Yala National Park, renowned for its dense leopard population.


7. A TRIP IN AIR FRANCE’S B777 FIRST CLASS

Air France offers one of the best First Class cabins in the sky, on condition that you fly one of their Boeing B777-300ER planes since their A380 aircraft feature a less stellar product. I have flown them before I launched my Youtube channel & blog, but I will fly them again this year. My destination will be Dubai and Air France is my first choice, not only because of their great product but also because they offer some great First Class deals to Dubai, which come in the range of Business Class fares. The B777 ‘La Première’ cabin has four exclusive individual suites, ensuring optimum privacy and enabling customers to be totally or partially alone, in absolute comfort. The airline’s ‘haute couture’ suite features a seat that reclines into a bed stretching 2 m long and 77 cm across (6 ft 7 ins and 30 ins), one of the most spacious in the world. Each suite is dressed with thick curtains, held back with leather tiebacks, enabling the passenger to decide whether to be totally isolated or just partially. Opposite the seat, an ottoman can be converted into an extra seat, offering the option to invite a guest for dinner or simply for a conversation. Each guest also has a personal 24-inch (61 cm) HD touch screen. I cannot wait to publish a trip report and Youtube clip about my experience aboard this magnificent cabin.


6. A TOUR OF JAVA AND BALI IN INDONESIA

In summer 2018, I’ll bring a return visit to Bali, the idyllic Indonesian ‘Island of the Gods’, which takes a serious claim to be paradise on earth and is one of the world’s most scenic islands (although its popularity has taken its toll in certain areas). Varied landscape of hills and mountains, rugged coastlines and sandy beaches, lush rice terraces and barren volcanic hillsides all provide a picturesque backdrop to its colorful, deeply spiritual and unique culture. Bali’s five-star resorts rank amongst the most exclusive in the world and most of them are clustered in Nusa Dua, Seminyak and Ubud. Ubud’s hotels cater to those who prefer spas and cultural pursuits, while surfing and other beach activities can be found at the sophisticated beachfront communities of Nusa Dua and Seminyak.  Besides Bali, I will also visit the island of Java, the heart of Indonesia and its most culturally compelling island, featuring a dazzling array of magnificent vulcanic landscapes and also home to the world-famous temples of Borodur. I will stay at several properties during my Java and Bali vacation, including the ultrauxe Aman properties (Amanjiwo, AmankilaAmandari, and Amanusa), the new Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Ubud, Banyan Tree Ungasan, Anantara Uluwatu, and the soon-to-open Six Senses Bali resort. Let’s just hope that the Mount Agung volcano – which is currently causing havoc in the island – will stop erupting soon.


5. A HOLIDAY AT SANTORINI’S HOTTEST NEW LUXURY HOTEL

Arguably Greece’s most beautiful island, Santorini is a mix of towering black cliffs, inky waters and whitewashed villages. Santorini inspires every visitor because of its spectacular landscapes with blue domes and white washed houses and churches perched on volcanic cliffs, all set against the backdrop of the beautiful shimmering Aegean waters. Unfortunately, thanks to its natural beauty, Santorini endures another plague – plenty of visitors during summer – when roads are blocked, restaurants are full and prices soar. While spring is a lovely time to visit, particularly for the wild flowers, the sea has yet to warm up enough for all but the bravest. This is why October is best – there are no crowds, the water is warm and there’s wine to be tasted. And so I will bring a return visit to the island early autumn, and I will stay at what promises to be the island’s hottest new luxury hotel – Canavas Oia Epitome, which opens this spring. I am also considering extending my stay with a few days on the Greek mainland to visit the new Four Seasons Astor Palace Athens and bring a return visit to one of Aman’s most stunning resorts, Amanzoe.


4. A FLIGHT IN SINGAPORE AIRLINES’ NEWEST A380 FIRST CLASS

Last November, Singapore Airlines unveiled its highly anticipated new First Class product which will be fitted on its five new A380 aircraft before retrofit work will be performed on 14 existing aircraft, ensuring product consistency across the airline’s entire A380 fleet. The product looks incredible and somewhat similar to Etihad Airways’ First Class Apartments (which I reviewed here). There are six fully-enclosed suites tucked away in the front cabin of the upper deck. Each suite is furnished with a separate full-flat bed with adjustable recline and plush leather chair, so you can lounge comfortably in the chair or rest in bed without the need to convert the bed from a sitting position. For couples traveling together, the beds in the first two suites of each aisle can be converted to form a double bed. When not in use, the bed can be stowed completely, creating even more personal space within each suite. Each seat is upholstered in fine leather, and is fully adjustable using an electronic control side panel which can accommodate a variety of sitting and lounging positions. There’s also a full-sized personal wardrobe, customized handbag stowage compartment, amenity box lined with soft leather, specially designed carpet and a feature wall with mood lighting. Since I live not far from London – one the first cities to get the A380s with the new First Class product – I intend to book myself a ticket using miles in the new First Class cabin for one of my several upcoming trips to Asia.


3. TRACKING MOUNTAIN GORILLAS IN AFRICA’S NEWEST LUXURY HOTSPOT, RWANDA

Spotting a wild gorilla in the African jungle is on many people’s bucket list and my favorite wildlife experience in the world, worth all the travel efforts. Mountain gorillas are the most majestic, and sadly, rarest apes of all non-human primates. Only 700 of these magnificent creatures remain in the world, all of them found in the border area between Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A guided gorilla tracking takes anywhere from 2 to 10 hours, and allows you to spend one hour with the apes once you found them. I have previously spotted mountain gorillas in Uganda’s magnificent Bwindi National Park (more than a decado ago), an awesome adventure inspired by my emotions after seeing the movie Gorillas In The Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey. In 2018, I am traveling to Rwanda, which is emerging as one of the most exciting new luxury destinations in Africa. Its reputation as a luxury hot spot is also the reasons why Rwanda doubled the price for a permit to view its sought-after mountain gorillas to $1,500 USD per person (while it remains $600 USD in neighboring Uganda). I will be staying at two of the countries most exclusive lodges, One&Only Nyungwe House which is situated on a working tea plantation on the edge of Nyungwe National Park (and the first of two new One&Only resorts to open in Rwanda) and ultraluxe Bisate Lodge, which is managed by Wilderness safaris and comprises only six spacious forest villas, offering a luxurious base from which to enjoy an extraordinary gorilla experience.


2. A STAY AT AFRICA’S MOST EXCLUSIVE BEACH RESORT, MNEMBA ISLAND (ZANZIBAR) 

Early 2018, I will bring a visit to Zanzibar, also known as the Spice Island. This beautiful island on Africa’s east coast – a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania – is bursting with history and culture, seemingly at odds with its spectacular powder white beaches where palm trees sway lazily in the mild sea breeze. Together, this makes Zanzibar a fabulous place to explore as well as a dream to relax and unwind.  The capital Zanzibar City is famous for its historic centre Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is marked by small, winding streets and high, colonial townhouses. But most travelers come to Zanzibar for its gorgeous coastline which offers some of the best beaches in the world, with smooth, white sand making for dazzling days in the sun. The idyllic island also houses some brilliant hotels & resorts, and I am looking forward to stay at some of them (and write trip reports and make Youtube clips about my experiences). These include the new Park Hyatt Zanzibar, Essque Zalu Zanzobar, Hideway of Nungwi Resort, and the uber exclusive &Beyond Mnemba Island Lodge. The latter is one of the Indian Ocean’s most luxurious hideways, offering a romantic, ultra-private hideway for a maximum of 20 guests at a time in an award-winning barefoot beach paradise just off the northeast coast of Zanzibar.


1. SONEVA GALORE (MALDIVES & THAILAND)

It’s no secret. Besides being an Aman junkie, I am a HUGE Soneva fan. The Soneva story started in 1995, when Sonu Shivdasani, an Indian-British hotelier, launched the now world-famous Soneva Fushi resort on the deserted Maldivian island of Kunfunadhoo. He also built his house there, together with his wife Eva Malmstrom, a Swedish fashion model, who developed the design and furnishing of the unique resort. They had no idea that their intensely personal vision of a locally crafted villa and environmentally responsible lifestyle would form the basis of a successful collection of world-class hotels, resorts and spas. But that’s exactly what happened. Soneva Fushi was the first ‘castaway’ resort in the Maldives, pioneering a trend for back-to-nature luxury holidays. In 2009, the Soneva Hotel group built a second, even more spectacular hotel – Soneva Kiri – on the unspoilt Thai island of Koh. And last year, they opened one of the most amazing resorts ever built, phenomenal Soneva Jani in the Maldives. And there are more to come. The success of the Soneva brand also paved the way for Sonu and Eva’s other hotel group, the Six Senses Resorts & Spas, across South East Asia and Europe before being sold in 2012. In 2018, I will bring a return visit with some friends to all 3 Soneva resorts, not only to enjoy the terrific hotels and their dreamy surroundings, but also to make some new clips (with drone this time). And remember, you can always follow in my footsteps and get a free upgrade at any of the 3 Soneva resorts, simply by contacting me before any booking is made, after which I will introduce you to my Soneva contact.


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The post Top 10: my 2018 trips that I am most excited about appeared first on the Luxury Travel Expert.

The most anticipated hotel openings of 2018

Friday newsletters always feature luxury travel contests, tips, series, or news.

Today (December 22, 2017): The most anticipated hotel openings of 2018.

Last week, I published my list of the best new luxury hotels of 2017. Today, I share with you the 80 hottest luxury hotels that are expected to open their doors in 2018. Some of these hotel openings are managed by the world’s most exclusive hotel brands. Please keep in mind that hotel openings do get delayed from time to time, so to avoid disappointment, try not to book a room before the hotel effectively opened.

There is more information and direct link to the hotel websites below the slide show! Think I missed one? Leave a comment!

Click to view slideshow.

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1. FOUR SEASONS ASTIR PALACE HOTEL ATHENS, GREECE

On the sophisticated Athens Riviera, at the tip of a pine-clad peninsula, Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens will offer the best of both worlds: a laid-back seaside escape, just 30 minutes from the historical city centre. Here, you’ll be able to discover the wonders of ancient civilization at the Acropolis, then return to Four Seasons to unwind and relax. The 303 guest rooms, suites and bungalows will gaze across the brilliant blue Aegean. Three pools and two private beaches will invite you to bask in the sun, while the spa will beckon with treatments inspired by the ancient teachings of Hippocrates. Eight restaurants, lounges and bars will create a dynamic destination for entertaining. Reviving the glamour of Astir Palace’s golden age, Four Seasons will create a new experience of luxury for a new era.

  • Official hotel website: not available yet
  • Opening date: mid 2018


2. ONE&ONLY KEA ISLAND, GREECE

Situated in a 65-hectare beachfront site on the west side of Kea island of the Cyclades, this ultimate ultra-luxury lifestyle experience will include 75 resort villas, as well as One&Only Private Homes available for purchase. Kea is the closest Cycladic island to Athens and is accessible by ferry or speed boat from Lavrio Harbour. A post-modern Greek island, the One&Only resort on Kea will be inspired by the azure ocean waters, providing contemporary Greek elegance, celebrating the incredible natural elements of Greece and the Cyclades. One&Only Kéa Island will honour the country’s rich culture and traditions. The stylish resort will also be home to 3 restaurants, two bars and an indulgent destination spa, introducing traditional and holistic practices fused with modern spa therapies, with overall wellness at its core.

  • Official hotel website: not available yet
  • Opening date: 2018 (not specified)


3. THE CHEDI LUSTICA BAY, MONTENEGRO

Located on the coast Montenegro at Luštica Bay with stunning views over the Adriatic Sea, The Chedi Luštica Bay will be GHM’s second European property. The Chedi Luštica Bay will be the largest 5-star hotel in the Boka Bay, offering 110 guestrooms, two restaurants and a bar, conference rooms and a business centre, along with an outdoor pool, spa and fitness centre, an indoor heated pool, gymnasium and ancillary facilities. Not only is the iconic Chedi brand the first of seven hotels to be constructed in Luštica Bay, it will be the first to be constructed over an expansive area of 7 million square metres to form a new town.

  • Official hotel website: not available yet
  • Opening date: 2018 (not specified)


4. THE EDITION BARCELONA, SPAIN

Hotelier Ian Schrager and Marriott International will open a new EDITION hotel in the Catalan city of Barcelona. As a lifestyle hotel brand, EDITION focuses on individuality, great design, personal service, and one-of-a-kind beverage and entertainment offerings. The Barcelona EDITION will be located near the Cathedral of Barcelona in the Ciutat Vella district, within walking distance of many popular sites. An office building is currently being converted into the 100-room hotel. There will be three restaurants, a club, and a rooftop bar. Ian Schrager and Spanish designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán have teamed up to conceptualize the interiors.

  • Hotel website: The EDITION Barcelona
  • Opening: 2018 (not specified)


5. RAFFLES EUROPEJSKI WARSAW, POLAND

In the historic district of Warsaw, next to the Presidential Palace, Raffles Europejskis is a significant restoration of a landmark building. The restoration team has worked closely with the local conservation body and with the utmost respect to ensure the hotel’s heritage and character are preserved. Raffles Europejski, Warsaw will offer its guests 103 elegant guestrooms and suites; a restaurant with an outdoor terrace with seasonal menus showcasing Poland’s rich produce and cuisine; a bar and cigar lounge; and a pâtisserie that will evoke Hotel Europejski’s fascinating story, tempting guests and locals with chocolates, cakes, ice-cream and other sweet delicacies. The hotel will also house a spa featuring six treatment rooms.

  • Hotel website: Not yet available
  • Opening: 2018 (not specified)


6. BELMOND CADOGAN HOTEL, LONDON, UK

Get ready to be spellbound by Belmond Cadogan Hotel. Standing strong since 1887, this grand building has long been central to Kensington and Chelsea’s social scene. Now undergoing careful renovation, it will  emerge in 2018 as a sumptuous sanctuary that honours its rich heritage under the Belmond umbrella. Working in tandem with Belmond and Blair Associates Architects, Cadogan Estates is funding the redevelopment, which includes the complete refurbishment of all public areas and the reconfiguration of 64 keys to 54 in order to accommodate demand from luxury travellers for larger junior suites and suites. The interior design project is being carried out by the London office of GA Design International, experts in international luxury hospitality design. Built in 1887 in the Queen Anne style, The Cadogan has played an integral role in the social history of the Kensington and Chelsea area.

  • Hotel website: Belmond Cadogan Hotel
  • Opening: 2018 (not specified)


7. SIX SENSES KAPLANKAYA, TURKEY

Six Senses Kaplankaya will be set on the diverse Aegean coastline, blending world-class contemporary design with natural beauty and history. Nestled in the breathtaking natural beauty of this ancient land, the resort will lie directly on the waterfront in Turgutreis, approximately 20 km (12 mi) from the centre of Bodrum. Undulating hills clad in evergreens, wild olives and cypresses will amplify the invitation extended by warm breezes and the turquoise sea’s gently lapping waves. Presenting a robust mosaic of architecture, history and art, the resort will be within easy reach of many archeological sites including two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The resort will feature 141 guestrooms and suites, all boasting stunning views to the Aegean Sea, plus 150 residential villas.

  • Hotel website: Six Senses Kaplankaya
  • Opening: May 2018


8. VICEROY PRINCES’ ISLANDS ISTANBUL, TURKEY

Set to the beguiling backdrop of a centuries-old Ottoman mansion at the edge of the Sea of Marmara, Viceroy Princes’ Islands Istanbul will introduce provocative, modern luxury to a destination steeped in regal timelessness. This waterside enclave will be poised on the coast of Büyükada, the grandest island in a lush archipelago called Princes’ Islands, just one hour from Istanbul and known as an escape for exiled Byzantine-era emperors and empresses. This resort will offer 77 guestrooms, exclusive residences set inside the property’s waterfront Grand Mansion, private yacht pier, a protected sea lagoon, sea hammams, and horse carriages to explore the car-less island. Guests will soak in outdoor pools, on sun terraces and decks while gazing over emerald hillsides, rugged beaches, or across the ocean at Istanbul’s iconic spires.

  • Hotel website: Viceroy Princes’ Islands Istanbul
  • Opening: 2018 (not specified)


9. MANDARIN ORIENTAL DOHA, QATAR

Blending chic, contemporary design with touches of Qatari heritage, the Mandarin Oriental, Doha hotel will bring new levels of luxury to the Qatari capital. Guests can expect an inviting ambience with personalised service, where Middle Eastern charm meets Mandarin Oriental’s legendary hospitality. As Qatar’s premier luxury hotel, the hotel will enjoy a central setting, ideally located within close proximity to the business district, top attractions and the airport. A celebration of traditional Qatari heritage and stylish contemporary design, the 128 guestrooms, 30 suites and 91 serviced apartments will be stylishly appointed with an air of understated elegance. With nine distinct restaurants and a beautifully appointed spa, it promises to be the perfect address for business or leisure.

  • Official hotel website: Mandarin Oriental, Doha
  • Opening date: early 2018


10. THE ST REGIS AMMAN, JORDAN

With design concepts by New York-based Perkins Eastman Architects, the St. Regis Amman and The Residences at St. Regis Amman will become a landmark in Jordan’s capital. Located in the affluent Abdoun district, The St. Regis Amman will feature 270 luxuriously appointed guest rooms, including 91 suites, four restaurants, a café, destination bar, pool and pool bar, fitness center, signature spa, and St. Regis’ iconic Butler service. The Residences at St. Regis Amman will include approximately 80 branded luxurious residences featuring two-, three-, four- and five-bedrooms as well as a dedicated lobby, pool, fitness center and lounge. Trained in the English tradition, the butlers will provide ever-present, yet unobtrusive round the clock service while anticipating guests needs and customizing each guest’s stay according to his or her specific tastes and preferences.

  • Official hotel website: The St. Regis Amman
  • Opening date: May 2018


11. W AMMAN HOTEL, AMMAN, JORDAN

Amman’s prestigious new downtown, the Abdali district, will soon be home to the first W Hotel in Jordan, offering a vibrant urban retreat for both business and leisure guests. Scheduled to open its doors in the autumn of 2017, the W Amman will feature 280 guest rooms and suites, a number of signature beverage and food outlets, in addition to a multitude of extraordinary W amenities. The hotel will be the only building in the area with a helipad. The W Amman is under the umbrella of Eagle Hills, an Abu Dhabi-based private real estate investment and development company and will be served and run by Marriott Hotels.

  • Hotel website: W Amman
  • Opening: January 2018


12. AL MANARA, A LUXURY COLLECTION HOTEL, SARAYA AQABA, JORDAN

The ancient Jordan city of Aqaba will serve as the background of a new opulent seaside hideaway, the Al-Manara Hotel. The hotel, distinguished by its rich and unique traditional architecture, will be ideally positioned at the mouth of Saraya Aqaba’s lagoon, stretching along a sandy beachfront and protected by a jetty with a lighthouse. The property, which will be managed by the Luxury Collection, will offer 200 guestrooms, including 18 suites, three main restaurants with waterfront views, specialty shops, health club, spa and recreational facilities access, swimming pools and private beaches facing both the Gulf of Aqaba and Saraya lagoon.

  • Hotel website: Al Manara
  • Opening: April 2017


13. W TEL AVIV – JAFFE, ISRAEL

W Tel Aviv – Jaffa will be set inside a historic 19th century heritage building in the revitalised ancient port neighbourhood of Jaffa. The trendy hotel will provide a cutting-edge lifestyle experience, featuring 125 stylish guest rooms and suites, including one Extreme WOW Suite (W’s interpretation of the Presidential Suite), as well as panoramic views of the Mediterranean coast. The hotel will offer a signature restaurant, a destination bar and W Living Room (W’s take on the traditional hotel lobby). Other luxury leisure facilities include an Away Spa, a state-of-the-art fitness, and a glamorous outdoor pool deck. Guests can also expect the W brand’s signature Whatever/Whenever service philosophy, providing guests whatever they want, whenever they want it.

  • Hotel website: W Tel Aviv – Jaffe
  • Opening: March 2018


14. SIX SENSES SHAHARUT, ISRAEL

Six Senses Shaharut will open in November 2018, south of Israel’s Negev Desert and featuring just 58 suites and villas with one Retreat Villa. Designed to integrate into the desert topography and preserve the natural terrain, the villas are built from, and inspired by, local rock and pigments, and the landscaping will feature cacti and indigenous desert blooms. Six Senses Spa Shaharut will include single and double treatment rooms plus male and female steam, sauna and hammams. On-site attractions will include the fascinating Earth Lab, camel stables and an open-air amphitheater. The extraordinary desert setting will present a host of activities from overnight camel camping to extreme sports, hiking, jeep safaris and wine tours.

  • Hotel website: not available yet
  • Opening: November 2018


15.  JUMEIRAH ROYAL SARAY, BAHREIN

The Jumeirah Royal Saray will be located on the Bahrain shoreline in a premium beach front position. When complete, it will have 167 guest rooms including two Royal Suites, a variety of dining and recreational options, and a health club and spa. The new luxury property is being developed by Sevens Holding, owned by the Bahraini ruling family. Jumeirah currently has 20 hotels open, in nine countries. Jumeirah Group is one of the world’s most luxurious hotel groups and operates a world-class portfolio of hotels and resorts of distinctive design, including the flagship Burj Al Arab Jumeirah.

  • Hotel website: not available yet
  • Opening: February 2018


16. JUMEIRAH MUSCAT BAY, OMAN

Jumeirah Muscat Bay will consist of two hotel components, one consisting of 206 rooms and the other of 106 rooms, both located in the picturesque cove of Bandar Jissah, near Qantab, nestled between the Hajjar Mountains and the Gulf of Oman. The resort will lie 15 minutes south of the city centre and 40 minutes from Seeb International Airport. The overall development will include a 1,200 m2 Talise spa, a dive centre, a wide range of sports and leisure facilities, a selection of restaurants, bars and cafes and a kids club. The resort will also include conference and banquet facilities to cater for Oman’s growing attraction as a destination for conferences, meetings and large scale events. The resort will form part of a larger development that includes high-end residential townhouses and villas, taking advantage of some of the most beautiful, unspoilt coastline in the Middle East.

  • Hotel website: not available yet
  • Opening: February 2018


17. KEMPINSKI HOTEL MUSCAT, OMAN

Nestled within the community of Al Mouj Muscat encompassing over six kilometers (3,7 miles) of stunning coastline, the Kempinski Hotel Muscat will be an unparalleled luxury destination in the capital of Oman. Expected to open early 2018, with 310 rooms and suites, state of the art meeting facilities, world-class restaurants and bars, fully equipped fitness centre and an authentic spa experience, be prepared to immerse yourself in the finer things in life. A gateway to an authentic Omani adventure, experience a melange of local traditions and world-class European luxury guaranteed to create unforgettable memories. Future guests will be delighted by Oman”s only signature PGA standard 18-hole golf course, designed by Greg Norman; as well as the 400-berth Al Mouj Marina, Oman”s largest private yachting hub.

  • Hotel website: Kempinski Hotel Muscat
  • Opening: 2018 (not specified)


18. W MUSCAT, OMAN

The new beachfront W Hotel will be located near the InterContinental Hotel Muscat and feature an energetic ambiance that will match well with the Royal Opera House Muscat which is located close to it. The hotel will have 300 rooms, one presidential suite outside the hotel, meeting facilities, a ballroom, a specialty restaurant near the beach and several restaurants inside the hotel as well as pool and spa facilities. The overall decor will be very modern, but according to its developers, it will definitely have some Omani and Arab touches. The other two Starwood hotels that form part of the wider project – the 350-room Westin Muscat and 100-room long-stay property Element Muscat – will open at a later stage.

  • Hotel website: not available yet
  • Opening: May 2018


19. EMERALD PALACE KEMPINSKI DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

The Emerald Palace Kempinski Dubai will be characterised by grand design and regal interior inspired by 18th century continental Europe with a contemporary twist, that appeal to today’s discerning guest. Crystal chandeliers, marble, gold and silver leaf plated timber combined in with opulent drapery, elegant colour schemes and expansive space, will introduce guests to palatial living. Ideally located on Palm Jumeirah, the Emerald Palace Kempinski will comprise 389 luxuriously appointed guest rooms. This luxurious palace will have the most spacious rooms on the Palm among the largest lead-in category offering spacious living, 56 unique Executive Suites and eight highly appointed Royal and Imperial Villas, surrounded by pristinely landscaped tropical gardens.

  • Hotel website: Emerald Palace Kempinski Dubai
  • Opening: spring 2018


20. W DUBAI – THE PALM, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Another W hotel in the Middle East is set to open in 2018. The W Dubai-The Palm will be located in Dubai’s most prestigious residential, leisure and tourism hub and will offer spectacular views of the island, Dubai Marina and the waters of the Arabian Gulf. W Dubai-The Palm will feature 283 guest rooms, including 102 suites, five WOW suites and two Extreme WOW suites (W’s interpretation of a Presidential Suite). The hotel will also offer W exclusives including the brand’s signature W Lounge experience (W’s transformation of the traditional lobby), a glamorous WET pool, SWEAT (W’s state-of-the-art fitness centre) and an AWAY Spa. The hotel will feature eight contemporary dining and lounge concepts, more than 2,500 square meters of meeting and event space, and a business center. These offerings will be complemented by the W brand’s signature service promise, Whatever/Whenever, providing guests whatever they want, whenever they want it.

  • Hotel website: W Dubai-The Palm
  • Opening: June 2018


21. AL BEIT SHARJAH, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Al Bait Sharjah is a development aimed at protecting and restoring the emirate’s historic fabric. Spread over 10,000 square metres, the hotel will feature 53 guest rooms, restaurants and a spa and wellness facility, some of which are incorporated into five decades-old heritage buildings. Unique design elements such as converting an old home into a library and museum, and weaving the Souq Al Arsa, a traditional open-air marketplace, into the property as a pedestrian thoroughfare, will bring the destination’s charm to life and enhance the guest experience. Al Bait Sharjah is designed by UK-based architectural firm GAJ, the same architects for The Chedi Khorfakkan in Sharjah.

  • Official hotel website: Al Bait Sharjah
  • Opening date: 2018 (not specified)


22. JUMEIRAH SA’ADIYAT ISLAND RESORT IN ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Set in a prime location on the north-eastern coast of Sa’adiyat Island, the property will be the most luxurious five-star resort in Abu Dhabi. The hotel will comprise 294 guest rooms, including spa suites, presidential suites and private high-end villas. Food and beverage outlets will include an all-day dining venue, two signature restaurants, a lobby lounge and bar, a pool and beach bars, retail shops and outdoor beach and pool areas. Once complete, the Sa’adiyat Island master-plan development will be made up of seven districts which will house and service a population of 150,000 people.  The districts will include The Louvre and The Guggenheim museums, a Performing Arts Centre, nine kilometres of beaches, six luxury hotels and resorts, a championship golf course with luxury apartments, the Monte Carlo Beach Club, a promenade, a marina and the Sa’adiyat Retreat where the Jumeirah Sa’adiyat Island Resort will be located.

  • Hotel website: Not available yet
  • Opening: 2018 (not specified)


23. FAIRMONT RIYADH, BUSINESS GATE, SAUDI ARABIA

Located just north of the city, Fairmont Riyadh, Business Gate will be part of a new mixed-use development project comprising the hotel, a convention centre and commercial real estate space that will house multinational corporations as well as regional companies.The hotel will feature 298 spacious guestrooms, including Fairmont Gold. Guests will enjoy a selection of dining venues as well as spa and fitness facilities. The convention center comprises 5,000 square meters of meeting and function space.

  • Hotel website: Fairmont Riyadh, Business Gate
  • Opening: 2018 (not specified)


24. ANANTARA TOZEUR, TUNISIA

Anantara Tozeur Resort will present a brand new luxury retreat in the splendid southwest Tunisian city of Tozeur. A hub for Saharan adventures, the oasis city is renowned for its architecture and vast fields of palm trees, and rose to fame as a film location for the original Star Wars movie. The stunning new-build property will epitomise Anantara’s essence of authentic luxury – from its exquisite design to rich indigenous experiences. The 93 guest rooms, villas and pool villas are designed for romance and quality time with family and friends – complemented by inspirational facilities. Travellers will be ablet to savour the rich flavours of the destination, or broaden their culinary horizons with exotic Thai cuisine. Lush swimming pools will offer sublime relaxation. A luxury spa will assure prestigious pampering with six massage rooms, a hammam, steam, sauna and salon beauty.

  • Hotel website: Anantara Tozeur Resort
  • Opening: mid-2018


25. THE OBEROI MARRAKECH, MOROCCO

Located just 20 minutes south of the city centre and the international airport, the Oberoi Marrakech will be nestled within twenty-five acres of fragrant citrus orchards and ancient olive groves. Its architecture will pay homage to the palaces of ancient Morocco. The resort will offer 84 spacious, modern accommodations, adorned with handcrafted, Moroccan design features that will evoke the romance of ancient Marrakech. All villas and suites will have a private, heated pool and magnificent views of the orchards. The resort’s highlight will be the exquisite spa, a tranquil, light-filled space, situated on a private island on a lake within fragrant orchards. Afforded verdant views and elegant, handcrafted design elements, it will offer Ayurvedic and Moroccan-inspired therapies, Moroccan hammams, a yoga room with an al fresco pavilion and a temperature-controlled indoor swimming pool.

  • Hotel website: The Oberoi Marrakech
  • Opening: May 2018


26. GRACE MARRAKECH, MOROCCO

Grace Marrakech will be a haven of exquisite taste with a unique aura. This tranquil hideaway in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains will lie in 15 hectares of Moroccan countryside and feature its own farmstead with olive trees, vegetable gardens and horse stables. Comprising 18 suites and lofts (some with two or three bedrooms), a restaurant, bar, library, outdoor heated pool, traditional farm kitchen and fully serviced spa with traditional hammam and whirlpool, it will provide the perfect escape for both couples and families or those seeking an exclusive corporate retreat. Grace Marrakech will be for those who seek a luxury hotel in Morocco that is an escape into a rural retreat with easy access to the vibrant culture, nightlife and entertainment that Marrakech is famous for.

  • Hotel website: Grace Marrakech
  • Opening: mid 2018


27. THE ST REGIS CAIRO, EGYPT

The St. Regis Cairo will draw guests to the heart of Egypt’s modern metropolis on the north end of Corniche Road. With sweeping views of the Nile River and proximity to fine shops, restaurants and the pyramids, the hotel will reign as Cairo’s finest address. Michael Graves’ contemporary design will embrace traditional architectural flourishes and graceful geometric lines throughout the hotel’s restaurants and lounge, pools, spa and 23,000 square feet (2.155 square meters) of meeting and conference space. Guests will be able to relax in residential style in 292 lavishly furnished rooms, including 63 suites.

  • Hotel website: St Regis Cairo
  • Opening: early 2018


28. FOUR SEASONS RESORT SEYCHELLES AT DESROCHES ISLAND, SEYCHELLES

Adventure and rejuvenation await at Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island – the only resort on this captivating coral island. The castaway sanctuary is located on a pristine tropical island that measures 6 km (4 mi) in length and is edged by 14 km (9 mi) of soft white beaches. Being one hour by plane from the main island Mahe, the destination enjoys unrivalled privacy and absolute freedom. This will be one of the most intimate Four Seasons resorts with just 71 accommodations, including pavilions, villas, suites and residences – all with private pool and beach access. You will be able to discover eclectic cuisine at two restaurants, and fill your days with island activities ranging from world-class diving, fishing and nature walks to luxurious indulgence at the spa.

  • Official hotel website: Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island
  • Opening date: early 2018


29. CONSTANCE AIYANA, ZANZIBAR, TANZANIA 

Mysteriously set in the fragrant Pemba Island along the 2000 years old Indian Ocean trade route, Constance Aiyana is where you will surrender to your senses.  Ecologically built with locally sourced materials like limestone, aggregates, coconut brooms, Aiyana will be in total harmony with Mother Nature. Inspired by the beautiful African architecture, the Aiyana hotel will be mystically soul-stirring with high ceilings, pastel colours, fragrant gardens and water feature. Constance Aiyana will feature with 30 magnificent villas, all facing the dreamy Pemba ocean and dressed in a minimalist luxury décor with a Zanzibari touch. Pemba is accessible from Dar es Salaam; a thirty-minute light aircraft flight from Zanzibar and can be part of a multi-destination safari trip or a stand-alone exotic holiday.

  • Hotel website: Constance Aiyana
  • opening: January 2018


30. ONE&ONLY GORILLA’S NEST, RWANDA

One&Only Gorilla’s Nest, located near the village of Kingi, will be incredibly positioned on the foothills of the Virunga Volcano range. This beautiful resort, nestled amongst a forest of eucalyptus trees will provide breath-taking views of Rwandan hills and the slopes of the Volcanoes National Park. Guests will be able to discover the magical habitat of critically endangered mountain gorillas, a rare adventure. In addition to the Gorilla Trek, guests will also be able to discover Golden Monkeys, as well as visit Dian Fossey’s Karisoke Camp. Bespoke accommodation will honour the location and natural elements will be woven throughout the resort, to inform the design of both the public and private spaces of the resort. Local African cuisine will surround a traditional Boma, providing the perfect location to share adventures from the day and enjoy fruit and vegetables from the resort’s garden. The resort will also offer an indulgent One&Only spa.

  • Official hotel website: One&Only Gorilla’s Nest
  • Opening date: early 2018


31. THE CHEDI, MUMBAI, INDIA

This year, General Hotel Management Ltd (GHM) will bring The Chedi brand to the hospitality market in India’s wealthiest city. The Chedi Mumbai will be situated in close proximity to the Powai region, an area where infrastructure developments, connectivity and social groundwork have laid the foundation for the growth of a diverse expatriate community. Visitors to India’s City of Dreams can look forward to The Chedi Mumbai’s 316 generously sized guestrooms, five outstanding restaurants that will cater to the discerning palates of the well-heeled traveller, extensive meeting facilities with state-of-the-art equipment and technology, and a holistic spa and wellness facility.

  • Hotel website: The Chedi Mumbai
  • Opening: Mid 2018


32. SIX SENSES FORT BARWARA, INDIA

Historic Rajasthan is the setting for the 14th century fort that has been beautifully converted to become Six Senses Fort Barwara, a three-hour drive from Jaipur. Originally owned by the Rajasthani Royal Family, it will sit directly opposite the temple, Chauth ka Barwara Mandir. The sensitive conservation effort will feature 48 suites and will incorporate a palace and two temples within the walled site that reinterprets the gracious and regal ambience of a bygone era. Two restaurants will serve classic dishes and modern cuisine incorporating fresh local ingredients, together with a bar and lounge. A 30,000 square foot (2,800 square meter) Six Senses Spa and fitness center will be located in the original women’s palace and will feature an extensive Ayurveda program, meditation and Six Senses Integrated Wellness programs. There will be two swimming pools, banqueting areas, retail boutique and kid’s club.

  • Hotel website: Not available yet
  • Opening: 2018 (not specified)


33. LUX* NORTH MALÉ ATOLL, MALDIVES

A short transfer from Male by luxury speedboat, the intimate LUX* North Male Atoll resort will disrupt the Maldivian mould by replacing traditional thatched villas with over-sized, penthouse residences. A visual feast of nautical forms and tones, the resort will be elegantly styled by Singapore design group Miaja in a scheme that blends superyacht panache with a vibrant South Beach pulse. Each of the 60 double storey residences will sit either on the beach or over water whose guests will benefit from an insane amount of living are. For the first time in the Maldives, each residence will be crowned with a fully-featured reef terrace – a magnificent private deck, elevated 5 meters (16 ft) above the giant house lagoon – from which guests will be able to marvel at a unique perspective on the planet’s flattest country.

  • Hotel website: LUX* North Malé Atoll
  • Opening: April 2018


34. BAGLIONI RESORT, MALDIVES

Lose yourself in the vastness of the Indian Ocean, and find yourself again, luxuriating blissfully under a palm tree. This is just one of the unique experiences that will await you at the new Baglioni Resort Maldives. Dreamily resplendent on the island of Maagau in Dhaalu atoll, a 40-minute hop by seaplane from the capital, Malé, this remarkable resort will be awash with tropical natural beauty. Its comprehensive comforts will offer an unforgettable stay with a blend of sport, relaxation and prestigious gourmet dining to suit its exclusive international clientele. It will be the first 5 star ’Italian’ resort in the Maldives, with a low environmental impact, and with 99 villas of seven different types.

  • Hotel website: Baglione Resort, Maldives
  • Opening: summer 2018


35. ALILA KOGGOLA, SRI LANKA

Alila Koggala will be an ecological escape set amid stunning views and lush serenity, where environmentally sustainable practices, the finest lifestyle experiences and beyond- expectation service infused with locally influences make for an unforgettable stay. The resort will be located in southern Sri Lanka, on Koggala Lake in Habaraduwa, just five minutes from the famed Ahangama Beach and a 20-minute drive along the coast from the city of Galle and its World Heritage-listed Galle Fort. The 35 suites and villas at Alila Koggala will offer luxurious living in naturally beautiful surroundings with exquisite views of the lake – a heavenly setting for an exclusive lifestyle experience. Environmentally conscious architecture, interior design and landscaping will immerse guests in the absolute height of contemporary comfort and thoughtful luxury.

  • Hotel website: Not available yet
  • Opening: 2018 (not specified)


36. THE HERITAGE HOTEL KEMPINSKI YANGON, MYANMAR

Currently in the final phase of restoration, The Heritage Hotel Kempinski Yangon is scheduled to open its doors to guests in spring 2018. Located on The Strand, in the heritage district of Myanmar’s largest city and opposite the new riverside cruise terminal, this outstanding five-star deluxe hotel will define luxury in the city of Yangon. Built in 1927 as the New Law Courts, The Heritage Hotel Kempinski Yangon was created by architect Thomas Oliphant Foster and built by Doorman Long UK, the builders of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, as the first multi-level steel structure in the Far East. The Heritage Hotel Kempinski Yangon will offer 219 spacious rooms and suites with crafted décor and high ceilings. The hotel will have a roof top bar by the pool where guests and Yangonites alike can enjoy breathtaking views of the Irrawaddy river from dusk to dawn.

  • Hotel website: The Heritage Hotel Kempinski Yangon
  • Opening: spring 2018


37. SIX SENSES BHUTAN, BHUTAN

Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas has designed a project that is actually five individual satellite resorts in five separate locations, but all under the umbrella of one all-encompassing name: Six Senses Bhutan. It will be five unique experiences crafted into one enchanted journey through the Kingdom. With a total of just 82 guest suites and villas distributed between five intimate lodges, guests will visit the heritage and hospitality of Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey, Bumthang and Paro in the colorful Kingdom known as the Happiest Place on Earth. Each of the five locations was identified with a specific and appropriate theme, so that as guests will move between them they will experience a journey through all their senses.

  • Hotel website: Not yet available
  • Opening: summer 2018


38. SIX SENSES KRABEY ISLAND, CAMBODIA

Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas is expanding its portfolio to an exciting island location in Cambodia, a country steeped in history and reemerging onto the world stage of exotic destinations. Located on the island of Krabey, the resort will be comprised of 40 pool villas set around the naturally landscaped 30-acre island, with its highest point being 137 feet (42 meters) above sea level. Guests will arrive at the mainland reception before the short water transfer to the island. Sihanoukville Airport is less than a 10 minute drive from the mainland jetty, Phnom Penh International Airport is a three-and-a-half-hour drive and Siem Reap International Airport is a scenic eight and a half hours. Similar to other Six Senses Resorts, the property will feature exceptional restaurants and spa facilities.

  • Hotel website: Not yet available
  • Opening: 2018 (not specified)


39. ALILA KOH RUSSEY, CAMBODIA

Alila Villas Koh Russey, Cambodia will be Alila’s first ‘Villas’ resort outside Bali. Located amid the Koh Rong archipelago, the hotel will be a 15-minute boat ride from the Cambodian coast, offering pristine bays, dramatic peninsulas, white-sand beaches and tropical forests. The resort will feature one and two-bedroom villas, each with its own terrace, private pool and garden. For the ultimate in luxury, the resort’s four-bedroom pool villa features a large living area, kitchen, master bedroom, three guest bedrooms and an expansive outdoor terrace and pool area. The resort will offer a wealth of in-house facilities including a beachfront Spa Alila, kids club, beachside grill restaurant, sunset bar, and a restaurant with five-star international and local cuisine.

  • Hotel website: Not yet available
  • Opening: 2018 (not specified)


40. ROSEWOOD PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA

Rosewood Phnom Penh, which will occupy the top 14 floors of Vattanac Capital Tower One in the heart of the Central Business District, providing an ultra-luxury hospitality experience in the exotic capital of the Kingdom of Cambodia. A panoramic view of the city and the fabled Mekong River will be seen from its position in the structure – whose shape is inspired by the silhouette of a rising dragon – and the Royal Palace, National Museum and Central market will be within easy reach.  The hotel will feature 175 rooms and suites which will be amongst the largest hotel guestrooms in Phnom Penh. Dining options will include a 120-seat bistro, a 60-seat lobby lounge, two specialty restaurants and a sky bar on a cantilevered terrace.

  • Hotel website: Rosewood Phnom Penh
  • Opening: early 2018


41. ROSEWOOD LUANG PRABANG, LAOS

Rosewood Luang Prabang will open in 2018 as a luxury tent and villa encampment located a 10-minute drive from the historic city of Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Laos. Epitomizing Rosewood’s A Sense of Place philosophy, the resort will be completely immersed within a virtually untouched natural environment. Rosewood Luang Prabang will offer 22 spacious deluxe villas, garden villas, private pool villas and luxury tents with features such as open-air showers, tubs and living rooms. The 100-square-meter luxury tents, with their own private dining areas and wrap-around decks, will be a first for Rosewood. There will be two dining options – a bar and a bistro serving French and Laotian cuisine. The arrival manor will also house the brand’s signature Sense, A Rosewood Spa.

  • Hotel website: Rosewood Luang Prabang
  • Opening: 2018 (not specified)


42. ALILA SCBD JAKARTA, INDONESIA

A haven of hip and contemporary luxury, Alila SCBD will take upscale lifestyle living to the next level with unparalleled design architecture, chic pads, world-class restaurants, creative meeting and entertainment spaces in the heart of the city’s most dynamic retail and business district. Situated right next door to the Indonesia Stock Exchange, across Pacific Place, in the heart of Jakarta’s corporate and financial hub, the hotel will stand against a backdrop of the city’s most iconic office towers, upmarket retail, dining and nightlife. Stunning picture windows, designer mod cons, trademark Alila amenities, dedicated club lounge and generously indulgent bathrooms are just some of the distinguishing features that will be found in the 227 accommodations. The hotel will also feature internationally renowned dining and entertainment, an outdoor pool, and a spa.

  • Hotel website: Not yet available
  • Opening: 2018 (not specified)


43. SIX SENSES BALI, INDONESIA

Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas is currently developing a resort in the southwest of Bali at Uluwatu, a 35-minute drive from Ngurah Rai International Airport. The resort will be set atop a rugged cliff, sharing the spectacular ocean views with the island’s famed Uluwatu Temple. True to Six Senses inimitable style, Six Senses Bali will include 28 sky villas, 62 one-­bedroom villas and seven two-bedroom villas that draw upon the local culture, embrace nature and offer every creature comfort.  The ultimate in Six Senses accommodations, the expansive and beautifully appointed Retreat Villa, will sit on a prominent knoll with sweeping views of the ocean and overall resort.  Two restaurants, a pool bar and a specialty restaurant with chef’s table, cooking school and extensive organic garden are planned.

  • Hotel website: March
  • Opening: 2018 (not specified)


44. JUMEIRAH BALI, INDONESIA

Jumeirah Bali, located on the southern tip of the exclusive Jimbaran District, will look out onto the pristine sands of the renowned Dreamland surfer’s beach and is adjacent to Bali’s exclusive New Kuta Golf Course. Consisting of 80 spacious hotel suites and 25 private villas, and set amidst lush, tropical gardens, Jumeirah Bali will feature architectural designs reflective of Bali’s rich cultural heritage and modelled after an ancient Javanese-Hindu water palace. The resort will offer a variety of fine international and local cuisines in three restaurants. It will offer Jumeirah’s signature Talise Spa and a state-of-the-art fitness centre. The resort will also feature an exclusive cliff-top wedding venue that captures stunning sunset views. A fully equipped business centre complete with meeting rooms and the latest communications technology will enable Jumeirah Bali to cater to both upscale corporate and leisure guests.

  • Hotel website: Not yet available
  • Opening: 2018 (not specified)


45. FOUR SEASONS HOTEL KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

One of Asia’s most important urban centres, Malaysia’s capital blends colonial heritage with modern skyscrapers. In the heart of the Golden Triangle – the thriving business and financial district – Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur will be part of a 65-storey mixed-use tower, including residential and retail. With 209 guest rooms and suites, and 27 serviced residences, the Four Seasons hotel will offer an executive lounge, a serene spa, a wellness-focused fitness centre and a rooftop infinity pool. An exciting addition to Kuala Lumpur’s culinary scene, the hotel will introduce four dining outlets, including a Cantonese restaurant, lobby lounge, rooftop pool bar, and an all-day dining restaurant with sweeping views of the Petronas Twin Towers.

  • Official hotel website: Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur
  • Opening date: mid 2018

 


46. W KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

The St Regis Kuala Lumpur – which opened last year – will be having a new neighbour when W Kuala Lumpur opens its doors this summer on Jalan Ampang. Widely known for its urban cool vibe, the W Kuala Lumpur promises a luxury combination of art, design, music and fashion. The chic urban retreat will have 150 guestrooms with views of the skyline. The property – which will be located at the Malaysian capital’s Golden Triangle – will also have destination restaurants, bar and Living Room, FIT fitness center, spa and WET pool. For gatherings, W Kuala Lumpur will have a total of 1,495 square meters (16,092 square feet) of event space that can host up to 150 people. There will be seven meeting rooms, with the largest measuring 800 square meters (8,611 square feet).

  • Official hotel website: W Kuala Lumpur
  • Opening date: June 2018


47. ALILA BANGSAR, KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

Elevated above the bustle of Bangsar, one of Kuala Lumpur’s most vibrant and cosmopolitan districts, Alila Bangsar will be a modern urban retreat that fuses a haven of relaxation with a lively city vibe. Comfort and personalised service will meet contemporary style and a variety of dining and lifestyle facilities, ideal for young urbanites, leisure travellers and sophisticated executives. Alila Bangsar will occupy the topmost floors of a mixed-use development known as The Establishment. The hotel’s sky-level lobby will be on the 41st floor while its 143 guestrooms will be located on floors 35 to 40, all offering uninterrupted views of the Kuala Lumpur skyline. The hotel will feature a stunning three-storey atrium overlooking a pool, modern spaces for communing, and among the hottest new F&B concepts in Kuala Lumpur.

  • Official hotel website: Not available yet
  • Opening date: 2018 (not specified)


48. CAPELLA UBUD, BALI, INDONESIA

Nestled between Ubud’s rainforest, rice paddy fields and the sacred Wos River, Capella Ubud will bring the wonders and myths of Bali’s exotic past to life.  Inspired by the early European settlers from the 1800s, celebrated architect Bill Bensley conceptualized this ultra-luxurious tented camp as a tribute to their spirit of adventure. Each  oneof the 22 unique tents as well as an extravagant two-bedroom lodge will be crafted with an individual inspirational theme, allowing guests to enjoy the essence of Bali’s untouched natural surroundings in personalized comfort. All retreats will boast a private salt water Jacuzzi pool lavish indoor and outdoor bathrooms, a spacious lounge and bedroom whilst two outdoor decks offer the perfect setting for an intimate candlelit dinner. Gastronomists will be able to indulge at the culinary tent, which offers a choice of two inventive restaurants and bespoke gourmet journeys.

  • Official hotel website: Capella Ubud
  • Opening date: not specified
CAPELLA UBUD, BALI, INDONESIA

49. COMO UMA CANGGU, BALI, INDONESIA

COMO Uma Canggu is the newest addition to COMO Hotels and Resorts. Situated on Bali’s south coast, the beach front destination will offer panoramic views of the soft volcanic sand and rolling waves. This luxury resort in Canggu – an area liked for its laid-back beach scene and rippable surf peaks – will leave its guests feeling rested and revived. The resort’s COMO Shambhala Retreat nurtures wellness through daily fitness classes, hands-on healing and holistic therapies. This will be complemented by a peaceful night’s sleep within the resort’s contemporary accommodation, featuring stylish rooms, suites and spectacular three-bedroom Penthouses with private rooftop pools. COMO Beach Club, a distinctly modern take on the traditional ‘surf scene’, will be a place to gather with family and friends to enjoy an eclectic global menu and a soundtrack of live acoustic musicians and DJ sets.

  • Official hotel website: COMO Uma Canggu
  • Opening date: February 2018


50. ANANTARA QUY NHON VILLAS, VIETNAM

Set on a serene beach, Anantara Quy Nhon Villas will welcome guests to a luxurious hideaway comprising 25 private pool villas inspired by the indigenous beauty of southern Vietnam. Guests will be able to spend their days relaxing in elegance, working up a sweat at the onsite gym, refreshing in the resort swimming pool or getting out into the picturesque countryside to discover even more of the real Vietnam. Quy Nhon is a historic city with a diverse surrounding landscape ideal for exploration. From adventurous hikes to secluded temples, discerning travellers can immerse themselves in the culture of this fascinating country. Phu Cat airport is a 50-minute drive away, offering domestic flights to Ho Chi Minh and Ha Noi.

  • Official hotel website: Anantara Quy Nhon
  • Opening date: mid-2018


51. CAPELLA BANGKOK, THAILAND

Situated along the east bank of the majestic Chao Phraya River, Asia’s most revered waterway, Capella Bangkok will be a window to the eternal source of life for Bangkok and the artery of Thailand. Sensitively designed to offer panoramic views of the river, all 101 suites and villas will allow guests to appreciate the prominence of the estate while indulging in a rejuvenated waterfront lifestyle experience. Inspired by the vibrancy and cultural significance of the River of Kings, Capella Bangkok will be a contemporary interpretation of the ancient Thai culture. Each one of the 101 ultra-luxurious suites and villas will reflect the capital’s urbane cityscape enhanced by a rich tapestry of Thai heritage and elegance. Unobstructed views of the river throughout the hotel promise to brng a sense of tranquility despite being in the heart of a bustling gateway city.

  • Official hotel website: Capella Bangkok
  • Opening date: not specified


52. AMANYANGYUN, CHINA

Set in a flourishing, tranquil forest, and just a 40-minute drive from the bright lights and cosmopolitan bustle of Shanghai, will Aman’s fourth outpost in China, Amanyangyun. The resort is the culmination of years of careful restoration and conservation efforts and safeguards priceless natural and cultural treasures. Here you’ll find 13 antique resort villas and 24 guest suites that offer serenity in the heart of historic China. The villas will be actual, centuries-old structures from the Ming and Qing Dynasties, relocated to save them from demolition, and each one will come equipped with its own swimming pool and a heated Jacuzzi, while each suite will enjoys two private courtyards and outdoor bath. The resort will also be home to a spa and six dining venues, including an all-day dining pavilion, Chinese restaurant with seven private dining rooms, club lounge, informal lakeside café, Aman Deli Village Shop, and a 200-seat banquet hall.

  • Official hotel website: Amanyangyun
  • Opening date: early 2018


53. BANYAN TREE ANJI, CHINA

Anji, famous for its bamboo forests and the home of white tea, is one of the most popular summer destinations in eastern China. Located in the prefecture-level city of Huzhou in Zhejiang Province, it is an eco-tourism country with abundant mineral resources. Banyan Tree Anji will be an exclusive mountain resort, a two-hour drive away from Shanghai and an hour drive from Hangzhou. There will be many attractions nearby, with places like Mountain Longwangshan and Tianhuangping Hydropower Station. The exclusive mountain resort will feature 151 rooms, suites and villas offering scenic mountain views.

  • Official hotel website: Banyan Tree Anji
  • Opening date: May 2018


54. THE RITZ-CARLTON XIAN, CHINA

With 288 guestrooms and suites, The Ritz-Carlton, Xian will be a modern icon paying tribute to its location as a new high-tech hub in a historical city, curating North West China for the international traveler. With expansive event spaces including two ballrooms, two exceptional restaurants including Japanese and Cantonese dining, and an exciting new outpost of the sophisticated bar, Flair, the property will be the new social hub in the city. The ancient Chinese capital is renowned for its archaeological treasure trove with the most renowned being the life-sized Bingmayong (Terra Cotta Warriors) that were buried with China’s first Qin emperor. It was among the first of China’s artifacts to be protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.

  • Official hotel website: not available yet
  • Opening date: not specified


55. THE RITZ-CARLTON JIUZHAIGOU VALLEY, CHINA

Ritz-Carlton plans to open this year the first all-villa property in one of China’s earliest UNESCO world heritage sites, Jiuzhaigou Valley. Located on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau in South West China, the property will enjoy striking views close to multi-level waterfalls, blue lakes and verdant forests for which the 72,000-hectare nature reserve and national park is famed. Juizhaigou Valley which translates as the Valley of the Nine Village Forts, is a land of Chinese legend and folklore, with stories of its creation embedded deeply in the customs of the local Qiang and Tibetan tribes. The Ritz-Carlton, Jiuzhaigou, will feature 87 stunning villas with panoramic views over the valley and the snow-capped Min Mountains. The three restaurants and lounges will feature stone-paved terraces with fire pits for evening relaxation.

  • Hotel website: The Ritz-Carlton, Jiuzhaigou
  • Opening: Early 2018


56. THE BULGARI HOTEL SHANGHAI, CHINA

The Bulgari Hotel in Shanghai will preside in the uppermost 8 floors of a 40-story building located in the extraordinary riverside complex of the historic Jing’an district. The hotel will juxtapose ancient and modern architectural themes in a fascinating reflection of the prestigious Suhe Creek surroundings, called ‘Gold Strand of Shanghai’, home to a flourishing art scene. The Bulgari Hotel, with its 82 rooms and suites – including one extraordinary Bulgari suite – will offer some of the largest hotel rooms in Shanghai. Its Italian rooftop restaurant and bar are destined to become one of the most desirable venues in Shanghai. Besides the highest standard of service for which Bulgari is famous, the hotel will feature remarkable amenities, including a magnificent spa and fine dining experiences in unprecedented settings.

  • Hotel website: The Bulgari Hotel Shanghai
  • Opening: 2018 (not specified)


57. THE ST REGIS ZHUHAI, CHINA

Located in a landmark waterfront setting downtown in one of southern China’s economic hubs, the St Regis hotel aims to become Zhuhai’s most prestigious address. Zhuhai is in the southwestern part of the Pearl River Estuary in Guangdong Province, with Hong Kong to the east and Macao to the south. It is a popular tourism destination with vast coasts and tropical islands nearby. Not much details of the hotel have emerged so far, except that it will be housed in the Zhuhai St. Regis Hotel & Office Tower, a supertall skyscraper under construction that will be 330 metres (1082 ft) tall. The hotel will provide tour guides and arrange an itinerary for guests, including all transfer services, customized one-day trips, and any other related service.

  • Official hotel website: The St Regis Zhuhai
  • Opening date: May 2018

 


58. JUMEIRAH NANJING, CHINA

Located approximately 40 minutes’ drive from the airport and a one-hour train ride from Shanghai, Jumeirah Nanjing will be set in the Hexi new business district and in close proximity to office buildings and a conference centre. The mixed-use development will comprise office and retail space, a conference centre, a 4-star hotel and a luxury Jumeirah hotel.  Designed by architect Zaha Hadid, the 250-room hotel will include 32 suites, an all-day dining and Chinese specialty restaurant, café, lobby lounge, tea lounge, bar, junior ballroom, executive club lounge, business centre, fitness centre, Talise Spa and an indoor swimming pool.

  • Official hotel website: Not yet available
  • Opening date: 2018 (not specified)


59. MANDARIN ORIENTAL WANGFUJING, BEIJING, CHINA

Mandarin Oriental Wangfujing, Beijing will be located on the top two floors in the new premier mixed use centre ‘WF CENTRAL’, commanding outstanding views of several famous landmarks in the capital. The hotel is designed by world-renowned architects Kohn Pedersen Fox, and will feature garden terraces intended to capture the intimacy of a grand courtyard residence, ideal for guests to socialize, entertain and relax in. All 74 luxurious guestrooms and suites will be spacious and elegantly styled, and many will have excellent views of the Forbidden City. Mandarin Oriental’s renowned customer-centric in-room entertainment systems will be a prominent feature. Facilities will include two restaurants, an all-encompassing Spa at Mandarin Oriental providing holistic rejuvenation and relaxation in a serene, meditative setting, an indoor swimming pool and a well-equipped fitness centre.

  • Hotel website: Not yet available
  • Opening: 2018 (not specified)


60. THE CHEDI NINGHAI, ZHEJIANG, CHINA

The Chedi Ninghai will comprise 97 rooms in the province’s hilly coastal region, an area famous for its hot springs and lush bamboo forests. As the first hotel under this new Chedi joint-venture partnership, The Chedi Ninghai will bring the brand’s style, quality and product offerings to the luxury travellers in China. In addition to elegant accommodation, guests can look forward to excellent food and beverage options, holistic spa and wellness facilities, an infinity pool and activities that promote an understanding of the destination and culture.

  • Hotel website: Not yet available
  • Opening: 2017 (not specified)


61. ROSEWOOD HONG KONG, CHINA

Rosewood Hong Kong is destined to become a graceful new landmark on the city’s famous skyline when it opens in 2018 in a prime Victoria Harbor waterfront location at the former New World Centre on Salisbury Road in Tsim Sha Tsui.  Occupying 27 floors of a multi-use tower, the ultra-luxury hotel will offer 398 guestrooms, eight dining options and a fitness center, swimming pool and Rosewood’s holistic wellness concept.  The Manor Club executive lounge will provide an array of exclusive privileges for its guests and The Pavilion will introduce to Hong Kong Rosewood’s signature, high-end residential-style meeting and event spaces.  Rosewood Residences – 199 luxury accommodations for longer stays located on the top 19 floors of the tower – will offer a dedicated lounge, indoor swimming pool and fitness center along with special services and amenities for residents.

  • Hotel website: Rosewood Hong Kong
  • Opening: 2018 (not specified)


62. ROSEWOOD GUANGZHOU, CHINA

Rosewood Guangzhou will occupy the top 16 floors and podium of the 530-meter (1,738-foot) Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre under development, which will be Guangzhou’s tallest building and amongst the 10 highest in the world. The ultra-luxury hotel, located in the heart of Tianhe District’s central business area will feature 251 guestrooms and 355 Rosewood Residences, 23 of which will be duplex apartments. Dining options will include seven food and beverage venues; a bistro, bar, lobby lounge and gourmet corner. Of the nine private dining rooms in the Chinese restaurant, three will be free-standing outdoor garden villas, combinable into one space for celebratory events. On the 107th floor, a contemporary, cosmopolitan restaurant and a sky bar with cigar humidor area and fully equipped wine corner and cellar, will incorporate both indoor and outdoor space.

  • Hotel website: Rosewood Guangzhou
  • Opening: 2018 (not specified)


63. ANGSANA ZHUHAI PHOENIX BAY, CHINA

Built next to the coastline on the Dalang Bay Peninsula, Angsana Zhuhai Phoenix’s perfect location will allow easy access to city centre or Macau border with a mere 20-minute drive and an hour drive to Zhuhai Jinwan Airport. It will be a great getaway destination with a balance of tourist attractions and retail outlets. The resort itself is brilliantly designed with Lingnan styled architecture and touches of artistic elements in the hotel. Angsana Zhuhai Phoenix Bay will features 202 rooms, suites and lofts on one of the most beautiful spots in Phoenix Bay, surrounded by mountains and beaches.

  • Hotel website: Angsana Zhuhai Phoenix
  • Opening: January 2018


64. GRAND HYATT BOGOTA, COLOMBIA

Hyatt’s first luxury hotel in one of South America’s new capitals of cool will bring Grand Hyatt-brand hallmarks—thoughtful design, attentive service—and reflect the vibrant energy of this budding metropolis. In the heart of the prestigious new Ciudad Empresarial Sarmiento Angulo development, the hotel will have two signature restaurants and an expansive spa. The 373 spacious rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows will showcase panoramic city or Andes Mountains views

  • Hotel website: Grand Hyatt Bogota
  • Opening: Summer 2018


65. FOUR SEASONS HOTEL SÃO PAULO AT NAÇÕES UNIDAS, BRAZIL

The powerful pinnacle of South America rises even higher with the arrival of Four Seasons Hotel São Paulo at Nações Unidas. Here among the global players and jet set, you will be invited to be part of Brazil’s complete transformation. Set in one of São Paulo’s fastest-growing and most desirable areas, Four Seasons Hotel São Paulo will be steps away from transportation, upscale shopping, dining and Nações Unidas, the city’s booming business hub. The first Four Seasons property in Brazil, the hotel’s guest rooms and suites will be contemporary yet intimate, with stunning views of the city. Here, you’ll be able to take advantage of the hotel’s ample meeting space or relax in its lush outdoor areas or by the pool. Whether travelling for business or pleasure, let your exploration of the city begin here.

  • Official hotel website: Four Seasons Hotel São Paulo
  • Opening date: late 2018


66. AWASI IGUAZU, ARGENTINA

Located just 15 minutes from the world’s largest waterfalls, Awasi’s new 12-room lodge will be situated on the banks of the River Iguazú. Built on stilts for minimal environmental impact, the 12 villas will be spread throughout the jungle, each positioned for utmost privacy but within easy distance of the main lodge. Each villa will be assigned with a private guide and 4WD, allowing guests to explore at their own pace, visiting where they want, when they want, and for however long they want. After days spent exploring the impressive natural scenery in and around the Iguazú Falls, guests will return to Awasi for a swim in their plunge pool, a drink at the bar in the main lodge and long evening meals in the restaurant.

  • Hotel website: Awasi Iguazu
  • Opening date: early 2018


67. W PANAMA, REPUBLIC OF PANAMA

W Panama will be part of the 50-floor Evolution Tower, a mixed-use building in Panama City’s financial district. It will offer a fully integrated, contemporary lifestyle experience, including 203 stylish guest rooms, with 24 suites, three Wow suites, and one Extreme Wow suite (the W brand’s take on the Presidential Suite), two signature restaurants, the W Living Room experience (reinterpretation of the traditional hotel lobby), destination nightclub, WET pool deck, spa and 8,400 square foot WORKOUT fitness facility. It will be the first W hotel in Central America and is set to become a new landmark in the city.

  • Official hotel website: W Panama
  • Opening date: January 2018


68. ZADUN, A RITZ-CARLTON RESERVE, MEXICO

Set along the dramatic coastline of San José del Cabo with panoramic views of the Sea of Cortez, Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve will make its debut in early 2018. This much-anticipated opening marks the fourth extraordinary resort in the prestigious Ritz-Carlton Reserve portfolio, and the second in the Caribbean and Mexico region. Evoking a true sense of San José del Cabo, the resort’s buildings are placed gently along the steppes of the land, as if they are one with the landscape, rising out of the earth to create the ultimate desert luxury. Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve will feature 115 elegantly appointed suites and villas, each with a personal butler and many with their own private plunge pools. The Reserve also features a collection of Ritz-Carlton Reserve Residences.

  • Official hotel website: Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
  • Opening date: early 2018


69. THE ST REGIS KANAI RIVIERA MAYA, MEXICO

The St. Regis Kanai Riviera Maya, which will bring the brand’s bespoke style of luxury to the resort area and represent the brand’s third hotel in Latin America, joining St. Regis Mexico City and St. Regis Punta Mita. The property, which was originally scheduled to open in 2011 but encountered massive delays, will feature 124 guestrooms and suites, 32 villas, four restaurants, a signature Remede Spa, oceanfront swimming pools and two 18-hole signature golf courses designed by Jose Maria Olazabal and Nick Faldo. The32 exclusive villas will include private swimming pools and indigenous Mexican design accents with full access to the hotel’s facilities. The resort will be located in the Riviera Maya area, 10 km (6 mi) from Playa del Carmen and 38 km (24 mi) from the Cancun airport.

  • Official hotel website: not avialable yet
  • Opening date: December 2018


70. W KANAI RETREAT RIVIERA MAYA, MEXICO

There’s another major Riviera Maya hotel development waiting in the Kanai area.  The 180-room W Retreat & Spa Kanai is being designed to appear to float on a carpet of mangroves set against a backdrop of sea and sky. Guestrooms will have unobstructed views of the sea and interior spaces will merge with an exterior deck furnished with lounge seating, cocktail bar, exterior tub and shower. The decks will be enclosed by retractable privacy screens and sun shading louvers. When the resort opens late 2018, it will have W’s signature Away Spa, with more than 10,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor treatment space, and 7,500 square feet of event space.

  • Official hotel website: not avialable yet
  • Opening date: December 2018


71. ROSEWOOD LITTLE DIX BAY, BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS

The iconic Rosewood Little Dix Bay is currently undergoing a comprehensive, multi-million dollar restoration, which will be the most substantial beautification project since the resort was founded by Laurance S. Rockefeller over 50 years ago.  The restoration will include the complete redesign of the resort’s guestrooms and suites, its three restaurants and overall enhancements to the resort’s gardens and landscaping. The renewal will honor Laurance S. Rockefeller’s unique vision of a luxurious hideaway set amidst the pristine backdrop of Virgin Gorda, and bring about a new level of sophistication in keeping with the natural setting, whilst introducing brand new signature suites for the ultimate in relaxation and style.

  • Hotel website: Rosewood Little Dix Bay
  • Opening: late 2018


72. ROSEWOOD BAHA MAR RESORT, BAHAMAS

Although Rosewood cancelled its new Bahamas property last year due to problems with the former developers of the Baha Mar Resort, the Rosewood Baha Mar Resort is back on track and will open next year. Featuring elegant British colonial architecture and interior styling, Rosewood Baha Mar will epitomize Bahamian refinement and sophistication. The resort will offer 185 ocean view rooms and suites, as well as five luxurious beachfront villas, which will be contemporary and residential in style. Each accommodation will be elegantly appointed with refined Bahamian art and décor. Of note, all guestrooms will boast private balconies with outdoor living areas, while the luxurious four-bedroom villas will offer exceptional tranquility, exclusive services and a private pool.

  • Official hotel website: Rosewood Baha Mar Resort
  • Opening date: June 2018


73. SILVERSANDS, GRENADA

Set on the silver-white sands of Grand Anse Beach on the island’s southwestern tip, Silversands Grenada will be a sleek and contemporary boutique property comprising 43 suites and nine villas. Anchored by a 100-metre pool, the longest in the Caribbean, the hotel will be defined by its offering of an unpretentious luxury experience radiating with the warmth, originality and energy of the ‘Spice Island’ of Grenada. Guests and the eventual buyers of the nine residential villas will share a spa retreat, a beach club and two globally inspired restaurants.

  • Official hotel website: Silversands Grenada
  • Opening date: 2018 (not specified)


74. FOUR SEASONS HOTEL PHILADELPHIA, USA

High atop the skyline’s tallest tower – the 60-storey Comcast Technology Center – the brand-new Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia will provide the city’s most elevated experience. Soaring above Center City at Arch Street and 19th, the Four Seasons hotel will be a landmark of innovation, envisioned by architect Lord Norman Foster. Sleekly minimalist in design, the 217 accommodations – including 38 suites – will be located on the 48th to 56th floors, providing all with unobstructed city views. Beginning with a dramatic sky lobby on the 60th floor, the hotel will aim to create a sanctuary of sophistication, and provide a breathtaking penthouse restaurant, a lively street-level café, a world-class spa, indoor pool, two ballrooms and five meeting rooms. Every experience will be enriched by dedicated Four Seasons people, providing the most thoughtful, attentive care.

  • Official hotel website: Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia
  • Opening date: late 2018


75. FAIRMONT AUSTIN, TEXAS, USA

A towering icon within a vibrant Central Business District, Fairmont Austin will be uniquely located amid the lush greenery of Palm Park and Waller Creek and directly connected to the Austin Convention Center. Opening in summer 2017, the 37-story luxury hotel will feature 1,048 richly appointed guest rooms and suites with picturesque vistas of Lady Bird Lake, a dramatic cityscape and the State Capitol. Fairmont Austin guests will indulge in exquisite dining, a pampering spa and state-of-the-art meeting facilities. The hotel will engage guests with the city’s famed music scene, as well as the area’s celebrated cuisine and diverse artistic lifestyle.

  • Hotel website: Fairmont Austin
  • Opening: early 2018


76. FAIRMONT CENTURY PLAZA, LOS ANGELES, USA

The historic Century Plaza Hotel, located in the heart of Century City in Los Angeles is undergoing a meticulous restoration and is slated to re-open as Fairmont Century Plaza, Los Angeles in 2018. The mixed-use redevelopment project includes approximately 394 guestrooms and 63 branded residences within the original iconic building, along with two new 46-story luxury residential towers with 290 luxury residences and approximately 100,000 square feet of boutique high-street shopping and expanded parking facilities.

  • Hotel website: Not available yet
  • Opening: 2018 (not specified)


77. ROSEWOOD MIRAMAR BEACH MONTECITO, USA

Rosewood Miramar Beach Montecito will open in 2018 approximately 80 miles northwest of Los Angeles within the county of Santa Barbara. Montecito is renowned for its stunning landscape, pleasant year-round climate and spectacular residential architecture. The resort will be located on the site of the former Miramar Beach Hotel, an important landmark in the local community, and will serve as a world-class destination. Spread over nearly 16 acres of prime beachfront real estate, the resort will offer 124 guestrooms and 37 suites, many of which will be located in single-story cottages and bungalows. The resort’s private beach is considered to be one of the most beautiful and secluded beaches in Santa Barbara. Amenities at Rosewood Miramar Beach Montecito will include an oceanfront bar and restaurant with an outdoor terrace, a signature restaurant, two swimming pools, a spa, a gym, and an exclusive membership-only beach club.

  • Hotel website: Rosewood Miramar Beach Montecito
  • Opening: 2018 (not specified)


78. W BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA

W Brisbane will be a stylish addition to the up and coming riverside area in Brisbane, appealing to the new generation of domestic and international visitors to the city. The mixed-use development  will be comprised of three separate towers – W Brisbane will occupy one tower, while the other two towers will be used for premium office and commercial space and high-end residences. The development will also feature podium level retail outlets. Redefining luxury with innovative design, signature amenities and unique style, W Brisbane will offer 305 stylish guestrooms, including 25 suites and an Extreme Wow Suite, the W brand’s reinterpretation of the traditional Presidential Suite. It will also feature more than 960 square metres of ultra-modern meeting and event space, as well as a 24-hour business centre, a state-of-the-art workout facility, and an indoor heated swimming pool.

  • Hotel website: W Brisbane
  • Opening: December 2017


79. THE TASMAN, A LUXURY COLLECTION HOTEL, HOBART

The Tasman, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Hobart will reside in repurposed heritage buildings in Parliament Square, a new design-led, urban development that is set to revitalize the neighborhood, uniting the city’s unique past with its contemporary culture. Upon opening, The Tasman will boast 128 luxuriously appointed guest rooms and suites with carefully restored features, including original windows, floor boards and fireplaces. The hotel’s corridors will showcase exclusive pieces from local artists, while an upscale restaurant, lobby lounge, and whiskey bar will offer a variety of dining experiences that reflect the spirit of the destination. The original features of the heritage buildings will be revived for today’s luxury traveler by Sydney-based hospitality interior design firm JPDC.

  • Hotel website: The Tasman, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Hobart
  • Opening: spring 2018


80. SIX SENSES FIJI

Known for its idyllic crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches, thick tropical forests and excellent climate, Six Senses Fiji will be located in a magnificent secluded bay on Fiji’s Malolo Island. The private golden sand beach frontage stretches over 2,100 feet (650 meters) in length. Six Senses Fiji will offer 26 spacious pool bures (villa) all with private plunge pools and the bures range in size from 1,200 to 1,600 square feet (110 to 150 square meters) including interior and exterior space. There will also be 60 luxury residences (3-, 4- and 5-bedroom configuration), varying in size and averaging from approximately 6,500 square feet (600 square meters) of interior and exterior space up to 10,500 square feet (1,000 square meters). All residences will come with private pools and will situated on the west side of the island where they enjoy the idyllic Fijian sunsets.

  • Hotel website: not available yet
  • Opening: 2018 (not specified)


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The post The most anticipated hotel openings of 2018 appeared first on the Luxury Travel Expert.

Review: Travaasa Hana, Maui (Hawaii, USA)

Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.

Last summer, I traveled to the Hawaiian Islands, where I had a wonderful time. You can read my trip reports here:

  • Review: United Airlines Dreamliner Business Class from Paris to San Francisco
  • Review: United Airlines B777 domestic First Class from San Francisco to Honolulu
  • Review: The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Honolulu
  • Review: Four Seasons Resort Lanai
  • Review: Four Seasons Maui at Wailea
  • Review: Travaasa Hana, Maui (today)
  • Review: Andaz Maui at Wailea (Maui)
  • Review: St Regis Princeville (Kauai)
  • Review: Hawaiian Airlines A330-200 Business Class from Honolulu to San Francisco
  • Review: Swiss B777-300ER Business Class from San Francisco to Zürich

Today (December 20, 2017): Review of Travaasa Hana, Maui Island (Hawaii, USA).
  • Location: Google maps
  • Hotel website: Travaasa Hana

Considered one of the most remarkable resorts in Hawaii, Travaasa Hana, Maui (formerly known as Hotel Hana Maui) is located in the tiny town of Hana on the eastern tip of Maui and will immerse you in the real Hawaii. Timeless local customs such as throw-net fishing and lei making are still a fundamental part of this community’s fabric. Travaasa Hana is the first resort on the island to greet the rising sun and is set amid rolling grass fields and palm trees above Hana Bay. The resort’s spacious cottages and private suites set a peaceful mood, and some of them offer views of the waves rolling across the Pacific Ocean from their private lanai. In an environment free of radios, clocks, and televisions, nothing will distract you from the natural beauty and relaxation of heavenly Hana. Travaasa Hana is located at the end of a three-hour, hair rising coastal drive along Maui’s rugged eastern coastline, considered to be one of the most scenic routes on the planet.

Travaasa Hana features in my top 10 lists of the best luxury hotels & resorts in Hawaii and the world’s most remote luxury hotels.

In this review (more info below my slideshow & Youtube clip):

  • Pros & things I like
  • Cons & things to know
  • My verdict
  • Tips for future guests & save money
  • Best time to visit
  • How to get there
  • Photos

Click to view slideshow.

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PROS & THINGS I LIKE
  • The Travaasa Hana hotel enjoys a stunning, remote location on the eastern tip of Maui, the second-largest of the Hawaiian Islands. Surrounded by unspoiled slopes, lush rainforest, and jagged coastal cliffs, the hotel offers something not found anywhere else on the popular holiday island: a rustic travel experience to be enjoyed in delightful tranquility and absolute privacy, away from the tourist crowds that flock to the island.
  • The resort sits at the end of a dizzying, hair rising, 49 miles (78 km) coastal drive. However, getting to the hotel is half the fun since that road – the so-called Hana Highway, more commonly known as the Road to Hana – is considered one of the most scenic drives on the planet. The road snakes along Maui’s dramatic northeastern coastline, cuts through emerald bamboo forests, and passes countless waterfalls with plenty of sightseeing along the way. Drivers have to negotiate 617 hairpin bends and 56 single-lane bridges and the journey takes anywhere from 2 to 4 hours depending on the number of stops along the way.
  • Located on the 66 acres ocean-front land of a former sugar plantation and cattle ranch, the Travaasa hotel occupies most of ‘downtown’ Hana. Considered one of the last unspoiled Hawaiian frontiers and rooted in Hawaiian tradition, Hana is a tiny and utterly picturesque village, where the pastures roll right up to the main street, where storytelling lives on in legends about gods and in hula, and where horses run wild. Timeless local customs such as throw-net fishing, lei making and plucking bananas from trees are still a fundamental part of this community’s fabric.
  • The story of the hotel begins just after the Second World War when Paul Fagan, an entrepreneur from San Francisco, opened the Ka’uiki Inn which was hailed at the time by the Hawaiian press as ‘the glamorous new resort on the Hana Coast’. Following a spring training in 1947 of the Pacific Coast League’s San Francisco Seals at 1947, Hana and the Inn were put on the travel map since the team also brought along a cadre of sportswriters who wrote glowing reports about the area. One writer even coined the nickname still used today ‘Heavenly Hana‘.
  • The Ka’uiki Inn changed hands several times over the past decades, but always stayed true to its principles of delivering a tropical, rustic and authentic Hawaiian experience. Since 2012, the hotel is known as the Tra­vaasa Hana, one of two destination properties operated by Travaasa (the other hotel is the Tra­vaasa Austin). Under the Travaasa management, a property-wide $12 million USD restoration took place in 2015, hereby installing a new decor that features sustainable materials, artwork, and traditional kapa bark cloth reflecting Hana’s natural and cultural significance.
  • The resort consists of two distinct areas, with a small, local road in between. The resort’s most photogenic area is an expansive, grassy lawn overlooking the Hana coastline, where you find the main pool, a yoga pavilion and the ocean bungalows. On the other side of the road, slightly located further inland, is a tropical garden, which is home to the main hotel building (with reception, shop, library and restaurant), the garden suites, the spa, a croquet lawn, two tennis courts, a family pool, a three-hole putting course, and an activity center. Guests of the hotel have access with their room key to all facilities across both hotel areas.
  • Seventy single-story cottages dot the resort grounds and house everything from garden junior suites to the Waikoloa suite which can sleep up to six or eight guests. During my visit, I stayed in one of the hotel’s so-called garden junior suites. The spacious unit featured a bedroom, sitting corner, a kitchenette, and a wheelchair accessible bathroom (with separate shower and bathtub). Double glass doors (and screen doors) opened to a deck (called a lanai) with views of the garden. The remarkably simple decor was twisted with a few tropical touches, such as wooden floors and Polynesian paintings. Banana bread was delivered to the room as a welcome amenity.

  • Although the garden junior suites are fantastic for families, I recommend to splurge with a stay in one the resort’s pricier ocean bungalows, which are set on both sides of a sprawling lawn overlooking the rugged coastline and the blue Pacific Ocean. The cottages are built on stilts and were originally designed to reflect plantation bungalows once common in Hana, and throughout the Hawaiian Islands, in the early part of the past century. They feature a tropical decor with high wood-beamed ceilings, exotic photography adorning the walls, and a private lanai. Compared to the garden junior suites, these accommodations offer greater privacy, although some ocean bungalows adjoin.
  • Guests of the hotel can choose between two saline pools. The rectangular pool in the garden is great for families as it’s located next to the games room, which offers great entertainment for children and teenagers. The real star of the property is the hilltop infinity pool across the local road, not so much because of the pool itself, but because of the astonishing views of the green lawns and blue ocean that can be enjoyed while taking a dip. In front of this pool is a small hot tub that can accommodate around 6 to 8 guests at a time. Towels are provided at both pools, although pool service itself is limited.
  • Travaasa Hana offers a robust schedule of programs & activities organized in the resort’s five experiential pillars: adventure, culinary, culture, fitness and wellness. Some of these activities are free of charge, such as tennis, hula classes, lei making, ukulele lessons, yoga classes, and free use of bicycles. Some can be arranged for a fee, such as horse riding, outrigger canoeing, Hawaiian spear throwing and throw-net fishing. For getting away from it all, there’s no more beautiful place than here.

  • Guests of the hotel can simplify their stay by opting for the all-inclusive Total Travaasa package which includes daily chef-prepared breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, all nonalcoholic beverages, and a $175 USD resort credit per person per night stay, good toward spa treatments and private classes. The all-inclusive formula starts at $700 USD per night for single room occupancy and $1000 USD per night for double room occupancy, although it is optional as you can also book a room-only stay and pay for any additional expenses made at the hotel itself.
  • Travaasa Hana features its own spa facility, which was completed and added to the resort in 2004. All treatment rooms face a tranquil zen garden, which is equipped with an outdoor coed lava pool. An array of pricey massages, healing rituals, beauty treatments and personalized services are available, using only organic, bioenergetic products. There’s also an onsite boutique shop that sells Hawaiian-inspired spa products. All hotel guests can make use of the spa facilities free of charge, even without booking a treatment.
  • Travaasa Hana features just one restaurant called The Preserve Kitchen + Bar, which is located at the far end of the lobby, overlooking rolling hills, swaying palm trees and historic Kauiki Hill. The open-air restaurant has a relaxed atmosphere reflecting Hana’s low-key lifestyle and is open seven days a week for breakfast (served a la carte only), lunch and dinner. A combination of techniques from classical to innovative blends bold flavors with a focus on in-season, local ingredients, such as produce from upcountry and East Maui farms, locally caught fish, and Hana-raised beef. Live Hawaiian music and hula are featured throughout the week.

  • The resort is surrounded by spectacular tropical wilderness. To the north and west lies the serpentine Hana Highway (as mentioned above), where each bend of the journey reveals ravines draped in waterfalls and lush rainforest. To the south and west, the road continues and delivers travelers 10 miles (16km) south to the outskirts of Haleakala National Park in Kipahulu. There you’ll find the popular Pools of Oheo, where waterfalls spill into tiered pools leading to the sea, and the famous Pipiwai Trail, which runs though an incredible bamboo forest to the 400-foot (120 m) Waimoku Falls.


CONS & THINGS TO KNOW

Travaasa Hana is one of my favorite hotels in Hawaii, and I always gladly return to the property every time I am in the archipelago. Despite its many luxuries, the Travaasa Hana maintains a rustic charm and truly feels like a slice of Old Hawaii. However, the resort is not without flaws and to avoid disappointment, you need to know the following before considering a stay here.

  • It takes a bit of rain to keep Hana so incredibly lush and green. Indeed, this side of Maui is greener but also wetter and windier than most of Maui. Chances are high that you will encounter rain during your stay here. In summer, the rain falls mostly under the form of short showers, but in winter, day-long downpours are not uncommon.

  • Instead of air conditioning, the accommodations are equipped with interior ceiling fans and panoramic sliding doors to keep things cool. However, I found the cooling not sufficient and I could not enjoy a good night’s rest because it was simply too hot inside the room. The staff put an extra ventilator in my room, but that did not help much.
  • Rooms don’t feature TVs, alarm clocks, radios or other tech devices. The idea is to preserve the tranquility and enjoy Hana’s peace and quiet. So if you’re addicted to TV entertainment, this may not be the best place to spend your holiday.

  • Although Travaasa Hana is located on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, it has no direct path to the beach or the water. However, three beautiful beaches are nearby. The resort provides a free shuttle back and forth to the white sands of Hamoa Beach, described by Author James Michener as the most beautiful in the Pacific region (lounge chaises and beach towels are provided to guests free of charge). Red sand beach is just around the corner and can be reached by a 10 min hazardous walk along a cliff edge trail. Finally, Waianapanapa State Park is a 10 min drive away from the resort and offers a gorgeous black-sand beach with good swimming, snorkeling and freshwater pools.

  • Food at the resort’s dining room is overpriced, and unfortunately, it’s one of just two restaurants in town (the other restaurant is only slightly cheaper and – surprise, surprise – also managed by the hotel). However, there are some budget eateries offering mouthwatering street food nearby. Just around the corner, a short stroll from the property, is a low-key Thai shack offering delicious curry and noodle dishes. There are some more food trucks within a few minutes drive from the resort.

  • Facilities in Hana are limited (one general store and one gas station), so if you are spending a few nights here, it’s better to stock on food, drinks and gas before you make your journey to Hana.

  • The remote location of Travaasa Hana is everything, and it can either be a major draw or a put-off based on your expectations. If you don’t like showery weather, the lack of entertainment, isolation, and the lack of direct beach access, you are better off staying in one of the mega-resorts on Maui’s sunny side.

  • Getting to the hotel requires a long drive along a winding albeit spectacular road. However, as mentioned above, the road to Hana is all about the journey and enjoying the beauty along the way. If you don’t fancy the long drive, the hotel can also arrange a small plane charter to a nearby airfield.

  • It seems as if time stood still in Hana, but so has the service at the Travaasa Hana. The mostly local staff is superfriendly, but everything happens on Hana time, so service is frustratingly slow from time to time.


MY VERDICT
  • Location: 10/10
  • Design: 7/10
  • Pool: 8/10
  • Rooms: 7/10
  • Food: 9/10
  • Breakfast: 7/10
  • Spa: 8/10
  • Service: 8/10
  • Value for money: 10/10
  • Overall experience: very good: 8,2/10

TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
  • Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like Travaasa Hana, whether it’s booking a room at the cheapest price or receiving complimentary VIP perks (e.g. upgrade, breakfast, resort credit, etc …).
  • Room tip: if your budget allows, book an ocean bungalow, which is located in the more private part of the resort and comes with a sea view.
  • Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Hawaii’s off-season – when the best rates are available and the islands are less crowded – is spring (April to June) and fall (September to November) – a paradox because these are the best seasons to be in Hawaii, in terms of reliably great weather. Winter (December to March) can be a surprisingly cloudy and wet affair in the archipelago.

Each island has a leeward side (the side sheltered from the wind) and a windward side (the side that gets the wind’s full force). The leeward sides (the west and south) are usually hot and dry, while the windward sides (east and north) are generally cooler and moist. Hana is located on Maui’s windward side, and experiences an abundance of rain (even in spring, summer and falls), what makes the area so verdant.


HOW TO GET THERE

Hana is located at the end of the Hana Highway, a spectacular coastal drive takes anywhere from two to four hours. I recommend you make it a half day to take in all the sights along the way. If you don’t fancy the long drive, the hotel can also arrange a small plane charter to a nearby airfield.


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ROAD TO HANA: KE’ANAE PENINSULA
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HOTEL OVERVIEW
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