Amanera, Dominican Republic
We're mad about this untapped island in the Caribbean, which next month welcomes the launch of Amanera, from luxury lifestyle brand Aman. The concept, set alongside the exclusive Playa Grande Golf Course, will provide a limited number of two to six bedroom villas complete with awe-inspiringly beautiful ocean panoramas and signature Aman infinity pools – available for purchase - together with a boutique hotel offering 25 exquisite casitas, and extensive dining and recreational facilities.
Aman junkies: fear not - the resort wil also house a signature Aman Spa, golf clubhouse and gym.
The Old Clare Hotel, Sydney
Upping the design and comfort game, and set within Sydney’s trendy Chippendale neighbourhood, The Old Clare Hotel has just launched, providing 62 rooms and suites and set within a former brewery. Double-height ceilings, reclaimed timber panelling and original exposed walls provide a spacious yet luxuriously simple internal environment.
Whizz up to the rooftop and indulge in a spot of sunrise yoga poolside, or sip cocktails whilst observing the beating hub of Sydney’s creative district on popular Kensington Street below, which will shortly see the launch of a Jason Atherton restaurant, Kensington Street Social, together with Automata from Noma sous chef Clayton Wells, and Silvereye from Sam Miller.
Arovada Private Island by AKARYN, Cambodia
Next June will welcome the launch of AKARYN Hotel Group’s private island wellness retreat in Cambodia – the first of its kind. Just a speedy 20-minute boat transfer from Sihanoukville, the 40 beautifully designed private villas will offer harmony, seclusion and world-class therapy treatments in a largely untouched part of the world.
Each villa – with round the clock access to a personal butler of course - will blend in to its nautral surroundings and provide guests with a private infinity swimming pool, spacious terrace and private garden. The 2,000 sq-m wellness centre will be a fusion of spiritual and medical care, offering the best in Eastern and Western holistic therapies and treatments.
Part of the Swire Hotel Group, which boasts Hong Kong’s The Upper House and Chengdu’s recent launch The Temple House, EAST, Miami will launch this winter. A whopping 352 rooms, including 8 suites and 89 residences, will feature generous living areas, floor-to-ceiling windows, private balconies and jaw-droppingly beautiful views of Miami and Biscayne Bay.
The hotel will house an in-house Uruguay-inspired dining room, Quinto La Huella, and 40th floor rooftop bar, Sugar, from which guests can star gaze or simply kick back and relax with Miami’s cool crowd.
The Reverie, Saigon
Hyped as Asia’s hottest hotel launch this year, and due to open imminently, a juxtaposition of traditional Vietnamese grandeur and fanciful Italian modernity, the 286-room property will house five European and Indochina-inspired dining and nightlife options, a 1,200 sq-m spa and state-of-the-art fitness suite – all whilst enjoying stunning vistas of the Saigon River.
We love the sound of the imposing three-metre tall Baldi clock, which proudly stands in the main lobby, complete with lavish crystals and 24-carat gold accents.
The Laslett, London
Taking its name from the founder of the eponymous Notting Hill Carnival, and boasting a clever fusion of classic Victorian heritage and playful, contemporary design, this newly-launched, 51-bedroom boutique hotel is an oasis of tranquility and charm. Devised with a philosophical approach, each suite and bedroom offers bright, clean British upholstery, and paintings and curios from a carefully curated art collection.
A British coffee shop serving homemade delicacies, a trendy bar and sleek lobby will take pride of place on the ground floor of the impressive quintuple-fronted townhouse in London’s chic Notting Hill.
Thyme Cotswolds, England
Private and family-owned, and a dedicated labour of love for the past twelve years, this recently relaunched country house boutique hotel provides an array of luxury accommodation comprising bedrooms, three cottage suites and two beautifully restored cottages, together with a spectacular private dining space housed within a medieval Tithe Barn, and a state-of-the-art cookery school.
The estate, set within acres of English farmland, even has its very own 17th century country pub located at the end of the road, whose produce is sourced entirely from the estate's farm and kitchen gardens.
Bawah Private Island, South China Sea
A mere two-hour boat and private seaplane journey from the lively centre of Singapore, but a zillion miles away from humanity, a hotly-anticipated ultra-luxe paradise island retreat is beginning to evolve. Bawah Private Island is located in the South China Sea and, once opened, in 2016, will showcase a group of islands that for centuries have gone unnoticed, and which will offer a dramatic land and seascape.
Part of a completely untouched archipelago, the islands offer an abundance of flora and fauna, including manta rays, birds, butterflies and (eek) sharks. A scattering of pared-back, beautifully appointed private cabins are being constructed using local, indigenous materials. Bawah looks set to be next year’s hot desert island getaway.
Six Senses Zil Pasyon, Seychelles
This luxe resort is situated on its very own private island, Felicite, a short transfer from Mahe international airport by helicopter or speed boat. On the brink of launching, the island will attract eco-conscious travellers as it will remain a natural environment with an abundance of flora and fauna.
Two international restaurants, a bar and a signature Six Senses Spa will offer guests contemporary luxury and world-class hospitality. We suggest staying in one of the 17 private residences - all of which come with a private swimming pool.
Mandarin Oriental Bodrum, Turkey
Bodrum’s hottest new addition, Mandarin Oriental Bodrum, located on the northern side of the spectacular peninsula, offers panoramic views of the Aegean Sea. Comprising 82 delightful guestrooms and 20 suites, the resort offers six restaurants and bars, the ultra-sleek lobby lounge, the chic poolside bar and a Beach Club, complete with every water activity imaginable.
For the ultimate indulgence, guests can opt for the two-storey Oriental Villa complete with four bedrooms, six bathrooms, mini spa, private garden and infinity swimming pool.
Soho House Istanbul, Turkey
The latest offering from the eponymous international private members’ club group founded by Nick House sees a truly magnificent 19th century palazzo brought back to life. The club, which offers non-members the opportunity to use the facilities when they make a bedroom reservation, has generously proportioned lounge areas, a smart Cecconi’s restaurant, spectacular rooftop terrace and bar complete with lap pool, and 87 bedrooms. They also have one apartment ready for short or long lets.
The ubiquitous Cowshed Spa and gym houses a hair salon and traditional Hammam. Authentic Turkish architecture with a unique modern twist. Beautiful.
Baccarat Hotel & Residences New York
This Spring saw the launch of 250-year-old French crystal maker Baccarat’s inaugural offering in the luxury hospitality sector. Manhattan has long been synonymous with refined, understated elegance and this new lifestyle destination follows suit. A remarkable synergy of glamour, practicality and magic presents 114 beautifully enchanting rooms and suites, each with a nod to Baccarat’s crystal artisanal history.
The hotel’s vibrant and unique collection of art, furniture and sculpture has been meticulously curated by Parisienne art connoisseur Frederic Chambre.
The New York EDITION
Following London, Istanbul and Miami, king of luxury design and travel, Ian Schrager, has once again teamed with Marriott International to launch the fourth EDITION hotel at 5 Madison Avenue housed in the former headquarters of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.
Built in 1909, Schrager and his team have meticulously reinterpreted the 41-storey iconic building, creating 273 generously proportioned bedrooms and suites, a chic, triple-room restaurant, The Clocktower, headed up by Jason Atherton, a spa and fitness centre on the 39th floor, and numerous sleek bars and lounges – all with subtle references to the history of the building.
The Serras, Barcelona
History, art and an ultra-sleek modern design are combined at the brand new Hotel The Serras. The boutique luxury hotel, located in the city’s Gothic Quarter, offers 28 beautifully appointed bedrooms and suites – all thoughtfully reinterpreted by local Catalan designers.
The rooftop and cocktail lounge offers a chic, spacious destination to get away from the hustle and bustle, and affords eye-watering vistas of the newly launched Marina Port Vell. Art collectors will be overjoyed to learn that The Serras’ building originally housed Picasso’s first studio back in 1896.
Cotton House Hotel, Barcelona
A must-visit of the year is the overwhelmingly beautiful Cotton House Hotel, located in the prestigious former Association of Cotton House Manufacturers headquarters on Gran via de les Corts. Built in the late 19th century, the building has been meticulously restored and converted into an 83-bedroom luxury hotel by celebrated Spanish interior designer Lazaro Rosa-Violan.
Ornate triple-height ceilings and grand marble staircases are juxtaposed with eclectic 1950s light fittings and Picasso-esque contemporary art from popular Catalan painters such as Josep-Maria Garcia Llort. The hotel’s first floor restaurant, Batuar, offers a spectacular menu of modern Mediterranean cuisine in a bright, informal dining hall overlooking an expansive 300 sq-m terrace.
Hotel Caramel, Crete
Boutique hotel Caramel has just launched on the Greek island of Crete. Sixty-nine luxury suites and villas offer guests bright, modern interiors overlooking the Sea of Crete. NINE's members will love the beach club vibe by the expansive pool - all within a few minutes' walk from the chic town of Rethymno.
Numerous restaurants and bars, each offering both large dishes and smaller plates made with locally sourced ingredients, are thoughtfully scattered around the resort, providing a welcome respite from the midday sun.
Hotel Lilla Roberts, Helsinki
Offering a new, high-design concept in Finland's capital, this extravagantly appointed boutique hotel will open in August 2015 and will provide just 130 sleek, elegant bedrooms. Located in the design hub of the city, which houses over 200 independent shops, museums, galleries, hotels and restaurants.
We recommend reserving the 135 m-sq suite which affords stunning vistas to both the city and the sea.
Limalimo Lodge, Ethiopia
September this year will see the launch of a new luxury in a country which is slowly but surely shaking off its chequered past. Limalimo, an extraordinary ecological structure set in the UNESCO Simien Mountains National Park, will provide just 14 bedrooms, each hand built by local craftsmen and using reclaimed thatch, wood sourced from surrounding areas and with a strong emphasis on sustainable building techniques.
Flora and fauna enthusiasts have the ability to become part of the natural surroundings due to the remote setting. To enquire about the 'Uncover Ethiopia's Classic Northern Circuit" adventure, please contact your dedicated manager.
Benguerra Island, Mozambique
Be one of the very first to experience this newly launched jungle paradise. Situated in the delightfully remote Bazaruto Archipelago, just off the East coast of Mozambique, eco-conscious luxury seekers will be thrilled to hear that the lodge is set within a protected marine conservation area. The pearl-white sandy beaches are mesmerising and the totally unspoiled coral reef with its abundance of marine life make for a diver’s wonderland.
Beautifully handcrafted cabins are elegantly appointed and each contain a large, luxurious four poster bed. En-suite bathrooms are de rigueur and offer charmingly simple interior decoration. The hand-painted tiles that adorn the external showers are just stunning.
The Katamama, Bali
Set to open this Autumn, The Katamama will house 58 spacious suites, each filled with art, carefully chosen furniture and boasting pools, private gardens or balconies. We recommend the 268 sq-m one-bedroom duplex penthouse suite, which offers a secluded rooftop garden with breathtaking sea views. Why not heli over to the untouched paradise island of Lombok for a few days to bask on the pearl-white sandy beaches?
Whether seeking complete relaxation on a pearl-white sandy beach, or an all-encompassing cultural exploration, NINE's members should contact their dedicated concierge manager for inspiration and to plan their next travel experience.
Commenting on the launch of these new properties, Timmy Coles-Liddle, chairman and CEO of NINE, says: “Having personally visited seven of these new luxury hotels, I can attest to the quality of design, thoughtful and generous layout of suites and bedrooms, and meticulous attention to detail from the exceptional staff. Each brings a new level of luxury and with it an invigorated love for the destination.
Our concierge members now seek something much more diverse and ecologically considerate than the typical Indian Ocean favourites of yesteryear. We have already received huge interest in Benguerra Island, just off the east coast of Mozambique in Southern Africa, and Bawah Private Island, a speedy two-hour private transfer from Singapore, which will offer the intrepid luxury-seeker green credentials, untouched crystal waters and adventurous dining with a nod to each island’s gastronomic history.
Cambodia is fast-becoming the go-to luxury destination for sanctuary and utter relaxation, without compromising service or style. Following the launch of Song Saa Private Island in 2012, which boasts the country’s first biological marine reserve, next summer Arovada Private Island will launch on the isle of Koh Krabey, just twenty minutes south of the mainland’s Sihanoukville. Once complete, it will be the country’s first island wellness retreat, and looks set to bring commendable eco-principles and local expertise alike.
This article first appeared in Arabian Knight magazine.