The best new hotels to see in 2022, from Bali to the East-meets-West Raffles London and Aman New York
- With pent-up demand for travel to satisfy, new hotels are opening, from villas in Bali with a ‘no-walls, no doors’ concept to some Asian exports to the West
- Elsewhere, look for a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Sichuan, China, a Regent resort in Phu Quoc, Vietnam, a Six Senses Swiss property and an exclusive safari lodge
Travelling for pleasure may still seem a long way off for some of us, but there will be many new hotels and resorts keen for our custom when the time comes.
Whether you’re looking for a break in the ancient forests of China’s Sichuan province or a health reset on a windswept island in northern Europe, we have compiled some of the most interesting openings of 2022.
When construction of a Ritz-Carlton Reserve at Jiuzhaigou was announced in 2017, its opening was awaited with bated breath.
The location could not be more stunning. At 2,300 metres (7,550 feet) above sea level and bordering the Tibetan Plateau, the resort overlooks the Jiuzhaigou Valley, a Unesco World Heritage Site with an ancient forest, waterfalls and natural pools.
Ancient Tibetan villages, grasslands, the aforesaid forest and the Min mountain range provide the hotel with its views.
The fact it is part of the Ritz-Carlton Reserve collection means, when the property opens in the last quarter of 2022, it will do so with architecture and interiors that pay tribute to the region.
The OWO stands for Old War Office, a tribute to the lineage of the Whitehall property it occupies. Some of the building’s most storied rooms are being converted into suites, with the principal accommodation named after Churchill, as it was Sir Winston’s office during World War II, when he was the prime minister.
The OWO is also 007 territory – novelist Ian Fleming apparently dreamed up James Bond while working as a naval intelligence officer in the building. As you might expect, many Bond movie scenes have been shot here.
The building was completed in 1906, so is Edwardian in design, with modern inflections. Inside, artisans are working on restoring delicate original elements such as hand-laid mosaic floors, oak panelling and a magnificent marble staircase.
New York-based Thierry Despont, known for his transformation of heritage interiors, is dressing 120 rooms, 85 residences, a spa and 11 bars and restaurants, one of which is a collaboration with Mauro Colagreco, chef-owner of the three-Michelin-star Mirazur.
Phu Quoc, Vietnam
A Regent rebranding includes emphasis on design and curated experiences. With 302 suites and villas, six restaurants and bars, swimming pools and the first resort-owned catamaran in Phu Quoc, the Regent will, it is claimed, be the most luxurious resort on the island. It would be interesting to know what the management at the Bill Bensley-designed JW Marriott Phu Quoc think of that.
Nambiti, South Africa
The Nambiti Private Game Reserve, four hours away from Johannesburg by car, is home to nearly 50 species of animal and 10 small safari lodges – so guests here aren’t short of space or privacy.
Come spring, The Homestead, offering 12 suites, will be the new kid on the block. The management of the luxury safari lodge claim to have put sustainability at the forefront of everything they do, from its construction to the activities designed for guests, which include anti-poaching talks.
Roofs are planted with local grasses; rainwater tanks collect water for reuse; and a solar farm will provide at least 90 per cent of the energy the property requires, even powering electric off-roaders that will reduce CO2 emissions by around nine metric tonnes per vehicle in a year.
The original – the Lanserhof Tegernsee, south of Munich – is often booked out for months and has repeatedly won accolades for its wellness programmes.
The third Lanserhof property, expected to open in May, is on the island of Sylt, off the North Sea coast, near the Germany-Denmark border.
From afar, the 55-key Lanserhof Sylt looks like a collection of giant thatched cottages, but after five years of construction costing €120 million (US$132 million), it is far from basic in terms of aesthetics and facilities.
Besides a state-of-the-art gym and spa, the property is equipped for medical diagnostics and treatments, and staffed by a specialist in cardiological rehabilitation for acute and chronic illnesses.
Also restorative are the views, afforded by the hotel’s position at the highest elevation on the island: mudflats in one direction; a heath in the other; and sea all around.
With the last two seasons largely written off by Covid-19 restrictions, 2022-23 could be a big winter for the ski industry.
Good timing, perhaps, for the Six Senses Crans-Montana, expected to open this year in the canton of Valais, a two-hour train ride from Geneva.
Adhering to the Six Senses ethos, this property should strive to make a positive impact on both the guest and the environment. Options in the 22,000 sq ft (2,040 square metres) spa will run the gamut from stress-busting massages to alpine treatments, and cover both emotional and physical being.
Materials used in the property’s construction were local and recycled, as far as possible. A significant amount of the energy used will come from renewable sources.
Along with the 47 guest units on-site are 17 residences built for buyers, which are already for sale.
New York, United States
Phuket’s Amanpuri and Bali’s Amandari are synonymous with space and peace, so it’s not easy to see how Aman Resorts will stay true to its DNA when it opens Aman New York this May. The hotel, on the corner of 5th Avenue and 57th Street, is slap-bang in the middle of the Manhattan action.
Architect Jean Michel Gathy, who counts a few iconic Aman resorts in his portfolio, is no doubt capable of “bringing the serenity of Aman to the centre of the Western world”, as the chain suggests.
The exclusive sanctuary will consist of 83 rooms and suites (and 22 private residences), three dining venues, a jazz club and a 25,000 sq ft Aman Spa, all housed in the 101-year-old Crown Building.
Promising an immersive experience in nature and connections with the local community, Buahan – the first property under the Banyan Tree Escape banner (a brand extension of the Banyan Tree group) – is set to open in the summer on the Island of the Gods.
Sharing a forested ravine with the Ayung River, the Buahan – named after the small village nearby – adheres to a “no walls, no doors” concept, so do not be shocked to find that canvas screens and gauzy curtains are all that separate you from the outdoors at any of the 16 pool villas.
Respect is paid to Balinese craftsmanship and to sustainability in the hand-smithed copper bathtubs and carved wooden headboards. Some fittings are made out of ironwood salvaged from old boatyards and boat piers.
Experiences include a trekking and healing session with a Buahan village family and a spiritual purification ceremony at a temple. It may feel remote, but the resort is just 30 minutes north of Ubud by car.