Topping the list of most-anticipated hotel and resort openings in China this year is surely the Aman Shanghai, although by the time it opens, in the autumn, it will be called something else. Its official name will, I am reliably informed, be announced on January 25.
Located in Shanghai’s Minheng district (exactly where is also under wraps), the property comprises ancient buildings and trees saved from flooding in Jiangxi province, some 800km away, and transported and transplanted to create a “tranquil village of historic dwellings, surrounded by sacred camphor woodland”. It’s an impressive project, even by Aman’s ambitious standards, and you can find out more about it at www.aman.com/shanghai.
The Capella Shanghai Jian Ye Li, opening in March, occupies a cluster of 1930s French buildings in the cultural preservation zone of the city’s Xuhui district. With 55 “ultra-luxury” villas, 40 residences, a French brasserie, spa and shops, it’s still only offering basic information and a watercolour painting at www.capellahotels.com/shanghai.
A third notable opening in Shanghai this year will be the St Regis Shanghai Jingan. It’s slated to launch on March 15, although information is limited – with a photo gallery showing mostly generic shots of flowers, suitcases and pillows – at www.starwoodhotels.com/stregis/shanghai.
Elsewhere across the country, the Anantara Guiyang Resort, in Guizhou province, should be joining its lonely four-year-old sister property – the Anantara Xishuangbanna Resort, in neighbouring Yunnan province – next month.
About 1,000km to the south, the impressively retro/futuristic-looking Rosewood Sanya is due to open 246 rooms and suites overlooking Haitang Bay, and 46 residential villas, sometime in the second quarter.
SINGAPORE Down in the Lion City, The Duxton Club, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Singapore should be up and running in the Tanjong Pagar conservation district by June. This is an interesting property in that it comprises not one but two colonial-era buildings located a couple of hundred metres apart. The Duxton House, on Duxton Road, will offer 50 rooms within eight, three-storey shophouse buildings, with interiors designed by 1970s starlet Anouska Hempel (Black Snake, Tiffany Jones). On Murray Street, The Duxton Terrace’s 138 rooms will be housed in 14 three- and four-storey shophouses, and designed by Jacques Garcia, who has also worked on The Louvre and the Palace of Versailles. Google will get you to the Duxton Club’s website in a lot less time than it takes to crawl through www.starwood.com/luxury.
BANGKOK The highest-profile hotel opening in Bangkok this year will, if it happens, as currently promised, in mid-2017, be the long-delayed Park Hyatt, which was originally scheduled to be welcoming guests in 2014.
Located on the upper floors of the unusual-looking Central Embassy building, on Wireless Road, not far from the Grand Hyatt Erawan, it will feature 222 rooms and suites, all “blessed” with “unobstructed” views of the city. (Note that “unobstructed” is sometimes a hotel-industry substitute for the more frequently used “stunning” or “panoramic” when the views might better be described as “not very interesting”.)
CAMBODIA & LAOS A couple of upmarket Rosewood properties should be opening in unlikely but welcome locations in Cambodia and Laos this year, starting with the Rosewood Phnom Penh – which is expected to be the Cambodian capital’s best hotel – in the next couple of months. The Rosewood Luang Prabang is also likely to overshadow the competition in the former royal capital of Laos when it launches in the third quarter. You can find out more about both properties at www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/luxury-hotels-and-resorts.
INDONESIA Rounding out this overview of regional openings for 2017 are two eco-friendly Indonesian private island resorts, both reachable via Singapore. Bawah Private Island has been in the works since 2010, and is located in the Anambas archipelago – a group of islands about 270km northeast of the island of Batam, which is linked to Singapore by ferry. A private seaplane will fly guests between Batam and the resort. You can find Bawah Private Island – which promises to open in the middle of this year – and links to its more informative social media presence, at www.bawahisland.com.
Perhaps even harder to reach will be Cempedak Private Island, which is situated off the southeastern side of Bintan Island. Due to open in March, it’s a 30-minute boat ride from the highly rated Nikoi Island (which is about 2½ hours by ferry, taxi and launch from Singapore) and is being developed by the same owners.
Watch this space for more details on all these hotels and resorts and their confirmed openings throughout the year.