A rendering of The Capella Bangkok, in the Thai capital.
Travellers' Checks
by Adam Nebbs
Travellers' Checks
by Adam Nebbs

The top 15 hotel openings to look forward to in 2020

  • The most upscale of the lot is surely the 14-suite hotel opening in the grounds of the Palace of Versailles, outside Paris
  • In Asia, the ones to watch out include the Capella Bangkok – finally – and Six Senses’ property near Jaipur

One of next year’s more interesting hotel openings will actually be a reopening, when The Century Plaza Hotel, in Los Angeles, emerges from a four-year closure and extensive renovations in April. Now with two new towers, and renamed the Fairmont Century Plaza, the hotel first opened in 1966 and is said to have been the first in the world to provide a colour television in every room.

It was designed by Minoru Yamasaki, the American architect behind the ill-fated World Trade Centre, in Manhattan. Speaking of Manhattan, Asia-based Aman Resorts and Six Senses will both be opening new hotels in the Midtown area next year.

One of the most drawn-out arrivals of the year will be that of the “much anti­cipated” Capella Bangkok, which was first announced back in 2009 for a 2013 opening. With 101 rooms and suites, the self-professed “gateway to the eternal beauty of nature” is located just upriver from another late arrival, the Four Seasons Bangkok at Chao Phraya River, which was originally scheduled for last year. Both properties are loosely promised for early 2020.

Waldorf Astoria and Raffles, meanwhile, should both be making their debuts on the Indonesian island of Bali sometime next year, with the former a few years behind schedule, and Raffles apparently on time, having been announced just last year. Both will be located on the Bukit Peninsula, just south of Denpasar and the airport.

Six Senses Fort Barwara, near Jaipur, in India’s Rajasthan state.

The Raffles brand has been proliferating since it was sold to AccorHotels, in 2016, and another property will be opening in the state of Rajasthan, India, next year. The Udaipur property will occupy its own lake island in its namesake city and will be the first Raffles hotel in the country.

In the same state, closer to Jaipur, to the north­east, Six Senses Fort Barwara will be opening up in an impressive 14th century fort next year, if it doesn’t fall any further behind schedule. This will be the first Six Senses property to open in India.

Park Hyatt Tokyo cut a new template for both international and domestic hotels in Japan when it opened, in 1994, and the Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono is likely to shake up the ski-resort scene on the northern island of Hokkaido when it launches on January 20. At the other end of the country, one of the more upmarket home-grown brands, Hoshino Resorts, will be soft-opening the Hoshinoya Okinawa on April 15, with a grand opening on May 20.

The Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono, in Hokkaido, Japan.

Singapore’s Pan Pacific Hotels Group expects to make its first foray into the European market in the fourth quarter, when it launches the Pan Pacific London in One Bishopsgate Plaza, a new mixed-use development in the east of the city. In Switzerland, the grand old Hotel Palace Luzern, on the shores of Lake Lucerne, should be reopening at the end of the year as the Mandarin Oriental Palace, Luzern.

In France, the 76-room Bulgari Hotel Paris is expected to open sometime sooner, on Avenue George V, while Cheval Blanc – best known for its presence in resort spots St-Tropez and Courchevel – will be opening its first city hotel this spring, near the Pont Neuf.

Even this pair of haute de gamme offerings will, however, probably be over­shadowed by the Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle. This 14-suite hotel will open in a historic building in the grounds of the Palace of Versailles, about an hour’s drive from Paris, sometime in the spring, and will, I suspect, be fully booked for many, many months in advance, once reservations open.