It is that time of year when we don’t look back but look forward to a brighter, more unrealistic future, where hotels that promise to open inevitably delay before I’ve even had time to publish this list.
Singita Milele, Tanzania
The new crown in the illustrious Singita portfolio, Milele, will elevate Singita’s Grumeti portfolio, which already far exceeds the competition, to new heights. This villa, with its five unique suites inspired by local wildlife, houses up to 10 guests. It boasts multiple outdoor areas, including a boma, an outdoor sala, and a stunning infinity pool with a jacuzzi. For added luxury, two suites and the master suite come with private outdoor jacuzzis. Guests can indulge in wellness treatments, hit the fully equipped gym, or enjoy films in the 10-seater movie room.
One&Only Kea Island, Greece
One&Only Aesthesis quietly opened in Athens a few months ago after much delays, and now it is time for the even more delayed Kea Island to welcome guests. This project, steeped in anticipation for years, was originally destined to be an Aman under the same ownership as Amanzoe.
Cheval Blanc Seychelles
From my multiple meetings with Cheval Blanc, and after years and years of delays, I can confirm in a world exclusive, that they have finally announced that they are going to announce that you can soon go. Soon. This is not a rebuild, it’s a redevelopment of the Banyan Tree property, which apparently is one of the best beaches in the Seychelles. Still, it’s Cheval Blanc, combined with Jean-Michel Gathy, who designed Randheli. Always a good combo. Plus, the Seychelles really needs new properties.
Waldorf Astoria Seychelles Platte Island
Speaking of Seychelles needing new properties, allow me to introduce Waldorf Astoria Seychelles. I would resent including a Waldorf under normal circumstances, but their Maldives property is actually and against all logic, rather very good. However, they do not own the property, so let’s see whether it’s a fluke or this is their standards for new luxury beach options from now on. Platte Island resort encompasses the whole island, which is just a 25-minute journey by private plane from Mahe. The resort features 50 oceanfront villas, with options ranging up to five bedrooms. Mindful of the hawksbill turtles that lay eggs on the beach, none of the villas are built directly on the shoreline, as part of several measures to safeguard their natural habitats.
The Emory, London
Maybourne, ye of London’s finest luxury hotels, The Connaught, The Berkeley, Claridge’s, has decided you may as well beat the competition whilst they’re already down, and decided to open a suites-only hotel. They describe it as the first in the city like they’re deliberately humiliating The Wellsely, which is only a few doors from The Berkeley and opened to their own “six-star” fanfare about a decade ago, only to have to become a Marriott as no one believed them and bothered to stay. Somehow, being a Marriott is meant to turn their troubles around.
The Emory is literally next door to The Berkeley, so it’s unsurprising they will share the same General Manager. Jean-Georges will have a restaurant, as I’m sure is a legal requirement of every hotel on earth now. The Emory will feature 60 suites spread across nine levels. Each floor will exhibit the unique touch of a different top-tier interior designer, reminiscent of The Berkeley’s eclectic approach, albeit with varying success, as I once described one as looking like a sex dungeon.
Atop the hotel, a 360-degree view of London awaits, with the rooftop serving as the crowning glory – a vast, exclusive retreat reserved for guests. Below ground, a wellness sanctuary spanning four floors, including a 22-metre pool.
Mandarin Oriental Mayfair, London
Soneva Secret, Maldives
Even a stopped, emotionally broken and morally bankrupt clock is right twice a day. I was due to go in February – lucky I cancelled, as did they with their original January opening date slipped to mid-Feb. It’s also far from easy to get to, with a 75-minute seaplane journey required, but as anyone with children knows, they’re easy to travel with, so that wouldn’t have been an issue. They’re going to be one of the smallest luxury offerings in the Maldives, with only 14 overwater and island villas. Each villa is attended to by a dedicated team of three, including a personal chef. You better hope they’re good cos your stay is gonna suck if you get the wrong team whilst they’re practically living with you.
Montage Cay, the Bahamas
Initially set to be an Aman, I only include this because we peasants who can’t afford to stay at private islands Over Yonder Cay or Musha Cay for over $40,000 per night are left with little to no options in the Bahamas.
Four Seasons Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Now, with six hotels in Mexico, soon you will have no choice but to stay in one. Four Seasons Resort and Residences at Cabo San Lucas, nestled in Cabo Del Sol on Mexico’s Baja peninsula’s southern coast, blends Mexican flair with a Mediterranean atmosphere via its modern hacienda-style setup. It includes 96 guest rooms and suites, along with 61 residences, villas, and estates, all boasting Sea of Cortez views.
The Vineta Hotel, Palm Beach
Another property that was due to open in 2023 is Oetker Collection’s first foray into the United States. Previously known as The Chesterfield, it’s currently in the midst of a comprehensive makeover. The transformation includes reducing the number of rooms from 57 to 41, creating a more spacious and luxurious feel.
Rosewood Schloss Fuschl, Austria
Aman Nai Lert Bangkok
Aman continue their trend of opening city properties, following the success of Tokyo and New York. The design, featuring panoramic views, open-air terraces, and a central atrium by Jean Michel Gathy, is meant to bring the outdoors in. Spanning 36 floors, the building will accommodate a 52-suite hotel and a limited collection of no more than 50 residences.
Special shoutout to Saudi Arabia. Hold your boos, I’m sure there was a time in the 90s when everyone said that they’d never go to Dubai as well. But it’s a Ritz-Carlton, so you may now boo. Set within the Blue Hole cluster of the Red Sea, Nujuma will feature 63 modern, shell-inspired villas, both overwater and beachfront. Each villa is adorned with found objects, local art, and includes a sea-facing pool. It will also boast a unique indoor-outdoor spa and a dedicated conservation centre.
I’m sure someone woke up one morning and said, “do you know what Dubai needs more of? Hotels”. The Lana was born. Dorchester Collection has some good hotels, so maybe it will be worth a visit if you need to be in that part of the city.
Rosewood Amsterdam could be just what a city desperately needing a real luxury offering needs, whilst Rosewood Miyakojima in Japan could be just what a country that desperately lacks real luxury (outside of Aman) craves.
Lastly, this feels like vaporware, and the lack of information makes me wonder if it will happen, but Voaara in Madagascar has intrigued me because it’s essentially a hardcore luxury traveller turned hotelier. People tell me I should do the same, but I then tell them you must be good with people. I usually scream this at them, so the words are lost. Madagascar is a beautiful country that needs more investment, so I do hope this is real.
Where will I try?
I’d love to try Singita Milele, but a property designed for ten guests that costs $35,000/n is not somewhere I can convince my buddies from the Job Centre to go halfsies on.
We already have a booking for One&Only Kea Island, and I need to get back to London to keep on top of the new openings, including The Peninsula and Raffles, so Mandarin Oriental Mayfair and The Emory can come along for that journey too. We’re planning to head to Mexico early next year, so we might brave the newly opened Four Seasons Cabo San Lucas. We have not been to the Seychelles since 2020, mostly because the luxury sector is heavily underrepresented, even though it offers some of the best islands and beaches in the world. Hopefully, Cheval Blanc Seychelles and Waldorf Astoria Seychelles Platte Island are worth a visit – even if that means needing to come back again in 2025 for the reopening of Fregate. Finally, I cannot help but be morbidly curious about Soneva Secret. I know so many of you want me to go, as you’re all sadists.
But more importantly…
Where would you like us to visit and review? And what new hotels are you excited to try?
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