There is no shortage of new hotel openings each year and this invariably means my bucket list of hotels I’d like to visit is growing longer all the time.
Since it is hard to keep up with the number of new openings – especially when you also have a proper day-job – not all hotels I am listing below are brand new. Some might have already opened a while ago, however it took me a while to figure out they exist. Others might have made it on my list due to new unique offerings that have caught my interest.
Anyway, if you are still sorting out your 2020 travel plans, the below list of 15 mostly new unique hotels might offer some inspiration.
Read on and I am sure you will quickly understand why I feel these hotels are worth being explored.
The new hotel inside the Palace of Versailles
Throughout Europe, there are many opportunities to stay in a stunning historic castle turned luxury hotel.
But actually staying inside Versailles?
Just imagine that. Soon there’s the possibility to stay in a hotel at one of the most beautiful and romantic destinations in the world.
The 14-room Airelles Château de Versailles is scheduled to open in Spring 2020. Located in the Le Grand Contrôl, a building initially built for the Duke of Beauvilliers in 1681 but later turned into a finance ministry of the French King and then abandoned for several decades, the hotel will feature a 18th century style and offer a view over the parterre of the Orangerie and Pièce d’Eau des Suisses.
Owner Airelles is still making a secret of the main features but what is known so far is that there will be a restaurant by Alain Ducasse on-site along with a wellness centre and indoor pool.
In addition, as guest of the hotel you will have access to the grounds of Versailles not only during the usual visitor hours but also in the evening when day guests have left.
Chateau du Grand-Lucé in the Loire Valley
The Loire Valley with its many magnificent chateau, beautiful small historic villages and the excellent wineries famous for their dry whites such as Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé has been on my bucket list for quite a while.
With the opening of Hotel Chateau du Grand-Lucé in summer 2019, it is now more than ever a destination I can’t wait to finally tick off.
Built between 1760 and 1764, the former country home of Baron Jacques Pineau de Viennay has been carefully restored and now features 17 rooms and suites, a ballroom, a bar, spa and fitness centre, an outdoor pool and a vast garden area.
In addition, restaurant Le Lucé is led by French Chef Maxime Thomas who has previously worked at various Michelin-starred restaurants. The restaurant offers a seasonal French menu which features regional produce.
The new W Ibiza
At least here in Europe, Ibiza still has that stamp of being a party island especially for 20 something’s looking for long nights with lots of booze and cheep accommodation.
The truth is, a lot has changed on the island in recent years. There are now a lot of places offering luxury accommodation and the local food scene has made huge strides too.
Ibiza has finally made it on my list when I found out about the opening of the W Ibiza hotel this October.
Nestled on the beach in Santa Eulària des Riu just around 20 kilometres from the airport, some of the hotel features include a roof-top bar, adults-only pool deck, a Spa and several dining options such as a beach restaurant, a steak house and a vegetarian health food bar.
Room rates for the shoulder season are still relatively moderate for this hotel category so this might be a good destination for next spring or autumn.
Royal Champagne Hotel
Another one listed in the 50 Best Hotels in the World 2019 Condé Nast Traveler Choice Awards, this one ranking 22nd, the Royal Champagne Hotel sounds like the perfect getaway to explore the Champagne region in France.
Located in Hautvillers (the home of Dom Perignon himself) just a short distance from Epernay, the Royal Champagne Hotel occupies a refurbished historic coaching inn which is said to have once hosted Napoleon Bonaparte. Today it is the only five-star hotel in the area.
In addition to breathtaking views over the Champagne UNESCO World Heritage-listed vineyards the hotel features indoor and outdoor pools, a bar on the top-floor, two excellent restaurants (one holding a Michelin-star) and a cellar with 257 (!) different Champagnes.
Mezzatorre Hotel, Ischia, Italy
I’ve been to Ischia a couple of times at the end of the 90s (you do the math!). Located off the coast of Napoli in the Gulf of Naples, the small island is often overshadowed by nearby world-famous Capri. Which is perhaps both a course and a blessing. Larger than its famous neighbor but still small enough to be easily explored in a few days, Ischia has it all too: beautiful beaches, cute small fishing villages and even healing hot springs.
Remembering the wonderful days spend on Ischia, it did not take more than the blink of an eye to add the new Mezzatorre Hotel to my wish list of hotels to visit.
Open since summer 2019, the hotel sits on the site of a former 16th-century watchtower and pirates’ lookout above a private bay.
There are 57 rooms and suites either in the historic tower or bungalows spread across the hillside, a pool nestled on a stone terrace along with an on-site small thermal spa.
The hotel also features two on-site restaurants, the La Torre Restaurant and al fresco La Baia restaurant with a spectacular view over the Mediterranean.
Palazzo Experimental, Venice, Italy
Venice is a destination I’ve been lucky enough to visit numerous times in the past; but have avoided for quite some time as I feel there are just too many people around these days and the small alleys and squares are cramped even outside of the peak season.
Yet it is definitely a place I still love and having discovered the new Palazzo Experimental, nestled along the canal in the Dorsoduro neighborhood somewhat away from the main tourist spots, I couldn’t but add the hotel to my list.
It is both the location (Venice) and the concept of the Experimental Group offering funky design combined with an exquisite culinary offer.
Alongside 32 rooms and suites there’s a back garden overlooking the canal, it’s the hotels Ristorante Adriatica that makes me curious to visit. Created in partnership with Italian Supper Club founders Silvio Pezzana and Toto Dell’Aringa the restaurant offers an authentic Adriatic menu.
In addition, there is of course also a new branch of the Experimental Cocktail Club which marks the origin of the group focusing on cocktail bars and restaurants.
London’s first gin hotel: The Distillery, Notting Hill
In recent years, there’s been a veritable gin revival with lots of historic gin brands and many more new producers embracing a newfound love of gin fuelled by the craft gin movement.
Next to new gin menus introduced at bars and restaurants there is now even a hotel focusing on all things gin.
Located at Portobello Road in trendy Notting Hill, The Distillery indeed is a working distillery which has added The Ginstitute offering a gin-blending experience, two bars, a private dining room, and three guest rooms.
It is a location everyone interested to learn more about gin, indulge in an evening of gin cocktails or broaden your knowledge about spirits taking part in a whisky tasting or agave session or indulge in a 5-course dining experience paired with 5 drinks.
The Cavalier Hotel, a true Whisky Hotel in Virginia Beach
A couple of years ago I narrowly missed the amazing Indian Summer along the US East Coast during a road trip from Washington down to Virginia Beach. Hence returning and repeating much of the experience, including this time the wonderful fall foliage is still very much on my bucket list.
In addition to fall foliage, what is now also making me itch to return is discovering the reopening of The Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach, a member of Marriott’s boutique Autograph Collection.
Located in a building listed on the National Register of Historic Places dating back to 1927 reopened in 2018 after a four-year renovation and boasts an on-site distillery, the Tarnished Truth Distilling Company.
Luxury rooms, different dining options and Spa and off course the nearby boardwalk and sandy beach of this renowned seaside locations are just some nice additions.
Anantara Iko Mauritius Resort & Villas
Since my first stay in one of their amazing hotels, the Anantara Eastern Mangroves in Abu Dhabi followed by stays at Qasr Al Arab, Anantara The Palm and Anantara Vilamoura, Anantara Hotels and Resorts is one of my favourite luxury hotel brands.
And off course Mauritius must be on everybody’s bucket list, right?
Therefore, the new Anantara Iko Maurituis Resort & Villas can’t be not on the list of hotels I want to visit.
Located in the still underdeveloped Blue Bay on the southeast coast of Mauritius at Le Chaland Beach, the new hotel features spacious rooms, suites and villas offering breathtaking beachfront views, a large Spa and wellness area and as it is typical for Anantara, various dining options covering the islands divers cuisine from Indian to French, Dutch, Creole, Chinese and off course international choices.
Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas, Mexico
Baja California has become a popular tourist destination thanks to the beautiful natural environment, whale watching and a growing wine and culinary offer.
There are now a couple of fantastic hotels in the area but it’s been the new Four Seasons hotel, one of the latest openings in the area that really caught my interest.
The new Four Seasons hotel occupies a spectacular beachfront location on the Sea of Cortez away from the usual Los Cabos tourist areas around 45 minutes from the international airport.
There are off course a Spa and Wellness Centre, four pools, a sports complex including a tennis court, and five different dining options.
However, the main draw of the new hotel is likely the extensive offer exploring the UNESCO Marine Heritage area including nearly 900 species of fish and plant life. Alongside engaging in diving, snorkelling, water sports and swimming, exploring the nearby waterfalls and hot springs the area offers a wealth of water-related activity.
Away from the water hiking, biking and horseback riding in the nearby desert are other possible activities.
Nay Palad Bird Nest, Kenya
If you never dreamed to spend a night like a bird high above the ground with a 360 degree view over breathtaking wilderness, this new safari glamping experience will make you think about it again.
The Bird Nest was built thanks to a collaboration of Segera Retreat and the Nay Palad. Set in the open landscape of the Laikipia Plains in Kenya between Mount Kenya to the east and the Great Rift Valley to the west, the Bird Nest offers you the unique opportunity to spend a night sleeping directly under the starts (read: outside) in the safety of the nest. Alternatively, you could also retreat inside a shelter located on the first floor below the rooftop.
The experience can be booked as part of a regular Segera Retreat where you will be staying in a villa or the Segera House. It features indeed spending one night at the Bird Nest where a picnic-style dinner is served at the nest around sunset. The next morning, breakfast will also be delivered to the nest and with a bit of luck you will see lots of wildlife gather at the nearby river.
In short, Nay Palad Bird Nest is a luxury safari experience taken to a whole new level.
Nayara Tented Camp, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica
Arenal Volcano National Park, part of the Arenal Conservation Area, an approximately 500 thousand acre area with a total of 16 nature reserves, is known to be home to a great variety of birds and wildlife as well as a sloth sanctuary.
In autumn 2019, Nayara Resorts is opening a tented camp in Arenal Volcano Park with perfect access to the amazing surroundings. The 18 eco-friendly luxury tents feature spectacular views of the Arenal Volcano and come with a plunge pool fed with natural hot springs, outdoor shower, wooden floors, a four-posted bed with a canopy, and a spacious bathroom with an oversized tub.
Other features of the camp include a swim-up bar, a large family friendly pool as well as an on-site gourmet restaurant with an expansive terrace overlooking the rainforest.
If you follow by blog, you will know I can’t turn down a good wine trip combining a winery visit with an on-site hotel stay. When a winery/hotel also features stunning modern architecture, there is no question why it’s ending up on my hotel bucket list.
Ranked 49th in the 50 Best Hotels in the World 2019 Condé Nast Traveler Choice Awards , the Vik Chile is a winery located in the Cachapoal Province in Chile around two hours from Santiago.
The hotel offers 24 rooms/suites, a restaurant, a wine Spa and off course various other wine related activities from wine tasting, winery tours in the Colchagua Valley (including other wineries) and a special harvest experience.
JA Lake View Hotel, Jebel Ali, Dubai
Dubai for me is always worth a trip and in recent years, there’s never been a shortage of exiting new hotels to discover.
Jebel Ali, located on the southern outskirts of the city is one of the areas that has added a number of fantastic hotels and resorts centred around the large marine offerings of the area.
The third hotel to open in the one million sq m huge JA The Resort area in Jebel Ali, JA Lake View Hotel is likely one of the leading technology and sustainability driven hotels in the world.
The structure is powered by solar panels, uses technology to limit food waste and a voice-activated Volera-Alexa in each room provides guests with instant virtual assistance.
Next to more than 300 rooms, there are various dining options (including a floating seafood restaurant), a rooftop bar overlooking the Arabian sea along with three outdoor pools and 800 metres of private beach.
Within the JA The Resort area are many more restaurants and bars, a golf course, tennis courts, horse riding, a large offer of water sports and a marina where boat trips and seaplane flights depart.
L’Amandier, Atlas Mountains, Morocco
A couple of years ago I went on a one day trip to the Atlas Mountains while visiting Marrakech. It’s been a fabulous experience in one of the most picturesque and breathtaking landscapes I’ve seen so far.
At the time, I thought it must be a exceptional experience to stay overnight to get the opportunity to experience a sunset and likely a pitch black night in the Atlas Mountains.
The new L’Amandier hotel nestled in the Ouigane Valley around one hour from Marrakech now offers exactly this.
Nestled about one thousand metres above sea level the fully eco-friendly build complex offers six rooms with direct access to the large infinity pool whilst there are also traditional Moroccan style villas featuring the typical internal garden, private plunge pools and a rooftop terrace with spectacular views.
Food is strictly farm-to-table and many of the ingredients are onsite in the vegetable and fruit gardens.
Which hotel is on top of your bucket list, and why?