Looking for inspiration on where to send GCC travel clients in 2022? Here are some of the most exciting new hotel openings
As well-heeled early adopters keen to stay ahead of the curve, GCC travellers are keen to experience new five-star hotels ahead of the masses.
Luxury Travel Intelligence (LTI) has ranked 15 global arrivals to the luxury hotel market in 2021 that would appeal to the discerning GCC market. Bookmark this article for 15 international hotels likely to impress your clients.
After a quiet couple of years on LTI’s annual hot hotel listing, Paris is deemed the big winner as an international destination to visit in 2022 with three of the top four for 2021 openings based in the French capital. Another trend evident in the listing is a rise in boutique-sized residences and individually-owned properties.
1. The Bulgari, Paris
Though it has the same designers – Italian studio Citterio Viel – as the jewellery brand’s other hotels, this Parisian pad offers extra intimacy. Ceilings are low, colours muted and lighting seductive. There are travel-trunk mini-bars and huge bedrooms. The location, with lemon trees and lawns overlooked by the Eiffel Tower, is spectacular.
The Bulgari, Paris penthouse
2. Airelles Chateau de Versaille, Le Grand Contrôle, Paris
Airelles (lead image), housed in a former treasurer’s mansion outside Paris, enjoys Château de Versailles’ grounds and out-of-hours palace access. All 14 airy bedrooms delight, their limited number creating an intimate feel, while the period furniture, spa and candlelit Alain Ducasse restaurant are enchanting.
3. Beaverbrook Town House, London
One of Britain’s best country house hotels has come to West London. A huge investment from Beaverbrook’s passionate owners (including chocolate-family heir Joel Cadbury) has resulted in numerous 21st-century comforts across 14 rooms, plus Japanese fine-dining.
The hotel’s best trick, however, is to already feel like it has been here forever
4. Cheval Blanc, Paris
LVMH Hospitality offers this new Parisian maison – its fifth hotel in 16 years. Occupying the iconic Samaritaine building, this first urban Cheval Blanc matches its four fabulous forebears. The centrally-located property simultaneously feels resort-like with four restaurants, Paris’s longest pool, and a Dior Spa offering 30-minute ‘happiness shots’ for the time-poor.
Cheval Blanc, Paris
5. Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid
Here is proof that a big brand, when taking its time, can boldly inject creativity into a landmark property while retaining its character. Infused with a roaring Twenties air, especially in the leafy Palm Court and gilded showpiece restaurant Deessa, Mandarin Oriental’s fun reprise of Madrid’s Ritz accentuates the building’s heritage via Quique Dacosta’s contemporary cooking and Jorge Vázquez uniforms for staff.
Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid spa
6. Kisawa Sanctuary, Mozambique
Despite royal princess Nina Flohr being behind this 750-acre sanctuary on beach-lined Benguerra Island, the real headline is its devotion to sustainability seen in exceptional bungalows, Mini Mokes for freeform exploring, a coral reef and a sister marine research facility. There’s also a zero-waste restaurant.
7. The Woodward, Geneva
This Geneva address sees the Oetker Collection seamlessly blend its rural properties’ ultra-luxe facilities with the intimacy of a small, classy city hotel. The brand’s reputation for creating true masterpieces is evident in assets from the majestic Mont Blanc views over Lake Geneva to Joël Robuchon fine-dining.
You can unwind in The Woodward’s 1,200m2 Guerlain Spa
8. Borgo Santandrea, Italy
Overseen by two Italian families, this boutique hotel epitomises everything that makes the Amalfi Coast so romantic. Chic interiors give way to sea views from all 47 cliffside rooms, and three lofty restaurants champion regional ingredients.
9. Patina, Maldives
The inaugural Patina resort is a more progressive offshoot of Singapore’s trusty Capella Hotels & Resorts. Guests can swim a crystalline lagoon or relax in overwater villas, sample vegan fine-dining and go dolphin-spotting aboard a superyacht.
10. Villa Nai 3.3, Croatia
On the unsung, wisp-thin island of Dugi Otok, this adults-only retreat is commendably conscious. Its eight bright rooms have been carefully carved into hillsides to minimise disrupting the surrounding olive-oil estate’s landscape. Guests can join the harvest or watch extraordinary sunsets from Veli Rat’s lighthouse. Balancing out these rustic offerings are a gourmet restaurant and bar, a spa and two pools.
11. Raffles Udaipur, India
Raffles’ first Indian outpost (a second, due in Jaipur, now appears to be on the back burner) is typically exquisite. It occupies a 21-acre private island on Udai Sagar Lake, and comes framed by ornamental gardens. This helps to create a wonderfully restful air, along with every suite having its own pool, an impressive spa, flexible all-day dining and dreamy temple views.
12. One&Only Portonovi, Montenegro
One&Only’s opulent arrival in Europe is a truly spectacular debut. Set beachside by a new marina-resort on glittering Kotor Bay, its perks range from barrel-aged cocktails and food by Giorgio Locatelli to a Chenot Espace spa.
Good luck finding a more aromatic infinity pool, too, than the lavender-infused one at One&Only Portonovi
13. Kalesma, Mykonos
Tastefully modelling itself on a typical, whitewashed Greek village that tumbles down to the sea, Kalesma’s exemplary design extends to lattice work referencing local dovecotes and the same marble used to build Athens’ Parthenon. Traditional, honey-filled Mykonian loukoumade cakes add to the Greek-island authenticity, while a private, heated pool in every wood-beamed villa ensures an intimate getaway.
14. Six Senses Shaharut, Israel
The untrodden Negev Desert is not an obvious place to open a luxury hotel, which makes it particularly memorable. Set between rocks and dunes, this indulgent wellness retreat combines typical Six Senses amenities, such as high-calibre visiting spa practitioners and a yoga studio, with an outdoor cinema and beguiling local touches: rich Israeli food, cacti-lined living quarters, and even a camel farm.
15. V Villas, Phuket
With views across Ao Yon Bay at almost every turn, Accor’s swanky new MGallery addition features a jungle-canopy spa, creative European and Thai-seafood cuisine and a lounger-lined rooftop bar. It’s the 19 glassy, private-pool villas which most impress, though – flowing easily between straight-lined indoor and outdoor spaces, these prove ultra-relaxing, and have butlers on speed dial.