Whilst having a bit of travelling downtime, awaiting the arrival of my second (and last) child, I thought I’d take a look back at the promised hotel openings of the year compared to what we actually ended up with.
This has come around because in a few weeks I will be heading to the United States to try the new Aman New York, which, rumour has it, is in New York. Yes, that means I’m leaving my wife and newborn child to stay in a luxury hotel, but that’s the sacrifice I’m willing to make for you, dear reader.
At the end of every year, every travel writer that wants to get paid and not live on a diet of beans and tears has to put together a list of some of the best openings for the upcoming year. I love these lists – let’s call them as they are: travel porn. Everywhere sounds, looks and probably even smell amazing. I love them for many reasons, not least of which is how he who shouts loudest ends up on as many lists as possible, often tricking me into thinking they’re good and confirming I’m an idiot. Who doesn’t like comparing marketing to reality and then discovering afterwards how wrong they were? Or how they’re not going to open until I’m saying my third (and definitely last) child is arriving.
My travel planning is a complicated procedure, whereby I take these lists, put them into my own list, and then suddenly I’m a step closer to winning a Pulitzer.
So let me outline what I saw as the hotel openings of 2020
- Aman New York
- Château de Versailles, France
- Six Senses Shaharut, Israel
- Kisawa Sanctuary
- Alila Dalit Bay Sabah, Borneo
- Camp Sarika, Amangiri
- Alila Hinu Bay, Oman
- Four Seasons, Madrid
- Mandarin Oriental, Madrid
- Artic Bath, Sweden
- Reschio, Italy
- Iniala, Malta
- Forestis, Italy
- Xigera, Botswana
Turns out I’m awful at predicting global pandemics and even more terrible at believing Alila is the same as the Alila Ulutawu I once stayed in. I now look back in extreme shame of wanting to visit not only one but two of their properties. 50 lashes for me.
It took me another year, but I did at least manage to try a whopping three properties from this list. Now I’m reading this I’m starting to realise I need to travel more. I need more kids.
2022 new openings
So then we come to this year, when travel started to be a thing again and surely all these promised hotels would open. This is what I put together back in January.
- O&O Athens (maybe Zeus knows the opening date)
- O&O Kea Island, Greece (you tell me)
- Aman New York (opened)
- Bulgari Rome (2023)
- Bulgari Moscow (when Putin is gone?)
- Peninsula Istanbul (who knows)
- Peninsula London (2023)
- Maybourne Riviera (opened)
- Raffles London (later this year….maybe)
- Hotel La Palma, Capri (2023)
- Gleneagles Townhouse, Edinburgh (opened)
From 11 openings only 3 have opened, with all the fate of the Raffles deciding whether it will be 4.
The tragedy of 2022 is not war, famine, global warming, inflation or even Liz Truss, it’s that my hotel hit list is just filled with brands, rather than boutiques. It’s like all the cool kids went on hiatus in 2022. Not even the billionaires can afford the heating bills this year, so they’re not building the new hotels.
Instead, I’ve even had to scrap the Raffles-looking barrel. I’m no fan of the Raffles brand, but their London property looks either interesting, or it’s interesting how it’s featured everywhere I read. Either way, it looks to be worth a try. Gleneagles is another where I wouldn’t be so excited by it were it not for the dearth of options in Edinburgh. Is the original Gleneagles such a phenomenal property that you must attend their second? Let me have Betteridge’s law answer that for you. It hasn’t been the best year for new openings. Time for me to go back to the glory, happy days of 2020 and revisit that list.
What’s been your favourite opening of the year?
Interesting post. We’re heading to the UK for a 10-day visit on way to South Africa in December. Thinking we might need a diversion after 4 or 5 nights at Beaumont or Connaught, I’ve been trying to find an inspiring place to visit – and Edinburg came to mind. 100 Princes Street seems to be delayed again and I’m bit reluctant to pull the trigger on staying at Gleneagles Townhouse as the initial reviews are less than inspiring. Sounds like we all might need to be returning to our favourites for a while until the new openings perk up.
Isn’t Svart in Norway supposed to be opening this year? I can’t seem to get a straight answer on the opening date. We are headed to over that way in Summer 2023 and made an inquiry about staying here and never heard back
What about Waterside from the Royal Malewane? I know very few (if any) travel writer included it in their list but it was planned to open this year and so they did in May or June.
It’s the perfect excuse to combine it with Tarkuni homestead.
I guess it was more of a re-branding, albeit a large one, most places didn’t include it as a new opening. I wanted to go visit it whilst at Kubili but couldn’t bring myself to spend that long away from camp.
Raffles London has been pushed back to Spring 2023.
How come you don’t like the Raffles brand? Which ones did you stay at?
I stayed at 6 of them and all except the Singapore one were fantastic IMO