The hottest new hotel openings around the world for 2021

After the pandemic forced many hotel groups to postpone new openings and products, Aspire highlights some of this year's hottest launches

From a sumptuous spa hotel in the middle of Israel’s Negev desert to a Mexican eco-lodge hidden in the jungle, 2021 looks set to be a bumper year for hotel openings. Aspire takes a continent-by-continent look at some of the most exciting luxury launches.

Africa

Nobu Hotel, Marrakech, Morocco

Opening: Quarter three

A gleaming oasis in the heritage-steeped district of Hivernage, Nobu Hotels’ first property in Africa lies moments from the bustling souks of Marrakech and its main square, Djemaa el Fna. Transformed to embody Nobu’s signature contemporary style, the 71-room hotel will boast dining venues, rooftop spaces and an indulgent spa. The brand also plans to open Nobu Hotel Riyadh in Saudi Arabia and Nobu Atlanta, Georgia this year.

Xigera Safari Lodge, Botswana

Opened: January

Pronounced ‘kee-jera’, the new solar-powered safari lodge in the heart of Botswana’s Okavango Delta represents a lifelong dream for South African hoteliers, the Tollman family. Set on the aptly named Paradise Island, the lodge sleeps 24 guests in 12 suites, each individually designed with timber and bronze, local artwork and artisan furniture, and a private deck from which to enjoy uninterrupted views over the floodplain.

Asia

InterContinental Khao Yai National Park, Thailand

Opening: Quarter four

Set in a Unesco World Heritage Site two and a half hours from Bangkok, the latest project from renowned architect Bill Bensley draws inspiration from the region’s roots as a gateway for rail transportation to northeast Thailand. The 61-key hotel will feature 16 unique train-car suites, repurposed from heritage train carriages to recreate the romance of luxury rail travel, and a train-inspired spa.

Six Senses Shaharut, Israel

Opening: June 1

The dunes and ridges of the boundless Negev desert set the scene for Six Senses’ much-talked-about entry into Israel. Tucked into a dramatic cliff face in the Arava Valley, the 60-suite hotel is home to all the luxuries a desert escapee might need: relaxing hammams, tranquil pools and organic vegetable gardens. There’s even a working camel farm. The brand also opened Six Senses Botanique, Brazil last month (February) and is on track to launch Six Senses Ibiza in June and both Six Senses New York and Six Senses Fort Barwara, India in quarter four.

St Regis Dubai, The Palm, Dubai

Opening: Quarter three

Situated on the trunk of Palm Jumeirah with a jaw-dropping, 50th-floor infinity pool offering panoramic views over the Arabian Gulf and beyond, St Regis Dubai, The Palm, is set to be a spectacular addition to the city’s most prestigious neighbourhood. The property will be set within a mixed-use development connecting to Nakheel Mall, where 300 shops, restaurants and entertainment venues reside. The brand has already opened St Regis Cairo and St Regis Almasa, Cairo, this year, with St Regis Bermuda Resort, due to open in quarter two.

The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands, Maldives

Opening: June 2021

Lapped by crystalline waters and ringed by a halo of bone-white beaches, The Ritz-Carlton’s Maldives debut sits alongside two other hospitality brands in the Fari Islands. Guests of the all-villa resort will be assigned their own butler, and will be able to use the destination’s wider facilities, such as Fari Marina, which is lined with charming boutiques. The brand will also open in Amman, Jordan, in the same quarter.

Europe

Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle, France

Opening: Early 2021

Hotel stays don’t get more extravagant than bedding down in the grounds of Versailles, but that’s just what French brand Airelles affords. The group has spent the last four years polishing Le Grand Contrôle, a heritage building originally constructed in 1681 by Louis XIV’s favourite architect. As well as an Alain Ducasse restaurant and state-of-the-art wellness centre, guests of the 14-suite hotel will be granted behind-the-scenes access and private tours of the grounds and palace.

Kalesma, Mykonos, Greece

Opening: April 29

A set of sugar-cube-shaped buildings tumbling down a slope in Ornos Bay, Kalesma might look like your typical Mykonos hotel, but this property  is as stand-out as they come. Home to just 25 suites and two luxury villas, it has sleek, minimalist interiors that celebrate locally-sourced materials, an open-air sunset lounge and a sun-drenched infinity pool offering uninterrupted views of the Aegean. Better still, it’s steps away from the beach.

Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid, Spain

Opening: Spring

Following the most extensive renovation in its 110-year history, Madrid’s landmark Hotel Ritz will reopen as Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid this year. With 100 rooms and 53 suites, five restaurants and bars and an indoor pool, the property will have a contemporary feel while retaining the original Belle Epoque style conceived by Swiss hotelier Cesar Ritz. The hotel group is also due to open Mandarin Oriental Bosphorus, Turkey and Mandarin Oriental Palace, Lake Lucerne, Switzerland this spring and summer respectively.

Oku Ibiza, Spain

Opening: May

New brand on the block Oku rises from the ashes of two former Casa Cook hotels, which were rebranded by hotel investment fund Westfort Capital following the Thomas Cook collapse in 2019. Aimed at the modern traveller, Oku Ibiza features one of the largest pools on the island and 184 ‘boho-chic’ guest rooms, suites and ocean-view penthouses dressed in dark timber and grey slate. Oku Kos, Greece, will open on April 5.

One&Only Portonovi, Montenegro

Opened: March 21

One&Only’s first property in Europe is set in Montenegro’s Boka Bay, a fjord-like oasis where lush mountains slope into the Adriatic. The Venetian palace-style resort boasts 113 rooms and suites, as well as several pools and plenty of cosy corners from which to admire the views.

The Woodward, Geneva

Opening: Spring

Originally a national bank built in 1901, Oetker Collection’s newest property on the shores of Lake Geneva has been completely refurbished to house 26 suites, two restaurants (run by top chefs) and a private digestif and cigar lounge located in a former bank vault. All but three suites boast sweeping views of the lake and Mont Blanc and feature unique design details like marble fireplaces and bookcases.

North America

Aman New York, US

Opening: Spring

Set at the crossroads of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street in Manhattan’s iconic Crown Building, Aman New York holds all the cards when it comes to location. The property will have all the trappings of a typical Aman – minimalist yet magnificent rooms, a fine-dining sushi restaurant and a three-storey spa. But it’s the jazz club, wraparound terraces dwarfed by looming skyscrapers, and fireplaces in every room that set it apart.

Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo, Mexico

Opening: Autumn

Located in a protected eco-reserve on the pristine coastline between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo, Four Seasons’ fourth outpost in Mexico is a sanctuary of dense jungle rainforest, panoramic clifftops and private stretches of virgin beach. The 155-room resort features multiple beaches and private coves. Four Seasons will also open Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans in mid-May; Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley in spring; and San Domenico Palace, Taormina, A Four Seasons Hotel in Sicily in mid-2021.

South America

Rosewood Sâo Paulo, Brazil

Opening: Quarter three

Rosewood’s first hotel in South America is located in the upscale Bela Vista neighbourhood in Cidade Matarazzo, a complex of striking buildings from the early 20th century. It features 180 rooms and suites set across a former maternity hospital and a vertical garden tower. The hotel group will also take over management of Rosewood Le Guanahani, in St Barths in May, with Rosewood Villa Magna, in Madrid to follow in autumn.

All opening dates correct at the time Aspire went to press.

Erica Bush

More About This Destination

Spanish cities: Six to see after Madrid and Barcelona