The best hotel openings of 2018

The Retreat at Blue Lagoon, Iceland

A trip to Iceland isn’t complete without visiting the famous Blue Lagoon geothermal spa. And, come April, there’ll be even more reason to make a pitstop at this natural wonder when The Retreat at Blue Lagoon, Iceland’s first five-star hotel, opens its doors. Built into an 800-year old lava flow and surrounded by the lagoon’s steaming turquoise waters, The Retreat will be home to 62 contemporary rooms fitted with floor-to-ceiling windows and either a balcony or patio. Tapping into the same volcanic thermal waters as its neighbour, The Retreat features its own private lagoon and spa, designed for visitors to experience the “treasures of geothermal seawater”.

retreat.bluelagoon.com

Kettner’s Townhouse, London

When Soho institution Kettner’s – widely considered London’s original French restaurant – closed its doors in early 2016, many thought it was the end of an era. Under the wings of the prestigious Soho House group, however, Kettner’s has been given a new lease of life as a ravishing new restaurant, champagne bar and 33-bedroom guesthouse opening later this month. The design-savvy hotel group prioritised preserving the near 150-year-old history of Kettner’s, with the new venue retaining many of the Grade-II listed building’s original features. And with its French boudoir-inspired bedrooms – think William Morris prints, velvet headboards and antique chandeliers – it’s an aesthetic that also playfully nods to Kettner’s risque past. After all, it was here that King Edward VII would allegedly meet his mistress, actress Lillie Langtry, in a secret tunnel connecting Kettner’s to the Palace Theatre.

kettnerstownhouse.com; image © Soho House

COMO Uma Canggu, Bali

Luxury hotel group COMO launches its third Bali outpost this February in the trendy yet still relatively untapped surfer’s paradise of Canggu in the southern tip of the island. Situated on the legendary black sand shores of Echo Beach, COMO Uma Canggu comprises 119 contemporary rooms, suites and sprawling penthouses fitted with rooftop pools overlooking the scenic surf breaks. The hotel has partnered with Tropicsurf, specialists in the “art of luxury surfing”, to provide board-based experiences suitable for both beginners and experienced surfers alike. If catching waves isn’t your thing, there’s a variety of traditional excursions available through the hotel, from rice paddy hikes to jungle treks and temple visits.

comohotels.com

Lutetia, Paris

The iconic Lutetia hotel, the original and, to date, only grand hotel in Paris’s Left Bank, will be re-opening its doors this spring following an extensive four-year renovation overseen by local architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte. The hotel was originally opened in 1910 by the prestigious Boucicaut family and was frequented by the Parisian glitterati of the time, among them Josephine Baker, James Joyce, Picasso and, of course, Ernest Hemingway. The Set, a company that prides itself on creating “the modern grand hotels of our time”, has overseen the restoration of this grand dame to its former Art Deco glory, including a painstaking reconstruction of the original frescoes. While remaining true to its historic roots has been paramount, the 184-bedroom hotel will feature plenty of modern amenities including a 700-sqm wellness centre complete with swimming pool, an open-air courtyard and the reimagined Lutetia Brasserie, now under the direction of three Michelin-starred chef Gerald Passedat.

hotellutetia.com

Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Andamans, India

Luxury Indian hotel group Taj is putting the little-known Andaman archipelago on the map this year with the hotly anticipated new Taj Exotica Resort & Spa. Situated on Havelock Island – known as the “pearl of the Andaman” – on the crescent shaped Radhanagar Beach, the Taj Exotica comprises 75 villas, a luxury spa and three restaurants. The Andaman Islands are located across the Bay of Bengal in the Andaman Sea and are regarded as Asia’s last unspoiled paradise, with rich coral reefs and well-protected white tropical beaches surrounded by lush green forests. As such, outdoor pursuits are a major part of Taj’s five-star experience, with organised excursions such as kayaking through mangroves and underwater photography.

tajhotels.com

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