The hot hotel openings of 2021

Paradero Todos Santos

Baja California, Mexico

The Paradero has three wild beaches nearby, two with world-class surf breaks

Paradero is a new Mexican hospitality brand that puts sustainability and engagement with local communities at the forefront of its operations. Its first project, Paradero Todos Santos, which describes itself as “less of a hotel than a high-design landscaping project with 35 suites”, opens 70km north of Cabo San Lucas in Baja California, on January 15. Located 12km from the sleepy surf resort after which it is named, a historic settlement of about 7,000 and one of Mexico’s 100 or so culturally rich pueblos magicos or “magic towns”, it occupies a 2-hectare site within a biosphere reserve, surrounded by farmland, cactus desert, an oasis of 5,000 palms and the foothills of the Sierra de la Laguna mountains. There are three wild beaches nearby, two with world-class surf breaks. The suites are furnished with bespoke cedar joinery and textiles from Guadalajara and Oaxaca but this place is really all about the experiences — activities from surf lessons and guided hiking to tours of local taco shacks are included in the rate. Double rooms from $550 a night;



The dining room at the new NoMad in London

When, in 2017, the Sydell Group opened the darkly plush and atmospheric NoMad New York, just north of Madison Square Park, its founder Andrew Zobler’s intention was to bring a European sensibility to Manhattan. (Its designer was the Parisian Jacques Garcia; its kitchens originally overseen by the Swiss chef Daniel Humm.) In developing a sister property in London, which will open as soon as the present restrictions on hospitality allow, the idea has been to create a US ambience in London.

Transformed from what was Bow Street Magistrates Court by Roman & Williams (the studio behind the Standard, High Line), hung with a lot of American art and with three restaurants overseen by chef Ian Coogan, formerly of Jean Georges Vongerichten’s culinary empire, the 91-room hotel is directly opposite the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Just as The Ned, for which Sydell partnered with Soho House, established itself as the go-to place for socialising in the City, the NoMad stands to become popular not just with guests but locals, theatre goers, even visitors to the forthcoming Bow Street Police Museum, which will occupy part of what was the adjacent police station and which Sydell will initially fund. Doubles from £455;

Azumi Setoda

Ikuchijima, Japan

The first of Adrian Zecha’s ‘contemporary ryokans’ opens in March on the island of Ikuchijima
The first of Adrian Zecha’s “contemporary ryokans” opens in March

The founder and former CEO of Aman Resorts, Adrian Zecha, was working as Time magazine’s Asia correspondent in the 1950s when he first stayed in a ryokan or traditional Japanese inn, an experience that profoundly influenced his subsequent career as a hotelier. Now 87, he is using those original memories as the inspiration for a new brand, Azumi, of what he calls “contemporary ryokans”.

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The first, Azumi Setoda, opens in March on the island of Ikuchijima in the Seto Inland Sea, in the splendid 19th-century former home of a powerful shipping and salt-farming family. This has been restored and converted to accommodate 18 suites and four duplexes, each with its own garden or balcony, by Kyoto-based Shiro Miura, an expert in sukiya, a style of architecture dating back to the 16th century that strives to balance the elements. “My previous projects have frequently been considered as ‘luxury’ due to the impression created by our clientele,” says Zecha. Here, however, he has returned to his “original intent [which] was always to shed light on local culture, community, arts and food”. Hence the neighbouring yabune, or public bathhouse, intended for locals as much as guests. Doubles from about £560 a night;

King’s Mansion

Goa, India

King’s Mansion in Candolim is owned by Bollywood star Sachiin Joshi
King’s Mansion in Candolim is owned by Bollywood star Sachiin Joshi

Aiming to establish “a new standard of luxury wellness” in south India, King’s Mansion is an elegant colonial-style medical spa surrounded by tropical gardens in the small seaside town of Candolim in northern Goa. It belongs to the Bollywood star-turned-entrepreneur Sachiin Joshi and has been designed by Gauri Khan, film producer, interior designer and wife of the superstar actor Shah Rukh Khan.

With just 17 suites, it is positioning itself as a sort of lavishly appointed Mayr clinic of the tropics, and when it opens in March it will offer six programmes of seven to 21 days that combine Ayurvedic treatments with more scientifically orthodox evidence-based therapies, complemented by a daily programme of yoga, meditation, lectures and “workshops to help build the foundations of a new, balanced lifestyle”. From £8,000 per person for seven days, all inclusive;

The Star at Alfriston

Sussex, UK

The Star has been converted from a 15th-century half-timbered inn in the Sussex village, which is close to both the South Downs National Park and Glyndebourne
The Star has been converted from a 15th-century half-timbered inn in the Sussex village

Last year, Olga Polizzi, director of design at Rocco Forte Hotels (and sister of Forte himself) launched the Polizzi Collection of country hotels together with her two daughters (one of them, Alex, the presenter of Channel 5’s long-running series The Hotel Inspector). Due to open in March, their third hotel, The Star at Alfriston, has been converted from a 15th-century half-timbered inn in a still substantially medieval Sussex village close to both the South Downs National Park and Glyndebourne, the historic rural estate that is home to an opera house.

In keeping with Polizzi’s distinctive style, the Star’s 30 rooms will fuse a traditional English country-house aesthetic (customised wallpapers and textiles by Richard Smith, cabinetry crafted in the next village) with more contemporary bespoke furniture by Julian Chichester. Doubles from £190;

Iniala Harbour House


Iniala, Mark Weingard’s second hotel, on Valletta’s St Barbara Bastion
Iniala, on Valletta’s St Barbara Bastion

Having lost his fiancée in the 2002 Bali bombings, former derivatives trader Mark Weingard set up a foundation in her memory that now supports education, health and rehabilitation in India, Indonesia, Thailand and Malta. Two years later, his beach house in Thailand was damaged by the Boxing Day tsunami. He and his guests survived, and having restored it, he turned it into a hotel, Iniala Beach House, revenue from which supports the foundation.

Now resident in Malta, he’s created a second hotel with philanthropic ambitions, Iniala Harbour House, which is due to open fully in April. Comprising four historic townhouses on Valletta’s St Barbara Bastion, it’s a five-minute walk from St John’s Co-Cathedral, famed for its Caravaggios. Not that there’s anything hairshirted about the way Iniala’s 23 rooms, suites and residences have been furnished; the grandest even have plunge pools. The conversion has skimped on neither money nor time — the hotel was originally due to open in December 2017. Doubles from €350 a night;

The Woodward


The former Woodrow Hotel has been comprehensively remodelled by the Oetker Collection
The former Woodrow Hotel has been remodelled by the Oetker group © Jeremy Wilson

Located in a belle époque former bank on the Quai Wilson, what was the Woodrow Hotel has been comprehensively remodelled by the Oetker Collection, owners of the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes and Le Bristol in Paris. It’s also been renamed The Woodward in the wake of Princeton’s decision to remove the name of the 28th president of the United States from its public policy institute because of his racist views.

Due to open in the spring, it will have just 26 expansive suites, 21 of them with views across the lake towards Mont Blanc. They have been designed by Pierre-Yves Rochon, whose work for the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues, 800 metres south along the same waterfront, resulted in what are for the moment probably the loveliest hotel rooms in Geneva. Certainly, no expense would seem to have been spared on the new hotel. The spa is by Guerlain and runs to a 21-metre indoor pool, the longest in any hotel in the city. One of its restaurants will bear the name of the late Joël Robuchon, while the other, Le Jardinier, will be run by Robuchon protégé Alain Verzeroli and will emphasise vegetables and vegan dishes over butter and foie gras. Doubles from SFr1,500 (about £1,250),

Little DumaTau

Linyanti, Botswana

The solar-powered camp Little DumaTau, expected to open in April about 100km northeast of Xigera in the Linyanti Reserve
The solar-powered camp Little DumaTau, expected to open in April

Though much of the safari world’s attention will be focused on the launch of Xigera in the Okavango Delta (on which $35m has been reportedly been spent, not least on art), it shouldn’t eclipse Wilderness Safaris’ newest, entirely solar-powered camp, Little DumaTau. Expected to open in April about 100km north-east of Xigera in the Linyanti Reserve, it has just four spacious tented suites, beautifully designed and each with its own plunge pool and views across the Osprey Lagoon where, elephants, in particular, come to drink. The camp will share a spa and lap pool with DumaTau, a long-established eight-tent camp that will also have been completely renovated. And weather-permitting, it will also be possible to sleep under the stars on a platform by the Zibadiania lagoon. Prices yet to be announced;

Six Senses Shaharut

Arava, Israel

The Six Senses has an extensive spa, but potential for exploring the desert too, while Petra is about three hours away by road and will be offered as a day-trip
The Six Senses has an extensive spa but potential for exploring the desert too

On an 18-hectare estate in the Arava Valley, just south of the Negev desert, Six Senses Shaharut is a 60-suite spa resort with organic vegetable gardens and a working camel farm: a first for Israel, possibly for the world. It is due to open on June 1.

Most fans of the brand are likely to be drawn by its extensive spa, but there’s terrific potential for exploring the desert too, not least the Timna Park, site of King Solomon’s copper mine and home to extraordinary geological formations. And it’s worth noting that Petra, in neighbouring Jordan (180km away, about three hours by road), will be offered as a day trip. Prices yet to be announced;


São Paulo

Rosewood will open a hotel in the city’s landmark Torre Rosewood
Jean Nouvel’s landmark Torre Rosewood

The French architect Jean Nouvel’s distinctive 93-metre plant-covered tower, Torre Rosewood, is already a landmark, rising above Cidade Matarazzo, a 3-hectare complex of heritage buildings that has been developed into apartments, restaurants, retail and offices, in the upscale Bela Vista neighbourhood. In June, the Hong Kong-based Rosewood group will open a hotel here, partly in an imposing former maternity hospital, partly in the tower, with interiors — 265 rooms and suites, six bars and restaurants — designed by Philippe Starck. The bathrooms, all swirling marble from Paraná and Bahia, are stupendous; and its rooftop pool will surely come to rival the one at the fabled Fasano in Rio as the most photogenic in Brazil. Prices yet to be announced;

Four Seasons Napa Valley


Four Seasons Napa Valley opens this spring on the northeast edge of Calistoga overlooking 3 hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards
Four Seasons Napa Valley overlooks 3 hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards

“No other wine-country resort integrates the grape-to-glass experience so thoroughly” boasts the forthcoming Four Seasons Napa Valley, which opens this spring on the north-east edge of Calistoga overlooking 3 hectares of organic Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards and the Palisades mountains beyond. Run in partnership with the celebrated winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown, the resort has 85 rooms and suites, and in time there will be “farmhouse villas” to rent too. There’s a spa, two pools, a restaurant overseen by Erik Anderson, whose main kitchen, Coi in San Francisco, has two Michelin stars. And if you tire of viniculture, there’s a complimentary house car to take you into town. Prices yet to be announced;

Oku Ibiza and Kos

Swiss group LMEY plans to expand the Oku brand — design-savvy seaside resort hotels — around the Mediterranean
The bar at Oku Ibiza © Georg Roske

In 2016 Thomas Cook launched a style-focused, adults-only sub-brand, Casa Cook, as an attempt to update the traditional package holiday for a new generation. It didn’t come soon enough to save the group — Thomas Cook went into liquidation in 2019 — but this year two Casa Cooks, in Ibiza and the Greek island of Kos, will be reborn under the ownership of Swiss group LMEY Investments as the first Oku hotels, their name a Japanese word that tends to be translated as “inner space”.

The 189-room property on Ibiza (originally launched as a Casa Cook in summer 2019) is scheduled to open in May, a short walk from Cala Gració in the south-west of the island. It will join the 100-room hotel on Kos, which had a short soft-opening season last summer and is due to open fully in April. Both are intended as an “alternative to the ‘naff’ brands and small boutiques” one tends to find on such islands, says a spokesperson. They will be “well designed, chic and laid-back, with good solid five-star service”, spas and, on Ibiza, two restaurants overseen by Mark Vaessen, formerly of Sushisamba. LMEY has plans to expand the brand around the Mediterranean, so the Oku name and the concept of a design-savvy seaside resort hotel, could become increasingly familiar. Doubles from €360,

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