2020: Hottest New Hotel Openings
2020 is poised to be a year of new beginnings. Not perhaps since the Millennium, has the turning of a calendar year seemed so notable. The constellation of hotels set to burst onto the wanderlust trail is second to none. From the wildlife-filled deltas of Botswana to Rajasthan’s pavilion-lined lakes, we explore some of the most exciting new openings lighting up the travel map and waiting for you to be first on the scene.
Ahead of the 2020 Olympics, Tokyo is surging with hoteliers racing to open ever more spectacular properties. The iconic Okura Hotel has just reopened after a billion-dollar restoration. Having played hosts to names such as Obama and Princess Diana, the original hotel was demolished to widespread protest but has happily been re-constructed combining Japanese minimalism with a ‘jet-age aesthetic’. The Imperial suite on the 39th and 40th floors, now holds the crown for Tokyo’s largest hotel room while designers have entwined local elements such as a Zen Garden, wooden lattice work and floral ikebana to bring an authentic touch to this most beloved of Tokyo haunts. Four Seasons will be opening their second Tokyo property in mid-2020 in the financial heart of Otemachi. Designed by architect Jean-Michel Gathy, the 103-room property will be an ultra-modern perch high above the city skyline with a spa promising to become a leading wellness haven.
2). Mandarin Oriental, Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam’s high-octane beating heart of a city, is gaining a new design jewel in the form of the upcoming Mandarin Oriental. Taking over the upper floors of the colonial leviathan of Union Square, which is also under restoration. Once completed, the complex will sport an outdoor rooftop swimming pool and a glorious heritage-meets-contemporary interior. Its location could not be bettered, next door to the Wes Anderson-esque Saigon Opera House.
Ampersand Tip: For the city's best brunch (and chilli-laced bloody Mary), head to Blu on the languid banks of the Saigon River.
3). Six Senses Barwara, Rajasthan
We have fort fever here at Ampersand Travel with the news of the long-awaited opening of Six Senses Barwara in Rajasthan. Sensitively and fabulously restoring the 700-year old Fort Barwara has been a labour of love (and Indian timing) which is very near to completion. Aiming to be awarded the five-star green rating for national sustainable design, the 48-suite fort will be flinging open its elephant gates next year and its location only 68 miles southeast of Jaipur will ensure a tsunami of visitors seeking out the latest Six Senses experience.
Following on from their stellar openings across the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, Six Senses are launching a highly-anticipated hotel in the central-eastern region of Bumthang in spring 2020. The surrounding valley and attractions such as the 17th-century Jakar Dzong create a wonderland hidden away from the prying eyes of the outside world. Aiming to be a ‘forest within a forest’, Six Senses Bumthang will sport timber walls, upcycled wooden furniture and huge windows framing heart-stopping views. Days will be spent horseriding, taking traditional hot stone baths in the spa and exploring sights such as the Tamzhing Lhundrup Lhakhang, the most beautiful ancient temple in the Kingdom.
June 2020 will herald the opening of Botswana’s most luxurious lodge yet. Xigera Safari Lodge (pronounced “kee-jera”) will be within whispering distance of the famed Moremi Game Reserve. Completely rebuilt, the Lodge is surrounded by palm-filled Paradise Island and bird-filled floodplains. Twelve suites will highlight works from local artisans and being 100 % solar -powered the Lodge will be focused on sustainability with the aim of becoming ‘the best camp in Africa’. The Okavanga Delta is a lush oasis of diverse wildlife. Dawn journeys on mokoro dug-out boats will be an unforgettable feast of sights and sounds.
6). Raffles, Udaipur
There can be no more romantic matchmaking than legendary brand Raffles and the ‘Venice of the East’, the pearl-white city of Udaipur. Destined to open its doors in spring 2020, Raffles Udaipur will be set in a discreet location in the middle of the ‘other lake’ Udai Sagar. 101 palatial suites will be centred around the renowned Raffles Long Bar, a vast spa, verdant gardens filled with fountains and peacocks and the views that only Udaipur can serve up. Raffles will also be conquering the pink city of Jaipur in coming months - and we can’t wait.
7). Labotessa, Cape Town
A boutique gem, Labotessa is as elegant as the name suggests. Hidden behind a 17th-century facade on cobbled Church Square, it is the newly-launched love-child of first-time hoteliers Jan Fourie and Johan du Plessis. The perfect urban bolthole, Labotessa combines European sophistication with a Cape Town zing. The penthouse Governor’s Suite, named after Simon Van der Stel, the first Governor of the Cape, boasts a private splash pool and a panorama of Lion’s Head and Table Mountain.
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