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Switzerland: a country that takes pride in being completely unaffordable for anyone from outside of it. Edit – a country that did take pride in being completely unaffordable. For this summer, we have seen the emergence of a New Switzerland – one that pities us, one that wants us to come stay without having to remortgage our house, one that suddenly wants to thrust budget accommodation at us. Not you’re your standard crappy budget digs, of course; no, the New Switzerland is a place of hip ‘hostels’ that other countries would class as nice hotels.
Of course, you already know it’s a trendy kind of place – it was clearly named to be a hipster magnet, after all – but listen to what it actually has. It has a pool (and separate children’s pool). It has a spa with saunas, a herbal steam bath, hydromassage showers, and a ‘gorge balcony’ (presumably it looks over a gorgeous, rather than being especially gorgeous). It offers a hotel-level massage list. And all this stuff comes with humungous windows overlooking the mountain landscape.
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Ah, questionable American chains
ruining encroaching on arriving in peaceful Europe. If it’s not the Hard Rock opening in Ibiza, it’s Nikki Beach descending on Porto Heli, on the Peloponnese in Greece (two-and-a-half hours from Athens by car, or a mere 25 minute via helicopter, as they helpfully tell us).
Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Porto Heli, which opened last month, is the only seafront hotel in Porto
Hell Heli. All 66 rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows (all overlooking the Porto Heli gulf), balconies, separate showers and tubs (warning – it looks like the Luxx rooms have peekaboo bathrooms) and yummazeballs Malin & Goetz toiletries. The décor is just what you’d expect – white, white and more white, with white drapes wafting about in the Mediterranean breeze.
It’s been open a couple of weeks now, and the reviews are starting to trickle in for Moxy Milan, the first opening for Marriott’s new millennial-friendly brand. And they are… mixed. Here’s what the 13 reviews on TripAdvisor have to say, along with some observations from an article in the Financial Times.
UPDATE: As per Maxime's comment below, this is NOT the Hotel Edouard, which remains open. Our source was wrong, sorry.
It’s stayed so under the radar during its pre-opening period that you could practically call Hotel Indigo Paris – Opera a phantom. But now it’s time for the great unmasking, since the hotel will open 22 September.
There’s not a vast amount of information about – 57 rooms (“very spacious”, according to the hotel website) including 12 suites and duplex apartments – some of which have views of the Eiffel Tower. The location is peaceful: a pedestrianized street near Place de l’Opéra, yet still in the middle of the business area. Before the year-long remodel, it was the Edouard VII hotel.
Rooms promise "unique murals celebrating Paris" and from the photos, they look rather lovely - theatrical but understated, with feature walls draped by curtains.
It’s been open since September 1, though Raffles Istanbul seems to have been hiding its light under a bushel – no real photos on the website, only coy shots of various details on Facebook, and a promise to a FB fan that they’ll be having a photoshoot later in September.
But we’ve just found this sneak preview article in Turkish, and all we can say is, please hurry up with that photoshoot, because this looks phenomenal.
OK, the lobby and the bar look pretty nice hotel standard, but look past the artfully posed reporter in picture number 5. Marble staircase, columns, chandeliers. Is it one of the “nearly 200 paintings, sculptures, photographs and video installations” mentioned (via Google Translate) in the article? Is it a mirror? A wall of glass? Is it – as is implied in the article – the spa (the largest in Istanbul)? We’re assuming it’s not real, since Raffles is a modern building, but these are questions to which we need answers.
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A five star property, locally owned (huzzah!) and designed by architect Christophe Pillet, it’s a clever cross between a riad and a resort: 50 rooms, two restaurants (one French, one Moroccan), a rooftop bar, Givenchy spa (the first in North Africa) and hammam and gym – but in a very beautiful, entirely Moroccan building. Oh, and since it’s perched on a hillside, it also has panoramic views from its rooftop terrace over the medina, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Rates / Galapagos Islands Hotels / Eco Hotels / Carbon Neutral Hotels / Animal Hotels / Small Luxury Hotels / → All Tags
Luxury and the Galapagos Islands go together like peanut butter and jelly (it should be wrong, but it’s actually very right), so put your hands together for the opening of Pikaia Lodge on Santa Cruz island in the center of the Galapagos archipelago.
It’s a carbon neutral property, but green doesn’t mean grimy here – it’s a member of the Small Luxury Hotels group, and plonks 14 rooms amid 31 hectares of extinct volcanic craters, straddling the dry savanna of the national park and the tropical highland forest. There are also, of course, spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean.
The hotel runs land and sea tours, and there’s a restaurant, bar, pool and spa on site. So far so expected – what isn’t expected is the in-house giant tortoise reserve.
Finding a hotel room is easy. Simply go on the Internet or use your smartphone and voila! You're booked. But if you are only interested in new hotels, then that's a different story. Luckily, you have us. And we're obsessed with new hotels. Here's a list of hotels that have opened or are opening this month (and a few that aren't going to make it.) Got a new hotel to add? Send it to us!
· HOXTON HOLBORN: The newest Hoxton hotel in London will open on September 25. While rooms are small, starting at 150-sq.ft. (eek!) with names like "Shoebox" and "Snug" to boot, they are quite affordable with opening rates ranging from $220 a night to $270 a night. All rooms also have 300-thread count sheets, rain showers, free WiFi, and complimentary breakfast bags.
· MONDRIAN LONDON: The Mondrian at the Sea Containers building in London is all set for its September 30 opening with rooms starting at 200 GBP a night. That's for a queen bed in a teeny tiny, 312-sq.ft. room. But it is opening when it says it will. On property will also be a riverside restaurant, run by New York chef Seamus Mullen, a seasonal cocktail bar from Ryan Chetiyawardana A.K.A Mr. Lyan, as well as a rooftop bar with sweet city views.
· W BEIJING: This W hotel, near the Forbidden City, has been through many delays but the September 30 opening date is holding steady. However, room rates for September 30 were not yet available so we're not exactly confident the hotel will open on that day. Starwood Hotels, however, is opening two other very important hotels in China this week. Read about them here.
It’s chic, it’s sexy, it’s in a seriously up-and-coming part of Madrid – it’s the Hotel Urso ('Bear Hotel'), which opened quietly last week. And “quietly” is the right word – according to this account in CN Traveler España (in Spanish, or via Google Translate), the hotel was firmly shut up with nobody around until the day before opening; and they only fixed the awning with the Hotel Urso branding on it the morning of the day itself. Mañana mañana, and all that.
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The last time we heard anything about the JW Marriott Venice, it was March 2013 and it had an expected opening date of this year.
It was not to be. But the good news is that it’s now expecting to open in March 2015 – and the website is taking reservations from 12 March.
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The Regent Porto Montenegro has kept pretty much under the radar since its August 1 opening – though that looks set to change with their “most glamorous opening party” tonight (to which our invite must have got lost in the post).
There are only five reviews on TripAdvisor so far, but all are positive – the only negative seems to be the price (well, it is a Regent, and it’s the only hotel in Porto Montenegro). What is exciting us though are the new photos of the property.
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Bali. Lombok. Mykonos. St Tropez. Isles of Scilly. WTF?
In what appears at first glance to be the most bizarre new opening on earth, Karma Resorts, which own three hotels on Bali, and one in each of Lombok, Mykonos and St Tropez, have just soft opened their newest property: Karma St Martin’s, in the Scilly Isles, with 30 rooms spread out in a row of little cottages, right on the beach.
If you don’t know where the Scillies are – and why should you? – they’re a tiny archipelago of islands 28 miles off the southwest tip of Cornwall – which is itself the southwest tip of England. There are 145 islands, but only five are inhabited. St Martin’s, which earned its Karma on 1 August, is the third highest populated island, with 142 people living on its two square-kilometer area. Karma is the former St Martin's on the Isle hotel, sitting plum on Tean Sound and overlooking another island, Tresco.
Of course, there are similarities with Bali – the Scillies have white sand beaches, their own microclimate, and are a bugger to get to (ferry or a tiny plane from various points in Cornwall). But Karma is gunning for the same clientele, too – according to big Karma man John Spence, who talked to Scilly Today, they’re going after “affluent adults” who backpacked their way around Bali etc a while back, but now want spectacular scenery, beaches and high standard accommodation closer to home.