Hotel Watchlist: Summer Openings Smart Travelers Should Know About

Afar’s resident hotel expert shares the summer 2024 openings that are worth a special trip.

Aerial view of Rosewood Schloss Fuschl, located in a restored castle on Lake Fuschl surrounded by tree-covered hills

Rosewood Schloss Fuschl opens July 2024 in a restored castle on Lake Fuschl in Austria.

Courtesy of Rosewood Schloss Fuschl

Summer’s on the horizon, and it’s bringing with it an exciting lineup of new and renovated hotels around the world that are so compelling they’re worth a special trip. I’ve selected 10 of the most exciting debuts of the season, which range from the first true luxury boutique hotel in the Bahamas to a restored castle on a picturesque lake in Austria.

1. The Dunlin, Auberge Resorts Collection, opening August

The Dunlin's exterior is white, and the grounds are surrounded by greenery.

The Dunlin, Auberge Resorts Collection, South Carolina

Courtesy of the Dunlin, Auberge Resorts Collection

  • Location: Johns Island, Sea Islands, South Carolina
  • Why we love it: A dreamy nature retreat only a 40-minute drive from Charleston
  • Book now

The Sea Islands are a collection of more than 100 picturesque islands from South Carolina to the northern tip of Florida, and Johns Island—a 40-minute drive from Charleston, South Carolina—is the largest of them. There’s a new reason to visit this year: August 1 will see the arrival of the Dunlin, Auberge Resorts Collection, which promises to connect guests with the sublime natural beauty of its coastal setting.

Set along the Kiawah River on 2,000 acres—20 of which are waterfront—the 72 cottage-style guest rooms, designed by Amanda Lindroth, are decorated with wicker furniture, honey oak floors, and large soaking tubs; roomy porches are handy for leisurely breaks between explorations of the coast by kayak, bike, or on foot. The seafood-centric Linnette’s restaurant will celebrate Charleston flavors, while the Aster spa will offer treatments centered on the healing properties of honey. From $749

2. Romer House Waikīkī

The rectangular pool at Romer House Waikīkī, flanked by cabana day beds and beach chairs

Romer House Waikīkī is O‘ahu’s first adults-only hotel.

Courtesy of Romer House Waikīkī

  • Location: Honolulu, Hawai‘i
  • Why we love it: O‘ahu’s first adults-only hotel is a stylish new addition in Waikīkī
  • Book now

So many of O‘ahu’s hotels and resorts excel at family friendliness. But come June 1, those looking for an adults-only crowd have an alluring new option: Romer House Waikīkī. The 179-room hotel is O‘ahu’s first adults-only hotel, and it’s filled with local art and photography inspired by the Pacific Ocean. (Your guest room might have an oversize image by noted Finnish skateboarder and photographer Arto Saari.)

The hotel’s Izakaya 855-Aloha restaurant is a new take on the Japanese izakaya helmed by Japan-born San Francisco chef Shotaro Kamio (think shareable plates like takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and Tokyo hot chicken). Poised to become the social hub of the hotel, the Backyard pool and bar area will draw a grown-up set with its cabana daybeds and full-service bar. From $195

3. Potlatch Club, opening June

Guest accommodation with lit fireplace in white stone wall; large white sofa and two rattan chairs

Accommodations at the Potlatch Club

Courtesy of the Potlatch Club

  • Location: Eleuthera, Bahamas
  • Why we love it: A onetime celebrity getaway has been restored as the island’s first true luxury boutique hotel
  • Book now

On the laid-back Bahamian island of Eleuthera—filled with more than 100 secluded beaches—the Potlatch Club will make its official debut in June 2024 after a seven-year restoration. In the 1960s and ‘70s, the boutique hotel was a playground for such notable guests as Paul McCartney (he spent his first honeymoon here) and Greta Garbo.

The reimagined 11-room hotel, which sits on seven miles of pink-sand beaches, was designed by Nassau-based Amanda Lindroth (also behind the interiors of the aforementioned Dunlin in South Carolina) with a casual-but-luxurious beachy feel (rattan furnishings and bathrooms clad in coral stone). Historic features like checkered floors and white archways abound throughout the hotel and in the original clubhouse. From $675

4. Rosewood Schloss Fuschl, opening July

A modern guest room with wooden floors and walls, plus seating area next to large windows

A guest room at Rosewood Schloss Fuschl

Courtesy of Rosewood Schloss Fuschl

  • Location: Lake Fuschl (near Salzburg), Austria
  • Why we love it: A restored castle with immersive guest activities
  • Book now

When a restored Austrian castle dating to 1461 becomes a hotel, that’s reason alone to check in. But what’s even more compelling about Rosewood Schloss Fuschl, which opens in July in the former hunting lodge of the Archbishop of Salzburg, is the hotel’s programming that draws guests deeper into the surrounding landscape. Think foraging excursions in the forest, cooking classes with a local family in their Alpine hut, and visits to see such area artisans as an umbrella maker.

The hotel itself is an experience. Set along the shores of Lake Fuschl, the 98 guest rooms, inclusive of 42 suites and 6 chalets, all have hardwood floors, marble-clad bathrooms, and seating areas that take advantage of lake views. The on-site Asaya spa is a destination unto itself, too, with eight treatment rooms and heated indoor and outdoor pools. From $700

5. Hôtel du Couvent, a Luxury Collection Hotel, opening June

Distant view of city along coast (L); a guest room with stone tile floors, sofa, and long drapes

Hôtel du Couvent is housed in a 17th-century convent in the heart of Nice, France.

Courtesy of Hôtel du Couvent

  • Location: Nice, France
  • Why we love it: A 17th-century convent-turned-luxury-hotel
  • Loyalty program: Marriott Bonvoy
  • Book now

It took 10 years to restore a 17th-century convent in the center of Nice as Hôtel du Couvent, a Luxury Collection Hotel, which debuts on June 20. Valéry Grégo, the French founder of the Perseus hospitality group (Le Pigalle in Paris), oversaw the transformation of three original buildings into an 88-room hotel. He hired Paris-based Festen Architecture for the interiors, which range from diminutive rooms that the hotel is calling “monastic-type cells” to 1,800-square-foot accommodations with a kitchen and dining room.

Accommodations feature vaulted ceilings, stone tile floors, antiques, custom furnishings, and paintings and sculptures dating back centuries; some have Mediterranean Sea views, while others overlook an internal garden. The two restaurants and a café will be supplied in part with herbs, vegetables, and eggs produced on site, while a bakery on the grounds will make fresh bread daily.

The on-site Roman baths, inspired by the remains of nearby Roman baths in Cimiez, will offer hot, cold, and temperate plunge pools, while each Saturday morning, the hotel’s courtyard will transform into a public market for the community to purchase fresh produce from regional vendors. From $422

6. Soho House São Paulo, opening June

A rendering of a sitting room at Soho House São Paulo, with arched ceilings and chandeliers over large tables and oversize chairs.

A rendering of a sitting room at Soho House São Paulo

Courtesy of Soho House São Paulo

  • Location: São Paulo, Brazil
  • Why we love it: A hotel built to connect like-minded creatives in the vibrant Brazilian megacity
  • Book now

Since launching as a private members’ club in London in 1995, Soho House has remained a go-to spot for globe-trotters in search of exclusive spaces for playing and connecting, from Paris to Bangkok. Meanwhile, overnight guests can access many membership amenities while sleeping in beautifully designed guest rooms. I can’t think of a better city than São Paulo for the group’s South America debut in June: Brazil’s largest city exudes style, whether through its street art, distinctive architecture, or flourishing design scene, and it feels like a perfect match for the creative global citizen that Soho House hotels aspire to attract.

Located on Avenida Paulista, lined with such institutions as the São Paulo Museum of Art, the 32-room hotel occupies the old maternity ward of an Italianate-style hospital building, and to be clear, rooms are bookable for both members and nonmembers. The public spaces and guest rooms will be a mashup of local artisans, with the artwork of Brazilian artists on the walls, and plenty of indoor-outdoor areas with tropical foliage. The hotel will also have a rooftop pool and a spa. Prices TBD

7. Four Seasons Hotel Osaka, opening August 2024

A mostly white guest room at the Four Seasons Hotel Osaka, with large picture windows and window seating

A guest room at the Four Seasons Hotel Osaka

Courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Osaka

  • Location: Osaka, Japan
  • Why we love it: A standard setter in luxury hospitality arrives in one of Japan’s food capitals
  • Book now

Osaka has long been known as a culinary capital in Japan, although its luxury lodging options have been relatively limited compared to other major Japanese cities like Tokyo and Kyoto. That’s why Four Seasons Hotel Osaka, which is taking reservations starting in August, is such an exciting entry for the city.

The hotel put together a crack team of designers and architects, including Design Studio Spin and Nikken Sekkei, to envision a modern take on the Japanese ryokan inn experience in the city. The 28th floor of the hotel will have 21 suites decked out in tatami mat floors, sliding doors, shoji screens, and platform beds. The other 154 rooms and suites on the 29th to 35th floors, designed by Japan-based Curiosity, will feel more contemporary, with blond wood details and comfy couches that sit next to large picture windows facing the city. The spa will have five treatment rooms and include private ofuro baths commonly found at ryokans in hot spring towns.

This being Osaka (and Four Seasons), the hotel is doubling down on its on-site culinary concepts, which include the Cantonese Jiang Nan Chun restaurant, the Sushi-O wooden counter, and Farine, a bakery that will turn out fresh pastries. From $730

8. Raffles Jaipur, opening July 2024

A rendering of the Writers Bar at Raffles Jaipur, with space's scalloped arches and chandeliers and seafoam green walls

A rendering of the Writers Bar at the Raffles Jaipur, opening July 2024

Courtesy of Raffles Jaipur

  • Location: Jaipur, India
  • Why we love it: A jewel box of a hotel in Jaipur with a true sense of place
  • Loyalty program: Accor Live Limitless
  • Book now

We loved the Raffles Udaipur in India so much that we anointed it as one of the Best New Hotels in 2023. On the heels of that spectacular debut is the Raffles Jaipur, opening July 1 in what is referred to as India’s Golden Triangle circuit, which includes Jaipur, Agra, and New Delhi. There will be just 50 rooms and suites with hand-cut mosaic floors, marble flourishes, and painted ceilings that showcase centuries-old craft traditions of Rajasthan; all are equipped with private plunge pools.

The hotel’s Writers Bar will be a showcase of scalloped arches and ornate chandeliers, while a 6,700-square-foot spa will focus on holistic wellness created with the help of India’s most prominent well-being experts. Dining options will range from Rajasthani-style dishes to an afternoon tea that includes tea-infused whiskey cocktails. From $415

9. Wilderness Desert Rhino Camp, opening July 2024

exterior of large tent, with stone walls, tan canvas roof, and overhang shading large veranda with yellow seats

A refurbished tent at Wilderness Desert Rhino Camp

Courtesy of Wilderness Desert Rhino Camp

  • Location: Damaraland, Namibia
  • Why we love it: A beautifully renovated camp that offers close encounters with desert-adapted black rhinos
  • Book now

Namibia’s Damaraland is an otherworldly desert landscape and one of the last remaining places in the world where you can see critically endangered black rhinos roam freely. For the past 20 years, Wilderness safari group has partnered with Save the Rhino Trust here through its Desert Rhino Camp, whose support includes coverage of the operational costs of the NGO’s local rhino tracking teams (that alone enabled the teams to patrol 20 percent more ground).

In honor of 20 years of partnership with the NGO, the lodge has recently undergone a major renovation, and it reopens in July with a new look and feel. The six accommodations were rebuilt in stone, timber, and canvas, with private verandas covered by large overhangs—ideal for observing the surrounding desert. Guests spend their days tracking wildlife on foot or by car, while evenings are enjoyed by the campfire under impossibly clear, star-filled skies. From $570 per person

10. Volcanoes Safaris Kibale Lodge, Uganda, opening July

A spacious guest room at Kibale Lodge, with thatched roof ceiling, wood floor, and large bed draped with gauze

A guest room at Kibale Lodge in Uganda

Courtesy of Kibale Lodge

  • Location: Kibale National Park, Uganda
  • Why we love it: A stunning new community and conservation-minded new lodge from a trailblazer in chimpanzee and gorilla tourism
  • Book now

Since its founding in 1997, Volcanoes Safaris—a trailblazer in responsible gorilla and chimpanzee tourism—has put communities first. That’s why it’s so exciting to see the hospitality company launch its fifth property, Kibale Lodge, on July 1.

Eight sprawling banda accommodations, four opening in July (the other four debut by the end of 2024), were designed with thatch-roof ceilings, hand-woven furnishings, and stone fireplaces. They’re set on 150 acres with a pool and spa on a hillside next to Kibale National Park, and views are of the Rwenzori Mountains and Queen Elizabeth plains. The lodge completes a circuit with its other four sister properties in Uganda and Rwanda for a 10-day safari in the Rift Valley that ventures from the chimpanzees in the Kibale Forest to lions that climb trees in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

On top of the room rate, the lodge charges a community fee of $50 that goes to Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust, a nonprofit group dedicated to improving local community livelihoods, restoring habitats, and creating awareness about great ape conservation. The trust also partners with the Jane Goodall Institute Uganda on community-focused forest projects, some of which guests can visit. From $990 per person, full board

Jennifer Flowers is an award-winning journalist and the senior deputy editor of Afar.
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