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The 15 Most Anticipated International New Hotels of 2018

1. One&Only Gorilla’s Nest
The 15 Most Anticipated International New Hotels of 2018
Where in the world should you travel in 2018? Let this list of new international hotels be your guide. Hide out in the Laotian treetops, soak up the sun on a secluded Brazilian beach, find serenity in a camphor forest outside of Shanghai, travel back in time in revived Parisian, Polish, and Tasmanian landmarks, and much more—all thanks to some of this year’s most anticipated worldwide openings. It was tough to limit this list to just 15, but these standouts provide great jumping off points for your next global adventure. Note that projects’ openings dates are subject to change.
By Sandra Ramani, AFAR Contributor
Courtesy of Four Seasons Seychelles at Desroches Island
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    1. One&Only Gorilla’s Nest
    1. One&Only Gorilla’s Nest
    Rwanda

    With the recent launch of its eco-conscious Nature Resorts portfolio, One&Only is expanding inland from its current roster of primarily beachside hotels, and this luxury lodge will be among the first shining examples. Set in the foothills of Rwanda’s Virunga volcanic mountain range, the resort will serve as one of the region’s plushest bases for gorilla treks through the dense forests. After days spent among the mighty animals, return to beautiful spaces designed in keeping with the natural setting, gourmet cuisine crafted using ingredients from the property’s garden, and spa treatments incorporating African healing traditions.

    Opening late 2018; oneandonlyresorts.com
    Courtesy of One&Only Gorilla’s Nest
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    2. Rosewood Luang Prabang
    2. Rosewood Luang Prabang
    Laos

    Rosewood has several high-profile openings coming up this year (including this first outpost in its home base of Hong Kong), but this one has us most intrigued. Although just a 10-minute drive from the UNESCO World Heritage Site town of Luang Prabang, the resort feels a world away, thanks to a dreamy forest setting and an intimate collection of just 22 luxury tents and villas, many of which seem to float among the trees. Some villas feature gardens or private pools, while the spacious tents have open-air showers, living rooms, dining areas, and wrap-around decks. If you can bear to leave these sanctuaries, join other guests at the bar and restaurant, which will serve French and Laotian cuisine, or at the serene Rosewood signature spa.

    Opening early 2018; rosewoodhotels.com
    Courtesy of Rosewood Luang Prabang
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    3. The Fontenay
    3. The Fontenay
    Germany

    There’s been a lot of buzz about Hamburg this past year, and this long-awaited hotel is part of the reason why. Set in a spectacular sculptural building built by starchitect Jan Stormer on the shores of Lake Alster, this Leading Hotels of the World member will offer vast views from the 131 sophisticated rooms and suites, as well as from its top-floor Lakeside fine dining restaurant and Fontenay Bar. (Other dining outlets, like the smart-casual John’s and atrium-set lounge, will offer views of the surrounding greenery.) No expense has been spared or detail overlooked—including at the rooftop spa and gym, featuring state-of-the-art facilities and an infinity pool that seems to melt into the lake.

    Opening early 2018; lhw.com
    Courtesy of the Fontenay
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    4. Amanyangyun
    4. Amanyangyun
    China

    In a camphor forest just outside bustling Shanghai, a collection of dwellings from the Ming and Qing dynasties that were saved from demolition have been painstakingly reassembled to create the latest Aman hotel. Surrounded by flower-filled ponds and lush forest views, the 13 Antique Villas and 24 Ming Courtyard Suites boast a tranquil, earth-toned design crafted using natural materials like stone, wood, and bamboo, as well as access to peaceful courtyard lounging spaces. The six dining choices range from Chinese and Japanese to Italian, while the 10-room Aman Spa—complete with hammam, Russian-style banya, and a menu of traditional Chinese-inspired therapies—offers another place to get away from it all.

    Opening early 2018; aman.com
    Courtesy of Amanyangyun
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    5. The Langley. A Luxury Collection Hotel
    5. The Langley. A Luxury Collection Hotel
    England

    Fans of Downton Abbey, Jane Austen novels, and traditional British country life will have a new place to check into this summer. Once the country estate of the third Duke of Marlborough, and set on former royal hunting grounds in the heart of Buckinghamshire, The Langley has a long list of notable historic and architectural features, from acres of gardens originally designed by iconic 18th-century gardener “Capability” Brown to baroque fireplaces and ornate carvings in the Heritage-listed buildings. The interiors of the 41 rooms and suites, which are spread out between the main house and the former Brew House, will balance original detailing with contemporary luxuries, while the atmosphere in the signature gourmet restaurant and intimate cigar-and-cognac bar—featuring rich leathers, bound books, and roaring fires—will harken back to days when this was a private home. The new Langley Spa will offer indoor and outdoor pools, eight treatment rooms, a thermal area, and a high-tech fitness suite with programming by celebrity trainer/author Matt Roberts.

    Opening summer 2018; thelangley.com
    Courtesy of the Langley
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    6. Anantara Maraú Bahia Resort
    6. Anantara Maraú Bahia Resort
    Brazil

    Following its expansion into Europe last year, Bangkok-based Anantara is turning its sights on South America—specifically, the breathtaking shores of Brazil’s northwest Bahia region. Best accessed by a flight directly to its private airstrip, the remote resort boasts a prime location on the Maraú Peninsula, next to the Bay of Camamu and bordering a dense forest. In keeping with the natural beauty, you’ll find thatched roofing and lush gardens, as well as direct access to the white-sand beach. Recreational facilities will include tennis and beach volleyball courts, and a sprawling pool with loungers floating on a central “island.” The resort will open with 30 suites, rooms, and bungalows to start, with more—including beachfront bungalows with private pools—to be added in the near future. Tailored experiences will showcase the destination, from horseback riding and speedboat trips to the natural bathing pools around the Tremembé Waterfall. And there are scuba diving, surfing, and fishing for a catch that the Anantara chefs will cook you for dinner.

    Opening mid-2018; anantara.com
    Courtesy of Anantara Maraú Bahia Resort
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    7. ME Dubai
    7. ME Dubai
    Dubai

    Located in the Burj Khalifa District, the latest addition to Dubai’s glittering skyline is The Opus, a stunning, 300-foot-tall glass cube with a dramatic void at its core that allows for unexpected views from all sides of the structure. Designed by the late, great architect Zaha Hadid, The Opus will house the flagship ME Dubai hotel, with 93 rooms, an impressive 15 restaurants (including a Japanese robatayaki spot, and something dubbed a “vertical café”), and a futuristic lobby lounge that doubles as a rotating art gallery. Other facilities like Dubai’s largest nightclub—a massive, 260,000-square-foot entertainment hub—and a rooftop with views out to the Dubai canals are sure to make the ME a fast hot spot with locals, as well.

    Opening late 2018; melia.com
    Courtesy of Meliá Hotels International
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    8. Hotel Lutetia
    8. Hotel Lutetia
    France

    First opened in 1910 by the family that founded the iconic Le Bon Marche department store, this Left Bank landmark will re-emerge in 2018 following a four-year redo led by noted architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte. Now part of The Set hotel group (which also includes The Conservatorium in Amsterdam and Hotel Café Royal in London), the revived art nouveau classic—one of the few five-stars on this side of the Seine—will feature 184 enlarged rooms and suites, each crafted with wood paneling, hand-blown Murano glass, and Carrara marble; some also have private balconies with Eiffel Tower views. Other new additions include a 7,500-square-foot spa, multiple restaurants (including a brasserie with a show kitchen and a spacious terrace), and jazz and cigar bars that will evoke the hotel’s golden years, when it was a gathering spot for guests from the worlds of politics, arts, and culture.

    Opening spring 2018; hotellutetia.com
    Courtesy of Hotel Lutetia
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    9. Raffles Europejski Warsaw
    9. Raffles Europejski Warsaw
    Poland

    This spring, one of Warsaw’s most historic—and beloved—buildings will enter its next chapter. Originally opened in 1857, and considered one of the most luxurious hotels in what was then the Russian Empire, the hotel was almost completely destroyed in World War II, then rebuilt in stages before reopening in 1962. Now, following a detailed renovation and restoration that has preserved the building’s heritage and character, the landmark will open again as the Raffles Europejski, Warsaw, with 106 rooms and suites, a six-room spa, and a clubby bar and cigar lounge. The main restaurant will offer seasonal menus highlighting local produce and flavors, while a traditional patisserie will take guests on a sweet journey though the hotel’s history.

    Opening early 2018; raffles.com
    Courtesy of Raffles
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    10. The Retreat at Blue Lagoon
    10. The Retreat at Blue Lagoon
    Iceland

    The healing geothermal waters of Iceland’s Blue Lagoon bathing complex have long been one of the country’s top tourist draws (it also doesn’t hurt that it’s set close to the Reykjavík airport), but the lack of a luxury hotel may have also limited the attraction’s full potential. That should change this year with the opening of the five-star, wellness-focused Retreat, built into an area formed by 800-year-old lava flow, on the south shores of the Blue Lagoon. The 62 suites will have walls of windows and either balconies or terraces, all framing the lunarlike views, as well as a stylish, serene decor, while the underground spa will offer a more private and upscale way to take the mineral-rich waters. The on-site Moss restaurant aims to be a foodie draw with its menu highlighting products from Iceland’s mountains, farms, seas, and geothermal greenhouses.

    Opening April 2018; bluelagoon.com
    Courtesy of the Retreat at Blue Lagoon
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    11. The Tasman, a Luxury Collection Hotel
    11. The Tasman, a Luxury Collection Hotel
    Australia

    This intriguing new hotel isn’t opening until the end of the year, but all signs point to it being worth the wait. Set in a series of repurposed heritage buildings, The Tasman—the first Luxury Collection hotel in Tasmania—will form a key part of the contemporary, design-focused Parliament Square project that’s aiming to revitalize Hobart’s city center. The finished interiors will celebrate the buildings’ original Georgian and art deco styles by incorporating original floorboards, fireplaces, windows, and recycled timber, while also bringing in natural and local materials to reflect the harborside setting. The 128 rooms and the public spaces will feature a relaxed-luxury vibe and lots of locally sourced art, while the menus and decor in the gourmet restaurant, whiskey bar, and lobby lounge will further reflect the destination—and draw in the locals.

    Opening in December 2018; starwoodhotels.com
    Courtesy of The Tasman, a Luxury Collection Hotel
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    12. Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Los Cabos
    12. Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Los Cabos
    Mexico

    For the fourth member of its top-tier Reserve portfolio, Ritz-Carlton has picked a dramatic stretch of coastline along the Sea of Cortez, outside of San Jose del Cabo. With a name inspired by the Spanish word dunas, or “dunes,” as a nod to the topography of the region, Zadún features a striking design that honors the desert and the sea, with buildings constructed to feel at one with the landscape. Each of the 115 suites and villas will boast dedicated butlers and sea views, and many also will have private plunge pools. Guests will enjoy access to two championship golf courses and a desert botanical park, while the restaurants and spa will focus on highlighting local ingredients and traditions—one of the hallmarks of the Reserve brand.

    Opening early 2018; zadunreserve.com
    Courtesy of Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
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    13. Four Seasons Seychelles at Desroches Island
    13. Four Seasons Seychelles at Desroches Island
    Seychelles

    A 35-minute flight from the international airport in Mahe brings you to this tropical hideaway—the only resort on the private coral island of Desroches. Ringed by nine miles of sandy beaches, the resort will offer 71 private pool–equipped accommodations in a variety of sizes, from suites and bungalows to villas and residences, making this an ideal choice for both couples and families. There’s plenty to keep you entertained on the island, including two restaurants, a lounger-ringed beachside pool, a five-suite spa, and active fun (water sports, beach volleyball, and anti-gravity yoga). Don’t miss a visit to the on-site sanctuary for the Aldabra giant tortoise.

    Opening March 2018; fourseasons.com
    Courtesy of Four Seasons Seychelles at Desroches Island
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    14. Jumeriah Bali
    14. Jumeriah Bali
    Indonesia

    It’s estimated that Bali welcomes nearly 5 million visitors a year—so it’s a good thing the island’s been experiencing a bit of a hotel boom recently, particularly on the high-end front. This year will see another notable arrival with the launch of Jumeriah Bali on the southern tip of the coastal Jimbaran area. Set among tropical gardens and looking out over the surfer-loved Dreamland beach, the resort will house 123 suites and private villas—the latter inspired by the style of ancient Javanese Hindu water palaces and crafted using traditional Balinese architectural designs. Draws include three restaurants, a Talise spa, proximity to a new golf course, and a stunning cliff-top wedding venue. (Pictured: A Google Street View screenshot of the future hotel site)

    Opening mid-2018; jumeirah.com
    Photo by Google Maps
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    15. Bankside
    15. Bankside
    England

    London’s southside is getting a new resident this fall with the opening of this design-forward hotel. Located on the south bank of the Thames, close to top sites like the Tate Modern and Borough Market, the striking six-story glass tower is part of the larger One Blackfriars development, envisioned by award-winning architect Ian Simpson and former film production designer Dayna Lee. Along with 161 airy rooms and suites, and a casual restaurant and bar with a terrace, the hotel will feature “white cube”–style meeting spaces and coworking areas to encourage engagement with local residents.

    Opening September 2018; banksidehotel.com
    Courtesy of Bankside
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    Up Next . . .
    Up Next . . .
    Courtesy of the Hoxton Williamsburg