Welcome to your next (fantasy?) holiday. The world’s top hotel brands are expanding into lesser-known destinations next year, dialling back the glitz in favour of quiet luxury inspired by nature, local geography and heritage architecture. To bring you our most anticipated openings for 2024, we’ve scouted out the warmest welcomes and most aspirational designs in locations awaiting a sumptuous stay.
Aman Nai Lert Bangkok, Thailand
Aman hired go-to hotel designer Jean-Michel Gathy to oversee its new tower on a private eight-acre swath of Nai Lert Park. The 36-storey building overlooks the tropical gardens once set aside for the city’s legendary developer, welcoming guests past a sinuous entrance canopy. Spaced across 10 floors, the 52 guest suites were designed with wraparound windows and a palette of teak, lacquer and neutrals that reflect the heritage house next door.
Six Senses Svart, Norway
Holandsfjorden is the gateway to the Svartisen glaciers, 142 square miles of ice cap in Norway’s far north. Poised on poles right over the fjord, this solar-powered, carbon-neutral ring of rooms takes its form from traditional A-shaped fish-drying devices and rorbu fisherman’s cabins. Architects from Snøhetta designed the 94 ‘floating’ rooms, Scandi interiors and a zero-waste restaurant offering sustainable dining. Double down on the eco-theme and get there on an energy-efficient hybrid cruise ship from Havila.
Singita Milele, Tanzania
Few properties are permitted on the Grumeti Game Reserve, a migration corridor on the northwestern border of the Serengeti, but this new private villa is one of them. The 30-year-old hotelier has designed it for large groups or families who want to be immersed in the wild while still experiencing luxury – like indoor-outdoor living, round-the-clock food service, terraces, pools and hot tubs. Top-notch interiors elevate the experience even further without distracting from the show out on the savannah.
Nobu Sao Paulo, Brazil
Nobu brings a new aesthetic to the offbeat concrete modernism of Sao Paulo’s Avenue Paulista. The new hotel tower has a monochrome exoskeleton planted with tropical greenery – a nod to the rainforest park down the road – and a rooftop lounge and pool to rival its luxury neighbours. Local artists, artisans and designers have collaborated on the interiors, and the kitchen delivers favourites from the Nobu repertoire directly to guest rooms.
Paulo Roma, Italy
On a Fellini-esque side street moments from the Villa Borghese, Romeo has sexed up an XVI-century palazzo with the trademark curves of Zaha Hadid Architects. There’s not a straight line from the sweeping deck encircling the plunge pool to the grand central staircase to the Ducasse restaurant and rooftop folly. Even the rooms are outfitted with comfortably curvaceous beds and maxi-bars.
La Dolce Vita, Orient Express, Italy
And if your plans involve leaving the city, you can head out on the Orient Express’s new 11-car luxury train, with routes to Venice, Portofino, Tuscany and Sicily. Each car and cabin recalls the glamour of mid-20th-century train travel, as imagined through the eyes of Italian design outfit Dimore Studio. They’ve created plush bedrooms in a palette of ochres and metallics and luxury dining spaces with no hard angles. Itineraries span a few days at most and incorporate games and entertainment en route.
Soho House, Manchester, UK
The regeneration of riverfront Manchester continues apace with the new location of Soho House, a renovated midcentury block in the culture hub of St John’s. The former Granada Studios has been outfitted with the brand’s requisite rooftop pool club, lounge and live-music space, as well as a full gym and spa. The 23 guest rooms – including a two-bedroom, 80 sq m apartment – take up the sixth floor, with custom wood detailing and furnishings upholstered with Print Pattern Archive fabrics. The new top-rated restaurant Fenix sits across the way. www.sohohouse.com/soho-house-manchester
Capella Taipei, Taiwan
As the small luxury chains discover the value of breaking into Taiwan, Singapore-based Capella is launching its first property in Taipei, a 192-room tower with views to Taipei 101. Smack in the centre of town, it’ll feature throwback antiques and a clean, crisp design, fully wired with mod cons to provide a revitalising haven from the bustling downtown grid.
Chablé, Sea of Cortez, Mexico
The upmarket Mexican hotel group and its architects – Boris Pena and Adrian Aguilar Hernández of Sordo Madaleno – experienced years of Covid-related delays en route to this undulating desert site in Baja California Sur. In 2024, the property will finally welcome paying guests to its 50 weird, wonderful shell-top rooms and sprawling multi-bed villas, flanking a spa, exclusive restaurant and private beach. Designed by Paulina Morán, the private spaces each have an oversized bathroom walking out to a private plunge pool.
Mondrian Abu Dhabi
Interior architect Tristan Du Plessis had carte blanche when drawing up Mondrian’s latest look in the urban desert of Abu Dhabi. He responded to the mind-bending slanted architecture with an organic bone-coloured scheme accented in metallic copper. The 221 rooms overlook a lagoon, canal and private oceanfront, with views to Reem Island and Maryah Island off-shore. The property is located among the conveniences of downtown, though with six restaurants, a spa, pool and retail, it won’t require its guests to move at all.