Five stylish new hotels opening this year

From hip new digs in Sydney to luxurious OTT rooms at Versailles. Chris Carter reports.

Cultivated cool in London

NoMad London (pictured above) “is possibly the most exciting hotel opening in London since The Ned”, says Fiona Kerr for Condé Nast Traveller. The original NoMad, in New York, is “one of the city’s moodiest, slickest stays”. Here, in London, its “cultivated cool” is transplanted to the former Bow Street magistrates’ court and police station in Covent Garden. The design brief required exploring “the artistic and cultural synergy between London and New York, with more than 1,600 works of art on show”. The “pub-like” Side Hustle restaurant will serve Mexican sharing plates and mezcal, “in place of the usual pork-scratchings and pints, while Common Decency serves serious cocktails. After our long enforced hibernation, this is the hottest ticket in town this spring.” From around £455, thenomadhotel.com.

All aboard for a wildlife safari in Africa

Kruger Shalati hotel

“Trainspotters and wildlife enthusiasts alike will adore Kruger Shalati, a quirky boutique hotel inside a refurbished 1950s steam train,” says Ianthe Butt for The Independent. The hotel is parked atop the Selati Bridge, above the Sabie River inside Kruger National Park in South Africa, where, in the 1920s, trains would stop overnight. The hotel’s 24 glass-walled carriage rooms are set to open this month. “Bedrooms will be filled with local arts and crafts and, alongside expert-led game drives, guests will be able spot crocodiles, hippos and elephants from their bedrooms” or from the pool on the bridge. A further seven rooms are scheduled to open later in the year. From £795, all inclusive including two game drives daily, krugershalati.com.

Community-focused balance in Japan

Azumi Setoda hotel

Azumi Setoda is the first hotel of a new brand inspired by traditional Japanese inns known as ryokan, says Claire Wrathall in the Financial Times. It is set to open in March on the island of Ikuchijima in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea, in a splendid 19th-century building that was once the home of a powerful shipping family. “The building has been restored and converted to accommodate 18 suites and four duplexes, each with its own garden or balcony, by Kyoto-based Shiro Miura, an expert in sukiya, a style of architecture dating back to the 16th century that strives to balance the elements.” Rather than focus on luxury, the concepts at the heart of Azumi Setoda are culture, community, arts and food. “Hence the neighbouring yabune, or public bathhouse, is intended for locals as much as guests.” From £560, azumi.co.

Live like royalty at Versailles

Chateau de Versailles

“For the first time the third estate can stay at France’s grandest palace, Versailles – or at least in the château’s former, equally lavish finance ministry in the grounds,” says Susan d’Arcy in The Times. Guests can explore the 2,500-acre site out of hours with the aid of electric boats and golf carts, as well as join palace tours to see Louis XVI’s dressing room and Marie Antoinette’s private library. The hotel’s 14 bedrooms are so excessive “they’d bring a smile to Louis XVI’s face – four-posters, antique furniture, authentic chandeliers”. Chef Alain Ducasse is producing “suitably OTT menus” for when the Airelles Château de Versailles opens later this year, “including a Marie Antoinette afternoon tea with plenty of you know what”. From £1,525, airelles.com.

Hipster chic in Sydney

“From its upstart hipster roots in Portland, Oregon, the artsy Ace Hotel brand has now been reshaping the look of mid-range digs for 20 years,” says Mark O’Flaherty in The Daily Telegraph. The brand arrives in Australia towards the end of this year, bringing the usual mix of artisanal coffee, seasonal cocktails and in-room turntables to a new 19-storey, 264-room tower in Sydney. 

The building is already a landmark in the Surry Hills neighbourhood of the city, “which has gone from being a laid-back eastern suburb to a hub for food and design”. As we have come to expect from the team behind the Ace Hotel brand, it is working with local designers to create something unique. “The rooftop bar and restaurant promise to be quite the sun-drenched scene.” See acehotel.com.

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