Hotels 2016: Whether you like your hotels opulent, classy, off-the-wall or flashy, these top new properties — some already open — are worth checking into in 2016.
Keemala (Phuket, Thailand)
Opened: December 1, 2015
Quirky Keemala is designed around both nature and culture, making it one of Phuket’s most unique properties.
Guests can choose one of 38 pool villas in styles that include tree houses, bird’s nest villas and clay cottages, while even the bridges and paths linking them blend seamlessly into the grounds, as do the resident water buffalo.
Activities are similarly laidback and in tune with the environment, which means plenty of meditation, yoga, nature walks and even forest Tai Chi to truly connect with your surroundings.
Four Seasons Hotel, Dubai IFC (United Arab Emirates)
Opening: Early 2016
The new Four Seasons at Dubai International Finance Center differs from most hotels in the UAE’s most populous city by being small and intimate with just 106 guestrooms, including 28 suites.
Though set to mainly attract business travelers due to its location, it’s just minutes from the Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa and downtown.
Interior designer Adam Tihany has overseen the sleek look and feel, while he has also curated the hotel’s art collection.
For the city’s cooler months, a dip in their “aquarium-style” pool sounds intriguing, while rooftop bars, cigar lounges and terraces add to the al fresco options.
Four Seasons Dubai IFC, Unit GV09, Level GF Gate Village, Building 9, Dubai International Finance Center, United Arab Emirates
The Old Clare Hotel (Sydney, Australia)
Opening: January 2016
Located in Sydney’s compact inner-city suburb of Chippendale, this 62-room boutique property sits in two smartly renovated heritage-listed buildings to offer the boozy combination of an old pub and the Carlton Breweries administration building.
Like many Australian hotels the food is a big draw.
Old Clare’s Kensington Street Social is the first city’s restaurant from British chef Jason Atherton.
The fanciest accommodation at Old Clare is the 100-square-meter Cub Suite, located in the former Carlton Breweries boardroom and featuring parquetry, paneling and even the restored executive men’s washroom.
East Hotel (Miami, Florida)
Opening: April 2016
At the heart of a new $1 billion development from Swire Properties sits East Hotel in the city’s Brickell district.
The group’s first U.S. property follows openings in Hong Kong and Beijing and is set to offer the same combination of stylish but idiosyncratic design, thanks to New York-based Clodagh.
Its 352 rooms and suites range from 300 square feet to a whopping 1,800, while carnivores will appreciate the traditional Uruguayan parrilla beachside grill experience at their signature restaurant, Quinto La Huella.
A 20,000-square-foot deck (1,858 square meters) will feature no less than four pools, while the gym is cutely named Beast — short for Body By East.
East, 788 Brickell Plaza, Miami, Florida
InterContinental Bordeaux (France)
Opening: December 2016
The latest addition to the InterContinental portfolio comes with a historic property in Bordeaux’s elegant main square, La Place de la Comedie.
The “new” hotel actually started out in 1776, with the 130-room former Grand Hotel de Bordeaux & Spa undergoing a significant conversion to welcome business and leisure travelers alike.
Meeting rooms, an indoor pool and most notably a new restaurant from Gordon Ramsay will be added.
Given the location, the wines won’t be too shabby either, while the 100-square-meter terrace in the Royal Suite will have its own Jacuzzi.
InterContinental Bordeaux, 2-5 Place de la Comedie, Bordeaux, France
Najd Boutique Hotel (Doha, Qatar)
Opened: November 2015
The Souq Waqif in the heart of Doha is the historic traditional Bedouin market area, a window on Qatari culture that has been redeveloped with restaurants, shops and now hotels.
The Najd Boutique Hotel is part of the Souq Waqif Hotels Collection, a group that defines boutique.
Their nine properties in the area have 15 rooms or fewer, all with eye-catching Arabian design.
Guests can take advantage of dining and leisure options across the group, meaning no less than 12 restaurants, three spas and four gyms from which to choose, all within a 15-minute walk.
Langham Place (New York)
Opened: Renovations ongoing, completion date TBA
The Langham Place on Fifth Avenue in midtown Manhattan took over the building formerly housing The Setai in 2013 and is continuing to renovate and transform the property.
This means additions including a destination bar called Measure, a new Chuan Spa based on traditional Chinese medicine and the installation of a $2 million art collection by Alex Katz.
Twenty-two floors of rooms and suites include the Empire State View suite, a 1,900-square-foot beauty that provides an unequaled view of the New York icon.
The Forest Side (Cumbria, UK)
Opening: January 15, 2016
Grasmere in Cumbria’s Lake District is a famously picturesque spot and the Forest Side will add to the region’s room count with its newly renovated 19th-century Victorian hotel.
Its 20 guestrooms are comfortable and well-equipped but it’s the food that’s the star draw.
A large Victorian walled kitchen garden and 46 acres of forageable ground will provide extensive produce for the menu that changes daily under head chef Kevin Tickle, formerly sous chef at the two-Michelin-star L’Enclume restaurant, 20 miles south.
The Forest Side, Grasmere, Ambleside, UK
Amanera (Dominican Republic)
Opened: November 2015
A new beachfront property in the Dominican Republic, Amanera is the latest addition to the Aman global portfolio.
Jungle surrounds the 2,000-acre clifftop destination with the Cordillera mountain range adding to the dramatic setting, while all that scenery can be appreciated from the resort’s Playa Grande golf course.
Privacy is paramount as accommodation comes in just 25 one-bedroom “casitas,” all with their own gardens and 13 of which feature their own 10-meter swimming pool.
Cigar rolling, big game fishing and nature reserve hikes are just some of the distractions.
The Silo (Cape Town, South Africa)
Opening: End of 2016
The Silo Hotel in Cape Town will be situated in the historic Grain Silo Complex.
It’s currently being converted into the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, following former Puma CEO Jochen Zeitz’s donation of his personal collection.
The Silo will sit atop the museum and offer 360-degree views that take in the city’s iconic Table Mountain and Robben Island.
The Penthouse is an impressive 2,200 square feet, while the rooftop also includes a glass swimming pool, champagne bar and restaurant.
The Silo, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa
Como The Treasury (Perth, Australia)
About 95% of this Perth heritage building has been restored.
Opened: December 2015
The central business district of Australia’s western capital of Perth has been revitalized by a new Cathedral Square development around the heritage “State Buildings.”
At its heart sits COMO The Treasury hotel, with 95% of the original building restored to create a 48-room property with each guestroom measuring a whopping average of 70 square meters.
No expense has been spared on the sleek interiors, while guests can choose from a number of restaurants and bars overseen by executive chef Amanda Gale.
Shangri-La at the Fort (Manila, Philippines)
Opening: March 2016
Bonifacio Global City has rapidly become Metro Manila’s most exciting district so it’s no surprise that the Shangri-La is adding it to its already substantial portfolio in the Philippines’ capital.
The new 576-room hotel will have 6,000 square meters of event space and seven restaurants and bars, arguably most intriguing of which is their Raging Bull steakhouse designed by New York-headquartered Avroko.
High rollers will enjoy the property’s 46 suites, all of which come with personal butlers, while for ultimate bragging rights the Shangri La Suite offers three bedrooms in 235 square meters and serious views across the city.
Shangri-La at the Fort, 30th Street corner 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Manila, Philippines
Chris Dwyer is a Hong Kong-based communications consultant and food writer. His restaurant reviews, chef interviews and more can be found at finefooddude.com.