As travel picks up, here are the new and exciting places opening their doors
MELIÁ PHUKET MAI KHAO PHUKET, THAILAND
Phuket is the holiday destination for Thais, and visitors from all over the world. So spend a few days in Bangkok and then escape the madness of the world to Melià Phuket Mai Khao, a new wellness-inspired resort, located on Phuket’s longest stretch of sand. With 100 rooms designed with a Mediterranean inspiration, 30 suites all with cabanas and outdoor bathtubs, and 70 private villas, which includes 15 “wellness pool villas” with open-air, Vitamin C showers (that’s a new one to us… not sure what this is but Vitamin C it has to be OK, right?), four eating and drinking venues, three swimming pools, a kid’s club and yes…. A fitness center (otherwise called a Gym) and a five star spa! And it’s in Thailand.
YASAWA ISLAND RESORT & SPA FIJI
Fiji was closed to outsiders for 20 months but on December 1st the government reinstated travel to the country. Yasawa Island Resort and Spa, one of Fiji’s independently owned and operated, located on a remote and unspoiled 7,000-acre island, reopened on December 18. During the country closure the resort, which covers most of Yasawa island, has had a major refurbishment with new stone showers and a new outdoor pizza oven and barbeque area for dining to name a couple. There are 18 Fijian style bungalows with palm thatched roofs, a spacious sun deck and plantation shutters, a number of different wining and dining options, and 10 private white beaches. In Fijian there are 15 words that mean Heaven “Yasawa” is the first, so think about that as you relax in your hammock and live life as it is meant to be.
AIDEN DARLING HARBOUR SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
Three years in the making, set in a 1930’s Art Deco building in the Pyrmont district of Sydney, the Aiden Darling Harbor opened just in time for the southern hemisphere summer, before the holidays. The hotel has 88 guest rooms designed with inspirations from the neighborhood, some with balconies and city skyline and harbor views. The ground floor is a mix of café, bar and lounge and lobby. Not a fitness center or state of the art spa in sight!!! “Aiden Darling Harbor has been designed for travelers by travelers to deliver everything you need in a hotel and nothing you don’t.” said Michael Sharp, General Manager, who apparently also thinks that for a few days you can survive without gym guilt…
CONRAD JIUZHAIGOU JIUZHAGOU COUNTY, TIBET
Surrounded by mountains amid the beauty of the Tibetan Plateau, the Conrad Jiuzhaigou is now open. Modern design and architecture inspired by Oijang and Tibetan elements, creating the ultimate Tibetan feel with a contemporary twist. There are 161 guest rooms, including 26 villas; all guest rooms have a terrace to relax and appreciate the view of the truly inspiring, magical landscape. Two restaurants, BAS.IN offers all day dining and M’EAT a specialty bar and grill with warm comfortable seating inside and a large terrace overlooking the Zhongcha Valley. High ceilings and natural light through all the public spaces give a feeling of space, a good place to read a book (just saying), and yes there is a fitness center and spa. UNESCO World Heritage site Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area is 12 kilometers away and the deliiously named Fairy Pool Scenic Area just a mere 46 kilometers
THE PALM RIVER HOTEL VICTORIA FALLS, ZIMBABWE
Victoria Falls, on the Zambezi River, is a place you might want to add to your destinations list. It is classified as the largest waterfall in the world because it has the largest sheet of falling water! In December the Palm River Hotel opened, located so close to the falls that on a clear, quiet day guests can hear the thunder of the water falling and see the spray from the 31 rooms and suites (this will increase to 73 in early 2022). A team of Zimbabwean architects and interior designers have blended a traditional East Coast Australian design — there’s some cross cultural pollenation for you — with the unique landscape of the upper Zambezi River, creating what is already being called a new landmark for Victoria Falls, and may perhaps even rival the iconic Victoria Falls Hotel
REYKJAVIK EDITION REYKJAVIK, ICELAND
In Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, just in case you are wondering, Editions Hotels have opened their latest luxury boutique hotel. Located on the harbor with mountain views, next to Harpa, the landmark concert hall and conference center, and minutes from Laugavegur, the main shopping street of Reykjavik. With 253 rooms, a signature restaurant, a full complement of bars and a nightclub, the lobby, as with all Edition’s hotels, is the centerpiece and this one doesn’t disappoint. But, check out The Roof, it is on the seventh floor and has views of the mountains, the town and the North Atlantic Ocean. And — whew! — don’t fret, there is a Spa and Fitness Center with what they refer to as a “new kind of modern social wellness concept.” Interesting to see what they thought was wrong the old concept of being well and social…
THE STANDARD BANGKOK MAHANAKHON BANGKOK, THAILAND
All we know is 2022 it will open, but this one is worth a mention. The Standard Bangkok Mahanakhon is going to be the flagship for this brand in Asia. Housed in the King Power Mahanakhon Building, one of the tallest buildings in Thailand in the Central Business District. Spanish artist-designer, Jaime Hayon is the man behind the design of the 155 guest rooms, a terrace pool, a penthouse, a variety of wining, dining and nightlife venues and fitness center.