The best of the new hotels, resorts and cruise ships




Belmond Cadogan Hotel London, England



Weeks before Oscar Wilde departed this world on November 30th, 1900, he said: “This wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. Either it goes or I do.” This was in Paris, in his hotel room, and he lost. In fact, the wallpaper is still there!


In December 2018, after a 4 year, $48 million revamp of the author’s London residence, which restored and preserved much of the original 1800s design details of the wood paneling, working fireplaces and stained-glass windows, but not the wallpaper, this extravagant house will open as the Belmond Cadogan Hotel. There will be 57 guests room, the main restaurant will  (boldly!) offer British fare, a tea lounge (of course), a terrace for coffee and a classic British bar. Plus they will have a private garden — an incredible indulgence for a hotel in London — spa, fitness suite and — tennis courts! Where/how did they get the space?


The tearoom Photo provided by Wonderlust



The private garden. For real Photo provided by Wonderlust



One of the bright suites Photo provided by Wonderlust




Address: 75 Sloane Street,Chelsea, London, SW1X 9SG

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 3117 1505


Reservations: 1 800 237 1236




Raffles Meradhoo Resort Maldives



The Maldives is made up of 1,192 coral islands on a chain of 26 atolls, in the middle of the Indian Ocean, and it is Asia’s smallest country and with an average ground level of 4’ 11” (1.5 metres) above sea level the world’s lowest.  But oh what a wonderful place for the Raffles Meradhoo Resort, due to open February 2019, just in time for our winter editorial meeting.  In September 2017 AccorHotels (who own the Raffles brand) assumed the management of the then Jumeirah Dhevanafushi –– Raffles is so much easier pronounce, if we’re being honest. They subsequently performed a total renovation of the property which will have 16 ocean villas with private pools and 21 so-called island villas (which are obviously not terribly far from the ocean), three restaurants and two cocktail bars, all overlooking the crystal blue waters that surround the island. And almost de rigueur these days, there will be 24-hour on call butlers, and private chefs.



raffles meradhoo
Each villa has its own pool and such a beautiful view of the beach and sea Photo provided by Wonderlust



raffles meradhoo
Bedroom of an Island Villa Photo provided by Wonderlust

This paradise is located at the southern end of the Maldives, reached by a 55-minute flight from  Malé International airport, followed by a short speedboat ride. If, like me, you are be blissfully happy to just lie on a towel or sun bed, read a book and possible have a drink with an umbrella in it, then that is what you can do while time stands still, but for the energized bunnies who have to be doing something all the time, there will be numerous water sport options, yoga, a PADI-certified diving center where you can go snorkeling and scuba diving to explore the coral reefs (now that I think I might try), and an overwater spa and fitness center.



Address: Gaafu Alifu Atoll, Meradhoo Atoll, Maldives

Telephone:  +960 628 8800









The Jaffa Tel Aviv


The Jaffa opened on Aug 20, a converted convent (retaining it’s impressive, two floor chapel as a multi purpose room, from yoga studio to nightclub) with 120 rooms. 40 of those rooms are fashioned out of the original four story structure, and have 19 foot high ceilings. The other 80 were built in a newly added block and are more normal heights (so, really, get one in the historic part of the building). The most sought after rooms have a view of the Mediterranean, a mere 300 yards away. It has a peaceful outdoor pool, something a bit ominously called a Technogym and a spa that should be ready soon. And there is, for the presidents among you, a Presidential Suite on the roof.



The hotel rising up around its interior courtyard Photo provided by Wonderlust


The ex-convent’s decommissioned chapel makes a very cool bar… Photo provided by Wonderlust



The lobby has the modernity of a sleek NY art gallery, with two Damien Hirst paintings and two dramatic bronze sculptures, by an artist who knew Jean-Michel Basquiat or something, but this is powerfully contrasted with preserved antiquity, such as the medieval wall of the convent, unearthed during construction, that runs through the lobby and a glass wall, into an olive garden. By the way, it is our solid opinion that it is worth traveling to stay anywhere that has an olive garden.


The food is already destination-pulling. Unlike the nearby Setai, the Jaffa is not kosher. Don Camillo is the expected, and sensational, Mediterranean cuisine, and there is also — one would think highly unnecessarily — a New York style deli called Golda’s. Isn’t that like bringing coal to Newcastle?


Address: 2 Louis Pasteur, Tel Aviv

Telephone: +972 3 504 2000









Tengile River Lodge Sabi Sand Game Reserve





In Tsonga, a Bantu language spoken in South Africa, Tengile translates as “tranquil”, a word the designers of The Tengile River Lodge, opening December 1, 2018, took to heart. Located in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve in South Africa, all of the nine air conditioned, thatched suites are raised above the ground, giving the feeling of floating above the river. Each has a private deck and lap pool (a must), sunken lounges and bathrooms which open to the forest and a spectacular view of the river.



Arctic Bath Harads Swedish Lapland





Located on the Lule River in Harads, Swedish Lapland, just south of the arctic circle, this is literally a floating hotel — in summer it free floats, although anchored to the shore so you don’t wake up down the river, and in winter it is frozen in the ice. The main building is circular and the center is the open air “cold bath”, apparently an attraction, not a punishment. Naturally there are saunas, spa treatment rooms, a bar and restaurant, a lounge and a shop.  There will be an additional 6 rooms that also float on the river, with private decks and private entrances, accessed via a footbridge from the shore. This one definitely has a wow factor.




W Kanai Retreat The Riviera Maya, Mexico





The Riviera Maya, in the Kanai area of the Yucatan in Mexico, is getting another luxury hotel, this one designed by American uber architect Richard Meier. The W Kanai Retreat is scheduled to open in December 2018. The architecture is minimalist and the building seems to appear to be floating on a lush carpet of mangroves. All 180 rooms will have views of the sea, from decks which can be enclosed with retractable screens and sun-shading louvers. Other facilities include the W signature Away Spa, with 10,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor treatment space. There are two restaurants and, most important, three bars.


No website yet, so you’ll have to just believe us!









Ritz Carlton Yachts The Open Seas



Getting closer… The first Ritz Carlton ship, to be named in December, goes in the water HJ Barreras Shipyard / The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection



As you have probably heard, Ritz Carlton is joining the bespoke luxury cruise trade in 2020 with it’s Yacht Collection, initially to be a four boat fleet over the first two years. The first, still unchristened, and presumably unpainted, ceremonially went into the water in early October in the port of Hijos De J. Barreras in Vigo, Spain. The ship comprises 149 all-terraced suites, some duplexes. There will be a trademark spa, so yes, basically this will be a floating/cruising Ritz Carlton hotel.