The best new hotels, resorts and other wonders
ESPACIO, The Jewel of Waikiki WAIKIKI, HAWAII
Have you ever wanted to have the whole floor of a hotel – well now you can, and where better than Waikiki Beach in Hawaii, with spectacular views over the Pacific Ocean? Espacio, The Jewel of Waikiki opened September 7th with nine floors, nine suites, one on each floor.
Each suite comes with private butler, Jacuzzi whirlpool on the balcony, a deep soaking tub in the bathroom, and full kitchen with all the mod cons. And three Smart TVs – but who watches TV on holiday? Don’t answer that. The hotel is decorated with marble from Italy and metalwork from Morocco. So, you know, elegant, like.
The Mungen restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. On the roof is an infinity pool and sundeck and, never fear, there is a full-service spa. You can borrow a complimentary Audi 5 SUV to check out the very close designer shopping. But frankly, they had us at “Hawaii”.
SONOP LODGE KARAS, NAMIBIA
In the Karas region on the southern edge of the Namibian desert, the Sonop Lodge is open. It can best be described as a luxurious tented camp. Built on boulders and set into the rocks, ten very roomy tents, with panoramic views of the desert, richly furnished with colourful carpets, antiques and precious woods, take guests back to the gilded time of the wealthy European and American explorers.
Daily sunrise drives and a list of excursions and experiences into the desert are offered, as one would hope, or you could just relax by the infinity pool and sip cocktails. Or, why not, both. I am not sure a spa was standard in those bygone eras, but they are obligatory now, and Sonop has a nice one. Oh, and there’s a private airstrip.
MAGASHI CAMP RWANDA
The camp is in Akagera National Park, overlooking Lake Rwanyakazing, and grassy low mountains, open plains, wide woodland, lakes and swamp. The park is home to black rhinos, hippos, some large crocodiles, lions, leopards, buffalo, zebra, and Defassa waterbuck among the approximately 500 species that live here. In the middle of all this sits the majestic Magashi Camp with just six luxury tented guest rooms, a dining room and bar, wine cellar, lounge, and a viewing deck with fire pit to enjoy the views over the lake. The whole camp was designed and built by local craftsmen and Magashi has the only private access to the park, which enables night and day game drives (limited to seven passengers so everyone has an outside seat).
SINGITA MALILANGWE HOUSE MALILANGWE WILDLIFE RESERVE, ZIMBABWE
Keeping with our jungle theme… Singita’s Malilangwe House has reopened with a new look inspired by local Shangaan culture and nature, whilst preserving the original feel of the villa itself inspired by the ancient tribal heritage of the country. Located in the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve in the southeast of Zimbabwe, the property has views of the dam below and the 130,000 acre park, which has one of the largest concentrations of black rhino, an endangered species, and cheetahs, wild dogs, lions, leopards and, for you ornithologists reading this, lots of birds. It consists of five large enough for families en suite bedrooms with private decks. There’s a rim-flow pool on the main deck right on the edge of the cliff.
Guests can have all day safaris, day and night bush walks, visit an ancient rock art site, fish, wine-tasting, the quite interesting sounding local community visits, and cruises on the Malilangwe Dam. The suites come with your own butler, chef, and private game vehicle with an experienced field guide. You cannot take these home with you.
ST REGIS TAMUDA BAY, MOROCCO
The first St Regis in Morocco, on Tamuda Bay, a pristine beach area on the north-western coast, should open mid-2020, with 100 luxurious guestrooms and suites, all with unobstructed views of the Mediterranean. The hotel will have a St Regis Bar fashioned after the King Cole Bar in the New York St Regis, where the Bloody Mary was created in 1934. Tamuda Bay, near Tangier, has recently been built up as a resort area, much like Riviera Maya in Mexico, but it’s a gorgeous place to vacation, and to the south are the dramatic Rif mountains, which are spectacular to explore.