The best new hotels, resorts and other wonders






hotel openings
A Turkish bath in Jersey Photo provided by Wonderlust



Every hotel, resort and even B&B seems to have a spa these days and The Reeds at Shelter Haven is getting in on the fun of rubs and scrubs – but theirs is the first full-service spa of its kind in Avalon and Stone Harbor, and quickly becoming the most luxurious one in all of Cape May County, and is a salt spa! The “Spa Side” has been designed to fit seamlessly with the landmark building, which is the hotel itself and has a coastal cottage ambiance. The Salt Spa has six treatment rooms that include Hamman (Turkish bath), a light therapy lounge with a salt waterfall, inhalation lounge, flotation therapy, hair and make-up studio, nail studio, waxing, tanning, and even a fitness center. But who’ll want to lift weights when you’re this relaxed? Food and drinks are via room service but guests also have access to the five restaurants in the hotel. There numerous packages of pampering are available every day except Tuesday. Then of course you can go for a walk on the beach —- you are on the Jersey Shore don’t forget.











After a multi-million-dollar transformation the Halepuna Waikiki by Halekulani is open. The name comes from the Hawaiian words of “Hale” which means “House and “Puna” which means “Spring”, and welcomes their guests, engaging them in the local culture, with a promise that their philosophy harkens back to the golden age of travel at “The House of Welcoming Waters” The new boutique hotel designers took their inspiration from the land and water complemented with local artwork founded in partnership with the Honolulu Museum of Art. There are 284 guest rooms and four suites with views of the Pacific Ocean. The eighth floor has the pool deck and bar and yes, you guessed it, a fitness center. Why are people obsessed with working out on vacation? Enjoy many meals at the Halekani Bakery and Restaurant, a full-service, all day restaurant with an open-air kitchen and a separate chocolate kitchen. If you’re here on business expense a cocktail and send emails from the fully-equipped business center.











The Ritz-Carlton located at the edge of the French Quarter, within the 1908 Beaux Arts Maison Blanche, is back after a $38 million renovation to the 451 guest rooms and suites, corridors and the spa, with new colors and designs to encompass the essence of the Crescent City. The Maison Orleans Suite, with its floor-to-ceiling windows and uninterrupted views of the city, and The Ritz-Carlton Suites with beautiful views over the city and the river, will be the only rooms that will remain untouched to maintain their original elegance and originality. Book your Mardi Gras vacation now.











The Kwessi Dune Lodge, due to open March 1, 2020, is in the NamibRand Nature Reserve, one of the largest private reserves in southern Africa. It’s close to the Sossusvlie’s rusty red sand dunes (yes, red sand) and the Deadvlei, a claypan, which is a dense, slowly permeable layer, a compact layer which slows or limits the water sinking through the soil. The property will have 10 chalets with thatched roofs and canvas sides housing a bedroom with four-poster beds and air conditioning (don’t forget, you’re in a desert), bathroom with indoor and outdoor showers. There’s also a veranda offering wonderful views and since there’s no light pollution, guests are welcomed to sleep al fresco to stargaze — each chalet actually has a special stargazer room — and guides will be available to help you identify what you are looking at, such as the Southern Cross from Orion’s Belt. Or just fall asleep counting shooting stars rather than sheep. The inside of the main lodge – there is a well-stocked bar, library, several dining and seating areas. 


During the day take a nature drive, walk or ride quad bikes, go see the “fairy circles” patches of grass where nothing else grows — theories abound as to why but no-one really knows — and a variety of wildlife who have found a way to survive in this semi-arid desert: the gemsbok whose white bellies reflect the heat of the sand or the bat-eared box whose giant ears amplify the sound; kudu, steenbok, springbok and maybe even a leopard or spotted hyena although apparently these last two are a bit shy. Head to Sossusvlei’s red dunes and climb “Big Daddy”, the highest one, before dawn and watch the sun rise or take a hot air balloon ride over the Deadvlei and its fossilized trees. And when it gets to hot and you are not English, because “only mad dogs and Englishmen go out the midday sun”, the lodge’s swimming pool is the only place to be.