RAFFLES THE PALM, DUBAI
When I hear the name Raffles, words like luxury, elegant and classic spring into mind. Add Dubai as the location and it’s on my bucket list. October 1st, on the Palm Jumeirah’s West Crescent, the newest Raffles opened, timed to coincide with the beginning of Dubai’s winter vacation season. All the rooms and suites have panoramic views of the Arabian Gulf or the Dubai Skyline, the private villas are located on the 1,640 foot-long private beach, so it is obvious what their view is, and all come with Raffles’ 24-hour personal butler service. Wining and dining is covered with 4 lavish options. And, of course, being Raffles the spa is award winning (who gives these awards, by the way?). Ayman Gharib, managing director of the hotel says “Raffles The Palm Dubai will ensure that every stay is exceptional with everyone arriving as a guest, leaving as a friend and returning as family.” Nice line.
THE CHRISTOPHER ST BARTH, LESSER LEEWARD ISLANDS, CARIBBEAN
In the French West Indies on St Barth, an island in the Lesser Leeward Islands, you will find The Christopher reopening on October 15th. Located above the rocky shoreline of Pointe Milou with 23 rooms, 19 suites and 3 villas, and yes, The Sisley Spa and… a new restaurant, which is said to be French Riviera-inspired and will be called “Rivyera”. Chef Arnaud Faye the man behind the new restaurant, has brought his passion for the Côte d’Azur to the menu and the overall feel and design of the new restaurant.
ROSEWOOD VILLA MAGNA MADRID, SPAIN
The Rosewood Villa Magna reopens as the first hotel in Spain for Rosewood Hotels & Resorts. With 150 rooms and suites, plus restaurants and bars, 24-hour gym and spa, right in the middle of the city, on the Paseo de la Castellana, walking distances from the Serrano shopping, museums, home of the Prado and the Golden Triangle of Art. (Madrid is a city to be walked.)
SEQUOIA ADELAIDE HILLS, SOUTHERN AUSTRALIA
The Sequoia opened in August, a luxury lodge located on the side of Mount Lofty above the Piccadilly Valley in the Adelaide Hills, one of Australia’s best kept secrets by the way. Owned and operated by David Horbelt and Malcolm Bean with 14 suites offering guests, 18 years or older, to discover and experience the story of the region. David says “At Sequoia, we have created an entirely new level of opulence, every detail has been carefully planned to take guests on a journey that will touch the senses, connect with the soul and create a pure sense of delight.” Kids are apparently not encouraged…
MELIÁ PHUKET MAI KHAO PHUKET, THAILAND
Phuket, Thailand, is the holiday destination for the Thais, and visitors from all over the world — a few days in Bangkok then head to the beach! December the 1st is the scheduled opening date of the Melià Phuket Mai Khao and if you are thinking of heading to that part of the world to maybe escape the madness, this could be the place to check out. 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” which have 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! Five stars! Not four! Four would be poo-poo.