New things are brilliant aren’t they? New shoes, new clothes, new bars, new phones… you get the idea. Yes old things are great too but there is something about a nicely packaged bit of new that gets us all very very excited.
The top of the new thing pile though is, without a doubt, a new hotel. I was lucky enough to be the first guest ever in a hotel once and it made me feel like something of an explorer/VIP. That’s a little hard to replicate but I keep my ears open to find out which new openings are on the horizon in the hope that I can be one of the first to sit at the bar, swim in the pool, relax in the spa, or sleep in the beds.
I thought I should probably share what I’ve found out occasionally so after much perusing here are three of my current top picks on the new hotels front to have a look at.
French Coco: Tartane, Martinique
This place is the epitome of a boutique hotel. First thing to mention is that every one of the 17 rooms is a suite. Delightful, everyone loves a suite! It’s literally just opened which means if you’re very quick you could be the first person to stay in one of these rooms that are decorated in raw and natural materials to make them feel like outside is inside with you. Without the insects though.
Because it’s in Martinique you get that delightful Creole experience that shines through particularly in the French-style Caribbean-inspired food, most of which comes from the hotel’s garden. The hotel couldn’t be in a better spot in the grounds of the Caravelle Peninsula nature reserve on the north east coast of the island. This place makes most other unspoiled places seems rather spoiled. It is pristinely beautiful and famed for tropical flora and fauna.
The top tip whispered to me by someone in the know is to opt for Suite Creole or Suite Caraibes if you fancy having your own private pool and seating area. Yes, yes I do fancy that!
The President by Akaryn: Vientiane, Laos
This beautiful town of Vientiane is about to get a new hotel. It’s a manicured mish mash of Laotian design and French neoclassical influences brought together in the very best position available. On one side there’s Parliament House, the other the presidential palace. And in front is a favourite morning Thai Chi spot for locals; the Chou Anouvong Park. Nice big rooms and suites with high ceilings, marble floors and giant windows sound good to you? And there’s the Ayurah Wellness Spa with Linda Meredith products and therapies combining east and west very pleasantly indeed.
Best of all, if you’re a child at heart like I am, is that there’s a maze in the garden inspired by English country houses! Good place to work up an appetite and if you manage to get out there will be four great places to eat to choose from once it opens in November.
The whisper I heard on this one was to walk five minutes along the Mekong to The Spirit House. A bar and restaurant in a traditional wooden house with fab sunsets and quirky cocktails.
Hotel Único: Madrid, Spain
Not actually a brand new hotel, but new to the SLH collection is Hotel Único Madrid. My idea of a good hotel in a city is one that is as close to the action as possible but sleepy and serene once you’re inside. Well, all I can say about Hotel Unico is “bingo!” This converted 19th century palace in the lively Salamanca area makes sightseeing simple in stroll terms. And yet inside you feel as secluded as an Atlantic-crossing canoeist. A private courtyard garden is surrounded by 44 soundproofed rooms and suites. Marble mosaics, an ornate staircase and high ceilings combined with Art Deco flourishes and a two-Michelin star restaurant create an unshakeable ‘how clever and important am I’ vibe. Eating will only make it worse as it’s impossible not to feel pleased with oneself when brunch includes glazed lamb shank or a tuna carpaccio with wakame salad. With macarons and Cava to finish. A spa, filled with wellness treatments by skincare brand Natura Bisse, completes the si si scene.
The don’t-tell-too-many-people tip here is the Mercado De la Paz for some delicious Spanish produce, and a drink and tapas in one of the rustic bars.
I hope you like the sound of those three. And of course if you have any new hotels to share with me I’d love to hear about them!