From The Straits Times    |

This list was updated on Sept 21. 

The wanderlust is strong within us all. Blame it on Singapore’s small geographical footprint that gives rise to cabin fever every now and then.

For some of us, the thrill of exotic adventures beckons our soul, for others, it’s simply to relax in ultra luxurious surroundings with every whim and need anticipated for.

For the traveller who prefers to be cocooned in the lap of luxury, here’re a few hotly anticipated hotel openings (some have just opened) to make reservations for.


1. Maldives Maamunagau Resort, The Maldives

Maldives Maamunagau Resort

Photo: Maldives Maamunagau Resort

Another year, another breathtaking resort opening in The Maldives. For underwater lovers, the atoll to make a break for is the InterContinental® Maldives Maamunagau Resort opening on 1 September 2019.

Housed on Hanifaru Bay – the Maldives’ only UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve – this is where you can potentially snorkel amongst whale sharks and manta rays.

Away from the ocean, all 81 villas and residences (Beach, Lagoon and Overwater) are exceptionally well-appointed and come with a private terrace and pool, placing you mere footsteps away from the azure waters of the Indian Ocean (bliss!).

When you are eventually famished, there are six food and beverage outlets to keep your island meals varied, an on-site spa, plus an adults-only retreat space with its own bar and infinity pool – a place to regain your sanity while you shoo the kids off to the Planet Trekkers Kids Club.

And as it’s situated just a 35-minute seaplane ride away from the airport, you’re promised an amazing start and end to your dream island vacation.

Beach pool villas from US$1,250 (S$1,701) per night. Book by 31 Jan 2020 to enjoy daily complimentary breakfast and dinner at Cafè Umi for any length of stay and complimentary seaplane transfers for stays of five nights or longer. Go to for more information.

2. St. Regis Hong Kong, SAR

 St. Regis Hong Kong

Photo: St. Regis Hong Kong

For fans of architect Andre Fu’s (Andaz Singapore, The Upper House, Waldorf Astoria Bangkok) sleek, intimate yet luxe style, a stay at the newly opened 129-room St Regis Hong Kong is a must.

Housed in the vibrant enclave of Wan Chai, Fu fuses the fabled history of the area with modern touches to create quite the stylish sanctuary away from the outside hustle and bustle.

Think colonial columns from the old Wan Chai police station, gas street lamps from Duddell’s Street, eye catching art pieces, vivid orange lacquered doors in the rooms and lush topiaries decorating its 8m high ceilings – in short, it’s quite the looker.

On the food front, there’s the old style jazz-esque St Regis Bar that extends out to the Astor Terrace for pre/post dinner drinks, French restaurant L’Envol helmed by chef Olivier Elzer, one of Hong Kong’s top French chefs, and the hotel’s signature Chinese restaurant, Rùn, where chef Hung Chi-Kwong’s turns out plates of Cantonese cuisine with a killer view of Hong Kong’s skyline.

From US$525 (S$714.40) per night. Go to for more details, or make a reservation at +852 2138 6888.

3. The Biltmore, Mayfair, United Kingdom

The Biltmore, Mayfair, United Kingdom

Photo: The Biltmore

It’s always a good idea to drop by London, and with the upcoming re-opening (it’s accepting reservations from 9 September 2019 onwards) of The Biltmore in Mayfair, a stylish place to rest your head is assured.

Designed by Goddard Littlefair, many of the 257 rooms and 51 suites overlook the historic Grosvenor Square, famous for its beautiful central garden and as Oscar Wilde’s former place of residence.

Besides being a stone’s throw away from Bond Street’s shops and Hyde Park, the hotel itself boasts a few in-house distractions: a fully kitted-out gym, a 500 sqm ballroom and a number of culinary concepts (the exclusive Pine Bar, the year-round alfresco terrace) headed up by Michelin-starred Jason Atherton.

The star eatery though is The Betterment which will serve a seasonally-driven menu, much of it deliciously wood-fired and we predict, very scrumptious.

Go to for more information.

4. Aman Kyoto, Japan

Photo: Aman Kyoto

Aman junkies (yes, this is a real thing) have one new property to hunt down. This time it takes place in a secret garden setting in Japan’s ancient imperial capital.

Sounds enchanting? It is.

Opening November 2019, Aman Kyoto is making the most of its prime location at the foot of the Mountain of Hidari Daimonji with 72 acres of permanent forest gardens sporting colourful yama momiji maples and kitayama-sugi (Japanese cedar) trees.

Inside the resort, the zen vibe continues with the 24 guest rooms and two villas decorated like a modern-style yet traditional ryokan (we hope this means it provides a bit more comfort) with floor-to-ceiling windows, tatami mats, intimate tokonoma (alcoves where items for artistic appreciation are presented) spaces and ofuro bathtubs made of hinoki cypress wood.

If you can tear yourself away from your little hideaway, you’ll be rewarded with haute cuisine meals at the Dining Pavilion and treatments using the area’s mineral rich spring waters and natural apothecary – including Kyoto green tea, Tanba kuromame (black beans), local saké, and cold-pressed tsubaki (camellia) oil at the Aman Spa.

Go to for more information.

5. Hinode Hills Niseko Village, Japan

 Hinode Hills Niseko Village

Photo: Hinode Hills Niseko Village

If you haven’t noticed there’s been a slew of new hotels catering to the demand for skiing holidays. One to consider for the year-end ski break is Hinode Hills Niseko Village situated at the base of Mount Niseko Annupuri.

Set to open 1 December 2019, aside from its prime position at the heart of Niseko Village and adjacent to the Upper Village Gondola (ie. less lugging of ski equipment needed) for easy access to the varied ski terrains, there’s also ski-in, ski-out access and an in-house onsen to soothe those tired muscle post ski session.

When it’s time to hit the sack, all 79 rooms and suites exude a zen vibe with its wabi-sabi aesthetic.

And because it’s boring to ski alone, the multiple room and suite configurations cater to most accommodation scenarios (family trips, group holidays etc…) so you don’t have to split up across the village.

Rates start from 40,000 Japanese Yen (S$499.90) per night for a studio unit. Go to for more information.

6. Capella Sanya, China

Capella Sanya, China

Photo: Capella Sanya

Billed as the Hawaii of the East – it’s not too far fetched a claim seeing as Sanya’s daily temperature hovers around 26 degC – Sanya has always been a favourite of mainland and Russian holiday makers.

Now, with the recent opening of Capella Sanya, the island’s accommodation offerings have gotten a tad more glamourous. Designed by Jean-Michel Gathy, the serene beachfront retreat fuses design references to Chinese culture – ask after the treasure bowl lobby water feature – throughout the resort together with splashes of red and feng shui principles in a clean, modern style.

The result is an idyllic retreat of 190 rooms and villas with guest rooms starting from a spacious 88 sq m in size and unusual activities such as the daily tai chi showcase at the central pool at 8.30am and an evening bar ritual that melds storytelling with a special cocktail concoction.

If beach bumming is not your thing, there’s curated leisure options such as a fishing trip with local fishermen. All in all, while you may be looking for a relaxing beach break, you’ll be getting a lot more than that.

From 2,288 RMB (S$452.50) a night. Go to for more information.

7. Canyon Ranch Wellness Retreat, California

Canyon Ranch Wellness Retreat, California

Photo: Canyon Ranch Wellness Retreat

With wellness becoming more of a lifestyle, there are fewer better options than taking a few days off at the Canyon Ranch.

Nestled amongst towering redwood trees, the luxury wellness brand’s first retreat model will open in the Fall 2019 at Woodside, California above the famed Skyline Boulevard winding road. There, the stressed and harried can find their centre in scenic luxury treehouse surroundings as they take part in three-day, four-day, or seven-day retreats.

With only 14 guest rooms and 24 additional guest rooms, the activities calendar includes everything from obstacle courses, hiking and night vision goggle adventures as well as various spa (watsu theraoy, cactus pedicures) options and alternative modalities (equine therapy, astro gemology, crystal sound activation) as they discover what it means to “discover your good life”, hopefully for life.

Go to for more information.


8. Six Senses Bhutan

 The best new luxury hotels of 2019 you must visit

This Himalayan kingdom has a quota on tourists entering, which means you don’t have to worry about fighting the crowds or grabbing some much needed zen.

Luxury hotel group Six Senses is opening not just one, but five different lodges situated in the west and central valleys of this mountainous region, each with their own design and character.

With wide, open views of the countryside, the lodges in Thimpu, Punakha, Gangtey, Bumthang and Paro embrace Six Senses’ principle of wellness, healthy eating, and spas, mixed with the spirituality of The Hermit Kingdom.

Meditate in Punakha, the Kingdom’s old capital (now Thimpu) and home to the magnificent 17th century Punakha Dzong, a 15 minute drive from the lodge.

From there, travel to the lodge in Gangtey, where nature lovers will marvel at the sight of the protected black-necked cranes and lush forests.

Six Senses can arrange for you to stay a combination of the lodges depending on your preference, or you can sign up for their five-night ‘Tasting Sense’ journey, that takes you through Thimpu and Paro, to visit sites such as the sacred Tiger’s Nest monastery.  Who knows, you may even fall in love

Room rates are inclusive of breakfast and dinner, private return airport transfers, non-alcoholic beverages, daily replenishment of minibar snacks, laundry service, and wireless internet.


9. The Residences Dhigurah, Maldives

 The best new luxury hotels of 2019 you must visit

Possibly one of the world’s most romantic locations, the Maldives has long been the place to fill up your Instagram feed. Built in the style of traditional Maldivian architecture, the Residences Dhigurah’s 173 beach and water villas come with two complimentary bicycles for island jaunts, and their own private pool, and unparalleled views of the Indian Ocean.

If you’re feeling a little homesick, dine at Li Bai, the sister restaurant to the celebrated Cantonese restaurant in Sheraton Towers. Alternatively, nibble on tapas at the Cafe del Sol or the international spread at all-day dining venue, The Dining Room.

Venture beyond the island and visit charming Maldivian villages as part of an island-hopping tour, scuba dive among pristine coral reefs, or pamper yourself at the Spa by Clarins.

If you fancy a pool that’s a little larger, head to the 42m infinity pool, which seemingly expands into the horizon, blurring the lines between the pool and the sea.

A bridge links you to sister resort, The Residence Maldives at Falhumaafushi, as both are located on the same southern atoll – Gaafu Alifu Atoll.

After flying from Singapore to Male International Airport, staff will take you to the domestic airport for a scenic 55-minute flight to Kooddoo Airport, before a short five-minute speedboat ride to the hotel.


10. The Belmond Cadogan, London

 The best new luxury hotels of 2019 you must visit

Made up of five restored 1800’s Queen Anne-style buildings, the Belmond Cadogan is the latest luxury hotel to hit London, situated on Sloane Street, in the upmarket Chelsea area.

A favourite haunt of the likes of Oscar Wilde and actress Lillie Langtry, this 54-room hotel was designed by GA Design, whose portfolio includes The Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam and The Renaissance Hangzhou.

After you’re done clearing out the shops in nearby Knightsbridge, take shelter in the beautiful -and exclusive – early 19th century Cadogan Place Gardens.

Privately owned and formerly part of the London Botanic Gardens, have a picnic or take a stroll through the winding paths surrounded by catalpa, ginkgo, redwood, maples, various flowering cherries, hydrangea, laburnum, viburnum and 300-year-old mulberry trees. As the garden is not open to the public, you can rest assured you’ll be able to picnic in peace – no plebeians here.

If you wish to get your Wimbledon on, there is also a tennis court for guests to use within the gardens.

Once you’re done, return to the hotel and indulge in modern British cuisine by rising star, chef Adam Handling (chef-owner of The Frog), before retiring to your room.


11. Avani+, Koh Samui

 The best new luxury hotels of 2019 you must visit

Did you know we have four long weekends next year? The seaside paradise of Koh Samui has long been a popular destination, and Avani+ at Taling Ngam, Koh Samui promises sunlit rooms and villas for you to rest and recharge.

With a cool blue and white room palette reminiscent of Santorini, the resort is on the Southern side of Koh Samui, ideal for friends, families and couples looking for a serene, tropical holiday.

Apart from the spa, yoga, kayaking, paddle boarding, mangrove tree tours and beach picnics, guests can explore the surrounding area to explore the Hua Thanon Fishing Village, Laem Sor pagoda, or go island hopping.

Adrenaline junkies can go wild zip-lining through the rainforest, or on 4×4 mountain tours.

If you’re coming with a group of girlfriends, opt for the Two Bedroom Beachfront Pool Villas, which have direct access to the beach in addition to your own pool and sundeck.

The poolside bar comes in the form of a classic, renovated Volkswagen van, with the restaurant practicing the farm-to-table concept.  




12. Monkey Island Estate, Bray

 The best new luxury hotels of 2019 you must visit

Opening on Valentines Day, this stately abode is situated on a private island in the River Thames in the village of Bray; the whole property is a spacious seven acres.

The 27 rooms and suites have been renovated and designed by YTL Hotels and New York based award-winning Champalimaud Design, with a contemporary English feel to match the Georgian building, with either a view of the River Thames or the grounds.

While Asia is more famous for their spas, Monkey Island Estate boasts a new concept – The Floating Spa will be on a refurbished boat moored to the bank of the island.

Foodies will delight as the hotel is in close proximity to three Michelin-star restaurants, including Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck.

The island itself has a colourful historical past, with the name thought to have developed from the original name, Monks Eyot, which was given by monks from the nearby priory in 1197.

In 1723 the Duke of Malborough bought the land and turned it into a fishing retreat, building a Fishing Temple and a Fishing Pavilion which was for eating and sleeping.

In its heyday during the 1900’s, the island hosted many royals and famous celebrities such as Edward VIII, H.G Wells and Edward Elgar, which lends to the allure.


13. Angsana Xishuangbanna, Xishuangbanna

 The best new luxury hotels of 2019 you must visit

Homegrown luxury hotel group Banyan Tree will unveil their latest property, Angsana Xishuangbanna, in the culturally diverse Yunnan province, an hour’s flight from Kunming.

Built in the style of the Dai people, one of Yunnan’s 25 ethnic minorities, it is situated in the Horon Monbala Royal Southeast Asian Botanical Garden Resort Zone, meaning you’ll be far from hustle and bustle of the city, surrounded by the rainforest.

Tea lovers rejoice, for Yunnan is the home of Pu’er tea, specially Menghai county which is in Xishuangbanna prefecture and boasts possibly the oldest specialised tea factory in China.  

With 407 rooms, suites and villas, if you’re travelling with your lover we recommend the Hot Spring Suite, so you can soak in your own private hot spring, while admiring the rainforest outside.

If you don’t manage to snag a Hot Spring Suite, you can always head to the hotel’s Angsana Spa after you’ve worked up a sweat hiking.


14. Pavilion Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

 The best new luxury hotels of 2019 you must visit

Malaysia’s always great for weekend getaways, so why not take advantage of the exchange rate and go shopping in KL?

The newly opened Pavilion Hotel Kuala Lumpur managed by Banyan Tree makes it even easier for you to access the shops – it’s 13 floors above the award-winning Pavilion mall in the centre of town (KLCC is a short walk away).

Dine at one of two restaurants, at either all-day dining The Courtyard or Ebisu, a restaurant and bar space featuring an array of Japanese cuisine with a twist. Afterwards, retire to Whisky Cove and enjoy their wide, international selection of whiskies and blends.

After a long day emptying your purse, treat yourself to Asian-inspired treatments at the Banyan Tree Spa, or float your worries away in the rooftop infinity pool.


16. The Middle House, Shanghai

 The best new luxury hotels of 2019 you must visit

Calling all Crazy Rich Asians, we have a new urban hideaway for you in the cosmopolitan hub of Shanghai.

Designed by Piero Lissoni, renowned architect and founder of Lissoni Architettura in Milan, the new Penthouse at The Middle House hotel combines both modern Chinese and Italian design.

With an impressive 660sqm on the 14th floor, the Penthouse will be your home away from home, with an intimate living area for entertaining guests, a master bedroom, second bedroom, outdoor event space and terraces overlooking the city, and another multi-purpose function room.

Want to throw an elegant soiree? The Penthouse can fit 200 people.