Watchthese spa­ces

The best ho­tel open­ings of 2013

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - CHRIS­TINE MC­CABE

WITH glam­orous de­buts ga­lore, this will be a great year for chic ac­com­mo­da­tion junkies, from Rus­sian and Vene­tian palaces to de­sign-driven bolt­holes in boom­ing Asia and the tallest build­ing in west­ern Europe. Shangri-La Ho­tel, The Shard, Lon­don: The first Shangri-La Ho­tels and Re­sorts prop­erty in Bri­tain is a cracker, oc­cu­py­ing lev­els 34 to 52 of the Renzo Pian­ode­signed The Shard, the tallest tower in west­ern Europe, soar­ing above Lon­don like a great mir­rored church spire. Need­less to say, the view from ev­ery gue­stroom will be breath­tak­ing. Open­ing be­fore the mid­dle of the year, the ho­tel features 185 gue­strooms (among the largest in Lon­don, av­er­ag­ing more than 42sq m) and 17 suites, a groovy bar on level 52, an in­door in­fin­ity pool and a 24-hour fit­ness cen­tre. More: shangri-la.com. The Gritti Palace, Venice: Af­ter a painstak­ing, 15-month ren­o­va­tion, Venice’s Gritti Palace (part of the Star­wood Ho­tels and Re­sorts Lux­ury Col­lec­tion) has re­opened in time for the city’s fa­mous car­ni­val, in full swing this week­end. Fea­tur­ing 61 gue­strooms and 21 ele­gant suites, the ho­tel, on the Grand Canal, re­cap­tures its glory days with the help of the Vene­tian fab­ric house Rubelli (us­ing rare archival de­sign fab­rics) and in­te­rior de­sign firm Donghia. The re­stored Bar Longhi will be joined soon by a cook­ing school, spa and the Ex­plorer’s Li­brary. More: thegrit­ti­palace.com. Nobu Ho­tel, Las Ve­gas: The world’s first Nobu Ho­tel has opened in Ne­vada’s Sin City, fea­tur­ing wow-fac­tor suites (think me­dia rooms and bil­liard ta­bles), the world’s largest Nobu restau­rant and room ser­vice menus de­signed by supremo chef Nobu Mat­suhisa, who has also se­lected the in-room art. A 181-room ho­tel within a ho­tel, lo­cated at Cae­sars Palace, the Nobu prom­ises ex­clu­siv­ity in a sprawl­ing casino com­plex. Free ac­cess to PURE Night­club puts you at the heart of the strip’s ac­tion. The group also plans prop­er­ties in Riyadh, Lon­don and Bahrain. More: nobu­cae­sarspalace.com. Mira Moon, Hong Kong: If the in­te­ri­ors at big sis­ter The Mira on Kowloon’s Nathan Road are any­thing to go by, ex­pect de­sign glam by the truck­load at this new bou­tique prop­erty open­ing in July in up-and-coming Wan­chai on Hong Kong Is­land. Fea­tur­ing 90 gue­strooms and one pen­t­house suite, the Mira Moon look, draw­ing on the clas­sic Chi­nese moon fes­ti­val fairy­tale, is courtesy of Dutch de­sign mae­stro Mar­cel Wan­ders and the Yoo De­sign Stu­dio. More: mi­ramoon­ho­tel.com. Four Sea­sons Ho­tel Lion Palace St Peters­burg: The Four Sea­sons group’s en­try into Rus­sia marks one of the most spec­tac­u­lar open­ings of the year, as well as the restora­tion of an im­pe­rial gem, Princess LobanovaRos­tovskaya’s 19th-cen­tury palace. Just two blocks from the Her­mitage and guarded by a pair of mar­ble lions im­mor­talised by Pushkin, the palace rep­re­sents the most chal­leng­ing restora­tion project for Four Sea­sons to date. The mag­nif­i­cent main stair­case has been metic­u­lously re­stored based on orig­i­nal ar­chi­tect Au­guste de Mont­fer­rand’s early 19th-cen­tury draw­ings, and the 177 clas­si­cally de­signed rooms and suites prom­ise high ceil­ings, mar­ble bath­rooms and ro­man­tic city views. Din­ing venues in­clude a glass-roofed tea lounge fash­ioned from a palace court­yard. The four-storey spa has a Rus­sianstyle sauna. More: foursea­sons.com/st­peters­burg. Ma­hali Mzuri, Kenya: Richard Bran­son’s new­est Vir­gin Lim­ited Edi­tion re­treat opens in Kenya’s north­ern Ma­sai Mara this Au­gust — just in time for the an­nual great mi­gra­tion. Fea­tur­ing 12 tented suites built on plat­forms with out­door ter­races, the camp of­fers a front-row seat for an as­ton­ish­ing phe­nom­e­non as up to two mil­lion wilde­beest and other herd an­i­mals set off in quest of food and water. The camp caters to a max­i­mum of 24 guests and rates in­clude twice-daily game drives and es­corted walks. Open­ing spe­cials avail­able for Au­gust. More: ma­hal­imzuri.vir­gin.com. COMO Ho­tels and Re­sorts, Mi­ami: Christina Ong’s stylish Sin­ga­pore-based ho­tel com­pany will make its de­but in the US later this year. The Mi­ami, Florida, ho­tel

top Shangri-La, in Lon­don’s dis­tinc­tive The Shard build­ing above El En­canto, Cal­i­for­nia

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