Launches in Finnish Lapland, Morocco, Manchester and up-and-coming Oman
The opening of Principal Manchester phcompany.com brings a new urban brand to the city. Setting the tone for the group, it’s housed in a Grade II-listed gothic building, where a vast stone lobby with original glasswork gives way to 271 stylish rooms. Design features include rich, billowing fabrics, masculine tan leather and industrial wrought-iron accents set against a dove grey and cream colour scheme. The Refuge restaurant offers a menu of small plates and a winter garden that’s great for cocktails. Winter wonderlands don’t get better than Arctic Treehouse arctictreehousehotel.com which sits in the heart of a forest near Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland. Picture-perfect panoramas are to be expected across the 32 glass-fronted suites: glimpses of reindeer and the ethereal Northern Lights come as standard. Inside, Lappish heritage decor meets Scandi snug, with pine panelling, wood burners and faux furs. In Morocco, British-owned Surf
Maroc surfmaroc.com has launched its first hotel. Amouage sits on the oceanfront in Taghazout, Agadir. A youthful, unstuffy vibe is found across the 20 bedrooms: polished concrete floors and whitewash walls are warmed up with colourful textiles and tiles. Floor-to-ceiling windows show off the view. It also boasts an infinity pool overlooking the beach and the only licensed bar in town.
Oman is teeing up to be big this year.
It’s more rugged and less brash than its Emirati neighbours and the country has seen a spate of high-end launches. Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar is the hottest of the lot. Situated 2,000m above sea level in the craggy Al Hajar Mountains, its location, which is only accessible via 4x4, is simply incredible. The two-hour drive from Muscat traverses iconic date plantations and wadis and passes mosques and souks in ancient Nizwa, the so-called ‘pearl of Islam’. There are 82 canyon-view rooms and 33 pool villas with private gardens, all based around a central courtyard.
The elegant design leans towards a modern version of classic Arabian luxe – expect a muted colour palette that blends seamlessly with the evolving hues of the arid landscape. The resort’s lofty topography means palatable climes can be expected year-round and there’s a knock-out infinity pool that is not to be missed. Choose from three restaurants, including one housed in a fort, as well as a shisha bar and spa with five treatment rooms. As one might expect from such hypnotic terrain, activities on site include biking, hiking, climbing, abseiling and mountaintop yoga. anantara.com
Clockwise from top left: views from Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar; its suites; scenic Oman; cosy Finnish interiors; Arctic Treehouse; beachside in Morocco; Principal Manchester’s airy bar area; its facade; chic bedrooms