From is­land re­treats on sug­ary white beaches to a serene stay in a lon­don land­mark, this month’s new open­ings are wa­ter­side won­ders

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Art break Joali, maldives

Newly opened on the sug­ary white beaches of Mu­ra­vand­hoo Is­land on the Raa Atoll in the north­ern Maldives is the art-fo­cused re­treat Joali. Is­tan­bul de­sign firm Au­to­ban, to­gether with the Tokyo-based Stu­dio Glitt, laid out the re­sort to in­clude 73 beach and over­wa­ter villas, each with pri­vate in­fin­ity pool and but­ler ser­vice, as well as four restau­rants, a liq­uid ni­tro­gen ice cream cor­ner, a flower gar­den of­fer­ing botan­i­cal work­shops, and a store packed with both lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional art­works and spe­cially-cu­rated ar­ti­sanal knick-knacks. Mean­while, an art stu­dio and gallery hosts an in­ter­na­tional ros­ter of guest artists, from Stu­dio Glithero and Porky He­fer (see page 132) to Misha Kahn. Other di­ver­sions in­clude snorkelling with manta rays, wake­board­ing, wa­ter­ski­ing, and char­tered yacht and dhoni excursions. How­ever, you’re most likely to find us loung­ing on our pri­vate deck as we mar­vel at the sea life in the clear blue wa­ters below. Lau­ren Ho Mu­ra­vand­hoo Is­land, Raa Atoll, Maldives, tel: 960.793 9168, Rates: from $2,270

Lo­cal hero Bank­side ho­tel, lon­don

The Bank­side Ho­tel takes up res­i­dence in ar­chi­tect Ian Simp­son’s re­cently com­pleted One Black­fri­ars build­ing in Lon­don’s South­wark. In­te­ri­ors, by Dayna Lee of LA de­sign agency Pow­er­strip Stu­dio, fea­ture be­spoke mid­cen­tury-style fur­nish­ings and art­works by Bri­tish crafts­peo­ple that ref­er­ence the lo­cal area. Ceram­i­cist Laura Car­lin has cre­ated two wall mu­rals com­prised of tiles de­pict­ing life on the South Bank, where the Tate Mod­ern, the Bri­tish Film In­sti­tute, the Globe The­atre and Bor­ough Mar­ket are all note­wor­thy neigh­bours. A se­ries of side ta­bles by Mał­gorzata Bany are cast from Jes­monite and are based on the de­signer’s Pilo­tis range, in­spired by the ar­chi­tec­tural columns used his­tor­i­cally to raise build­ings above ground or wa­ter (much like the huge and now re­dun­dant red pil­lars that flank nearby Black­fri­ars Bridge). As well as 161 serenely dec­o­rated rooms, the Bank­side will also house a li­brary/cock­tail lounge and restau­rant serv­ing sea­sonal food in a dra­matic, art­ful set­ting. Emilee Tombs 2 Black­fri­ars Road, Lon­don SE1, tel: 44.800 221222, bankside­ho­ Rates: from £290

2: King of the jun­gle the datai, langkawi

For the past 25 years, The Datai has been sin­gled out by dis­cern­ing trav­ellers, as much for its lo­ca­tion on the Malaysian is­land of Langkawi, amid a ten-mil­lion-year-old rain­for­est, bristling with an­cient trees, water­falls and man­groves, as for its de­sign by ar­chi­tects Kerry Hill and Di­dier Le­fort. Now, af­ter a tip-to-toe re­fresh – led by Le­fort – the 121-room prop­erty has re­opened to in­clude three new rain­for­est pool villas, a new five-room villa with 24-hour but­ler ser­vice, and a ded­i­cated na­ture cen­tre. Mean­while, a tech­nol­ogy up­date, low-key light­ing and a sleek un­der­stated colour pal­ette en­hance the guest rooms and restau­rants where, thank­fully, the food con­cepts have re­mained the same, with the Gu­lai House still serv­ing its de­li­cious beef ren­dang. And, of course, the land­scape con­tin­ues to please, not least in the open-air lobby lounge, which is still the best spot to sip on a cock­tail or two while ad­mir­ing panoramic views of the rain­for­est and the An­daman Sea. LH Jalan Teluk Datai, Langkawi, tel: 60.4 9500 500, the­ Rates: from MYR2,100 ($507)

il­lus­tra­tion: eoin ryan

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