1. HOTEL THE MITSUI KYOTO
Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto marks the next chapter in the story of Japan’s powerful Mitsui family, an epic tale that began in the 17th century. Facing the eastern wall of Nijo Castle near Kyoto’s Imperial Palace, the hotel stands on the spot where the Mitsui family maintained a home for some 250 years. Guests enter through seasonal gardens and pass beneath the magnificent Kajiimiya Gate, originally built in 1703, before stepping into a striking lobby created by Hong Kong interior design guru André Fu. Each of the 161 guestrooms is presented as a modern interpretation of a traditional tea house, furnished with natural materials and artwork by Japanese artists.
The hotel is unique in having its own natural thermal spring, which feeds the 1,000-sqm spa, imagined by interior architect Yohei Akao. As well as a serene Thermal Onsen Spring, the spa is home to two private spring areas with gardens, living areas and relaxation rooms, and two unique Onsen Suites, which feature natural outdoor baths in a private lantern-lit garden surrounded by traditional stone walls. Signature restaurant TOKI will serve fine French-Japanese cuisine under chef Tetsuya Asano, who cut his teeth at some of the finest restaurants in Paris, and all-day dining FORNI promises Italian fare.
2. ONE&ONLY MANDARINA
Riviera Nayarit, Mexico
One hour north of Puerto Vallarta, you’ll find Riviera Nayarit, an untouched wilderness at the foot of the Sierra del Vallejo mountains, where One&Only Mandarina is set to make its debut. Nestled among the treetops high above the ocean, 104 villas are designed to blend into the environment, with private plunge pools and spacious outdoor terraces scattered across the hillside. Interiors feature polished cement floors and hardwood ceilings that taper upwards to a glass skylight apex, mirroring the temples of Mexico’s ingenious peoples. In addition to the villas, 54 One&Only Mandarina Private Homes will provide luxury living for well-heeled investors looking to own one of the world’s first One&Only residences, each designed to make the most of its hillside location with infinity pools and abundant outdoor spaces.
The private moorings at The Jetty also serve as the jumping off point for whale-watching and fishing trips. Set in a spectacular clifftop location, Carao promises head-spinning Mexican cuisine courtesy of super-chef Enrique Olvera, while catch of the day awaits at The Jetty Beach Club.
3. SOFITEL DUBAI THE OBELISK
Towering skywards from WAFI shopping mall, Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk brings a hint of ancient Egyptian wonder and a dash of French charm to Dubai’s luxury landscape. Set within a 230-metre tower crowned with a golden pyramid that shines above the skyline, the hotel’s exterior takes inspiration from the Luxor Obelisk in Paris’ Place de la Concord. Inside, WA International Dubai Interior Design Studio has infused Art Deco interiors with Egyptian imagery and Emirati symbolism, creating a modern marvel that pays homage to the past. Statues of ancient mythological beings usher guests through a golden gateway into the lobby, where soaring pillars engraved with hieroglyphics surround an imposing nine-metre golden falcon and two stained-glass Tiffany lamp-inspired chandeliers, hand crafted in Egypt. Among the 498 guestrooms and 97 serviced apartments, three signature suites designed by Italian firm Duccio Grassi Architects stand out as the peak of luxury living.
The Imperial Suite, Presidential Suite and Ambassador Suite span the upper floors of the hotel, with acres of marble throughout and, in the case of the Presidential Suite, a private terrace offering spectacular views of Dubai. Five distinct dining venues on offer include an outpost of Brasserie Boulud, while the irresistible allure of the Sofitel SPA with L’Occitane will sate all the senses.
4. THE ARTIST RESIDENCE BRISTOL
Creative spirit bursts from The Artist Residence Bristol, the fifth boutique bolthole from founders Justin and Charlie Salisbury, whose homely hotels have earned a dedicated following since the first one opened in 2008. Set on the corner of the historic Grade-I listed Portland Square, once home to the city’s wealthy merchants, the Georgian-fronted townhouse has been given a new lease of life by the artistic duo. 23 rooms and suites are decorated in an eclectic mixture of antique, vintage and salvaged furniture, with colourful rugs by Francesca Gentilli and lively artworks by local and national talent including Bristol artists Rose Vickers and Kedals, and Brighton neon artist Andy Doig. Some, including the two master suites that look out over Portland Square, feature double-height ceilings, reclaimed wooden floors and period fireplaces.
Original design elements have been preserved throughout the renovation, hinting at the building’s former incarnation as a boot factory. An intimate lounge-bar and restaurant, with exposed brick walls and concrete floors provides an industrial backdrop in the main skylit bar area, and intimate corners for all-day dining or creative cocktails. Much of the food and beverage is sourced from local suppliers, including three local breweries and nearby Extract Coffee Roasters.