This month sees a duo of properties set to get architecture lovers hot under the collar, a rugged escape in the Catskills, and a revamped Caribbean classic open their doors.
Urban Cowboy Lodge, the Catskills, USA
Long the weekend destination of choice for New Yorkers looking to hike, ski or fly-fish just two and a half hours away from the Big Apple proper, this revamp of the much-loved Alpine Inn – which sits at the headwaters of the Esopus Creek – gives a fresh reason to visit. The Urban Cowboy team, known for their eponymous properties in Brooklyn and Nashville, have transformed this turn-of-the-century lodge into an ultra-cool 28-room retreat in the Catskills Forest Preserve. Overall, wilderness boho is the vibe – think roaring fireplaces, vintage wooden furniture and eclectic antiques, plus cedar or copper bathtubs in the smartest bedrooms. At zero-waste ethos restaurant Rustic, chef Tara Norvell sources ingredients from farmers and foragers, and a spa and tented accommodation will arrive in summer.
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Doubles from £149
Rosewood Little Dix Bay, Virgin Gorda, BVIs
The most-talked about Caribbean opening of the year is the reopening of BVI favourite Rosewood Little Dix Bay. Founded in the Sixties by conservationist Laurance Rockefeller, Little Dix has been shut for four years for a multi-million-dollar refurbishment – during this time the islands were hit by Hurricane Irma. Now looking better than ever, the design of 82 rooms, suites and villas has been masterminded by New York-based Meyer Davis. Hexagonal-shaped bedrooms – with shimmering ocean panoramas – blend Caribbean cool with mid-century modern flair. There are lush gardens and a half-a-mile-long sweep of beach to explore, as well as three restaurants and a clifftop spa with yoga pavilion – the spot for sun salutations with a view.
Doubles from £658
Habitas Namibia, Africa
Just when it seemed the Namibian hotel scene couldn’t get any cooler, joining the likes of swish tented camp Sonop and kooky Shipwreck Lodge comes Habitas Namibia. Fifteen lodges – constructed with minimal impact – sit in a vegetation-filled reserve a short drive from Windhoek airport. Habitas’s founders, a trio of arty entrepreneurs with a background in curating extraordinary events, turned hoteliers for the first time in 2017, creating a hit Tulum crashpad, with a focus on creating human connections through music, art and food. This spirit is at the heart of the Namibian offering too; days can be spent learning the traditions of the San Bushmen community, wildlife-spotting on a safari or blissing out in the spa.
Doubles from £470
Arctic Bath, Swedish Lapland
Set to appeal to wellness and architecture fans alike is this Polo-Mint-shaped spa hotel which floats on the Lule River in northern Sweden’s Harads during summer, and freezes into the ice come winter. The design, by architects Bertil Harström and Johan Kauppi (behind the nearby Treehotel) includes a spa with central ice bath surrounded by saunas, hot baths and treatment rooms. Six cabins bob at the water’s edge, while another six, larger glass-walled cabins – designed by fashion whizz Ann Kathrin Lundqvist – line the shore. Natural and sustainable materials reign supreme and rooms channel Swedish-cool to the max. Food riffs on Sami cuisine, with a focus on all things local – expect wild meat and fish – and activities include dog sledding, bear watching and even moose calling.
Floating rooms from £765, half board
ME Dubai, Dubai, UAE
Second up in this month’s architectural-opening whammy is ME Dubai in the Burj Khalifa district in downtown Dubai. The 93-room property not only sits inside the striking, 95m high Opus building – designed by the late, great Zaha Hadid – but has interiors picked by the Pritzker Architectural Prize-winning starchitect too. The Opus itself is jaw-dropping, with a duo of towers cleverly designed to resemble a cube with a ‘scooped-out’ wibbly central void. As well as a spa, swimming pool and health club, there will be 15 restaurants inside the Opus building to keep discerning food lovers happy, including an outpost of Japanese restaurant ROKA, and a Maine Oyster Bar and Grill.
Rooms from £tbc
Ruby Lucy, London
Munich-based Ruby Hotels are known for their ‘lean luxury’ approach – essentially opening properties with a killer location and chic design without any unnecessary frills. Think galley kitchens and vending machines in lieu of minibars and room service, and a quick self check-in on arrival. Touching down on London’s Southbank, 76-room, carnival-themed Ruby Lucy takes inspiration from its buzzing, arty locale. Just moments from transport hub Waterloo station, guests can expect bright rooms with bold brass accents and a hint of cheeky circus cheer. Rooms range from dinky ‘Nest rooms’ (14-15sqm) to larger ‘Loft’ affairs (21-23sqm) and all have a Marshall guitar amp which can be used to play guitars loaned from reception. Thankfully, if your – or your neighbour’s – musical talents aren’t Hendrix-level slick, rooms are all soundproofed.
Doubles from £119