2019 is gearing up to be an exciting year in travel-world, with plenty of fantastic hotels and resorts opening their doors to the public. Searching for the hottest new place to stay? Just dreaming of getting away to somewhere unbelievably gorgeous for your next romantic escape? Add these fresh new offerings to your wish-list…
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Harding Boutique Hotels Ahangama, Sri Lanka – late 2019 (date TBA)
Sri Lanka is the place to be this year, with adventure-seekers and luxury-lovers finding plenty to adore about the spellbinding destination. Sure to impress both, the Harding Boutique Hotels Ahangama takes the beach escape idyll to the next level.
Set on Ahangama's unspoiled white sands on Sri Lanka's south coast (two-and-a-half hours' drive from Colombo), the boutique hideaway is home to just six exclusive designer Signature Ocean and Deluxe Garden suites. Lavish in-suite touches include custom-made furnishings, luxurious Egyptian cotton linens, four-poster beds, floor-to-ceiling windows, rain showers and private terraces that open out to utterly breathtaking views.
There's also a sleek rooftop restaurant and a palm-fringed pool to enjoy, plus special private cooking classes and candlelit VIP dinners to savour. But it's life's simple pleasures that you'll come to really treasure at Harding Boutique Hotels Ahangama – pleasures like relaxing at one of Sri Lanka's most postcard-perfect beaches, catching a wave and exploring the nearby time-forgotten fishing village.
Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa, Maldives – August, 2019
The Maldives may boast its fair share of jaw-droppingly beautiful resorts. But when The Leading Hotels of the World group announces it's opening a new property in this tropical oasis, you know it's going to be something else.
Surrounded by 1.5 kilometres of ivory sands on a 20-hectare private island, the new Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa is set to be a stunner. Calling the Maldives' heavenly Raa Atoll home, the super-luxe retreat will boast 120 overwater and beach villas (60 of each), all with just enough tropical-inspired style to fulfil your island getaway fantasies. Expect features like private infinity pools and jacuzzis, generous patios, outdoor 'under the stars' showers and, of course, pinch-me-now views – well, you are in the Maldives.
A sumptuous full-service spa, a slew of sensational dining options and an onsite water sport and diving centre (you'll find one of the world's most stunning coral reefs and more than 1,000 species of fish here) promise an idyllic experience. The only thing that could make a stay here better? The Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa is also all-inclusive, allowing couples to enjoy all (and the best) that the Maldives has to offer.
Sonop Lodge, Namibia – July, 2019
Intrepid travellers will be in their element at this unique hideaway. Hidden on the southern edge of the Namibian desert and situated in a magnificent nature reserve, Sonop Lodge by Zannier Hotels fuses old-world romance with modern luxury. The result? An opulent glamping lodge with all the aesthetic charms of the 1920s' British colonial period.
A stay at the all-inclusive Sonop Lodge is sure to make you feel as if you're the only two people in the world, with just ten spacious decked-out tents constructed atop boulders offering a tranquil escape. Richly furnished with antiques, precious wooden touches and colourful carpets, each tent will make guests feel as if they've stepped into the past. Rounding it all out, private stables, cocktail and cigar lounges, and glamorous dinners complete with silverware, candelabras and black-tie service are indulgences that romantics will love.
The lodge isn't stuck in the past, though. Contemporary conveniences like an outdoor heated infinity pool (with its own pool bar, no less), an onsite spa, a gym and tents with Nespresso machines, integrated sound systems, private en suites and air conditioning (yes, the tents are air conditioned) elevate the camping experience – it is called glamping for a reason. It's all about getting out and discovering your extraordinary surrounds here, though, with adventures like desert horseback rides, game viewing, star-gazing, four-wheel-driving, yoga classes and even hot air ballooning available for guests. You can even take it easy and watch a film at the open-air cinema while sipping a cocktail in the middle of the Namibian desert – cheers to you two!
Lelewatu Resort Sumba, Indonesia – April, 2019
Bali might be in the hearts of many travellers, but Indonesia's nearby Sumba island is making a case for skipping the usual tourist traps. Blessed with verdant jungles and screensaver-ready beaches, the destination will be one to add to the bucket-list when the exquisite Lelewatu Resort Sumba opens in April. A sophisticated paradise tucked away amongst pristine natural surrounds, the all-villa resort is – quite literally – made for blissed-out getaways.
What makes Lelewatu Resort Sumba such a stand-out is its dedication to authenticity. Here, each villa has been thoughtfully designed to celebrate the Sumbanese tradition of island living. Handwoven Sumbanese ikat (traditional Indonesian patterned textiles) headboards and decorative accents, and architectural features like peaked thatched roofs reference the local culture, while mod-cons like private 24-square-metre pools, lounging pavilions with daybeds, marble bathrooms and butler service up the luxury level. Of course, the spectacular Indian Ocean views are enough reason to book a stay.
Also helping guests to enjoy the incredible culture, the resort's Le Humba and Bokusawau restaurants serve up West Sumbanese cuisine, made with the freshest local produce and aromatic spices. The hedonistic delights don't stop there, with the resort's Maraga Spa specialising in personally customised treatments.
The Lodge at Blue Sky, USA – May, 2019
It'll be hard to resist living out your Wild West daydreams when Auberge Resorts' The Lodge at Blue Sky opens to the public in May. A true Western getaway set on a private 3,500-acre ranch, the exciting new offering is where you can leave behind the everyday and reconnect with nature.
What really makes the property is its dramatic setting. Located in Utah's awe-inspiring Wasatch Mountain Range (45 minutes' drive from Salt Lake City), The Lodge at Blue Sky invites couples to spot grazing elk, listen to the flow of a nearby spring-fed creek and just feel immersed in nature. If you're looking for heart-stopping thrills, there's also everything from clay-shooting and horseback riding to mountain biking and hiking for you to experience. There's even heli-skiing, heli-fishing and heli-snowshoeing for those wanting to go all-out.
Much like the lodge's activity programme, dining at The Lodge at Blue Sky is influenced by the seasons. Whether you treat yourselves to an intimate picnic lunch or a multi-course feast, you'll be served seasonal dishes made with organic, locally sourced vegetables and herbs (many grown or harvested on the estate). The environmental focus continues to the lodge's accommodation options. A superb collection of rooms and suites have been designed to blend into the untamed landscape – think warm tones, natural materials and clean lines. Yes, they keep things stylish round these parts.
Britannia Hotel, Norway – April, 2019
This elegant property is hardly new, but with such an illustrious past, the Britannia Hotel has travel-insiders already packing their bags for Norway. Reopening after a NOK$1.2-billion refurbishment, the hotel has hosted royal families, acclaimed explorers, politicians, visionaries and film and stage stars since first opening in 1870. The meeting point for almost countless important figures, the Britannia Hotel has been given new life and, it's safe to say, the standards certainly haven't slipped.
Calling Norway's historic Trondheim city home, the hotel ticks all the right boxes for a chic city escape. Re-envisioned for the 21st century (while still paying homage to the property's past), an array of stately rooms and suites include plush furnishings, advanced in-room technologies (like chrome casting and coffee machines) and plenty of heritage charm.
Gourmands, you won't have to travel far for an amazing dining experience. Six restaurants and bars (including the historic Palmehaven) will showcase the finest Norwegian cuisine – don't leave without trying the seafood. Outside the hotel's walls, though, there is plenty to discover, such as the nearby Stiftspårken gardens, The Armoury museum and the Erkebispegården 13th-century stone castle.
Seeking a romantic place to stay? Find plenty of beautiful accommodation here...