A post-pandemic rebound in the hospitality scene has revealed the depth of our drive to explore the world. Here's a curated itinerary to help you dream, plan and visit the places that will be buzzing in the months ahead.
Mention “Christian Louboutin” and his trademark red-soled high heels come to mind. However, he is stealing headlines for another reason: the famed French designer is stepping into the world of hospitality. The 13-room Vermelho is the name of his new venture with long-time friend and architect Madalena Caiado, who has carefully decked out the interior with wooden floors, custom mosaics and hand-painted murals set against a vivid colour palette. Louboutin offers guests a chance to rest their tired feet after walking in his statement stilettos. Book yourself a session in the massage suite, surrounded by alabaster walls and calming caramel tones that pay homage to the designer’s Egyptian heritage.
Opening on April 1 (vermelhohotel.com)
Cap Karoso, Indonesia
The eco-focused retreat by new hoteliers Fabrice and Eve Ivara is the latest launchpad to explore surfing hotspot Sumba. The pair first took a liking to this stretch of land in 2017 and sought permission from 600 locals for their ancestral approval to develop the area. Award-winning architect Gary Fell and Jakarta-based Bitte Design Studio were later enlisted to source sustainable materials to build the suites and villas with aesthetics that honour the Ivaras’ Parisian roots. In line with its green-thumbed ethos, the hotel will set up a solar panel park for energy as well as an on-site farm that will house a community agriculture school.
Opening in April (capkaroso.com)
Anantara Grand Hotel Convento di Amalfi, Italy
The romanticised 30-mile stretch of the Amalfi Coast still dazzles, with vertiginous cliffs towering over pebbled coves and villages hugging steep slopes. Although getting here is an arduous journey involving multiple modes of transportation (train, bus and ferry), you will be rewarded with well-appointed rooms, elevated dining concepts and a completely redesigned spa at this heritage hotel. Occupying a 13th-century monastery and former Capuchin friars’ convent, the painstakingly restored property with 52 rooms and suites will see existing flooring, vaulted ceilings and lime-washed
walls meticulously preserved.
Opening in spring (anantara.com)
Mauro Colagreco at The OWO, London
The owner of three Michelin-starred restaurant, Mirazur, is set to shift the culinary compass of London’s dining scene at The OWO, a new high-end hotel in Whitehall. Teaming up with Raffles Hotels and Resorts, the Argentine-Italian chef will create three multi-sensory dining experiences: a brasserie with a twist, a fine-dining platform and an avant-garde private chef’s table. Perpetuating the same focus on seasonal, local and sustainable ingredients, Colagreco’s menus will continue with the elegant simplicity that propelled Mirazur to the top of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2019.
Opening in spring (theowo.london)
The shock that accompanied the closure of Gaggan Anand’s eponymous foodie pilgrimage in 2020 was as palpable as his decision to set up a 10-seat restaurant in Japan. But worry no more as GohGan, a collaboration between the genre-defying chef and culinary stalwart Takeshi “Goh” Fukuyama, has found a permanent home at the cool complex of 010 Building in Fukuoka, which also houses three storeys of eateries, bars and an immersive theatre. With terraced seats overlooking the river and indoor seating boasting a view of the open kitchen, the recently opened restaurant is shaping up to be a cultural synthesiser by spicing up conventional French cuisine.
Open now (010bld.com/en/gohgan)
Golden Poppy, France
Dominique Crenn, the only female chef in the US to attain three Michelin stars, for her restaurant Atelier Crenn, left her home country for one reason: “Even if we had serious epicurean aspirations, France did not invite us to dream the same way that America did.” Having proved her mettle, the French trailblazer will open her very first establishment in Paris within the La Fantaisie hotel, which was designed by Swedish interior architect Martin Brudnizki. Expect the same playfulness to permeate her dishes, like the turbot ceviche served with spiced parsnip milk, while you dine in the restaurant inspired by an antique garden greenhouse with a glass roof.
Opening in spring (lafantaisie.com)
Six Senses Crans-Montana, Switzerland
There is much to do at this skiing haven that opened earlier this month, even if you are not into winter sports. Wellness is one of Six Senses’ main pillars, as evidenced by its suite of amenities: nine treatment rooms, a Stretch Pod, fitness facilities, a yoga studio, indoor pool, steam room, hammam, hot tub and cold plunge pool. Had a rough day in the snow? Park yourself in the Biohack Recovery Lounge, which offers fast fixes that harness smart technology to optimise the body’s natural healing process and melt away stress.
Open now (sixsenses.com)
Balmoral Castle, Scotland
The former holiday home of Queen Elizabeth II will be reopened for the first time since the monarch passed away, ahead of King Charles III’s coronation on May 6. The famed 50,000-acre Scottish estate has been welcoming the public to its grounds and ballroom every spring and summer since 1931. Unlike other official royal residences owned by the Crown Estate, the castle is one of the Queen’s two private properties, the other being Sandringham Estate in Norfolk. Visitors will have access to guided tours of the land and the many gardens.
From April 1 to July 31 (balmoralcastle.com)
Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty
Despite what the most prolific designer of the 20th and 21st centuries thought about fashion’s place in a museum, he will be the primary subject of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Exhibition. Andrew Bolton, the museum’s chief costume curator, has been tasked with corralling the exhaustive repertoire of the industry's most fertile and enquiring mind. What visitors will find is Lagerfeld’s early works from 1950 to his final collection in 2019, either for Balmain, Patou Chloé, Fendi, Chanel or his own label. Nearly 150 fashion pieces will be on display, alongside the sketches that underscore his complex creative process and collaborative relationships with some of the most premier seamstresses in the world.
From May 5 to Jul 16 (metmuseum.org)
This article first appeared on Feb 20, 2023 in The Edge Malaysia.