By Carlos Melia
As part of my routine, I am always in search of what is new, cool and about to happen within the luxury travel and hospitality world. When a hotel, restaurant or destination becomes popular and hip, for me, it is already time to move on and find the next to come.
Of course, there are always the classics, which can never be replaced and will always remain current to us, basically because they have a personality and/or attitude that match ours, and provide us with an experience that truly defines the destination where they are located, making you feel at home while away.
For me, these recently include those in the Golden Triangle, Thailand at the Four Seasons Tented Camps, Victoria Falls, Zambia at the Royal Livingston Hotel and in San Martin de los Andes, Argentina at the Rio Hermoso Hotel.
As I travel around the world, these days, I spend most of my time visiting hotels under construction and soft openings. The thrill and excitement to see a property from its early beginning can only be match by returning a few months after and seeing the full project become a reality. This is a short list of some of the jewels I have found that you must try and pay attention to during 2012.
London, UK / Scheduled to open July 2012
Cutting edge, luxury hotel designed by Foster and Partners founded by Sir Norman Foster . Steeped in history, the hotel is on the site of the former Gaiety Theatre, Strand Music Hall and Marconi house right on the southern tip of Convent Garden, close to the River Thames, theaters, shopping, bars, restaurants and nightlife.
157 individually design led bedrooms with floor to ceiling windows, including 16 suites and the luxurious ME Suite. Two exceptional dining experiences, STK London and the award winning Torres Brothers, and a destination led Rooftop bar with panoramic views of Central London.
ME by Melia, a line of experienced-based personality hotels are aimed at the traveller with a progressive sensibility. Through design, music, cuisine and art, ME engages the intellect, emotions, senses and desires of each guest. And for the record, if you are wondering about the similarity with my last name… unfortunately I am not the gay version of Paris Hilton, no connection between us.
Bangkok, THAILAND / Scheduled to open mid June 2012
The SIAM Hotel
Along the River of Kings, nestled amongst Bangkok’s historical palaces, temples and museums, a lucky few will happen upon their boutique gem, The Siam. Set on 3 acres of premium river frontage, their privately owned and operated 39-room luxury retreat will transport you to a bygone serenity suffused with priceless antiquities, oriental allure and contemporary comforts.
Conceived by Krissada Sukosol Clapp and globally acclaimed architect and designer Bill Bensley, The Siam features Bangkok’s most spacious suites and is the kingdom’s premier urban resort offering intimately private pool villas with open-air roof terraces.
Exclusive dining at their traditional Thai teakwood houses sourced by silk tycoon, Jim Thompson, and socialite owner, Connie Mangskau. An irresistible array of bespoke cultural amusements await you at The Siam.
Bangkok, THAILAND / Scheduled to open December 2012
An exclusive Whatever/Whenever experience, trademark of W Hotels. Play, relax, indulge, and revel amid ambassadors, exotic designs, jet-setters, mystical elements and up-and-coming artists in an innovative spectrum where fashion meets culture. 407 spacious guest rooms and suites for a serious WOW-factor.
Revolutionize your dining experience.They will upturn culinary traditions and infuse them with visionary tastes, presented by dynamic chefs who are redefining gastronomy. The Kitchen Table, for all-day casual dining spot. WOOBAR, where life is a cabaret, a literary salon, a music lounge, a cozy parlor, or anything you want, to the rhythm of smooth grooves. Signature W cocktails add color and zest to mixing and mingling.
Slated to open in late 2012, the highly anticipated W Bangkok will mark the second footprint of W Hotels in Thailand following the opening of W Retreat Koh Samui. Located in the city’s prestigious Embassy Row and pulsating commercial district of Sathorn Road, W Bangkok is expected to bring additional vibrancy to the bustling city of Bangkok.
Designed to incorporate a stylish icon of Asian chic, W Bangkok blends the old and the new, creating the world of WOW – a unique space for trendsetters.
Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA / Scheduled to open mid June 2012
Experience a homemade luxury experience made in Buenos Aires. The HUB of your Argentinean journey, fostering a paradigm shift in the hospitality and tourism industry by offering a distinctive set of services that no other hotel can match.
Nestled in the most upscale block in the exclusive neighborhood of Recoleta, on the same grounds of the former Orient-Express Restaurant La Cabaña. The Hub has 11 rooms designed to make you feel at home, providing all the amenities and services found in luxury hotels.
Bespoke concept and service from the same moment you visit their website, where you will be able to create your own personal experience based on your main interests.
Mendoza, ARGENTINA / Scheduled to open late 2012 – early 2013
Casa de UCO Vineyards and Wine Hotel
A private and silent way of transcendence, in touch with the magnificence of nature and the fascinating culture of wine. Located in Tunuyan, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina one of the nine wine capitals of the world. An oasis where the best Malbec grapes are grown, amidst stunning Andes mountains and incredible natural beauty, extensive vineyards and a lake.
The ultimate experience? Produce your own wine in their facilities with the help and guidance of their wine experts.
So that’s it for my column this week. Stay tuned for next week’s adventure, where I will share with you my 4 day and 3 night magical experience on board the Orient-Express Train from Bangkok to Singapore. A journey like no other. Have a great week. Carlos Melia
Carlos Melia is a Travel Expert, Blogger, Niche Marketing Consultant, Jetsetter, and Bon Vivant, who travels around the world discovering what’s new and cool in Luxury Travel and Hospitality. His reviews on hotels, restaurants, destinations, and attractions, based on his own experiences as an OUT Gay Traveler can be found @ www.carlosmeliablog.com