As 2013 drew to a close, I wrote a piece for The Independent on the new hotels to look out for this year.
There were so many to choose from and only three pages to fill, so the choice had to be judicious: a private island in French Polynesia that was formerly owned by Marlon Brando (pictured above); the delayed-then-delayed-some-more foodie-centric Heckfield Place in Hampshire; André Balazs’s top-secret project in Marylebone; and a casino once owned by Ol’ Blue Eyes in Nevada (below).
And yet news keeps rolling in. No sooner had I settled in for the New Year than news landed of a hotel designed by Baz Luhrmann, Rem Koolhaas and Foster + Partners. Faena Saxony Miami Beach will be the new sibling to Faena Buenos Aires and takes the hotel concept way beyond bed and board, with an adjoining cultural centre – and, of course, Luhrmann’s razzle-dazzle, theatrical approach to the visual arts.
In Bali, a more cryptic message is being peddled by Philippe Starck, who is designing The Stairs Villa Hotel – an “urban village” inspired by Corsica and realised in the chi-chi town of Seminyak.
It’s already a busy year for London, with Firmdale’s Ham Yard coming in May, followed by Morgan Hotels’ Mondrian, that enigmatic Balazs hotel and The Beaumont, the first hotel from Chris Corbin and Jeremy King of The Wolseley fame. And yet there’s more. The Arts Club on Dover Street has just announced it’ll be adding 16 rooms to the 151-year-old club, based in a late 19th-century Mayfair townhouse, by the end of the year. And Chinese whispers have spoken of more from the Soho House group, with the former Midland Bank building in the City of London considered for development and confirmed new outposts in Chicago, Mumbai and Istanbul.