NEW YORK • Which spring hotel openings are worthy of global acclaim?
According to Mr Ignacio Maza, executive vicepresident of Signature Travel Network, a group of travel agents and hotels, this spring is especially significant when it comes to new accommodations because several highly anticipated hotels are making their debuts.
Some, such as the Hotel Eden in Rome and the Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana in Havana, were bogged down by multiple delays. "We're finally going to see these and other big projects that have been in the works for years come to light," Mr Maza said.
Below are five properties to consider checking into this spring:
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1 Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club, Surfside, Florida (opened in March)
Notable guests, including Winston Churchill and Frank Sinatra, visited the Surf Club, just outside of Miami Beach, during its heyday for much of the 20th century.
Now, Four Seasons is trying to create a better version of its original glory. Architect Richard Meier is behind the sleek design of the hotel, which includes 77 guest rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows. Other amenities include three pools, about 275m of beachfront and standout dining options.
Ms Jean Pickard, a travel consultant at SmartFlyer in Atlanta, said that the hotel not only represents the revival of a distinguished property, but also speaks to a new direction for Four Seasons. "The brand is moving away from cookie-cutter properties and opening ones with distinctive voices," she said.
Nightly rates from US$899 (S$1,270).
2 At Six, Stockholm (opened in March)
With an eye-catching design sensibility that mixes blackened steel and gleaming granite, along with vintage and contemporary furnishings and modern artwork, At Six made a splashy debut in a city where accommodations veer towards the traditional.
"Stockholm has been a struggle for travellers looking for a fun, yet polished, place to stay," said Ms Shelby Donley, owner of Camelback Odyssey Travel, a travel consultancy in Phoenix.
The property has 343 rooms and its social spaces, including a restaurant and lounges, are spread out over two floors. It is on Brunkebergstorg Square, a favourite hangout in the 19th century for the city's high society.
Nightly rates from US$200.
3 Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana, Havana (opening on June 1)
Cuba's capital city is lacking in upscale accommodations, but the Gran Hotel Manzana, from the European luxury hospitality group Kempinski Hotels, is set to change that.
In the heart of old Havana in the historic Manzana de Gomez building, which was Cuba's first shopping mall, the hotel will have 246 rooms, a rooftop terrace with a pool, three restaurants and a cigar lounge.
Mr Maza said that luxury seekers who were hesitant about visiting Havana because of the limited five-star properties now have no reason not to go.
Nightly rates from US$440.
4 Hotel Eden, Rome (opened last month)
The Eden has undergone such a drastic makeover, after an 18-month closure, that it qualifies as new.
There are now 98 rooms instead of 121, a new spa and a contemporary aesthetic that seamlessly blends in with the hotel's original classic Roman style.
Mr Maza predicts that La Terrazza, the all-day rooftop brasserie overlooking the city, will be an instant see-and-be-seen spot.
Nightly rates from US$668.
5 Grand Velas Los Cabos, Los Cabos, Mexico (opened in March)
Los Cabos is saturated with luxury hotels but the Grand Velas is the first one that is all-inclusive, Ms Donley said.
The 304 ocean-view suites are spacious - a minimum of close to 1,200 sq ft - and amenities include five restaurants, an expansive spa, three pools, a contemporary art gallery and a tequila and mezcal bar. The staff-to-guest ratio is three to one.
"This is the resort for anyone who wants to relax in an upscale setting without getting nickel-and-dimed for every snack or drink they order," Ms Donley said.
Nightly rates from US$750 a person; the price for children between the ages of five and 17 is US$100 each (free for those under five).