Openings: Gstaad, Penang, Kashmir, Bangkok
The chalet-style Alpina Gstaad is the first five-star hotel to open in the posh Swiss village in 100 years. (Courtesy of Alpina Gstaad)
The Alpina Gstaad, opened 1 December, is the first five-star hotel to open in the posh Swiss village in 100 years. The chalet-style building houses 56 luxurious rooms and apartments, a MEGU sushi restaurant and a Six Senses Spa, and is surrounded by five acres of private gardens, just five minutes from the centre of Gstaad.
On the other side of the world, the Macalister Mansion opened on 26 November in Penang, Malaysia. A century-old colonial mansion (named for the 19th-century British governor) has been renovated into a boutique hotel with eight elegant rooms, along with a club-like den and lobby, and an outdoor pool set in a luxuriant lawn.
On 26 November, Ampersand Travel launched Unknown Kashmir Ski, guided ski trips to Kashmir. Spend a week skiing the Himalayas on ungroomed slopes near the town of Gulmarg. Heli-skiing took off just last year in the region, and experienced skiers can take a chopper to the top of the peaks for a serious off-piste experience.
For those who prefer sun to snow, the Gale and Regent South Beach opens 4 December on upper Collins Avenue, one of Miami Beach’s main drags (and across the street from the Delano South Beach). Much of the original 1941 Art Deco structure has been preserved, and modern additions, such as a sleek rooftop pool, are perquisites of 21st-century hotel life. The 87 rooms are decorated in oceanic tones of blue and white.
The Café Royal Hotel opens 5 December on London’s Regent Street near Piccadilly Circus. This legendary gathering place that once saw everyone from Oscar Wilde to Winston Churchill pass through its doors has been renovated into a luxury hotel with 159 rooms and suites. It also houses several restaurants, including the famous Grill Room, plus a spa and wellbeing centre.
Also in London, the Wellesley opens 14 December in the Knightsbridge neighbourhood with 39 plush rooms and suites done up in Art Deco style. The hotel features a well-stocked cigar bar with a heated outdoor terrace, and the Crystal Bar has a special wall of whiskies and cognac.
The futuristic W Bangkok opens 7 December on Embassy Row near the city’s Central Business District. The 407 colourful guestrooms are housed in a modern 31-storey tower, along with a Thai restaurant, multiple bars and restaurants, and a spa and fitness centre.