The Sofitel Abidjan Hotel Ivoire opened on 1 January after an extensive rebranding and renovation in Abidjan, the Ivory Coast’s largest city. Located in the Le Plateau business district, the hotel was built in 1963, and the 250 rooms and suites combine African art with French accents. The Bar du Lac lobby bar has views of the Ebrié Lagoon.  

Also on 1 January, The Caledonian in Edinburgh debuted its new Guerlain Spa after a £24 million refurbishment. The spa has six treatment rooms, a sizeable indoor swimming pool, steam room and sauna. The aestheticians are trained in Guerlain’s Paris-based institute and provide face and body therapies, as well as half- and full-day treatments.

In New York, The Tuscany opened 18 December near Grand Central Terminal. The 124 rooms and lofts are decorated with damask carpets and oak and leather panels, while the bathrooms have glass tile walls and Molton Brown amenities.

Down south, the Hotel Indigo New Orleans Garden District opened 27 December on the city’s St Charles Avenue and eponymous streetcar line, just south of the French Quarter and central business district. The 132 bright and cheery rooms have colourful murals above the beds, hardwood floors and decorative touches of orange and marine blue.

On 31 December, the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Putian opened in Putian, China, the first international hotel brand in this city of three million in Fujian Province. The 337-room hotel is in the government and business district, near the city’s high-speed rail link, and has three restaurants, a spa and fitness centre.

The six-room Buccaneer Beach House will open on 4 January at The Buccaneer resort on St Croix in the US Virgin Islands with a combination of one- and two-room villas and cottages. Guests will have access to all of the resort’s attractions and services, including the three beaches, two pools, tennis courts and all water sports.

Taking place once every 12 years, the Maha Kumbh Mela Festival begins on 27January and runs through 25 February in Allahabad, India. One of the most important dates in the Hindu religious calendar, the festival attracts millions of participants from India and around the world, who bathe in the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna and mythical Saraswati Rivers to cleanse their sins. In 2001, more than 70 million pilgrims took part.