SLEEPER Presents: The top openings of 2018

2017 has been a remarkably busy year in the world of hotels. Two giants – Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts – joined forces in a market-shaking merger; Ian Schrager returned to New York with Public, his first independent concept in a decade; and the legendary Hôtel de Crillon reopened its doors for a new chapter. New brands from Rosewood (Khos) and IHG (Avid), and the debut of AccorHotels’ Jo&Joe highlighted the changing psyche of market and guest alike, whilst anticipated projects such as The Ned from Soho House Group, and Thomas Heatherwick’s transformation of an historic Cape Town grain silo, pushed the boundaries of design. What, then, in this crowded sphere, to look out for in 2018? From hundreds of entries, here is Sleeper’s rundown of the most ambitious and anticipated hotels the year ahead has to offer.


JAOLI – The Maldives

Comprising 73 beach and water villas, Joali will land in late 2018 as an artful abode on the Raa Atoll’s Muravandhoo Island. Guests can expect white-sand beaches and ocean vistas, whilst accommodation has been designed with artisanal amenities and unconventional luxury in mind. Featuring curated in-room libraries, walk-in closets, and a Private Duplex Beach Residence for those with cash to spare, Joali will seek to entice the mind as much as it does the eyes.



Marking Rosewood’s first venture into the increasingly popular tented villa market, Rosewood Luang Prabang is set within a UNESCO World Heritage Site and boasts a densely forested backdrop. Featuring natural waterfall features derived from the meandering river below, Bill Bensley’s design will highlight indigenous materials and locally inspired artwork to create a seamless transition between remote landscape and luxury accommodation.



Inspired by the success of the nearby Treehotel, Arctic Bath is a floating hotel and spa on the surface of Lule River. Afloat during summer and frozen into place during winter months, the bath sits at the centre of a ring of six minimalist wooden cabins, each with skylights and large windows to capitalise on the remote night sky. Designed by Bertil Harström and Johan Kaupp, and operated by Off The Map Travel, the concept marks another abstract hotel experience for Swedish Lapland.



Following the successful launches of Principal Hotel Company flagships in Manchester and York, 2018 will see Barry Sternlicht’s heritage-focused brand transform the former Hotel Russell into a 334-key capital powerhouse. Lavish interiors by Tara Bernerd & Partners in collaboration with Russell Sage Studio will seek to give the historic property a shot of contemporary adrenaline, whilst EPR Architects work to retain the Grade II*-listed landmark’s signature terracotta exterior.



Extending one of Iceland’s most popular tourist attractions to include a 62-key hotel, Sigridur Sigthorsdottir will look to Blue Lagoon’s rugged surroundings for aesthetic inspiration. Building on the existing structure’s combination of natural environment with manmade forms, the hotel is being created to incorporate unique spa treatments, accessible accommodation, a culinary journey and the concept of exploration.


RAFFLES – Singapore

Set to reopen in Q2, Raffles Singapore is coming to the end of a 16-month restoration and refurbishment programme that kicked off in February 2017. Overseen by Aedas Singapore, and featuring overhauled interiors by Alexandra Champalimaud, the process has sought to retain the ambience, service and heritage of the historic property whilst updating facilities and aesthetics to meet the needs of a new generation.



With an underlying concept of ‘less is the new more’, Skye Niseko – a ski hotel within Hokkaido National Park ­– toys with ideas of space, scale and proportion across 105 studios, suites and guestrooms. Housing interiors by Wilson Associates within a distinctive L-shaped structure by Architectus, the project opens in Q4, just in time for winter guests to experience the luxury ski-in-ski-out concept.



Standing at 742ft tall, the Pei Cobb Freed & Partners-designed Four Seasons Hotel & Private Residences One Dalton Street will join the Boston skyline as New England’s highest residential tower. Sheathed in glass specially created to minimise internal reflections, and rising up from a granite podium, the structure will house a 215-key Four Seasons hotel alongside 160 private residences, all designed to respect and relate to the historic Back Bay setting.


THE MIDDLE HOUSE – Shanghai, China

Opening in Q1 as the fourth property in Swire Hotel’s House Collective, The Middle House will feature rich interiors by Piero Lisoni within a distinctive curved tower by Wong & Ouyang and Lissoni Associati. Reflecting aesthetic inspiration drawn from the surrounding locale whilst operating around a philosophy based on intimate luxury and personalised service, the hotel – a member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts Legend Collection – comprises 111 guestrooms alongside 102 residences and an outpost of Gary Kunz’s Café Gray Deluxe.


EDITION HOTELS – Various locations

2018 is set to be a big year for Ian Schrager and Marriott International’s Edition Hotels with projects set to launch in Abu Dhabi, Barcelona, New York and Hollywood. Perhaps most notably, set within Ole Scheeren’s striking, pixel-esque MahaNakhon building at the heart of Bangkok’s CBD, Edition Bangkok will feature 154 guestrooms and a design ethos that emphasises city-specific details and details channeling its metropolitan surroundings.


ME – Dubai, UAE

ME by Meliá’s much-anticipated debut in the Middle Eastern will open at the end of 2018 as the only hotel project to feature all interiors and exteriors personally designed by Zaha Hadid. Taking up residence in the her abstract Opus building, the late architect’s design for the 93-key hotel explores the balance between solid and void, and features alongside 93 guestrooms and 15 restaurants, including the latest incarnation of contemporary Japanese robatayaki restaurant Roka.



Comprising five lodges amidst five unique settings, Six Senses Bhutan will seek to create a journey that allows guests to experience the country’s different dimensions. Starting in the capital of Thimph – where the emphasis is on culture and cuisine – the trail of lodges will also land in the rice fields of Punakha, the bird watching bridges of Gangtey, forest-within-a-forest Bumthang, and the old stone ruins of Paro, spanning the entire kingdom.


THE MURRAY – Hong Kong

Breathing life into a landmark building, Niccolo Hotels’ new flagship The Murray has the backing of the government’s ongoing Conserving Central Project, and features respectful, energy-efficient architecture by Foster & Partners. Located in the city’s CBD, the 336-key hotel launches two years after Niccolo Chengdu, and is billed as a sophisticated urban sanctuary complete with rooftop bar and signature restaurants.


THE HOXTON – Williamsburg, USA

On the corner of Brooklyn’s Wythe Avenue and North 9th Street, in the emerging hotel hotspot of Williamsburg, Ennismore’s 175-key The Hoxton, Williamsburg, will marry rich brass detailing, raw concrete ceilings and plush velvets to transform the former Rosenwatch factory into its first North American outpost. Comprising three restaurants, vibrant terrace and courtyard spaces and views across Manhattan, The Hoxton again brings its offer to an up-and-coming neighbourhood.



The first – and currently only – five-star resort on Labuan Bajo’s Waecicu Beach, Ayana Komodo is set between tropical, picturesque ocean and rugged archipelago landscape, providing guests with hiking opportunities and sunset vistas in equal measure. Designed by WATG, the resort comprises 189 contemporary guestrooms and 12 exclusive suites alongside a rooftop wedding venue, an unconventional 11th floor lobby and traditional five-room resort spa.


LUTETIA – Paris, France

Reopening in Q1, the historic hotel Lutetia – where Joyce wrote Ulysses and Picasso took up residence – has undergone a restoration courtesy of architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte and new owner The Set. Featuring an overhauled concept that combines the 184-key property’s Art Deco legacy with contemporary elements including a holistic wellbeing centre and an update to the storied brasserie, the process seeks to usher the 20th century staple into the 21st.


Best of the rest:

Nomad Los Angeles // Taking up residence in the historic Giannini Place, and with interiors by Jacques Garcia, Nomad Los Angeles incorporates a restoration of the building’s original gold and blue Italianate lobby ceiling.

The Duxton Club Singapore // Marking the Singapore debut of Marriott International’s The Luxury Collection, The Duxton Club reimagines two pre-war colonial shophouse buildings as a 50-key boutique hotel.

Nobu Barcelona // Marking the 13th hotel from Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s hotel venture, and the fourth in Europe following Nobu Shoreditch, Nobu Barcelona will take over the former Gran Hotel Torre Catalunya with 23 floors of guestrooms and a rooftop restaurant with 360-degree views of the city.

The Line DC // Inspired by Washington DC’s illustrious history, and housed inside a 110-year old church, The Line DC is the product of a community effort by local chefs, bartenders, artists, and designers.

Raffles Europejski Warsaw // Set adjacent to the city’s Presidential Palace, Raffles Europejski Warsaw has been designed by WWAA Architecture in partnership with the National Opera House stage designer, Boris Kudlička and APA Wojciechowski, and breathes life into a fabled 19th century building.