Hotel Openings: Winter 2019 : New Worlder

Our Hotel Openings series is a quarterly round-up of new and noteworthy debuts that are on our radar in the Americas, as well as some properties that we’ll be keeping our eye on in the coming months.

Islas Secas Reserve & Lodge — Chiriquí Province, Panama

In the Gulf of Chiriqui, the all-inclusive Islas Secas Reserve & Lodge will add more buzz to Panama’s charm with its ultra-private 14-island archipelago that caters to a mere 18 guests at a time. Eco-friendly — running off of solar power, utilizing reclaimed water, and employing a food waste and composting program — the resort is located just 20 miles off the west coast of the country and comprised of nine luxury casitas that boast sea-facing plunge pools. Adventure is on tap, as all islands are available for exploration and discovery, with an ‘Adventure Concierge’ helping guests navigate snorkeling and scuba diving, arrange private beach picnics, or secure a boat ride to Coiba National Park. Hike the jungle, use SUPs or kayaks, or just lounge on the very empty beaches. The open-air dining casita dishes out Panamanian fare, heavy on seafood, and big on flavor.

The Foundry Hotel – Asheville, North Carolina

Recently opened, the Foundry Hotel is a historic restoration of Asheville, North Carolina’s former steel foundry, now an 87-room luxury boutique property that still retains its original character with local artifacts and architectural elements like the original pulley elevator, exposed beams, steel-star fastenings and industry style windows. Located in the heart of The Block neighborhood, a historically African-American community, the restaurant Benne on Eagle pays tribute with a menu focused on Appalachian cuisine. The on-site bar, once a 1920’s woodworking building, Workshop Lounge, serves artisanal craft-cocktails with organic locally-distilled spirits.

Mari Mari Natural Reserve — Patagonia, Chile

Just opened late last year, one of our Best New Hotels of 2018, stretching 13 acres of Pacific coastline in Chilean Patagonia — a spectacular setting that was once home to the Cliffs Reserve — Mari Mari Natural Reserve’s high-level luxury gives guests an eco-experience that highlights the surrounding natural environment in five-star style. Made up of six oceanfront villas and a master residence, the design emphasis is local, utilizing local woods, stone, textiles and art that celebrates the setting. The Lodge & Spa houses an oceanfront dining room, and guests can explore Chile’s southern region on horseback or by boat — the property includes stables and a marina — as well as an organic garden that serves as the base for locally-sourced plates enhanced by wines from the San Antonio, Colchagua and Maipo Valleys.

Silversands Grenada —  Grand Anse Beach, Grenada

Located on over 700 feet of Grand Anse beach, boasting a 100 meter-long infinity swimming pool being hailed as the longest in the Caribbean, Silversands Grenada is the latest in luxury on “Spice Island.” The minimalist design allows visitors to truly take in the blue sea palate that backgrounds, while the hotel’s bright whites, natural teak and neutral tones creates a clean, soft setting for relaxation. The 52 guest rooms — including nine villas, five with private pools — will enjoy access to The Silversands Spa, a beach club with resident DJ, and two globally inspired restaurants: the Asian-styled Asiatique and The Grenadian Grill, which draws on Grenada’s fresh sea food and its variety of spices. Puro, a cigar and rum bar, rounds out the food and beverage program.        

Aloft Lima Miraflores — Lima, Peru

Libertador Hotels, Resorts & Spas opened the 164-room Aloft Lima Miraflores in November of 2018. The first Aloft hotel in Peru, the hotel features bold, stylish design and tech-forward features such as SPG Keyless entry, a guest room experience platform that includes Netflix and cable television, as well as WiFi. Guest rooms anchor 10 floors and two small restaurants, Quinoa and Barrio. Additional dining options include Re:fuelSM by Aloft, a café created for breakfast and lunch “on the go” and signature cocktails and light bites can be found at the WXYZ® Bar. Other amenities include Aloft’s signature Re:chargeSM  fitness center and a splash pool. Website.

Santarena Hotel at Las Catalinas — Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Perched between two of Costa Rica’s Pacific beaches, the 45-room (including 3 suites) Santarena Hotel at Las Catalinas features a crisp, linear design and contemporary touches throughout. With king beds, sustainable wood floors and spacious bathrooms, most rooms have private balconies with striking handmade Cuban-style pressed tiles, while other notable amenities include a rooftop lounge and 35-square-meter pool, as well as bar and restaurant, Ponciana. Sun worshippers will appreciate that the hotel is home to one of Guanacaste’s best beaches, Playa Danta, while activity enthusiasts will celebrate the wide range of outdoor activities including over 40 kilometers of hiking and mountain biking trails.

Shinola Hotel — Detroit, Michigan

The first hotel of the Shinola brand, the space marries two restored buildings — the onetime T.B. Rayl & Co. department store and a former Singer sewing-machine store — into 129 guest rooms and 16,000 square feet of retail, common and restaurant spaces. All decor elements were custom-designed, much produced in Michigan, taking inspiration from private clubs in London with caramel, camel, and gray tones, and rich wood accents. Custom bath amenities are inspired by Rayl’s and linens are from Frette. Vinyl lovers rejoice! Each suite will have a coveted Shinola Runwell turntable and a curated collection alongside, as well as some of Shinola’s most iconic products. Andrew Carmellini and NoHo Hospitality Group partners will oversee San Morello, a Southern Italian restaurant, and Evening Bar, serving seasonally crafted cocktails and bar bites. A beer hall and fried chicken joint will open later this year.

Kachi Lodge — Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia*

Located directly on the Uyuni Salt Flat, 3,600 meters (12,000 feet) above sea level, at the foot of the Tunupa volcano, this unique year-round resort offers an unparalleled, luxury travel experience in Bolivia. Evoking the image of a space station, these six minimalist, heated guest pods are tricked out with premium bedding, private bathrooms, and working stoves. A central pod offers dining and a beautifully decorated common lounge filled with the textiles and colors of the Altiplano. Activities including hiking, mountain biking, village visits, and ogling the stars once the sun sets; Kachi Lodge is a solar viewing station like few others. As if that’s not enough distinction, La Paz’ finest restaurant, Gustu, will be handling food and beverage.

Blackberry Mountain — Walland, Tennessee

Spanning 5,200 acres in the Great Smoky Mountains — with 2,800 acres dedicated to land conservation — Blackberry Mountain will be the sister property to the Beall family’s hospitality on display at beloved Blackberry Farm. Located seven miles from the farm, the resort will blend outdoor activity with wellness and indulgence. Think hiking trails, fly fishing, yoga, fitness classes, mountain biking, meditation, enhanced by killer views and delicious food. The two restaurants will be overseen by Executive Chefs Josh Feathers and Joel Werner. Three Sisters will offer seasonal menus that pay homage to locally sourced, fresh ingredients and the bounty of the Great Smoky Mountains, while The Firetower, which is open from sunrise to sunset, houses a 72-seat dining room and intimate 13-seat bar with stunning views of the Great Smoky Mountains.

S Hotel Jamaica – Montego Bay, Jamaica

The new S Hotel Jamaica, overlooking the island’s famed Doctor’s Cave beach, is a Caribbean paradise with 120 rooms that combine upscale charm with a subtle rootsy-Jamaican vibe. Artisanal Jamaican cuisine and rum will be the focal point of the hotel’s restaurant, offering aged Jamaican rums, craft cocktails, and Jamaican tapas menu prepared with fresh, locally grown ingredients. Other amenities include a luxury spa, swimming pool with bar, a cozy rooftop and meeting and event spaces.

Hotel Emblem — San Francisco, California

A Viceroy Urban Retreat, San Fran’s new Hotel Emblem, located at the intersection of Nob Hill and Union Square, was inspired the Beat Generation and the creative vibe that San Francisco is best known for. A partnership with City Lights Bookstore offers weekly poetry slams, while a Book Butler brings a curated cart to your door, and an Underground Concierge gets you exploring the lesser-publicized parts of the city. With the whiskey and jazz-focused Obscenity Bar and Lounge, Bluestone Lane Coffee Shop for early mornings and late lunches, and 96 vibrant, stylish guest rooms, the hotel hopes to attract an equally stylish, curious crowd. Website.

Fantasia Bahia Principe — Tenerife, Spain

Bahia Principe, the leading all-inclusive resort brand with properties in Spain, Mexico and the Caribbean, opened its 25th hotel in the island of Tenerife, Spain.Featuring 372 rooms, seven swimming pools, five restaurants, six bars, a water park, the brand’s signature Bahia Spa, and wellness center, among other amenities, like the family-friendly property’s replica Drago Milenario de Icod de los Vinos, a dracaena tree that is an icon of Tenerife, and will have nightly light shows.


Vegas-based Hakkasan, skilled in the art of the exclusive party, recently opened four new venues in Mexico with Grupo Vidanta, luxury operator of hotels and resorts. Vidanta Los Cabos, a private resort in San José del Cabo that originally opened in 2007 as The Grand Mayan hotel, now boasts venues Omnia Day Club which will host international DJs spinning to daybed and private cabana guests, California-cuisine inspired Herringbone restaurant by chef Alex Branch, Day of the Dead inspired Casa Calavera restaurant, and SHOREbar which is focused on drinks and lite appetizers.

W Hotels Worldwide has announced the signing of their first hotel in Brazil: W São Paulo. Slated to open in 2021, it joins other W openings in the region including W Panama and W Costa Rica. W São Paulo will feature 179 guest rooms, as well as two feature restaurants including rooftop dining with sweeping views of the city and a signature Living Room (lobby) bar.

In time for the season, both the all-inclusive, adults-only Sonesta Ocean Point Resort and the family-friendly Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa just completed renovations. The resorts return as St. Maarten makes its big comeback from Hurricane Irma last year. Sonesta Maho Beach Resort debuts a modern new design throughout the hotel and guest rooms receive new layouts. Sonesta Ocean Point revamped its lobby, and the new Casa Blue, a Spanish-style tapas restaurant, will debut on the rooftop terrace above Azul restaurant.

The 1,121-foot, under-construction Comcast Technology Center—soon to be the tallest building in Philadelphia—will feature a Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia in its upper floors when the new $1.5 billion tower is complete with 217-rooms, spa, fitness facilities and event and meeting space. To top it off, the 60-story luxury hotel will also house a restaurant on the highest floor, offering 360-degree views of the city.

Celebrating its grand re-opening this January, Punta Cana’s newly renovated adults-only Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic will feature a reimagined aesthetic by an all-female design team, introducing a $35 million modernization – including the launch of two new towers with 140 additional suites, completely redone guest rooms and enhanced Zen public spaces.

Entre Cielos Wine Hotel + Spa in Mendoza, Argentina is expanding with eight new vineyard lofts situated throughout the property’s eight-acre Malbec vineyard overlooking the Andes. The latest additions to the (now) 24-room boutique hotel and spa are the first part of a larger global expansion which will see the brand move into other sectors of luxury hospitality including the addition of Mediterranean Sailing Yacht Charters in May 2019, followed by the addition of a Swiss Chalet Adventure Lodge and a new Eco-Camp project in the nearby Uco Valley slated for the end of 2019.

Barbados’ Cobblers Cove, one of only four Relais & Châteaux properties in the Caribbean, recently completed a three-year renovation upgrading all 40 suites with new floors and fixtures.

Perched on motor-vehicle-free Little Corn Island on the Caribbean side of Nicaragua, Yemaya Island Hideaway re-opened in December featuring 16 oceanfront suites overlooking a white sand beach lined with coco palms. Set against a lush jungle with proprietary organic gardens providing produce for family-style dining highlighted with Creole and Caribbean flavors and local seafood, activities include paddle boarding, kayaking, a sunset Miskito boat sail, snorkeling, kite surfing, and in-room massage.

Header image of Blackberry Mountain. Photo Credit: Ingalls Photography