Hotel junkie Ianthe Butt rounds up six of the most exciting openings this month, from a wallet-friendly hotel in the Danish capital to a laid-back Maldivian island escape
Here are the best openings in January.
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The PuXuan, Beijing, China
Hot on the heels of the success of the PuLi in Shanghai and he just-opened RuMa hotel in Kuala Lumpur comes The PuXuan Hotel and Spa, offering 116 luxe rooms and a spa in one of the Chinese capital’s oldest neighbourhoods, Dongcheng. Rooms feel like calm havens amid the busy city, meaning clean lines, natural light and muted tones in-room, mixed with design that riffs on local heritage. Set on the top of the newly built, sci-fi look Guardian Arts Centre designed by Ole Scheeren, the hotel entrance is lined with elaborately carved menduns, which traditionally indicate the status of the owner. Rooms open on 1 February, but you can nab a sneak peek by dining at one of its four eateries, which open this month: Fu Chun Ju for Cantonese fare, classic French food at Rive Gauche (in a space inspired by the creative spirit of the Parisian Left Bank, decorated with vintage glassware and old French cookbooks), the slick Lobby Lounge or the Tea Room, offering rare and curated teas and accompaniments from around the region.
From £305, B&B; thepuxuan.com
The Nautilus, Thiladhoo island, Maldives
Last year was a bumper year for exciting Maldivian openings with the likes of family-friendly Joali and ultra-luxe Kudadoo throwing open their doors. Now comes the Nautilus, a new private island escape in the Baa Atoll, a 35-minute seaplane hop from Male. With just 26 houses set on the beach and over the ocean on the 250m-wide Thiladhoo island (each with an on-call butler and private pool), it’s set to create a luxurious but laid-back experience in keeping with the backdrop of swaying palms and white sand. Restaurants are flexible, forgoing set opening hours and encouraging guests to go off-menu. Likewise, excursions on the resort’s yacht or spa treatments are available to book last-minute should the urge strike. There’s an excellent house reef to snorkel on, complimentary yoga and wellness sessions, plus midnight swims with marine biologists in glowing phosphorescent waters. Day-trips to Hanifaru Bay to spot marine megafauna can also be arranged.
From £1,570, B&B; thenautilusmaldives.com
CitizenM, Copenhagen, Denmark
With cool design and won’t-break-the-bank prices, CitizenM’s crashpads are always a hit with flashpackers and hip business types, wherever they touch down. The brand’s first Nordic foray is set to open in Copenhagen, recently named the top city to visit in 2019 by Lonely Planet. The 238-room property is close to kitsch funfair-filled Tivoli Gardens (magical at night) and the Central Station, meaning getting around is a doddle. Comfy rooms have XL-king-sized beds, rainforest showers and iPad-controlled lights and blinds, but the real highlight is the hotel’s top floor communal living room. A space designed to make you want to linger, it’s packed with jazzy lime and baby blue Vitra couches, shelves peppered with cool artwork by Danish artists (including a trippy mural by HuskMitNavn) and long tables as ideal for co-working (there’s superfast Wi-Fi) as they are for planning sightseeing over coffee or cocktails.
From £85, room only; citizenm.com
Le Massif, Courmayeur, Italy
One to suit ski-aficionado families looking for a smart new spot to sleep is Le Massif, an 80-room five-star hotel in the heart of Italy’s Courmayeur resort. A dedicated ski concierge is on hand to advise on where to find the day’s best powder and give the inside track on local runs, and there’s a kids’ club with cooking classes and games to keep little ones busy. Alpine chic is the watchword here; rooms designed by Andrea Auletta feature snug furniture set against blond woods, and some feature open fireplaces. Restaurants are equally cosy – a steakhouse with log-covered ceiling and a more relaxed family restaurant serving dishes inspired by the Valle d’Aosta region. The resort’s lifts are practically on the hotel’s doorstep, as are high-end boutiques and bars. For those who want to ramp up the adrenaline, heli and para-skiing can be booked, while the hotel spa offers hot stone massages to ease aching muscles. Slopeside, guests get priority access to just-opened mountain chalet partner restaurant La Loge du Massif at Checrouit at 1,700m, offering a double whammy of traditional Italian food and Mont Blanc views.
From £315, B&B; all-inclusive packages for kids start from £27 a day for infants under three and £90 a day for three to 12-year-olds, including meals and kids’ club. lemassifcourmayeur.com
The Dixon, London, UK
For culture and history buffs there are few better places to bed down in the capital than Tooley Street, within minutes of innovative contemporary artwork at the Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s historic Globe. This month sees what was once the Old Tower Bridge Magistrates Court, originally designed by John Dixon Butler in 1905, transformed into a 193-room hotel. The grand, grade II-listed building has rooms decked out with British furniture and rich copper details, and retains nods to its past with cocktails served at a marble-clad bar, under what was once the judge’s bench in its Edwardian-oak-panelled Courtroom Bar. Food at Provisioners restaurant (from the team behind foodie hit, Blixen) is Euro-influenced; expect comforting bites such as lamb shoulder sandwich on garlic focaccia followed by peanut butter parfait. A cultural programme will showcase the diverse work of local creative talent too.
From £199, room only; thedixon.co.uk
BLESS Hotel, Madrid, Spain
All eyes turn to the upmarket and exclusive Salamanca district, as new brand on the block, BLESS Collection, opens its first property on Calle de Velázquez. A reimagining of the Gran Hotel Velazquez – once the hobnobbing spot for high society – interior design at the 111-room property has been overseen by Lázaro Rosa-Violán who has worked his magic on many a hip hotel, including Barcelona’s Soho House Hotel. Rooms are inspired by Salamanca’s elegant 19th-century houses – walls covered in rural landscapes with lashings of oak wood and mirror detail. There will be pop-up art galleries, fashion shows and live music events rubbing up against cafés and shops along its own boulevard, but most exciting is restaurant Etxeko, helmed by culinary heavyweight Martin Berasategui, whose restaurants currently hold 10 Michelin stars, more than any other Spanish chef. Upping the fun factor are a trio of bars (one atop the roof, along with a pool), another a speakeasy with its own retro-style bowling alley.
From £328, room only; blesscollectionhotels.com