Hotel junkie Ianthe Butt has the lowdown on this month’s coolest openings
This month’s hottest openings range from a safari lodge in Namibia and London’s newest cool-luxe property to a grand country house pile in Yorkshire and a swish boutique in the Marais in Paris.
Zannier Hotels – behind loved-by-Angelina-Jolie bolthole Phum Baitang in Cambodia – made its African debut just outside Windhoek with cool lodge Omaanda last year. For its second Namibian property, Zannier has cast its eyes to the Karas region, where a luxe 10-tent camp sits atop a granite boulder formed by ancient volcanic eruptions. And all inside a 5,600 hectare private reserve where oryx, jackal and leopards roam through the desert wilderness.
Rustic camping this is not; decor is 1920s explorer gone glam. Design flashpoints include king-sized four poster beds, copper bathtubs, antique furniture and vintage maps. Staff don black tie to serve supper on silverware, and there’s a cigar lounge with billiards table for cocktails after days spent hot-air ballooning, on horseback safari or e-biking through the dunes. A spa tent and infinity pool have stretching desert views, best admired at sunset. The entire camp is solar-powered, and is reached by an 80-minute flight from Windhoek (to Sonop’s own landing strip) or a 4.5 hour scenic jeep ride.
Rooms from £495pp per night, full board, including a daily sunset excursion
The Standard, London
Shaking off its days-gone-by reputation as one of London’s seediest areas, in the last five years King’s Cross has become one of the capital’s hippest hotspots, with the likes of Google setting up its HQ here and last year’s opening of the Thomas Heatherwick-designed Coal Drops Yard shopping district. Now, hopping across the pond from the USA, comes the first international opening from Standard Hotels. Taking over a 1970s brutalist building – once Camden Town Hall’s annexe – the hotel has transformed the ground floor into a lobby lounge where gigs and talks take place each week.
Also on the ground level are Isla restaurant, where tables spill out onto a garden terrace and chef Adam Rawson serves up coastal cuisine; and Double Standard bar for NYC-dive-bar-inspired eats – think hotdog sliders with truffle and gherkin martinis. A 10th-floor rooftop restaurant overseen by Peter Sanchez-Iglesias (of Bristol’s Casa Mia) will open in the autumn too. The hotel’s 266 rooms – some with views of St Pancras station and terraces – showcase UK design talent with Wallace Sewell blankets to snuggle under, and banquettes by Harris Tweed to lounge on.
Doubles from £214, room only
Ticking the box for business and leisure travellers is Alex, a new boutique hotel from Campbell Gray Hotels, behind the Phoenicia in Malta and Le Gray in Beirut. Forty-four rooms in a stone and glass building on Lake Zurich’s western shore feature natural materials and have spacious terraces as well as kitchens for self-catering. For those who don’t fancy cooking there’s the Boat House restaurant, where tarte flambee and grilled seafood are dished up by the water alongside mainly Swiss wines. As well as direct access to the shimmering lake waters for al-fresco dips, there’s a wellness area with plunge pool and spa treatment room. Adventurers can try their hand at watersports, or rent bikes to pootle round the local area.
Rooms from £246, B&B
Grantley Hall, Yorkshire
Grantley Hall, on the fringes of the Yorkshire Dales, was built in the 17th century by Baron Grantley and over the years became a favourite countryside escape of society families, politicians and royalty (Queen Mary and the Princess Royal both visited). Based on a Palladian design by architect Isaac Ware, the property is in vogue again following a multi-million pound revamp. Scores of historical features including fireplaces and elegant sash windows have been restored and 47 bedrooms feature artwork and furniture made by locals, right down to mattresses from North Yorkshire’s Harrison Spinks.
While there’s an 18m pool and high tech gym with an underwater treadmill and altitude bikes, exploring the Dales will be first choice for active types. History buffs can enjoy Ripon’s medieval streets, while foodies can feast at seven spots including pan-Asian restaurant Eighty Eight, Valeria’s champagne bar and Shaun Rankin at Grantley Hall where produce will come from fruit trees, beehives and beds in the kitchen garden (the Yorkshire rhubarb crumble souffle with rosehip and iced clotted cream is set to be a big hit).
Rooms from £345, B&B
Party isle Mykonos and Instagram favourite Santorini might be the Cyclades’ most well-known islands, but this summer eyes swivel to lesser-known Ios. Sustainable tourism developer Vassiliki Petridou-Michalopoulos and her husband Angelos, who purchased around a quarter of the island a decade ago, are opening 27-room Calilo – where rooms range from doubles to family suites sleeping six – this month.
Having seen the rapid development of neighbouring islands, the couple promised to develop only 1 per cent of their land. The smart hotel sits in 1,100 acres of scrubland filled with olive tree groves on the east coast. Suites, each with pool and sunken in-water beds, look out over the golden sands of Papas beach. Taking inspiration from Ancient Greece there are ponds to dip in, natural stonework and curved walls. Guests can kayak, paddleboard, daytrip to secluded beaches, swim in an 800 square metre pool, and dine on Mediterranean cuisine and pick-your-own fruit and veggies in the organic garden. A spa opens next year, but in the meantime massages take place in caves carved into the rock. The property is open until 30 September and is a two-hour ferry from Mykonos or 45-minute ferry from Santorini.
Rooms from £310, B&B
Adding a touch of boutique quirk to Paris’ fashionable Le Marais is the third hotel from French hospitality group Evok (also behind Nolinski and Brach): the 43-room Sinner. While most details remain under wraps, it has an Instagram feed dominated by risque red, black and white snaps and promises to be a place with “a je ne sais quoi that others whisper about”. Interiors – designed by Tristan Auer, who worked on the recent revamp of historic Hotel de Crillon – have religious undertones, with vaulted archways and gothic inspired candelabras. There’s a sexy side too: stained glass windows, which when photographed using a camera flash reveal a more provocative image. There’s a grand lobby and double-height bar with a carefree 1970s vibe, plus a restaurant, as well as a spa with pool and hammam.
Doubles from £380, room only