Hotel junkie Ianthe Butt reveals six of the most exciting new properties for October
This month sees a hip Balinese beach club open a sister hotel, a "poshtel" in Birmingham and a luxe spa retreat in Bhutan open their doors.
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The Clubhouse at Ulu, Uluwatu, Bali
When M.Group, the folks behind fashionable Bali beach club Ulu Cliffhouse, open a boutique hotel next door, it was always going to be good. Just seven suites sit atop Uluwatu’s high-drama cliffs, each named after one of the nearby surf breaks which the area is famed for, meaning even if you’ve not the board skills to tackle Impossibles or Padang Padang, you can still say you’ve been there, sort of. The vibe is laidback hippy cool – think four poster beds, 1950s California-style furnishing and freestanding bathtubs. Guests get access to a private members’ lounge as well as Ulu Cliffhouse, and its 25m infinity pool-club where the likes of Fatboy Slim, Carl Cox and Guy Gerber have performed.
Rooms from £200 per night based on a B&B basis, including airport transfers
Rio Palena Lodge, Chilean Patagonia
Lux-venture experts Eleven Experience touched down in South America for the first time with Rio Palena, a spectacular adventure lodge in Chilean Patagonia’s Aysen. Hillside in a remote valley at the banks of the Rio Palena, it’s a seven-room affair that’s big on adrenaline rushes – anglers can head out on helicopter fishing trips (it’s one of the best places in the world to catch wild trout), trot through the Andean countryside on horseback or hike through the mountains. Once you’re done exploring, the river views can be enjoyed from bedrooms or the al fresco terrace – the spot to sip pisco sours before retreating to the lodge’s wood-fired sauna and hot tubs.
A four-night stay is from £3,884pp including meals, a day’s heli-fishing, a one-night hotel stay in Puerto Varas en route and some transfers
Six Senses Gangtey, Bhutan
Six Senses – known for its high-end wellness-focussed hotels – tend not to do things by halves. So rather than opening just one property in the Kingdom of Bhutan, it decided to open a circuit of five, scattered across several different, stunning locations. Six Senses Gangtey, which opens this month – and joins Thimphu, Paro and Punakha which are already open – is set in central Bhutan’s Phobjikha Valley.
Guests can book in to a clutch of suites or an elegant villa, with architecture and interiors that riff on Bhutanese design. In terms of activities, expect to meditate with local monks, enjoy hiking and mountain biking in the surrounding countryside, and birdwatch straight from the lodge’s nature bridge (Phobjikha’s the winter residence of the rare black-necked crane). Next year a fifth lodge, Bumthang, will open and complete the circuit.
Rates from around £1,390 based on two sharing, on a half-board basis
Lisbon’s appeal shows no sign of slowing, and this newbie boutique hotel in the Portuguese capital has a great location between the fringe of the hip Alfama area, just outside of downtown proper. A 35-room hotel with a pretty pale blue facade, inside it’s dedicated to all things local. Rooms are chic and unfussy – walls intricately tiled or hued in various shades of teal and peach, while furniture is all designed by Portuguese brands or artisans.
In the basement, arty residents and city breakers can catch an ever-changing roster of film screenings, yoga sessions and art exhibitions. Food inspiration comes from further afield, with seasonal dishes by Argentinian chef Nicolás López at the Art Deco-feel Gastro & Cocktail bar. Best of all is the al fresco terrace where DJs and other musical talent perform as the sun sets.
Rooms from £106
Making waves on the flashpacker scene is Latin American brand Selina, which – hot on the heels of their Manchester debut – opens this month in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. The 39 rooms include community rooms (shared dorms), as well as individual rooms and suites. The private rooms have a rather whimsical feel with gentle mint and coral tones and floral touches. Interior designer Lorna Keller has also woven in subtle Latin American twists, and worked with local talent on artwork. While the dorm rooms are simpler than the private options, they’re a steal – with rates from £15 a night. There’s also a Cuban-inspired restaurant La Mariposa, a cute garden, cocktail bar and communal kitchen and lobby – ideal for co-working.
Community rooms from £15 a night
Adding an extra touch of razzle dazzle to Miami’s Ocean Drive is The Celino. A trio of art deco buildings, including the historic Park Central Hotel, have been transformed into a smart boutique property. Interiors channel tropical cool to the max, think palm-leaf covered wallpaper, hardwood floors, luxe Sferra bed linens and lashings of greenery.
In a rather quirky touch, conga line kits can be found in-room. Set to appeal to both visitors and hip Miami-ites are the glass-bottomed rooftop pool, which has killer beach views, and Dalia restaurant where guests can dine on Mediterranean seafood under paintings of oversized flamingos.
Rooms from £254 on a B&B basis