Hotel junkie Ianthe Butt reveals six of the most exciting new properties this month
A forest retreat in Kyoto, an eco-friendly lodge in Iceland and a hip boutique hostel in Portland – here’s our pick of November’s best new openings.
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Once a bohemian enclave frequented by literary greats such as Hemingway, fast forward to 2019 and Paris’ left bank is once again the most exciting spot to stay. Last year grand dame Hotel Lutetia reopened, and this month the much-smaller, but no less anticipated, J.K. Place opens on Rue de Lille. The first J.K. Place outside Italy has 30 rooms showcasing a mix of bespoke Italian furniture and antique treasures squirrelled out at Parisian flea markets by designer Michele Bonan. Bathrooms have mother-of-pearl inlay cabinets, sitting rooms are stacked with coffee table books and there’s an elegant Italian restaurant, Casa Tua, as well. An indoor pool and Sisley spa are a welcome place to retreat to after a day’s exploring.
Rooms from £690, B&B, including in-room mini bar and help-yourself homemade treats
Aman Kyoto, Japan
Japan is a natural fit for exclusive Aman Resorts, known for its minimal aesthetic and focus on wellness. Set to be a hit with nature lovers, the third Japanese opening is in Kyoto, inside forest-ringed gardens not far from the city’s famed Kinkaku-ji Temple. Serene is the watchword; streams trickle along mossy paths and birds flit through avenues of cedar trees. Designed by Kerry Hill Architects, the hotel is comprised of 24 rooms and two two-bed villas with interiors inspired by Japanese ryokans – think tatami mat floors, intricate lanterns and ofuro bathtubs. The spa is all about traditional wellness, with indoor and outdoor hot-spring-fed onsens and treatments which harness local ingredients such as green tea. Dining options include multi-course Japanese haute cuisine in the restaurant or casual picnics taken in the leafy grounds after a forest bathing session.
Rooms from £783, room only
The latest outpost from no-fuss YOTEL opens up in on-the-up Amsterdam Noord this month and is a great choice for city breakers who want somewhere laid-back to relax after hitting the sights. Not only does check-in take place in a brace of shakes thanks to a self-service kiosk, rooms won’t break the bank (they’re from just under £80) and are cleverly designed with space-saving smart beds, which transform from sofa to flatbed at the push of a button, rain showers and mood lighting. Cool communal spots include an al-fresco cinema, coffee bar with canal views and Komyuniti, a lounge-meets-co-working space with affordable bites to eat and a roster of live music performances.
Rooms from £77, room only
Zadún, Baja California, Mexico
Mexico’s dramatic dune-filled coastline of San José del Cabo in Puerto Los Cabos sees a newbie from Ritz Carlton Reserve open this month. Zadún has 115 rooms, suites and villas – many with stunning views out to the Sea of Cortez, private plunge pools to dip in and terraces to lounge on. Design is contemporary Mexican cool, and rooms feature pieces by artisans from vibrant crafting hubs including Oaxaca, Yucatán and Mexico City. At the vast Spa Alkemia there’s an open-air spa circuit and healthy cafe. Foodies are spoilt for choice with Humo (a Latin American grill), El Barrio (a street food joint) and X (an adults-only dining spot where the catch of the day is served). For nightcaps, there’s a funky cocktail bar with an agave-focussed menu.
Rooms from £772, room only
Iceland is famed for its otherworldly landscapes, and this clutch of 25 lodges built in traditional ‘turf house’ style fit in spectacularly. Blending seamlessly into South Iceland’s dramatic landscape are 10 two-bedroom Torfhús – which have a sitting room and kitchen – and 15 smaller Burstabær rooms. Both have rustic-luxe interiors featuring plenty of reused oak, cosy throws and access to a geothermally heated basalt stone hot tub. In fact, the entire property runs off geothermal and hydroelectric energy and restaurant Viking Langhus has a zero-waste ethos. The retreat’s location in the Golden Circle means that Þingvellir National Park, the Great Geysir and Gullfoss-Waterfall are all within easy reach, while adrenaline enthusiasts can do glacier climbs, take a helicopter ride or go horse riding nearby.
Rooms from £525, half board
KEX Portland, Oregon, USA
Boutique hostel KEX made waves with its quirky design and affordable rooms when it opened in Reykjavik in 2011, and this autumn the brand ventures Stateside for a second outpost. Offering a mix of private rooms and shared dormitories on Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard in Portland’s Central Eastside, as with Reykjavik, the eclectic, vintage-feel interiors have been masterminded by Hálfdan Pedersen, who’s known for collecting and restoring unique design objects. Food and drink, overseen by Ólafur Ágústsson of Dill (Iceland’s only Michelin-starred restaurant), is set to be just as exciting – diners at Vivian can expect a menu packed with seasonal ingredients, and plenty of Icelandic-style fermenting, pickling and drying. Rooftop bar Dóttir is the place for craft cocktails, or for a wellness hit there’s an on-site sauna for guests to use.
Shared rooms from £30, private rooms from £70, room-only