With every new year comes the usual lists and predictions for top luxury destinations and the hottest hotel openings.
And with Marriott International alone set to open 40 luxury properties around the globe this year, there is no shortage of new hotels to choose from.
Among the standouts for 2018, however, are several that are set to introduce or substantially raise the bar on luxury in far-flung and lesser-known destinations.
Topping several lists this year is Raffles Europejski in Warsaw, Poland, a significant restoration of the Hotel Europejski, which was once one of the most luxurious hotels in the Russian Empire. Opened in 1857, it was mostly destroyed in World War II, then rebuilt in stages and reopened in 1962.
Jack Ezon of Ovation Travel says the hotel will open up “the whole of Poland with the first five-star hotel in the country, a grand hotel that will surely help luxeplorers add Poland to their radar this year.”
In the Caribbean, Grenada gets its first luxury resort, the Silversands, which will bring chic modern luxury that includes oversize suites no smaller than 700 square feet, five private beachfront villas with their own pools and a football field-size infinity pool lined with cabanas.
Other noteables include the Setai, Sea of Galilee, which Ezon says will be the first luxury resort of its kind on the Sea of Galilee, and the Rosewood Luang Prabang, Laos, which he calls an “uberluxe experience” 10 minutes from one of the last city’s in Asia with little Western invasion.
Six Senses Bhutan, like the Raffles Europejski, is also cited by both Ezon and Virtuoso agents as the wellness and adventure travel company prepares to open five boutique lodges across the country, with each offering a different but specific theme.
In Africa, Ezon lists Rwanda as both an emerging luxury destination and site of two of the most exciting hotel openings of 2018 as One&Only Resorts opens a pair of intimate resorts.
The first set to open is the One&Only Nyungwe House, a 22-room property on a working tea plantation at the end of the ancient Nyungwe Forest National Park, which is famous for its chimpanzees. Later in the year, the One&Only Gorilla’s Nest is set to open in the foothills of the Virunga Volcano, where guests will be able to interact with gorillas in their native habitat.