Forget the restyled lobby. Ditto the trendy rooftop pool with those frothy, handcrafted cocktails. And ignore all the hype about Amazon's Alexa being the latest guest-room tech accessory. Next year will find hotels unleashing some seriously mind-bending architecture that will take luxury design to a whole new level. Travelers will be whipping out their phones for selfies before they even wheel their carry-ons through the doors.
These five, all opening in 2019, already have the architectural world chattering in anticipation.
The 450-foot-tall, $1.5 billion guitar-shaped glass tower rising 36 stories above the Hollywood, Fla., skyline is a head turner. This past July, at its topping-out ceremony, construction crews swung the final beam into place to the strains of “The Final Countdown” by the Swedish rock band Europe. When the 638-room tower opens next summer, guests will stay in rooms within the gigantic guitar body and up along its fretboard. This is the first of three guitar-shaped hotels Hard Rock plans to open worldwide; rumor has it that Barcelona is next.
The ambitious tower is part of a massive expansion project that will also add 168 guest rooms in a separate seven-story tower flanking the pool complex. When the project is completed, the hotel will have 1,300 rooms, a 41,000-square-foot spa, 120,000 square feet of meeting space, 30 restaurants and bars, a new 18,000-square-foot poker room and a 6,500-seat Hard Rock Live theater that will host headline acts.
In creating this ultramodern hotel on Ploenchit Road in Bangkok's central business district, New York-based architectural firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates said they embraced the Rosewood brand’s mantra, “A Sense of Place.” The 159-room hotel's two elegantly curved high-rise towers (rising 33 stories each) were made to resemble the graceful hand movement of the wai -- the simple but beautifully elegant Thai gesture of greeting and welcome.
The two towers, connected by an atrium designed as a lush, vertical garden, also will feature three restaurants and bars, Rosewood’s signature Sense spa, a pool and a fitness center. Event facilities will include the Pavilion, a residential-style meeting and function space, and the top-floor Sky Villa, which will offer panoramic views of the Thai capital.
Dubai has been pushing the envelope on hotel architecture for years. Its 202-suite, sailboat-like Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, which opened almost 20 years ago, is still considered one of the most iconic hotel designs in the world. It's about to get some serious competition when the US$1.4 billion Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences, being built on the Eastern crescent of Dubai's Palm Jumeirah, finally opens its doors March 2019 after four long construction years and several design changes.
Renderings of the 43-story, mixed-use project show two towers — one comprised of 231 residences, the other a 795-room hotel — connected by a sky bridge. But it’s their unusual shape that captures attention, as if you were seeing a towering game of Jenga, with giant interlocking, stacked blocks. Expect a ton of fine-dining restaurants, multiple pools, a full-service spa and sumptuous event space, which has yet to be revealed.
This soaring 23-story glass new-build in downtown Riyadh, being touted as an urban oasis and the Saudi Arabian city's first five-star luxury boutique property, is on tap to open in the first half of 2019. Its clean, sharp, elegantly styled architectural lines, with an emphasis on wood, are clearly a nod to the brand's Japanese heritage.
The 134-room property promises to deliver on state-of-the art technology, elegance and craftsmanship, not to mention several dining options, including the requisite Nobu restaurant (the country's first), a tea house, a cigar lounge, two ballrooms, several meeting rooms, an exclusive executive club lounge and fitness facilities. Three other Nobu hotels will debut in 2019, in Barcelona, Chicago and Toronto.
Hanging out its first international shingle in the former Camden Town Hall in Kings Cross, the London Standard Hotel, to be unveiled next October, has a facade that is perplexingly modern, particularly given that the building dates to the 1960s.
The 266-room hotel is housed in a converted office block, with three new floors added on top. This is the brand's first outside the U.S., joining sister properties in Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Miami and New York, where there are two. The interiors are being created by Shawn Hausman Design, which has had a hand in shaping the brand's other five hotels.