One easy prediction: 2019 will be a year of notable hotel debuts. As of this past Aug. 1, according to Lodging Econometrics, 1,594 projects encompassing 208,509 rooms were under construction across the country, the most since 2007. The overall U.S. pipeline stood at 5,312 projects, representing 634,501 rooms, up 7 percent from 2017's 4,973 projects and 598,371 rooms.
Hard Rock will unveil a new London hotel
next spring. A transformation of the former Cumberland Hotel (a one-time favorite, fittingly, of guitar great Jimi Hendrix), the 900-room property, at Hyde Park, will be a quick walk from the original Hard Rock Cafe, which opened in 1971. Public areas are likely to be social draws for the public as well as guests, with a café, a lobby bar and a separate cocktail bar. Details on meeting space are still to come.
The following are just a sample of the exciting new properties coming online in 2019. Fun fact: Almost all are crowned with rooftop bars.
Ritz-Carlton, Paradise Valley
Opening: March 20
Just 15 miles northeast from Phoenix lies the small resort town of Paradise Valley, where a 200-room Ritz-Carlton, above, will arrive next March. The new-build property comprises luxury casitas spread out on 20 acres with views of Camelback Mountain.
Among planned highlights: a 400-foot-long pool, touted as the largest in all of North America, and a 20,000-square-foot spa with both indoor and outdoor treatment areas. A citrus orchard will provide produce for the property's F&B outlets. Plans call for more than 20,000 square feet of meeting space.
Fairmont Century Plaza, Los Angeles
Premiering in Los Angeles next fall is the 400-room Fairmont Century Plaza, a reimagining of a property that first opened in 1966. The original architect was Minoru Yamasaki, who also designed the first World Trade Center in New York City.
In its transformed setting, the hotel will anchor a multi-use project with more than 100,000 square feet of boutique shops and eateries surrounding a pedestrian plaza. Interior-design firm Yabu Pushelberg promises comfortable luxury in the guest rooms and public spaces.
Recreational offerings will include a 14,000-square-foot spa and a 24-hour fitness center. Among other draws: a gourmet café, an American brasserie, and a rooftop bar and pool deck. Indoor meeting space will span approximately 23,542 square feet, including a 13,000-square-foot ballroom whose past events have welcomed the likes of Bob Hope, Clark Gable, Muhammad Ali and Lucille Ball. PSAV will be the in-house audiovisual provider.
Grand Hyatt at SFO
San Francisco International Airport will soon have a major new property right at its entrance: The 351-room Grand Hyatt at SFO is being built on a 4.2-acre site with direct access via AirTrain to the terminals.
The hotel's Paper Crane restaurant will blend East and West with a menu of sushi, dumplings, ramen and oven-roasted meats, all sourced from local purveyors. A communal market and lounge called the Fold will serve casual bar food, craft cocktails, California wines and local beers.
Among a projected 15,000 square feet of flexible meeting space will be a 5,760-square-foot grand ballroom and a 2,310-square-foot junior ballroom, both with natural light and ideal for fly-in, fly-out groups. According to Hyatt, the meeting rooms are being built to meet tech-savvy requests.
The property is being designed to LEED Gold standards for environmentally sustainable design and operation.
Hotel Distil/Moxy Louisville
Two connected Marriott hotels make up this project in Louisville's revitalized Whiskey Row neighborhood: the 205-room Hotel Distil, part of the Autograph Collection of independent properties, and the 110-room Moxy Louisville, from the brand aimed toward younger travelers.
The Hotel Distil's 1860s facade, now being painstakingly restored, hearkens back to its original role as the barrel house for J.T.S. Brown and Sons, now part of the Brown-Forman Corp., owner of liquor brands such as Jack Daniel's, Woodford Reserve, Finlandia, Korbel and Chambord. A signature restaurant and a rooftop bar will supplement the property's more than 7,500 square feet of meeting space.
The Moxy will have an "industrial chic" aesthetic, with guest rooms featuring platform beds, pegboard walls instead of closets, and motion-sensor lighting. The brand's objective: to give guests "everything they want and nothing they don't," according to Marriott.
Hard Rock Hotel New Orleans
In the Theater District, steps away from the famed French Quarter, the 350-room Hard Rock Hotel New Orleans is taking shape on the corner of Rampart and Canal streets.
Along with the requisite array of rock memorabilia on display, this 18-story Hard Rock will draw guests to a rooftop sky bar with panoramic views of the Big Easy. Other F&B options will include a lobby bar, an upscale restaurant and a pool grill. Two ballrooms will be part of the 12,000 square feet of meeting space.
Four Seasons Hotel, One Dalton Street Boston
Opening: First quarter
One of two Four Seasons debuting in a major city this year, the Boston Back Bay property will have 215 rooms, including 41 suites, all with city views.
Soaring 61 stories, "The project is the tallest building in Boston in 50 years, has a world-class design and is in the midst of cultural, shopping and sports attractions," says general manager Reed Kandalaft, a Four Seasons veteran. "It will offer the very best experiences and service offerings commensurate with the finest Four Seasons anywhere."
The three F&B outlets start with Zuma, a Japanese izakaya -- an informal pub-style eatery with sister establishments in London, New York, Miami and Las Vegas. There also will be a breakfast restaurant and a streetside lobby café.
On the pampering side, the hotel will sport a spa with five treatment rooms, a curved 64-foot pool beside a glass wall, and an urban fitness center. Two ballrooms flooded with natural light, five meeting rooms and a sixth-floor terrace contribute to a total of 9,274 square feet of meeting space.
TWA Hotel at JFK International Airport
The iconic 1962 Trans World Airlines Flight Center at JFK International Airport is being reborn this coming spring as a 512-room hotel. In keeping with the mid-century vibe, last month a vintage 60-year-old Lockheed Constellation L-1649A Starliner airplane was brought to the site to be converted into a bar and restaurant at the property.
Eero Saarinen's landmark building is being refashioned with "ultra-quiet" guest rooms that will feature views of the runways. The hotel, to be connected to JetBlue's Terminal 5, will include 50,000 square feet of meeting space, six restaurants, eight bars, a 10,000-square-foot rooftop observation deck with a pool, and a 10,000-square-foot fitness facility.
Fittingly, visitors will be able to enjoy an on-site museum devoted to the Jet Age, TWA and the modern-design movement of the mid-1900s.
Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center
The second Four Seasons entry on our list is a 219-room property, part of a 60-story skyscraper designed by British architect Lord Norman Foster.
A pair of celebrated chefs will preside over the on-site eateries: Jean-Georges Vongerichten's first Philadelphia outpost will occupy two stories of elegance on the 59th and 60th floors, while James Beard Award-winner Greg Vernick presides over the street-level Vernick Fish and a stylish second-floor Vernick Coffee Bar.
Also up at aerie level is a 57th-floor spa with seven treatment rooms, an infinity pool and a fitness center. For groups, plans call for 15,602 square feet of meeting space including two ballrooms, the largest of which will span 4,554 square feet. A presidential suite will impress VIPs with its fireplace, comfy living room and formal dining room for up to 10 people.
Live! by Loews–Arlington
In the heart of Arlington's colorful new Texas Live! entertainment district, the $150 million, 302-room Live! by Loews–Arlington will sit between Globe Life Park, home of baseball's Texas Rangers (who helped develop the hotel), and the Dallas Cowboys' AT&T Stadium.
The Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa
closed last year for a $150 million renovation and expansion. When it reopens next May, the Austin, Texas, property will have grown to 493 rooms and will feature six dining outlets, a rooftop Mokara Spa, 76,000 square feet of meeting space, and a new event pavilion with views of the Texas Hill Country and the resort's four top-notch golf courses.
The initial components of Texas Live! debuted this past August, including a number of notable eateries and event venues such as the Arlington Backyard, an open-air space for groups of up to 5,000; and the 35,000-square-foot multilevel Live! Arena with a 100-foot media wall and room for about 3,000 people.
The upscale hotel's primary gathering spot will be the Tower Terrace overlooking an event lawn. Beer will be the focus of the main F&B outlet, the Revolver Brewing Brewery, Bar and Tasting Room. A swimming area will draw loungers with an infinity-edge pool, two bars (one of them a swim-up-to), rentable cabanas and a fire pit. Groups can make use of either the rooftop terrace or the Grand Event Center, spanning 35,000 square feet of meeting space.
Conrad Washington DC
A short walk from the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, the 360-room Conrad Washington DC will expand the district's group options with a luxury touch.
Chefs Bryan and Michael Voltaggio -- James Beard Award winners and Top Chef finalists -- will helm the farm-to-table Estuary, focusing on seafood from Chesapeake Bay. Seasonal tasting menus and a craft-cocktail/signature wine program also are in the plans.
Natural light from floor-to-ceiling windows floods the 32,000 square feet of meeting space on the second and third floors, featuring two pillar-free ballrooms with 17-foot ceilings, three conference rooms, a hospitality suite and a wraparound prefunction area.
Views of the city and the Capitol will be enjoyed from the rooftop bar, a garden oasis and outdoor event space that will host up to 200. For VIPs, the luxe Sakura Club on the 10th floor will pamper with singular dining experiences, a Japanese whiskey collection, seasonal craft cocktails, an afternoon tea ritual and a private meeting room.