Many hotels, which this year are among the “best new hotels of 2020”, have not yet accepted a single guest.
The global pandemic pushed for highly anticipated new hotels to open near the California’s Napa Valley wineries to the Banks of the Parisian Seine, with a lot of rescheduling from openings until well into 2021.
Except in Asia.
In a year of unprecedented difficulties for the travel industry, marquee brands opened posh hotels, resorts and lodges across Asia, some of which were first introduced in the region.
Gaynor Reid, vice president of communications for AccorHotels in the Asia-Pacific region, said Asia has been a leader in hotel development for several years, a trend that continued during the pandemic.
Accor opened 76 hotels in Asia this year with another 32 scheduled to open before the end of 2020, Reid said. That equates to nearly 17,000 new rooms, which is about 35% less than Accor’s pre-Covid targets.
“The USA [and] The European markets are more mature than the Asian hotel markets, “she said.” Additionally, some Asian countries were able to control Covid better than other parts of the world, with China, Singapore, Vietnam, and South Korea leading the way. “
The Mövenpick Resort Khao Yai is located 90 miles northeast of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport.
© Fame Lights Co. Ltd. / Willem Deenik
China had Covid-19 infections “pretty well under control by April,” she said, allowing Accor to open hotels there.
“Given that SARS is primarily affected in Asia, there is a strong understanding in Asian cultures of the steps required to reduce the impact of a pandemic – like masks and contact tracing – which will mean itself the Asian countries for the most part will recover faster, “she said.
Access to Chinese tourists was another factor.
The three bedroom penthouse at Mövenpick Resort Khao Yai.
© Fame Lights Co. Ltd. / Willem Deenik
“Before Covid, around 80% of arrivals to Asia came from Asia, more than half of which were Chinese tourists,” Reid said. “Chinese tourists will remain the engine of tourism growth in Asia.”
Among the most important new openings for Accor this year are Hotel Perle d’Orient Cat Ba and Movenpick Resort Cam Ranh – both in Vietnam – plus Thailand Movenpick Resort Khao Yai, two Pullman Hotels in China and Asia’s first Mondrian Hotel, the Mondrian Seoul Itaewon.
The Sweepstakes BaliPerhaps the most acclaimed Accor new hotel of 2020, it opened in early July. The new resort is the 15th Raffles Hotel in the world and comprises 32 villas, all with private pools and expansive views of the Indian Ocean. There are six restaurants and bars, including one in a cave discovered during the resort’s construction.
The Presidential Villa at Raffles Bali.
Courtesy Raffles Bali
Six senses bang Opening in March as the fifth and last lodge of the “sustainable” hotel operator in Bhutan. The eight suites and one two-bedroom villa, known as the “forest within the forest”, are built around the trees of a pine forest. A sapling grows in the middle of each suite.
Six Senses Bumthang, the company’s fifth and final lodge in Bhutan.
Courtesy Six Senses Bhutan
Guests can take a Six Senses “journey” through Bhutan and stay at this and other Six Senses lodges in Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey and Paro.
Capella Bangkok Opened in October, although the country is mostly closed to international travelers.
“We are fortunate that domestic travel within Thailand is now allowed so we can greet guests from afar and tap into the Bangkok-specific market for accommodation,” said John Blanco, general manager of CNBC’s global travelers hotel.
Capella Bangkok is located on the Chao Phraya River.
Courtesy Capella Bangkok
The Capella Curates program, which includes a tour of the food stand with the hotel’s chef and an insider tour of Bangkok nightlife, was a hit with local tourists, although it was originally designed for international and local travelers, Blanco said.
Bangkok isn’t the only Asian city to have a new Capella Hotel this year. The 47 room designed by Bill Bensley Capella Hanoi opens in Vietnam in December.
Meanwhile, Kimpton made his debut opening its first hotel in Southeast Asia Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok on October 1st.
“Instead of leaving that [pandemic] Hold us back, we’ve turned and adjusted to the new normal and market conditions in Thailand, “said Patrick Both, General Manager of the hotel.
The Celebrity Suite at Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok.
Courtesy Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok
The hotel opened in stages, starting with a lobby bar in July, followed by a rooftop garden bar, spa, and finally guest rooms in October.
After the original opening date has been postponed, Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok on the Chao Phraya River is now taking reservations for stays after December 1st. The 299-room hotel has a private boat that takes guests on tours of neighborhoods connected to Bangkok’s central canal system.
The day after Kimpton launched in Bangkok, the boutique brand opened the Kimpton Shinjuku Tokyo.
Nathan Cook, the hotel’s general manager, attributes the hotel’s start to the Japanese.
“The resilience of the Japanese people and the tendency to mask and disinfect themselves were evident in our daily lives long before these times for Covid-19,” he told CNBC’s Global Traveler.
The Kimpton Shinjuku Tokyo has 151 guest rooms.
Courtesy Kimpton Shinjuku Tokyo
The Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo in Otemachi also opened its doors this fall. The new hotel was originally scheduled to open in July of last year in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and marks the Four Seasons’ third outing to Japan and the second in Tokyo. With 170 rooms and 20 suites, the new hotel is larger than its 57-room counterpart in Marunouchi, one of Tokyo’s business districts.
Smaller Japanese cities and towns were also prepared for high-profile hotel openings in 2020 JW Marriot Nara Opened at the end of July. The hotel is the first international luxury hotel in Nara Prefecture and is about 60 minutes from Kyoto. It is located between the Heijo Palace and the Mount Kasuga jungle, two popular tourist attractions.
The Ritz-Carlton am See, Nikko, is close to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Temples of Nikko.
Courtesy Ritz-Carlton, Nikko
The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko Also opened in July, less than three weeks after another Ritz-Carlton hotel opened in Nanjing, China. The hotel’s onsen, or natural thermal bath, is located next to Lake Chuzenji and consists of clear, sulphurous water that turns milky white when exposed to the air.
Another Ritz-Carlton location, Higashiyama Niseko VillageThe 50-room hotel has access to two golf courses and more than 2,100 hectares of ski area.
The onsen at Higashiyama Niseko Village, a Ritz-Carlton reservation.
Courtesy of Higashiyama Niseko Village
It is also a designated “Ritz-Carlton Reserve” hotel, which the company describes as a “rare place for those who appreciate an exotic retreat in the most exquisite corners of the world”. This is the company’s fifth reserve hotel.
The new Hotel Ritz-Carlton opens alongside another big name in hospitality in Hokkaido’s famous ski town of Niseko. The Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono opened in January of this year.