No.10 St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London, London, UK
The golden era of glamorous rail travel is long gone (at least for those who can't quite afford the Orient Express), which is why London will welcome the return of Britain's showiest railway hotel with open arms when it reopens in March. Formerly called the Midland Grand Hotel, no less than £150 million has been invested to return the original Victorian-Gothic structure to its former glory. A 10-year renovation has ensured that all the best bits have been kept and painstakingly retouched (such as Sir George Gilbert Scott’s cantilevered staircase), while shiny new additions, such as the 189 bedrooms in the extension at the back, are in keeping with the building's original style. A 120-seat fine-dining restaurant will wrap things up nicely, no doubt flanked by the capital's most chic commuters.
No.9 W London, London, UK
As the most anticipated hotel opening in the UK this year, W London certainly has a lot to live up to -- and if early media whisperings are to be believed, it will. Scheduled to open on February 14th in an attempt to capitalize on an already bled-dry holiday, this hotel is the W brand’s first opening in the UK and is well located on London's tourist-filled Leicester Square where the Swiss Centre once stood. No less than £300 million has been pumped into the project by parent company Starwood, which has seemingly forgotten about the recession, allowing for 194 blingtastic rooms, a destination restaurant, a bar-club combo, a fully equipped spa, and an on-site store selling party frocks and whatnot. There's even a 48-seat cinema should leaving the premises prove a little too strenuous for would-be guests. Expect the launch party to raise the roof (and more than a few eyebrows, with celebs getting up to no good inside).
No.8 Waldorf Astoria Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Bringing a big slab of New York-style hospitality to Germany this year is Waldorf Astoria Berlin, housed inside a 31-floor glass-fronted tower in the business district of Kurfürstendamm. Catering predominantly to the corporate crowd, Waldorf Astoria Berlin will boast 242 extremely well-appointed rooms as well as an on-site restaurant, bar and spa. The crowning glory of this new build, however, will be 1,000-square-meters of conference and meeting facilities, sure to lure hundreds of white-collar office workers through its doors once the ribbon has been cut on opening day. Waldorf Astoria's signature no-nonsense approach to service will also ensure that the city's notoriously discerning (read: picky) residents will be kept in the manner to which they've undoubtedly become accustomed.
No.7 The Queen Victoria, Cape Town, South Africa
Having enjoyed good press and endured bad press last year, it's good to see that Cape Town's public perception is once again tipping to the more positive side of things with the opening of a new boutique hotel in March. Called the Queen Victoria, this sumptuous new stay (housed in an existing building in the Victoria and Albert Waterfront) is small but perfectly formed, with just 35 rooms for weary guests to hunker down in. Murals of Queen Vic (who else?) abound inside, while plush furnishings, rich fabrics and a muted color palette of oyster, taupe, gray, silver, and burgundy link public spaces. The hotel's most impressive feature, however, will be its grand entrance, characterized by a spectacular triple-volume atrium with a spiral staircase and glass elevator. Indeed, if this doesn’t get five stars, we don’t know what will.
No.6 W Paris-Opéra, Paris, France
While W Paris-Opéra isn't due to open until the end of 2011, the buildup begins now. Found in the trendy Parisian district of Opéra, just minutes from the Garnier Opera House, the plush property will add 90 sumptuous rooms and suites to the capital's already chic hotel scene. Housed inside an elegant 1870s Haussmann-era building, the hotel (the brand’s eighth in Europe) will be an all-encompassing destination station, with a restaurant, bar, fitness facility, spa, and lounge. As with all W properties, the W Paris Opéra will boast the brand's signature Whatever/Whenever concierge service, providing guests with anything from a gourmet picnic in Jardin du Luxembourg to shopping excursions in the emporiums of Faubourg Saint-Honoré.
No.5 Ritz-Carlton Montreal, Montreal, Canada
In renovation since 2008, the Ritz-Carlton Montreal will finally reopen this autumn after a $150-million face-lift. The iconic stay, located at 1228 Sherbrooke Street West, will celebrate with a paparazzi-worthy opening to show off its revived facade, lobby, Palm Court, Grand Ballroom, and Ritz Garden -- all of which have been restored to their former dazzling glory. The best bit, however, will be the 46 private residences that have been added to the property, all furnished to shades-on superstar standards. Having this as your home address would certainly be a talking point with the ladies.
No.4 Palazzo Versace Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Versace isn't known for its understated aesthetic, but when the Italian brand comes into contact with Dubai -- land of flash and trash -- you can only imagine what would happen. In fact, you don’t need to imagine, as the Palazzo Versace showcases what would become of such a meeting. Following in the flamboyant footsteps of Versace's sister outpost on Australia's glossy Gold Coast, this £400-million wonder will be one of the United Arab Emirates' most ridiculously over-the-top stays when it opens mid-2011. Inside will be 213 suites and 169 private residences, as well as a host of slick restaurants and bars, an on-site superspa, a ballroom, and a boutique for the not-so-subtle flogging of Versace wares. But the hotel will also feature its own “refrigerated” beach, plugged into a system of heat-absorbing pipes and wind blowers to keep beachgoers in barely there swimwear calm, cool and collected. The green scene clearly hasn’t caught on here.
No.3 The Breakwater, Miami, USA
Although it rang in the New Year by opening on January 1st, the Breakwater's launch will be remembered long after the streamers have been swept away and the champagne has been mopped up. Fulfilling its promise of “chic and sexy and unfiltered individuality,” the hotel boasts supersleek interiors by renowned designer Stephen B Jacobs, with decor that sets a more serene scene than the rock ‘n’ roll-inspired Clevelander next door (where TVs are chained to walls to avoid them being thrown out of windows). Think minimal furnishings and muted tones across 100 spacious rooms, with bright pops of color adding extra pizzazz. The rooftop lounge, obligatory at any Miami hotel worthy of its Art Deco facade, is the perfect place to kick back, with the deck flanked by daybeds during the afternoon and lit with candles by night. Date night, anyone?
No.2 Mondrian New York, New York, USA
Thank God there's something else to focus on in February other than Valentine’s Day; opening in the most depressing month of the year is the Mondrian New York, the brand’s downtown debut. While details are being kept hush-hush, pics forwarded to us by in-the-know PRs (now unemployed, we imagine) reveal wonderfully trippy Alice in Wonderland-style interiors (courtesy of superstar designer Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz), particularly throughout the enchanted manicured gardens drenched with moody-blue lighting. Indeed, if you haven’t smoked anything suspicious prior to entering, you may want to in order to appreciate the head-spinning aesthetics. The theme carries through to 270 jaw-droppingly beautiful rooms as well as the destination restaurant to be headed up by none other than culinary genius Sam Talbot.
No.1 Shangri-La Paris, Paris, France
While current Paris gossip is largely centered on French Vogue’s new editor, we’re more concerned with the much-anticipated Mandarin Oriental Paris opening on Rue Saint-Honoré. When is another story, with the launch date having been pushed back countless times, but we do know that it will throw open its doors toward the latter part of 2011. With 138 rooms, a slew of restaurants, a spa, and an inner courtyard in which to smooch with your loved one, this hotel will have the city's other hotels shaking in their designer-heeled boots -- particularly Shangri-La Paris, which opened in December and has every intention of holding on to its press attention.
- Reference/Source: askmen.com by Nick Clarke