What’s new? Plenty, at hotels and resorts around the world. New culinary adventures, new activities, new locations and new commitments to sustainability have ramped up the excitement at properties both new and next. Take a look.
New Luxury Esmeralda DR Honors Taino Heritage
After nearly 8 months and a $35m-dollar investment, the newly reimagined Bahia Principe Luxury Esmeralda, is ready to show off a new look that draws inspiration from the indigenous people of the Caribbean, the Taino, delivering a revitalized and culturally immersive experience in Punta Cana, DR. Embracing the ‘Taino Soul’ concept, groups can enjoy new culinary offerings, upscale amenities, and new room categories starting December 2023.
The ‘Taino Soul’ concept is weaved throughout the renovated property, from stone elements and rugged textures recalling the Taino sport of batu, to living and entertainment spaces designed for the nitainos, the nobility and warriors, and outdoor event venues embodying the spirit of the bohiques, who held the roles of priests and healers.
In the realm of cuisine, the beachfront resort also has introduced two themed specialty restaurants: Taino Restaurant and Mongolian Restaurant, delivering a revitalized and culturally immersive experience.
Guests at Bahia Principe Luxury Esmeralda can take advantage of exchange privileges with neighboring properties, which include Bahia Principe Luxury Ambar, Bahia Principe Grand Aquamarine, Bahia Principe Grand Punta Cana, Bahia Principe Grand Bavaro, and Bahia Principe Grand Turquesa + Fantasia Punta Cana, allowing access to a total of 26 restaurants, 34 bars, and 9 swimming pools, all conveniently connected by an internal shuttle service.
For more information, visit bahia-principe.com/en.
British Colonial Set To Make Winter Debut
Nassau’s grande dame has returned. The British Colonial, an iconic Nassau hotel steeped in more than 100 years of local history, will reopen this winter, showcasing a highly anticipated $50m redesign inclusive of its guest rooms, public spaces, amenities, and onsite programs.
Like so many hotels in neighboring Florida, the British Colonial was constructed by oil and railroad magnate Henry Flagler, who opened the original Hotel Colonial in 1900. After being destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1923, the hotel operated under several different major hospitality brands including Sheraton, Best Western, and most recently, Hilton Hotels.
Purchased in 2014 by the China State Construction Engineering Corporation, the revamped and completely modernized property is reopening as a boutique hotel offering 288 newly redesigned rooms including 25 signature suites, seven F&B outlets including the flagship Mahogany Club fine dining restaurant, and more than 18,000 sf of indoor and outdoor meeting space accommodating groups of up to 800 for corporate and social events.
Despite its modern amenities, the grand hotel still echoes a bygone era, and there are examples of Colonial Revival architecture and decor throughout the property, from towering chandeliers, original crown moldings and colorful murals depicting scenes from Bahamian history, to a rich jewel-tone color palette, intricate tile work and palatial touches. britishcolonial.com
New Ideas Hatching in the Bird’s Nest
Banyan Tree Krabi, a luxury 72-key resort situated on Thailand’s secluded TubKaek Beach, has revealed a menu resplendent in local recipes, reflecting the rich culinary culture of Southern Thailand, and served in one of the country’s most Instagrammable locations.
Attached by a short walkway to Banyan Tree Krabi’s signature Thai restaurant, Saffron—which is reached by a 60-second ride in an electric funicular—a panoramic trio of three “Bird’s Nest” tables sit perched on a craggy cliff overlooking the Andaman Sea. Favored among hotel guests, passing tourists and locals alike, reservations for these coveted tables are often made weeks or months in advance.
Now that wait might be longer thanks to new menu additions made in October—four set menus reflective of local produce and culinary traditions, with every dish carefully refined by Chef Tum into intricate recipes and presented in exquisite style.
The new offerings are: “By Land,” a four-course feast of flavors featuring Banana Flower Steamed Bun and spicy Thai soup; “By Sea” a seafood “symphony” including Baked Lobster with Panang Curry Fruit Sauce; a vegetarian “Garden Delights” of Dumplings Stuffed with Grains and Grilled Soybean Tofu in Green Curry Sauce; and “A Touch of Opulence” featuring the chef’s Chiang Mai dish, the ever-popular coconut milk-based curry khao soi. banyantree.com/thailand/krabi
Club Med: New Hotels, More Luxury & Sustainability
Pioneers of the all-inclusive concept, Club Med has announced a variety of new developments including three forthcoming international resorts—the brand’s first resort in South Africa and the first Exclusive Collection (5-Star) resort in South America. These new openings will reinforce Club Med’s shift to only 4- and 5-star products and the brand’s ambition to expand its portfolio with three to five openings or renovations per year. Additionally, the brand continues to build on its Happy to Care corporate social responsibility program with a new environmental certification at France’s Club Med Tignes and additional developments in North America.
Among the new resorts will be the 2026 opening of Club Med Tinley, a first-of-its-kind beach and safari resort and the brand’s first-ever location in South Africa. Situated in KwaZulu-Natal, a province renowned for its diverse natural beauty and year-round warm weather, Club Med Tinley will feature a surf-lifestyle concept, as well as the opportunity to stay on a Big Five Game Reserve and embark on safaris.
In 2025, Club Med Gramado makes its debut as the brand’s first Exclusive Collection (5-Star) resort in South America and the fourth resort in Brazil. Also in 2025, Club Med Borneo will offer a pristine paradise where jungle meets idyllic white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters.
Meanwhile, Club Med opened its first urban oasis resort, Club Med Urban Oasis Xianlin Nanjing, China, on Oct. 18, which also has the distinction of being the world’s first Club Med with metro access. Going into 2024, Club Med Marrakech La Palmeraie, situated in the heart of Morocco, will be undergoing renovations to renew and transform into a premium, all-inclusive experience. clubmed.com
Lovango Resort & Beach Club Debuts New Experiences
Lovango Resort & Beach Club, the family-owned private island resort overlooking Caneel Bay in the USVI, will unveil new 1- and 2-bedroom cottages this December. The cottages can be rented individually or as a duo and complement existing accommodations, which range from upscale tree houses and glamping tents to a private three-bedroom villa.
For the upcoming 2023/24 season, new resort activities include chartering a private boat for a 3- or 4-day sail to visit the British Virgin Islands or the USVI, with pick-up at Lovango. This is the only option in the Caribbean to charter a boat for less than a week, and clients can create their own unique land and sea adventure with the Stay & Sail package.
In addition, a new supervised Children’s Program will be offered Feb. 12-April 26 and is complimentary for overnight guests. Overnight guests also enjoy complimentary membership to the Lovango Beach Club, with spectacular views of all the US Virgin Islands, a 70-foot infinity pool, snorkeling gear, beach activities and food and optional drink service to each seat. lovangovi.com
New Pueblo Bonito Luxury Brand in 2024
Pueblo Bonito Golf & Spa Resorts will unveil its new luxury brand with the opening of Pueblo Bonito Vantage San Miguel de Allende in spring 2024.
Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, has been charming visitors for nearly 500 years. The city is renowned for its Baroque Spanish architecture, thriving arts scene, culinary experiences, and cultural celebrations.
Pueblo Bonito Vantage San Miguel de Allende is being built in homage to the city’s architectural heritage while accentuating guest comfort, with 111 well-appointed guest rooms and suites in one wing; and 45 privately-owned villas and multi-bedroom condominiums in another. All rooms and residences, designed in a neo-colonial style, will feature terraces with outstanding views of the city’s historic downtown.
The hacienda-style property showcases the elegance of contemporary Mexican design of the highest style in every room and space. Multicolored, with a Moorish influence, the boutique hotel features beautiful fabrics, hand-crafted furniture and exquisite details intended to completely envelope guests and visitors.
LaFrida, the hotel’s gourmet Mexican restaurant, will offer a show in coals and fire as well as top-of-the-line wines and cocktails in a stylish environment. The dining room is a celebration of color, with indigo blue and raspberry-colored walls accented by antique Venetian mirrors. A rooftop bar serving drinks, tapas and snacks also is part of the experience.
For more information, visit pueblobonito.com/introducing-pueblo-bonito-vantage.