The recently opened Asaya, on the sixth and seventh floor of the Rosewood in Hong Kong, provides a comforting, nest-like feel. Its outdoor courtyard and pools, surrounded by high whitewashed walls, contribute to a sense of a sanctuary in the sky, bathed in natural light and hidden from the hectic city. Meanwhile the hotel’s lap pool, bar and gym, connected to the wellness centre, offer endless harbour views.
Asaya’s Tony Chi-designed treatment rooms, bathhouses and beauty salon, plus two self-contained suites isolated from the Rosewood’s 413 rooms, reflect the importance of wellness to the high-end hospitality industry. There’s even a health-focused restaurant: the Mediterranean and Japanese-inspired Asaya Kitchen, headed by chef Renaud Marin.
“We are invested in your lifestyle, not just the next hour of your life,” says Erin MacNeil, Rosewood’s director of wellness. The Canadian expat wants to dispel the “yoga and granola” view of the concept by making it more accessible. She says it incorporates everything that makes us feel better: “Do you eat? Sleep? That’s wellness.”
The extensive offerings at Asaya range from an elevated take on massage packages (including a library of oils) to intravenous drips and minor cosmetic surgery; there’s expressive-arts therapy and consultations with the on-site naturopathic doctor. Your writer settles on 3D skin analysis and a men’s “anti-vice” facial. The diagnosis: my skin’s dehydrated. I must drink more water. MacNeil arrived in Hong Kong last year from Rosewood’s sister hotel in Beijing, where she was spa director. Whereas traditional spas have become transactional, wellness is more pervasive: packages have become programmes and the services permeate the rest of the hotel. As a result, taking responsibility for wellness across a hotel means liaising with other departments, from head chef to head of HR.
The wellness boom comes down to two main factors: affluence and technology. Access to more money means that people want to live the best life. Meanwhile, smartphones and the like are increasing mental stress and result in a need to switch off. Health-conscious consumers are a positive development for hotels: data shows that spa users tend to be high-spending guests. It seems wellness is becoming the hospitality industry’s holy grail.
Next year’s hotel-openings headlines will include the Nomad’s London landing and Rosewood hitting São Paulo but there’s a wealth of other openings to watch. Here’s our overview of some more addresses that you’ll want to check in to.
Come summer the Bolza family will open a 36-room hotel in the 11th-century castle on their Umbrian estate. Beyond the historic fortress, the estate encompasses 50 farmhouses (some now holiday rentals), stables, vineyards and olive groves, as well as architect Benedikt Bolza’s design studio. Bolza is working with local craftsmen to revamp the building, while food for the restaurants will be sourced from the estate’s farm. “We make five different wines, olive oil and honey,” says Bolza.
lvmh’s hotel collection, Cheval Blanc, opens its first Parisian property in spring. The hotel has 72 rooms and suites designed by Edouard François and Peter Marino. “With this view you can visit Paris in one glance,” says Olivier Lefebvre, head of lvmh hotel activities. Guestrooms are set up like apartments and the penthouse suite has a pool and terrace overlooking the Eiffel Tower. “We also want to welcome Parisians,” says Lefebvre, noting that the hotel will have a bar and two restaurants, one headed by Michelin-starred Arnaud Donckele.
In spring the Danish capital’s former central post office will reopen as a 390-room hotel over the road from the Central Station and Tivoli Gardens. “The neo-Baroque building has been restored to appear exactly as it was at its inauguration in 1912 when the Danish postal service moved in,” says Villa Copenhagen’s general manager Peter Høgh Pedersen. “It remains a centre for communication; somewhere people connect in a historic setting.”
Ace Hotel’s first Asian outpost has been designed in collaboration with long-time partner Commune Design and architect Kengo Kuma. The hotel will merge eastern and western influences when it opens in spring. It will be the centrepiece of the Shin-Puh-Kan Redevelopment Project that is revitalising the old Kyoto Central Telephone Exchange and will include a ground-floor marketplace, among other amenities.
Following the restoration of two historic properties – the Raffles Europejski Warsaw and the recently reopened Raffles Singapore – the hotel company is opening in Bali. Located in Jimbaran Bay, the property will encompass a collection of villas with breathtaking ocean views. Over the next three years, Raffles Hotels & Resorts is looking to double its portfolio to 28 properties.
Austin is having a moment. Not only has Proper Hotels opened its doors but Hotel Magdalena by Liz Lambert’s Bunkhouse Group will arrive in 2020. “The hotel, inspired by the 1960s and 1970s, is a love song to that part of Austin,” says Lambert. Designed by architects Ted Flato and David Lake, the 89-room property is a stone’s throw from Bunkhouse’s other hotels: the San José, Saint Cecilia and Austin Motel.