Many hotels named this year as “Best New Hotels of 2020” have yet to welcome a single guest.
The global pandemic has pushed plans to open much-anticipated new hotels near the vineyards of Napa Valley in California on the banks of the Seine in Paris, with many rescheduling openings until 2021.
Except, that is to say in Asia.
In a year of unprecedented hardship for the travel industry, renowned brands have opened upscale hotels, resorts and lodges across Asia, some of which have been launched in the region for the first time. .
Why hotels in Asia opened when others didn’t
Gaynor Reid, vice president of communications for AccorHotels in Asia-Pacific, said Asia has been leading the hotel development trajectory for several years, a trend that continued during the pandemic.
Accor has opened 76 hotels in Asia this year, with 32 more expected to open before the end of 2020, Reid said. This equates to nearly 17,000 new rooms, which is roughly 35% below Accor’s pre-Covid targets.
“United States [and] European markets are more mature than Asian hotel markets, “she said.” In addition, some Asian countries have been able to control Covid better than other parts of the world, with China, Singapore, Vietnam and South Korea leading the way. “
China had Covid-19 infections “fairly well controlled in April,” she said, allowing Accor to open hotels there.
Since SARS primarily affected Asia, Asian cultures understand well the steps needed to reduce the impact of a pandemic – like masks and contact tracing – which means Asian countries are going, for the most, bounce back. faster, ”she says.
Access to Chinese tourists was another factor.
“Before Covid, around 80% of arrivals to Asia were from Asia, more than half of which were Chinese tourists,” Reid said. “Chinese tourists will continue to be the engine of tourism growth in Asia.”
The main openings this year for Accor include Perle d’Orient Cat Ba Hotel and Movenpick Resort Cam Ranh – both in Vietnam – as well as Thailand Movenpick Resort Khao Yai, two Pullman hotels in China and the first Mondrian hotel in Asia, the Mondrian Seoul Itaewon.
New hotels in Bali and Bhutan
the Raffles bali, perhaps Accor’s most beloved new hotel of 2020, opened in early July. Marking the 15th Raffles hotel in the world, the new resort comprises 32 villas, all with private pools and stunning views of the Indian Ocean. There are six restaurants and bars, including one housed in a cave discovered during the construction of the complex.
Six senses Bumthang opened in March as the fifth and last lodge of the “sustainable” hotel operator in Bhutan. Called “forest within a forest,” the hotel’s eight suites and a two-bedroom villa were built around the trees of a pine forest. A sapling grows in the center of each suite.
You will be able to participate in a Six Senses “trip” through Bhutan, staying at this Six Senses lodges and others in Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey and Paro.
Big names in Bangkok
Capella Bangkok open in October, although the country is mostly closed to international travelers.
“We are … fortunate that domestic travel is now permitted in Thailand, so we will be able to welcome customers from further afield, as well as take advantage of the specific stay market in Bangkok,” said John Blanco, Managing Director of the hotel. CNBC’s Global Traveler.
The Capella Curates program, which includes a tour of the food stalls with the hotel’s chef and an interior tour of Bangkok’s nightlife, has been a hit with local tourists, even though it was designed in-house. origin for international and regional travelers, Blanco said.
Bangkok is not the only Asian city to have received a new Capella hotel this year. The 47 rooms, designed by Bill Bensley Capella Hanoi opens in Vietnam in December.
Meanwhile, Kimpton launched its first hotel in Southeast Asia with the opening of Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok October 1.
“Instead of letting the [pandemic] hold back, we pivoted and we adapted to the new normal and market conditions in Thailand, ”said Patrick Both, general manager of the hotel.
The hotel opened in stages, starting with a lobby bar in July, followed by a rooftop garden bar, spa, and finally rooms in October.
After the postponement of its initial opening date, Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok on the Chao Phraya River is now accepting reservations for stays from December 1st. The 299-room hotel has a private boat that takes guests on tours of neighborhoods connected to Bangkok’s central canal system.
New hotels in Japan
A day after Kimpton’s launch in Bangkok, the boutique brand opened the Kimpton Shinjuku Tokyo.
Nathan Cook, the hotel’s general manager, attributes the hotel’s launch to the Japanese people.
“The resilience of the Japanese people and the… tendency to mask and disinfect were evident in our daily lives long before we faced Covid-19,” he told CNBC’s Global Traveler.
the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo in Otemachi also opened this fall. Originally slated to open last July in time for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the new hotel marks the Four Seasons’ third foray into Japan and its 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 commercial districts.
Small Japanese towns were also set to open high-profile hotels in 2020. Making its debut in Japan, the JW Marriot Nara open end of July. Billed as the first international luxury hotel in Nara Prefecture, the hotel is approximately 60 minutes from Kyoto. It is located between Heijo Palace and the primeval forest of Mount Kasuga, two popular tourist attractions.
the Ritz-Carlton, Nikko also opened in July – less than three weeks after opening another Ritz-Carlton hotel in Nanjing, China. Located beside Lake Chuzenji, the hotel’s onsen, or natural hot spring bath, is made of clear sulphurous water that turns milky white when exposed to air.
Another Ritz-Carlton location, Higashiyama Niseko Village, is scheduled to open on December 15, 2020. The 50-room hotel has access to two golf courses and over 2,100 acres of ski terrain.
It is also a designated “Ritz-Carlton Reserve” hotel, which the company describes as “a rare place reserved for those who appreciate an exotic sanctuary nestled in the most exquisite corners of the world”. This will mark the company’s fifth reserve hotel.
The new Ritz-Carlton hotel joins another big name in hospitality to open in Hokkaido’s famous ski resort, Niseko. the Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono open in January of this year.