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Small Luxury Hotels Of The World Kickstarts 2021 With New Hotel Openings In South Africa, Italy

January 22, 2021 Hotel Openings No Comments

SLH is delighted to start the new year with seven new member hotels, and being back on the South African map with three iconic hotels from The Liz McGrath Collection. Together with an Italian trio that take in lake, sea and prosecco as well as a historic hideaway on Bastia’s hilltop citadel, there is always something to inspire the most discerning luxury traveller, whether for short staycations or that once-in-a-lifetime trip when the time is right.

The Liz McGrath Collection, South Africa – NEW DESTINATION

Country House The Cellars-Hohenort (Cape Town) 51 rooms

Beach Resort    The Marine (Hermanus) 40 rooms

Beach Resort   The Plettenberg (Plettenberg Bay) 37 rooms

SLH proudly returns to South Africa with three iconic hotels from The Liz McGrath Collection – The Plettenberg on the coastline of the famous Garden Route, The Marine – a clifftop retreat on the Hermanus Coast, and The Cellars-Hohenort in the historic Constantia Valley, Cape Town.

Surrounded by nine acres of historic gardens and with views of the Eastern slopes of Table Mountain, The Cellars-Hohenort combines two great traditions: the historical Hohenort Manor House and the Cellars in the 18th-century Klaasenbosch Wine Estate. Located in the wine-growing suburb of Constantia Valley, the hotel also offers a wonderful base from which to explore Cape Town. The elegant 17th-century manor makes an instant impression, standing proud in nine acres of pristine gardens, lovely arranged water fountains and nature walking trails within the estate. Guestrooms and suites boast breath-taking views of the Eastern Slope of Table Mountain and the gardens.  The Cellars-Hohenort is also home to the award-winning Greenhouse which is consistently ranked as one of South Africa’s top 20 restaurants with an enviable wine collection.

Less than 1.5 hours’ drive away is The Marine, one of South Africa’s most spectacular seaside hotels offering some of the world’s finest land-based whale watching between June and November each year – often directly from the comfort of the sea view bedrooms. Located on a clifftop retreat on the rugged Hermanus coast overlooking the breath-taking Walker Bay, the beachside retreat is great for relaxing and getting acquainted with nature such as the Fernkloof Nature Reserve and Grotto Beach.

Completing the triumvirate, The Plettenberg presents the ultimate Garden Route destination. Situated on a rocky headland in Plettenberg Bay along the verdant Garden Route on South Africa’s spectacular South East Coast, Plettenberg Bay boasts an ever-temperate climate and golden beaches, making it the ultimate South African seaside escape. The luxury hotel, with its 35 beautifully appointed rooms and two family-style villas, showcases the most breath-taking vistas in Southern Africa, with views of the ocean, mountains and is one of the few hotels in the area with direct beach access.

SLH Insider Tip: South Africa is big on everything, from safaris to breath-taking landscapes off the typical tourist trail, laid-back cape towns such as Hermanus and Plettenberg Bay that capture the very ‘best of’ South Africa.  Whales can be spotted from June all the way through to November. String these hotels together for an epic coastal experience following our South Africa itinerary.

Country House (pet-Friendly)

Grand Hotel Victoria Concept & Spa (Lago di Como, Menaggio, Italy) – NEW OPENING

Opening 12th February 2021 (Opening dates may be subject to change depending on local travel restrictions)

81 rooms

This stunning lakeside hotel is the newest five-star hotel on Lake Como. Having started life as a 19th century neoclassical villa, this February Grand Hotel Victoria Concept & Spa reopens as a reimagined retreat with ornate chandeliers and classical columns sitting alongside contemporary furniture and surrounded by beautiful gardens, lake views and mountains. Rooms can be reserved individually or combined to create multi-room suites – such as the Como Suite which includes a Junior Suite, two Prestige rooms, three bathrooms and lake-view balcony. Lago Restaurant, presided over by Chef Martin Vitaloni, also makes the most of wraparound views from its lakeside veranda. Erre Spa is as serene as it is stylish. Guests can unwind in the 1500-square-metre spa centred around a courtyard with a refreshing juice or a healing infusion from the tea corner. There’s plenty to explore right on the doorstep. The ‘grand dame’ villas and even grander gardens which slope down to the shores of Lake Como including Villa Carlotta and the 12th-century Villa del Balbianello, now a 21st-century film set.

SLH Insider Tip: Really push the boat out with a romantic picnic (and even wine tasting) on a private boat trip to the centre of the lake.


Canne Bianche Lifestyle Hotel (Torre Canne, Italy)

52 rooms

Positioned right on the seafront in Torre Canne di Fasano in Puglia, this elegant beachside retreat echoes its location in this secluded fishing village. Simplicity and authenticity go hand in hand here, from the garden chandeliers hewn from oyster shells, the warm waves lapping onto the hotel’s bagnasciuga and Mediterranean flavours as imagined by owner Antonio Mangano and his family. Canne Bianche is an effortless blend of clean lines, boho décor and soft lime-wash colours. The natural aesthetic continues into the bedrooms and suites, where you’ll find crisp, white linens, wooden furniture and a hydro-massage bath/walk-in shower in your Italian marble bathroom.  The Aqua Spa offers an extensive range of treatments including Ancient Roman rituals such as ‘Essential Flower’ using rosemary, myrtle and olive oil. Freshly-caught fish and seafood are main-course staples here, alongside locally sourced meat, just-picked vegetables and homemade ear-shaped orecchiette. The resort organizes special themed evenings on the restaurant terrace for guests to experience customs and traditions of the region, with live cooking, classic Puglian street food and joyful Pizzica folk dances. Its strategic location also makes ideal for a self-drive coastal tour – the pretty town of Fasano is a ten-minute drive away, and about 20 minutes from the beautiful whitewashed town of Ostuni, and Alberobello, a UNESCO site known for its hobbit-like Trulli houses.

SLH Insider TipHead off to explore Puglia’s beautiful towns and landmarks such as Alberobello’s trulli – conical roofed houses worthy of the most stylish hobbit. For the ultimate indulgence, the luxurious Canne Bianche Master Suite has a living area and its own plunge pool.

Country House (pet-Friendly)

Villa Soligo (Treviso, Italy)

39 rooms

Villa Soligo owes its noble Palladian style to its inception in 1782 as the summer hunting lodge for the Counts of Brandolini. Now meticulously restored, this boutique hotel is the epitome of refined luxury, relaxation and state-of-the-art wellness with the splendour of a prestigious historic 18th century mansion. The hotel stands on 15,000m2 of centuries-old grounds at the foot of Prosecco Hills, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Romanesque columns frame the villa’s entrance with the neoclassical grandeur continuing upstairs to its rooms and suites – each one individually designed and sumptuously furnished to reflect the Treviso period style and history of the mansion. You’ll feel immediately at home as you look out onto views of the original water fountain and beautiful parkland, filled with swathes of fragrant pine and cedar trees. Indulging the senses at the Villa Soligo extends to exploring the many cultural and artistic treats nearby. Nearby marks the start of La Strada del Prosecco, where you can take part in guided tastings of Italy’s most famous fizz. Visit surrounding wineries to taste the best local wines -, head out to the floating city of Venice, while the town of Conegliano that inspired Giovanni’s masterpieces is closer still.

SLH Insider TipThanks to the hotel’s strategic location along the Via del Prosecco, a historic road, biking adventures are highly recommended. Villa Soligo has curated a list of road and mountain bike routes categorized in order of difficulty, distance and elevation. The beautiful green hills around the villa guarantee breathtaking views of the UNESCO World Heritage Site panorama with vineyards as far as the eye can see, gentle uphill tracks and lots of places to stop and taste the local specialities and wines.

City Centre Hotel

Hôtel des Gouverneurs (Bastia, France)

26 rooms

Tucked away within the historical site of the Citadel of Bastia, Hôtel des Gouverneurs is the only hotel within Bastia’s hilltop citadel. The stylish boutique property which dates back to 1380 is just two minutes’ walk from the Old Port and 5 minutes’ walk from the city centre, well-placed to explore the beautiful baroque streets of Bastia. Guestrooms are sophisticated in décor, using natural colours to provide a light and airy atmosphere. Step into classic-meets-contemporary rooms and sophisticated suites, with terraces that offers a sublime view of the Old Port and seascape beyond. Comfort is present in every detail including Italian-style showers and Roberto Cavalli toiletries. Guests looking to relax are treated to the luxury of relaxing in the heated indoor swimming pool with its lagoon-blue water, a sauna and a hammam at Biologique Recherche Spa, or indulging in massages done in their own room. When it’s time to satiate hunger pangs, Mediterranean style Les Dînettes des Gouverneurs transforms into a terrace tapas restaurant at night, before retreating to the convivial bar for some small batch gin and rum.

SLH Insider Tip:

Take up the hotel’s offer of eco-friendly electric bikes to explore the area, stopping off for coffee on Market Square and visiting the latest exhibition at the Governors’ Palace. We would also recommend taking a car out to explore Cap Corse, Corsica’s northern promontory where you will discover a number of little fishing villages along the east coast and beautiful patches of unspoilt coastline dotted with sandy coves.

In Other News

In Europe…

Mykonos Grand Hotel & Resort (Mykonos, Greece)

Mykonos Grand has unveiled its new, fully renovated 8,000 sq.ft Althea Spa which overlooks the sacred island of Delos, birthplace of the god of light, Apollo, and coincidentally one of the sunniest areas in the world. Working in partnership with award-winning London designer, Maria Vafiadis of MKV Design, the spa boasts daylight filled interiors where a palette of dazzling white and numerous shades of blue are perfectly aligned with the Cycladic architecture while optimally utilizing natural light. A series of treatment rooms with private, shaded courtyards allows views to the Aegean Sea while its semi-caved thalasso pool, as well as outdoor treatment and relaxation areas all enjoy incredible sea and garden views.

Santorini Secret Suites & Spa (Santorini, Greece)

For an unforgettable evening with a loved one, the hotel will whisk you and your partner to a secret location on Caldera hill for a private picnic where you can take in limitless volcano and sunset views over the Aegean sea while sipping wine, away from the crowds. Be pampered with a 10-course Mediterranean menu, butler at your call, alongside local Santorinian wine.

Canaves Oia Suites & Canaves Oia Epitome (Oia, Greece)

Canaves Oia Suites has added five new Cave Villas to its portfolio. The two-bedroom villa comes with an infinity pool, a hot tub, large outdoor dining area complemented with breathtaking Aegean views and the comforts of a much-loved home. Its vast living areas comprise comfortable furnishings and a separate dining area with a fully-equipped kitchen, and is ideal for extended island stays of families or groups of friends looking to spread out. Meanwhile, sister hotel Canaves Oia Epitome has also added 15 new rooms, a spa and wellness area as well as a fitness studio.

Villa Eden ParkVilla Eden – The Leading Park Retreat (Merano, Italy)

Designed for digital nomads, Villa Eden’s “Smart Working at Villa Eden” will appeal to those looking for an alternative location to comfortably work from. Starting from EUR2,550 per person in a double room (half board), guests get complimentary laundry service, as well as access to the Longevity Spa and an extensive programme of activities to keep both body and mind fit. Package is valid till 26 March 2021.

URSO Hotel & Spa (Madrid, Spain)

After a day exploring the fascinating city of Madrid, URSO Hotel & Spa invites you to enjoy a two-century old tradition in the comfort of their cozy lobby – a cup of delicious hot chocolate from a selection created by their chef, complete with their home-made crispy churros that will leave you feeling like a bone fide madrileño.

In the Americas…

Wentworth Mansion (Charleston, United States)

Executive Chef Marc Collins is celebrating his 20th anniversary at Circa 1886 Restaurant with a one-night-only intimate Anniversary Dinner on 22 July. Chef Collins – also the winner of the Local Food Champion category at SLH Awards in 2020, will showcase his signature Southern dishes as well his new flavours that will leave guests wanting more. Price at USD125++/person; call (843) 853-7828 to reserve.

In a most creative response to safe distancing practices, Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa has turned two recently-purchased Whiteface gondola cabins at its lakeside Cottage Café into private dining areas for up to eight guests. Available for private rental, these heated cabins will offer a special dining experience even during cold winter months, and are thoroughly sanitized after each use.

Petit St. Vincent Island (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines)

Join internationally renowned guitar guru Justin Sandercoe on Petit St Vincent Island for an Unplugged Acoustic Guitar Workshop on 11-18 July 2021. Each workshop will be a small group of just twelve students, allowing for an intimate and personalised learning experience and time for individual sessions with Justin. The 7-night package (US$ 7,800+) includes accommodation in a one-bedroom cottage, all meals, non-alcoholic drinks, 15 hours of guitar instruction and use of all non-motorised water-sports. Based on 2 persons sharing – one guitar student; partner at leisure.

In The Asia-Pacific…

The Sukhothai Shanghai (China)

The Sukhothai Shanghai launches a limited-time ‘teamLab Staycation’ that takes guests on a new height of exploring the immersive digital art installations at teamLab’s Borderless Museum in Shanghai. Available till until 28 February 2021, the staycation package starts from RMB1,700 per night (exc. 10% service charge and 6.6% prevailing tax) and includes one night accommodation at the hotel’s signature Executive room with two breakfasts, two adult entrance tickets to the teamLab exhibition, non-alcoholic in-room refreshments, WIFI connectivity, welcome fruit and turndown tea in the evening.

Hotel Éclat Beijing (China)

Hotel Éclat Beijing has unveiled the Winter Staycation Packages at their stylish themed Deluxe Lagoon Suites, which features the only weather-proof private indoor terraces in the city equipped with a 5-metre jet pool, offering the perfect aqua-escape in the privacy of your own suite. Deluxe Lagoon Suites rates start from CNY5,888 for weekday stays, and CNY7,688 for Grand Deluxe Lagoon Suites.

Lanson Place Hotel (Hong Kong)

Whether on a business trip or a long vacation, long-stay travellers can now stay in style with the comfort of a private home with Lanson Place Hotel’s Extended Stay Package. Starting from HKD6,300 per night for a minimum of 7 nights’ stay from now till 31 March 2021, each room comes with a fully-equipped kitchenette, 24-hour self-service launderette and gym, complimentary use of Handy smartphone and flexible booking terms.

137 Pillars Suites Bangkok (Thailand)

The luxury boutique hotel recently launched a range of private events at the hotel’s rooftop pool, which is one of the most Instagrammable pools in Asia. Perched high above Bangkok’s vibrant skyline, the rooftop pool and terrace – typically only accessible to Suites guests – will be transformed into an exclusive event space for a minimum of 2 or a maximum of 30 people, giving guests peace of mind interacting in their own private space.

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