See the Northern Lights from a Hot Air Balloon with New Swedish Lapland Experience

Lapland Ballooning with Off the Map Travel
Lapland Ballooning with Off the Map Travel

Off the Map Travel will offer hot air balloon experiences in the Swedish Lapland to search for the Aurora Borealis from December 2020

Travellers visiting Swedish Lapland in the hope of seeing the Northern Lights can now take the viewing experience up a notch, with a new hot air-balloon concept by the founders of the Aurora Safari Camp. Jonas Gejke and Fredrik Broman are starting hot air balloon operations in Swedish Lapland along with ballooning expert Andrew Peart, who has been flying hot air balloons for more than 25 years over the African savannahs.

“This is a first,” says Jonathan Cooper, founder of Off the Map Travel and Arctic Travel expert. “We’ve never heard of anything like this before and everything is pointing to this being the region’s next big highlight Aurora experience.”

The first aurora flight will take off in December 2020 and will be available through to April 2021 – with bookings due to open for guests in May 2020. The experience will see the balloon take off and ascend up to 40 metres into the air, where it will hover while remaining anchored to the arctic ice below. 

For those more interested in the Arctic landscapes, the Lapland Ballooning team will also be running daytime expedition flights from its home base in Gunnarsbyn, Råneå River Valley over the Arctic wilderness.

“To experience the Northern Lights from the tranquility of the balloon in a remote wilderness region of Northern Sweden is a very special experience and one that will serve as a highlight for any luxury Arctic adventure,” Off the Map Travel’s Jonathan Cooper said. “Although the Aurora is never guaranteed, what better place to hunt for it than by ascending into the stars yourself.”

The full board 4-day 3-night Aurora in the Sky itinerary costs from £2,275 per person, not including flights. The cost includes meals, private transfers, accommodation at the Outpost and Aurora Safari Camp, snowmobile adventure with lunch on the Arctic circle, Aurora Hot Air Balloon experience and a Snowmobile adventure to the “meet the locals” experience.

The Lapland Ballooning experience is available for groups of up to six people and is recommended for guests over six years old. As flights will be weather dependent, it is also recommended that the experience be included as part of a multi-day stay to allow guests flexibility for their flight. Those keen to experience the new Aurora ballooning are advised to contact the team at Off the Map Travel for information about itineraries for next winter.


Starry Skies and Elephants: Unique Jungle Bubble Launches in Thailand

Jungle Bubbles at Dawn, Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort, Thailand
Jungle Bubbles at Dawn, Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort, Thailand

Guests of Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort can now get up-close-and-personal with roaming rehabilitated elephants

It’s official, quirky accommodation isn’t going anywhere. Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort is now giving guests a unique opportunity to spend the night observing Thailand’s elephants in their natural habitat while staying in transparent Jungle Bubbles

Unfolding across 160 acres of Northern Thailand’s ancient jungle, Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort is perched on a hill overlooking the Mekong and Ruak rivers. The secluded location is positioned to take in three country views over the confluence of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar as well as grazing elephants in the natural settings below. 

Located in the jungle, the two Jungle Bubbles are perched on raised wooden decks offering guests views of the elephants and the night sky. The Jungle Bubbles were custom designed by Eye In The Sky and are constructed with high tech polyester fabric using Precontraint Serge Ferrari technology to create a milieu in which guests can enjoy an immersive nature experience.

The bubble accommodation is fully air-conditioned, offering 22 square metres of indoor floor space; a 4.5-diameter bedroom and living space with a king bed and seating area under a transparent roof; and an enclosed, nontransparent en-suite shower and vanity. Intimate touches of bathrobes and slippers, white bed linen, regular and feather pillows and bathroom amenities, a hair dryer, vanity and make up mirror are all provided, so guests have access to all the comforts of home. 

Guests of the resort can purchase the Jungle Bubble experience as an optional activity and spend the night from dusk till dawn, returning to the hotel in the morning.  Rates start from 17,700 Thai Baht (about $851 AUD) per night for two people and include a dinner basket, a fully stocked mini bar, 24-hour in-room dining service and tea and coffee making facilities.

Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort is famous for its elephant camp that, along with the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF), were set up primarily to help elephants affected by abuse. Activities are designed to allow the elephant caretakers to raise the funds they need to look after the elephants without forcing the elephants into activities they might not enjoy. 

The introduction of the Jungle Bubbles at Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort is another world first that can be scaled and shared with other elephant camps to allow them to give a subset of elephants – those that prefer to only meet their mahouts and those that are bonded into friendship groups – a comfortable life, without becoming a financial strain on the operation.

Inside the Refreshed InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort

Federation Suite | InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort, QLD
Federation Suite | InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort, QLD

In partnership with

intercontinental sanctuary cove resort

The Gold Coast resort has unveiled a $6 million refurbishment to its rooms and suites along with a new menu and dining experiences 

InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort on the Gold Coast has unveiled its freshly refurbished 251 rooms, suites and breakfast destination, Cove Café. Each room and suite now has its own identity and takes inspiration from the resort’s 1-acre Lagoon Beach Pool and the 4.2-hectares of tropical gardens surrounding the property.

Daarc Architecture + Interiors led the interior design team that worked on the resort’s Homestead and Queenslander Suites, which Director Simone Barr said were designed to evoke the same essence of calm that she felt at the resort’s sub-tropical garden setting. “The soft neutral tones, natural timbers and warm lighting all work together to create a tranquil retreat perfect for a relaxing escape,” she said. 

The contemporary rooms now feature a coastal-inspired yet warm palette of teal blues, olive greens, greys and whites accented by pops of tropical colour and modern gold fittings, with new bedding and furniture from Hotel Interiors on display including white marble bench tops and blonde-timber panelling on cabinetry.

“The refurbishment artfully reflects the natural beauty of the resort’s grounds; embracing the green hues to blend in with the property’s unique design features including stained-glass windows in the Great House,” said InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort’s General Manager, Matt Rippin. “We’re delighted with the result and thrilled to start the new decade with a contemporary new look. The resort still retains the elegance and style of a grand Queensland estate, but when guests retreat to their rooms, they will now enjoy a distinct sense of destination infused with the signature modern comfort of InterContinental Hotels and Resorts.”

The resort’s breakfast destination, Cove Café has also been reinvigorated with the same tropic-inspired aesthetic featuring natural oak panelling and olive-hued velvets. The interior is framed by large white French doors that open onto the surrounds of the Fountain Terrace patio.

Led by Executive Chef, Matt Hart, the dining spot now offers an array of new menus and dining experiences, including a new breakfast tapas concept and buffet selections. Chef Hart uses herbs, grown in the resort’s gardens, in dishes that have been reimagined as part of his popular breakfast tapas. Guests can also take advantage of Cove Café’s dedicated coffee bar that serves Vittoria Coffee.

Guests can also embark on a culinary journey of fresh-ocean flavours with the Cove Cafe’s all-new seafood á la carte menu available every Saturday night. Chef Hart’s á la carte menu includes everything from Southern Indian style fish curry with Ballina snapper to Singapore chilli blue swimmer crab, Yamba prawns and Coffin Bay oysters.

The resort has launched an all-new High Coffee menu inside The Fireplace – decorated with floral motifs, summer-inspired hues and Vittoria Coffee Single Origin notes. New summer-inspired additions to the High Coffee menu include vanilla-frosted strawberry tarts, caramel mousses adorned with edible florals, almond butter biscuits, pressed cucumber finger sandwiches and open brioches filled with salmon parfait caviar.

“Regardless of whether visitors are staying in our guest rooms or our collection of premier suites across the Federation, Manor, Queenslander and Homestead range – there is a new and contemporary resort adventure waiting for them to experience,” Rippin stated.

Viking Launches Expedition Voyages

Viking Expedition Cruises

Viking Expeditions will hit the high seas from January 2022 with its ships, Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris, reaching destinations such as Antartica, North America’s Great Lakes and the Arctic

River and ocean cruise line Viking has announced it is expanding into expedition cruising with its first voyages, to Antarctica and North America’s Great Lakes, taking place in January 2022 on Viking Octantis. A second expedition vessel, Viking Polaris, will debut in August 2022, sailing to Antarctica and the Arctic. The Great Lakes itinerary will see guests visitinh the states of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, as well as the Canadian province of Ontario.


The Ships

The new Polar Class 6 Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris will host 378 guests in 189 staterooms. Customised to navigate the planet’s most remote environments, Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris will offer the same amenities as Viking’s ocean and river ships, with modern Scandinavian design throughout, with elegant touches, intimate spaces and panoramic views from any location on the ship.

Highlights of the Viking Expedition ships include The Hangar, an enclosed in-ship marina; access to expedition equipment including two six-guest submarines, a fleet of two-seater Arctic-tested kayaks and Viking Expedition Kits and 270-degree views from the Aula enclosed stern terrace, with access to the outdoor lounge area – the Finse Terrace. The bow of each ship features a two-deck Explorer’s Lounge with double-height windows. Guests will also be able to visit the Laboratory under supervised access to learn more about the experiments conducted by researchers from Viking’s partner institutes. Three temperate-controlled pools will be available aboard each ship as well as a Nordic Spa and fitness centre.

Guests can choose from six stateroom categories that range from 20.6 square metres to 113.6 square metres. All staterooms feature a king-size bed and large bathroom with spacious glass-enclosed shower, heated bathroom floor and anti-fog mirror. All staterooms provide guests with exterior views through a Nordic balcony’s floor-to-ceiling, distortion-free glass. Every stateroom is also equipped with a unique floor-to-ceiling drying closet that circulates warm air to dry and store clothing and expedition gear.

Guests of the luxurious Nordic Junior Suites (30 square metres) and Explorer Suites (53.9 square metres) will have an expanded bathroom with extended shower and double sinks, welcome champagne, a fully-stocked mini-bar replenished daily, complimentary laundry and shoeshine services, priority restaurant reservations and more. The Explorer Suites will feature two separate rooms, a Nordic Balcony and a full outdoor veranda.

As for the cream of the crop, each ship will feature one 113.6 square-metre Owner’s Suite with two separate rooms – a living room with six-seat dining table and a bedroom – as well as a 73.6 square foot private garden with a traditional Norwegian badestamp (wood-sided hot tub) and outdoor dining table.

The Restaurant will offer fine dining featuring regional cuisine and always-available classics. The casual World Café will be a “market” concept that offers live cooking, an open kitchen, bakery, grill and premium seafood and sushi choices, as well as a wide range of international flavours. Mamsen’s will serve Scandinavian-inspired fare while Manfredi’s is to offer Italian cuisine. Guests will also have complimentary 24-hour room service.

The onboard expedition program is designed to prepare guests for their onshore experiences, with more than 25 experts accompanying each journey. On board, guests can enjoy daily briefings and world-class lectures about their destination, engage with working scientists in The Laboratory or participate directly in citizen science programs. On shore, guests can assist in fieldwork or interact through experiential activities during landings.

Viking’s expedition ships minimise environmental impact through features such as the straight bow that reduces fuel consumption and a positioning system that enables the ship to hover over the seabed without anchoring.


The 2022-2023 Voyages

To develop the new expedition voyages, Viking has partnered scientific institutions such as the Scott Polar Research institute at the University of Cambridge, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Highlights of the inaugural polar voyages taking place between 2022 and 2023 include heading into the heart of the Antarctic peninsula on a 13-day Buenos Aires to Ushuaia trip, or 19-day Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro trip; exploring Norway’s Svalbard archipelago on a 13-day roundtrip from Tromsø and combining both the Artic and Antarctic regions on an 44-day itinerary from Tromsø to Ushuaia, visiting the Shetland Islands and Ireland’s shores as well as Rio de Janeiro, for a whopping AUD$47,995 per person, twin share.

In North America, voyages start from AUD$8,395 per person, twin share, and include visits to Lake Superior and Lake Huron travelling from Thunder Bay, Ontario to Milwaukee over eight days; Georgian Bay’s granite islands and Thunder Bay’s cliffs on an eight-day Great Lakes Explorer voyage; Niagara Falls and cultural attractions in Detroit, Toronto and Milwaukee on a third eight-day voyage from Toronto to Milwaukee; and the coasts of New England and Nova Scotia on a 13-day New York to Toronto voyage.

Viking Cruises is offering savings of up to $2,000 per couple with Viking’s Inaugural Offer on 2022 & 2023 Viking Expedition itineraries for those who book before 31 March 2020. Conditions apply.

Bid for a Stay at These Luxury Resorts and Help the Bushfire Relief

Vakkaru Maldives Aerial View
Vakkaru Maldives Aerial View

Live until 5pm Monday, January 27, all funds from global travel auction Australian Spirit Soars will go towards the Australian bushfire relief, with $20,000 raised in the first 24 hours

A silent luxury travel auction in aid of the devastating bushfires that have wreaked havoc to Australia’s rural communities and native wildlife is currently underway.

Launched by Australian travel and lifestyle companies Élysée Collective and World Resorts of Distinction, the auction, called Australian Spirit Soars, asks people around the globe to bid on up to 15 luxury travel packages, with all proceeds being directed to WIRES Wildlife Rescue, an organisation that is working to help save and protect Australia’s wildlife. Over one billion animals are estimated to have been lost in the fires across the country so far.

“The travel industry is a close knit one, both in Australia and around the world. In light of these tragic events our country have faced, we’ve been amazed at the support shown from around the world to help our nation in this time of crisis,” Élysée Collective Director Alice Moore said.

The environment and climate change is something very much at the heart of the travel companies involved.

“We are beyond grateful our travel industry friends from around the world are so eager to help in any way they can,” World Resorts of Distinction CEO Tess Willcox said.

Presently 15 luxury travel packages, with more anticipated to come on board, have been donated to the auction by some of the world’s most esteemed resorts, hotels and lodges including Aman, Soneva, Raes on Wategos, Nihi Sumba, Bawah Reserve, Vakkaru Maldives, Tokoriki Island Resort, Resplendent Ceylon, Sinalei Reef Resort and many more.

Packages on offer include a 5-night stay at Soneva Fushi or Soneva Kiri, a 2-night stay at Raes on Wategos, a 5-night stay at Nihi Sumba and a 5-night stay at Bawah Reserve.

Packages vary in value from USD $690 to USD $22,000. 

Within the first 24 hours of launching, the auction raised more than USD$20,000.

The two week initiative will continue until 5pm on Monday, 27 January.

Soneva Fushi Unveils New Private Residences in the Maldives

Villa 38 at Soneva Fushi, Maldives
Villa 38 at Soneva Fushi, Maldives

The luxurious, four-bedroom Villa 38 and six-bedroom Villa 43 Sunset Reserve are Private Residences, part of the Soneva Villa Ownership Program

Soneva has unveiled two additions to its portfolio of villas and private hideaways at Soneva Fushi in the Baa Atoll in the Maldives.

Just steps away from the beach and hidden amid a tropical forest, both residences have been designed to exist in harmony with the setting and Soneva’s ‘no news, no shoes’ philosophy. Each has al fresco decked areas and terraces, private gardens and open-air bathrooms with sunken baths and outdoor rain showers.


Villa 43

Named after its views of the sun setting over the horizon, Villa 43 Sunset Reserve is one of the largest and most luxurious residences on the island. Centred around an ancient Banyan tree, it features a cluster of six buildings that are interconnected by wooden walkways and elevated terraces. The vast main swimming pool comes with its very own water slide and sunken seating area, while a second pool sits just outside the master suite. The seashore is just a few feet beyond, with white sands and waters that are ideal for snorkelling.

With a maximum occupancy of 12 adults and 4 children, the 2,303 square metre Villa 43 balances secluded spaces and communal living with private bedroom suites, living rooms and terraces with oversized daybeds, open plan living and dining areas, a TV suite and well-appointed library.

The master suite features its own living room, as well as Soneva’s signature open-air bathroom. Surrounded by a tranquil water feature, it includes a deep, sunken bath, steam facilities, indoor and outdoor rain showers and twin sinks. The main guest suite also features an al fresco bathroom, while three additional guest bedrooms include ensuite bathrooms and showers. For younger residents, there is a separate children’s bedroom which also features an ensuite and additional nanny’s room. 

Villa 43 features a private gym with the latest fitness technology, plus a dedicated spa suite, complete with sauna and steam room. For wine connoisseurs, there is also a substantial cellar with a selection of the world’s finest vintages.


Villa 38

The four-bedroom Villa 38 is found on the sunrise side of the island. Also situated next to white sands, the two-storey villa is partly encircled by a curved swimming pool, which can be accessed directly from both ground-floor bedroom suites and a lengthy slide. Decked areas overlook the pool and the beach beyond, and include loungers and daybeds, dining areas and a sunken seating area for relaxing and entertaining.

The 1,525 square metre Villa 38 has a maximum occupancy of eight adults and four children. On the ground floor, there is an open-plan, double-height living area plus a dining room, kitchen and pantry. When it comes to relaxing, guests and owners can enjoy the spa suite, which features a sauna and steam room. The master bedroom suite and guest bedroom both include an outdoor garden bathroom, with sunken baths, outdoor rain showers and water features.

Upstairs in Villa 38, there are two additional guest bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, dressing rooms and private balconies, as well as a fully-equipped private gym. A first-floor decked area offers a vantage point over the Indian Ocean with a dining table and daybeds.

Both Villa 43 Sunset Reserve and Villa 38 are Private Residences, part of the Soneva Villa Ownership Programme currently operating in Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani in the Maldives, as well as Soneva Kiri in Thailand, where villas are sold on a renewable leasehold. The program offers owners the chance to maximise their return on investment, earning a strong cash yield when villas are rented out while owners are not residing at the resort.

In the Maldives, capital prices have appreciated by approximately eight to ten per cent per year.

Aman Announces Mountain Retreat in Hokkaido

Aman Niseko Retreat and Villas Aerial View, Japan
Aman Niseko Retreat and Villas Aerial View, Japan

Aman Niseko will be Aman’s fourth Japanese property when it opens in 2023 on the slopes of Mt. Moiwa

Aman Resorts has announced its fourth resort in Japan will open in 2023 as Aman Niseko. A year-round retreat, the resort will be situated on the high slopes of Mt. Moiwa on a nature reserve in the Niseko region on the island of Hokkaido.

With 30 guest rooms, wellness facilities and a number of restaurants on a 187- hectare site, this forthcoming resort and destination with exclusive residences, will see Aman lay foundations on Hokkaido, Japan’s northern wilderness, for the first time.

The Niseko region is renowned for its snowfall, vast long ski runs and endless powder, while the summer months offer mild weather ideal for hiking, mountain biking and river rafting. Mountains, forests and rivers dominate the landscape that has entranced artists and poets for centuries, while Japan’s onsen bathing rituals, together with the history of the Ainu people and renowned cuisine, are unique cultural offerings. Aman Niseko will be situated just minutes from the restaurants, cultural museums and entertainment of Niseko’s five main areas – Moiwa, Hirafu, Niseko Village, Annupuri and Hanazono.

Aman says its new resort will pay homage to Japan’s ryokan (traditional inn), boast forest and mountain vistas from every angle and incorporate open fireplaces, private Furo bathtubs in each room and onsen facilities. Terraces will offer views of the surrounding mountains while the signature Aman minimal-luxe interiors will feature wooden accents.

The resort and its residences have once again been designed by Kerry Hill Architects, also responsible for the design of Aman’s other Japan properties: Aman Tokyo, Amanemu and Aman Kyoto. Like them, Aman Niseko will show sensitivity to the natural environment and an alignment with its cultural setting, with spaces laid out in a linear design with floor to ceiling windows and doors.

The Aman Spa will be the first full spa and wellness resort in Japan and offer personalised retreat programs crafted in consultation with each guest. Treatments will incorporate the benefits of Japanese and European spa and healing rituals, fitness and mindfulness activities and healthy cuisine. Single and double treatment suites along with pre-treatment lounges, relaxation pods and extensive thermal spa areas, including Finnish saunas, Watsu treatment chamber, cold plunge pools, steam rooms, hammam, experience showers and onsen will be on offer. An indoor lap pool and an aqua fitness pool will overlook an outdoor terrace with forest and mountain views, and a spa lounge will leads to a boutique and Spa Tea Room.

Aman Niseko’s dining options are to include fine dining Japanese and Italian in Aman’s Arva concept, together with a number of other venues which will offer seasonal cuisine.

The two-storey kids club will feature a reception area, healthy refreshment area and matcha bar, an indoor playground, bowling alley, games zone, theatre, half a basketball court, indoor swimming and wading pools, male and female changing rooms and an outdoor terrace. There will also be a toddler’s play area and a nap room, with experienced staff on hand at all times to entertain and watch over children of all ages.

In addition to the hotel accommodation, 31 ultra-luxury Aman branded residences are up for sale at Aman Niseko. The residences are built on a mountain within a nature reserve – a first in Japan – and residence owners will also enjoy access to all the wellness and dining facilities of Aman Niseko.

The announcement of Aman Niseko follows the recent debut of Aman Kyoto in November 2019. Both properties are owned by Kyoto Resorts, a subsidiary of the Chartered Group, which owns the valley on which Aman Niseko will be built.

Six Senses London to Open in Former Historic Department Store

Six Senses London Entry Rendering
Six Senses London Entry Rendering

The hotel will mark the brand’s first property in the UK capital

Six Senses London has announced that it will open in the former art deco Whiteleys department store in 2023, bringing an arts, wellness and community focus to its first London home.

With its proximity to Hyde Park and Kensington Palace, Bayswater in West London is recognised for its streets lined with terraces of white stucco houses and garden squares. Among them is an iconic building and former department store – Whiteleys – soon to become home to Six Senses London.

The hotel, wellness club and spa mark the brand’s entry into the UK and will open with 110 guest rooms and suites, starting from 33 square metres. There will also be 14 branded residences, with owners able to tap into all the luxury amenities that come with a Six Senses home, including bespoke interior design, concierge service, dining, housekeeping and wellness programming.

The historic Whiteleys department store began as a drapery shop in Westbourne Grove in 1863, and within a little over a decade had grown into a department store described as “an immense symposium of the arts and industries of the nation and of the world”. Whiteleys was redeveloped in the 1980s – a decade of incredible excess – into a shopping centre with a cinema and bowling alley, before closing its doors in December 2018.

British architectural firm Foster + Partners, renowned for its eco credentials and responsible design approach, is behind the architectural redevelopment of the historic landmark into a restored mixed-use hub. The original Grade II façade, central courtyard and dome will all be preserved, as will the majestic internal staircase (modelled on the La Scala opera house in Milan), which features as the centrepiece on the ground floor of the hotel.

The interiors of Six Senses London will be undertaken by AvroKO in conjunction with executive architects EPR. Contemporary art from British artists will be showcased throughout the hotel. The ground floor will feature a lobby bar and lounge, all-day dining restaurant with an open kitchen and seating area in the courtyard. The 1,300 square metres of public space will display planting, textured fabrics, bespoke flooring, reclaimed wood furniture and upholstery in natural tones with glass display cabinets flanking its walls.

“I feel nostalgic when talking about Whiteleys,” says Chief Executive Officer Neil Jacobs. “I grew up in the neighbourhood and my parents used to bring me here. It is a wonderful opportunity to pay homage to this heritage and bring our brand values to life in this part of town, while celebrating our first port of call for Six Senses in the UK.”

Highlights of the Six Senses Spa will include 325 square metres dedicated to fitness, a 20-metre indoor swimming pool, an Alchemy Bar and a relaxation room with vaulted ceilings.

On the second floor, residents and members will have access to a social and wellness club that will feature a central bar and lounge, co-working spaces, a restaurant and wellness rooms, and offer programming.

Six Senses London is slated to open in 2023.

Melbourne is Getting a New Hotel from the Design Team Behind Jackalope

Lancemore Crossley Street Rooftop Rendering, Melbourne
Lancemore Crossley Street Rooftop Rendering, Melbourne

The hotel from Australian boutique hotel collection, Lancemore, will open in March as Lancemore Crossley St.

Australian boutique hotel collection, Lancemore, has announced the addition of a Melbourne hotel to its stable of properties, with the opening of Lancemore Crossley St. set for March 2020. Working with award-winning design firm Carr, the property will be the seventh property in the company’s portfolio, which includes Lancemore Lindenderry Red Hill, a sophisticated country-house hotel designed by Hecker Guthrie and Potts Point property, Larmont Sydney by Lancemore designed by Hassell Studio. 

Situated in a laneway location, the hotel on Crossley Street, previously named Romeo Lane, is ideally located at a crossroads of Melburnian culture between the Paris end of Bourke Street, Theatre District and Chinatown.

The hotel is undergoing a $10M transformation, with its interiors artfully reimagined by Carr, one of Australia’s most influential architecture and interior design firms, whose design portfolio includes award-winning hotels Jackalope Mornington Peninsula and United Places Botanic Gardens

Carr Director, Dan Cox said “Lancemore Crossley St. will be richly layered fusing art, theatre, architecture and urbanism to provide the sensory experience of being ‘onstage’ or ‘offstage’.” The hotel will feature five room types for guests to choose from, its walls hung with commissions from emerging artists and a rooftop terrace boasting city skyline views. Guests can choose whether to retreat to the calm offered by the 113 private rooms or experience the programs of the public spaces.

Creative agency Projects of Imagination (Chin Chin, Rare Hare at Jackalope, United Places) have been engaged to oversee the Lancemore Group rebrand, and all the brand touchpoints for Crossley St., with the aim of the property to connect with customers on every level – from the music they hear to the books in their room to the scent in the air.

Lancemore CEO, Julian Clark said he was excited to add Lancemore Crossley St. to the company’s growing collection. “This is our most ambitious project to date in, what is in my opinion, the best location in our home city Melbourne. The design will breathe new life into the building, referencing its past and present, to capture the essence of the city.

“Every detail has been considered through the lens of the new Lancemore brand, launching in early 2020, to offer a true Melbournian experience for the discerning guest,” he stated.

Luxury Hotel Openings to Look Out For in 2020

Castello di Reschio, Umbria, Italy
Castello di Reschio, Umbria, Italy

Small Luxury Hotels of the World has unveiled its top luxury hotel openings for 2020, from a boutique hotel in Miami to a resort in the Himalayas

Opening February 


The Celino South Beach, Miami, USA 

February 2020 will see Miami hosting the 54th Super Bowl and welcoming a new luxury boutique hotel in the heart of the city’s Ocean Drive. The Celino South Beach has transformed three art deco buildings, including the Park Central Hotel, into one boutique hotel with custom furniture, pop colours, and a rooftop pool featuring a peekaboo glass bottom that is visible from the Atrium below. Park Central Hotel, a favourite of silver screen stars like Bogart and Hayworth, was allegedly the birthplace of the conga line so guests should keep an eye out for conga-line kits with how-to guides, drums and cigars in their rooms.

Rooms start from AUD714 per night including breakfast.

The Celino South Beach Bedroom, Miami

KASA Hotel Riviera Maya, Puerto Aventuras, Mexico

KASA Hotel Riviera Maya sits in the beach, marine and golf community of Puerto Aventuras. This private gated community is an emerging area on the Riviera Maya, away from the crowds in an area of tropical foliage, with a smart sailing community, full-service marina, golf course and beach. The concierge at KASA Hotel Riviera Maya arranges local adventures in the Riviera Maya including diving the Cenotes, biking explorations of the area’s Mayan ruins, Mexican cooking classes and diving alongside sea turtles in Akumal. 

Rooms start from AUD196 per night including breakfast.

KASA Hotel Riviera Maya Bedroom, Puerto Aventuras, Mexico
KASA Hotel Riviera Maya Bedroom, Puerto Aventuras, Mexico

Opening April 


Torre Del Marques, Matarraña, Spain

With its sun-baked hill towns, olive groves and terraced vineyards, Matarraña is reminiscent of Tuscany’s countryside but unlike its Italian counterpart, this remote corner of Aragon remains one of Spain’s undiscovered regions. Torre Del Marques is a 15th-century farmhouse turned exclusive boutique hideaway with solar panels and sustainable architecture maximising its energy efficiency. The light-filled restaurant strives to embrace an organic ‘zero-kilometre’ approach to dining, serving only food that is produced in the immediate local area including olive oil, black truffle and honey.

Rooms start from AUD608 per night including breakfast.

Torre Del Marques, Matarraña, Spain
Torre Del Marques, Matarraña, Spain

Opening May


Panoptis Escape, Mykonos, Greece

On top of a hill overlooking the Elia Beach in Mykonos, Panoptis Escape is the latest addition to the Myconian Collection family. The destination offers contemporary architecture, minimalist styling and artisan craftsmanship. 19 villa suites comprise the new property, each featuring their own outdoor spa Jacuzzi or private infinity pool. Comfort and lavish amenities are provided with the help of an experienced team of staff, here to take care of guests’ desires from personal chefs and butler services to private helicopter and yacht charters. What’s more, Jet2 will be launching summer season flights to Mykonos from Stansted and Manchester airports on 24th May 2020, making it even easier to access the island.

Rooms start from AUD1,171 per night including breakfast.

Panoptis Escape, Mykonos, Greece
Panoptis Escape, Mykonos, Greece

Opening June 


Can Ferrereta, Mallorca, Spain

Can Ferrereta will be located in the rural town of Santanyí in southeast Mallorca. The team behind Sant Francesc Hotel Singular has restored an historic 17th century building, comprising 32 individually designed rooms and suites, surrounded by gardens. Over the years, Santanyí has attracted many international artists and today art plays a central role in the town. Guests can find various galleries and workshops in the narrow alleys of Santanyí. The hotel will also display a collection of contemporary art including works from the likes of Guillem Nadal, Dominica Sanchez, Miquel Planas, Manolo Ballesteros, Riera i Aragó, Jordi Alcaraz and Jaume Plensa.

Can Ferrata, Mallorca, Spain

Les Sources de Cheverny, Loire Valley, France

Located among the vineyards of Cheverny, renowned for producing white wine such as Sauvignon and Cabernet Blanc, Les Sources de Cheverny will open its doors with 26 rooms and 23 suites. The hotel’s spa will offer the same range of vineyard based treatments and skincare products as its Bordeaux sister property, Les Sources de Caudalie, also owned by Alice and Jerome Tourbier. The French château will host two restaurants, an organic vegetable garden as well as seven hectares of vineyards planted around the property. The wine experience will not be limited to the property’s location as a real wine route will be devised to allow guests to discover the hidden wonders of the region. Close to the hotel, guests will find The Château of Cheverny which was used as a model by Hergé for Marlinspike Hall (Château de Moulinsart in French), which is featured in several Adventures of Tintin stories. The château has a permanent exhibition dedicated to the most famous of cartoon reporters.

Rooms start from AUD320 per night.

Les Sources de Cheverny, Loire Valley, France
Les Sources de Cheverny, Loire Valley, France

Opening July


Castello Di Reschio, Umbria, Italy  

Castello di Reschio is a new boutique hotel located within a 3,700-acre pastoral estate in the Umbrian hills on Italy’s Umbria-Tuscany border. The hotel houses 36 rooms and suites, a restaurant, spa, bar, library, pool and an organic farm including 5,000 olive trees. Riding lessons and excursions are available for guests and a weekly dressage event in the summer months brings equestrians together. Other activities include hiking, tennis and wild swimming in the estate lake which is available for private use, cooking lessons, olive oil making, clay pigeon shooting, truffle hunting and painting classes.

Rooms start from AUD1,284 per night.

Castello di Reschio, Umbria, Italy
Castello di Reschio, Umbria, Italy

Opening August


Living Berna by Stara, Mexico City, Mexico

Living Berna by Stara is located in Mexico City’s up-and-coming Colonia Juárez neighbourhood, which is home to chefs, artists and designers that have brought new energy into this district,. The boutique hotel will feature fully automated luxury suites equipped with state-of-the-art technology as well as a library, theatre, gym, sky bar and a rooftop garden restaurant. Close to the hotel, Café La Habana, one of Colonia Juárez’s most iconic coffee shops that first opened in 1952, is alleged to be the place where Che Guevara and Fidel Castro masterminded the Cuban Revolution.

Opening December 2020


Lost Horizons Resort & Spa Begnas, Pokhara, Nepal

Based on James Hilton’s classic novel Lost Horizon, Lost Horizon Resort & Spa Begnas in the Himalayas boasts a unique perspective of Begnas lake and some of the highest mountain peaks of the world. The 38-suite hotel also features a 7,000 square foot spa that will offer spa treatments inspired by old traditions, a pool designed to be used in all seasons, a grand bar and a library lounge that overlooks Mount Manasalu. Five years after the catastrophic earthquakes where nearly 9,000 people lost their lives, the country is gearing up to celebrate 2020 as the ‘Visit Nepal’ year, with the tourism board setting a target of two million visitor arrivals.

Lost Horizons Resort & Spa Bengas, Pokhara, Nepal
Lost Horizons Resort & Spa Bengas, Pokhara, Nepal