5 NEW HOTELS TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN 2016
We just shared a long list of hotel openings for the year with you, filled with arrivals exciting, noteworthy, and – as often in the hotel world – long in the making. As fellow contributor, and compiler of the list, Juliana said: the list is comprehensive but not complete, and we’ve been at this long enough to know that there will be surprises (an unexpected opening? Yet another new brand, millennial or otherwise?) and disappointments (can you say hotel delay?) along the way.
Many a hotel on our master list makes us want to rush to Christmas just to have been able to see it with our own eyes, but a few stand out. Here we highlight five new hotels that have us particularly on the edge of our seat.
 Amanemu, Ise Shima, Japan
The second Aman for Japan, following the opening of Aman Tokyo last year, Amanemu will be a small resort with only 24 suites and two villas along Ago Bay on the Shima peninsula, southwest of Tokyo. A contemporary interpretation of Japanese Minka buildings, the exteriors feature traditional roof tiles and dark stained timber walls, while inside there is some seriously beautiful light wood and soothing clean lines all around.
This is one of the real highlights however: a private onsen (mineral hot spring) in each suite. Equally private terraces offer views of the bay, and there will be an extensive spa with outdoor pool. The area is also known for its beautiful forests and is home to Ise Jingu, one of Japan’s most sacred shrines. Amanemu is expected to open on March 1.
 Hotel Ritz, Paris
Juliana said that all eyes will be on Paris in March for the reopening of Hotel Ritz. It’s been three and a half years since the hotel closed, and with every month that has passed, anticipation rises. As much as the interiors will lean towards the traditional, even those of us that prefer contemporary luxury will want to see how the Ritz – undeniably one of the original luxury hotels (if not the original luxury hotel) – is reinventing itself. Floral fabrics and gold swan faucets in the bathroom notwithstanding, in-room technology should be cutting edge.
For the longest time, all there was to see on Place Vendome was the giant box above that told us a legend was in progress (or vers une nouvelle légende in French, if one prefers). With a mid-March opening date ever closer, reservations are live, requiring you to part with €1,000 and up for a chance to be putting on the Ritz.
 Tommie Hudson Square, New York
Squarely in the contemporary / millennial bracket (one look at the website won’t leave any doubt about that), tommie Hudson Square disappointed us in 2015 by, well, not opening. ‘Summer’ it read on the tommie website when the first photos of the rooms, with quirky alcove-style beds (we always wonder how much housekeeping loves those), were released, along with an October 1 date for reservations.
Anyone that will have jumped on that chance and booked for the last few months of the year will have stayed elsewhere, because a delay to February rolled around and eventually became the current April 1. We’re slightly concerned that we can’t seem to book a room in April or May, so let’s not hold our breath on enjoying ‘yoga in the Courtyard or craft beer and street tacos on The Rooftop’ by April fool’s. Did we say it was millennial?
 ZOKU Amsterdam
Amsterdam is seeing lots of hotel action, in all segments. The second half of last year saw the arrival of both the W Amsterdam and The Hoxton Amsterdam, and 2016 promises a number of exciting openings, including an entirely new concept in ZOKU Amsterdam (which won the 2015 Radical Innovation award back in October).
Promising ‘the end of the hotel room’, ZOKU is a home/office hybrid with a four-person table at the heart of the space, a kitchen, a loft bedroom, and, naturally, gymnast rings. If that is too much for your needs, ‘normal’ rooms and small bunk bed rooms are options as well. Amsterdam may be the first city on ZOKU’s list (it’s a Dutch concept), but London, Paris, Berlin, Hamburg, Barcelona, Vienna and more are all target cities. After failing to open in 2015, reservations are now live from June 1.
 The Bangkok EDITION
Definitely a contender for ‘long in the making’, we’ve been tracking the progress of MahaNakhon Tower, the future home of The Bangkok EDITION, for a while. Seventy-seven stories aren’t built overnight, and its bold/wacky pixelated exterior must not make construction any easier.
We’d be thrilled if the recent ‘topping out’ means that a 2016 opening for The Bangkok EDITION is really in the cards. There will be 159 rooms on the lower floors of the tower, a set of Ritz-Carlton Residences above, and a rooftop bar to beat all rooftop bars. Perhaps that’s where we’ll be ringing in 2017, all set for a new master list of hotel openings?
[Photos/Renderings: Aman, LE Miami / Hotel Ritz, Tommie Hotels, Zoku, MahaNakhon]