Above: Mandarin Oriental Palace, Lucerne

New & Noteworthy: December 2022

Mandarin Oriental Palace, Luzern

Our latest collection of travel news, our last roundup of 2022, covers notable hotel openings, a new spa at Claridge’s and a walking trail in Bhutan.

Oetker Collection Comes to Palm Beach

The Vineta is near the iconic Worth Avenue Clock Tower, West Palm Beach, Florida – Sean Pavone / Adobe Stock

Judging by recent events, the Baden-Baden-based Oetker Collection luxury hotel brand is clearly in the ascendant. The company’s portfolio already contains such legendary properties as Le Bristol Paris and Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes, while Hotel La Palma in Capri is one of the most anticipated openings of spring 2023. Now, Oetker is coming to North America, having acquired The Chesterfield Palm Beach. This venerable property, located just two blocks from Worth Avenue, opened in 1926 as the Lido-Venice, but shortly thereafter was renamed The Vineta Hotel. (It only became The Chesterfield in 1989.)  The Vineta name will return, and a comprehensive renovation of the Mediterranean Revival structure will be under way soon. It will be led by Paris-based designer Tino Zervudachi, who plans to lower the room count from 53 to 41 and create a much more youthful and place-specific environment. The legendary Leopard Lounge, ground zero of Palm Beach’s high-season social life, will be transformed, and an entirely new poolside restaurant will be added. Palm Beach already has some excellent hotels, the White Elephant and The Brazilian Court among them, but under Oetker’s tutelage, I suspect that The Vineta will significantly raise the bar.

Claridge’s Stunning New Spa

New spa pool, Claridge's, London

For the world’s leading luxury hotels, a spa is nowadays mandatory, and in this respect, if few others, Claridge’s was deficient — until now. The red-brick 19th-century grande dame is located on Brook Street at the heart of London’s Mayfair district, clearly not an ideal address at which to find generous amounts of space for a lavish new wellness facility. In 2015, work began on an excavation of a remarkable five-story subterranean extension. To allow the hotel to remain open, with its demanding guests undisturbed, much of the digging was done by hand. Seven years later, in September 2022, Claridge’s Spa finally made its debut. Its design is the work of noted interior architect André Fu, who found inspiration from numerous trips to the temples of Kyoto. Thus it’s not very English, aside from accents of limestone and oak. The 7,000-square-foot facility contains seven treatment rooms, each with a private bath, as well as steam rooms, saunas and a swimming pool lined by stone columns and cabanas. The spa’s products are the result of a collaboration with Augustinus Bader, and there are salons  by celebrity hairdresser Josh Wood, nail artist Harriet Westmoreland and Ross J. Barr, “acupuncturist to the stars.”

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Above: Mandarin Oriental Palace, Lucerne