Above: Pool, Okahirongo Elephant Lodge, Namibia - DAVID ROGERS

New & Noteworthy: Spring Openings

Pool, Okahirongo Elephant Lodge, Namibia - David Rogers

Enticing new hotels are popping up like tulips this spring. Many properties delayed their debuts during the pandemic or used the time to complete renovations. Now, at last, numerous luxury hotels are opening (or reopening) their doors to guests, and we feel spoiled for choice. These are some of the most intriguing new options around the world.

Japan: Bulgari Hotel Tokyo

Bulgari Suite, Bulgari Hotel Tokyo

I particularly enjoy staying in a Bulgari hotel in a fashion capital like Milan, and I suspect that the 98-room Bulgari Hotel Tokyo, which opened April 4, will feel similarly chic. Occupying floors 40 to 45 at the top of the Tokyo Midtown Yaesu building, the hotel has décor incorporating high-end Italian furnishings and materials, like Calacatta Viola marble in the baths, but the result looks cosmopolitan, not incongruous. The over-10,000-square-foot spa has an 80-foot-long indoor pool in addition to the usual amenities. The main bar, lounge and Italian restaurant will all offer both indoor and outdoor tables. But the most exclusive restaurant, helmed by Michelin three-star chef Kenji Gyoten, has just eight seats. Walking distance from the famous Ginza neighborhood and a stone’s throw from Tokyo Station in Marunouchi, the hotel is ideally located for those wishing to take advantage of Japan’s high-speed rail network for day trips.

France: COMO Le Montrachet

COMO Le Montrachet, Puligny-Montrachet - Martin Morrell

I require only the flimsiest excuse to return to Burgundy, an exceptionally beautiful swath of French countryside that also happens to produce some of the greatest wines in the world. COMO, best known for its sybaritic, spa-centric Asian resorts, has acquired a small hotel in the village of Puligny-Montrachet and reopened the overhauled property on April 1. Centered on a 19th-century limestone inn, COMO Le Montrachet faces a large square that’s walking distance from restaurants, wine bars and wineries, as well as from hallowed grand cru Chardonnay vineyards. Paola Navona oversaw the interior design of the four buildings comprising the hotel, which contain 30 accommodations and a signature COMO Shambhala spa, a rejoinder to the extensive spa of Hôtel Le Cep in Beaune. And all the expected activities — winery visits, tastings with the hotel’s sommelier, hot air ballooning, bike rides through the vineyards — will also be available to guests. COMO did a fine job with its first continental European hotel, Castello del Nero in Tuscany, and I have high expectations for Le Montrachet, its second.

Mexico: Maroma, A Belmond Hotel

Lobby, Maroma, A Belmond Hotel, Punta Maroma - Tara Bernnerd

Although Maroma no longer feels like it’s in the middle of untouched tropical paradise — two large hotels are just to its south — the property remains one of Mexico’s top beach resorts and has been justly popular with Harper members for decades. Closed since 2021 for major renovations, the refreshed Maroma will reopen on May 25 with 72 guest rooms. The original architecture remains substantially unchanged, but accommodations and public spaces will showcase Mexican artwork, crafts and furnishings to a far greater extent. I’m eager to try out one of the eight new Oceanfront Suites (preferably one with a pool) or perhaps even one of the two new two-bedroom Oceanfront Villas. Without question, I’ll be booking a treatment or three in the Guerlain spa, maybe one making use of melipona honey (Maroma partners with local groups to protect indigenous bees). The resort has also redesigned its three swimming pools, and I look forward to lounging beside each in turn. We pride ourselves on the thoroughness of our reviews, after all.

Namibia: Sanctuary Okahirongo Elephant Lodge

Luxury Suite, Okahirongo Elephant Lodge, Namibia

Since I can’t always say “Italy” when someone asks what my favorite country is, I sometimes say “Namibia.” I love its ancient, otherworldly landscapes and the fact that it remains home to traditional nomadic peoples. Safari camps and wilderness lodges tend to be small and far apart, adding to Namibia’s sense of vast space. The latest luxury property to open (or rather, reopen) is Sanctuary’s completely refurbished Okahirongo Elephant Lodge, which welcomes guests again in April. Located in Kaokoland in Namibia’s northwest, the seven-suite lodge is well situated for observing unique desert-adapted wildlife, including rhinos, giraffes and, of course, elephants. Although this property is relatively close to the Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp and Hoanib Valley Camp, its style is different, with solid walls and ceilings, rather than tented suites. In addition to relaxing in indoor-outdoor lounges, guests can also unwind in a scenic infinity pool. Sounds like just the thing after a game drive in the desert!

Above: Pool, Okahirongo Elephant Lodge, Namibia - DAVID ROGERS