New openings and experiences coming up in 2024 from Hill & Dean clients. Hot destinations include Thailand, Sri Lanka, Ras Al Khaimah and Northern Italy.
Ras Al Khaimah – Anantara Mina Al Arab Ras Al Khaimah Resort – January 2024
Ras Al Khaimah is just a 45-minute drive from Dubai airport and couldn’t be more different from its glitzy neighbour. Anantara is opening an eco-resort in this lesser-known emirate, which is a much more nature-driven destination with deserts, beaches, and mountains. Anantara Mina Al Arab Ras Al Khaimah Resort is on the Arabian Gulf coastline in 1.5 kilometres of mangroves and lagoons in a natural reserve on Mina Al Arab Island with a backdrop of the Hajar mountains.
Designed to blend seamlessly with the natural surroundings, the new-build eco resort features 174 guest rooms, suites and villas, including the first over water villas in the emirate. All the accommodation has been built in a sustainable fashion, with furniture and fittings using eco-friendly materials such as sustainable wood and recycled fabrics and plastics. With its location amidst a mangrove lagoon, protected coastal wetlands and natural beaches, the area is home to abundant wildlife, including turtles, dolphins, the rare dugong, and birds such as flamingos, ibis and migrating species passing through. A key priority for the resort will be to preserve and respect its local environment, which will be a focus of the sustainability initiatives.
Abu Dhabi – Anantara Santorini Abu Dhabi Retreat – January 2024
A boutique escape from the city, Anantara Santorini Abu Dhabi Retreat is located in Ghantoot, an unspoilt enclave of coast approximately halfway between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The 22-room hotel offers uninterrupted views of the Arabian Gulf, away from the towering skylines of the cities in either direction. Created to reflect the iconic buildings of its namesake island, the low-lying white buildings of Anantara Santorini overlook the private beach and outdoor pool. Bespoke spa treatments will be offered in private beachside cabanas and 24-hour butler service will ensure guests are looked after around the clock. The culinary experiences at Anantara Santorini will include a restaurant dedicated to the heritage of the region, where local ingredients and spices are brought to the fore, plus in-keeping with the property, an ocean-side restaurant will serve delicacies from Greece. Anantara Santorini is a 25-minute drive from Dubai’s Al Maktoum International Airport and 35-minute drive from Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Tenerife – Tivoli La Caleta Tenerife Resort – Spring 2024
Tivoli La Caleta Tenerife Resort in the Canary Islands fully opens following extensive renovations in the spring. Located on southern Tenerife’s coast between the mountains and the Atlantic, the hotel has direct access to the 12 km coastline promenade, connecting the village of La Caleta to the town of Los Cristianos. The hotel has professional World Padel Tour courts, three newly refurbished swimming pools and a wellness area with ten treatment rooms. The dining concepts at Tivoli La Caleta have been curated by Olivier da Costa, the well-known Portuguese chefpreneur. There will be three distinctive restaurants: SEEN Beach Club with its bold flavours, exotic cocktails, and vibrant seafront setting; Yakuza that specialises in sushi ranging from the most traditional to the most inventive and creative combinations and Guilty presenting an indulgent experience in a dynamic and cosmopolitan space.
Trieste – Tivoli Portopiccolo Sistine Wellness Resort & Spa – Spring 2024
Tivoli Hotels & Resorts has taken over a hotel in Portopiccolo, near Trieste, in northern Italy. The five-star 58 room Tivoli Portopiccolo Sistiana Resort will launch in the spring after a renovation, which will include a new spa and beach club. Located in the Duino Cliffs Nature Reserve on the Gulf of Trieste, the property is within 20 minutes’ drive of Trieste Airport and overlooks a luxury marina. Laid out like a coastal village, the resort has four restaurants and two bars, six swimming pools, a Purobeach Club with three different areas and a 3,600 sqm spa.
Phuket – Anantara Koh Yao Yai
With Thailand confirmed as the setting for Season 3 of the much-lauded TV show, White Lotus, the Land of Smiles will enjoy the same spotlight as Hawaii and Sicily did before it. After a few months soft opening, Anantara Koh Yao Yai fully opened in December on one of Thailand’s last untouched islands, located in the middle of Phang Nga Bay, halfway between Phuket and Krabi. Occupying a space on the water’s edge, the 148 room Anantara Koh Yao Yai is on one kilometre of white sandy beach set against a backdrop of limestone formations that rise out of the waters of Phang Nga Bay. Designed for families and couples alike, one- and two-bedroom beachfront pool villas sit right on the beach, while the penthouse has wide sea views and an upper deck with infinity pool. The resort has its own private jetty allowing easy access for guests transfers from Phuket (40 mins) or Krabi (20 mins). This lesser-known island is characterised by sandy shores, mangroves and rubber plantations and dotted with tiny fishing villages.
Foodie and Art Hotel News
Dining in the Jungle Canopy
Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort set in the Chiang Rai jungle is introducing Canopy – A Tree Top Dining Experience in February 2024. The new private dining experience will allow guests to dine high up in the jungle canopy giving them an incredible view across to the Mekong River, Myanmar and Laos.
Chefs in Residence in Syros and Sicily
Next June Michelin starred chef Michael Wignall, owner and chef at The Angel at Hetton, which was voted number two restaurant in the UK, will be a guest chef at Hotel Aristide on the Cycladic Island of Syros. Michael, with the help of Hotel Aristide’s Chef Petros Braikidis, will prepare two dinners over the first week of June. Reservations will open in the spring.
Hotel Aristide’s rooftop restaurant is fast becoming the place to eat on the island Syros in the Cyclades. The restaurant at Hotel Aristide is situated on the rooftop where guests are seated in Honore’s Deco vintage Croisette chairs with panoramic views of the Aegean Sea and neighbouring islands, or in the oasis-like garden at ground level, overseen by the hotel’s head chef and sommelier Petros Braikidis.
Petros is passionate about showcasing the best produce of the Cyclades such as codfish in caper oil and smoked beetroot grown in the hotel’s own small holding. During the summer season he also hosts a weekly communal al fresco lunch for both guests and locals, in the orange and lemon grove of an organic farm in the village of Chroussa, 20 minutes from the hotel. The twelve-course menu uses vegetables and fruit from the hotel’s farm to create a modern Cycladic menu including grilled cauliflower with pickled strawberries and Cycladic cheese with caper jam.
Palazzo Previtera, a living museum with rooms on the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily is welcoming back British chef and Sicilian cookbook author Ben Tish, as part of a wild food experience in May 2024. This will be Ben’s third visit to the Palazzo and for the first time he will be cooking with Sicilian Michelin star restaurant chef Accursio Craparo. His workshop will also include a masterclass on Etna DOC wines, a hike on the wildest part of Mt Etna with a nature guide, an olive oil tasting and foraging in the Alcantara Valley.
Alfio Puglisi, owner of Palazzo Previtera has developed a range of organic produce either grown in the palazzo’s rambling garden or on the slopes of Mount Etna including hazelnut butter, pistachio spread, tomato pesto and orange and mandarin marmalade. The palazzo does not have a restaurant but guests are prepared a lavish breakfast in the garden with cheese, figs, strawberries and blackcurrants among the local produce.
Palazzo Previtera, is a living museum and gallery with rooms, which officially opened earlier this year on the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily, after 10 years of painstaking restoration by descendants of the family that built the house in 1649. The palazzo is a leading centre for contemporary art in Sicily with a contemporary art gallery in the cellar and a programme of international acclaimed artists in residence, which will include Carolina Mazzolari and London based artist, Ben Cullen Williams in 2024. The luxury guest house has a 12-room museum and library, preserving over 500 years of Sicilian history.
Destination Spa News
The luxury eco spa resort, Lefay Resort & Spa Lago di Garda, overlooking Lake Garda in Italy is introducing new spa packages and treatments for 2024. When the resort reopens on 1 February after its annual three-week closure in January, new treatments will include a salt water pool massage, a massage for the abdomen using bandaging and a new couple’s ritual. There will be a new medical consultation focusing on longevity and a new cortisol curve check-up – a hormone associated with your adrenal glands which is essential for health and is particularly important in assessing stress levels.
Further afield, Sri Lanka’s tourism industry is rising from economic uncertainty and is in the midst of a luxury and wellness boom. Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle has launched a new three-day Ayurvedic programme, which includes a sunset meditation with a monk, labyrinth walking meditation, a bonfire session with a yoga master and a mindful culinary session with a local mamma. The resort has also created a biodiversity corridor for wildlife movement and habitat protection. Around 22% of the total land area has been transformed into wildlife habitats, led by the onsite naturalist.
Preserving Emirati Heritage in the Liwa Desert
Two hour’s drive into the Liwa Desert, Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara has just opened a new culture centre celebrating UAE heritage. Ezba is an educational farmhouse and cultural centre where guests and particularly children can become immersed in the rich heritage and traditions of the region including traditional Oud music, pottery and henna workshops and other local Emirati crafts.
The New Oceanographers
After two years of extensive research and studies, Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas has launched a ground-breaking research-based publication unveiling the rich biodiversity of the island’s house reef to provide the groundwork for ongoing marine conservation and encourage guests to participate in their conservation efforts. This is the first time a resort in the Maldives has undertaken such an extensive reef assessment and scientific research-based study and was led by the Australian Marine Conservation Society. The study will help the work towards enhancing reef resilience, improving water quality, addressing land use impacts and removing threats such as overfishing and destructive fishing practices, as well as engaging in innovative restoration techniques. Anantara Kihavah offers a complimentary e-version of the “Wonders of Kihavah” for download on their website.