VIP arrivals: hottest hotel openings in May 2023

From the pulsing centre of Manhattan, to the heart of the British countryside, this month’s hottest hotel openings span the globe, bringing with them a glamourous amount of design inspiration in all its guises…

lobby of Hotel AKA NoMad opening in May with interiors by Piero Lissoni

It is always interesting when working on these VIP opening ’roundup’ pieces, how often a theme emerges. Maybe it is a seasonal thing, a trend thing or pure serendipity, but May’s list shows a clear inclination to a layered natural colour palette – from the sweeping gold Lissoni-designed staircase in Hotel AKA, to the warm burnt oranges in the velvet drapes in Villa Ikognito in Oslo, or the Mediterranean terracotta’s that run through the latest Louboutin design, there is a feeling of warmth, an earthed luxury, that runs through all the designs and details of the this months hottest hotels offering.

Hotel AKA NoMad

lobby with low lights and minimalist furniture design by Piero Lissoni in AKA NoMad

Image credit: Hotel AKA / Lissoni & Partners

Located in Manhattan’s Design District, the design of Hotel AKA NoMad has been led by Italian architect and designer Piero Lissoni. The hotel is distinguished by an atmosphere of tranquility and peace, a place of refuge in the city. The entrance is designed to act as a filter that transports guests from the pulsating heart of New York into a refined and sophisticated oasis.The design concept by Lissoni is expressed through an interior that embraces a range of influences from Japan to Scandinavia. The diffused light generates soft and enticing environments, natural materials such as wood and stone form the backdrop to fabrics of light and neutral tones, while the bespoke furnishings are juxtaposed with contemporary design and iconic objects.

“At our NoMad location, we are working closely with Piero and his team to infuse a tranquil and sophisticated design that strikes the perfect balance between the privacy and contentment of a residence and the hospitality, service, and style of an intimate hotel,” said Larry Korman, President of AKA.

Vermelho Melides

Passionate for decades about the arts, crafts and cultures of the world, Christian Louboutin, better known for those iconic red heels than hotels, found something unique in a small village in southern Portugal. Inspired by the unique light and personality of the location, it is a place he would retreat to for weeks to design his winter collections. Inviting guests to kick of their heels and relax, he has created a boutique property and as one would expect, the 13 guestrooms are full of designer details, colourful tiles and fabulous frescoes – all with that particular Louboutin luxe and style. The hotel Vermelho Marugal has been sensitively carved around the building’s detailed architecture. The interiors are punctuated with art, antique furniture and full of bold personality, while the guestrooms are slightly more muted to create a sense of place and calm.

Villa Inkognito

rust velvet, painted wall panels and period details in the guestroom at Villa Inkognito

Image credit: Sommerro

Following Sommerro’s grand opening in September 2022 as Oslo’s first luxury neighbourhood hotel, the property has launched Villa Inkognito, a private 11-suite retreat located next door. A rare gem offering a mix of luxury and escapism in Oslo’s vibrant West End, Villa Inkognito is unique to Oslo as the only urban villa available to book in its entirety or on an individual room basis. With highlights ranging from thoughtfully designed bedrooms to unmatched personalised service, Villa Inkognito is an elegant oasis meticulously designed to be the ultimate home away from home.

Designed to capture the feel of a very stylish private home, Villa Inkognito comes alive through the vision of GrecoDeco, the New York- and London-based studio that also directed the interior design of Sommerro’s living and social spaces. The design team delved into the historic building’s past to create interior spaces embellished with a mix of antiques, original artwork, decorative details, and classic Scandinavian furnishings.

Birch Selsdon

guestroom at Birch Selsdon with rust curtains and olive green fabric details

Image credit: Birch

Staying true to the brand’s personality, the 177-key Birch hotel is expected to bring Londoners and travellers alike, an oasis of calm. The design team from Sella Concept and A-nrd have collectively created a layer of contemporary flair on top of an existing red-brick mansion in South London. As well as creating tranquil guestrooms and suites, the designers have transformed the building to shelter a lido, a wellness space and two restaurants, which will use produce from Selsdon’s own grounds to create the chef’s seasonal, farm-to-fork menus. The hotel will also feature three bars, a co-working hub, family wing and kids club, activity studios and several communal spaces from snugs to the Orangerie.

Hotel Genevieve

bold green and red terrazzo shapes and strong colours in the lobby of hotel Genevieve by bunkhouse

Image credit: Bunkhouse Hotels

Situated in Louisville’s growing East Market District, Hotel Genevieve is a new hotel project from the Austin hospitality group Bunkhouse in collaboration with real estate development firm, Mountain Shore Properties. At 122 guestrooms, it is Bunkhouse’s largest hotel to date and melds new architecture with considered touches that reference the city’s one-of-a-kind history. The hotel features an all-day ground floor restaurant, rooftop bar and lounge with expansive city views, vibrant mini market, and intimate secret bar.

Designed in collaboration by Bunkhouse and ROHE Creative, a female-owned and operated Philadelphia based interior design firm, Hotel Genevieve is inspired by a city that is much more layered than bourbon and horses, with design that represents the nuances that make Louisville a destination for all. An intersection of unexpected opposites, the hotel dives into the River City’s history. Richly decorated, each design accent tells a story, from bold usages of colour to a playful mix of vintage and modern furniture.

Capella Sydney

period window detail and warm monochromatic colours and finishes in the guestroom at Capella Sydney

Image credit: Capella Sydney

Located in what was originally the Department of Education building, Capella Sydney, has opened its heritage-listed doors. Balancing storied architectural features with a contemporary design aesthetic, Capella Sydney celebrates the Australian panorama through its interiors, location and experiences. The unparalleled spaces within the hotel showcases curated artwork, sophisticated furnishings and intriguing objet d’art. The 192 guestrooms and suites span eight levels and are anchored by three ground-level food and beverage offerings, including signature restaurant, Brasserie 1930 and McRae Bar.

The ground level also features six meeting and event spaces catering for groups of up to 80 guests, while wellness-seeking guests will make their way to Level Six to discover the world-class health and spa facilities.

Municipal Hotel Liverpool

columns and palm trees in the restaurant and bar in the atrium area of The Municipal Hotel Liverpool

Image credit: Accor

The Municipal Liverpool hotel is joining MGallery, Accor Group’s luxury boutique-hotel brand and has opened in a Grade II listed heritage building from the mid-19th on the city’s vibrant Dale Street and combines stylish, modern opulence with historic charm. Managed by leading hotel management company, RBH Hospitality, the iconic building will shelter 179 luxurious guestrooms across four floors, with considered design references throughout that pay homage to the building’s rich heritage of French and Italian influences. Design will play a leading role at The Municipal Liverpool – MGallery, with many of the building’s existing materials and features refreshed to create elegant new focal points.

Reminders of the building’s past life as a council building will also remain visible throughout the space, from a series of seven-foot-tall statues on the façade, to vintage phones and library style desks indoors. Reinventing a landmark of Liverpool’s heritage, the high point of the hotel is the building’s iconic clocktower, visible from across the city, that has also been carefully restored to bring it back to full working order and catches the guests’ attention on time.

Selina Dakhla

wooden panelled walls, artisanal textiles and patterns in the moroccan styled Selina Dakhla

Image credit: Magdalena Bodzioch

Finally, ending on a laid-back note, Israeli owned hotel chain Selina is opening its second co-working, co-living hotel in the south of Morocco. Selina Dakhla, located between the Atlantic Ocean and the sweeping Western Sahara provides a haven of peace, along with plenty of opportunities for more energetic activities with its position on the northern edge of a vast lagoon making kite-surfing the go-to activity, with sand boarding and buggy rides following closely behind. In addition to a range of beautifully designed accommodation, on-site features include a restaurant, surf and kite surf experiences, wellness facilities, swimming pool and the only coworking space in town.

Main image credit: Hotel AKA / Lissoni & Partners