From where to stay for that Instagrammable colour hue, to exploring with the locals, these are the hottest hotel trends for this year, writes Jade Conroy.
1. All aboard the boatel
Boatels, once something of a novelty, came of age last year, when the QE2 was reincarnated after 40 years of service as a permanently docked hotel in Dubai. It started a trend: the 23-cabin Fingal, formerly the Northern Lighthouse Board, will reopen this month in Edinburgh's Port of Leith. Monkey Island in Bray-on-Thames, another heritage beauty, reopens in February after a multi-million-pound refurbishment and will also offer a floating spa, set on a barge.
Back in Dubai, the Emerald Palace Kempinski, located on a thin slither of sand on the Palm Jumeirah, has been designed to resemble a luxury liner: expect panoramic views of sea and skyscrapers.
3. Escape to the country
It's the Coombeshead effect. Two years ago, chef Tom Adams, of London's Pitt Cue Co, and April Bloomfield, of The Spotted Pig, in New York, opened a food-focused B&B in a Georgian farmhouse in Cornwall — and many city-bound chefs are following suit. Alyn Williams, of The Westbury in London, has joined The Wild Rabbit in the Cotswolds as chef patron, serving fresh produce from the hotel's sister enterprise Daylesford Farm. A 30-minute drive away at Thyme, in Southrop, Charlie Hibbert, of London's Quo Vadis, devises menus based on what's available in the kitchen garden.
This month welcomes Pensons, the new restaurant from Lee Westcott, formerly of The Typing Room at London's Town Hall Hotel. It will open as part of the Netherwood Estate, a 485ha family-run farm on the Herefordshire/Worcestershire border. Those looking to make an occasion of it can stay in The Hyde, a Grade II listed medieval house. The restaurant will use produce from the surrounding estate, both in terms of the menu and design — fabrics have been made in the estate's mill and lamp shades are crafted from locally harvested willow.
3. Meet the locals
Eco-hotel SALT has opened in Mauritius with plans to "connect modern explorers with meaningful travel experiences". Staff are encouraged to invite guests out of the hotel as they see fit — perhaps to a traditional feast with their family, a wedding, or to their friend's pottery studio. An opening in Sichuan, China, follows next year.
The idea that a "hotel can be more than just a hotel" is the ethos behind Life House.
There's an app for guests who want to meet other people staying at the hotel, as well as locals who can take guests to the best spots. The first hotel will open in a tropical mansion in Miami's Little Havana in the coming months.
4. Get lost in music
Music is set to dominate the hotel scene in 2019: W Hotels has launched its own record label, providing recording space (in Bali, Barcelona, Hollywood and Seattle), video shoot locations, production and distribution; while the highly anticipated Standard Hotel on London's Euston Rd, opening soon, will offer a studio and record press.
Hotel radio stations and podcast suites are also on the up. The new Eaton Workshop hotel, in Washington DC and Hong Kong, both broadcast local shows inspired by New York's East Village station, and newcomer The Mayfair, in Los Angeles, has a podcast recording room. It's not all about the serious side of music, however — Les Bains, the former nightclub-turned-hip-hotel in Paris, will have a pop-up disco at Tulum's Papaya Plaza Project until March 3.
5. Make yourself at home
"Home-from-home"is an oft-used description when it comes to hotels — and now a host of properties are offering the real thing. The Connaught, in London, has a new two-bedroom Mews house, complete with a baby grand piano and the opportunity to order a takeaway pizza from the Jean-Georges restaurant straight to your front door. The nearby Athenaeum has a similar offering at its recently unveiled 14-bedroom Townhouse Residences, with room service available from the Michelin-starred Galvin brothers' restaurant.
Bistrotheque will make a first foray into hotels by opening London Warehouse, with 166 suites above an all-day restaurant.
In Los Angeles, Four Seasons has confirmed its first residential project in North America, opening in the second half of the year near Beverly Hills. The 59 homes will have access to an onsite theatre, private kitchen, pool and gym, plus 24-hour concierge. And Marriott International is collaborating with rental company Hostmaker on home-sharing. Its guests can rent a Parisian loft with Eiffel Tower views or a mid-century apartment in Rome.
6. Be pretty in coral pink
Hotels are embracing shades of peach in their droves since Pantone proclaimed Living Coral the hot colour for 2019. Instagrammers are already singling out the likes of Manchester's Whitworth Lock, La Planque in Paris and Joali Maldives, where bathroom tiles to headboards and drinks decanters are coloured coral.
Opening this summer, Palihouse Miami will boast two-tone apricot walls, while Puerto Vallarta's Amapa (March 2019) will feature orange accents on light pendants, walls and throws.