This month sees the launch of quirky underwater suites in Australia, a duo of new ski hotels and a glamorous tented camp in Costa Rica.
Here are six of the most exciting new properties for December.
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Design Hotel Levi, Finnish Lapland
While Finland’s Levi region isn’t as well-known as France or Switzerland for skiing, it’s still a strong choice for snow enthusiasts. There are 40 pistes to choose from and the season runs until May; plus non-skiers can go snowmobiling under the Northern Lights or try snowshoeing and winter biking.
Design Hotel Levi is a new arty property at the foot of Levi resort’s slopes, which has 77 rooms inside a Lappish pine-fronted building designed by architect Pave Mikkonen. Interiors riff on Arctic nature and feature locally sourced wood, natural stones and copper touches. In bedrooms, abstract photography by Kaisa Sirén is used to create contemporary murals and shower partitions. For suppers there’s modern Arctic cuisine at swish Kekäle restaurant plus a range of more casual dining joints to suit the entire family.
Doubles from £250 per night, B&B
Hinode Hills Niseko Village, Japan
For skiers after an on-trend sporty break ahead of next summer’s Olympic Games (in Japan) comes Hinode Hills Niseko Village. With 2,191 acres of inter-linked skiable terrain, Niseko is the country’s largest and most well-known ski resort, and this latest opening comes from YTL Hotels, which already operates a clutch of successful hotels in the area.
The new 79-room ski-in, ski-out affair is at the base of Mount Niseko Annupuri, just next to a gondola which makes access to nearby dining and shopping spots a breeze. After a day powder riding, guests can relax at the on-site onsen or retreat to calm rooms with decor inspired by the Japanese wabi-sabi aesthetic – with muted silver colour palettes and funky geometric lights. Suites have up to three bedrooms, making it a good choice for those on a group trip.
Rooms from £285 per night, B&B
Nayara Tented Camp, Costa Rica
Bringing a touch of safari-style chic to the Arenal Volcano National Park is the long-awaited Nayara Tented Camp. Set to be one of Central America’s fanciest glamping offerings, just 29 elegant, low-impact tents – developed by Luxury Frontiers – sit in two acres of hot-spring-dotted rainforest. Each has wonderful volcano views and is roomy, with 1,496-sq ft of space to call home.
Interiors take leafy-chic to the max: think canopy beds adorned with botanical illustrations and natural-hued furnishings, as well as private hot-spring-fed plunge pools to bask in. Out and about, wildlife lovers can grab binoculars for bird watching sessions, visit the property’s sloth sanctuary (there’s even a sloth concierge) or hike through nearby lava fields. The spas and restaurants of smart sister-resorts Nayara Springs and Nayara Gardens are just a walk over a footbridge away.
Tents from £930 per night, B&B
The Oberoi, Marrakech, Morocco
Just 25 minutes’ drive from Jemaa el-Fnaa square – and its bluster of snake charmers Berber musicians – is a new tranquil spa retreat from Oberoi. Surrounded by landscaped gardens with a meandering canal and citrus-tree lined paths, The Oberoi, Marrakech is effortlessly serene. Architecture is inspired by Marrakech’s 14th-century palaces and the attention to detail is exquisite, with hand-carved wooden domes, latticework grilles, soaring archways and geometric zellige tiles to admire.
The majority of the 84 rooms, suites and villas – furnished in muted ivory and golden tones – have private pools and terraces, and many have Atlas Mountains views. For R&R, there are invigorating hammams and ayurvedic treatments in the orchard-ringed spa, plus a handful of restaurants to choose from, including Siniman for traditional Moroccan food and Mediterranean dishes at chandelier-lit Tamimt.
Rooms from £385 per night
Reefsuites, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Hot on the heels of the opening of Maldives’ first underwater suite – ritzy Muraka – comes Australia’s first under-the-waves accommodation, Reefsuites. Cruise Whitsundays launches 12 underwater suites at Reefworld, a pontoon moored at the Great Barrier Reef’s Hardy Reef. While they’re not exactly budget, the just-over-£400 per person price-tag beats the £45,000 one in the Maldives.
The compact suites – around 3 x 3.5m plus a shower and toilet – are suitable for adventurers aged 10 and over, and have floor-to-ceiling windows to peer out at tropical fish, turtles and manta rays. Alternatively, you can snooze under the stars on one of the 28 queen-size Reefbeds on the pontoon’s top deck. Adrenaline-filled activities span snorkelling, scuba diving and semi-submersible tours. Fuel comes in the form of English breakfasts, build-your-own Buddha bowls and BBQs followed by dessert platters.
Reefsuites are from £427pp based on two sharing, all-inclusive basis (meals, activities and return boat journey); Reefbeds are from £320pp
The Blonde Hedgehog, Alderney, Channel Islands
The northernmost of the inhabited Channel Islands, Alderney, might only be three-miles long by one-and-a-half miles wide but it packs in plenty for nature lovers, with wild beaches ripe for rockpooling and cliff paths just waiting to be rambled along. Freshly opened is a boutique bolthole in quaint, cobblestoned St Anne’s, The Blonde Hedgehog – so-named for the area’s rare light-spined hedgehogs which are said to have originated from pets brought here in the 1960s. The hotel has just nine dapper rooms, set inside a former pub and Georgian townhouse once lived in by local aristocracy, as well as a three-bedroom cottage with roof terrace and cosy fireplace. Vintage-cool interiors come courtesy of Charlie Horner Design, and at the restaurant, farm-to-table dishes with ingredients plucked straight from the kitchen garden are served.
Rooms from £230, B&B