The 2 Best Luxury Travel Destinations of 2020

Kudadoo Maldives Private Island

In 1985, when Swedish entrepreneur Lars Petre arrived in the Maldives for the first time, there were only a handful of places to stay. More than 30 years later, of course, things couldn’t be more different, and among the many, many luxury resorts spread across the nation’s hundreds of islands is a trio of upscale properties by Petre himself, including the exclusive favorite Hurawalhi. But it’s the businessman’s fourth resort that, several decades on, is bringing something entirely new to the islands: Kudadoo, which debuted last December, is a mash-up of all the best modern resort characteristics—eco-friendly, adults-only, ultra-remote—with one new twist: It’s all-inclusive.

Kudadoo makes you forget what you thought you knew about the carbon-copy Maldives resort, not to mention the overpromising/underdelivering concept of an all-inclusive. Designed by New York–based architect Yuji Yamazaki, the 15 residences have a touch of Japanese ryokan aesthetic, but with 21st-century additions, from sprawling lap pools to high-tech sound systems. With a butler on hand 24/7, there’s little reason to venture very far—unless you’re lured by the resort’s “retreat,” which comes with a solar-powered Himalayan salt room; a cheese room and wine cellar; a sea- breeze-cooled spa; and a bar and dining room helmed by a chef trained by Joël Robuchon and Alain Ducasse. Of course, the biggest perk is that you won’t have to pull out your wallet to enjoy any of it—something that an old-school Maldives original like Petre no doubt welcomes more than anyone else.

Rosewood Hong Kong

Rosewood Hong Kong

There was a lot riding on the Rosewood Hong Kong. The hotel, which opened its doors on March 17, wasn’t just the latest in a string of new properties for the fast-growing brand—it was a chance for CEO Sonia Cheng to make her mark. The young entrepreneur has been firing on all cylinders to elevate her marque ever since her family acquired Rosewood in 2011, and this project, rising 65 stories above the Kowloon waterfront, is her vision for the future.

Of course, there’s no better place to glimpse the future than Hong Kong, and given the city’s glut of luxury hotels, Cheng’s new creation is no doubt in good company. But what makes the Rosewood Hong Kong a success is that this decidedly un-cookie-cutter property is completely distinct among its neighbors. Beyond the standard blend of East and West design (a trademark of nearly every new hotel in the city since the turn of the century) is a more residential—one might even say familial—style. It skips the classicism of the nearby Peninsula and Ritz-Carlton in favor of a more contemporary vibe, whether it’s in the DarkSide, a moody cocktail bar that pays homage to Kowloon’s once-seedy reputation, or in the guest rooms, which feel far more relaxed than the gold-and-lacquered accommodations we’ve all but grown tired of. That doesn’t mean the five-star routine has been abandoned, though: For evidence of old-school opulence look no further than the Manor Suite, which comes with a massive sculptural tub all in Arabescotto marble and, like many rooms, the staunch services of a butler. That it’s all done in a way that feels casually familiar is by design—and a promise that Cheng is just getting started when it comes to the future of her brand.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s