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The hottest resort openings this autumn

Looking for an autumn break? Hot new resort openings in Thailand, Maldives and the Middle East top this season’s bucket list, writes Carolynne Dear


Villa life at Alila Kothairafu.

The latest Indian Ocean arrival is an all-pool-villa resort on the northern tip of the Maldives’ archipelago.

The Hyatt-owned property Alila Kothairafu Maldives is in the Raa Atoll, a 45-minute seaplane journey from the international airport at Malé. If diving is your thing, note that Raa is one of the deeper of Maldives’ atolls, boasting a rich marine life, and the resort is also an easy boat ride from the Hanifaru Bay UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.

Alia Kothairafu Maldives is located on an eleven hectare island - think white-sand beaches, lush greenery and a stunning house reef.

Forty-four of the 80 pool villas run along the beach, while the remaining 36 are perched overwater with direct access to the gelato-hued ocean.

Kids can get involved at Play Alila kids’ club, with toys, games and supervised indoor and outdoor activities, while parents take time out to relax (it might be worth noting at this juncture that the treetop spa has four double treatment suites and a menu filled with rejuvenating treatments, channelling ancient healing techniques and natural ingredients).

If you’re looking for action, there are complimentary daily yoga sessions, a beachfront infinity pool and a water sports and dive centre.

Koh Samui

Playtime at Outrigger Koh Samui.

Family-friendly Outrigger Hotels & Resorts has revealed details of its new property in Koh Samui.

One of a hat trick of new openings, Outrigger Koh Samui follows Outrigger Khao Lak Beach Resort and Outrigger Surin Beach Resort, both of which opened over the last few months.

Outrigger Koh Samui is located on Lamai Beach in a colonial-style resort. The elegant property features 146 rooms and suites with a private balcony or terrace. Room categories run from Superior Balcony Rooms to Superior Pool View Balcony Rooms, Deluxe Garden Rooms, Lamai Garden Suites and Premier Lamai Garden Suites.

Fun facilities include two swimming pools, a kids’ club with an activity programme refreshed weekly, watersports, fitness centre and spa.

The property is 25 minutes from the airport, 30 minutes from Lomprayah Pier for boats to Koh Phangan and Koh Tao, and 30 minute from Nathon Pier for boats to Ang Thong National Maritime Park.

Middle East

Views over the Red Sea at Shangri-La Jeddah.

Saudi Arabia continues to cement its position as a major tourist destination with the opening of Shangri-La Jeddah.

The luxe hotel is located on the Jeddah waterfront and the Red Sea and is the Hong Kong-headquartered hospitality group’s debut in the kingdom.

The property has 220 guest rooms and 17 serviced apartments inside the 64-storey Burj Assila building, Jeddah’s tallest, and part of what is a two billion Saudi riyal mixed-use development project.

A family-friendly property, Shangri-La Jeddah has included a kids’ club with a roster of fun activities. Parents can take advantage of wellness treatments at The Spa at Shangri-La, a gym and a 25m outdoor pool with sea views.

Shangri-La will also be opening its award-winning restaurant concept, Shang Palace. The dining space has been designed around the layout of a traditional courtyard siheyuan house and will be serving up contemporary Chinese dishes including perennial crowd-pleasers like Roasted Peking Duck. There’s also an all-day dining Waterfront Kitchen and a boutique patisserie.

The blue, grey and white rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Red Sea and the Jeddah skyline as well as balconies for soaking up the stunning views.


Reset at Vietnam's Regent Phu Quoc.

Regent Phu Quoc’s opening in southwest Vietnam is perfectly timed to take advantage of the country’s loosened travel restrictions.

The all-suite, all-villa beachside resort is an IHG ‘upper luxury brand’ property and the first such property to open in Southeast Asia.

The island of Phu Quoc was becoming something of a hotspot before Covid with a number of properties due to launch. Regent Phu Quoc has taken advantage of an idyllic location on Long Beach and adjacent to a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.

Expansive windows and generous verandahs bathe the 176 suites and 126 villas in natural light beneath swaying palms, while the BLINK Design Group-designed interiors channel traditional Vietnamese form in soothing shades.

Sate your appetite at the resort’s six dining spaces and bars; although yet to come is Oku, the only restaurant in Phu Quoc with an omakase counter (where guests leave their dining fate in the hands of the chef), as well as speakeasy Jade Bar. Both will open “in the coming months”, according to IHG.

Naturally, there’s a spa and a health club, as well as a ‘reset meditation’ studio and rooftop yoga pavilions. Should the mood take you, have the resident holistic wellness coach guide you through a personalised wellness itinerary.

Or sail into the blue on board the resort’s private catamaran, Serenity.


All the blues in the Persian Gulf.

Dubai has welcomed a new resort to its The World Islands project with the opening of Anantara World Islands.

World Islands is an archipelago of man made islands in the Persian Gulf and around four kilometres off the coast of Dubai.

The project is made up of seven sets of islands, representing Europe, Africa, Asia, North America, South America, Antarctica and Oceania, which have been constructed in the shape of a world map. The project has been almost 20 years in the making.

Anantara World Islands has now opened on the South American continent, accessible via a 15-minute speedboat ride from the jetty at sister property Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort.

Relax in one of the 70 suites, beach and pool villas, including 40 private pool villas with direct beach access. Larger groups can spread out in two- and four-bedroom villas for eight and 12 guests respectively.

Anantara has committed itself to a sustainable hotel model and more than 4,000 plants have been placed on the beachfront and throughout the gardens, attracting, among other feathered friends, a family of peacocks who have taken up residence in the resort.

There’s a large on-site greenhouse supplying the resort’s restaurants with hydroponic and organic fruit and veggies and the resort bypasses the need to ship-in plastic water bottles from the mainland with its own desalination and glass bottling plant.

Activities include a starlit cinema as well as plenty of watersports activities and luxury boat cruises offer the opportunity to have a peek at the neighbouring ‘world islands’.


Enjoy Thailand's mainland beach destination Hua Hin at The Standard.

The Standard hospitality group has now debuted in Thailand following the launch of The Standard, Hua Hin.

There are currently seven The Standard hotels around the world, from New York, Los Angeles and Miami to recent openings in London and the Maldives. The Standard, Bangkok Mahanakhon recently launched in the Thai capital.

The Hua Hin property takes its aesthetic from mid-century design and offers three restaurants, a spa, pool and a variety of fun outdoor activities, including kiteboarding and horse riding.

Hua Hin first emerged as a beach destination in the early 1900s when a railroad connected Bangkok with the south of the country and what was then a sleepy fishing village. Hua Hin soon became a popular seaside destination for Bangkok residents looking for a weekend getaway. It’s hoped The Standard, Hua Hin offers a “stylish and vibrant” beachfront resort.

At the heart of the resort is the carefully restored heritage house which has become Praca, a beachside Thai family-style restaurant.

“An extraordinary amount of care and thought has been put into every detail of this property,” said Amar Lalvani, executive chairman of Standard International. “We have blended Hua Hin’s understated elegance with The Standard’s playful approach to hospitality.”

Dining adventures also include Chef’s Table experiences, pop-up dinners and ‘beach bum’ waterfront picnics.

Family fun at the resort runs from classic water sports like paddle boarding and kayaking, to wakeboarding and kiteboarding. At cocktail-hour, the house DJ spins tunes as the sun sinks slowly in the west.

More hot holiday ideas

One of the world's premier family dive locations has reopened.

Waterparks, golf courses and miles of golden sand are just a boat ride from Singapore.

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