Millennials might get a bad wrap on certain fronts but in the realm of hospitality, we have a lot to thank the generation born between 1980 and 2000. As a target group for hotel design, their tech-savvy, authenticity-focused, socially and locally-minded approach to life has meant many hotels across the spectrum have adopted these traits themselves.
Of course, it is unwise to profile by age alone. Operators have realised these attributes belong more to the times rather than any particular age or socio-economic group. As a result, designers are creating hotels that are 'millennially-minded'.
These are places that understand the crossover between leisure and business travel, providing social lobbies fit for both work and play. They offer cutting edge connectivity and a vibe that encourages hanging out with a MacBook or a martini.
And then there's that desire for personal, local and authentic experience – the most commendable trend in new luxury hotels.
What we're seeing now is a vanguard of fabulous properties that are strikingly individual. Here are five of the best new hotels to open around the world this year.
The Ned, London
There's no denying: The Ned is London's "it" hotel of the moment. One of two new five-stars to open in London's City area this year (the other being the Four Seasons at Ten Trinity Square), it's a stylised shrine to Edwardian glam, from the 92 African verdite-covered pillars in the lobby, to the four poster beds with tassel pillows in the rooms.
Coming from the Soho House team, famous for creating club-style hotels with exclusive areas for members only, the 252-bedroom property inhabits the Grade I listed Midland Bank HQ. It includes Ned's Club Upstairs, a panoramic rooftop space with heated pool, Ned's Club Downstairs, featuring the Vault bar within the bank's old strongroom, complete with a 20-tonne vault door and 3000 safety deposit boxes lining the walls.
The Silo Hotel, Cape Town
Once the tallest building in Sub-Saharan Africa has now become its most dynamic and intriguing. Cape Town's 1921 grain silo complex on the V&A Waterfront has been given a new identity by London architect Thomas Heatherwick of Heatherwick Studio, who celebrated the building's industrial heritage by working with it.
The heart of the building is the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art, that will be the biggest public art space to open on the continent in a century. The hotel takes six upper floors in the grain elevator portion of the complex and has pillowed floor-to-ceiling glazed panels that "bulge outward as if gently inflated".
The 28 suites, which include a 211-square-metre penthouse, are individually decorated with art to reflect the museum's focus. And then there are, of course, the views – very much the best in town.
The Park Hyatt, Bangkok
The hugely-anticipated new Park Hyatt Bangkok (Park Hyatt's first in Thailand) offers welcome respite amid frenetic surrounds. The architecturally magnificent building, by London studio AL-A and Bangkok-based Pi Design with interiors by hotel heavyweights Yabu Pushelerg, is all about neutrality and calm. The offering here is a sense of a sophisticated private residence and sanctuary, with stylish local artworks throughout.
The hotel also affords amazing views, from 222 rooms and suites, all with different layouts due to the building's irregular shape.
Hotel Indigo, Seminyak
The powerhouse Intercontinental Hotel Group was one of the first to adopt the "Millennial" trend, launching its Indigo brand in 2004 with a mission to create boutique hotels reflecting their surrounds as well as the group's high standards.
Now comes the new Seminyak outpost, the first in a resort location. It's a fun five-hectare take on Balinese style and beach culture on Mesari Beach, also known as Double Six, home to the popular La Plancha Beach Bar. Guests can play at seven eateries and bars, where they'll find menu items with modern takes on Balinese dishes. At the in-house coffee roastery Pottery Café, you can learn to throw clay while getting a good latte.
There are 270 rooms and 19 villas, which are planned under Balinese principles. Villas have private plunge pools.
Kerry Hotel, Hong Kong
This "urban resort" sits on an absolute waterfront site at Hung Hom in south Kowloon and offers spectacular views across Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island, the likes of which only locals and the odd office worker have seen before. Now, visitors can take it in from a 25-metre pool surrounded by a deck that offers sun lounges and a seductive cocktail garden that seems to jut out over the harbour.
Hong Kong architect Andre Fu's design is all about connection, a seamless flow from building to setting, coupled with a sense of space that's a rarity in Hong Kong. Everywhere, light, space and subtle drama are maximised, from the soaring lobby to the incredible buffet restaurant.
The rooms start at not much under 50-square metres and have floor-to-ceiling windows, while the Base Camp gym and wellness areas, are impressively huge and light-flooded.
Check out the gallery above and see inside some of the world's best new luxury hotels.