Luxury Hotels


Awnings, canvas, PVC and other words come into the forefront when considering today’s new-luxury hotels. Take THE SETAI Miami Beach, In 2016 the owners invested $1.8 million in a Uni-Systems retractable roof for the open-sky central courtyard, and the ROI must have been near-instant or at least only a couple of months. It’s brilliant as the courtyard, too hot in summer and not friendly in un-friendly weather, can now be integrated into the ’covered’ space in a couple of seconds.

(Not directly relevant, but what a fascinating story. Uni-Systems invented technology to move Atlas rockets at Cape Canaveral. In the 1970s and 80s, Uni-Systems applied its movement engineering to retractable stadium roofs.  The inventor, and CEO, of Uni-Systems, Cyril Silberman, happens now to be based in Miami Beach.)

And then, from overhead to wrap-around you, there are tents.  FOUR SEASONS TENTED CAMP in Northern Thailand’s Golden Triangle was, in 2996, first on-the-radar luxury-glamp in the hotel sense. In the USA, AMANGIRI welcomed a younger sibling in 2020: five minutes away. CAMP SARIKA BY AMANGIRI, named for the Sanskrit ‘open space’, consists of 15 Luxury Frontiers’ canvas and wood tents, all with heated plunge pools. The success is partly shown by equal rates, static or tented lodging.

Latest in the genre is in Mexico, namely the gorgeous-looking  15-tent NAVIVA, A FOUR SEASONS RESORT, PUNTA MITA. Another Luxury Frontiers’ project, it is said to embody the biophilic design approach and key attributes of biomimicry seen throughout the property. Arrive over a dramatic jungle ravine via a timber bridge– a tunnel-like walkway enveloped by a lattice bamboo weave, emulating the form of the caterpillar crawling into its curved, copper shingle cocoon. Since that sometimes-eccentric, always-original John O’Sullivan runs both NAVIVA and also its symbiotic trad hotel, the 203-room mainstream Four Seasons, Girlahead is sure Naviva is not only worth keeping an eye on, but well worth a visit.

And, talking of Four Seasons, let us listen to Rainer Stampfer, now Global President of Operations: