We all have a lot of living to do next year. Places to go, pools to swim in, room service on which to dispose income. One of the few great experiences of 2020 for me was a stay at the Sant Francesc Hotel Singular in the old town of Palma, Mallorca, during that weird, late summer period when going on holiday was a roll of the dice, with arbitrary changes brought in at the stroke of midnight to make life immensely inconvenient, and flights violently expensive.
My stay was glorious – everything was perfect, from the high ornate ceilings to the best croquetas on Earth, served next to the rooftop pool overlooking the basilica. I’d been looking forward to visiting its sibling property in Santanyi, Can Ferrereta, but opening plans were put on ice around the same time we all put our masks on, in spring. I still stayed in Santanyi on that trip, but in an Airbnb. My favourite beach in the Balearics, Cala Llombards, was close by; a quiet cove with water as clear as Vichy Catalan, and a cute little beach bar. Every afternoon, I swam and sank several piña coladas, and thought about coming back when that new hotel was a reality.
It’s been a rough year. In New York, Ian Schrager’s shiny new EDITION Times Square shut down. In London, Ace Hotel and The Curtain bit the dust. But while Ace vanished in London, another branch opened this summer in Kyoto, and The Curtain will reboot soon as a Mondrian. Life goes on. There were other significant launches in 2020: a lavish Four Seasons in Madrid, albeit with only a quarter of rooms bookable, and the Villa Copenhagen hosted its first guests within the walls of its landmark Neo-Baroque walls. These are all significant new properties with pulling power, the kind of places that get people booking trips.
Demand for a good time has been pent up – and it is on its way. Hotels that were scheduled to open next year still will, and a lot that had to hold tight while we were unable to travel are going to add to that mix. It could be a bonanza year for travel. Scratch that – it will be.