by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | August 01, 2017

You won't find any of the following 10 hotel chains in the United States, or even North America. That's because they're too busy building their portfolios in Asia Pacific, Africa, Europe and the Middle East to turn their expansion strategies westward. They are each at the top in their respective luxury markets, with a groundswell of loyal followers, if their social media platforms are any indicator. Planners need to know about these chains, because sooner or later they will make landfall on our soil to challenge U.S. brands on their own turf.


38 properties in 12 countries
Since opening its first property in Bangkok in 2001, this Thai hotel company has become a standout in the Asia market with luxury resorts in key Asian and African markets, including Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Vietnam and Zambia. In April 2017 it opened its first European property, the 280-room Anantara Vilamoura Algarve Resort, on Portugal's resort-rich Algarve Coast. The chain has another 12 hotels in the development pipeline. After years of flying under the radar, it seems Western travelers have finally discovered the Anantara experience. Two of its hotels, the 120-room Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort in Sri Lanka and the 82-room Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort in Oman, were named to the Condé Nast Traveler Hot List 2017.

40 properties in 14 countries

Founded in 1994, Singapore-based Banyan Tree has carefully built a resort brand that has become synonymous with the environmentally friendly sanctuary concept. It pioneered features like tropical outdoor spas and individual pool-villa guest rooms, which other resort brands have since copied. The brand's name comes from the large banyan trees found throughout Asia Pacific that shelter travelers. Thirty years ago, after purchasing a vast expanse of coastal land on Thailand's Phuket Island for its first development, the company's founders discovered it was severely polluted, thanks to a former tin mine. Rather than walk away, they cleaned the soil, planted more than 7,000 trees and transformed what had been an ecological wasteland into the chain's first resort, the 100-villa Banyan Tree Phuket. In 2016, the company formed a marketing alliance with AccorHotels and announced plans to open four more resorts by 2020, three in China and one in Indonesia.

In Madrid, the Barceló Emperatriz puts
a modern spin on a 19th-century palace.

73 hotels in 17 countries

This is the original brand, and the most prestigious, of the 85-year-old Barceló Group, based in Palma, Majorca, and which in 2015 acquired Occidental Hotels & Resorts. Known for its upscale urban hotels and resorts featuring signature spas, golf and multiple dining experiences, the bulk of Barceló's properties (33 to be exact) are in Spain, but it also has a presence in other Spanish-speaking destinations, including Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Mexico, where it currently has 21 hotels. Later this year, the company finally will plant a flag in Mexico City, when the former 500-room Krystal Grand on the city's major thoroughfare, Avenida Reforma, is reflagged the Barceló Mexico Reforma. In January 2016, it opened yet another stunner, the 146-room Barceló Emperatriz in Madrid, housed in a former 19th-century palace in the city's Salamanca neighborhood.

8 properties in Mexico

This luxury, all-inclusive, Mexico City-based hotel chain is the top dog in parent Grupo Posadas' stable of eight chains ranging from budget and limited-service to Live Aqua, its adults-only lifestyle brand. Since it debuted in 1998, the company has planted flags in key destinations in Mexico, including Cancún, Los Cabos and Mexico City, in the process becoming the largest hotel operator in that country. At the 602-room Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancún Resort and Spa, which has over 80,000 square feet of meeting space, the top two floors are dedicated to the Grand Club, which in addition to superior guest rooms provides lavish services such as a dedicated lounge and private concierge service.

21 properties in 9 countries

Mind-bending architecture, flawless design and over-the-top luxury are the hallmarks of this Dubai-based chain, which has expanded into China and Europe. Chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royces, rooftop helipads for private helicopter access and a host of personal butlers are par for the course. Small wonder that "Stay Different" is this brand's tagline. Jumeirah is best known for the distinctive sail-shaped silhouette of the 202-room Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, which opened in Dubai in 1999 and set the architectural world on a bender that hasn't stopped. The chain has 14 hotels in its development pipeline, including seven in key cities in China.