7 Stylish Hotels That Will Impress The Design Snob
1/7 Hotel Californian, USA
Often hailed as the American Riviera, Santa Barbara has long drawn itinerant creative types and oenophiles alike, and this dazzling property gives the design-savvy ever more reason to visit the city. The work of Los Angeles-based designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard, the Hotel Californian is a 121-room resort with a flair for the unexpected.
Fuelled by diverse and dynamic sources of cultural and design inspiration, Bullard pairs Art Deco details, Moorish elements with Mediterranean influences, while furnishing the interiors with Mid-Century pieces in a homage to the work of architect Gio Ponti. Dramatic ceilings and a sumptuous mix of colour, texture and pattern add to the hotel’s glamorous appeal while its decorative tilework and monochromatic elements pay tribute to Santa Barbara’s Spanish Colonial Revival architecture.
2/7 The Jaffa, Israel
Once a convent and hospital, The Jaffa in Tel Aviv comes with a storied history and stunning Neo-Roman architecture from the 19th century. Under the charge of British architect John Pawson and Israeli architect Ramy Gill, it has been reinvented as a luxury hotel and residence, with much of its original stained glass features, arched collonades and painted vaulted ceilings preserved to be enjoyed by a new generation. Pawson’s minimalist aesthetic pairs modern elements with the raw textures of the property’s historic details and Middle Eastern elements, while Gill worked closely with restoration specialists to reveal the patina on the architectural features of its storied spaces.
Chief among its most striking areas is The Chapel, stylishly furnished with contemporary pieces such as the Cini Boeri-designed Botolo chairs from Arflex, and in a colour palette inspired by the paintwork of the walls and ceiling. In the modern lobby, remnants of a bastion wall from the 13th century add an intriguing counterpoint to the streamlined forms of the Mid-Century furniture designed by Shiro Kuramata and Pierre Paulin.
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3/7 Kimpton Fitzroy London, UK
The first UK outpost of San Francisco-based boutique hotel and restaurant group, Kimpton Fitzroy London embraces its Victorian-era heritage while injecting its interior with an eclectic mix of art and decor. Housed in a heritage building designed by British architect Charles Fitzroy Doll, the property features 334 rooms and suites, with common areas and bedrooms thoughtfully re-designed and furnished by Tara Bernerd & Partners.
The dining venues—including Neptune, Fitz’s and Burr & Co which have been designed by Russell Sage Studio—offer stylish spaces to dine and people-watch; the Fitz’s cocktail bar in particular, stands out as a decadent visual tribute to the Jazz Age. Perks such as a pet-friendly policy (furry friends can stay for free) and a complimentary Champagne hour celebrate the hotel group’s relaxed approach to luxury and its flair for creating convivial spaces for its most sociable guests.
4/7 The Murray, Hong Kong
The work of British architect Ron Phillips, The Murray has been a well-loved Modernist landmark in Hong Kong since its completion in 1969. Under the charge of international architecture and design practice Foster + Partners, the refurbished 27-storey building now houses a 336-room luxury hotel run by the Niccolo Hotels group, which marries its original architecture with elegantly minimalist interiors.
Its 11m-tall arches instantly create a sense of arrival and lead to a voluminous sun-lit lobby, which features an installation by Korean artist Bahk Seon Ghi. The spacious rooms and suites feature large windows that look out to the city and nearby greenery, with each space clad in a variety of natural stones, leather, hardwood flooring and plush fabrics.
The hotel’s dining areas are as remarkable; highlights include Popinjays, a rooftop restaurant-bar that’s housed in a glass pavilion. The restaurant features a generous outdoor terrace and is decked in a glamorous mix of gold, grey and shades of blue, along with artworks of New York-based artist Kaws; cosy seats and lounge areas indoors and out encourage guests to dine, wine and enjoy the views.
5/7 Soho House Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Founder Nick Jones first established Soho House in 1995 as an exclusive members’ club in London with the goal of creating a convivial hub for the creative tribe. Today, the hospitality group has over two dozen locations across Europe and North America, with hotel rooms available in select houses including Amsterdam.
Housed in the 1930s-era Bungehuis building, Soho House Amsterdam draws cues from architectural features that range from Art Deco to the Amsterdam School-style, while integrating elements of Dutch design through its selection of furnishings and artworks. Take for instance, the glazed floor tiles or the stained glass windows that run the length of the main stairway; their vivid colours are echoed on the fabrics and rugs seen throughout the property.
Hotel guests enjoy access to club facilities during their stay, which include the lounge areas where its members are known to linger, as well as co-working spaces, a rooftop pool and screening rooms. More than just a stylish venue, the property offers the opportunity to be in the company of creative types in the city, while providing cosy spaces that make room for work and leisure with equal relish.
6/7 Morpheus, Macau
In a city known for its larger-than-life spectacles and glitzy belt of casinos, the futuristic architecture of the Morpheus hotel seems right at home. The brainchild of Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), its free-form aluminium exoskeleton not only adds an otherworldly air to its architecture; it also appears like an intricate web that continues inside the building, resulting in show-stopping spaces with soaring cathedral-like ceilings. Originally inspired by the artisan tradition of jade carving, its architecture was designed to maximise the site area while creating a new landmark in Macau.
“Morpheus combines its optimal arrangement with structural integrity and sculptural form,” shares Viviana Muscettola, project director of ZHA. “The design is intriguing as it makes no reference to traditional architectural typologies.” California-based, Macau-born designer Peter Remedios dressed its interior spaces with aplomb—bespoke furnishings recall the ambience aboard superyachts.
7/7 Waldorf Astoria Bangkok, Thailand
Laidback luxury—that’s the phrase that instantly comes to mind when one enters the Waldorf Astoria Bangkok. Calm, elegant and dressed in cool tones, its enchanting interior was designed by André Fu, architect and founder of Hong Kong-based studio AFSO. Renowned for the work he has done for The Upper House in Hong Kong and Shangri-La Hotel in Tokyo, Fu took inspiration from the original Waldorf Astoria in New York, and the Art Deco influence is palpable in the arched promenades and grand staircase that sits prominently on the ground floor.
If Fu’s work was to be personified as an elegant lady, what New York-based design firm AvroKO has done for the hotel’s highest three floors reveals a cheekier side of her. Spanning a restaurant and two bars, the design by AvroKO is bold and uninhibited. Case in point? The only way to access The Champagne Bar on the 57th floor is through a secret door. Artworks frame the speakeasy, while painting tools lay strewn across counters; the furniture is an eclectic mix of modern and vintage pieces, inviting guests who enter to a night of playful revelry.
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This story was adapted from Singapore Tatler Homes February-March 2019