Hotels that max out on style? These bolt holes fly the flag for the world’s finest designers
What’s it like to sleep in a space created by the stars of the design world? In New York, Michaelis Boyd (of Babington House and Soho Farmhouse fame) has turned an old factory into a hip hangout for style-conscious travellers, The Williamsburg Hotel. Philippe Starck is the man behind the sleek and striking interiors at SLS Brickell in Miami. Heading across the Atlantic to Cape Town, The Silo is making waves on the bustling waterfront. Thomas Heatherwick’s reinvention of this grain silo makes it a must-stay destination for architecture buffs. For something a tad more intimate, Jasper Conran’s L’Hôtel Marrakech offers the perfect tonic for the soul – a riad nestling in the Medina. Elegance is also the order of the day at Il Sereno on Lake Como, designed by Spanish design supremo Patricia Urquiola. Each of these gems offer that sumptuous experience we just can’t get enough of…
1. THE SILO
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
The lowdown A historic grain-silo building given a facelift for 2017.
Best for Panoramic views of Table Mountain from the rooftop pool.
Thomas Hetherwick’s extensive revamp of the exterior of this Twenties industrial building in the heart of Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront makes it a striking sight on the city’s skyline. The hotel’s six floors sit above the brand-spanking-new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA – set to rival MoMA and Tate Modern) in the lower part of the building and can be instantly identified by the glazed panels that bulge outwards as if inflating… And glow like a beacon at night. The interior, designed by co-owner Liz Biden, also marries old and new, with eclectic furnishings inspired by her global travels, from Persian carpets and oversized Egyptian crystal chandeliers to velvet sofas, often in vibrant shades, and each of the hotel’s 28 rooms has a different design.
The double-height lobby mixes concrete and marble with a contemporary chandelier by Haldane Martin and a collection of art by Africa’s leading artists adorns the walls throughout the building. Art appreciation continues with the hotel’s private gallery ‘The Vault’ in The Silo’s basement, or the concierge can arrange a private tour of the museum itself.
The stunning highlight? Undoubtedly the rooftop, with its bar, restaurant and pool. Spectacular views are there for the taking wherever you turn, from the ocean to Table Mountain to the city bowl… Livingetc declares it a masterpiece.
Book it Rooms from approx £715
2. SLS BRICKELL
The lowdown: A sleek urban oasis with an upbeat, playful vibe.
Best for The unexpected – it’s full of tongue-in-cheek surprises.
This sleek 55-floor glass tower in the Brickell neighbourhood of downtown Miami houses 124 hotel rooms and suites and 450 condos in the up-and-coming financial district. Design big-hitter Philippe Starck was tasked with designing the glossy hotel’s interior. Rooms, as one would expect from Mr Starck, are modern, spacious and quirky, done out in white, pale pink and slate grey, with cushions adorned with Picasso line drawings and framed black and white photographs casually leant up against the walls.
In Bazaar Mar, super-chef José Andrés’s SLS Brickell restaurant offering seafood dishes with a Caribbean twist, Starck has splashed out on a nautical fantasy theme, with large, surreal maritime scenes depicted across the walls and ceiling on blue and white delftware tiles (sea unicorns, pin-up mermaids and Andrés himself all appear) and a big fish head sculpture protruding from the wall.
Andrés’s Sunday brunch is fast becoming legendary, with a table laden with seafood delicacies such as king crab, oysters and Dungeness crab Benedict, alongside brunch classics such as Nutella pancakes and egg white tortilla, all washed down with free-flowing Moët & Chandon. Follow this up with the Meet Me Upstairs Sunday pool party up on the pool deck, with two swimming pools plus hot and cold plunge pools and sets by Miami’s hottest DJs – reserve yourself a cabana for the full experience…
Book it Rooms from approx £168.
3. L’HOTEL MARRAKECH
The lowdown Moroccan charm with a heady dose of Thirties glamour.
Best for Wafting between the pool and the sun terrace in your kaftan.
As soon as you walk into the courtyard garden at L’Hôtel Marrakech, you’ll be transported from the hubbub of Marrakech’s medina into an oasis of calm. This 19th-century riad (originally the central part of a Caidal palace) is owned by couturier and scion of the design dynasty Jasper Conran.
Restored by local craftsmen using traditional materials, the five spacious suites – each set around a spectacular courtyard garden – channel simple Thirties elegance with whitewashed walls, zouak (painted woodwork) ceilings and zellige tiles, all artfully combined with antique furniture, plus textiles and art from Jasper Conran’s own collections. Add in white voile curtains draped around the beds and more that billow out in the breeze on to the private terraces and you get the picture.
The courtyard garden boasts a 10m swimming pool (a rare find in the medina) amid the lush foliage and the roof terrace offers the perfect spot for sun lovers, as well as a vista that includes the Atlas mountains and the skyline of Marrakech. Breakfast and lunch are served under the rooftop pergola and you can indulge in afternoon tea or a cooling cocktail or two at the tables laid out among the orange, fig and olive trees.
Not a fan of sharing? L’Hôtel Marrakech is available for private hire, so you could have it all to yourself, or invite friends along for the ride so you can play house and host your own stylish soirée.
Book it Suites from approx £261.
4. THE WILLIAMSBURG HOTEL
NEW YORK, USA
The lowdown Industrial chic taken to new heights of luxury.
Best for Joining the in-crowd at Brooklyn’s hippest new hangout.
Fans of industrial-style interiors listen up – this new hotel in bustling Brooklyn neighbourhood Williamsburg will be right up your street (the corner of Wythe Ave and North 10th Street to be exact). With eight floors and 150 rooms, all encased in brick, glass and weathered steel, The Williamsburg Hotel has been designed by London-based Michaelis Boyd to draw inspiration from the neighbourhood’s industrial heritage. Inside, the brick walls, distressed-wood floors and steel-framed glazing hit the industrial nail on the head, with the double-height ceilings giving the spaces an eclectic, NY-loft-style vibe.
Hotel life revolves around nightlife and entertainment, with a host of bars, eateries and entertaining spaces on offer, including the soon-to-be-opened Watertower bar – a tribute to the district’s historic wooden water-tower factory. The Watertower offers sweeping views of Manhattan and Brooklyn, even higher than those from the hotel’s super-stylish rooftop pool, bar and café. Those city views also come framed by 10ft floor-to-ceiling windows in all of the hotel’s rooms, many of which also have their own balcony.
With furniture designed by Michaelis Boyd and leather-supremo Bill Amberg, the schemes feature bespoke upholstery, brass and marble bathroom fittings from Waterworks and textured details at every turn. Oh, and when you head out into the city, or just need a lift to the subway, make sure you do it in style in the hotel’s chauffeured pink and white tuk-tuk…
Book it Rooms from approx £165
5. IL SERENO
LAKE COMO, ITALY
The lowdown Cutting-edge design in a luxurious waterside setting.
Best for Style aficionados living the dream.
Lake Como has never been short of allure, but until Il Sereno opened last year, it was very much a historic hotel scene. Now this new kid on the block, designed by über-talent Patricia Urquiola, has changed the dynamic. Perched on a promontory, it blends seamlessly into the landscape thanks to its wood and stone exterior and dramatic vertical gardens created by living-wall maestro Patrick Blanc. Understated elegance greets you at every turn, from the slick low-key lobby to the focal point walnut and copper pipe staircase and the 30 spacious suites, each with their own balcony and lake view.
Although this haven of style celebrates the design dream, the atmosphere is elegant yet relaxed thanks to general manager Samy Ghachem and his team, who specialise in easy hospitality. The modern Italian fare is superb – Livingetc is still reliving the ravioli with lobster and purple cauliflower and pistachio parfait with wild berries. For those who can tear themselves away from chilling by the infinity pool, the hotel has Riva boats for lake trips, a fabulous spa and Como town is five minutes down the road. For a change of dining scene, there are a range of delightful local restaurants just a stone’s throw away.
Book it Suites from £660.