The latest hotels lighting up Livingetc's design radar..
Santa Barbara, USA
The lowdown The West Coast’s coolest hotel.
Best for Chic travellers looking to discover this sleepy corner of California.
Santa Barbara has been crying out for a top-class, design-led hotel and now, courtesy of interiors maestro Martyn Lawrence Bullard, it has one of the hippest in the Golden state. Spread out across three Spanish colonial revival properties, Hotel Californian has an original Twenties façade that sets the scene for this American Riviera bolthole.
Inside, Bullard’s work is a study in modern Moorish glamour. Think abundant mosaics, Moroccan motifs, and a scarlet-and-ebony colour palette that sings against the Mediterranean architectural style.
In-house restaurant Blackbird, a riotous dining room of red, black and gold, is worth visiting for the hedonist decor alone, though the locally sourced, seasonal menus are a treat for the taste buds, too. Check into the Granada guest rooms, which come with chilled-out lounge areas and balconies that gaze over Santa Barbara’s red-topped roofs.
After a day of exploring the pretty city streets, head down to Spa Majorelle to de-stress in the steam room or up to the scene-stealing rooftop pool.
Book it Double rooms from £425
The lowdown An exquisite spa retreat with high design credentials.
Best for Those seeking time to unwind in spectacular surroundings.
With a Swiss valley location and chocolate-box vistas, the picturesque village of Vals has more than enough to attract globetrotting visitors. Add one of the country’s most ambitious design projects and you have a travel hot spot not to be missed. Hotel 7132 – known by locals as seventy one thirty two – is a serene retreat that combines three of life’s greatest pleasures: dazzling nature, sublime food and awe-inspiring architecture.
Built around the valley’s healing waters, the hotel’s pièce de résistance is a magnificent Brutalist-luxe bath complex by Peter Zumthor, who used 60,000 slabs of quartzite in its meticulous construction. We adored the Friday and Sunday night midnight swims, where the twinkling night sky and mountain backdrop make for a memorable experience.
Despite the spa focus of this property, gourmets will find plenty to rejoice in. 7132 Silver Restaurant’s fine-dining menus boast two Michelin stars, while Glenner serves a glut of hearty Swiss classics. Retire for the night to one of the sleek bedrooms where a minimalist Alpine vibe unites the remarkable landscape and modern design vision.
Book it Double rooms from £460
The lowdown A four-year facelift has breathed new life into this much-loved Parisian icon.
Best for Those seeking opulence and romance on the arty Left Bank.
This fabled grande dame has a cultural heritage that sparkles with some of the brightest names of the 20th century. Ernest Hemingway, Peggy Guggenheim and Pablo Picasso all breezed through the hotel’s elegant front doors and held court at its infamous restaurant.
Today, following a top-to-toe renovation, the Lutetia has been reborn with a cool-luxe look. Every detail is thoughtfully considered, from the stunning bathrooms to the impressive Bar Joséphine, with original ceiling frescoes unearthed during the restoration, hinting at the hotel’s bohemian spirit.
Architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte has overseen the restructure, turning 233 rooms into 184, offering guests a greater sense of space and calm.
Chef Gérald Passédat of three-Michelin-star Le Petit Nice in Marseille, has brought his family’s gastronomic heritage to Lutetia’s classic brasserie. A buzzy new jazz bar, courtyard lounge, state-of-the-art spa and sky-lit indoor pool complete the property, promising a perfect stay in the city of lights.
Book it Double rooms from £750
Paramount House hotel
The lowdown Edgy design in the old Paramount Pictures building.
Best for A lively bar and foodie scene a stone’s throw from the city centre.
Packed with hipster haunts, culture and cafés, Surry Hills is Sydney’s answer to Shoreditch. New to the hood is Paramount House Hotel, which occupies the former headquarters of Paramount Pictures (one of the area’s most recognisable landmarks).
A roster of trendy establishments share the premises, including a coffee shop – the go-to spot for locals looking for a mean flat white – a co-working space and the Golden Age Cinema.
The hotel renovation was masterminded by Breathe Architecture, and the building’s new copper-clad roof glimmers in the sunshine, offering just a suggestion of the covetable interiors inside. Each of the 29 rooms blends heritage features with modern style: think concrete ceilings and bare brick walls, kilim rugs, Australia-made furniture and private terraces. Many of the terrazzo-tiled bathrooms feature Japanese-style wooden baths.
Livingetc also loved the Aesop toiletries and oh-so soft French linen sheets – the ideal treats after an action-packed Sydney day.
Book it Double rooms from £125