You’ve got the sunglasses, the bag, the shoes. But are you overlooking your hotel key card? Is it a Missoni? A Bulgari? Does it bear Donatella’s stamp of approval? The recent proliferation of designer hotels means that a simple key card can elevate you to a whole new level of style while traveling.
1 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, Scotland
Brand new Hotel Missoni pierces the dull Scottish grey you’ve come to expect along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. Known for bold colours, black and white geometrics, stripes and abstract florals, Missoni has transferred all those trademarks to the hotel’s design: patterned bathrobes, Missoni-scented toiletry products and bursts of orange, turquoise and fuchsia throughout. Traditional family values like warmth and hospitality are the secret ingredients at Cucina, the in-house restaurant that specializes in classic Italian with a modern touch (think Octopus and Potato Salad and Saffron Risotto with Bone Marrow). And of course the table settings are part of the clan as well: everything is served upon pieces from the Missoni Home collection.
The g Hotel
Wellpark, Galway, Ireland
From the milliner responsible for the mile-high chapeau that Sarah Jessica Parker donned for the Sex and the City premiere in London comes this equally flamboyant hotel in Ireland. Philip Treacy’s g hotel is all regal sparkle and sass – a mood evoked by jewel tones, velvets and glittering gold accents. It starts right at the reception area, where a black glass wall frames a tank of seahorses and a concierge desk that evokes a seashell. Around the corner, a raspberry carpet connects three sumptuous lounges: the grand salon, pink salon and blue lounge. Then, just when you think the hotel couldn’t possibly get more indulgent, comes the Purva Karma Four-Handed Massage at the g’s spa. Moving in tandem like synchronized swimmers, two therapists practically create performance art as they knead your weary body (see the hotel’s website for a video of the massage).
A collection of seven hotels including Hotel Lungarno, 14 Borgo San Jacopo, Florence and Portrait Suites, 23 Via Bocca di Leone, Rome.
Ferragamo’s elegant aesthetic connects this series of sophisticated hotels in Florence and Rome. At the Hotel Lungarno, airy indoor ambiance flirts with the romance outside as rooms overlook the iconic Ponte Vecchio. Florence is married to its art (after all, this is the home of Michaelangelo’s stone stud, David) and the hotel’s décor is in keeping with that ancient love affair: guests are invited to sip a drink by the fireplace in the company of paintings by Picasso, Rosai and Cocteau. The nearby Continentale Hotel blends creamy modern ambiance with a touch of 1950s glamour, and its pillow-festooned Sky Lounge offers a panoramic view of Florence. Rome’s Portrait Suites pay specific homage to Ferragamo’s fashion heritage through the selective placement of patterns and textiles.
Stay in Oscar de la Renta’s hotel on the next page …
The Hotel Missoni pictured above
Punta Cana, Higüey, Dominican Republic
Designed by Oscar de la Renta, but influenced by natural island colours, these 15 exclusive private beachfront villas within the Dominican Republic’s Puntacana resort are luminous, restful, and dotted with tasteful dabs of sunny yellow. But even more brilliant is the VIP service that comes with a stay at Tortuga Bay: you’re given special treatment and whisked through customs, transferred in a private car, awarded a personal concierge and assigned a golf cart for the duration of your stay. Nine world class restaurants are located minutes away but guests are also welcome to partake of the resort’s amenities and activities, including restaurants, bars, horseback riding, golf courses and a spa that offers outdoor as well as indoor treatments.
The Hotel of South Beach
801 Collins Avenue, Miami, Florida
Take an art deco shell, and stuff it with sea, sand, sky and Todd Oldham. That’s the Hotel of South Beach, an establishment that’s unapologetically fun n’ Floridian, right down to the tie-dyed bathrobes and brightly coloured tiles. Originally The Tiffany Hotel (circa 1939), the building still wears its original tiara: a glowing, vintage metal spire. You can appreciate it from the chic rooftop/poolside Spire Lounge as you sip an Electronic Cocktail – a drink pimped with neon ice cubes.
826 Ocean Drive, Miami, Florida
No two rooms are alike at Miami’s Diesel-designed mecca for fashionistas, musicians and publishers. Expect to be utterly wowed by the 30 over-the-top rooms, treated with so much attention to detail and pumped so full of props that the hotel likens them to miniature movie sets. Room 205, “With Drill” may appeal if you have an appetite for the industrial look and/or spontaneous dentistry – it is full of cool metal accents (but doesn’t actually contain a drill…you’ll have to bring your own). Expecting lots of visitors? Try Room 215, “Best Whorehouse,” a cherry red space that evokes a brothel.
The Pelian Hotel pictured above
Hotel Du Petit Moulin
29/31 Rue de Poitou, Paris, France
The façade of Hotel Du Petit Moulin has you at bonjour: housed in the former home of a 16th century bakery in Le Marais (a district in Paris), the romantic old storefront still reads “Boulangerie.” The interior, however, has been stocked with new ingredients. Christian Lacroix designed the hotel to reflect all the different faces of Le Marais and the result is seventeen different ambiances. In one room, Toile de Jouy celebrates a rustic Marais while in another damasks are an ode to the neighbourhood’s history. Wallpapers, collage frescoes and sensous colours throughout result in total art immersion.
Via Privata Fratelli Gabba 7/b, Milan and Jalan Goa Lempeh, Bali.
Black, chocolate and camel are the pervasive tones at these contemporary and ultra luxurious properties. Precious materials like black Zimbabwe marble, Vicenza stone and Turkish Aphyon give the Milan location lots to brag about. Some rooms include meditation corners furnished with tatami floors. Even more precious, the ultra-exclusive Bali resort hovers like a fortress 150 metres above a 1.5 kilometre beach, which is accessed only by the hotel’s inclined elevator. Over 90 examples of Balinese art and antiques mingle with natural stone, exotic woods and Bulgari’s signature Italian style.
Sea World Drive, Queensland, Australia.
Proving that there’s nothing it can’t bedeck in glitz and glamour, Versace took an Australian beach and smothered it in renaissance/baroque splendour. Palazzo Versace, with its ornate ceilings, intricate mosaics and marble floors, opened in 2000 and considers itself the world’s first fashion-branded hotel. Boasting 204 rooms and 72 condominiums, it’s no intimate hideaway, but still prides itself on being a royalty and celeb-magnet. Minted shoppers can saunter down to the in-house Versace Boutique or hit more designer shops at nearby Marina Mirage before recovering at the Palazzo’s Roman Bath-style spa. A Dubai incarnation of Palazzo Versace will come to life in 2010.
The Palazzo Versace pictured above