Pack Your Bags! Explore 14 Of The Most Stylish Summer Escapes Around The World
The best design-focused hotels transport you to more than a different country. After all, what better way is there to satisfy a love of travel, architecture, history and style at once? From an art-filled retreat in New Orleans to an historic Parisian gem and bold Brazilian casitas, here are our favorite stylish summer escapes from around the world.
Designed by buzzy-worthy British architect Thomas Heatherwick, the stunning building of the Silo Hotel, part of luxury South African hotel group The Royal Portfolio, was once a grain silo. Soaring ceilings and giant windows give amazing 180-degree views of Table Mountain in this unique piece of architecture which features geometric panels of glass.
Built in the the grain elevator portion of the historic grain silo complex, the hotel fills six floors above the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, which houses Africa’s largest collection of contemporary African art. Original artwork graces the walls throughout the hotel.
Suites, many of which contain a lounge and dining area, are individually designed by the Founder and CEO of The Royal Portfolio, Liz Biden. Bright accents and eclectic vintage-style furniture contrast elegantly with the contemporary, industrial building.
London’s The Ned is a bank reincarnated as a decadent 1920s-era hotel. A partnership between Soho House & Co and the Sydell Group, with EPR Architects, it was built by Sir Edwin ‘Ned’ Lutyens in 1924. Comprising ten restaurants, 17 bars and 250 bedrooms, it also features an award-winning event space — an opulent saloon and ballroom complete with an 18th-century chandelier sourced from London’s Devonshire House, an ornate chalk frieze and a restored parquet floor.
Located in Bank, a thriving business area north of the City, the Ned plays to the history and location using the vast old banking hall to host a selection of eateries and retailers. The original Midland Bank strongroom houses the members-only Vault bar and lounge, and is lined with more than 3,000 original safety deposit boxes.
Attached to the Grand Heritage Rooms are equally grand bathrooms: marble mosaics are finished with brass hardware and luxurious walk-in showers are stocked with full-sized Cowshed products.
A speakeasy-style barbershop offers everything from traditional wet shaves to manicures, all carried out in dapper vintage-style barber chairs. Wood panelling, marble countertops and graphic floor tiles also make the place look the part.
With interior design and architecture by American design firm HKS, this W Hotel group’s modern guest lodge beside Lake Washington puts its striking artwork front and centre. A reclaimed-wood staircase is surrounded by a vibrant three-storey mural from international artist Gaia, and original art pieces from Lady Aiko and Zio Ziegler are arranged throughout the lobby.
The Library features plaid-covered couches and cushions that reference Jimi Hendrix, calling to mind the grunge-rock movement, and the eclectic nature of family lake houses. Guests can pick up a summer read, strum away on a vintage instrument or take in the giant mural that fills the back wall.
The restaurant, called the Lakehouse, is a minimalist monochrome take on lakeside style. A green living wall in the centre is a natural focal point and other feature walls are decorated with gingham and flowers in shades of grey as a nod to “Grandma’s breakfast room.”
In a selection of rooms, in-suite swings bring the outside in. Chic silver and white painted wooden stumps provide a resting spot for a beverage.
At the Fairmont Pacific Rim, the Owner’s Suites were designed by award-winning Vancouver-based architect James K Cheng. Each one features colourful art installations by Canadian artists, including Susan Point and Greg Murdock, as well as a vibrant Ico Parisi-inspired sofa. A custom vinyl collection and Rega RP1 turntable add to the stylish, yet welcoming, appeal.
Since the Fairmont Pacific Rim opened its restaurant, Botanist, designed by award-winning agencies Ste Marie Design and Glasfurd and Walker, it has been celebrated for its art deco design. Nature features prominently inside and out — more than 50 types of plant species add to the decor.
To encourage eco-friendly travel and exploration on two wheels, the Fairmont Pacific Rim has added 18 new BMW electric bikes to its fleet. What’s most eye-catching, however, is the innovative storage solution: an eye-catching carousel, commissioned by Wesbank and created by Chapel Art, is a functional art installation.
Located in NOLA’s Warehouse and Arts district, this unique hotel was created from three 19th-century warehouses.
The hotel’s commitment to art spans beyond the guest rooms. The Artist in Residence program invites out-of-town artists to take root in the month of July. This year, Chase Cannon of Beech Grove, Indiana, will produce a collection of works for an exhibition show over Whitney White Linen Night on August 4, which celebrates local artists and galleries along Julia Street in the Warehouse Arts District. Previous resident artists include Chicago-based Kate Lewis whose large-scale black and white illustrations elegantly captured New Orleans’ architecture.
In collaboration with Where Y’Art, a selection of king suites are curated by New Orleans artists Saegan Swanson, Tish Douzart and Leroy Miranda, Jr. Each suite features hardwood floors, brick walls and a sitting area with fold-out sofa, along with hand-chosen art works and installations.
The Old No. 77’s lobby art gallery, called “Where Y’Art” is a Royal Street Gallery in the heart of the Marigny district, and a community for artists and art lovers in New Orleans.
Reclaimed wood and sleek white furniture at 1Hotel South Beach prove that sustainability and style are not mutually exclusive.
At this luxury eco-friendly-focused boutique hotel, floor-to-ceiling glass windows further serve to make nature a focus. Art installations made from recycled materials (including a 6-foot custom whale sculpture) and vertical orchid gardens.
Guests are reminded of the hotel’s commitment to being green the second they arrive thanks to living green walls on the hotel’s façade and main lobby, created by Miami-based design firm Plant the Future.
In the Historic Quadrado de Trancoso in Bahia, Brazil, 11 distinct casitas restored by designer Wilbert Das are dotted around luxurious gardens. Using traditional techniques and reclaimed materials in collaboration with local native artisans — ranging from fishermen to Pataxó Indians — Das has filled each suite with local antiques and art.
An Artist in Casa residency has allowed international creatives to contribute canvases reflecting their own impressions of the breathtaking scenery. The Uxua shop also sells one-of-a-kind goods made by local artisans, allowing guests to take a little of the hotel’s charm home.
The striking decor often involves cleverly recasting vintage items — from TV sets hidden in retro suitcases, to the beach bar made out of an old sea-blue fishing boat.
The stunning Almescar spa offers unusual treatments — using a resin from the almescar tree — in relaxing natural surroundings with breezy, beachy style.
Vienna’s Magdas Hotel is creative both in its approach to design and community building. Designed to help the lives of marginalized people, it employs 20 refugees and 10 hotel professionals, and runs in association with local artists and architects. Next to an art gallery, its stylish communal lounge, cafe, library and garden host readings, exhibitions, concerts, film nights, and dinners.
Built in a former Caritas retirement home, by architects AllesWirdGut and artist Daniel Buechel, the hotel’s interior design relies largely on up-cycling. Fitted cupboards from the original nursing home have been transformed into minimalist benches, tables and lamps, while luggage racks from Austrian trains were installed to hold suitcases in each room.
The unique artwork in the rooms was created by students and staff from the neighbouring Academy of Visual Arts and furniture was either donated by the public or sourced from Caritas’s own used furniture shop, Carla.
At Hôtel de Crillon, preservation of the historic 18th-century architecture results in a slice of luxury that’s not of this lifetime. A four-year restoration led by architect Richard Martinet, restored the façade dating back to 1753 and grand reception rooms on the second floor, which are classified as heritage landmarks.
Artistic Director Aline Asmar d’Amman oversaw a team of four Paris-based designers throughout the restorations: Chahan Minassian was the brains behind the Bar Des Ambassadeurs, which features original chandeliers that were modernized using suspended chains.
Two suites facing each other were decorated by Karl Lagerfeld. Featuring walk-in wardrobes, and furniture and colour schemes created by the designer, together they are referred to as “Les Grands Appartements.” Meanwhile, another suite he designed is inspired by his vision of French chic and modernity and is named after his cat, Choupette.
Six hundred materials were used in each room, including fabrics, mouldings, bronzes, and 40 types of marble. With classic, refined colour palettes of greige, blue and warm brown, each room is furnished with bespoke pieces, antiques, objets d’art and books. Among the grandest is the Salon Marie Antoinette, named after one of the hotel’s most famous loyal visitors, which boasts a private indoor terrace with a view of the Cour d’Honneur courtyard.
This 17th century Ottoman palace is now one of Istanbul’s grandest hotels and its stunning architecture sits on the banks of the Bosphorous, making it the only hotel in Istanbul accessible by car, yacht and helicopter.
The Sultan’s Dining Room is one of the hotel’s most opulent spaces and guests can indulge in a unique dining experience. The decadent space is dotted with antiques from different centuries such as candelabras, jardiniere from the 19th century, as well as exotic flowers and laced plates.
As this was the residence of one of the last Ottoman Sultans, a hammam was an important element of the home. Now its towering ceiling, historic architecture and engraved ornaments make it an elegant and unusual setting for hosting special events.
This downtown Barcelona hotel is situated in a stunning neoclassical house built in 1869, and its original exterior is as impressive and colourful as what lies inside. The Libertine, a tapas restaurant meets cocktail lounge, is filled with colourful accents, traditional artisanal rugs and original art.
Lighting from Barcelona-based designers Santa & Cole creates mood and ambiance throughout the hotel’s rooms and communal spaces, where simple greenery feels tropical and elegant.
Antique details have been meticulously preserved, including sliding doors and hydraulic tile floors, which can be enjoyed throughout the hotel and as a feature in guest rooms, which are made cozier with Traditional Texidors blankets.
Bisha Hotel’s commitment to creative arts is apparent in its gallery-worthy collection of original pieces by the likes of Jeff Koons, Jun Kaneko, Damien Hirst, Jeff Goodman and Alexander McQueen, which was curated by Grace Zeppelli of Studio Munge. Guests are free to take in art at their leisure and while visiting the Kost restaurant on the 44th floor.
The involvement of authentic rock royalty adds to the appeal of this luxury downtown hotel, with a whole floor designed by Lenny Kravitz. Deep shades, rich textures and suitably rock ’n’ roll artwork are all included.
The interior design work on the entire hotel was carried out by Toronto based design superstar Alessandro Munge of Studio Munge and features art installations such as Jeff Goodman’s flying glass birds above the lobby, which is made from 259 hand blown glass discs.
Sleek black marble contrasts with pops of bright green in the lounge area which features two-tone black wall panelling and a circular fire feature in a composition of geometric shapes.
Raffles Luxury Resorts added its first Polish location earlier this summer in the neo-Renaissance palace built by Enrico Marconi in 1857. The hotel’s original grand 19th-century architecture is a delight for lovers of history and design.
In addition to old-world charm, the hotel features modern and contemporary Polish art, including a collection by Anda Rottenberg, a former director of the Zacheta National Gallery of art. Take in almost 500 pieces of art by the likes of Polish avant-garde legend Tadeusz Kantor and celebrated contemporary Polish artists Wilhelm Sasnal and Monika Sosnowska.
Impressive examples of Polish craftsmanship can be seen throughout the hotel’s interior — such as the carved burl wood headboards or the Warsaw skyline etched into the grey marble walls of the bathrooms.
Each of the 106 rooms — some of which look out to the eternal flame of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier — is decked out with blackened oak floors, contemporary Polish art, sleek marble bathrooms and a reading corner.
The impact of the stunning architecture of Hotel Josef lies in its contrast to Prague’s Old Town, where it’s located. Architect Eva Jiřičná designed the glass minimalist interior inspired by her own living space and the clean lines and floor-to-ceiling mirrored walls are punctuated by pops of coral and orange in textured fabrics.
Each room seamlessly flows into its bathroom, thanks to either being open glass or decked out in elegant limestone. The clear walls make the space feel decadent and grand.
The striking play of glass and light continues throughout the common areas of the hotel, informing the building’s character. The stand-out architectural feature is its brilliant glass and steel staircase.
Hotel Josef is the only hotel in Prague to offer guests a ride on an iconic design. Made from 1957 to 1964 in Czechoslovakia, the Čezeta motor scooter embodied aerodynamic design and freedom. To celebrate the scooter’s 60th anniversary last year, an electric version was launched and a Čezeta Type 506 designed for adventurous Hotel Josef guests to enjoy timeless design while taking in the scenery.