Along the glittering shores that connect Cannes and St Tropez, the coastal terrain takes a dramatic turn where the reddish rocks of the Esterel mountain range meet the sea. It’s here that Valery Grego, owner of several hotels in the Alps and Paris, has gambled on transforming a tumbledown motel into the sort of lively premises that this stretch of the Riviera currently lacks.
Paris-based practice Festen Architecture has returned the 50-room hotel to its Côte d’Azur glory, inspired by the straight lines and chalky hue of Eileen Gray’s e-1027 villa in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. The architects blended terracotta, oak and plastered walls to keep the Riviera feel throughout and added vintage rattan furniture, brass lamps and farmhouse tables for comfort. Contemporary accents come in the form of Guy Bareff lights, cement garden armchairs by Willy Guhl and a De Sede leather sofa.
Another talking point is the seawater pool measuring almost 30 metres in length that included a swimming lane cut into the coastal rock. The influences here are local and so are the diversions. Christian Mentozzi teaches pétanque (with a strong Provencal twang) once a week, while fisherman Olivier Bardoux will happily entertain you on his boat.
This 124-room property in the Porta Volta neighbourhood sports vertical gardens of jasmine, ivy, climbing roses and wisteria. Inside is furniture from Molteni&C, including Gio Ponti armchairs in the lobby. Rooms are decked out in understated colours and the tactile finishes include a mix of sandstone, oak parquet and marble.
A rooftop pool sits next to the breakfast room, while downstairs chef Giancarlo Morelli offers a menu focused on ingredients from the Lombardy region. The city’s hotels have long been either too fusty or too flashy and while we have a soft spot for the Park Hyatt Milan, there’s room for a few decent independents to follow – and admire – the Viu.
Coiling up into the tropical Thai sky, the gleaming spiral of Bangkok’s newly opened Park Hyatt reflects the rising aspiration of the city’s hospitality scene. Glamorous touches abound at the first Park Hyatt in Thailand, its architecture shaped by the UK’s Amanda Levete and interior design by Canadians Yabu Pushelberg.
A curving staircase leading guests into a lofty ballroom provides the formal spectacle for what will surely become the setting for the highest of high-society events. A leafy pool area, lined with comfy cabanas for a hugely international clientele, is a welcome escape from the Thai sun. More than 220 guest rooms, 32 suites and a palatial presidential suite, as well as multiple bars, restaurants and an upcoming New York Grill, put this hotel at the top of the must-visit list for visitors to the Thai capital.
Zürich’s second 25hours Hotel links the former red-light district on Langstrasse with up-and-coming Europaallee. At first glance the lobby resembles a gallery: vintage Swiss flea-market finds and trinkets fill vitrines. It’s not an empty marketing gimmick though: guests can trade in items of value for one of the hotel’s 170 rooms.
Adrian Zecha’s latest hospitality venture is a refurbished early 20th-century officers’ mess. The hotel is flanked by mountains and the Mekong River; inside, batik textiles and amber-hued timber floors hint at the city’s temples and colonial past. Cool off in the pool, which is shaded by lush banyan trees.
Since launching The Hoxton hotel in Shoreditch in 2006, developer Ennismore hasn’t rested on its laurels.This year it will open its fourth European hotel in Paris, cross the pond to NewYork and add Scottish hotel and golf resort Gleneagles to its roster.
What’s your formula?
Each hotel is different, inspired by its surroundings. But they’re all familiar and inclusive so everyone who walks through the door feels at home.
How do you pick your projects?
There’s no brand manual for developing hotels.We always look to the cities we like to hang out in.They’re all stylistically different, with unique buildings in gentrifying neighbourhoods.
Why purchase Gleneagles?
Gleneagles was a sleeping giant with great potential. It couldn’t be more different to The Hoxton but both are brands in their own right.
It’s a design lover’s dream: a six-room hotel in the Japanese Alps decorated entirely with furniture by the late Danish designer Finn Juhl. Japan has a special reverence for Juhl’s work – production of his pieces today is split between workshops in Japan and Denmark – and this hotel in the popular ski town of Hakuba shows off the fine wares against a simple backdrop of white walls, black-framed windows and wooden floors.
Each room is named after a piece of furniture so you may be staying in the Pelican, Chieftain or Poet. Look out for other Danish goodies from Kay Bojesen and Louis Poulsen, plus good Japanese ammenties. The natural setting is spectacular: there are 100 pistes in the area and mountain tops hovering at about 3,000 metres.
Located in the hilly wilderness of northern Finland (not too far from Rovaniemi, Lapland) this 32-room hotel makes the nature surrounding it the most prominent draw. The cube-shaped units come courtesy of Studio Puisto Architects and each has a floor-to-ceiling glass wall that makes the most of both the landscape and natural light. The warm wooden interiors give them a cosy Scandi air, while chairs by Cuero and lamps by Wrong London add an international twist.
Founded in 2014 by French entrepreneur Paul Besnainou, Sweet Inn has 280 serviced apartments in cities such as Brussels, Rome and Lisbon and plans to quadruple its offering within two years. The slick take on the apartment concept certainly hits the sweet spot.
This 17-storey former diamond-polishing centre is a monument to the revival of the downtown. The new hotel has 46 rooms in inviting Highveld colours and wooden furniture care of Malica Design, while the redesign peeled off the exterior of the building to reveal its bold skeleton shape and give each room a private terrace.
Where to stay in Washington
Washington may not be on everyone’s bucket list but a spate of newer and better hotels is making the US capital a more bearable place to do business.
The Sydell Group’s Line Hotel is in a neoclassical-style church in the artsy Adams Morgan neighbourhood. It has 220 rooms, an indoor pool and alluring restaurants run by chefs Erik Bruner-Yang and Spike Gjerde.
The Darcy Washington DC by Hilton is kitted out for business travellers, with 226 decent rooms that have enough charm to while away a quick and comfortable stay.
The notorious Watergate Hotel reopened after a $125m (€112m) revamp last year too. Meanwhile President Trump is said to by eyeing a second property in the capital, this time under the Scion brand run by his children.
thelinehotel.com; thedarcy.com; thewatergatehotel.com