A secluded stay in Norway, an artsy spot in Italy and a waterside haven in Vietnam all feature in our pick of residences remote and remodelled.
In 1980, Craig and Deborah Murray bought an old house in the Broughton Archipelago with the aim of creating one of North America’s wildest places to stay. Their son, resort manager Fraser Murray, has since overseen its growth from rustic fisherman’s lodge to salubrious stay for hiking, kayaking, fishing and boat jaunts. New stilt houses offer further rooms and, says Fraser, there’s always homemade food on the table. “A treat after a day in the wild.”
Family-owned for five generations, this old farm and country villa between Bergen and Ålesund is for travellers in mind of a couple of days of seclusion. There’s little in the way of spare Nordic modernism in the villa but plenty in the way of solid furniture and well-aged decor. Hosts Steinar Sørli and Yngve Brakstad created five suites across the barn, the villa and the lodge. “Villa Amot was a working farm until we transformed it into a rural refuge,” says Sørli with marked serenity.
“There are so many DC people involved – it’s very local,” says Andrew Zobler, founder and CEO of Sydell Group, of Washington’s Line DC. In the Adams Morgan neighbourhood, this 220-room hotel also has some of the finest food and drink in town thanks to Spike Gjerde of Woodberry Kitchen and Erik Bruner-Yang of Maketto.
Art deco mingles with art nouveau in the elegantly renovated Hotel Lutetia on the Left Bank. Originally opened in 1910 by the Boucicaut family (founders of Le Bon Marché), the hotel was a favoured by James Joyce who penned much of Ulysses here. Picasso, Matisse and Serge Gainsbourg were also regulars.
It is now owned by The Set Hotels, which also runs Amsterdam’s Conservatorium and Café Royal in London. As of May it will have 184 revamped rooms and suites, an Akasha spa with a 17-metre pool, a classic jazz and cigar bar and a brasserie with French chef Gérald Passsédat at the helm.
The islet of Au, 10 minutes by boat from Can Tho on a tributary of the Mekong river, was recently transformed by Adrian Zecha. It is dotted with 30 villas with wide terraces from which to enjoy sunset views overlooking the lake, river and gardens. Bamboo, rattan and timber feature in bringing earthy outdoor tones into the interiors.
This historical building in east Amsterdam houses 115 bright, serviced apartments that have been tastefully restored to integrate the property’s original 18th-century features. The interior is modern, warm and homely and some rooms have views overlooking the Nieuwe Keizersgracht canal. It’s easy to live like the Dutch do here. Hop on one of the hotel’s bikes and explore the green surroundings, from the quiet Hortus Botanicus to the Artis Royal Zoo with its stunning café-restaurant De Plantage, both just around the corner.
The Herzog & de Meuron-designed Public Hotel was five years in the making but worth the wait. The latest offering from Ian Schrager occupies a 28-storey new-build with 367 minimal rooms, all on the Spartan side but calming compared with the clamour of the Lower East Side beyond its walls. The minimalism ends with Jean-Georges Vongerichten-run dining options Public Kitchen, focusing on New York bites, and Louis, a grocery shop and luncheonette.
It takes 30 minutes by boat from the town of Ilulissat to reach the remote settlement of Ilimanaq and the tasteful new lodges erected in these sparsely populated reaches of the Arctic Circle. “The project is a way to stimulate tourism in remote settlements and give back to the community,” says Troels Kristensen from the World of Greenland tour agency – one of the collaborators behind the lodge, along with a Danish fund and the Qaasuitsup Municipality.
Fifteen wooden A-frame houses look out over a tranquil bay where icebergs bob by and the occasional whale rears above the shimmering surface. Each of the cabins boasts floor-to-ceiling windows on two levels so you can watch the grand scenery of Greenland from your bed or private terrace.
Florentine duo Martino di Napoli Rampolla and Alessandro Modestino Ricciardelli have transformed a Renaissance-era palazzo into city-centre lodgings with exhibition space for an artist residency. Once home to a government ministry during the mid-19th century, the building now hosts five loft apartments with tall windows, soaring ceilings and a smart fit-out with plenty of mid-century European furniture.