“Once forgotten, this area is drawing back spirited, energetic and creative people. There is a new sense of community and participation,” says Sims Foster, co-founder of Foster Supply Hospitality, an independent, family-run hotel group in the Catskills. Its newest project, the DeBruce, is a 14-room lodge set in a restored 1880 building in sleepy Willowemoc Valley.
New Yorkers go to the Catskills to get what they can’t in New York: nature. And at Eastwind, a new collection of Scandi-style cabins surrounded by trees, guests have enviable access to outdoor trails and babbling brooks.
And in addition to fresh air, New Yorkers inevitably seek good food. At the pretty 27-room Rivertown Lodge, set in an overhauled inn and cinema in Hudson, they can have both.
thedebruce.com; eastwindny.com; rivertownlodge.com
A collection of restored farmhouses, Tougenkyo sits in a remote valley on Japan’s Shikoku island. “The small-scale project is a good example of how to revive a village,” says Sean Brecht, director of Discover Shikoku. The traditional wooden houses, with their irori fire pits, tatami rooms and thatched roofs, look out on the Iya Valley and are surrounded by small farms. In the evening the farmers’ wives cook an organic dinner in Tougenkyo’s modern kitchens.
Redolent with the scent of eucalyptus and with sweeping views over rolling hills, the new bungalows at Paraíso Escondido make the most of the hotel’s location in the unspoilt national park of Costa Vicentina, which skirts the Atlantic. The remainder of the suites and rooms have terraces with views over the pool or the onsite lake. Tranquillity is the byword here. Owners Berny Serrão and her husband Glen Cullen source seasonal produce and harvest the hotel’s garden for breakfast and evening meals. Alentejo’s pristine beaches are a 15-minute drive away.
Interior designer Jakarin Aksravadeewat and three pals from the worlds of hospitality, finance and sales combined their skills to open their dream hotel. Aksravadeewat’s Bangkok studio, Begray, turned the 71-room former hostel into a tasteful mid-century-inspired affair. No detail was spared in creating this retro, bubblegum-hued hideaway. Guests can enjoy the vintage furniture and browse the rare vinyl in the lobby; there’s also a 16-seat cinema and an outdoor pool. The surrounding florists, cafés and woodworking workshops in the Ari neighbourhood are also worth exploring.
On an isolated beachfront in Banks Peninsula, 80km from Christchurch, Scrubby Bay – with room for 14 people – sits on a vast farm. Don’t expect a rustic country barn though: it’s a cedar-clad minimalist affair designed by architect Mark Patterson. The interior, lined in a type of cypress, contrasts with black steel fittings and a fireplace made from rock quarried onsite. From the sundeck take in the open spaces, heated pool, bleating sheep and lowing cattle.
Over the past few years, picturesque Prince Edward County, a two-hour drive east of Toronto, has become one of Canada’s finest food- and drink-producing regions. “We both realised what a special place this was,” says Sarah Sklash, who set up the June Motel with April Brown . “But there was nowhere we wanted to stay; it was either dingy old motels or old-school bed and breakfasts. So we got creative.” The hotel’s 16 bedrooms were revamped, vintage furniture sourced and playful wallpapers pasted on the walls to create a bright, contemporary take on a roadside motel.
Six Senses wants to prove that its brand of sustainability-first hospitality can work in cities just as well as it can in off-the-beaten-track resorts. Situated in a row of Singapore shophouses, Duxton’s 49 guest rooms were kitted out by UK designer Anouska Hempel, who drew on an ethnic Chinese, Malay and European vernacular throughout the public space rooms and suites. The hotel works well with the bustling Chinatown neighbourhood outside and guests can even call on a traditional Chinese physician (who sits resident in reception) for consultations.
Openings we’re eyeing up
Helsinki’s hotel scene has long lacked a design-minded option in-between the capable but utilitarian Klaus K and five-star finery of the Hotel Kämp. It’s with regret, then, that as this issue goes to press we’ve just missed the opening of Hotel St George. Located opposite the Old Church Park in the heart of the Finnish capital, the 19th-century pile has been overseen by former Vitra and Artek boss Mirkku Kullberg. One person who we did catch up with for this issue is restaurant consultant Robbie Bargh (behind London’s Principal). Another of his projects that we have an eye on is the reopening of the pretty Pérgula restaurant in Belmond’s Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro. Lastly we’re keen to see the lights switched on at the Lutetia in Paris. The 184-room art deco gem, which hosted the great and good between 1910 and 2014, will begin to welcome guests once again from June.
stgeorgehelsinki.com; belmond.com; hotellutetia.com