Two hours’ drive from Tokyo, the mountainous Kanagawa town of Yugawara near the Pacific Ocean is a popular onsen hot-spring retreat. Its ryokan inns and natural landscape have long attracted the city crowd looking to unwind.
Miwa Yugawara, open since December, is the latest addition to the scene and comes courtesy of hospitality firm Miwa Group. “I wanted to create a great hybrid of ryokan and hotel,” says chairman Hiroshi Kubota. The three-storey onsen hotel has 17 rooms, which all come with an outdoor bath and views of the surrounding woodland. Guests can sip fine drinks (think Japanese whisky) at the serene eight-seat bar. For dinner, a top-floor restaurant serves Japanese-Italian delicacies. The hotel has all the right ingredients: natural materials such as unvarnished oak floors; the right sort of low lighting and finely crafted furniture throughout.
Zobler worked with hotelier André Balazs and at Starwood before founding Sydell in 2005. The portfolio includes Nomad hotels in New York and Los Angeles, plus the Line in Los Angeles, Washington and Austin, as well as a partnership with Nick Jones and Soho House at The Ned in London. His latest venture, Nomad London, is slated to open opposite the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden by September 2020.
Why open a Nomad hotel in London?
It’s less about a particular city and more about falling in love with a building. This one was built in the 1800s and has a wonderful history as a police station and magistrates’ court that’s been beautifully preserved.
How do you bring a brand to the UK but stay true to its origins?
What’s always important is to create a space that feels rooted in the building. London is about as easy as it comes as it is so stimulating, the history is so rich. There’s a great history between New York and London and the cities are sisters: we’re exploring that in the art, design and presentation of the property.
What is the best way to knit a hotel into its neighbourhood?
It’s very much like making a movie. I think of myself more as a producer than a director: someone who brings together the various parts, then helps to figure out how to make them work together. We picked the designer [Roman and Williams] who I’ve worked with on five projects but it’s their first hotel project in Europe. We thought, as Americans coming to Europe, it was important to be American.
Highlights from the London Nomad?
There are a lot of lovely moments but I’d say the atrium and the old magistrates’ court. The first is a triple-height space that has been reimagined as an urban garden with a soaring glass ceiling. The magistrates’ court is similar; we’re having French landscape painter Claire Basler add a mural.
Advice for hoteliers who are starting out?
I think it worked for us because we had a vision and brought in people who were talented. In some ways anyone can do it – but I’m not sure everyone can do it well.
Plans for the future?
One model that we like is The Ned in London [a vast former bank building with a hotel, nine restaurants and spa]. It’s a full-on, amenity-rich destination and I think you’ll see more of that from us. We’re currently exploring an incredible bank building in downtown Brooklyn that is as architecturally interesting as The Ned. That’s going to be a project that captures the imagination of New Yorkers.
When Beirut-born Cyril Yeterian opened a record shop below his apartment in central Geneva in 2013, he wanted the music he stocked to be international. From contemporary Swiss punk rock to jazz piano by an Ethiopian nun (no less), the shop’s vinyl collection – and live gigs – are eclectic and surprising.
“Besides offering flowers, coffee and goods we also wanted to be a meeting point with generous opening hours,” says designer Antonio Afonso of his new Stockholm shop. With his wife Lena, he has brought a slice of Portuguese retail to the Swedish capital with a fetching new kiosk. The pair teamed up with Neta Brandin of Vurma, a café in Stockholm, to create a space stuffed with fresh flowers, beans from Kersh Kaffe and Portuguese handicrafts.
The shell of the shop was originally a florist kiosk that was built in the south of Sweden in 1961 before being renovated last year by the couple, who also run Agency Afonso Design. “We kept the original copper roof and the wooden ceiling,” says Afonso. “We added several seats outside and also space outside for plants and flowers from top florist Sofie Danielsson Söhr.” Blooming marvelous.
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Since opening two years ago, the 1477 Reichhalter restaurant and hotel has become a favourite with visitors and locals alike, garnering a Monocle Restaurant Award along the way. The driving forces, Martina and Andreas Heinisch, have a keen eye for detail and cherish the regional cuisine. And after many guests asked to take home the freshly made alpine spreads, jams and croissants, the Heinisches ecided to open a small shop just a few steps away from the hotel. It serves as an extended kitchen serving Reichhalter’s cakes, fresh pasta, ice cream and oven-fresh croissants that have become the toast of the town. monocle recommends something savoury, ideally in the form of freshly made artichoke ravioli and a jar of ragu.
In the tree-lined area of Silver Lake, Palisociety and Timberlane Partners have opened the Silver Lake Pool & Inn in a former 1980s motel building. The 54-room inn has an easygoing character with handmade Moroccan tiles, terrazzo nightstands and large windows that allow the crisp Los Angeles light to flood in. Designed for the California climate, the hotel has an abundance of outdoor spaces, including a sparkling pool and the Marco Polo restaurant that spills out into an alfresco lounge.
Across town The Hoxton, Downtown LA unveiled 174 rooms designed in-house by the Ennismore Design Studio with communal areas designed by Soho House. Drawing from the historic neighbourhood filled with beaux arts buildings and old theatres, the hotel is old-timey with chevron parquet floors and colourful additions including House of Hackney prints from London and the Sibling Rival restaurant that opened in collaboration with New York’s Sunday in Brooklyn. On the rooftop, a pool is fringed with daybeds, tasselled umbrellas and staggering views of downtown.
The newest property in LA will be Hotel June from Proper Hospitality, which will open on the Westside this spring, a short drive from Playa Del Rey Beach. Here blonde-wood rooms designed by Venice-based Studio Collective are filled with beds draped in white linen, earthy rugs and handmade tiles that crown off a light-hearted sister property to the Santa Monica Proper hotel, which opened last year.
palisociety; thehoxton.com; properhotel.com
This labyrinthine hotel comprises seven conjoined riads interspersed with bougainvillea-filled courtyards and shady terraces. Former British gallerist, and Marrakech Biennale founder, Vanessa Branson established El Fenn and has filled it with an array of contemporary pieces from her own collection. Look out for the Francis Upritchard chandelier and a series of ink studies by Antony Gormley.
The sumptuous interiors are by Dutch designer Willem Smit, who combines lavish furnishings with traditional Moroccan touches such as carved wooden panels and colourfully tiled floors.
This slope-side hotel boasts interiors by French designer Pierre Yovanovitch, who has filled all 10 of its floors with contemporary furnishings, including his own sheepskin-upholstered Bear chairs and patterned carpets. He has also commissioned artworks from the likes of Matthieu Cosse, whose bright blue fresco is on display above the reception desk. Sitting in the centre of the world’s largest ski area, the hotel’s position is second to none for keen piste heads. There’s also a well-equipped spa and two pools to soothe sore muscles.
For a taste of how quickly Vietnam is changing head to Maison Marou’s newest shop-cum-chocolate factory in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 2. When co-founder Samuel Maruta first moved to the area in 2007 there were still water buffalo roaming the fields. Today the neighbourhood is home to high-rise apartment buildings and international schools. Maruta has teamed up with craft brewer Bia Craft for the Maison’s third location and added a breakfast-oriented bakery to boot.
A visit to Casa de São Lourenço in Serra da Estrela, Portugal’s highest mountain range, opens up an entirely new perspective on the country. Originally built as a pousada (government-run hotel) in 1948, the space has recently been revamped. It now features a glass extension housing modern guestrooms, each with a private terrace and picture windows that offers long views over the mountains and glacial valley below.
Plenty of the original features have been retained, including a vast fireplace and striking furniture by modernist Portuguese artist Maria Keil. Materials such as wood, raw concrete, brass and terrazzo feel warm and worn, and are offset by plenty of Burel wool in warm tones of burgundy, orange and mustard. After a day hiking along heather-flanked tracks, head to the small spa with its heated indoor/outdoor pool, jacuzzi and sauna.
Central Paris isn’t known for its Balinese jungle or Sri Lankan beach views but Charlotte Gomez de Orozco’s hotel in the 9th arrondissement has captured their slow pace of life and easygoing air with her new overnighter. “To appreciate the present moment is the simplest thing yet it’s complicated,” says the founder. “Instead of giving more and more, it’s about what we really need.”
In Hoy’s case that’s 22 guestrooms, which are simple, clean and calming, with white linen, wooden floors and Mexican ceramics. Mexico is also well represented in the plant-based Mesa restaurant with purple-corn pancakes and tacos aplenty. Yoga is important to the founder so there are props in rooms and studios in the hotel.