Refined stays hewn with bags of original charm from the centre of Kyoto to the shores of California, by way of an upscale Alpine lodge and a Danish island retreat.
“There was a proliferation of guesthouses and bunk-bed accommodation in central Kyoto,” says Nobuyuki Fujimoto, who designed the smart Malda hotel. Here time flows slowly and the mood is relaxing. Under the direction of Hideaki Matsuura, the designer for eco-lifestyle brand Jurgen Lehl, Fujimoto kitted out the interior with natural materials, polished concrete floors and walls finished in a matte sumi charcoal black. The accommodation is set across three floors and guests can relax in organic cotton loungewear and enjoy Malda’s signature breakfast, which is cooked at its café downstairs and served in the guests’ rooms. “People come here for good design and a new style,” says Fujimoto. “Our direct face-to-face service is popular too.”
Perched on a rugged tip of the California shoreline, White Water offers a slice of laid-back coastal living across from the inviting Moonstone Beach. The 25 rooms have an assortment of vintage and custom furniture, some with giant bathtubs overlooking the Pacific. In the 1970s-style lobby, the sandy tub chairs and raffia rugs vie with a small breakfast nook and bar, where guests can grab a grilled sandwich, negroni or glass of California rosé from one of the nearby wineries in the Paso Robles region.
In recent years, Rockaway Beach has become one of New York’s more popular getaways. And with the opening of Rockaway Hotel just minutes from the subway, it’s bound to become even more alluring. The 53 neutral-toned rooms have pops of colour and a beach bungalow feel, with wooden headboards and rattan chairs. But what truly makes this hotel such a fun weekend getaway is the trimmings: the rooftop, the sun deck overlooking the glimmering (heated) pool, the Greenhouse Café (serving light meals) and Margie’s restaurant for reinvented American classics. Open all year, the winter might be the best time to visit: when the crowds have dispersed, the pool house is turned into a heated wonderland and Rockaway Beach has the best waves for surfers.
Martin Ramstrup rarely misses his mark. The former Danish shooting champion came to the island of Bornholm more than 10 years ago and when an old hotel came up for sale, he and his partner Mette Tiensuu transformed it into a 33-key retreat. “I want to share my passion for travel, nature and adventure in the guesthouse’s redesign,” he says. Terraces face the Baltic coast, while inside is all wood-burning stoves, leather chairs and vintage bric-a-brac. Best enjoyed with a candlelit Danish dinner.
Columns hotel has reimagined a 19th-century building in Nola’s desirable Garden District. Once the home of a wealthy tobacco merchant, then a boarding house, the 20-room mansion is framed by the towering white columns that give the new opening its name. Many of the building’s old details, including a mahogany staircase and stained-glass skylight, are updated mementos of the building’s past. The bar – with pressed-wood ceiling, chandelier and leather bar stools – is an irresistibly snug spot for an evening sazerac or gimlet. Outside, the restaurant spills from the porch into the garden, dotted with inviting tables and tropical plants. Once a gathering place, the elegant space entices diners with its menu of roast gulf oysters, Broadbent Country ham and classic cocktails.
“We wanted to awaken a historic building from its slumber, without compromising on its authenticity,” says Daniel Erne of his bed and breakfast, Pontisella, in Stampa, Switzerland. He has brought new life into the typical Grisons home with its symmetrical façade, wrought-iron balconies and green shutters. Retaining its 1849 exterior, the inside mixes original features with warm, contemporary touches. The four guest rooms are furnished with alpine wood panelling, concrete floors and futon-style beds, while communal spaces combine stone fireplaces and pendant lights. The highlight here is breakfast, which Erne prepares using cured meats from a Stampa butcher, Latteria Bregaglia dairy products and eggs from his own chickens.
Photographers: Kyle Knodell, Kohei Take, Jonny Valiant, Jürg Zimmermann