Travel briefing / Global
A new opening in New Orleans, a former mayor’s home in Amsterdam, plenty of hotel openings, independent cinemas and a top shop in Lisbon. Here are our monthly travel tips.
The old cliché about “Southern hospitality” is looking a little threadbare. Instead, there are good hotels and less good ones – places that feel of the American South and those that could have sprung up anywhere, from Singapore to San Francisco. The Chloe, luckily, is firmly the former. Owner and restaurateur Robert LeBlanc tapped interior designer Sara Ruffin Costello to turn the Uptown mansion – built in 1891 – into a smart 14-key hotel. The result? Inky hues, colourful accents and yes, we’re close to the Bayou, so the odd alligator reference to boot. LeBlanc knows restaurants, recruiting chef Todd Pulsinelli for his take on Creole classics in the restaurant, from smoked pork belly with shiso to shrimp étouffée or spicy crab with baked gulf oysters. Yum. But since you’re in the Big Easy, and so keen on the clichés, you’ll probably want to take some refreshment on the porch (the tiles here date from the 1860s). The cocktail list is accomplished. No mint juleps are mentioned, so plump for a hurricane with rum, passion fruit and a hint of lemon. For those looking to beat the heat, there’s also a pool out back that’s fringed with greenery. The even better news? There’s not an alligator in sight.
Brands are built through repetition but Hoxton’s 10th hotel reflects Rome deftly. And since all idiomatic roads lead here, one wonders why it took the prolific brand so long to reach the Eternal City. Nevertheless, we’re glad they made it. The interiors of the 1970s buildings nod to some of the quirks deployed in mid-century Italian design – nostalgic references to Rome’s cinematic past and Murano glass chandeliers. The fit-out was a joint effort from parent company Ennismore’s in-house team and British firm Fettle Design, who took care of the public spaces. Like its other outposts, the 192-key stopover has a generous lobby to linger in, plus rentable spaces for remote workers in the form of L’Appartamento, a group of meeting rooms on the lower-ground floor. The pandemic has made mingling the enemy but this will change. Great hotels aren’t built in a day, remember.
After a successful start in Thessaloniki, hotelier Kostis Karatzas cast his eye to Athens for The Modernist’s sister hotel of the same name. Designed by Thessaloniki-based studio Formrelated, the new branch is housed in the art deco building of the former Canadian embassy. The 38-room affair overlooks a leafy square in Kolonaki, with views of Mount Lycabettus from the rooftop.With the nation champing at the bit to reopen for tourists this summer, a Greek revival is in the offing.
The Danish capital’s newest five-star hotel is a grande dame for the 21st century, near the leafy Tivoli Gardens. Set in the former headquarters of the Danish post office, which was completed in 1912, it balances history with forward-thinking sustainable touches and a huge dash of spectacle, thanks to the showstopping lobby. The interiors are by London’s Universal Design Studio, paying homage to the beautiful neo-baroque architecture with restored original windows, high ceilings, herringbone floors, golden accents and a muted colour palette.
Two indie cinemas
Golden Scene Cinema, Hong Kong
A tasteful new picture house has opened its doors in Kennedy Town, a fast-developing suburban offshoot on Hong Kong island. Proudly straying away from Hong Kong’s typical shopping mall theatres, this cinema makes space for independent movies of local and international origin.
Zouk Cinema Club, Singapore
Singapore’s iconic Zouk nightclub has transformed its main room into a pop-up cinema. Although visitors won’t be able to show off their dance moves here (for the time being), they’ll appreciate the state-of-the-art lighting and sound system. Both new film releases and classic movies are shown every Friday and Saturday, while the themed décor is updated every month.
If a mayor were to build a nine-bedroom palace with plush interiors, grand staircases and sweeping city views today, there would be an investigation into their largesse. But thank goodness this wasn’t the case for former politician Hendrik Hooft in 1665. The palacial affair dating from that time has been transformed by Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam into a new nine-room private residence for discerning guests. A night’s stay here comes with the services of a private chef and spa therapist. Expect a price tag that reflects the rococo finery.
Photographer: Jan Søndergaard. Images: 2021 Hilton, Brittany Conerly, Paul Costello, The Hoxton, Ioanna Roufopoulou