Best hotels and shops in the world this spring - Issue 172 - Magazine | Monocle

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Warren Street Hotel 
New York

British-born hotel company Firmdale Hotels has opened its 11th property, an oasis of blue steel and sunny yellow on a red-brick block in Tribeca. “We love Crittall windows; it’s such a classic look,” says co-founder and creative director, Kit Kemp, who used the same windows at the firm’s fêted Manhattan hotels, Crosby Street and the Whitby. “It looks as good in Paris as it does downtown.” 

The interior is unmistakably Kemp too: a mishmash of patterns and wallpapers in a range of colours and textures. It’s a cacophonous clash that shouldn’t work but does. “All the pieces speak to one another,” says Kemp of the collage she created with her daughters, Willow and Minnie, who work in graphic design and architecture, respectively. The property is a breath of fresh air in a neighbourhood that has welcomed an influx of galleries but long lacked any decent independent hotels. “It still has a village feel about it,” says Kemp, who looked to the area’s textile trade for inspiration.

No strain at the bar
Flying the flag for hospitality in Tribeca
Agnolotti with hazelnut gremolata, and hamachi crudo with avocado
A world away from boring white walls

The 69 guest rooms are decorated with brightly-hued curtains and carpets, and wallpapers. You’ll find almost 1,000 artworks throughout the hotel, from creatives such as Argentinian designer Cristián Mohaded and Ugandan artist Sanaa Gateja. The downstairs drawing room is open only to guests and there are snug sofas and a fireplace by which to hunker down. The brasserie serves wild mushroom risotto, scallops and strip steak au poivre, as well as a decadent afternoon tea with macarons, scones, clotted cream and champagne. “I remember going with my mother or family for afternoon tea,” says Kemp. “It was always very special and spoiling. It’s lovely to bring that in.”



Kit Kemp
Firmdale’s co-founder and creative director on her latest New York hotel opening.

Why downtown?
We have the Whitby in Midtown and Crosby Street in Soho, and Tribeca just felt exciting. Over the past 10 years, we’ve seen it change, with lots of people living there rather than in massive sky-rise buildings. It has a good buzz. Other than the Greenwich, there wasn’t a hotel that had character, so there was room for a hotel, brasserie and bar like ours. 

What about the building?
It was a gap between two buildings. We brought in the blue with the yellow at the top, so it always looks like summer. We wanted something cheerful. 

Each of the 69 rooms is different from the last. Why?
Some of the rooms have a similar scheme vertically but everything else is quite different. If you’re travelling and you go into a white-painted room, it can feel terribly cold. As soon as you have linen on the walls, it suddenly feels fabulous; you are tucked up and safe.

Kopria Florist


Plant shop and flower studio Kopria opened in the heart of the lively Exarchia neighbourhood in 2018 is growing a budding fan club of locals and regulars from further afield. Alongside the usual line-up of hard-to-kill houseplants and outdoor varieties, its small team has a penchant for the unusual; Kopria stocks an array of oddly shaped cacti and other curiosities that would be difficult to find at your average city garden centre. The business is growing in other senses too: its flower arrangements can be spotted adorning some of the Greek capital’s most high-profile hotels and restaurants. The shop, which boasts an appropriately inviting tropical interior, also sells a small range of international design magazines, plus ceramics by Athenian makers and handmade Japanese garden tools. A snip, if you ask us. 
30 Eresou, 106 80

Retail safari

Start by walking around serene Seochon – one of Seoul’s oldest neighbourhoods – the streets of which are lined with hanok houses and quaint alleyways. Near Gyeongbokgung Palace, you’ll find Parlour, which has a great selection of men’s shoes, plus clothing from Seoul and abroad. Head to the Arumjigi Culture Keepers Foundation if you’re a fan of contemporary handicraft – the shop stocks everything from silver chopsticks to lacquerware jewellery boxes inspired by traditional designs. Pay a visit to antique art dealer The Store from Tong-In, which celebrates its centenary this year and is just a 15-minute walk away, in the historical Insa-dong district. Chapter 1 sells furniture and homeware, while earthenware maker Soilbaker is known for its clay bowls and ttukbaegi crockery. In need of a little pampering? Visit Tamburins, the cosmetics label owned by Gentle Monster, which has its flagship shop in Seongsu. Next, head to Hannam-dong, where the city’s best-dressed gather for people-watching and coffee. Drop in at menswear brand Pottery to pick up a few shirts, which are cut to allow for ease of movement. Finally, near the Hannam post office is Handle With Care, a winsome arts and crafts shop so small you might miss it. Don’t.


Nobis Hotel

Swedish hotel group Nobis has opened a second outpost in Palma de Mallorca. In 2021 it unveiled its popular Concepció by Nobis project. Its latest space, though, pitches a little higher and has the advantage of being housed in a 12th-century palace, with a large courtyard and roof terraces that offer elevated spots for drinks, sunbathing and escape. The building’s Moorish roots inspired Swedish interior designer Wingårdhs, plus architecture firms Jordi Herrero Arquitectos and Eduardo Garcia Acuña Arquitecto, to employ a riad vibe, with water elements at play on the ground floor. Restaurant, Noi, is already pulling in locals keen to enjoy Mallorcan chef Xema Álvarez’s smart menu. But our favourite space is the high-ceilinged Mirall Bar. Its in-house creations include the Pruna, made with Trigo Limpio vodka, plum spirit, plum, fino (Spanish sherry) and lavender.


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