Miguel Mateus, Catarina Alves and Catarina Silva worked together in an emergency veterinary practice before branching into the world of hospitality. Founded as an escape from the long hours spent in the clinic, their first catered apartment – designed by Barbosa & Guimarães – in Porto in late 2012. “Normal lodgings can be strict or even oppressive,” says Mateus of the space, which has since been added to with further premises in Tomar and Lisbon. “We aimed to create something like an actual home.” Inside expect vintage furniture mingled with a few modern finds and bathroom cupboards chock-full of soaps and cosmetics from Claus Porto. Mateus’s feelings on hospitality are best summed up by his warm welcome, which usually extends to a glass of port and freshly baked cake.
Swiss-born Ruth Kramer and her Danish husband Thomas Schacht founded this idyllic bed-and-breakfast spot in the Vals Valley of the Swiss Alps in 2011. The four rooms are delicately put together with Scandinavian furniture and guests can look forward to home-cooked meals made from farm-fresh produce that are delivered to the doorstep. “We are butlers for our guests,” says Schacht, who takes care of visitors’ needs from renting skis and bikes to making reservations for massages, thermal baths or restaurants. “We also make sure they have a hot tea, a bun or a piece of chocolate when then take off for a hike.”
Set in a former dry cleaners, Reunión is an exquisitely appointed new shop in the residential area of Belgrano, Buenos Aires. Its owners focus on promoting emerging brands and fair-trade items manufactured in small editions. Reunión offers all kinds of products, including knitwear from Nido and stationery from Mono alongside jewellery, pottery, embroidery, books and plants.
Brentford in west London isn't known for its alluring accommodation options but Urban Villa is a seemly new alternative for business visitors not requiring a central berth. Architects Grzywinski+Pons designed the 100 “villas” and independent coffee shop Boki (pictured), which serves Allpress coffee. Guests can also make use of a personal trainer and massage treatments.
Just 30 minutes from Waterloo Station, the hotel is also close to Kew Gardens, the wilds of Richmond Park and Heathrow Airport. Opened this January, Urban Villa is proving there’s a market for tasteful rooms and top service even in London’s less salubrious surrounds.
French firm La Compagnie took off in June last year with the astute concept of offering Business Class-only flights. Its 74-seat 757-200 flies from Paris to New York and, as of this year, London.
Former fashion editor Vanessa Scoffier swapped clothes for furniture when she opened this renovated hotel in Paris’s 13th arrondissement. Named after her father Henri, the 32-room hotel’s smart execution is unfussy and filled with Nordic design nods. Expect fresh flowers in your room, a crisp croissant on your plate and bright, airy rooms.
On the banks of the Sumida River by Kokugikan Sumo Stadium sits Ryogoku Terrace, Tokyo’s newest running station and attached selection of athlete-friendly restaurants. The running facility has lockers, showers and a head-to-toe rental service offering everything from kit to shoes and towels.
Once geared up you can explore the neighbourhood or opt for a 60 or 90-minute group session. If you’re peckish there is a choice of restaurants offering healthy menus supervised by a sports-nutrition specialist from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Kanoya.