Travel edits / Global
From a socially minded floating Dutch hotel and a family-run French château opening its doors to guests for the first time to an elegantly green-fingered café in Istanbul, join us as we visit the best autumn openings in which to shop or stay.
Muz Botanik ve Kahve
Istanbul’s first botanical café in Cukurcuma looks onto the rear wall of the verdant Galatasaray Lycée garden. Owner Gulriz Sansoy has a background in film-set design. “I wanted to bring plants and decor together,” she says. “Adding a café was a good way to make the plant shop less intimidating and to meet our customers.” The shop’s high-ceilinged and light interior is home to succulents, cacti and bonsai as well as terrariums, jewellery and pottery. The café serves sandwiches, coffee from roaster Petra, Kusmi Teas and a must-try vanilla soda called Bubbly.
Three nearby diversions:
Okan Aydin was marketing director of music venue Babylon before he opened KontraPlak three years ago. Expect vinyl records, both new and secondhand.
Asymmetric womenswear pieces (think Comme des Garçons meets Yohji Yamamoto) are cut to fit the same day by an in-shop tailor.
Yeni Carsi Caddesi, Lux Apartman 9-1/B
Cocktails (try the margaritas), Turkish mezzes and a signature black squid couscous in slick Autoban-designed surroundings.
Yeni Carsi Caddesi 19
Located in an early 20th-century farmhouse that was abandoned in the 1970s, Pensão Agrícola is in one of the most secluded areas of the eastern Algarve. A stellar renovation by Atelier Rua has brought a spare, contemporary feel to the rustic surrounds. Opened in July, the quiet B&B has six rooms with patios; half of them are in the old house, the rest in newer extensions. You’ll find yourself surrounded by orchards (and the odd rabbit) with the deserted beach of Lacém e Balieira a walk away. “Guests are encouraged to walk around the property,” says Rui Sousa, one of the two owners. “It’s perfect for forgetting everyday life.”
Good Hotel, found on a floating platform by the waterfront, is a social enterprise staffed by once-unemployed Amsterdammers. With views over IJ bay, each of the not-for-profit pop-up’s 144 rooms is a study in modern Dutch design, assembled by Remko Verhaagen and Sikko Valk. The lobby has spaces to work, relax with a drink or enjoy chef Wim Derksen’s avocado cheesecake.
Come next June the floating hotel will set sail for its new home in Niteroi Bay in Rio de Janeiro for the opening of the Olympics. Later this year the Dutch capital will see the W and a new Soho House join the Hoxton Hotel, which opened here in July.
Old No 77 Hotel & Chandlery
Opened in June in New Orleans’ Warehouse Arts District – three blocks from the city’s cultural hub, the French Quarter – the Old No 77 Hotel & Chandlery sits in a converted factory that was built in 1854 as a port-side coffee warehouse and became a chandlery (where wax and candles were made).
The latest restoration of the 167-room hotel makes the most of the building’s hardwood floors and exposed brick walls. The redesigned lobby also houses a gallery space with a changing display of contemporary art, the programming of which comes courtesy of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts.
Old Clare Hotel
The founder of the Unlisted Collection of hotels, Loh Lik Peng, is renowned for repurp-osing heritage-listed buildings in unloved locations. The list includes the Waterhouse in Shanghai and Singapore’s Hotel 1929. The latest is the Old Clare Hotel, a once derelict heritage-listed pub and offices turned 62-room hotel with three restaurants, a rooftop pool and day spa.
The gritty suburb of Chippendale was not an obvious choice of location but that’s just the way Loh likes it. “It will appeal to someone who wants to be where real Sydneysiders hang out rather than those just taking photos of the Opera House,” he says.
Domaine des Etangs
Charente Limousine, France
When Didier Primat died in 2008, his daughter Garance decided to celebrate his memory by finishing his work on the family’s 11th-century estate in the Charente Limousine region. Recently the family home reopened as a tasteful retreat for vacationers. Garance restored the property and grounds where she spent her holidays as a child and in doing so struck a balance between modernity and antiquity.
The château features seven suites, seven cottages, a 40-seat restaurant and its own spa housed in a mill. There are also thermal baths, a spiral-shaped kitchen garden and more than 850 hectares of rolling hills, forests, and lakes.
Named after one of the pioneers of Notting Hill’s popular annual carnival, The Laslett spans five pristine stucco-fronted Victorian townhouses joined to form a 51-room hotel in west London. Like the downstairs area – a public space with a bijou dining room, library and bar – all rooms boast a hotchpotch of antique, modern and custom-made furniture.
Trinidadian steel-drum aficionado and carnival founder Russell Henderson gives his name to the hotel’s bar. Henderson’s connection to the place is strong: he contributed a rum-based cocktail recipe to the bar and his son cooks at the small restaurant.
Chicago Athletic Association
After a two-year renovation, the Chicago Athletic Association – founded in 1890 – has reopened in the city’s Loop district as a 241-room hotel. Modern furniture and warm lighting selected by interior design firm Roman and Williams complement original millwork carved in a mix of gothic and Venetian styles.
In keeping with the spirit of the original social club, the landmark building bustles with activity and its full-sized basketball courts (the hotel’s name was your first clue), oversized games room and rooftop bar overlook Lake Michigan. Refuelling is undertaken at the Cherry Circle Room restaurant.
Global officer of luxury and lifestyle brands
Hotel chains don’t come much bigger than Marriott International, which has more than 4,200 premises worldwide and turned over $14bn (€12.5bn) last year. As the company’s high-end roster expands (50 more AC brand hotels will open in the Americas by 2019), we caught up with the woman leading the charge in the already busy high-end marketplace.
Who are your core customers?
Eighteen- to 50-year-olds. We are very focused on ensuring that we’re providing the right experiences, the right products and the right services.
Where are you seeing the most growth?
In the US right now our focus is on our own brands like AC and Moxy [which will open 10 US hotels next year] and our Autograph Collection hotels in the US and Europe. In Asia our luxury brands such as Edition, Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott continue to be strong.
How has the market changed?
People are unwilling to accept poorly designed spaces and technology is not about being tech-savvy but about how society is tech-dependent. The bar has been lifted in so many ways.