A California dream, a contemporary former storage space in Seoul and a quirky, station-side Parisian spot. We look in on three new hotels to try in early 2018.
The Surfrider Malibu
You can’t actually visit the mythical sun-dappled southern California where every wave has a perfect curl and The Doors are forever playing but you can stay at the new Surfrider Malibu. It began life in 1953 as a roadside motel and reopened in October following its transformation into a laidback beach hotel with 18 rooms, two suites and a rooftop lounge with views of the Pacific.
“We built it how we want to experience Malibu,” says owner and architect Matthew Goodwin. He oversaw the refurb with his wife, creative director Emma (both pictured, below), and partner Alessandro Zampedri, co-owner of New York’s Rebelle.
Just about everything at the Surfrider – dishes, coffee, robes – comes from somewhere nearby. The menu by chef Michael Brown uses produce grown on Alice Bamford’s One Gun Ranch; even the house surfboards were made by Malibu shapers.
Crowther hopes guests will find a little of the magic she associates with the building’s early days. Back then, she says, California “meant cruising up the coast, not a worry in the world; we wanted to bring that feeling back”. They’ll have some help: Doors drummer John Densmore plans to stop by to reminisce about the band’s Malibu heyday and take up a berth at the bar.
Small House Big Door, Seoul
With its dizzying mix of people, lights and traffic, Seoul can be delightfully tiring – which makes your choice of hotel particularly important. “It’s all about the design,” says Nam Jungmo of Design Methods, the Seoul studio that converted a 1960s storage space into this four-storey hotel.
The lobby is lined with plywood panels and each of the 25 rooms – four of which are suites – features white walls and concrete floors that are surprisingly welcoming. The hotel doesn’t offer breakfast but the café is open from 11.00; it’s a popular lunch spot for non-guests too so come before midday or after 14.00 for peace and quiet.
Hotel Habituel, Paris
Yoan Marciano’s second hotel recently opened opposite the Gare du Nord’s Eurostar terminal. Inside are 27 quirky and charming rooms, including two suites, with interiors by designers Alix Thomsen and Laura Leonard.
The pair’s inspiration came from a suitcase containing an unidentified family’s holiday snaps that they found in a Brussels flea market. The 1970s photos now festoon walls in the hotel and offer inspiration for the fixtures and finishes using African fabrics and English-countryside touches. Kingsize beds with floral headboards and madras-cotton voile curtains by Pierre Frey are a tasteful touch too.
Lodgings to look forward to
The Principal London
A terracotta-clad 1898 building on Russell Square is set to become The Principal, with a revamped look courtesy of architectural designer Tara Bernerd.
Hotel St George, Helsinki
The Finnish capital has long lacked design-minded stays but trust former Artek CEO Mirku Kullberg to fix that in the form of the new Hotel St George.
Rosewood Luang Prabang, Laos
The Hong Kong-based brand’s first stopover in Laos will be in the World Heritage city of Luang Prabang. Expect 22 villas, open-air showers, a spa and excellent Laotian-French fare.
New hotels to hunker down in
Hotel Orania Berlin
A Kreuzberg crashpad with plush sofas and a superb lobby for live music. We’d expect nothing less from the man behind Bavaria’s Schloss Elmau.
The Whitby Hotel, New York
The peerless London-based Firmdale group opened this Midtown marvel in September 2017. Tim and Kit Kemp’s work at its glittering best.
An angular and architecturally alluring getaway in Mornington Peninsula amid the vineyards south of Melbourne.