Photo Credit: Arctic Bath
At this time of uncertainty and confusion, we thought we’d provide a little beauty and some inspiration for the world that’s still waiting for us when it’s safe again to explore it. Here, we share a small sampling of the most beautiful new design hotels in the world.
Shinta Mani Wild
Photo Credit: Shinta Mani Wild
Shinta Mani Wild is one of the latest feathers in celebrated designer and architect Bill Bensley's cap. Every hotel that the Bangkok-based artist works on has his personal, inspired touch, including this private sanctuary, located in the remote jungle of Cambodia’s Cardamom National Park. Shinta Mani Wild is comprised of 15 tents perched over nearly a mile of river and waterfalls, all calculated to evoke his vision of what it might have been like to travel with the impossibly elegant Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who toured the Asian country withKing Sihanoukin 1967.
Each tent has its own personality and name—Butterfly, Birders, Elephant and, intriguingly, a tent dedicated to its conservation efforts with the Shinta Mani Foundation, which is perched on a boulder that disappears completely under white water at the peak of monsoon season (which is akin to sleeping on a giant surfboard). Each guest has his or her own butler, access to the Khmer Tonics spa, which is designed with wood and stone to blend into the forest, expedition boats and a zipline, an adventurous way to arrive at this unusual, incredible property.
Photo Credit: SB Architects/Amara
"Amara is derived from the ancient Greek word "amarantos," meaning everlasting, and that was the concept SB Architects went for when creating this five-star property on the sun-soaked Greek island of Cyprus. Giving guests endless slices of sea and sky with unobstructed views was the intention here, at what is the first hotel to be constructed, ground-up, on the Limassol seafront in almost two decades. The style is distinctly Mediterranean; public spaces such as the lobby were modeled after a residentially scaled “Iliakos,” or enclosed veranda common to traditional Cypriot architecture. And while the design team—which also includes The Rockwell Group—managed to preserve and celebrate the history that existed when the hotel site was the ancient village of Amathus (the speculated birthplace of Aphrodite) including protecting age-old olive trees that dot the property, it is also distinctly modern, offering every amenity a guest could request, and then some. In addition to a rooftop bar, which offers totally unobstructed views of the sea, the property features 207 exquisitely designed guest rooms, many of which have personal cascading plunge pools, and Michelin-star featured restaurants from Nobu Matsuhisa and Giorgio Locatelli.
Photo Credit: Morpheus
Designed by the late Dame Zaha Hadid, the first female to be awarded the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize, Morpheus is an architectural marvel. The $1.1 billion project, located at City of Dreams Macau, is the world’s first free-form, exoskeleton-bound, high-rise architectural composition, and incorporates a number of architectural and technological breakthroughs. It’s a behemoth of a project, using four times the amount of wrought iron used on the Eiffel Tower, enough aluminum cladding to make more than nine million soda cans and a 115-foot-high atrium lobby, which is tall enough for a double Ferris wheel.
There are 770 guest rooms, suites and villas, all designed by Peter Remedios, one of the world’s top interior decorators; a gravity-defying pool located 40 stories above the city; 12 high-speed panoramic elevators; amazing art like “Good Intentions” by KAWS on display; fine dining from Alain Ducasse as well as Pierre Hermé, who was named the World’s Best Pastry Chef by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants and, at its spa, a number of world-firsts, including an in-house Spa Butler concept, a Snow Garden installation and a one-of-a-kind treatment in its platinum mask treatment courtesy of the world-renowned skincare brand Margy’s Monte Carlo. In-room, luxuries like Rivolta and Mühldorfer bed linens, Bernardaud chinaware, Hermès and Acqua di Parma toiletries and Dyson hair dryers are found throughout.
J.K. Place Rive Gauche
Photo Credit: JK Place
For your daily dose of elegance, head to the J.K. Place Rive Gauche, which is house in the former European consulate on Rue de Lille, perfectly placed in the 7th arrondissement between the Boulevard Saint-Germain and the Seine. For its first luxury hotel outside of Italy, the brand enlisted its favorite designer, Michele Bonan, to curate its gorgeous, 29-room property with bespoke Italian furniture and objets d'art, as well as antique gems sourced from famous Paris flea markets like the Marche aux Puces, including a midcentury Hermes desk lamp and a smoky mirrored console "in the spirit of David Hicks." The vast bathrooms feature oversized chrome showers, mother-of-pearl inlay cabinets, sitting areas with stacks of coffee-table books and artfully rusted, low-slung metal armchairs. No two rooms are the same at this boutique property, which also features a Sisley Spa, an indoor pool and the first Casa Tua venture outside of Miami and Aspen.
Conrad Washington D.C.
Photo Credit: Conrad Washington D.C.
Pritzker Prize-Winning Swiss firm Herzog & De Meuron have brought a sleek, modern sensibility that echoes its past projects like the Olympic Stadium in Beijing and the Tate Modern in London, to the heart of our nation’s capital in the form of Conrad Washington D.C. As part of its design, an all-glass exterior wraps around the 10 floors, 360 rooms and 30,000 square feet of high-end retail space below the hotel on the ground floor. A metal chain/mesh curtain in the hotel’s atrium adds an iconic architectural element, inspired by the Sankt Bartholomäus Kirche (St. Bartholomew’s Church) in Cologne, Germany.
Hanging at its center is a spectacular piece of architectural artwork, featuring a moonlight—“The Moon” by Sabine Marcelis—that is 14 feet in diameter, composed of an internal structure with LED lighting panels. The moonlight has multiple dimming settings ranging from bright warm to dim cool and is programmed to time of day and day of year by an astronomical timeclock as part of the Lutron dimming system. Meanwhile, the Houston-based Rottet Studio designed the interiors with minimalism in mind, using natural materials like linen drapes, white marble, dark bronze and natural oak throughout. This haute hotel also features a contemporary art collection inspired by the Washington Color School movement, curated by consulting firm Tatar Art Projects, and Estuary, a restaurant courtesy of James Beard Award winners Bryan and Michael Voltaggio.
Photo Credit: Arctic Bath
Architects Bertil Harstöm and John Kauppi are responsible for one of the coolest hotels (literally and fiuratively) to open this year. Arctic Bath, a designed-focused hotel in Swedish Lapland, appears to float. And if it appears that way, it’s because it actually does. Though the property will be frozen on the Lule river in winter, come summertime, it will float downstream from the bridges of Bodträskfors. Though there are only 12 rooms at this intimate property, each has been designed by Bertil Harström, Johan Kauppi or AnnKathrin Lundqvist to enhance and celebrate its environment. The surrounding landscape merges with said cabins, which use sustainable materials such as wood, stone and leather; the larger six boast glass walls, affording crystal-clear views of the Northern Lights, should they come out to play.
Predominantly Swedish design brands are featured throughout: ateljé Lyktan has produced bespoke lighting called Kvast for the hotel; lounge furniture has been supplied b Karl Andersson och Söner, Stolab and Swedese; and beds are by Carpe Diem. And at the hotel’s circular heart—which appears to be inspired by Winterfell or Middle Earth—is a giant ice bath, ringed with three saunas, a spa treatment room and hot baths, inspired by the timber-floating era when felled trees were transported downriver for processing. Literally, nowhere else on earth will you find a hotel hub that’s meant to embody a log jam.
Anantara Tozeur Resort
Photo Credit: Anantara Tozeur Resort
For those seeking a sleek, chic experience in the Sahara Desert, head to Anantara Tozeur Resort southwest of Tunisia for a luxury gateway to ancient cultural and desert wonders. With its Moorish architecture, Berber patterns and North African furnishings—including the inlaid timber screens and traditional fret-cut lighting and artwork found in all 93 rooms and five dining outlets, not to mention a veranda that looks out over the resort’s meandering swimming pools with the jaw-dropping backdrop of the Chott el Djerid salt flats—its aesthetic fully embodies its arid location. Embrace the resort’s aesthetic even further with a high-end moveable feast courtesy of Dining by Design, Anantara’s signature private dining concept.
Enjoy a romantic candlelight dinner on the terrace of a private residence in Tozeur town or even a secluded barbecue in a Berber tent amidst the whispering sands of the Sahara. The resort also puts travelers in touch with local culture and history by offering tailored excursions to Tozeur’s Medina. Trek through the expansive desert scenery with a professional driver on a guided quad bike adventure to Chott el Djerid, the largest salt lake in the Sahara Desert; go camel trekking, stopping for mint tea and dates; and even immerse yourself in a Star Wars adventure, given that Tozeur is home to numerous scenes from the original trilogy and prequels, with special programs available for guests to explore a galaxy far, far away. Essentially, they’re designing your personal fantasy.
The Prestige Hotel Penang
Photo Credit: Prestige Hotel
There's something magical about Malaysia's Prestige Hotel, which takes its design cues from Christian Bale's The Prestige, a film which, fittingly, revolves around a Victorian-era magician. KL Wong Architect Sdn Bhd considered the colonial Victorian heritage of the Georgetown property, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and used visual trickery as well as notions of magic and illusions with the end goal of creating a totally unique hotel. Needless to say, it was a success: Some of the spaces appear to levitate, while others seem to disappear; a custom reception desk seems to magically balance on balls, while hidden doors in guest rooms open to reveal toilets and pantries.
In said rooms, a key feature is a custom shower and wardrobe enclosure crafted of champagne bronze-tinted metal and glass; a hero piece that takes aesthetic cues from the elaborate magic props used in performances such as Houdini’s escape box. Another custom piece is the vanity mirror frame. Abstracted from Victorian mirrors (usually heavy and elaborate) and modernized with its angular form, polished brass and integrated light, this feature plays on optical illusions and perceptions, appearing as two mirrors but floating as a frame on top of a horizontal mirror wall. The hotel, which features 162 guest rooms, an all-day dining restaurant, a rooftop infinity pool, events pavilion (named after lead characters in The Prestige film, no less) and terrace, and a vibrant Victorian dining and retail arcade, is a visual experience that can’t be missed.
The Oberoi, Marrakech
Photo Credit: Alan Keohane for Oberoi Hotel Group