The Story of a Movement and a Community
Table of Contents Intro Looking Back and Moving Forward by Claus Sendlinger pages 6 – 9 On the Magic of Hotels by Angelika Taschen pages 10 – 17
americas Latin America & Caribbean page 20
Mexico page 40
United States & Canada page 76
Europe United Kingdom page 114
scandinavia page 156
Benelux page 194
Germany, Austria & Switzerland page 208
France page 378
Spain & Portugal page 426
Italy page 508
Eastern Mediterranean page 554
Eastern Europe page 620
Africa page 630
Asia India page 652
Southeast Asia page 684
China page 742
Japan page 756
Oceania page 764
Index Hotels pages 777 – 780 Cities & Destinations pages 781 – 782 Originals pages 783 – 785 Architects & Designers pages 786 – 791
Looking Back and Moving Forward by cLaUS SendLinger
i remember the very FirSt “booK” we created back when we were trying to convince a few unique hotels scattered around the world to join us. it was an arts-and-crafts project really, full of pictures and materials that we thought encompassed the idea of a “design hotel” in the sum total of its parts. and i’m proud to say that our ﬁrst member—hotel claris in barcelona—is still with us. owner Jordi clos has made his hotels works of art, literally, with gallerylike spaces showcasing his private art collection. at a time when the concept of an art hotel was still uncommon, he was already creating timeless classics. i remember waking up in the late 1980s in generic, factory-model rooms and never being quite sure where i was—was it paris, London, or new york? hotels where individuality had been left at the door, with the majority of them seemingly competing with each other in an ugliness contest. From the ten hotels we signed on in 1993, we’ve never looked back. we’ve been described as being akin to bespoke suiting: tailor-made fashion for designconscious individualists. with a “one size does not ﬁt all” philosophy, we’ve dedicated the past twenty years to trying to capture what a “design hotel” is—its intangible essence, its constant shape-shifting, and its ability to transform a vacation into something pinned on your memory board of experiences. in our quest to be the ultimate resource for original hospitality experiences, we’ve come a long way. and yet with a collection of more than 240 hotels today, the criteria to become a design hotels™ member is still the same in its core value: authenticity. it’s never been about brand names, high thread counts, or white-gloved doormen. not that we don’t care about quality. but for us, it’s much more about ﬁnding spaces that immerse you in the magic of where you are, where luxury is intellectual and poetic but also physical and simple. these properties were borne of extraordinary minds, in which persistence and a tad of compulsiveness are great qualities. they are “originals” who weren’t afraid to step out of line and try something new. through the years, their passions have brought to life completely new concepts and taken on diverse physical shapes. these driving forces used their intuition, skills, and their hearts to create hotels that stand out in a world where design has become an overused adjective. we, like our originals, have looked for authentic tales—a common voice in each space, both in its physical details and in its abstract ideas, that you subconsciously savor. what brings it all together are the people. how a property interacts with its surroundings to give you a slice of the local experience. but not from just any local—one who’s in the know and can show you the hidden spots for the best food or the underground pulse of the bar scene. these hotels also attract locals to their bar or restaurant. in some cases, hotels act as ambassadors of their neighborhoods; in others, they help transform an area into today’s “it” address. For our guests, they are gateways to places that won’t be found with a map or a guide.
The first deSign hoteLS™ booK was a collection of images, quotes and textiles to describe the true essence of a “design hotel.”
as purveyors in this dynamic, ever-changing scene, it has been our pleasure to witness, partake, and facilitate—connecting visionary hoteliers with guests who enjoy the fruits of their vision, bringing like-minded individuals together thousands of miles from home. more than just a platform for ﬁnding some of the most inspiring hotels in the world, we’ve become a community of creative spirits that includes the originals, designers, artists, the staﬀ, the guests who choose to stay in these hotels, the locals, and you. what’s the secret behind this thriving community? individuals who care and who want to create unique products and experiences. and above all, who want to share. our vision for the design hotels™ community is to be multidimensional and experiential, so that no matter where you travel, there’s a large community table waiting where everyone is welcome and your company is prized. Join us and plug into a scene where you’re always local. going into the future, we hope to see these hotels become catalysts for selfsustaining neighborhoods to develop. where hyperlocal produce is stocked in their kitchens and local talent ﬁlls up walls. because the dna of each neighborhood is diﬀerent, making each one special and worth preserving. responsibility is what’s at the forefront of our minds—both on a social and on an environmental level. to value a lifestyle in which meaningful experiences are everything, is to care. this means ﬁnding ways to engage yourself and your community into taking action and working toward sustainability. we want to encourage people to push barriers, to break new ground, and to become leaders. we want them to reduce their dependence on ﬁnite resources, to consume healthy food, and to contribute to the local community—not because they have to, but because they can.
Claus sendlinger Founder & CEO Design Hotels™
The Lobby of DAS STUE housed in the former Royal Danish Embassy in Berlinâ€™s Tiergarten neighborhood.
On the Magic of Hotels by angelika taschen
Sometimes the moment I enter a hotel, it’s like instantly falling in love. Even though I’ve been a traveler for almost forty years, I still get butterflies in my stomach when I arrive at one of those few really unique hotels. And many of my favorites have been members of the Design Hotels family.
But let’s start from the beginning. I first started traveling on my own at the tender age of fifteen, when I hitchhiked alone to the South of France, visiting Avignon, Aix, Nîmes, Carcassonne, and Uzès in the Pyrenees along the way. My feet itched so badly to tread upon foreign soil and walk in exotic places that I was deaf to any words of caution. You have to be inventive when you have no money for a hotel, so I slept in all kinds of strange places—from youth hostels, train stations, rail wagons on holding tracks, and empty péage booths on French motorways to the sofas of friends or at friends-of-friends’ apartments. At age sixteen, I upgraded a little and bought one of those European InterRail tickets that allow you to travel wherever you want for a month. I journeyed with two girlfriends from the north of Scotland right down to the southern tip of Spain. The contrasts were amazing. We saw the entire Scottish coast from Edinburgh to Ullapool. I loved the surprising loneliness of the natural landscape—you can travel for hours there and see nothing but hills and sheep. Then we made our way down to the heat of Andalusia and ended up at the rich and ornate palaces of the Alhambra. I was mesmerized by its Moorish architecture. I felt like I had landed right in the middle of the tales of One Thousand and One Nights. I had never seen anything so beautiful. Far from feeling homesick, all of these exotic sights spurred me on to want to see more and to feel that thrill again and again. When I could finally afford proper accommodation, in my twenties, you had to book your hotel in advance, sight unseen, so you were never sure of what you might get when you arrived. There were no websites for hotels, or images and reviews posted by other travelers to give you an idea of what might be in store. So wherever I was, I spent a lot of time seeking out hotels and was obsessed with finding just the right place. I remember once arriving in Paris at night, schlepping a very heavy bag. I walked for a few hours around the 7th arrondissement to find a hotel where I would want to spend the night. Way after midnight I was still going into many different small hotels asking if I could see a room—all this effort just for one night! When I finally found one I liked, there were only a few hours left to sleep. But I was happy.
The times when I did book a hotel in advance, it was not unusual for me to be utterly disappointed by the result when I arrived. Sometimes it was so terrible that I didn’t even check in, even though I had paid in advance. I just walked straight out of the lobby in search of something more beautiful—despite the fact that I could not really afford to be so choosy. Ugly hotels depress me so much that I’d prefer not to sleep at all than to stay in one. A hotel for me was (and still is) not just about having a shower and a bed but about having a special atmosphere, without which my trip would not feel complete. If I was going to spend money on a hotel room it had to be perfect—not in terms of five-star luxury, but in terms of finding the best place to soak up the atmosphere, culture, and history of the region.
IAN SCHRAGER & STEVE RUBELL
Wherever I travel, I still always check out lots of hotels in the area before settling on one—even in places I’ve been to before. Although it’s nice to stay in a property I already know and like, I still make the effort to check out new hotels that I’ve heard about. This way you learn about what is important to you and what makes you feel good. After all of my experiences, I can sense fake and bad energy in a place in a second. I like to think I can even see it in the way the images are displayed on the hotel’s site. Then, one day, along came this company called Design Hotels that really understood and mirrored my desire to find the perfect hotel accommodation in far-flung lands. It was an absolute godsend to travelers like me, and it was such a relief to know that there was now this company sharing the investigative workload. But I am jumping ahead of myself. The 1980s saw a revolution in the hotel business. I had already started publishing books by then, but it was still in the analog way. A rumor went around, followed by a couple of press articles, about the opening of a new hotel in New York by Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell, owners of the legendary Studio 54 nightclub. They had asked Andrée Putman, the Parisian grande dame of interiors and good taste, to redesign a rather mediocre, middle-class establishment. When Morgans opened in 1984, it was an absolute sensation. The first “design hotel” was born and was followed in 1987 and 1989 by the Royalton and the Paramount, respectively, both with interiors by Philippe Starck. In my opinion, New York set off the design hotels boom, which was to change the industry completely. Design was very much in the air, and around this time I started putting together my successful “Interior” book series, starting off with Paris Interiors and a monograph on, at that time, a still young and fresh Philippe Starc k. I admired his designs very much and visited him at his (then) small studio close to the Bastille in Paris to ask him whether we could do a book together on his work. He loved the idea because he felt that the concept of the Taschen publishing house was the same as his design approach, namely, to get out of the elitist niche, be more democratic, and make good-looking products in order to serve the mass market as well. The thinking behind his hotel designs was the same: beautiful places, but by no means in the very top price bracket, accessible only to oil barons and other multimillionaires.
In the early 1990s, you could still count the number of design hotels on one hand, but the visionary Claus Sendlinger managed to bring ten of them together in 1993 and founded Design Hotels as an international lifestyle brand. The second exquisite hotel designed by Andrée Putman was one of those pioneering ten. Strangely enough, it is located in my hometown of Cologne in a 140-year-old former water tower. In 1990, when the hotel opened, Cologne was the European capital of the art world. Even though I had a great apartment there and didn’t need a hotel, I checked into the Wasserturm for a night in order to get the full experience. That is how fanatical I am about my hotel research. Twenty years on, the concept of this former Design Hotels member is still timelessly elegant. Andrée Putman is one of those rare beings who understands that being “modern” has nothing to do with adding knickknacks or fashion accents.
Not long after it was founded, Design Hotels began publishing beautifully put together directories with great images. These directories were a tremendous help in choosing favorite hotels before websites came along. The brochures, and later books, became bibles for travelers, and also helped create a sense of community among the independent hotel members. In 1998, Design Hotels issued its first annual yearbook, which continues today in delightful and ever-changing formats. The culmination of this tradition is this twentieth-anniversary book, which you are now holding in your hands. Always ahead of its time, and not just in print, Design Hotels went online as early as 1995 with its own website featuring all member hotels, whose number had meanwhile grown to eighty. Online reservations, special offers, and city guides were all included. This undertaking was revolutionary; it is hard to imagine or recall today how much influence the company had on the thousands of travel and hotel websites that have since followed its lead.
MIES VAN DER ROHE
Successful ideas always attract plenty of copycats, so it is essential to keep innovating. When Design Hotels was established, boutique hospitality was a niche movement; just ten years later, in 2003, the movement had already become mainstream, and there were more than a few bad copies of so-called design hotels around. Design has become just a single facet of what Design Hotels stands for. At Design Hotels, they understand that an emotional lifestyle experience involves a far more complex balance of ingredients. A holistic travel experience that combines the well-being of both body and mind has increasingly become a focus of the current generation of hoteliers in the wellness and spa sector as well as destination hotels. One of the finest hoteliers in this respect is the great entrepreneur Adrian Zecha, who thoroughly understands the expression coined by the architect Mies van der Rohe—“God is in the details.” He put Aman Resorts on the map, beginning with the stunning Amanpuri resort in Phuket, designed in 1988 by Ed Tuttle. The holistic Como Shambhala Group, established by the Singaporean Christina Ong (one of the very few female hoteliers), is a first-rate lifestyle hotel brand
focusing on wellness. Ong opened her first design hotel, The Halkin, in London in 1991 and followed it with the amazing Metropolitan in 1997 and the Metropolitan by Como, Bangkok in 2003, which were all members of Design Hotels in their early years. I will never forget how hot the news of the Metropolitan opening was back then, nor how everyone clamored to stay there—I was one of the first pilgrims and I understood what all the fuss was about as soon as I arrived. The sleek minimalist design and the staff uniforms by a Japanese designer were gorgeous enough, but the added bonus of the restaurant Nobu headed up by chef Nobu Matsuhisa made it legendary. The crowd hanging out at the Met Bar was a huge attraction, and its opening was one of the biggest sensations of the “Cool Britannia” years. If you wanted to be hip, you had to be there; people would even travel to London just to have dinner at Nobu and a drink at the Met Bar, the most exclusive nightspot in London (and the brainchild of Christina’s daughter Melissa). Metropolitan by Como, Bangkok has a similar design aesthetic but with a wholly different effect. I arrived there early in the morning, sticky and tired after a long overnight flight from Frankfurt. I was beside myself with excitement when I walked into the welcoming lobby with a view of a beautiful 50-meter-long outdoor lap pool. On checking into my hotel room, which was perfectly laid out, someone appeared almost as if by magic, bearing a handmade ceramic pot of mulberry tea, with sweet-smelling frangipani flowers on the tray. It was as if they knew that I love tea, especially after such a long, exhausting trip. It was the first time in my life that I tried mulberry tea—a specialty of Thailand and Laos—so I already felt I was having a truly local experience within the first few minutes of arriving. The hand-carved wooden furniture and woven cotton fabrics, as well as the local wild silk used in the room, added to this feeling. I thought the hotel’s minimal design worked even better here than in London—it felt warmer and more authentic, and the choreography of the room, from the bed and sofa to the bathroom, was just right too. After a refreshing swim in the pool with its long lanes, I had one of the best Thai massages at the hotel’s Como Shambhala spa, and soon my jetlag vanished, just hours after my weary arrival. I was even able to hire a private yoga teacher, which was absolutely unheard of at the time. In fact, it was the first hotel I visited that offered such a service. So I enjoyed every second and every detail of this place, not only the design in general but also its little amenities such as the signature, heavenly, holistic bathroom products made from Asian herbs and spices, and the delicious food served in their restaurants. Brilliant, smart, and contemporary in all ways, the Bangkok Metropolitan is, for me, the perfect hotel. So there I was in Bangkok, already having a great experience before I had even begun to explore the city. What a difference such an experience makes to everything, which is why it is so important to me to find exactly the right places to stay during my trips. It was from this elegant, modern environment that I set out on my excursions into the muggy, bustling megacity, always knowing that I would
come back to this refreshing haven of peace and quietude. Some of my favorite hotels on the planet have the quality of being an entire little universe unto itself, waiting to be explored within the country I’m visiting.
HOTEL OMM, BARCELONA
I have been lucky enough to have had many moments in my life such as this— when a hotel experience has raised a trip out of the ordinary and into something unique and very special. It’s no surprise to me that quite a few of them were member properties of Design Hotels. Again: it is all in the details, be it something small, such as a great cup of coffee at just the right moment, or bigger details such as spectacular architectural or interior design elements. To name just a few of the memorable properties from the Design Hotels portfolio: Hotel Omm in Barcelona (where I had a great time people-watching in the comfortable and bustling open-plan lobby), Covent Garden Hotel in London (where they served the tastiest fresh, warm cookies with my tea), and the Cortiina in Munich (where the room smelled better than any other hotel room).
COVENT GARDEN HOTEL, LONDON
The inflationary growth rate of “design hotels” over the first decade of the 21st century has made it abundantly clear that looking pretty is not enough. There are so many wannabe hoteliers running properties whose charm is less than skin deep. The result is often the worst kind of mediocrity, because one very essential ingredient is missing: authenticity. A great hotel that you can fall in love with is a Gesamtkunstwerk, a total work of art. It is also a brand in its own right. Behind every truly great hotel there is always one great personality with a strong vision, exceptional knowledge, patient persistence, and a love for what they do. A genuine mastermind is required, one who is equipped with plenty of refinement, sophistication, and maybe even a measure of compulsive perfectionism, to create a total experience. There are a number of such visionaries dotting the world who deserve our thanks for developing the design hotel concept further and maintaining that precious authentic core. In particular, while researching for the “Great Escapes” book series and for my columns on hotels, which I have been writing since the late 1990s, I have had the great fortune to meet some of these outstanding hoteliers in person. Individuals such as Rudi Kull in Munich (Cortiina and Louis Hotel), Kit Kemp in London (e.g., Covent Garden Hotel, Number Sixteen, and The Soho Hotel in London, and the Crosby Street Hotel in New York City), and Carlos Couturier in Mexico City (e.g., the Condesadf in Mexico City, the Boca Chica in Acapulco, and Hôtel Americano in New York City). Meeting them personally helped me see how much of their characters and personalities go toward making their hotels the best in the world. Being global nomads themselves, they understand the needs and lifestyles of the 21st-century traveler in the age of globalization and the Internet. They create complete environments and escapes for people living a contemporary lifestyle, have a strong sense of what is authentic, and can distinguish between what is just good and what is great.
I will never forget how I once bumped into Carlos Couturier quite by chance at the Adrère Amellal Desert Eco-Lodge in Egypt’s Siwa Oasis near the Libyan border (another of those butterflies-in-the-stomach, love-at-first-sight hotels). I was staying there with friends for New Year’s, when one morning at breakfast Carlos happened to be sitting on his own at the table next to me. We got to talking and ended up spending several memorable days and desert nights exchanging travel adventures and hotel tips. But when you think about it, there was less chance involved in this encounter than you might expect: simply by choosing this particular property and undertaking the very long and rather difficult journey to get there in the first place meant that we already had something in common. Our affinity and passion for special hotel experiences became even more obvious after we spent some time together at this outstanding place with its magical location. The Adrère Amellal—created by Mounir Neamatalla, another great hotelier—is a five-star hotel built out of mud and salt from the nearby lake. It has no electricity, so there is no socket to charge your mobile phone (which is unnecessary anyway because there is no reception). In the evenings, everything is lit with beeswax candles, and on cold nights they put a hot water bottle in your bed. At dinnertime, you sit around a fire under the desert sky, and food is cooked on charcoal stoves. It all works perfectly, and you do not miss any of the usual modern comforts for a second. That Carlos visited this hotel is a strong indicator that caring about the environment and rediscovering simplicity and a slower pace of life will be major themes in the future for travel and hotel businesses. The globetrotter’s monster carbon footprint from all those flights, from all that blasting air-conditioning and drinking water from plastic bottles, has to be counterbalanced. This desert hotel illustrates how the reduction of superfluous waste and unnecessary excess does not have to mean minimizing the experience or simple luxuries in any way. What can be more luxurious than sitting next to a warm fire with good food and companions under a breathtaking ceiling of millions of stars? The smart people in business know this and are researching and seeking new solutions. A hotelier of this caliber whom I unfortunately have not yet met is Daniele Kihlgren. Half-Italian and half-Swedish, this hotelier pursues his passion to restore ancient sites and run-down villages in the south of Italy, such as the abandoned caves of Sassi di Matera in the foot of Italy. He immediately recognized their potential and decided to meticulously restore them to their 1959 condition. The hotel Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita consists of various ancient caves in the middle of Matera, which is a UNESCO-listed village. When staying here, you sense the history of the place. You feel as if you’ve been sent back in time, to a prehistoric age, but equipped with minimalist contemporary amenities where necessary. The simplicity of the rooms engenders some of the most beautiful interiors I have seen; the few contemporary features, such as the outstanding Spoon bathtubs from Agape and the minimal faucets, are splendid contrasts to the hewn rock walls. There is an old church grotto where they serve
breakfast, a sensational and unique location. The village of Matera is not widely known by foreigners, and so its preserved traditional aesthetic and culture make for a truly unique experience.
Claus Sendlinger, himself a global nomad and a very smart person to boot, has not only brought together some of the greatest hotels in the world under his umbrella but also turned the spotlight on such advanced movers in the hotel business who work to realize their unique visions. He calls them “Originals” and has brought them, their ideas, and their hotels together under the motto “Made by Originals.” The stories were created “to meet the driving forces and creative spirits behind the world’s most expressive hotels,” and to provide an inspiring and inspired view of what Design Hotels has to offer in terms of quality, vision, personality, and (that word again) authenticity. The success of Design Hotels has led to a curated collection of over 240 hotels, with 43 new members added in 2012. It is not that many when you think of how many thousands of so-called design hotels there are in the world these days. It is precisely the many hundreds of places that are not members that makes Design Hotels so special. Stringent, careful curating and editing has become the key task in maintaining the quality and strength of this inspiring brand. This year, Design Hotels is celebrating its twentieth anniversary, which is a very long time in a business that has changed so dramatically, especially over the last two decades. It is reassuring to see and know that a visionary like Claus Sendlinger and his team are not resting on their laurels, but pushing the company forward into the future by continuing to search, change, create, adapt, and invent in order to bring us, their guests, the most authentic experiences possible. Angelika Taschen Berlin
The Americas offer travelers a dizzying diversity of attractions, from Montreal’s sanguine old quarter, host to the Beaux Arts elegance of hoteL St. paUL, all the way down to Argentina, where hoteL pULitzer, one of the newest Design Hotels™ properties, brings crisp contemporary design to the historic heart of Buenos Aires. In Canada and the United States, the neighborhood approach holds sway. Take tempLar hoteL, a custom-built urban hideaway by Toronto-based designer del TerrelOnge that is seamlessly enmeshed in the city’s chic Entertainment District, or andrÉ balaZs’s unrivaled the Standard collection: knockout, one-of-a-kind properties that both embody and seemingly upgrade their surroundings, from Miami Beach to the East Village.
In Mexico, the pioneering grupO habiTa has been a major innovator since it opened its first boutique property, hoteL habita, in Mexico City in 2000, later spreading its contemporary brand of chic hospitality to Monterrey, Acapulco, and Puebla. In the meantime, the first pop-up property belonging to Design Hotels™, the rough-luxe retreat papaya pLaya, a deSign hoteLS™ proJect, has helped to turn Tulum into the newest, hippest frontier of the Mayan Riviera.
In fast-developing Central and South America, people are traveling more, as evidenced by new Design Hotels™ properties in Panama (eL otro Lado), Argentina (hoteL pULitzer), and Colombia (b.o.g. hoteL), which are all new markets for Design Hotels™—as is the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, home to boUcan by hoteL chocoLat. From churning multi-ethnic metropolises to the serene subequatorial resorts of Grenada (LaLUna) and Brazil (inSóLito boUtiqUe hoteL in Búzios), Latin America is enduring in its vibrant, sun-drenched appeal.
argentina Buenos aires — hoteL pULitzer ................................................... 4 p. 022 Brazil são paulo — hoteL UniqUe ....................................................... 4 p. 024 Búzios — inSóLito boUtiqUe hoteL ............................. 4 p. 026 Barra de são miguel — Kenoa – excLUSive beach Spa & reSort .. 4 p. 028 ColomBia Bogotá — b.o.g. hoteL ........................................................... 4 p. 030 panama portoBelo — eL otro Lado ........................................................ 4 p. 032 grenada morne rouge — LaLUna ..................................................................... 4 p. 034 west indies st. luCia — boUcan by hoteL chocoLat ........................ 4 p. 036 JamaiCa negril — rocKhoUSe hoteL ............................................. 4 p. 038
rocKhoUSe hoteL 4 p. 038
boUcan by hoteL chocoLat 4 p. 036
eL otro Lado 4 p. 032
4 p. 034
pa n ama b.o.g. hoteL 4 p. 030
c o L o mb ia
Barra de são miguel Kenoa – excLUSive beach Spa & reSort 4 p. 028
inSóLito boUtiqUe hoteL 4 p. 026
são paulo hoteL UniqUe 4 p. 024
hoteL pULitzer 4 p. 022
Buenos Aires Hotel Pulitzer Where Buenos Aires, Argentina Member since 07/2012 Architecture Guillermo Roitenberg (RG Arquitectos) Design Lázaro Rosa-Violán (Contemporain Studio) Rooms 104 Rates USD 130 – 230
Jorge Roig Ortiz
Nestled between the frenetic hustle of Microcento and the leafy old-world charm of the Recoleta – a well-heeled district known to locals as “Little Paris” – Hotel Pulitzer offers visitors to Buenos Aires a unique vantage from which to take in this electrifying city. Housed in a contemporary construction by acclaimed architect Guillermo Roitenberg, its design elements subtly harken back to the art deco heritage of Argentina’s Golden Age. Inside, Lázaro RosaViolán’s crisp interiors exude understated cosmopolitan chic with steel-trimmed modular furniture, myriad mirrors, and trompe l’oeils of latticed woods. A striking palette of bold aqua-marine, cool whites, rusts, and bold blacks prevails throughout. Although the city’s hottest attractions lie mere steps from the door, Hotel Pulitzer also offers countless opportunities for its guests to relax and unwind. During summer months, poolside chaise longues beckon guests to stretch out and bathe in the sun, eight stories above the bustling Buenos Aires streets. Upstairs at the thirteenth-floor Sky Bar, superbly mixed drinks flow while sultry, sun-kissed patrons take in the sunset alfresco. Should guests choose to unwind more privately, each of the hotel’s 104 rooms and suites contains its own temple of
relaxation: a sleek, black-tiled bathroom complete with a hydromassage bath and aromatic oils. Step outside and you are right in the heart of historic Buenos Aires, mere steps away from the city’s choice cultural offerings, such as the National Museum of Fine Arts, Florida Street, and San Martin Square.
Meet the original An economist with vast experience in the international travel industry, Jorge Roig Ortiz is the general manager of Hotel Pulitzer Buenos Aires, a Spanish firm with over forty years in the hotel business, committed to personal hospitality and consolidating its development in Argentina. “Argentina – and more specifically, Buenos Aires – was a natural choice when deciding to host our first property outside Europe,” says Roig Ortiz. “It’s vibrant and passionate and, for this reason, our proposal has resulted in a cutting-edge boutique hotel with a fresh cosmopolitan spirit.” With Hotel Pulitzer, Roig Ortiz aims to introduce an innovative concept to Argentina, the “grand boutique,” blending traits of the hotel giants of New York, Paris, and London with the buzz of the Argentinian capital.
São Paulo Hotel Unique Where São Paulo, Brazil Member since 12/2002 Architecture Ruy Ohtake Design João Armentano Rooms 95 Rates BRL 870 – 22000
Rising proudly above São Paulo like a graceful ocean liner, Hotel Unique is sculptural architecture at its most original – and a must for savvy architecture fans and well-traveled urbanites alike. The spacey, green-weathered copper that adorns the facade stretches across the building’s unusual shape, a large inverted arch with circular windows like oversize portholes. The effect of the geometric forms, dark glass, and desert gardens is nothing less than spectacular, nor does the interior disappoint. There, the curvilinear theme continues in a choreographed spectrum of circles, squares, ellipses, and sine curves that flow into and out of each other.
Nothing is superfluous, and no space is wasted; the harmony is palpable. In guestrooms, high-tech details are combined with natural elements to create an otherworldly effect that still manages to seem welcoming. Unusual accessories from around the globe add to the ultracool, something-special feel, which is accented by the staff’s coolly impeccable service. Upstairs, what is perhaps São Paulo’s finest rooftop terrace offers amazing views of the city: that is, if guests can take their eyes off the fascinating crimson swimming pool that runs along its edge. A night at Hotel Unique is definitely a singular experience.
Búzios Insólito Boutique Hotel Where Armação de Búzios, Brazil Member since 10/2010 Architecture Otavio Raja Gabaglia, Luiz Fernando Grabowsky (Studio Grabowsky) Design Emmanuelle Meeus de Clermont Tonnerre Rooms 20 Rates BRL 964 – 8322
Emmanuelle Meeus de Clermont Tonnerre
Just a two-hour drive from the bright lights of Rio de Janeiro, there is an oasis of calm awaiting guests at the Insólito Boutique Hotel – a resort that combines personalized service with a beachfront experience and ambience that revitalize the soul. Nestled in a rocky hillside, with stunning views of Ferradura Beach, the solar-heated Insólito blends perfectly into its natural surroundings thanks to the skills of celebrated architect Otavio Raja Gabaglia. The hotel’s twenty rooms are full of arts and crafts from Brazilian legends, local artisans, and socially responsible companies, reflecting the style of its owner, the French-born Emmanuelle de Clermont Tonnerre. She has lovingly chosen and curated each room’s unique theme; whether the theme celebrates Cultura Negra, South American photography, or Brazilian modern art, prepare to have your senses wowed. All rooms come with a king-size bed, LCD TV, DVD player, Wi-Fi, iPod docking station, and plenty of interesting books. Most rooms have a veranda with a whirlpool and panoramic ocean views, while the suites also come with a lounge and an American bar where guests can mix their own cachaça drinks. The hotel owns
two speedboats with which guests can discover over twenty neighboring beaches on the peninsula whenever they choose. When guests want to mingle they can enjoy drinks in the pool bar, or they can dine at the 3,000-square-meter beach lounge, which has become “the place to be” for locals and guests alike.
Meet the original French-born Emmanuelle Meeus de Clermont Tonnerre followed her dreams – and her husband, Belgian entrepreneur Philippe Meeus – straight to Brazil in 2004. The stunning setting of their beachfront home in Búzios inspired this former lawyer to convert it into Insólito Boutique Hotel. Tonnerre’s exquisite design sense has been recognized by the renowned guide Condé Nast Johansens, which voted Insólito one of the best luxury hotels in Latin America. Her passion for Brazilian culture is evident in Insólito’s exotic mixture of antique and modern furniture, artifacts and eclectic design elements. Whether referencing music, literature, art or nature, a true Renaissance woman lies behind every pleasure at Insólito.
Barra de São Miguel Kenoa – Exclusive Beach Spa & Resort Where Barra de São Miguel, Brazil Member since 09/2010 Architecture / Design Osvaldo Tenório Rooms 11 Villas 12 Room rates BRL 1115 – 4850 Villa rates BRL 1880 – 8840
Kenoa – Exclusive Beach Spa & Resort is located on Brazil’s stunning northeast coast, caressed by an emerald-colored, seemingly infinite ocean and miles of pristine white beach. Its position just nine degrees south of the equator ensures year-round summer temperatures. When founder Pedro Marques first dreamed up the lush haven, he envisioned a place that would provide mental, physical, and environmental equilibrium. Keen on environmentally conscious solutions, such as recycled glass water bottles, tree trunks of reclaimed wood, energy-saving LED lights, locally produced foods, and even non-ironed staff uniforms, the eco-chic retreat’s intimate setup offers repose for those ready to wind down. Each of the 23 exclusive villas and suites abounds with unique features, from unparalleled views over the neighboring sanctuary to private pools and outstanding interior design interspersed with indigenous works of art. A Shiseido-equipped spa, fitness center with ocean views, wine bar, lounge, and world-class cuisine tantalize the senses and satisfy the soul. Situated on the sandy white beach of Barra de São Miguel, the hotel confidently stands out as much as it blends
in with the overwhelming natural beauty of its unique location. Defining a whole new realm for nature-friendly well-being, Kenoa melds social and environmental awareness with Zen-like luxury, dissolving boundaries between man-made and natural, allowing for an effortless pursuit of happiness.
Meet the original On Brazil’s stunning northeast coast in Barra de São Miguel, former Deloitte engineer Pedro Marques found inspiration in his family’s summerhouse and developed the eco-chic beach spa and resort Kenoa. With no prior hospitality experience, it was Marques’s combination of entrepreneurial skills and solid network of friends and family that have made Kenoa one of the most stunning resorts in Brazil. Marques, who grew up in Portugal, set out to build a hotel from the point of view of the guest. While Kenoa is locally grounded, the interior design reflects a global vision, with artifacts from Africa to South America, making the resort a labyrinth of Zen-like luxury.
Bogotá b.o.g. hoteL Where Bogotá, ColomBia Member since 10/2011 Architecture guillermo arias (oCtuBre) Design nini andrade silVa Rooms 55 Rates usd 260 – 430
nini andrade silVa
With a design inspired by Colombia’s greatest natural treasures – gold and emeralds – the geometric B.O.G. Hotel, in the north of Bogotá, is a decadent base from which to explore this burgeoning city. Itself an exciting destination bursting with creativity, clubs, and great cuisine, B.O.G. Hotel is home to one of Colombia’s most respected chefs, Leonor Espinosa. In B.O.G.’s main restaurant, LA LEO, Espinosa aims to preserve and enhance the gastronomic heritage of Colombia, using traditional ingredients to create fusion dishes that blend international flavors with long-standing, local recipes. In the Lounge Bar, an expert barman mixes a similarly inventive range of cocktails. The stark yet luxuriously textured interior of the hotel complements the building’s utilitarian exterior. All 55 rooms by award-winning designer Nini Andrade Silva focus on golden tones, green, grays, and beige combined with natural stone, bronze, mirrors, mosaics, and tinted glass to create pareddown and restful spaces. The in-room decor is intentionally simple, yet every comfort is ensured, including soundproofed windows,
500-thread linens, and bathroom products and scents exclusively designed for the hotel. After a day discovering the vibrant surroundings, the rooftop’s heated swimming pool offers a welcome respite, with views over the city.
meet the original Design ambassador of Portugal Nini Andrade Silva is an architect, artist, and award-winning designer. Silva has worked with celebrated designers in the United States, Denmark, South Africa, France, and England to perfect her own distinctive design aesthetic, playfully referred to as “ninimalist.” She is the creative mind behind Fontana Park Hotel, The Vine, and B.O.G. Hotel, and now adds Hotel Teatro, in Porto, to her impressive repertoire. Perhaps her strong, intense affinity towards color theory is derived from her background as a painter. With a talent for evoking sensation and warmth, this citizen of the world can proudly place her name alongside the biggest and brightest designers in the world.
Portobelo El Otro Lado Where Portobelo, Panama Member since 10/2011 Architecture Jorge Zarak (Ecléctico), Bernardo Ynzenga Design Ecléctico Villas 4 Rates USD 390 – 960
Panama’s steamy rainforests, swampy mangroves, and kaleidoscopic coral reefs are all within easy reach of El Otro Lado, a remote retreat on 110 hectares of land that prides itself on local integration. Guests are invited to sit back and take in these idyllic surroundings while sipping a passion-fruit mojito, and are encouraged to discover more about the region’s Afro-Panamanian heritage. Situated near Portobelo, and adjacent to centuries-old fortifications that are a UNESCO World Heritage site, the surrounding jungle buzzes with natural life. This thriving landscape provides the backdrop for endless hours of relaxation. But there are countless options to explore should an active mood strike you, including fishing, rainforest tours, and snorkeling at one of the nearby beaches, transported by one of the hotel’s four motor launches. With a tropical soundtrack curated by renowned broadcaster Gladys Palmera, it’s possible to gaze across an azure bay to Portobelo, a 400-year-old town built by Spanish colonists. Closer by, sensory thrills come straight from El Otro Lado’s interiors, which integrate Arte Povera with 20th-century sculptures and contemporary photography throughout the hotel’s
four villas. Social activity centers on the Gazebo – the hotel’s restaurant, bar, and lounge – adorned with carnival masks and white sofas splashed with brightly colored cushions. Here, chefs bring Caribbean ingredients and colonial flavors together nightly, and guests can while away hours gazing over the infinity-edge pool, which appears to flow seamlessly into the pristine bay.
Meet the original Starting out in corporate design, Panamanian interior designer Jorge Zarak brings more than thirty years of experience to an extensive career in luxury homes. For the private retreat El Otro Lado, Zarak has reinvented local cultural expression by rescuing traditional craft pieces and resurrecting them within a bold aesthetic that emphasizes the property’s lavish facilities. Zarak took inspiration from the breathtaking nature of Panama’s Portobelo National Park that surrounds El Otro Lado. Fusing rich colors, natural materials, Afro-Caribbean traces, and organic forms, Zarak awakes in visitors the same emotions that were his first inspiration.
Grenada Laluna Where Morne Rouge, St. George’s, Grenada Member since 08/2001 Architecture / Design Carmelina Santoro, Gabriella Giuntoli Rooms 16 Rates USD 365 – 1190
Trickling down a picturesque hillside in Grenada and overlooking Portici Beach, Laluna stirs a tasty mélange of Caribbean, Balinese, and Italian design elements to create a smart and utterly tropical hotel. Designed by Gabriella Giuntoli, who has built villas for Giorgio Armani and Sting, Laluna is a masterpiece on ten acres of untouched land in the West Indies, surrounded by emerald hills, crystal waters, and leafy bougainvillea-filled grounds. Each of the sixteen traditional, thatched-roof cottages offers an open-air bathroom, an exquisite line of bath products made exclusively in a monastery in the Italian Alps, and a king-size Balinese bed that opens onto an expansive bamboo-framed veranda with a plunge pool. In Laluna’s yoga beach pavilion, guests can take daily classes in such varying yoga techniques as Hatha, Kundalini, and Vinyasa. The Asian spa features parallel treatment rooms that are convertible into a single unit for couples massage, and there is a tatami room with handwoven mats for massages that optimize wstretching and pressure from the therapist’s body weight. The wet room, in which a Vichy shower gives the sensation of soft rain, is used between mud
applications and massages. As the sun sets, guests can dine at the beachside Italian restaurant, where chef Daniele Gaetano prepares authentic Italian cuisine with ingredients imported directly from Italy and fresh herbs from his organic garden. The evening closes on silk-covered daybeds, watching the silver moon, Laluna’s namesake, rise in the cobalt sky.
Meet the original Bernardo Bertucci arrived in Grenada just over twelve years ago and fell in love with the island, largely for the fact that it was not as commercial as the other Caribbean islands. Ignoring the pervasive taste for colonial neo-plantation classicism, he focused instead on a design that is more in tune with the surrounding jungle. Bertucci’s wife Wendy, a graphic designer by trade, handles the Web and marketing aspects of the resort, as well as the landscaping and wellness center. As a former fashion industry consultant for Prada and Giorgio Armani, Bertucci has drafted the perfect mantra at Laluna: “The absence of luxury is a luxury in itself.”
Saint Lucia Boucan by Hotel Chocolat Where Soufriere, Saint Lucia, West Indies Member since 10/2012 Architecture Phil Buckly (Hotel Chocolat Estates Ltd) Design Angus Thirlwell, Terry Moore Design Villas 14 Rates USD 350 – 650
Angus Thirlwell Peter Harris
Meet the originals
Saint Lucia’s oldest cocoa estate – a 140-acre plantation surrounded by steamy rainforests – provides a fitting location for Boucan, the first hotel by the founders of luxury chocolate brand Hotel Chocolat. Chefs here use cocoa to complement seafood, leafy salads, and estate-grown herbs and fruits. The Cocoa-Juvenate Spa harnesses cocoa’s antioxidant power in massages and body wraps. Set 1,000 feet above sea level, all fourteen of the Rabot Estate’s lodges have open-air rainforest showers and views of the coneshaped volcano Petit Piton. The eight largest lodges also benefit from private verandas that look out over mountains and seascapes. After taking a chocolate-making tour with the restaurant’s chef, guests can drench themselves in Club Boucan’s black-quartz infinity pool or sip prosecco at the bar. For chocoholics and eco-conscious design lovers, the place feels a lot like heaven.
When British entrepreneurs Angus Thirlwell and Peter Harris founded Hotel Chocolat in 2004, they knew that they wanted to make devilishly tasty chocolate. And to distinguish their brand from others, they decided to follow three guiding principles: authenticity, originality, and ethics. These key values are still central to the success of Hotel Chocolat, which connects consumers with all parts of the chocolate-making process, from the tree to the finished product. At Saint Lucia’s oldest cocoa plantation, they opened their first hotel – Boucan by Hotel Chocolat – a place that espouses the selfsame values of sustainability and indulgence. Although Angus and Peter have previously focused on different aspects of the business, they share a passion for reinvigorating Saint Lucia’s cocoa market in an ethical and responsible way.
Negril Rockhouse Hotel Where Negril, Jamaica Member since 02/2000 Architecture Jean-Henri Morin (Atelier One), Christopher Whyms-Stone (Cornerstone Design Ltd Jamaica) Design Jean-Henri Morin (Atelier One) Rooms 34 Villas 20 Room rates USD 125 – 205 Villa rates USD 240 – 465
Hexagonal thatched-roof buildings, volcanic Jamaican coastline, and sparkling turquoise waters give the Rockhouse Hotel a look and feel that’s straight out of a Robinson Crusoe fantasy. The truth is not far off: the resort designers sought to mimic the seamless merging of man and nature so beautifully exemplified by African village life. Together, the hotel’s bar and restaurant constitute the central square of the Rockhouse “village,” perched on a gorgeous deck suspended above the Pristine Cove. Alternatively, guests can integrate locally in the restaurant and rum bar Pushcart, which features live reggae music and a menu inspired by the best of Jamaican street food. A stunning infinity pool set in a cliff-top rock garden perfects the back-to-nature atmosphere, while ubiquitous references to the Caribbean Sea and surrounding Jamaican countryside complete the picture of an island getaway. But the true highlights are the generous timber bungalows overlooking either glowing Caribbean waters or the hotel’s expansive, lush tropical gardens. Rockhouse also offers a number of studios, whose custom-made furniture of
local wood adds to the overall in-tune-with-nature ambience. Throughout the property, ladders and stairs carved into the rock provide easy access to the water, while a new temple-like spa pavilion – complete with massage cabana, Caribbean drench hut, and yoga pavilion – rounds out this laid-back haven of relaxation.
Meet the original Melbourne native Paul Salmon is chairman of the Caribbean’s leading boutique hotel, Rockhouse Hotel in Jamaica, and presides over the Rockhouse Foundation, the charitable arm of the hotel that has invested over $1.5 million into local schools and libraries. Taking over the Rockhouse in 1994, Salmon has created a distinctly Jamaican experience that exudes romance – a hint that he may have taken the Bob Marley-inspired tourism slogan “One Love” to heart. Employing only locals, Salmon sees the Rockhouse as a responsible developing-economy hotel: responsible to the guests, the staff, the environment, and the community.
endÉmico 4 p. 056
habita monterrey 4 p. 054
condeSa DF 4 p. 050
diStrito capitaL 4 p. 048
deSeo [hoteL + LoUnge]
downtown mexico 4 p. 046
4 p. 052
san miguel de allende hoteL matiLda
4 p. 066
4 p. 064 4 p. 062
4 p. 074
FLor de mayo hoteL & reStaUrant 4 p. 072
CuernaVaCa pueBla La pUriFicadora 4 p. 058
aCapulCo boca chica 4 p. 060
playa del Carmen
mÉrida roSaS & xocoLate 4 p. 070
tulum papaya pLaya, a deSign hoteLS™ proJect 4 p. 068
mexiCo City — downtown mexico ............................................. 4 p. 046
— diStrito capitaL .................................................. 4 p. 048 — condeSa DF .............................................................. 4 p. 050 — habita ......................................................................... 4 p. 052 monterrey — habita monterrey .............................................. 4 p. 054 BaJa California — endÉmico ................................................................. 4 p. 056 pueBla — La pUriFicadora ................................................... 4 p. 058 aCapulCo — boca chica ............................................................... 4 p. 060 VeraCruz — maiSon coUtUrier .............................................. 4 p. 062
— azÚcar ....................................................................... 4 p. 064 playa del Carmen — deSeo [hoteL + LoUnge] ................................... 4 p. 066 tulum — papaya pLaya, a deSign hoteLS™ proJect .. 4 p. 068 mÉrida — roSaS & xocoLate ............................................... 4 p. 070 CuernaVaCa — FLor de mayo hoteL & reStaUrant ........... 4 p. 072 san miguel de allende — hoteL matiLda ...................................................... 4 p. 074
1 — Maison Coutu-
rier is decorated almost exclusively with refurbished antique furniture. 2 — “Even if we’re successful at something, we don’t repeat it.We like this sense of passion and audacity.” – CARLOS
3 — MOISÉS MICHA starts almost every weekday with breakfast at one of his hotels. 4 — Habita Monterrey:
The rooftop bar offers stunning 360-degree views over the desert metropolis and the Sierra Madre Mountains.
5 + 6 — Blending colonial 17th-century grandeur with a raw industrial edge,
integrates local indigenous culture into its concept while celebrating its location in the Centro Histórico borough of Mexico City.
PHOTOGRAPHER Rainer Hosch WRITER Ariane Howard
carlos couturier Moisés micha
Be it urban chaos or desert seclusion, there is no landscape that Carlos Couturier and Moisés Micha, the creative minds behind Grupo Habita, can’t handle. One can excuse Carlos Couturier and Moisés Micha for smiling. After the hugely successful opening of Hôtel Americano in 2011 in the Manhattan neighborhood of Chelsea, they were confronted with that “what’s next” moment. After having reached the pinnacle of the hotel world by opening a property in New York City (to say nothing of the nearly dozen other hotels they have opened across Mexico), what does one do for an encore?
by car garages, car shops, nightclubs, and art galleries that,” as Couturier remembers it, “are all reflected in the Hôtel Americano project.” And forget it they did, going from the ultimate “macro” of Manhattan to the pure “micro” of pristine isolation found in the Mexican desert. Their new hotel Endémico, a collection of twenty luxury cabins staggered among boulders on a secluded hill in the remote wine-growing region of Valle de Guadalupe, is both a wonder of architectural achievement (from high above the hotel blends into the indigenous rough-and-tumble flora) and a nature-lover’s dream-come-true. Guests sip regional wines beneath a blanket of stars while taking in expansive, uninterrupted views of the mountains. a
For Couturier, who specializes in aesthetics, and Micha, who is the operations and logistics wizard of their Grupo Habita brand, the answer was obvious: You do the exact opposite. Forget the crowds, the tall buildings, “the grittiness and tension created
MEXICO Acapulco boca chica 4 p. 60 . Ensenada endÉmico 4 p. 56 . Mexico City condesadf 4 p. 50 . distrito capital 4 p. 48 . downtown mexico 4 p. 46 habita 4 p. 52 . Monterrey habita monterrey 4 p. 54 . Playa del Carmen deseo [ HOTEL + LOUNGE ] 4 p. 66 . Veracruz Azúcar 4 p. 64 . maison couturier 4 p. 62 UNITED STATES New York City hôtel americano 4 p. 96
As regular visitors to the region who have always had a strong affinity for the isolation of the desert, CARLOS COUTURIER and MOISÉS MICHA, owners of GRUPO HABITA, chose the municipality of Ensenada, in the village of Valle de Guadalupe as the location for ENDÉMICO—twenty luxury cabins that blend seamlessly with their stunning natural surroundings.
Mexico City downtown mexico Where mexiCo City, mexiCo Member since 01/2012 Architecture aBraham Cherem, JaVier serrano (Cherem serrano arquiteCtos) Design paBlo igartúa, rodrigo Berrondo (paul roCo) Rooms 17 Rates usd 195 – 345
Carlos Couturier moisÉs miCha 4 p. 042
Blending authentic colonial 17th-century grandeur with a raw industrial edge, DOWNTOWN Mexico integrates local indigenous culture into its concept while celebrating its location in the Centro Histórico borough of Mexico City. Known as the “Palacio de los Condes de Miravalle,” the hotel it sits comfortably next to other colonial landmarks on the cobbled streets of this UNESCO World Heritage site. For each of their properties, owners Carlos Couturier and Moisés Micha use a local team and integrate the local culture into the concepts. Such was the case when lovingly renovating DOWNTOWN Mexico, one of the oldest residences in the area that still maintains this particular Mexican viceregal style. Characteristics such as ornate detailing around the windows of the facade and a
stone-forge staircase with intricate handrails take their place alongside gray volcanic rock walls and handmade cement tiles. The seveteen rooms and suites possess a stripped-back, bohemian-chic elegance. They range from the simple and unadorned, decorated with little more than gray walls and tiled floors, to the stylish, with light timber detailing, exposed concrete walls, and vaulted high brick ceilings. Street-side rooms have balconies to take in the views, while the others look over the lush and perfectly manicured patio. This palace grandeur is contrasted by the edgy character of the immense terrace which covers the entire rooftop. From these sun-soaked surroundings, guests can glimpse over the historic buildings while cooling off in the pool or sipping on a drink from the bar.
Mexico City diStrito capitaL Where santa fÉ, mexiCo City, mexiCo Member since 01/2009 Architecture daVid Cherem, isaaC sasson (diámetro arquiteCtos) Design Joseph dirand (Joseph dirand arChiteCture) Rooms 30 Rates usd 135 – 975
Carlos Couturier moisÉs miCha 4 p. 042
Surprising interiors, dazzling panoramic views, and double-height ceilings are a few of the eye-catching highlights of Distrito Capital. Located in the highest area of Mexico City – the skyscraper district of Santa Fé – this hotel is a testament to how cool Mexico’s capital has become in recent years. Designed around the idea of creative minimalism, the thirty well-appointed guestrooms and suites look more like chic art spaces than hotel rooms. Any visitor will be simultaneously awed by impeccable design touches and delighted by personal service flourishes. Fashionable without being zeitgeist-y,
the inviting decor allows visitors to truly kick back and relax. The hotel is punctuated by vintage furnishings courtesy of famous mid-century designers. And Parisian interior designer Joseph Dirand has successfully created thought-provoking social spaces within the property, such as a lounge-friendly pool area and several spectacular terraces. In fact, the Enrique Olvera – curated restaurant on the fifth floor is one of Mexico City’s newest and smartest meeting places. Guests will feel like they’ve stepped into their dream apartment.
Published on Mar 14, 2013
Twenty years ago Design Hotels™ was born. In celebration of this anniversary, The Design Hotels™ Book 2013 showcases a curated portfolio of...