It is no hyperbole to state that we are the most well travelled generation in history. So much so that it’s no longer uncommon to jump on a transatlantic flight from Paris to New York for a weekend break. Some might even fly from Singapore to Melbourne for dinner.
This unprecedented level of jet-setting poses its own unique challenges, with hotels – particularly those in urban centres – vying for differentiation, scrambling to make a play for that prized check-in. Business centres and mediocre gym facilities are now banned. In their place, says Maria Kuhn, vice president of public relations at Kempinski, are wiretap blockers and personalised fitness programmes. Convenience is a priority, with location transport access, check-in process, intuitive electronic connections and a whip smart concierge topping the list.
Located in Chicago’s Gold Coast District, Thompson is a luxury hotel in Chicago. It is the 11th addition to the brand’s expanding hotel portfolio. Interiors are by British designer Tara Bernerd, who was also responsible for the brand’s London property, Belgraves, and she has ensured they complement the industrial setting of the existing building, introducing a bold autumnal colour palette in petrol blues, blacks and deep reds, with luxurious finishings in rich velvet materials.
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The Ace Hotel is housed in what was formerly the United Artists building, built in 1927 by architect Howard C Crane. Atelier Ace and local outfit Commune Design stripped the interior down to its minimalist core to reveal poured concrete ceilings and columns that enhance the colourful rooms featuring Isamu Noguchi lamps and Pendleton blankets. The structure also contains the opulent Artists Theatre, which the hotel has preserved for use as an event space.
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The Ludlow is another hotel in the hospitality portfolio of Sean MacPherson and BD Hotels (see the Marlton Hotel next), though it’s their first in the city’s Lower East Side. Once a derelict building abandoned in the 1980s by its original developers after the financial crash, MacPherson saw potential in its solid red brick façade and factory casement windows and rescued it, transforming it with steel and glass doors, marble mosaic floors and a grand limestone fireplace in the lobby. The ground floor entrance leads straight through to a rear courtyard, a rare amenity in Manhattan.
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The rapidly expanding Kempinski group has recently opened the doors of its second Kenyan property, this time in a prime city centre location in Nairobi. Whether you’re in Nairobi for business or pleasure, the Villa Rosa Kempinski is ideally situated for you to make the most out of the Kenyan capital. Architects Symbion, one of East Africa’s biggest firms, are behind the imposing pink edifice, while international design consultancy DWP oversaw the interiors.
The idiosyncratically named Hotel Hotel occupies a section of the Nishi complex in the New Action village. Don Cameron and Nectar Efkarpidis designed the hotel in keeping with the complex’s ethos of sustainability and design excellence. Its location allows guests to enjoy lakeside and mountain views while surrounded by a highly active arts and culture scene.
Tucked away in the tightly packed streets surrounding the Forbidden City, The Temple Hotel’s evocative past as a Qing dynasty temple is in stark contrast with the contemporary design and renovation that was recently recognised with a UNESCO award for cultural heritage conservation. Original wood and tiles were used throughout the restoration, and a contemporary lighting element was introduced by Ingo Maurer.
The new Sofitel So is housed in one of Singapore’s rare gems, the former Eastern Extension Telegraph building, dating from 1927. Interiors are by local design firm Miaja and the hotel’s signature designer Karl Lagerfeld. The hotel lobby has a lighting design and there is a gold-tiled infinity rooftop pool.
Created by Olivier Devys with the support of Paul Dubrule, OKKO HOTELS renews the codes of the traditional business hotel by proposing a concept of all inclusive urban hotels where the human being, the design and the innovation are in the heart of the project. This idea is to eschew the traditional hotel attributes – there is no reception desk, no breakfast room, no lounge, just one living space, the Club, which is staffed 24/7. A kitchen offers snacks and refreshments throughout the day, and a business corner houses two computers and a printer. Selected items are on sale in an in-house shop, and a curated selection of newspapers, books and magazines are available.
JK Place is a luxury boutique hotel. Housed in what was once Rome’s school of architecture, JK place Roma – the third property from hotelier Ori Kafri following ones in Capri and Florence – is once again designed by architect Michele Bönan. Minutes from the city’s best shops and sights, the hotel’s elegant bedrooms feature mid-century furniture, sculptures and marble with bold splashes of colour.
Edition is a boutique design hotel in London. Close to Oxford Street, the London Edition is the second offering from Ian Schrager’s new pairing with Marriott (following the Istanbul Edition) and is housed within the grand confines of the old Berners Street Hotel. Key details have been meticulously restored by Schrager and international design firm Yabu Pushelberg to feature a warm palette of dusky rose, khaki and mustard, elegantly furnished with eclectic pieces inspired by Salvador Dali and Donald Judd.
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