2012 was the year of designy destinations! We started off in the warm tropics, ventured to Iceland, and ended up in Chile. Check out this year’s Destinations for Design:
Six Senses Con Dao
We “travel” to Six Senses Con Dao, an ocean-front resort and spa in south east Vietnam. It’s the first five star resort in the area’s archipelago of 16 islands, and more than 80 percent of its land is national park. There are 35 suites and 14 villas with private infinity pools, nestled within a mile-long curve of the bay and sheltered by forested mountains. The getaway was designed by Parisian firm AW2 and won an award for incorporating eco-conscious elements into the siting and structure.
Bella Sky Hotel
On our press trip to Copenhagen, we were treated to a tour of the new Bella Sky Comwell Hotel on the outskirts of the city center. As you can see, it’s a striking piece of architecture. Designed by the Copenhagen-based architecture firm 3XN, Bella Sky is the largest hotel in Scandinavia, with 23 floors, 812 rooms and 30 meeting spaces and conference rooms. It’s comprised of two towers, with angled facades, joined by a walkway. The hotel just won the “Best Architecture in Europe” award at theInternational Hotel Awards in London. We were definitely wowed by the architecture and interiors when we visited.
We suggest a trip to Igloo Village Kakslauttanen in the Arctic Circle in Finland. In wintertime, accommodations include snow igloos and glass igloos – yes, igloos! There’s also a restaurant and a chapel for fairytale winter wonderland weddings. The glass igloos are built from a special thermal glass so the temperature inside the igloo is plenty toasty. If you prefer a more rustic approach, you can sleep in a snow igloo in which the temp hovers between -3°C and -6°C. Don’t worry, they provide a down sleeping bag rated to -32°C, woolen socks, and a hood.
Destination Design travels (virtually) to New York City for a stay at Hotel Americano, located among the art galleries of Chelsea. Owned by Grupo Habita, which T Magazine called “Mexico’s boutique hotel pioneer in the Ian Schrager mold,” it’s the company’s first foray into the States.
Veuve Clicquot’s Hotel du Marc
The 19th century mansion of the House of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, known as the Hotel du Marc, reopened after four years of renovations. The neoclassic structure, which serves as private guest quarters for those lucky enough to be invited by the Champagne house, has been entirely restored. Architect Bruno Moinard and a team of historical experts reworked the façade, which was severely damaged during WWI, down to the interiors.
Swisstouches Hotel Xi’an
The Grand Canyon and Yellowstone are great and all, but considering going farther back in time this summer with a trip to China to see the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, and the Terracotta Warriors. Said warriors are in Xi’an, where Swisstouches has recently opened a new property, its first in China, Swisstouches Hotel Xi’an. Designed by global hospitality design firm HBA/Hirsch Bedner Associates, which has offices in 13 countries, the 318 room hotel has a contemporary Swiss sensibility, a first for the ancient metropolis.
Dar HI Hotel
Dar HI, an eco-lodge on the tip of Northern Africa, is located in the south Tunisian desert. The boutique hotel is the second collaboration (the first is a guest property in Nice) between French businessmen Philippe Chapelet and Patrick Elouarghi and French designer Matali Crasset.
Arte Luise Kunsthotel
We like the idea of a more cultural, artsy experience. Arte Luise Kunsthotel has a classic, Old World façade, but inside holds one surprise after the next. Each of the 48 rooms was designed by a different artist, most from Berlin, and range from minimalist to surreal to pop to even a tiny bit country. The wonderfully stripe-y lobby pictured above was designed by the Brooklyn-based German artist Markus Linnenbrink, who’s well-known for his drip paintings, which we featured back in March. There’s also a guest room in which one is surrounded by such stripes. But all the rooms are unique and fun.
H2 Hotel Healdsburg
We ambled through the heart of the Sonoma Valley for a virtual stay in wine country at H2 Hotel Healdsburg. Like so much else these days, we discovered it on Pinterest, our eyes drawn to the rustic boho vibe of the hotel’s lounge, by interior designer Marie Fisher, who also designed the 36 guest rooms and hotel restaurant/bar. This LEED Gold project, done by architecture firm David Baker + Partners, has a number of practical and aesthetic green (eco) features, including a planted roof, solar panels, reclaimed wood, bamboo flooring, and more. Plus, it was built responsibly, with more than 85% of the construction debris having been recycled. Mostly, we love the way it looks, and wish we could hang out there, sipping wine, of course.
Byblos Art Hotel
It may look like the most traditional of villas on the outside, but inside the Byblos Art Hotel, located near Verona, Italy, is a glorious blend of Old World meets hot-right-now, for an over-the-top effect of modern madness. Furnishings with Baroque and Napoleonic silhouettes are executed in acid hues, mid-century masterpieces are nestled in front of ornate moldings and wall panels, and formal grounds are dotted with vibrant sculpture. Speaking of art, it’s practically the hotel’s raison d’etre. The hotel is quite actually a museum, with works by major mid-century modern including Jim Dine, Robert Indiana, and Tom Wessleman, as well as today’s contemporary art stars Damien Hirst, Anish Kapoor, and Cindy Sherman. Italian grandeur and amazing art makes for a must-travel-to Destination Design.
101 Hotel Reykjavik
We flew up and over to Iceland (not really, we wish!) for a stay at the dramatic 101 Hotel Reykjavik. Situated in the heart of the city’s historic district, it’s housed in a 1930s office building that was once home to the Icelandic Social Democratic Party. Owner Ingibjörg S. Pálmadóttir is also the designer. With a Nordic cool vibe, who the sleek space is a symphony of black and white, punctuated with cozy touches like the fireplace in the lounge and old-fashioned freestanding tubs in some guest rooms. Contemporary art, from standing and crouching nudes of slightly indiscriminate gender to misty abstract canvases, dot the public spaces, lending an almost eerie feel to the cutting-edge design.
Poseidon Undersea Hotel
The world’s first ever wholly submerged getaway, the Poseidon Undersea Resort, will be located in a lagoon off a private island in Fiji. The property, which is relatively small compared to a similar but much larger project being proposed in Dubai, was developed by L. Bruce Jones, president of U.S. Submarines, Inc. The resort is composed of 25 guest suites, spa, 100-seat restaurant, bar/lounge, fitness center, conference room/wedding chapel/theater, and of course, a dive shop. Not a diver? No problem. Guests descend via elevator from a pier.
Refugia, a new hotel deep within the Archipelago of Chile, on the island of Chiloé in Patagonia is seriously enticing. The 12-room lodge, which opened in September 2012, was built by Santiago architecture firm Mobil Arquitectos.