August 29th, 2012 – Johan Hellström did it! He did what many people only dream of. The commercial photographer spent most of his life traveling the globe in search of the perfect shot. However, as he neared age 40, he longed to settle down with his wife and their two daughters. Hellström and his wife had previously spent summers being wowed by the weirdly wild landscapes in the northeastern corner of the island of Gotland in Sweden. As he begun to explore the island further, he found an old a limestone quarry on the nearly deserted Furillen peninsula. “I think it can be good to get a new start in life,” Hellström explained, and the abandoned limestone quarry was his perfect place to start again.
It’s quite a trip to get to the 16-room boutique hotel, A high-speed ferry or plane from Swedens mainland to the medieval city of Visby, then a 45-kilometer drive will bring you to the Fabriken Furillen.
Upon arrival, guests are greeted by a striking gray structure and it’s raw natural surroundings, the complete picture of Hellström’s vision.
Inside the hotel the warm interiors capture the essence of modern Scandinavian design with an eco-friendly approach. Shades of gray and white, inspired from the surrounding landscape, make up the interior spaces, and are complemented with light wood accents and industrial metal light fixtures.
The rooms are welcoming, authentic, and comfortable – most with a seaside view, but all with beds by luxury bed manufacturer Hästens.
The simple yet satisfying restaurant, formally a factory workers’ canteen serves dishes based on the local produce available throughout the year, parts of which are grown on the hotel’s own farm 10km away.
Autumn is truffle season in Gotland, giving guests the opportunity to sample rare truffles and even go on a truffle hunt as a daytime activity! The Furillen is so far removed from the busy urban world, that there, truffle hunting is one of life’s sweet pleasures.
[Photography provided by Design Hotels]
This content series is in partnership with smartwater. smartwater, live a life well hydrated. Click here to learn more.
Unless you’re Luke Skywalker, it’s rare that you look to the sky and see Darth Vader looming overhead. Well, Jedi or not, now you can feast your eyes on some pretty sweet airborne eye candy. Were talking ginormous strawberries, pudgy panda bears and flying cows. Each year, a smattering of magical hot air balloon festivals take place around the globe, albeit the lack of trophies, prize money or bragging rights. So what’s the motivation for these skilled balloon-gurus? It’s the moment they find themselves slowly rising above the tree line, gaining a whole new perspective on the earth below.
Sometime after the first hot air balloon drifted lazily into flight waaay back in 1783, hot air balloons evolved from simple spherical shapes, to massive, mind-blowing creatures looming in the sky! Lucky for you, we tracked down the ten coolest hot air balloon festivals for you to experience during your travels (or you know, admire from your computer when your boss isn’t looking). Either way, when you combine brilliant design with the hot air balloon industry you get larger than life Vaders, soccer balls, light bulbs, and a master mix of colors and patterns that would make a kaleidoscope jealous. Talk about haute air balloons!
UK - The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is held in Bristol in the United Kingdom each year. This massive four day festival draws in over 100,000 visitors each day with their colorful and artistic balloons! One of the favorite attractions during the festival is the annual night glow, where balloons are launched after dark and are choreographed to glow in time with specific music. Be on the look out for the specialty balloons designed by Seamstress Paula Caddick of Cameron Balloons, which is the world’s largest balloon maker!
Mexico – The International Balloon Festival in Leon, Mexico gets an audience of over 300,000 visitors! 200 spectacular balloons are on display during the festival which is known for a unique set of balloons such as this Darth Vader head balloon.
Burma – The historic region of Bagan is well-known for its massive collection of ancient temples, Balloons Over Bagan, takes travelers up in the air to see the magical structures from above. The religious structures were built between the 11th and 13th century, while many of the temples were damaged in a series of earthquakes that occurred in the 20th century, Bagan still presents some pretty impressive sights.
Canada – Don’t forget your coat for this ride, you’re gonna need it! Take a chilli ride over the icebergs in the Arctic Bay. As far as we know, this balloon ride is the highest latitude passenger flight on a hot air balloon ever. Passengers get to take in the sites of breaking ice bergs and the penguins with Arctic Kingdom Polar Expeditions! (© Michelle Valberg/National Geographic)
Germany – For an unforgettable experience, ride through the forested canyons and over the historic Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. This balloon ride is best known for their collection of traditional shape and vibrant colorful patterns.
Africa – Over in Kenya, have a safari by air! Check out the wild life in it’s natural habitat while your balloon is barely scraping the treetops in the scenic beauty of Masai Mara.
USA – The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in New Mexico is the largest balloon festival in the entire world! Held each October, the event spans nine days and features over 750 incredible balloons. One of the most incredible event held during the festival is the Dawn Patrol, where special lights are used to allow a series of balloonists to launch their balloons well before sunrise. The most popular is the Mass Ascension, during which time all of the participating balloons launch in two or three carefully coordinated waves!
USA – The Colorado Balloon Classic was organized in 1977 and has grown to be the largest and the longest continuously running hot air balloon festival in the Rocky Mountain Region as well as the State of Colorado. Each year on labor day weekend, mass ascensions of approximately 90 balloons happen during the afternoon while a special event called Balloon Glo® happens after sunset.
France – In the late summer, the hills of the Chambley-Bussieres fill up with a colorful and unique display of hot air balloons as Europe’s largest balloon festival kicks into high gear! The Lorraine Mondial Air Balloon Rally consist of over 300 balloons that take off in a local airfield, then they drift over the stunnin french landscapes.
Switzerland - Chateau d’Oex, the Alpine capital of ballooning! Each year when the weather permits it, a joyous collection of bright balloons flutter through the skies of the Swiss Alps for the Festival International de Balloons in Château-d’Oex. From the launch point, riders get 360 degree views of the Alps, Mont Blanc to the Eiger via the Grand Combin, the Matterhorn, Jura, not to mention Lake Geneva and Fribourg regions.
After combing the planet for the most exotic retreats, we put together a collective of our favorite 15 spots that all have a lovely mixture of adventure, relaxation, danger, and beauty. Many of these out-of-this-world destinations might take more than a typical flight to get to, but whether you are riding on a camel’s back to a far out tented retreat or swinging from a rope onto a tree house balcony, these extraordinary spots will make you want to pack light, and enjoy the ride!
Finca Bellavista (translates to estate with a beautiful view) is a residential tree house community in the South Pacific coastal region of Costa Rica. The property is said to be absolutely untouched by the modern world and completely off the grid!
Cap Rocat will transport you back into another world! A former military fortress located in the most secluded area of the bay of Palma de Mallorca. Stunningly blended into the landscape, this magnificent fortress has been totally refurbished without altering its unique architecture and its natural environment.
Domina Home Piccolo, immersed in the luxuriant vegetation typical of the Ligurian Riviera, in Portofino Italy, is a converted refined period villa that cherishes the ancient art of hospitality.
The secluded Gásadalur Village rests on the green cliff side of Faroe Island. The tiny village is not easy to get to, making it a gem for adventure travelers who would have to be willing to go by train, air, boat, and a hefty hike to get to this exotic location.
With access to 350,000 acres of private land in the Serengeti, the Singita Game Reserve provides a back-to-basics camp which guarantees closeness to wildlife and untouched landscapes.
Imagine floating over thousand year old pagodas and the mighty Ayeyarwaddy River, as the sun sinks slowly behind distant mountains… Sound good? We think so! Get away to Burma and hop into a hot air balloon for an unforgettable experience over Bagan!
The Ladera Resort in sits in between an array of forested mountain peaks. The resort has an infinity pool that rests upon the cliff side and gives guests panoramic views of the lush island!
Burning Man is a week-long annual event held in the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada, in the United States. The event is described by many participants as an experiment in community, art, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance. Each year, artists and underground designers gather for the event to showcase art, sculptures, and mind blowing structures!
North Island Seychelles is a private island with an exotic retreat which is separated and sprawled out through the entire paradise!
Situated within the home of Kichwa Tembo, &Beyond is a safari in Kenya that marks the climax of the annual Great Migration which happens each year on the Masai Mara National Reserve!
In Cappadocia’s magical landscape of fairy chimneys, in the ancient village of Urgup, is a unique hotel carved into a mountain cliff, the Yunak Evleri. This hotel includes six cave houses which date back to the 5th and 6th centuries and a 19th century Greek Mansion. Yunak Evleri is an inspiring hotel – an ideal base for exploring Cappadocia’s elaborate underground cities, hidden cavernous churches and enchanting rock terrain.
Wanakasa (Forest in the Mist) is an exotic retreat set amongst the trees near Ubud, Bali! The pool’s semi-circular edge echoing the bend of the Ayung River 100 metres below.
Rayavadee in Thailand is an idyllic retreat located in the middle of amazing Phranang Peninsula on the edge of Krabi Marine National Park.
Leopard Hills is a breathtaking lodge situated in the ‘Big 5’ Sabi Sand Game Reserve adjoining the world famous Kruger National Park. Hotel Guests can view Lions, Giraffes, and zebras from their open veranda!
In the Loisaba Wilderness in Kenya sits an unforgettable retreat which lets you break down the barriers of the modern day world and be closer to nature. The Loisaba retreat gives you the unique opportunity to try a night under the unspoilt Kenyan stars on one of our Star Beds!
June 4th, 2012 – This isn’t the first time Brazil’s most sought after architect collaborated with one of Brazil’s most affluent hoteliers – and we’re guessing it won’t be the last! Architect Isay Weinfeld, and restauranteur/hotelier Rogerio Fasano (who recently collaborated on the making of Fasano Las Piedras) have just put the final touches on the latest addition to the Fasano hotel collection – Boa Vista.
The hotel is a stunning complement to the 100 plus acres of native forests in São Paulo, which include 15 lakes, an Arnold Palmer golf course, groves, and carefully manicured gardens. This Fasano property is a perfect marriage of Weinfeld’s signature style, and the excellence and sophistication of the Fasano brand.
Here, a fantastic old-world authenticity exists with the incorporation of the hotel natural surroundings, which is the overall aesthetic of the establishment. The two-level building is shaped like a half moon, where the public areas such as the lobby, restaurant, and bar, and centrally located, while the suites sprawl out on the outer curves of the building.
The space is mainly outfitted with wood, stone, and glass, with the addition of some supremely cool accent pieces; many chosen from local antique shops or hand-crafted by local artisans. A variation of unique mid-century furniture pieces flood the lobby with massive wood ceiling beams that cross overhead and lead to large windows where guests can look out over the lake.
Weinfeld’s sensual design of the suites have a subtle calming effect with their creamy walls, warm wood flooring, and wicker wrapped lighting fixtures. Each suite has a private wood deck that faces the farms an endless rural landscape. Our favorite part of the hotel has to be it’s on site equestrian center with 29 pickets and 230 stalls, giving guests the opportunity to venture into nature on horseback!
Photography By Boa Vista
“Not too long ago we were thinking about the whole pop-up phenomenon in the retail world and saw kind of a subtle brilliance to the movement. Could Design Hotels, we wondered, take this concept and run with it?” The team at Design Hotels pondered on the idea – and just a few short months later they opened the worlds very first pop-up resort on the untouched beaches of Tulum, Mexico, (and now a second pop-up hotel in San Giorgio, Mykonos). Naturally, watching a company change the entire hospitality industry is something that piqued our interest. So on the tail end of the Papaya Playa Project’s 6 month stint, we flew down to the southern tip of Mexico to experience it all first hand.
A two hour drive south of Cancun led us deep into the lush jungle near the Ancient Mayan ruins. We had no idea that that cold air conditioner from our blacked out SUV would be the last of everything we knew from our modern life. At the Papaya Playa Project – you don’t need much, and you don’t want much. The collection of overgrown palm trees, turquoise waters, ripe coconuts, and Bohemian-chic cabanas is enough to make you feel more complete, than ever before.
After checking in, we made our way towards the swept dirt path which took us through the jungle, and onto the white sand beach where our little hut sat waiting for us. It read ’22′ on the small door, out of the 99 huts that are scattered onto dreamy oceanfront, originally owned by Emilio Heredia, a local man who is truly passionate about the region. Design Hotels worked out a champion deal with Heredia, where they would come in, renovate the property, occupy it for six months, then hand it right back over to him – basically, giving Heredia a brand new renovated hotel.
Design Hotels teamed up with Mamapapacola, a Germany-based creative agency to help put some off-beat ideas together for the renovation. Their ultimate wish was to bring a bit of European gypsy fun to the natural beauty of Tulum, in effort of creating a rural setting with an urban spirit. This concept really came to life in the huts with their earthy peach colored walls and turquoise floors; a floor rug striped with colors, flowing mosquito nets over the white linen handcrafted bed, and a wooden ladder to hang the thick towels on. The team refrained from “over-designing’ the hotel and opted to create a “culturally rooted experience.”
Throughout our stay we frequented 42ºRaw for nutrient-rich organic food. Freshly squeezed juices in the morning, and their tasty “Rawsagna,” a delicious veggie version of lasagna, for lunch. 42ºRaw originated in Copenhagen and developed a huge following in the health world because nothing is cooked above 42º Celsius to avoid denaturation of food and loss of enzymes and vitamins. The restaurant joined forces with Design Hotels to create their own pop-up restaurant which is located near the lobby of the resort.
After slow, heated days of lying on the sand and kayaking through the crystal waters, we would watch the sun go down then follow the purple wicker lanterns hanging from the trees above which lit the way to the nightly festivities at KaterHolzig. The merry-makers at KaterHolzig, recent offspring of Berlin’s legendary Bar25, were instrumental in setting the mood and creating activities at the resort (all-night full moon parties, movie nights on the beach, and other imaginative happenings). The restaurant/bar serves up seasonal local food from the grill and fresh breads from a custom-built clay oven. The restaurant has a natural amphitheater which starts on the beach and rises up into a tree house like deck where an assortment of random vintage furniture pieces, cricked withering wall art, a weathered piano, all create a part shipwreck and part Robinson Crusoe beach shack. nothing feels calculated.
Beyond being respectful to your surroundings, there aren’t many rules at PPP. It’s perfectly normal to see a few naked bodies swimming in the ocean, walk into restaurants and shops with no shoes on, and stroll through the town at dusk with a glass of wine in hand. A more freeing experience than my usual New York City life – where I live under so many rules, I almost don’t even realize they are there anymore. Many times we passed by the lobby and over heard guests extending their stay, who would want to leave? But when it was time to go, we slowly collected our things, said our goodbyes to the amazing staff, and hopped back into the air conditioned blacked out SUV.
Claus Sendlinger, Founder & CEO of Design Hotels is not stopping in Tulum, Inspiring feedback received to the Papaya Playa Project has sparked further creative and off-radar luxury forms. This summer Design Hotels, in association the The Paradise Club have set up their second Pop-Up hotel in the Mediterranean at San Giorgio Mykonos.
“Today’s travelers expect more than just the standardized comfort and convenience, they are looking for a true and authentic experience.” Which is the foundation of Design Hotels pop-up projects. “People are not seeking for luxury in a traditional definition any more. The word luxury is overused and irrelevant since talk of luxury has become cheap.” In lieu of “Luxury” sophisticated travelers are looking for nature, relaxation, and a chance to get back to their basic needs – this is the idea of San Giorgio.
The 34-room property started in the ’90s thanks to a successful local fisherman who laid claim to a piece of Paradise Beach. Recently the nightlife champs over at Paradise Club have taken over the establishment. Proprietors Thomas Heyne and Mario Hertel together with Markos Daktilidis, owner of Paradise Beach, have a long standing close relationship with Design Hotels which assisted in making it the second pop-up hotel in the world.
Former Creative Director of Design Hotels and now design entrepreneur Michael Schickinger, together with interior designer and stylist Annabell Kutucu were responsible for the design. “What you see and feel at San Giorgio are equal measures of history, heritage, style and simplicity.” A charming off-kilter design for the white-washed building consists of traditional Greek woven-top stools, hand crafted wicker light fixtures, wood framed mirrors, and fluffed pillows outfitted with traditional patterns.
The property has a harmonious mixture of natural air and light that filter inside because of the openness to the historical piece of architecture. Carefully chosen accessories give the right warmth to the open space, which could otherwise fell cold and stale. On site, guests can enjoy the spa, boxing, yoga, Horse riding, and a wedding chapel (just in case). Also, because the owners of the world renowned Paradise Club are involved in the project, guests have access to their nightclub, where high profile DJs like Armin Van Buuren, Moby and David Guetta will be spinning up some tunes.
The team at Design Hotels created the San Giorgio project for those who seek simple pleasures like waking up to views of the sea, sharing good food prepared with love and care, and feeling the euphoric energy of a crowd dancing under a starry sky. If you are in need of a life-saving retreat, don’t let the San Giorgio project pass you by. - Ashley Nelson
(Photographs Courtesy of Design Hotels)
The Holiday Inn just got owned. Just sayin’. I mean, how can the mediocre, vanilla chain possibly compete with a bubblegum pink faceted façade like the one that graces Mexico City’s Hostel La Buena Vida?! They can’t. It’s just too much awesomeness per square foot. The name of the suhweet residential development says it all. We’ll provide the translation for all of you Español-challenged amigos: Hostel La Buena Vida = The Good Life Hostel. And good it is. In a ‘hood with a homogenous architectural style, the hostel definitely stands out like a sore thumb (painted neon pink). ARCO Architectura Contemporanea’s team used repeating geometric shapes in the façade, paying homage to the Mexican-candy-wrapper-esque vibe, then complimented the bold choice with a serene ipe wood lattice and set it off with a neon sign. Any contemporary urban traveler would be lucky to relax in this lounge-tastic Mexican City gem.
Maybe you have, or maybe you haven’t seen this little family of bubble rooms – but now, after the recent opening of two hotels in France, you can make one of these translucent huts yours for the night! Attrap’Rêves in Bouches-du-Rhone (near Marseille) and Sky River outside of Loir-et-Cher are the two hotels that let you sleep under the stars. The concept came from French designer Pierre Stéphane, who wanted to create a Eco-friendly space, in that once the bubble is folded up, nature remains the intact.
The bubbles are small and cozy, about 13 feet in diameter. Some are fully transparent, while others allow a little more privacy and are half opaque. Now, let’s be straight with one another, if you are looking to be pampered at the Ritz, these bubbles might not be for you. But if you want to live an unforgettable adventurous experience, immersed in nature, get to France! Who knows, you might wake up from that alarming dream with a bear staring you straight in the face….lets just all cross our fingers that this plastic bubble withstands bear claws.
Valencia’s Caro Hotel occupies a building that dates back 2,000 years. Experiencing the hotel is like pulling back layers of history – a mosaic Valencia founding of Roman from the second century BC, a staircase from the early 19th century, an Arab city wall in the hotel’s cafe from XII Century, and several Gothic arches and nineteenth-century construction details, all in one place.
The team behind Caro approached Francesc Rifé, the principal at Barcelona based design firm Francesc Rifé Studio, to come in and streamline the establishment. Caro wanted Rife, who is known for his warm, yet contemporary style, to add architectural elements to the building that reflect modern design. Creating these elements that represent the moment is another way to continue these historical layers of the building, a way to experience the past, and the present, at the same time. You truly need to see this amazing hotel in person to capture it’s true beauty and Expedia can get you there.
Rife divided the hotel up into 26 suites, each room is designed different from one another. One room is in the attic, where rustic wood beams slant down creating low ceilings, while other suites have high ceilings with grand murals and crown moldings. A glass floor was added into the hotel to allow light to travel from the sunroof to floors below, Rife designed a cool moss garden that grows on one of the floors – a small, yet unforgettable design feature within the hotel.
(Photography: Fernando Alda Photography)
As hotels on the Eastern Coast of Mauritius are building up, nothing quite fits the atmosphere, amenities, and aesthetics of the new Long Beach Hotel. The credit of the stunning look of the lodge goes to Keith Interior Design, a seasoned vet when it comes to hospitality design, with the help of their partners at M2K Architecture.
The hotel lobby is massive in size, with ceiling heights reaching nearly 27 feet high! Tall wooden blinds open up, which allows for an abundant amount of fresh air to roll through the arriving space. The entrance even has a honed wood bridge with a matching door that opens and doubles as an awning. Be sure to spread out with your luggage upon arrival in the elongated lobby and enjoy the six-foot custom metal and gem light fixtures that dangle from the ceiling.
The arrangement of the 255 room hotel is designed on a crescent, so each room has a full view of the ocean! The chic contemporary designs of the rooms blend together open-air and indoor living as woods, whites, corals, and green tones are used to create a refreshing, easy-on-the-eye suite; a place easy to relax. The Long Beach Hotel is truly a one of a kind breathtaking luxury resort that you must see for yourself!
Each public space has its own styling and mood; the different languages were created by using different pieces of furniture. The teen center is modern and chic with bubble chairs, and minimalistic design elements. Dining in the family restaurant is like snacking on a rustic beach, while the fine-dining restaurant goes for a warm contemporary feel.
Although each public space is designed to give a unique experience, the architect noted that they “kept a strong link between the different areas by using dominant neutral tones, natural stones, raw timber and crisply finished aluminum.”
The design of the Long Beach Hotel is what makes it a successful luxury resort-meets-family vacations type property, but it’s the inviting architecture and refreshing vibe of the lobby that ‘had us at hello.’ Oh – and let’s not forget to mention the infinity pool over looking the white sanded beach, but I don’t think we need to explain the awesome factor in that!
(Photographs: Sun Resort Hotels)
In part of a massively cool expansion initiative, the W Hotels has opened it’s super chic new Paris property, today, yes, literally today! As we are drafting this article, dashingly stylish doorman are rolling out the red carpet for the elite jet setters who frequent W establishments around the world. The 91 room hotel has taken over a historical 1870 building just steps away from the Garnier Opéra House.
Just because the W community is expanding, doesn’t mean they leave their identity at the door as the trot from spot to spot. You can still expect high design mixed with modern technology. Because in Paris, otherwise known as the city of lights, the design team Rockwell Group Europe in collaboration with W Global Brand Design decided to bring lighting features into the space in integral ways. An awesome example being the curvacious black wall that whips around the bar and into the hotel’s restaurant. The high gloss black partition has tiny holes in it and are back lit to create a vibrant space, especially for the night owls.
The hotel has a bold contrasting color palette of black, red, and white, but the seemingly modern palette fits perfectly inside the traditional design elements. Mirrored walls grace Arola, the hotel’s restaurant, which are etched with seemingly ancient symbols and characters. While a red, white, and black, spiral stair case elegantly reaches up the five floor hotel. If you are in, or passing though Paris W, be sure to reserve the super luxe WOW Suite, with a name like that, disappointment is nearly impossible.
“Shit, what an old ugly house filled with stinking leftovers” was the response from Thomas Schacht, Co-owner of Vals newest boutique B&B The Brücke 49, when we asked him what his thoughts were when he first set his eyes on the hotel building. To be honest, when he showed us the “before” images of the ramshackle old structure we couldn’t help but agree. It only took Schacht and his wife Ruth six months to scrap nearly 3,000 cubic feet of “rubbish,” strip it down to its original form, and re-design the space. Thomas admitted that it was Ruth who kept spirits high with her positive attitude during the massive redevelopment project of the charming B&B.
The Brücke 49 just opened its doors last month and has a fantastic group of people backing the B&B. Iain Ainsworth, founder of the White Line Hotel Group, is one of their fans, and he and his team represent the Brücke 49. Ainsworth discovered the gem that is Brücke 49 while his colleagues were in the area spelunking for cool hotels. He noted, “There are some fabulous examples of Swiss design in Vals.” And quicker than you could make a cup of instant Swiss Miss, a local directed them to the newest B&B in town where they ended up at wooden door of the Brücke 49.
We have to admit, the Schacht’s story makes us just a tad jealous. The pair ditched their full time jobs working for huge corporations and moved to Vals, a quaint, utopian ski town in Switzerland, to run a cozy bed and breakfast. Thomas explained that in Vals, “Everything is working perfectly, combined with nature and everything else Switzerland has to offer. Here everything, even though the village has no more than 1000 inhabitants. From kindergarten, schools, pubic transport, the community. You have the best water coming out of the mountain for free. You have waterpower so energy doesn’t cost much. You have ‘World Heritage’ nature all around you. You have world-class design (the Therme by Peter Zumthor). You have honest, hardworking people you can trust and whom we couldn’t have re-made the house in six months without”
Once the house was stripped bare, the two began to formulate their design. They created a storyboard and a room plan, with a description of each, and a precise collage of how they envisioned the final look and feel of the hotel. This became their road map through the design process. “Ruth and I discussed every little detail and researched it on exhibitions, factory visits and trips to Milan, London, and Copenhagen,” Thomas explained. They wanted the Brücke 49 to feel like a home away from home. The pair have always been fascinated with the simple things in life and wanted that to be manifested within the space.
Both the interior and exterior needed quite a makeover. The outside of the home was revamped from a cream color to a deep grey blue color with white shutters. The door was refurbished, sconces were added, and white Brücke 49 graphics were painted onto the facade.
The interiors began to fill with solid wood flooring, white paneled walls, handmade furniture, potted plants, and unique artwork scattered throughout the hotel.
Each piece of furniture is handmade (yes, you read that right), and nothing you will find at the Brücke 49 is mass produced. Every item in view echoes with a lasting quality and are all made from solid materials. Even the porcelain on the shelves is hand-painted. Thomas and Ruth wanted furniture that would last for years without “looking sad or getting sick of them.”
The two are constantly searching for new pieces as they have a habit of selling the hotel furniture to inquiring guests. It makes he B&B a bit of a novelty, constantly evolving at the whim of both it’s curators and guests. “That means Brücke 49 is also a showroom. We give advice. We help people if they want to buy a piece of furniture or whatever we have in the house. In principle everything can be bought.” Thomas explained.
For the time being we can all live vicariously through Ruth and Thomas, but there’s always the option to join them! If you plan to venture to Vals make sure you visit our friends at the Brücke 49. And don’t forget to bring us back a cool furniture piece! (Obvs)
(Photography: Brucke 49)
Taking color cues from the indigenous flowers of the desert region, the new Saguaro property is in full bloom. Opening in Palm Springs in February, the bold design elements pack a punch amidst the balmy backdrop of palms. The 249-room hotel was conceptualized with the idea of reflecting the colorful, vibrant spirit of the Southwest, and comes on the heels of The Saguaro Scottsdale that opened its doors in November 2011. The punchy palette can be attributed to New York-based Stamberg Aferiat Architecture, who masterfully transformed the throwback three-story structure from the 70’s into a bright, buzzing hotel, alive with color.
(Photography Provided By: Saguaro)
In Switzerland, the 104 year old Berghotel Muottas Muragl has been completely renovated! The transformation called for the hotel to double in size, but with that, it was a massive goal of the architects and the hotel owners, Romantik Hotels, to reduce the energy consumption and create the first “plus-energy” hotel in the Alps. “This was achieved by insulating the building to be in sync with the latest insulation standards (Swiss “Minergie” ecological label) and by generating renewable energy from five different sources,” the architects explained. The post renovation energy strategy led to an impressive 64% decrease in energy consumption!
At 8,000 feet above sea level, hotel guests can only arrive two ways, by helicopter, or by one tram that goes from the village below to the hotel; making this an exclusive and private escape for ski bums around the world. An incredible feature of the hotel is the outdoor terrace, where you can sip you mimosas while adoring the snow capped peaks.
When faced with the design, the architects chose quality over quantity as they created 16 modern yet comfortable suites. The rooms are covered in local Swiss stone pine and walnut, and are complemented with plaid curtains, stand alone bath tubs, and stone sinks. Each of the 16 suites has a breathtaking view of the Alps, so don’t worry, you wont travel all the way to Switzerland and get stuck with the view over looking the parking garage!
(Photography: Berghotel Muottas Muragl)
As the old saying goes: out with the old, and in with the new. What was once Manhattan’s Hotel Thirty Thirty, in Midtown, is now the home of the savvy and stylish LOLA Hotel. A multi-million dollar renovation has been orchestrated by Highgate Hotel, with the design help of famed photographer Matthew Rolston. We caught up with Rolston in Hollywood last spring for a walk through of his newest hotel of the time, The Redbury. Rolston expressed his desire to make his designs “appeal to a young, creative crowd and for the design experience to feel ‘theatrical’, a little bit like actually being in one of my photographs or music videos.”
While constructing the design, Rolston worked closely with Highgate’s go-to designer Susan Jaques. Conceptually, Jaques “embraces a design aesthetic that is inspired by old Hollywood glamour and iconic femme fatales,” an idea which manifests itself into the sultry and moody design of the Lobby, which she spearheaded.
The property, originally built in 1903, carried a unique history. ” A respectable women’s residence, the property known as the Martha Washington played host to screen starlets Louise Brooks and Veronica Lake among other fashion forward women ahead of their time, each eager to take Manhattan by storm. The property’s unique history informed the redesign of LOLA.”
“My vision for the hotel lobby marries its storied history with a glamorous design aesthetic evocative of the modern day femme fatale,” expressed designer Susan Jaques. “LOLA, a playful and provocative character that I created to embody the property’s personality, served as inspiration for the redesign that Matthew and I worked together to achieve.”
Employing a bold amethyst color palette with smoky charcoal hues, eye-catching fabrics and strong, statement pieces, Jaques designed the captivating lobby lounge appointed with one-of-a-kind velvet-mohair chairs, leather half-moon shaped sofas and an oversized marble topped coffee table. Renowned for his innovative use of light, Rolston chose a striking Jason Miller chandelier for the hotel’s vestibule and created a spectacular “Icon” chandelier installation for the lobby lounge using over eighty individual Tom Dixon globe fixtures.
(Photographs: Courtesy of Hotel Lola)
Zurich’s history runs deep – one of its most important industrial monuments, the Hürlimann Brewery, has been converted into an impressive spa called Thermalbad. The hundred-year-old vaulted architectural elements below ground have been preserved, and re-vamped into baths where guests can swim in and out of the old brewery. The rooftop has been converted into a dramatic angular shaped swimming pool with warm temperatures reaching up to 106 degrees, and views of the city spanning miles. If you are traveling through, or to Zurich, make sure to experience the rooftop splendor and underground aquatics of the Thermalbad!
Warning: You’re stomach may drop! Watching this video is like being on a captivating roller coaster where you want to scream, and are completely inspired at the same time. “I Believe I Can Fly” is a trailer for a documentary by the French director Sébastien Montaz-Rosset. Visually the video captures the exploration of climbing, tightrope walking, and cliff jumping, but emotionally brings you to a place where fear, risk, and inspiration all harbor in the same place.
There is a moment in the video where one of the jumpers admits he is scared, this comes as a shock to his friend who perceives him as brave and fearless. But his fears won’t stop him, after his confession, he jogs towards the edge of the Norwegian cliff and he jumps. Knstrct is a publication which aims to inspire it’s viewers and tell stories of tremendously talented people. Today we are left completely inspired!
With fall having arrived and winter quickly approaching it’s prime time to think about where you’ll escape the elements. Who wouldn’t want to jet off to a relaxing destination and hunker down with some hot cocoa to embrace the bitter winter chill?! This week’s roundup is a compilation of the best getaway spots that fall and winter have to offer. We’re sending you off to mountain and lakeside locales and even to one winter retreat on an island no less! Don’t forget to pack a sweater and scarf – it can get chilly up there. Brrrr!
Lakeside Retreat | Huntsville, Ontario
Rolling Huts Hotel | Washington, USA
Farrar Mountain Retreat | Park City Utah
Lake Manyara Lodge | Lake Manyara National Park, northern Tanzania
Bled Island | Slovenia
The Glass House
Amankora Retreat | Kingdom of Bhutan
Das Regina Hotel | Austria
Whitepod Hotel | Switzerland
Nestled into the Santorini mountainside, along the main thoroughfare of central Oia, sits Katikies Hotel. The luxury boutique hotel, which has been one of the hottest places to vacation in the village, has recently been renovated. The new contemporary decor mixed with the preserved Aegean architecture gives Katikie visitors the best of both worlds. The hotel blends fantastical landscape with endless stairs and a jaw dropping infinity pool which is tucked into the white mountain. Stark-white rooms arranged from hulled-caves nestled in the mountainside become the quintessential place for relaxation and escape! Furnishings in the suites mix local antiques with updated beds and loungers upholstered in bright stripes and bold colors. Many of the suites have Jacuzzi tubs, huge living rooms, and dining rooms for entertaining small parties. Curious hotel residents eventually find their way to the hotel’s in-house library and candlelit restaurant with cozy balcony home to evening dinners and breath taking views!
(Images By: Katikies Hotels)
Fasano’s first foray outside of his native Brazil comes in the form of an exotic, picturesque escape nestled into the countryside of Punta del Este, Uruguay. Fasano Las Piedras has become a destination for Brazilian celebs and supermodels and boasts a polo field, private villas, and a beach club among other amenities. Expedia.com.br has many wonderful deals on this hotel and others like it!
Set inland among a rural landscape dotted with pine trees, grassy dunes and fleeting ocean views, the luxury hotel is a marriage of country and sea. Designed by Isay Weinfeld the lobby features huge slabs of exposed granite and reclaimed ceiling beams set against a backdrop of modern mission style décor and lux Italian furnishings. The twenty bungalows and twelve suites offer a calming, neutral palette of earth tone walls, wood paneling and supple, leather touches. It’s the perfect oasis for a chic, active crowd that fancies melding sport with glamour. They’ve got their pick from polo grounds, horizon pool, spa, equestrian center and boathouse. What’s not to like?
(Photography Credits: FG + SG – Fotografia de Arquitectura)
Purple has always been a haut color, originally associated with royalty and nobility when Tyrian purple was only affordable to the elite classes. House Of Purple continues the tradition, providing a lavish home-away-from home in Seoul’s affluent gangnam-gu neighborhood for the purple card holders of South Korea’s leading credit card company, Hyundai Card.
Designed by …staat, an international creative agency based in Amsterdam, the exclusive space breathes elegance and luxury, while simultaneously maintaining an intentionally homey vibe. “Everything in House of the Purple is personally curated. Every object is a work of art. Designed to evoke the senses. Stimulate the curious mind. And instill a sense of taste. Discerning taste. Because less is more.”
The shell of the spacious 300 sqm hotel is a minimalistic concrete structure, the perfect backdrop for a lavish interior. Pull back the plush velour curtains at the entrance of the ‘members only’ hotel and you’ll be greeted by glossy, black, wood floors and an expansive living room dotted with vintage furniture pieces and chic antique trophies that leads out to a secluded terrace with a lush vertical garden. We have to admit, we’re green purple with envy.
(Images Provided by House Of Purple)
New York City is in an ever-evolving, constant state of gentrification with dilapidated buildings crumbling and new ones springing up in their place. Hôtel Americano’s parking-garage-turned-
M18, Grupo’s impressive public relations team, took us on a private tour of the hotel months back prior to completion, and we have to say, we were impressed. Mexican architect Enrique Norten transformed the façade of the former parking garage into an impressive glass structure incased in metal mesh, capturing the industrial zeitgeist of the neighborhood.
An exterior-facing, glass-encased elevator shuttles guests between the street-level restaurant and rooftop terrace. After walking through the massive doors we were welcomed not by a hotel lobby, but instead by a tastefully, minimalistic concrete cafe. The massive marble bar, unique modern furniture and imaginative light fixtures set the stage for the rest of the hotel experience
Peeking through the glass near the back of the hotel is an extension to the café – an elevated terrace – the perfect place to sip a latte under an enormously lush, plant-packed, living wall. The fantastic M18 publicist, Michael Tavani – our personal tour guide for the day, led us up to the rooftop where we were wowed with the architectural elements, pool and the expansive view of the Hudson River.
The rooftop restaurant and bar La Piscine is the perfect locale for after work libations, featuring Mediterranean fare in the summer and transitioning to an Argentinian menu in the winter. Beyond the rooftop restaurant is a cozy pool that doubles as a Jacuzzi during colder seasons.
To furnish the 56 guest rooms and suites Grupo enlisted Paris-based interior designer Arnaud Montigny, famous for his work on the Paris shop, Colette. Montigny took a warm and simplistic approach to the suites, using woods, white swashes and fireplaces to create a comfortable, yet minimalistic atmosphere.
The low, platform beds are placed inside large wooden cubbies creating an experience exclusive to the Hotel Americano.
Tucked under it all, hidden in Americano’s basement is the bar El Privado. The design team continued the brick theme on the walls but glammed it up with a gold ceiling. The venue has slight futuristic characteristics with its curved walls and uber modern white furniture.
After visiting the hotel it is clear that Grupo understands hospitality, and that they plan on creating a sanctuary for both out-of-towners and locals alike.
(Photographs Provided By Grupo Habita Via M18)
Istanbul’s new House Hotel provides historical glamour with contemporary design! One of our design favorites, Autoban, was brought on to redesign the historical building that overlooks the Bosphorus River, into a 23 room luxury boutique hotel. Autoban provided some insight explaining that the ”concept was to create a comfortable, modern luxurious world reflecting classic traces of it’s era.” To establish this concept, Autoban decided to create this space using it’s signature material pallet, marble, brass, oak, and walnut. The team integrated these materials into the hotel, without “over designing” the space, and keeping the integrity of the past. Original wall panels and ceiling moldings remained intact while Autoban added interesting features to the historical elements such as contemporary lighting fixtures, mirrors, and unexpectedly scattered decorative trinkets.
(Photography Credits: Ali Bekman)
Like the ever-morphing Rubik’s cube, The Cube Pavilion is constantly in motion. Falling into the category of experimental architecture, it serves as a traveling restaurant, popping up in unexpected and exotic locations throughout Europe. Electrolux teamed up with Park Associati to create the traveling installment that kicked of its little road trip in Brussels, perched atop the Parc du Cinquantenaire, near the headquarters’ of the European Community.
The Cube will roam freely from sandy beaches to rocky mountaintops dishing up lunch and dinner in an intimate setting, while extending it’s stay in place no longer than twelve weeks. Lightweight materials and a ‘pop-up’ fabrication allows The Cube to be seamlessly transferred from one locale to another. Park chose to implement white and silver aluminum accents to allow the stricture to pop amidst rustic European settings.
To align with the brand and identity of Electrolux The Cube uses technologically innovative materials, eco-sustainability and energy saving as well as enabling constant re-use. Even the interiors can morph from a restaurant to a full-service lounge. The large dining table retracts into the ceiling, allowing for modular lounge furniture to take its place, giving a nod to its Rubik’s cube-like nature. So we have to ask, where would you love to see The Cube pop up next?
[Photograph Credits: Carol Kohen + Andrea Martiradonna]
Last year we reported on the Strand Craft 122 – a concept super yacht design by Eduard Gray. Today, we have received word that the beautiful yacht is going to be brought to life!! Gray selected Ned Ship Group, who will build the design to the highest possible standards! This news puts a big smile on our faces! Why? because in the world of transportation design it is rare to see a luxurious concept yacht, such as the Strand Craft 122, come to life because of the excessive amount of time and capital needed for testing and building.
The Strand Craft will be build in light weight composite materials such as Epoxy and Carbon, which Ned Ship Group specializes in. The shipyard where the yacht will be built is in Antalya, Turkey; all work will be completed on site. The yacht will come fully equipped with it’s own custom super sports car which will be able to drive from the dock, directly onto the boat through an electronically operated portal which opens and closes.
This is a high performance, streamlined, 38 meter, open, super yacht has a total of over 14,000 horsepower and can break speeds over 50 knots. It consists of four spacious bedrooms, a grand stateroom, heads, reception, salon, and generous crew cabins. The chocolate colored interior is plush, detailed, and tailored to perfection! It might be hard to get ‘lost at sea’ when there are 52? LED TV’s and a Bang Olufson sound system in all rooms!