With just 10 individually-designed rooms, this Pimlico hotel is a three-dimensional canvas come to life. Exposed brick in each guestroom is juxtaposed with tall white walls and distressed wood surfaces. Nifty pop art pieces and posters adorn said walls and upcycled furniture, including milking stools converted into night stands, add heaps of personality. A neighbourhood haunt since 1852, the ground floor pub, Clarendon, has been converted into the artsy Clarendon Cocktail Cellar.
Imagine going to bed suspended more than 10 m in the air and surrounded by a vast pine forest, a frozen river, and, if you’re lucky, the Northern Lights. Welcome to Härad. Population: 600. The idea behind this storybook-perfect hotel in the Swedish Lapland came from the 2008 documentary, The Tree Lover, about a man who ponders the relationship between man and tree. Each of the seven rooms is designed by a different Scandinavian architect with ethereal features that blend seamlessly into the natural environment.
3. L’Hôtel Marrakech, Morocco
Housed in an old 19th-century riad of an old palace, this five-suite hotel evokes the pages of a fashion spread – in fact, L’Hôtel Marrakech is the brainchild of English designer Jasper Conran who once designed clothes for Princess Diana. Conran reinterprets the desert-chic look here, making use of billowing white curtains and regal-patterned pillows in guestrooms and common areas such as the spacious courtyard. Antique furniture and rugs made with fine Moroccan craftsmanship bring the hotel back to its palatial days.
This converted warehouse by the Singapore River has seen many changes since Fujian-born businessman, Lim Ho Puah, built it in 1895. Chinese secret societies operated in this area, and gambling dens and alcohol distilleries filled the nearby alleys. Today, The Warehouse is a swanky 37-room hotel with design features that pay homage to local history. Wheels and pulleys dangle from the lobby’s high ceilings, and a restaurant, Po – short for popo, which is Mandarin for “grandmother” – serves homecooked dishes with a Mod-Sin (modern Singaporean) sensibility.
This Nordic nation has many cool hotels, but this sprawling, 405-room Art Deco-themed establishment in Stockholm’s city centre really amps it up. Step back in time to the Roaring ’20s where velvet upholstery and gilded pattern surfaces abound the common areas. Though the hotel is massive, the rooms retain a boutique feel with savvy details such as pillows with black-and-white zigzag prints and Hollywood-esque dressing tables with exposed lightbulbs.
A two-hour drive from Lisbon transports you to the rolling hills of Alentejo, Portugal’s wine region where the prime attraction is a 14th-century estate repurposed into a 19-room hotel. Whitewashed walls with red and orange accents reflecting the region’s subtropical climate greets guests here and rooms with country inn décor and subdued hues make them feel at home. The best part? Torre de Palma’s own vineyard and tasting room.
It’s Renaissance meets Hollywood glam at this legendary hotel which first opened its doors in 1925. Located in Manhattan’s uber-hip Flatiron District, the likes of Humphrey Bogart, Babe Ruth and Madonna have all frequented this hotel which does not hold back on opulence. Red velvet drapery and sea-blue walls in guestrooms make a bold statement and museum-worthy artworks by Andy Warhol and Keith Haring spruce up the common areas. Guests are also given access to Gramercy Park, New York’s only private park.
This 33-room hotel located a stone’s throw from the Spanish steps was once a 17th-century palace. Fittingly, guestrooms pay tribute to the past with antique wallpaper, white-and-grey marble top tables and navy-blue and gold-rim finishes fit for royalty. Russo Art Gallery, which opened in 1898, curates the paintings and sculptures – mostly works by contemporary European artists – displayed throughout the hotel, while an in-house art historian lends knowledge.
A frozen lake, an old industrial building and no lifeline to civilisation but a 270 m pier that links to a forest – this hotel has all the makings of a fairytale, or a Shyamalan film. Located on Lake St. Clair, Australia’s deepest freshwater lake, Pumphouse Point occupies a former industrial building from 1940 that was used to house water turbines. Copper pipes and wood-panelled walls in each room scream rustic, while a communal dining area lit up with a wood fire serves hearty, no-frills Australian fare.
10. Brody House, Budapest
Built in 1896, this three-storey neoclassical building has been through many transformations, from a doctor’s private residence to artists’ studios, having survived World War II and the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Named after the Hungarian writer Sandor Brody, the building’s latest incarnation is a boutique hotel with 11 individually-designed rooms – named after the artists who once used these spaces as their studios – decked with upcycled furniture splashed with bright colours and patterns.