There are hotels and then there are hotels. For a holiday (and sleep!) to remember, opt for accommodation that takes design and aesthetics to an extra level. Here, the team from Lightfoot Travel reveals some good-looking luxury hotel options that will be hard to leave.
The Lindis, New Zealand
Is it a hotel? Or the actual landscape? The beauty of The Lindis in New Zealand’s South Island is in the way it has been perfectly constructed to blend into its surroundings (apparently, you can’t spot it easily from the air). The roof looks like part of the Ahuriri Valley. The natural rock and timber materials merge into the wetlands. The mirrored glass walls reflect the environment back at you from all angles, making you feel fully immersed in your surroundings. If that’s not enough, the sleeping pods are exceptional, the service superb and the clear night skies made for astro-tourism.
The Silo, South Africa
The Silo Hotel in Cape Town is a true celebration of art, style, architecture and design. Built in the grain elevator portion of the historic grain silo complex, the hotel shares the same building as the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art – hence all the creative pieces and hand-crafted furniture dotted throughout the property. The Silo Rooftop offers its own panoramic picture of Cape Town from six floors up. However, the true gem here is the private subterranean art gallery showcasing the work of some of Africa’s most talented, emerging and eminent rising stars.
Aman Grand Canal Venice, Italy
Burnished mirrors? Tick. Murano chandeliers? Bowls of exotic white amaryllis? Tick. Tick. Aman Grand Canal Venice does a superb job of reflecting the romance of a glorious bygone era with its 24 uniquely designed suites. The stand-out is the Alcova Tiepolo suite, which is certainly not shy when it comes to aesthetics; prepare for a Chinese painted sitting room and a bedroom ceiling by eighteenth-century Venetian painter, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. Is it any wonder that the Clooneys spent their wedding night here?
Shipwreck Lodge, Namibia
This hotel on Namibia’s remote Skeleton Coast National Park appears to rise out of nowhere, looking almost cast adrift itself. Camouflaged, quirky and the height of cosy, the 10 angular wooden cabins are exceptionally cool with velvet daybeds, wood-burning stoves and a chic nautical vibe. Bric-a-brac ropes and porthole windows adorn the walls, and scatter cushions and giant thrones make the lounge a dream to unwind in. Here, conservation is key and the lodge is a brilliant base for exploring the park, dunes and coastline, maybe spotting elephants, giraffes and lions as you go.
The brainchild of Turkish businesswoman Esin Güral Argat, Joali showcases the best of the Maldives with a little twist of design trickery. The thatched-roofed overwater and beach villas are curated with outdoor showers that resemble naval periscopes and the overwater treatment rooms have glass-fronted saunas so you can leap straight into the ocean. Arty touches include the Zaha Hadid-inspired structure that looks like a cross between a manta ray and two fish kissing. The diving here isn’t amazing as there isn’t a good house reef, but if you’re looking for an easy, breezy bolthole in a one-of-a-kind environment, Joali is for you.
Hotel Unique, Sao Paolo
If you’re looking for a luxury hotel with playful character, this is it. Sexy curves, high ceilings, large art installations and giant porthole windows await to whisk you into a world that’s comfortable and creative. Colour features heavily; the main pool has shades of blue, green and yellow; the corridors are set to a sufficiently sultry hue; the guests stand in darkness in the lifts; and the guest rooms are a beacon of bright white. The showstopper is the Skye Bar and Restaurant located on the top of the hotel and boasting a ruby-red pool.
Shinta Mani Wild, Cambodia
Upon arriving at Shinta Mani Wild via zipline (optional!), the décor here will blow you away. The brainchild of luxury hotel designer Bill Bensley, its guests are greeted by 16 cavernous canvases decked out with a theatrical explosion of nautical lanterns, regal prints and animal-print sofas. Spend your days on a river safari, wildlife excursion or swimming in the waterfall of the Tmor Rung river. Dine at the Waterfall restaurant (the clue to the view is in the name) where the service, led by camouflage-clad butlers, is exceptional.
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This article first appeared in the Home Décor issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.