Hotels • July 2017
From swoon-worthy pools and space-age safari lodges, travel writer Amanda Morison reveals the world’s most extraordinary design hotels
Heidi chalet style meets Asian luxe at the striking Chedi Andermatt. Designed by starchitect Jean-Michel Gathy (Aman, One&Only), guest rooms and treatment rooms are vast, with the latter boasting private steam rooms and a treatment list that includes everything from Swedish massage to Himalayan crystal body polishes. The most striking feature, though, is the pools. The indoor one is 35 metres of polished stone, while the 12-metre outdoor version is heated to perfection. Both provide outstanding Alpine views.
In an area awash with classical villa-style hotels, Il Sereno stands out for its breathtaking contemporary looks, which help the hotel blend seamlessly into its environment. Twice winner of Wallpaper Designer of the Year, Milan-based Spanish architect Patricia Urquiola brings pared-down furnishings, a glass-walled cellar and a copper-and-glass floating staircase. Look out for the spectacular Mirroir Vert du Lac vertical garden – designed by French botanist Patrick Blanc – which features 2,000 plants that are reflected in the lake, giving the illusion of greenery growing on the water.
Playful and packed with characteristic Dubai pizazz, Viceroy’s second UAE property opened this year. Its 477 rooms are located at the base of the Palm Jumeirah, looking out onto the Arabian Gulf and the Marina skyline. The design was inspired by ancient Roman amphitheatres, which translates into a glass-clad structure allowing masses of light and watery views. But the real attention grabber is a 15x15-metre glass cube in the lobby, which leads to a 60-metre palm-shaded pool, flanked by sunbeds and a sleek bar with sunken tables.
The second New York opening from the Firmdale group brings co-founder and designer Kit Kemp’s colourful design aesthetic to bustling Midtown. Already popular with guests and New Yorkers is the ground-floor Whitby Bar, a 130-seat cinema, book-lined Drawing Room and light, bright Orangery. But the jewel in the crown of the 16-storey hotel is the cavernous two-bedroom Whitby Suite, which spans the entire top floor and delivers skyline views from floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides (and terraces).
With a location 2,000 metres above sea level in the rugged, rose-red Al Hajar mountain range, the Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar is spectacularly secluded. The region is famous for its Damask roses, which bloom in March and April. A heady attraction year-round is the cliff-hanging infinity pool and viewing platform named after Diana, Princess of Wales, who visited here in 1996.
Cape Town’s much-hyped Silo Hotel is housed in what was once a grain silo. By September, the lower six floors of the building will have welcomed the Thomas Heatherwick-designed Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa. The rest of the industrial chic reimagined building features 28 rooms filled with colourful luxury furnishings, chandeliers and Persian carpets. On the top floor is a glass pool and bar that makes the most of incredible 360-degree views of the V&A Waterfront and Table Mountain. Order the Kalahari Safari – a smart G&T with rooibos syrup.
Created by the second generation of the Dilmah tea family, this tented lodge sits on a deserted beach on the edge of Yala National Park in the southeast of the island, and is the most likely place in the country to spot leopards. Its 28 pod-style tents, some with private plunge pools, are dotted around five watering holes. They’re cunningly made of fabric and bamboo to take on the shape and hue of surrounding rocks and flora.