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There is more to Design Hotels™ than ‘just’ design. Each of the company’s member hotels represents a story. A story of innovation, sustainability, originality and individuality. From humble beginnings, with only ten members, the company has grown into a global network of more than 290 independent hotels in more than 60 countries. Each property is hand-selected and checked personally. To be a member of Design Hotels™, not only design and service are critical, but those individuals behind the hotel – “Originals”, as the company calls them – and their vision is equally, if not more important. Visit the Design Hotels™ online store for some exquisite trinkets for the modern traveler.
Two young Munich-based entrepreneurs have taken the concept of “vertical farming” to another level – your own home. The idea started taking shape in the kitchen of Agrilution co-founder Max Lössl’s parents: together with his basketball teammate and mechatronics engineer Philipp Wagner, he developed a two-level, app-controlled indoor greenhouse called the Plantcube. The device, which uses up to eight Seedmats to grow your choice of herbs, salads and microgreens, simulates optimal growing conditions, from the ideal lighting and automated watering to sensor-based climate control for maximum nutrients and freshness. After a one to four-week growth phase – depending on the plant variety – your app will let you know it’s harvest time. Then all you have to do is enjoy your produce – it doesn’t get any more farm-to-table than that.
The true beauty of this charming, slate-covered, low-rise resort at the very southern tip of Portugal is how unobtrusively it fits into the idyllic surrounding landscape of the Algarve. Surrounded by dense, shady pine forest and a stunning view of the aquamarine ocean, Design HotelsTM – Praia Verde Boutique Hotel has undergone extensive refurbishment at the hands of award-winning Portuguese architect Miguel Saraiva. Inside, another Portuguese national, designer Pureza Magalhães, is responsible for the 65 fresh, comfortable rooms and suites – the suites featuring a separate living room, balcony and kitchenette – as well as the lobby-as-a-marketplace, an inviting space which integrates different functions such as a reception, grocery store, restaurant, area for children and workspaces, making it a lively meeting area for guests.
A hip new hotel for a hip new neighborhood: the first Austrian outpost of the Andaz brand is located in the heart of the Quartier Belvedere, a suburb full of trendy offices, shops and living and recreational spaces being developed within walking distance of the less-than-a-decade-old main train station. The Renzo Piano-designed property and its artwork-filled interiors are inspired by a more historic Vienna – the city’s spectacular art and architecture, as well as Prince Eugene of Savoy, the man behind Belvedere Palace and one of the leading diplomats, developers and art collectors of his time. Each of the 303 guest rooms, including 44 suites, offer stunning views over the capital from the floor-to-ceiling windows as well as an infusion of local touches and artworks. Dining options range from a contemporary Austrian tavern, to a Scandinavian-influenced rooftop bar to an urban eatery serving health-conscious food and coffee specialties, a cool and innovative trio that reflects the hotel’s wider approach.
It’s a statement of sophistication for the northern Italian powerhouse of Milan, where culture, fashion and a buzzing nightlife come together. Park Hyatt Milan, set in a 19th-century palazzo, effuses elegance, with a soaring nine-meter-high glass dome floating above the overstuffed chairs of La Cupola Lounge, a brightly lit central meeting space just beyond the discreet entrance. La Cupola is just one dining option, the most renowned being the excellent, two Michelin-starred restaurant VUN, helmed by Neapolitan chef Andrea Aprea, and diners can also stop for a pre- or post-prandial cocktail in the classic Mio Lab bar. Step further into the cocoon of cream travertine, Venetian stucco and hand-blown Murano lamps in the 106 rooms and suites (with large marble-filled bathrooms) or indulge in a moment of relax at The Spa by Sisley – and don’t forget that you’re in the heart of Milan, steps from the vibrancy of the Piazza del Duomo.
The mellow red-brick, blue-shuttered Villa Fontelunga peeks through landscaped gardens on an estate of 200 olive trees, conjuring up the archetypal Tuscan image. Indeed, it is located close to the town of Cortona, the setting for the film Under the Tuscan Sun, and the main nine-room villa – plus two separate self-catering villas nearby – have views across rolling hills, fields and a secluded valley. Inside there is an assured mix of antique and contemporary furnishings, including pieces from Philippe Starck and Arne Jacobsen alongside terracotta-tiled floors and oversized headboards in subtly colorful Italian prints. For those who want to enjoy their own moments under the Tuscan sun, the property offers an outdoor pool, Jacuzzi, tennis court and mountain bikes, while further activities can be arranged. With communal dinner parties organized twice a week, a welcome hamper for the self-catering villas and the team’s local knowledge informing their guest recommendations, staying at Villa Fontelunga feels like returning to the country abode of old friends with excellent taste.
The restoration of the 19th-century Victorian mansion that houses Oddfellows On The Park took the approach of letting the original Gothic Revival architecture shine through – and touches of the historical stories behind this old hall can be found in the property’s modern quirky style. There’s the Galloping Major Restaurant – serving seasonal British produce with a twist – named after the hall’s second owner, who extended it into the grand home it is today. Or the Pigsty beauty salon (with a mud treatment room!), whose moniker recalls the appearance of the now smart space when the owners bought the property. The interiors contrast original Victorian features, such as exposed beams and fireplaces in the bedrooms, with playful modern design features – for example the Gothic-style chandelier made from bicycle chains in the reception area. This nods to the hotel’s setting: the 100-acre Bruntwood Park, a public recreation space with woodland, ornamental gardens and sports facilities (including a BMX bike track), that provides beautiful views from the rooms and a sense of idyllic English charm.
Wood is at the heart of the AROSEA Life Balance Hotel – not simply in the clean, calming Swiss pine-filled interiors, but also in the sustainable philosophy that originally inspired its owners to build this South Tyrolean property. For up in the off-the-beaten-path Ulten Valley, where forests cover mountain slopes, the district’s biomass heating plant, which warms the hotel, is partly supplied by local farmers who can earn additional income by selling their wood to the plant. This local-first, environmentally committed thinking informs the AROSEA experience, from the use of pine, slate and sheep wool in the interior design to the wellness offering – natural Alpine products and an outdoor pond for swimming, for example – to the “zero-kilometer” food approach (food that is produced in the direct vicinity of the property). While guests can savor this in the modern, light-filled main dining room with lake views, they can also enjoy the cosy atmosphere of the wood-paneled 18th-century “Stube” – smaller dining rooms found in surrounding farms and rebuilt at the property. Named after valleys and villages in the area, they embody the mix of tradition and modernity, nature and sustainability that runs through this eco-resort.
Built in the style of a traditional Tyrolean castle, complete with turrets, thatched roofs and red-and-white shuttered windows, A-ROSA Kitzbühel resort may outwardly resemble a scene from a time gone by – but once inside, the warm colors and accent on such materials as wood, marble and tile paint a much more contemporary picture. That doesn’t mean you won’t feel like royalty staying here: a visit to the enormous 3,000 sq m spa, offering both indoor and outdoor pools, eight saunas and more than 20 treatment rooms with a magnificent view over the majestic Alpine landscape, will leave you feeling perfectly pampered. The grounds surrounding the hotel accommodate one of Austria’s most stunning nine-hole golf courses, while several others can be reached within minutes. Whether you opt for complete relaxation or an active time out, this Alpine fairy tale has got you covered.
Fogo Island Inn likes to challenge preconceptions, so when it describes itself as a “public house”, one can be sure it is like no other – replacing traditional “pub” dark corners, this is a light-filled, transparent architectural and cultural ensemble. Nevertheless, its spirit owes something to its antecedents, so the island community is heartily invited to enjoy the library, art gallery and fine-dining restaurant. Located in Newfoundland, Canada, Fogo Island Inn presents a multitude of opportunities: how about a day with a chef or learning to paint? Ocean fishing and cross-country skiing are other fitting activities. Of course, this all depends on which of the island’s “seven seasons” are happening during your stay.