It was a busy 2018 for Design Hotels, which provides hospitality services to a network of more than 300 independently owned small boutique and luxury hotels worldwide.
Here are the properties that were added to its portfolio during the past 12 months.
Hotel Pacai, Vilnius, Lithuania
May, 2018– On the main artery of the medieval Old Town, Hotel Pacai, pictured top of page, and its 104 guest rooms are ready to welcome the world to this incredibly vibrant destination of the southern Baltic. The striking classicist facade houses a melding of historical artifacts and contemporary design, offering a complete in-house experience that celebrates he treasured past of the building.
An expansive courtyard is flanked by the hotel, which evokes the Old World atmosphere of the city. The open-air space is the social heart of the hotel, where guests enjoy art events and dinners that stretch long into the night.
From intricate wall detailing, like painted faux columns and rugged exposed brick, to original wooden beamed ceilings and frescoes, all 94 rooms and 10 suites have been lovingly revealed and highlighted.
Rounding out the hotel’s world-class offerings, two New Baltic dining concepts have been conceived by Claus Meyer, co-founder of the much-lauded Noma restaurant in Copenhagen.
Hotel St George, Helsinki, Finland
May, 2018 – Set in an historic building and rooted in a thriving neighbourhood, the 153-room Hotel St George opened as a re-imagination of the ‘grand hotel’ in the most contemporary sense, presenting a new vision of luxury, crafted almost entirely by Finnish creatives, and framed by an unprecedented dedication to art.
Carved from a former newspaper printing house designed by Onni Tarjanne and completed in 1840, the seven-storey building has been sympathetically reinvented and connected to an adjacent five-storey structure, which together encompass three contemporary food and drink outlets, a modern spa, a series of individually decorated rooms and suites, and several remarkable public spaces. Everything is bound together by an impressive art collection that rivals many of the city’s galleries.
The pièce de résistance is the Wintergarden, an expansive space linking the hotel’s two wings under a glass-roofed inner courtyard that harks back to the great 18th-century interior gardens.
Stamba Hotel, Tbilisi, Georgia
June, 2018 – One of the Tbilisi’s most recognisable buildings, a five-storey former publishing house built in the 1930s, has been transformed into a surprisingly intimate 150-room hotel, defined not only by its uber-glamorous rooms, but a standout restaurant, buzzy bar and visionary casino.
Located in the hip Vera neighbourhood, Stamba stands just yards from the city’s famed Rustaveli Avenue, where some of Georgia’s biggest landmarks can be found, including the Opera & Ballet Theater and the Parliament of Georgia.
Rooms are appropriately defined by high ceilings and exposed brickwork, with each 52 sqm space flooded with light via a series of oversized windows styled as exact replicas of those which once featured on the façade of the publishing house.
Bikini Island & Mountain Hotel, Port de Sóller, Mallorca
July, 2018 – On a hillside perch that overlooks the full expanse of the bay, Bikini Island & Mountain Hotel Port de Sóller is a literal crown to this idyllic Mallorcan location. The expansive property is a fascinating mix of beach cool, soothing nature resulting in a 114-room haven. From Neni, the first Spanish outpost of the popular Middle Eastern-flavoured restaurant enterprise, to an outdoor poolside spa complete with two treatment rooms; every facet of Bikini Island quietly encourages guests to take their time, relax and relish life’s pleasures.
Port de Sóller is one of the last destinations in Mallorca that retains the island’s authenticity. Here, even during the height of summer, streets are quiet, the vibe is sleepy and an overriding sense of village life prevails.
Based in a completely revamped preexisting building, the hotel occupies a space that is ideally located for access to the nearby beach and promenade, with its many bars and restaurants, and picture-perfect views of the port. With both Palma and Sóller itself just a tram or train ride away, the property is well-placed to explore.
Elizabeth Unique Hotel, Rome
July, 2018 – Tucked away on the cobblestoned Via delle Colonnette, just a few minutes stroll from the Spanish steps of Rome, the Elizabeth Unique Hotel is an art-inspired oasis in the Eternal City. The 33-room townhouse is a hive of sophisticated design and boasts the art credentials of a private gallery.
Throughout the re-imagined 17th century Palazzo, artworks of various disciplines line the guest room walls and the public spaces. Guest experiences are enriched by a collection of modern works by emerging Italian talents. Art aficionado Emanuele Castelnuovo can also be booked to give a guided tour both of the hotel and the gallery’s collection. And with all pieces available for purchase, guests can return home as an art collector.
Zuri Zanzibar, Indian Ocean
July, 2018 –Zuri Zanzibar, the first Design Hotels member in the Tanzanian archipelago, is nestled on 300 meters of prime west-facing Kendwa beach. Its 55 villas and bungalows epitomise modern-meets-traditional African design, with the whole approach guided by environmentally sustainable methods.
The high-luxury experience features seven sunset-facing restaurants and bars, a full yoga and wellness center, an infinity pool, a water sports center, and an impressive 1.6-hectare spice garden.
Taking its name from the Swahili word for “beautiful”, Zuri Zanzibar is simultaneously a celebration of contemporary design and traditional African craftsmanship. The thatched bungalows and villas are open and airy spaces dominated by natural wood, wicker, and a neutral colour scheme. All guests have the exclusive benefit of a complimentary dedicated host.
The delicate balance of life on this island means that with a project of this nature comes a responsibility to foster deep ties to the local community. The resort’s aim is to be as self-sufficient as possible
Hotel Freigeist Göttingen, Germany
July, 2018 – Hotel Freigeist Göttingen is a hive of creativity and inclusion. The 118-room property is rooted in the city’s legacy as a place for academics, philosophers, and radical freethinkers.
The newly built property embodies the spirit of cultural vibrancy one would expect from a thriving student town. Guests are immersed in a world of ash wood, rich coppers, light grey, and beige while the Japanese-South American restaurant ‘Intuu’, a sushi bar, and a chef’s table within an open kitchen set a stunning gastronomic tone.
Rooms and suites are sleek and Nordic, featuring oak floors, cool slate-grey wallpaper, and elements of natural wood. Floor-to-ceiling windows dominate the eyeline, with views across Göttingen from most rooms.
The fourth-floor spa area boasts a full cardio room and weight room, a relaxation lounge and a 300 square-meter rooftop terrace with real sand. Public spaces foster the communal spirit with clustered seating areas of oversized armchairs and blue velvet sofas.
Olea All Suite Hotel, Tsilivi, Zakynthos
August, 2018 – Perched on a hillside on the northeastern coast, the all-suite, adult-friendly resort (accepting guests aged 12 and older) offers a unique vantage point from which to absorb the stunning natural beauty of Zakynthos.
The sea, countryside, and sunset are all within view, framed by Olea’s luxe suites and numerous communal areas, each defined by modern and elegant interiors.
With three restaurants, three bars, and a multifaceted spa area, Olea is the sum of its many parts, which together amount to a truly rejuvenating experience.
Tsilivi offers expanses of crystal blue waters ideal for watersports and a soothing contrast to the locale’s craggy, mountainous landscapes and thick, pine-forested hills.
At the heart of the property is a 4,000 square meter lake-like pool, which weaves and winds around Olea’s 93 suites that feature terraces overlooking either the Ionian Sea, the resort’s pool, or the gardens.
The casual Omikron Restaurant complete with outdoor terrace serves up international cuisine, while the more formal Flow Dine and Wine is a dinner-only Mediterranean kitchen that brings fine dining to the hotel.
S Hotel, Taipei
September, 2018 – With interiors designed by internationally renowned creative Phillipe Starck, who infused the place with elegance, poetry, and humour, S Hotel thoroughly embraces the original spirit of Taiwanese culture and simultaneously presents a modern design encounter.By incorporating indigenous Taiwanese features, Starck has created a unique and bespoke atmosphere which welcomes guests to a sensorial experience made of art, culture, creativity and intelligence.
S Hotel is located in the heart of Taipei’s Songshan district which is home to independent designers, multi-concept boutiques and cafes. Comprising 103 guest rooms and suites, it presents a soothing space in which guests can leave the city behind.
Douro41 Hotel & Spa
October, 2018 – Reopened following a dramatic transformation, Douro41 Hotel & Spa is set to be northern Portugal’s go-to minimalist retreat. Seated on the banks of the Douro River and close to endless vineyards and rolling hillsides, the hotel is a gateway to one of the country’s most compelling regions.The property also offers opportunities to relax courtesy of an expansive spa and two outdoor pools.
Douro41 fully maximises its surroundings, with expansive floor-to-ceiling windows, suspended glass walkways and wide terraces providing vantage points from which to observe the breathtaking scenery.
A panoramic restaurant serving regional cuisine with an outdoor area completes Douro41’s exceptional and varied collection of recreational spaces. Combined tours and wine tastings are available.
The Hide Hotel, Flims, Switzerland
December, 2018 – The picturesque Swiss village of Flims welcomes a modern retreat in the form of The Hide Hotel. Located in the eastern region of the Swiss Alps,, the 47-room property is set to attract insipid adventurers looking for some mountain magic among the crystal-geode stones that make this corner of the Swiss Alps a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here, guests can expect not only a good dose of winter and summer thrills, but also a deli, a restaurant, a spa, an outdoor terrace with views of the slopes, and a fully-fledged kids center.
The 47 rooms and public areas have been conceived by Erik Nissen Johansen of the firm Stylt Trampoli AB, a Norwegian visionary and artist with a passion for engaging design experiences that focus on storytelling.
Outside, there is a winter wonderland featuring 235 kilometres of pistes, while summer dazzles with crystal-clear lakes and the adventure-rich “Swiss Grand Canyon”. Flims retains a village feel while still catering to an international crowd seeking supreme powder, mountain biking for all levels, and spectacular hiking conditions.
Bach Suites, Saigon,Vietnam
December, 2018 – This rare boutique bolthole in Saigon is an intimate 29-room, seven-suite property that echoes the elegant style of the neighbourhood. Located on Turtle Lake, a favourite hangout among urban locals, the hotel is within walking distance of many historical sites including Notre Dame Cathedral and the former Presidential Palace.
Inside, marble floors, panelled walls and handcrafted furniture are balanced by blonde herringbone wood floors and a predominantly monochrome colour palette.
The same colonial French style runs throughout the 36 rooms and suites, all offering generous king-size beds, kitchenettes complete with minibars, and varying city views.
The hotel also offers authentic Vietnamese cuisine in a restaurant that has been artfully designed to reflect the original ambiance of the mansion where parties were once thrown.