Building foundations with Jean Nouvel and Frank Gehry
Barmini, Washington DC, USA
The man behind the award-winning Minibar restaurant, molecular Spanish chef José Andrés is adding to his Washington DC empire with Barmini. Offering concoctions like the 'Salt Air Margarita' invented over 15 years ago, Andrés brings us his first ever chef-driven cocktail concept, reinventing classics and bringing forgotten techniques to capital city diners. Spanish architect and designer Juli Capella, along with Georgetown-based architecture and design firm CORE and Forrester Construction Company, have created an inviting space that marries hard and soft surfaces. Guests sit at white pod counters, looking onto shelves behind the bar filled with antique glassware (some dating back to the 1930's), vintage barware and classic cocktail books. Cerruti Baleri's cactus sofa and fruit pouffes add a pop of colour to the stark black and white interiors.
Barmini, 855 E Street, NW, Washington D.C; www.minibarbyjoseandres.com
Writer: Carole Dixon
Hotel Wiesergut, Hinterglemm, Austria
Just an hour away from Salzburg in the alpine town of Saalbach-Hinterglemm lies Hotel Wiesergut. The lodgings are owned by Josef Sepp and Martina Kröll and have been in the Sepp family since 1350, with Joseph's great-grandmother opening a guesthouse on the plot of land two generations ago. Comprising 24 rooms, the 14th century family estate includes a traditional white four-storey building that has been transformed by local firm Gogl & Partners Architekten into 17 'manor suites', surrounded by a series of modern, low-lying structures with floor to ceiling windows that house seven garden suites. The interiors include warming tones of mushroom browns, set against wood and stone. Rooms are furnished with bespoke pieces such as hand-blown glass chandeliers by Cologne-based Isabel Hamm, and artworks by ceramicist Petra Lindenbauer and sculptor Andreas Reichlin. Food is by the Kröll family, featuring seasonal, regional produce and incorporating their tradition concept of farm-to-table dining.
Wiesern 48 Hinterglemm 5754 Austria; Tel: 43.6 541 6308; www.wiesergut.com
Writer: Lauren Ho
Atrio Restaurante Hotel, Cáceres, Spain
With its angular, ribbed facade, Atrio is an emphatically contemporary addition to the labyrinth of World Heritage churches, monasteries and Renaissance palaces in Cáceres. It is the final legacy of architect Luis M Mansilla - who sadly passed away in 2012 - and his partner Emilio Tuñón Alvarez, of Mansilla + Tuñón, who together have redesigned many of Spain's top museums over the past decade (including the Visual Arts Center in Cáceres). Co-owned by José Antonio Polo Criado and celebrated chef Toño Pérez, Atrio began life as a restaurant about a year ago - a double Michelin starred one at that. But now it also operates as hotel with 14 beautifully designed rooms, decked out with furniture by the likes of Hans Wegner. In the basement is a futuristic-looking circular wine cellar, while atop the hotel's roof are two granite plunge pools and a sun terrace.
Plaza de San Mateo 1, Cáceres, Spain; Tel: 34.9 2724 2928; www.restauranteatrio.com
Writer and photographer: Rupert Eden
Santoku, Accra, Ghana
It is the dawn of a new era for Accra. The bustling West African city is eager to establish itself as a vibrant culinary hotspot - and it is certainly off to an auspicious start with the arrival of Santoku, a contemporary Japanese restaurant and sake bar sited in the luxury development of Villaggio Vista. Gorgeous Group, whose project portfolio includes London's Dishoom restaurant, and Hotel Missoni Kuwait, were behind its concept. They enlisted interior designer Hubert de Givenchy (who incidentally is the nephew of his revered fashion designer namesake), who took design cues from African sculpture and Japanese crafts, kitting out the restaurant in a mixed palette of materials sourced everywhere from Italy to Zimbabwe. London-based Music Concierge - who count Mulberry, Harrods and The Savoy amongst their clients - were called in to devise a bespoke musical identity for the restaurant, setting the mood for diners. The menu has had creative input from the team behind Nobu, so expect nothing less than the best in fusion cuisine from head chef Daisuke Yoshizaki and his team.
North Airport Road, Villaggio Vista, Accra, Ghana; Tel: 233. 5 44 311 511; www.santoku-restaurant.com
Writer: Jessica Klingelfuss
Coco Privé Kuda Hithi Island, Maldives
The ever-popular Maldives might not be the world's best kept travel secret, but those in search of a true off-the-radar escape should head to Coco Privé Kuda Hithi, a secluded retreat set within the lush confines of one of the Maldivian atoll's private islands. Designed by Singapore-based architect Guz Wilkinson, the sumptuous lodgings sleep a total of 12 people and comprise one master residence and five airy villas with views of the Indian Ocean and beyond. The interiors are clean and classic with neutral modern furnishings set against wood interiors, and among the facilities are a library, cocktail bar, gym and steam room, as well as a personal chef for those out-of-hours cravings.
Coco Privé is located on Kuda Hithi Island, North Malé Atoll, Maldives; www.cocoprive.com
Writer: Lauren Ho
Hotel Marignan, Paris, France
Once a Sofitel not always a Sofitel - not when Nathalie Richard has bought the building. To give this four-star Champs-Elysees hotel some five-star cachet, the Cafés Richard heiress dialed society designer Pierre Yovanovitch, beloved for his monochrome schemes and connections to the world's finest dealers of mid-century antiques. Marignan treated the Haussmann terrace like the home of a client, laying graphic marble in the foyer and designing voluptuous upholstered seating for the Lounge Bar and eponymous French bistro. Seventy small guest rooms became 50 spacious ones, including 10 suites stretching across the front of the building with views to the Eiffel Tower.
12 rue de Marignan, 75008 Paris, France; Tel: 33.1 4076 3456; www.hotelmarignan.fr
Writer: Ellen Himelfarb
Magna Pars Hotel, Milan, Italy
Magna Pars, Milan's newest hotel, is housed in a former perfume factory in Zona Tortona. Despite that, the only indicators of its olfactory roots are the charming bathroom kits featuring custom-blended beauty potions in retro bottle designs. The rest of this 28-suite hotel is purely modern in its packaging, with each bright white suite featuring the comforts of a well-designed Milanese home: Poltrona Frau bed and couches, Flos lighting, and Lavazza coffee makers. The only element not Made in Italy are giant Samsung flat screen TVs, but the rare Milanese extras (a green central garden, sunny roof deck, gym and full service spa) more than make up for it.
Via Forcella 6, Milan, Italy, Tel: 39.02 833 8371; www.magnapars-suitesmilano.it
Writer: J.J. Martin
The Thief, Oslo, Norway
Oslo's waterfront district Tjuvholmen, also known as 'Thief Islet', has a new inhabitant: The Thief. The nine-storey hotel created by philanthropy-minded hotelier Petter A Stordalen, and built by Mellbye Architects, is surrounded by art galleries and eateries in an area of the Norwegian capital historically frequented by bandits and outlaws. The hotel's art curator Sune Nordgren has instigated a collaboration with neighbouring Astrup Fearnley Museum of Contemporary Art, allowing the concept of the 'art hotel' to reach a whole new level by including pieces from the likes of Andy Warhol, Fiona Banner and Richard Prince in the building's public spaces. Interior designer Anemone Wille Våge was inspired by Riva yachts and French designer Jean-Michel Frank in the juxtaposing of shadows and light in the intimate lobby, the Fru K restaurant (run by award-winning chef Kari Innerå), and in each of the 119 rooms. In spite of top-notch art and impeccable design, what really stole our hearts was the spirit of the people working here.
Landgangen 1, Oslo; Tel: 47.95 17 55 26; www.thethief.com
Writer: Micha van Dinther
Harrison’s, London, UK
Celebrity chef Rick Stein and partners Rebecca Mascarenhas and Sam Harrison thought it was about time Harrison’s, their 90-seater restaurant in South London’s Balham which they opened in 2007, had a makeover. The result, courtesy of local outfit DesignLSM, is a soothing, almost American diner-like space punctuated with turquoise bar stools and orange leather banquettes. The biggest draw of the makeover is a new cocktail bar, Downstairs at Harrison’s which features a decidedly more masculine, heavier-toned setting where the full length bar is framed by deep-set, comfy booths, and red-topped bar stools, edged with brass studs. The bar offers full table service, so wash down chef Ian Leckie’s lamb shoulder shepherd’s pie, and chilled crab trifle with a jug of the house pour.
15-19 Bedford Hill, London SW12 9EX; Tel: 44.20 8675 6900; www.harrisonsbalham.co.uk
Writer: Daven Wu
Hotel Mainport, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Sited near Rotterdam's soaring cable-stayed bridge at the edge of the water, Hotel Mainport's dark façade - created by MAS Architecture - complements the futuristic face of the city with its wide glass windows that offer grand views of the largest seaport in Europe. Designed by interiors specialist, Feran Thomassen, the interiors of the 215-room Inntel Group property are sultry and dramatic with rich fabrics and deep colours. Every floor is different, with North American, Arctic and European themes subtly incorporated. Added perks are a full service spa and the quay-level cocktail bar that features floor to ceiling windows.
Leuvehaven 77, 3011, EA Rotterdam; Tel: 31.10 217 5757; www.mainporthotel.com
Writer: Rhian Owen
Filo Art Bar, Milan, Italy
Italian design firm MAR Office were given the simple brief to create a multipurpose space with an unobtrusive cafe that was open to the public. In this understated space, the focal point is the cuboid-shaped bar with a vertically shifting screen element that allows the counter to completely disappear under its cover. The café serves coffee and snacks through the afternoon, but the focus shifts to cocktails later in the evening. The space functions frequently as an art gallery, befitting the surrounding Navigli area, which is quickly becoming a bohemian hotbed for young creatives.
Alzaia Naviglio Pavese 34 Milano; Tel: 39.02 3981 0893
Writer: Manfredi Conti
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