and Liz Diller
Björk, Aosta, Italy
Björk, a handsome new brasserie in Aosta, has been creatively smîrgasborded together by Giuliana Rosset, founder of the Napapijri fashion label. Although snuggled into the steep mountains of Northern Italy (where foreign influences, if any, are almost exclusively German, Austrian or Swiss), the restaurant has plugged Scandinavia as its aesthetic and culinary compass. Swedish import Mattia Sjoblom oversees the authentically Nordic-styled food - including imported herrings served with Schnapps or wild deer and elk paired with lingonberry sauce - with support from a roster of recent grads from Sweden's Grythyttan Cooking Academy. Served on Iittala ceramic, dishes get a boost from the strong selection of wines and the simple, clean design scheme conceived by Milanese Scandophile Nicola Quadri. Pine walls provide a light-filled canvas for Quadri's larch tables, 1950s Borge Mogensen chairs and 1960s Torsten Thorup & Claus stools, and original Scandinavian design gems are scattered throughout the space. Don't even think about ordering a plate of pasta.
Torrent de Maillod 3, 11020 Quart, Aosta; Tel: 39.01 65 77 4912
Writer: J.J. Martin
Photography: Amendolagine Barracchia
The Brass Bar, Stockholm
Party-central Cafe Opera is adding some much needed pizzazz to the Swedish nightlife scene. Occupying a glassed-in terrace designed by acclaimed architect Peter Celsing in the 1960s, the Brass Bar is the new HQ for socialites, night owls and big shots on the town. The oblong elevated bar, a pattern of backlit stone and shiny brass, is like an homage to the seductive decadence of the 1960s and 1970s, with striking mirror prisms suspended above it - a bespoke design by Herman Persson of Koncept Stockholm. The guest list is selective, so few get to experience the intimate blue and violet velvet cocoon. Scandinavian grandeur at its finest.
Operahuset, Karl XII:s torg, Stockholm; tel: 46.8 676 58 07, www.thebrassbar.se
Writer: Micha van Dinther
Adria Boutique Hotel, London, UK
The latest project from Al Rayyan Hospitality is a sister to the Doha-based Arumaila boutique hotel. Its Grade-II listed Victorian townhouse in west London was restored by design consultant Urban Velvet who appointed Jestico + Whiles to work on the architecture and the interiors. The grand staircase and the lounge fireplace have both been preserved, while 1950s-inspired decor elsewhere features bespoke lighting. The 24 rooms are not numbered but rather make British references to 'Croquet' and 'Downing'. The public spaces include a spa, gym and library, and there's a personal butler assigned to every room.
88 Queen's Gate, London; Tel: 44.20 7118 8988; www.theadria.com
Writer: Lauren Ho
Photogpraphy: Will Pryce
Centrico, Bogotá, Colombia
The architectural duo Manuel Villa and Antonio Yemail have taken Bogotá's love of high-octane rooftop bars to new heights. The pair, two of the country's sharpest young architects, commandeered the penthouse of the former Hilton, an iconic 1963 tower block designed by Colombo-Catalan architect Fernando Martinez in the city's financial centre, to create Bogotá's loftiest new bar. Determined to go one better than legendary predecessor Cha Cha, Villa and Yemail added a 41st floor to Martinez's residential tower (originally built for retired policemen) turning the roof into Colombia's highest spot for discreet late-night mischief. Along with the best views of the Latin American capital, it serves up food by Enobra chef Francisco Pinzon and soul and Latin sounds stretching back through the building's glorious 40-year history.
Bogotá, Cra 7 # 32 -16 piso 41; tel: 57. 301 787 8755
Writer: Rainbow Nelson
The Efendi Hotel, Akko, Israel
The conjoined Ottoman-era stone buildings that now form the Efendi were restored and converted into a 12-room hotel in northern Israel by local entrepreneur Uri Jeremias. Boutique architecture firm Arstudio restored the intricately painted ceilings, wood friezes and carved cornices, and an interior by Orit Kolonimos features armchairs by Moroso and Tom Dixon's cast-glass chandeliers, which cling to vaulted sandstone arches above an imposing six-metre dining room table. Public spaces, including a wine cellar converted from Crusader and Byzantine ruins, can be found in the hotel's southern structure, while a 400-year old hammam was transformed into the spa. Covered terraces overlook the rooftops of this Unesco heritage city.
Louis IX Street, Old Acre, Akko; Tel: 97. 74 7299 799; www.efendi-hotel.com
Writer: Lauren Ho
Photography: Amit Goren
Bar & Co, Helsinki, Finland
Bar & Co's resplendent Renaissance Revival building is an extension to the established bistro Kitchen & Co by restaurateurs Filip Stenius and Kati Jaakola - quite literally, as the two are new neighbours in Helsinki's burgeoning restaurant district. The interior of the cocktail bar was taken on by local architect Joanna Laajisto, who laid it out as a series of four contrasting rooms: a main area with a six-metre bar; a butcher's room; a library-style chill-out space; and a smoking area, a luxury for most other Europeans. Minimal and clean, Laajisto's design adopts classic elements from glossy white wall tiles to natural oak and white carrara marble and marries them with quirky textile birds by British artist Abigail Brown and vintage copper cake molds used as tea lights. Fine wines, champagnes by the glass and creative cocktails are listed by hand on the tile wall. They're accompanied by small bites like the house chilli dog and oven-baked brie.
Yrjînkatu 18, Helsinki, Finland; Tel: 35.8 10322 2940; www.kitchenco.fi
Writer: Lauren Ho
Delano, Marrakech, Morocco
Miami has arrived in Marrakech with Morgans' new Delano, whose latticed facade overlooks Hivernage, an increasingly buzzy part of the new town filling up with boutique hotels and destination restaurants. Run in partnership with the Hivernage Collection and Marbella Club, the hotel is already channelling some of the verve of its South Beach sister into the Red City. The Sky Lounge, with its wraparound roof terrace, pool and open-air Japanese restaurant, Namazake, is a particular draw, along with Pomiroeu, where chef Giancarlo Morelli dishes up beautifully crafted Italian cuisine. Jacques Garcia's interiors strike a dramatic note from the moment you enter the lobby, a soaring white atrium that riffs on the traditional riad. In the 71 rooms, a rich purple and maroon colour scheme creates a lavish feel, but the edge is modern, with contributions from contemporary Moroccan artists such as Noureddine Daifallah. The Pearl spa has a striking mosaic pool and private hammam.
Avenue Echouhada/rue des Temples, Marrakech; Tel: 212.5 2442 4242; www.delanomarrakech.com
Writer: Rachael Moloney
Fazenda Nova, Tavira, Portugal
Combining vintage New World furniture with modernist architecture, Fazenda Nova, opened this September, is a home-from-home country house hotel on the sunburnt Algarve. English couple Hallie and Tim Robinson updated this former farm with ten suites, nine of which have gardens or balconies, as well Balinese wood beds and polished-concrete bathrooms. A library at the core of the communal space is filled with vintage copies of The Face. A 200-year old bread oven is the focus of the restaurant, with menu guidance by David Eyre, a friend of the Robinsons and founder of legendary London gastropub the Eagle.
Estiramentens, Santo Estevao, Tavira, Portugal; Tel: 35.1 281961913; www.fazendanova.eu
Writer: Alex Tieghi-Walker
Photography: Ed Reeve
Honky Tonk, London, UK
Mark Cutler, founder of Notting Hill's Supperclub, has launched a NY-style diner with live music in little Chelsea. Named after the Stones' No.1 single Honky Tonk Woman, the space is decorated with original rock'n'roll posters, hand-drawn monochrome polka-dot wallpaper and worn brown-leather banquettes. The decor includes fun details like a 1950s vintage concertina lift door, white swimming pool tiles and Japanese ship lights. The menu offers beef or pork ribs, mac'n'cheese with porcini bechamel and Welsh rarebit with black truffle, while the bar offers deviations from British and American classics. Signature cocktails include the elderflower shandy, combining elderflower liquor with lemon juice and white floral beer with a ginger sugar rim, and the Pickleback: bourbon chased with a shot of homemade pickle juice.
6 Hollywood Road, London; Tel: 44.20 7351 1588; www.honkytonkchelsea.com
Writer: Sara Henrichs
La Suite West, London, UK
The latest venture from Meir Abutbul, mastermind of London's Blakes hotel, is housed in a quintessentially British Victorian terrace on a quiet, leafy West London street. Designed by Anouska Hempel, La Suite West is a subtle fusion of sleek sharp angles and Hempel's trademark Asian details, with clean marble bathrooms and handcrafted four-posters in an elegant black and white colour palette. The hotel comprises 80 guestrooms, including a handful of ground-floor suites with private entry and access to private gardens. The kitchen is run by chef Marcello Kaminski, whose international menu is complemented by a sidebar of 'Honestly Healthy' platters by chef Natasha Corrett and nutritionist Vicky Edgson.
41-51 Inverness Terrace, London; Tel: 44.20 7313 8484; www.lasuitewest.com
Writer: Lauren Ho
Photography: Adrian Houston
L'Etoile, Copenhagen, Denmark
With the worldwide success of New Nordic cuisine, Copenhageners are now turning their attention to what is served pre- and post-dining, resulting in an upsurge of chic cocktail bars in the Danish capital. The brightest star among these new establishments is L'Etoile, a lavish space reminiscent of a Parisian Art Nouveau salon. The custom-designed interiors are the result of a collaboration between founder Morten Drastrup and interior decorators Helene and Jannik Martensen-Larsen of Tapet Cafe, who together worked on all furnishings, textiles and wallcoverings. Alongside cocktails, French classics such as calvados, absinthe and cider from Normandy are on the menu, developed by bartender Hardeep Singh Rehal.
Galleri K, Kristen Bernikows Gade, Copenhagen; tel: 45.33 91 01 90; letoile.dk
The Metropol Palace Hotel, Belgrade, Serbia
The Metropol has been the social and cultural hub of the Serbian capital since 1957, hosting, over the years, sunglass-wearing jetsetters from Sophia Loren to Jack Nicholson. After decades devoted to high-society gatherings, the hotel burned out in 2007, closing for five years of renovations by hospitality-design gurus MKV, known for their work on the Dubai Marine Club and Bern's Hotel Schweizerhof. Preserving those long-admired period trimmings, MKV brought the rest of the decor into the 21st century with several coats of paint, mood lighting, a spa and an additional two floors of guest rooms. Now it's back on the social calendar and the place to be seen in the capital for a new generation of scenesters.
126 Bulevar kralja Aleksandra Beograd, Serbia; Tel: 38.1 1132 30912; www.metropolpalace.com
Writer: Alex Tieghi-Walker
Nougatine, New York, USA
A complete renovation by New York-based Danish architect Thomas Juul-Hansen has given Nougatine, spin-off of Jean-Georges Vongerichten's eponymous Michelin-starred restaurant, a chance to shine. For 15 years the Trump Tower restaurant, which serves Jean Georges's signature French dishes in a more relaxed milieu, lived in the shadow of the flagship. But Juul-Hansen's flair for custom furniture gives this prime-location restaurant its own cosmopolitan identity. Flooded with natural light from the large windows, the space offers unrivaled views of Central Park along with a landscape of clean-lined furnishings in a palette of chocolate-browns and beiges. The market-driven ingredients - mainstays include salt-and-pepper Maine lobster and Niman Ranch pork chops - are magicked into meals in an open kitchen framed by mirrors.
1 Central Park West, New York; Tel: 1.212 299 3900
Writer: Emily Brown
Pisacco, Milan, Italy
Finding good lighting and a well-appointed interior in a Milan restaurant used to be a sure-fire sign the food would be miserable. Thankfully, that old rule of thumb is starting to break down. At Pisacco, a new restaurant-bar in the cool-ish Brera district, the lovely wood scheme featuring furniture from new brand Discipline and electrical 'bouquet' lighting is equally matched by a no-frills menu of homespun specialties. Overseen by Michelin-starred chef Andrea Berton, the kitchen prepares fresh, seasonal, unfussy fare like Papa al pomodoro, Guancia di Manzo and risotto al Milanese. The light, open two-storey space doubles as an aperitivo joint from around 7pm, but the real deal here are the meals - none of which top 15 euros.
Via Solferino 48, Milan; Tel: 39.02 9176 5472; www.pisacco.it
Writer: J.J. Martin
Photgprapher: Santi Caleca
Play Pot restaurant, Seoul, South Korea
Street food is serious business in Asia. Whether the inexpensive and convenient approach to eating is necessity or pure pleasure, ultimately there is nothing more satisfying than a tasty snack at a food stall. In a bid to merge the food cart with the café, Play Pot recently launched a dining room serving Korean street food (known as boonsik), designed by local studio Lim Tae He. The interiors were inspired by neighbourhood street vendors, and in an attempt to bring the outdoors in, it includes road signs and tarpaulin awnings backed by a wash of playful yellow. It's a luxurious take on everything the nation loves best about outdoor eating. And best of all it preserves the fundamental accessibility, convenience and thrift for which street food is known and loved.
925-23 Bangbae dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul, Korea
Vander Urbani Resort, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Amanda and Aleksandar Vujadinović raised their children at this location before opening it up to guests as a hotel, so you know it's tried and tested. Spread across four townhouses, Vander Urbani is in one of the city's most romantic neighbourhoods, near the town hall on the Eastern Bank, part of a cluster of medieval bridges, alleyways and gentrifying cafés and galleries. Together with interior architects Sadar + Vuga, noted for their work on University College in Ghent, Belgium, and a handful of public buildings across Slovenia, the Vujadinovićs united the buildings seamlessly and artfully, preserving the character of the district. They ended up with 16 beautiful rooms and a sun-drenched glass cube acting as a rooftop conservatory, a respite from the hectic city.
Krojaška ulica 6, Ljubljana, Slovenia; tel: 38.6 1242 4000; www.designhotels.com
Rech, Paris, France
A Parisian landmark since 1925, Adrien Rech first opened his eponymous Art Deco café-restaurant for sampling oysters. In 2007, Alain Ducasse discovered the institution and set out to restore it to its former radiance. Now the eatery has finally gone under an interior revamp overseen by Duacsse and led by architect Marie Deroudilhe, one-time employee of Patrick Jouin. A fish restaurant that goes back to its maritime roots, Deroudilhe has opted for cleaner lines, softer colours, natural materials and a new graphic identity, which all convey a modern, seaside character. Gyotaku drawings and Japanese paper plates hand-painted by artist Jean-Pierre Guilleron portray different varieties of fish while tableware by Belgian ceramist Pieter Stockmans informs the palette of deep cobalt blues. Sam Hecht’s timeless Modernist chairs for Mattiazzi add a Scandinavian touch to the quietly sophisticated interiors.
62 avenue des Ternes, Paris; tel. 33.1 4572 2947; www.alain-ducasse.com
Writer: Marie Lefort
Hotel Refugia, Chiloé, Chile
Getting away from it all on Chiloé, Chile's second largest island, just got a lot more comfortable. Offering 12 rooms and scintillating sea views, Hotel Refugia has become the first five start addition to the island's rich heritage of innovative wooden structures. Drawn up by contemporary Chilean practice Mobil Arquitetos, the modern retreat borrows more than a few tricks from a Chilote population famed for their carpentry skills. The crafty locals made a name for themselves in the 17th and 18th centuries by embracing the Jesuit mission in the region and building hundreds of wooden churches without a nail in sight. And Refugia's joint owner Ignacio Irarrázaval drew heavily on the talented local pool of carpenters, lining the interiors with with warm wooden cladding, locally produced furniture and sheepskins from Patagonia. Underneath, the airy public areas feature floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing guests to dine and relax with the spectacular snow-capped Andean peaks as a backdrop.
San José, Playa Castro, Chiloé tel: 56.65 772 080; www.refugia.cl
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