Best Urban Hotels 2015: the winners

Aman Tokyo

Since taking over the stewardship of the Aman hotel group, Vladislav Doronin (W*193) has proven to be every bit as canny as Adrian Zecha, the visionary hotelier who launched the first Aman in 1988. Choosing to open the group’s debut Japanese property in downtown Tokyo – an already heavily saturated market – was a calculated risk, but it’s a foolhardy punter who bets against the Aman’s pulling power, much less one as gorgeously austere as the 84-room Aman Tokyo. Designed by Kerry Hill Architects, a long-time Aman collaborator, the hotel occupies the top six, light-washed floors of the 38-storey Otemachi Tower, resplendent in a palette of blonde-hued camphor wood, layers of washi paper, shoji screens and bathrooms with deep ofuro tubs. Needless to say, the views of the city from this height are impressive. But there’s more to see on the ground floor: a café that opens on to the lush greenery of the Otemachi Forest. Its sumptuous afternoon teas – delicate pastries served in bento boxes alongside sparkling sake created by Masumi – attract long queues. Alternatively, hightail it back up to the 2,500 sq m spa for a shiatsu with herbs and mineral salts.

Otemachi Tower, 1-5-6 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, aman.com (opens in new tab), Rates: from ¥95,000 ($792)

Indoor pool room

(Image credit: TBC)

Wooden floor & walled guestroom

(Image credit: TBC)

Window view from guest room

(Image credit: TBC)

Lobby area of hotel

(Image credit: TBC)

Soho House Istanbul

The ubiquitous Soho House group shows no sign of slowing down, though it’s hard to see how it will top its Istanbul edition. Locating the 87-room property in artsy Beyoğlu may have been an obvious choice, but the group has taken a bold move in commandeering the former US embassy, Palazzo Corpi, and turning it into a millennial pasha’s pleasure palace. The 19th-century pile’s original frescoes, marble floors and rosewood doors are now complemented by judicious lashings of early 20th-century furniture and futuristic chandeliers, while two new wings house a restaurant and more guest rooms alongside a Cowshed spa, a ballroom, a 49- seat screening space and a rooftop pool. The most atmospheric rooms are in the original palazzo, but all share a common palette of ikat cushions, arabesque tiles and kilims. The star attraction is the rooftop Mandolin Terrace restaurant, which offers stunning views over the city and the Golden Horn.

Evliya Çelebi Mahallesi Meşrutiyet Caddesi 56, sohohouseistanbul.com, Rates: from €195

Rooftop pool with view of the city

(Image credit: TBC)

Seating area in large room

(Image credit: TBC)

Rustic style guestroom

(Image credit: TBC)

Guestroom with bathtub & seating area

(Image credit: TBC)

Street view of hotel

(Image credit: TBC)

Blossom Hill Inn, Hangzhou

Built on the edge of the Xixi Wetlands, this 66-room hotel was conceived by the Paris- based Argentinian architect Marcelo Joulia as a communal village. It comprises a series of interlocking, low-slung villas that have been carefully inserted into the reed-fringed marshes; the furnishings of bamboo screens, antique brick and local woods are entirely in keeping with the natural environment. On winter nights, the communal fire pit is the perfect spot for evening drinks; there is also a spa, a pool and a cinema on site.

Longshezui, Xixi Wetland, Wuchang Avenue, tel: 86.571 8873 0606, blossomhillinn.com, Rates: from RMB875 ($137)

Large bathroom with walk in shower & freestanding bathtub

(Image credit: TBC)

Bathroom with ground level bathtub

(Image credit: TBC)

Large open seating area

(Image credit: TBC)

Guestroom at the top of stairs

(Image credit: TBC)

Riad Goloboy, Marrakech

Riad Goloboy owner and designer Béatrice Faujas has pulled off the tricky act of balancing traditional Moroccan flourishes with a distinct but light modern touch. The eight suites and intimate public spaces are unexpectedly offset by midcentury Danish furniture and bright artwork inspired by Matisse, Poliakoff and the French street artist Kouka. Indeed, there is little incentive to venture out into Marrakech itself: the kitchen serves up organic local favourites, while the rooftop terrace offers postcard vignettes of the Koutoubia Mosque.

94 Derb Sidi Mbarek, tel: 212.661 23 03 05, riadgoloboy.com, Rates: from €80

Moroccan style decor in seating area

(Image credit: TBC)

Decorative lobby area of hotel

(Image credit: TBC)

White guestroom

(Image credit: TBC)

The Miami Beach Edition, Miami

It’s been 31 years since Ian Schrager opened his first hotel, Morgans, in New York, but the pioneering hotelier has clearly not lost his touch. His new Edition brand continues to impress with a savvy mix of energetic design, homey touches and youthful buzz. The Miami Beach Edition – a renovation of the historic 1950s Seville Hotel on a 3.5-acre private enclave – wins applause for tapping into a happy combination of spectacular, beach-front ocean views, year-round sun, and Miami’s ready supply of great art, architecture, music, fashion, cuisine and design. It comprises 294 guest rooms including suites, bungalows and a soaring penthouse, all featuring light oak-panelled walls and white soft furnishings. The breezy interiors by Yabu Pushelberg and ISC Design Studio segue seamlessly from a 1950s Havana vibe to a sexy nightclub that Schrager says picks up right where Studio 54 left off. Meanwhile, chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten lures sun-warmed bodies in from the beach with a Mexican-infused menu (featuring dishes such as crispy Florida grouper tacos, avocado and jalapeño pepper pizza and tres leche cake) at in-house restaurant the Matador Room.

2901 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, tel: 1.786 257 4500, editionhotels.com, Rates: from $429

Bar & seating area with lots of plants

(Image credit: TBC)

Tables & chairs in dining hall

(Image credit: TBC)

Guestroom with balcony over looking the sea

(Image credit: TBC)

Outdoor pool lit up at night

(Image credit: TBC)

Melina Keays is the entertaining director of Wallpaper*. She has been part of the brand since the magazine’s launch in 1996, and is responsible for entertaining content across the print and digital platforms, and for Wallpaper’s creative agency Bespoke. A native Londoner, Melina takes inspiration from the whole spectrum of art and design – including film, literature, and fashion. Her work for the brand involves curating content, writing, and creative direction – conceiving luxury interior landscapes with a focus on food, drinks, and entertaining in all its forms