Aan Zee Restaurant, Oostvoorne, The Netherlands
Peeking out of a solitary patch of land within the Voornes Duin nature reserve in the Netherlands is the twisting spiral of a new restaurant, called ‘Aan Zee’. Designed by Amsterdam-based firm Emma Architects, the striking structure is completely self-sufficient, using the sun, wind and wood fire as sources for its heating, cooling, ventilation and water management. Fashioned mainly out of glass and wood, which has been left chemically untreated and heated to withstand the elements, the building can also be dismantled, with each material component fully re-usable. Using fresh ingredients from local farmers and fisherman, the menu comprises a mouth-watering array of comfort treats from tomato soup to cheese and ham toasties.
Strandweg 1, 3233 CW Oostvoorne; Tel: 31.181-820990; www.aanzeeoostvoorne.nl
Writer: Lauren Ho
Amanzo’e Hotel, Kranidi, Greece
Since its launch in 1988, in Phuket, Amanresorts has expanded to include 25 properties scattered from Bhutan to Montenegro. Now the group brings its signature brand of minimal luxury to the Peloponnese peninsula, to lure Aman junkies to this spectacular part of southern Greece. The Ed Tutttle-designed Amanzo’e tops a hill strewn with olive groves, looking on to the Aegean and the island of Spetses. A marble-clad entrance leads to 38 airy pavilions, each with a pool (either 6m or 12m), shaded terrace and striking vista. The décor is classically chic, with neutral modern furnishings set against wood and stone interiors. Among the facilities are a library, a spa that uses local olive oil and clay in some of its treatments, a yoga studio; and a five-minute drive away there’s a private beach. The nearest town to explore is Porto Heli, and a host of ancient sites lies in the vicinity.
Kranidi-Argolida, Greece; Tel: 30.275 4772 888; www.amanresorts.com
Writer: Rachael Moloney
Basecamp Hotel, South Lake Tahoe, USA
Sited on the south side of California’s Lake Tahoe, with views of the dramatic Sierra Nevada Mountains, Basecamp is the perfect place to take a breather after a long day of strenuous outdoor activity. Playfully decked out to resemble an actual mountaineering base camp, the 50-room lodging features ‘satellite office’ desks, gear racks to store mountain and lake paraphernalia, as well as a ‘Great Indoors Room’ complete with a green grass carpet, birch forest wallpaper and a canvas tent. Designed with attention to detail, the hotel offers modern, cosy rooms enhanced with witty artwork by local artist Wendy Macnaughton, and a warm colour palette of greys, stippled with bursts of eye-catching orange. The property also houses a communal eatery that serves global ‘mountain’ fare, comprising dishes such as Tahoe Mountain Chili and Swiss fondue. And in winter, we recommend the artisanal hot chocolates, such as the signature Basecamp orange-infused offering.
4143 Cedar Ave, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150; Tel: 1 530 208 0180; basecamphotels.com
Writer: Lauren Ho
Palm House, Koh Samui, Thailand
The latest outpost from London-based travel company, SJ Villas, is an indulgent property on the Southern coast of Koh Samui. Set over 12 acres of land with its own private beach, Palm House offers panoramic views over the island’s rolling hills and the sea beyond. Comprising 10 individual villas that sleep two people each, the elegant estate gives traditional Thai décor a modern spin. Guests can make use of the private pool on the beachfront, the clubhouse, games room, cocktail bar and restaurant with 25 members of staff, including three chefs.
Palm House, Natien beach, Koh Samui, Thailand; Tel: 44.20 7589 4390; www.sjvillas.co.uk
Writer: Lauren Ho
Casa do Guindais, Porto, Portugal
This 18th century self-catering guest house has belonged to owners Francisca Pestana da Silva and Álvaro Aguiar's family for over six generations. To restore and reinvigorate the property and its five suits, they enlisted local Porto designer Sofia Marques de Aguiar and Cuban architect Ernesto Jimenes. The award-winning team successfully married the very old with the modern. Ancient granite stone walls, wooden rafters and restored Pau Santo wood commode chairs are juxtaposed with pinewood floors, large sliding soundproof windows and modern steel staircases. There are also all the requisite modern touches, such as mini bars, walk-in rain showers, king-size beds, fully equipped kitchenettes, coffee makers and patio gardens. Every detail of the interior design and decor of Casa dos Guindais has been carefully considered - from the bathroom fixtures right down to the stylish door handles - with pitch-perfect results. Located in the very heart of Porto's historic centre, perched above the Ribeira riverside district, the house has wonderful views over the river and is close to the 'Guindais' funicular cable car that takes you down to the river Douro's Eiffel bridge.
R. de Arnaldo Gama 72 4000-094 Oporto, Portugal; Tel: 91.6 12 1145; www.guindaisbooking.com
Writer: Rupert Eden
Ciel de Paris, Paris, France
Designed by the in-demand French designer and architect Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance, the Ciel de Paris restaurant is found on the 56th floor of the iconic Montparnasse Tower - once Paris’ tallest skyscraper. The amber-tinged space provides spectacular views over city, which Duchaufour-Lawrance has enhanced with the addition of strategically placed mirrors. Curved walls, warm grey tones, lights by Italian brand Artemide, and a feature bar all come together to create an elegant dining experience. Chef Christophe Marchais serves up traditional French fare.
Tour Maine Montparnasse, 56 ème étage, 33, avenue du Maine, 75015 Paris; www.cieldeparis.com
Writer: Lauren Ho
The Restaurant at The Magdalen Chapter, Exeter, UK
A former West England Eye Hospital, this grandiose Victorian building in Exeter has been converted into a 59-room hotel by London and Bath-based studio Feilden Clegg and Bradley. A must-visit is the Magdalen Chapter eaterie, simply titled The Restaurant. Located in the heart of the hotel - the second British property in global hotel group Swire’s portfolio - the space comprises glass-fronted windows that open onto the terrace and walled garden, along with a semi-private dining alcove called ‘The Circle’. The interiors are by London company Russell Pinch, while the kitchen is run by chef Ben Bulger, in collaboration with food writer and former chef, Simon Hopkinson. They offer a thoughtfully prepared seasonal menu with traditional dishes, including steamed asparagus with hollandaise sauce and roast pork belly.
The Magdalen Chapter, Magdalen Street,
EX2 4HY; Tel; 44.1392 281 000; www.themagdalenchapter.com
Writer: Lauren Ho
Mazi Restaurant, London, UK
London’s new Greek restaurant ‘Mazi’ is off to a promising start. Among its most auspicious list of assets are: a beautiful Notting Hill location; a menu developed by two of Greece’s leading chefs - Athinagoras Kostakos (executive head chef at Bill and Coo in Mykonos) and George Venieris (executive head chef at The Roof Garden Restaurant at the Electra Palace Hotel in Athens) - that delivers a fusion of traditional (Grand Mama’s Meatballs) and contemporary (Rabbit Roll Ragout) Hellenic culinary styles; not to mention an authentic in-house deli, supplying produce from the country’s finest artisans. The interior design is by recent St Martin’s College MA graduate Sophie Chenevix Trench and the restaurant offers a twenty-four cover back garden, in which diners can sit serenely in the shade of a grape vine canopy. To round things off, an entirely Greek wine list shows a real commitment to the motherland – impressive given that Mazi’s co-owner is French.
12-14 Hillgate Street, Notting Hill, London, W8 7SR; Tel: 44.20 7229 3794; www.mazi.co.uk
Writer: Alex Moore
The Hotel at Monteverdi, Tuscany, Italy
To curb the depopulation of villages in Italy, numerous creative solutions have been initiated throughout the country. One of the philanthropic masterminds is American Michael Cioffi, who has spent the last few years restoring the lost hamlet of Castiglioncello del Trinoro. The medieval mountaintop village, located 90 kilometres southeast of Siena, has been returned to its original splendour after meticulous reconstruction. Cioffi has joined forces with architect Ernesto Bartolini of DA.Studio and interior designer Ilaria Miani in the creation of a seven bedroom hotel, a number of villas and a café for al fresco dining. Next year will see the opening of a highly anticipated contemporary art gallery.
Castiglioncello del Trinoro, Tuscany, Italy; Tel: 39.0578 268 146, www.monteverdituscany.com
Writer: Micha van Dinther
Paresa Resort, Phuket, Thailand
Perched high on a cliff, among lush tropical forests, the Paresa Resort on Thailand’s largest island offers dramatic views over the turquoise Andaman Sea. Designed by Bangkok-based firm, UKD Architects, the hotel comprises 49 individual villas complete with private infinity pools. For added luxury, the Cielo Residences come with a fully quipped kitchen, a wine cellar and private butler. And should you feel inspired to use the kitchen, daily cooking classes and weekly demonstrations are provided by head chef Ryan Arboleda, who also runs the resort’s two restaurants that serve Thai or Mediterranean fare.
49 Moo 6, Layi-Nakalay Road, Kamala, Phuket 83150 Thailand; Tel: 66.7 630 2000; www.paresaresorts.com
Writer: Lauren Ho
TownHouse Street Milano Duomo, Milan, Italy
The latest venture from the group that brought us Milan's TownHouse collection of boutique hotels is the second instalment of their TownHouse Street 'permanent hospitality space' concept. Aimed at eliminating the trappings of your typical hotel, such as reception areas, lobbies and corridors, these lodgings are conceived as individual rooms that can be accessed directly from the street via an electronic keypad. Unlike the first offering, in the raw and emerging east of the city, this one has a decidedly well-heeled address, being just a few steps from the Duomo. The brainchild of Alessandro Rosso, who once again teamed up with local architect Simone Micheli, the TownHouse Street Milano Duomo comprises four single and three double-room studios. Lined with striking wall graphics, these glossy spaces are punctuated by bright bursts of colour in the form of yellow furnishings and blue backlit mirrors.
Via Santa Radegonda 14, 20121 Milano; Tel: 39.02 89058297; www.townhouse.it
Writer: Lauren Ho
White 1921, Saint-Tropez, France
Saint-Tropez’s newest hang-out is White 1921, a monochromatic boutique hotel that has opened on the site of the former Maison Blanche. Located in an elegant townhouse on the Place des Lices, the property consists of eight rooms and suites, furnished with crisp white bed linen and Metro bathroom tiles, with contrasting details in dark grey, blue and purple. The hotel’s bar and lounge, designed by Parisian architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte, boasts a great Mediterranean garden setting: customers can sit at a back-lit glass bar, surrounded by jasmine and pine trees, and sample the many vintage champagnes available by the glass while nibbling on white truffle popcorn.
Place des Lices, 83990 St Tropez, France; Tel: 33.4 94 45 5050; www.white1921.com
Restaurant Très Honoré, Paris, France
The unassuming exterior of this new Parisian restaurant belies what lies inside: an eccentric fantasy world of cabins, botanical lounges and enormous wooden mushrooms, that together seem fit for a scene in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. Restaurateur duo Jean-Pierre Lopes and Thomas Delafon invited mother and daughter team Anne-Cécile and Agnès Comar (an architect and interior designer, respectively) to design the outlandish space. They furnished it with a mixture of Fifties Nordic and neo-Art Nouveau pieces. Chef Richard Demandrille's menu is traditional French bistrot style, with dishes such as veal chop in morels with French beans, or, for dessert, whipped cream churros and hot chocolate. The restaurant is truly a Mad Hatter moment - but we applaud it for its audacious spirit.
35 place du Marché Saint-Honoré, Paris; 33.1 44 86 97 97
Writer: Lauren Ho
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