Best Business Hotels 2012: the winners

Hotel Georges, Istanbul, Turkey

Hotel Georges, Istanbul, Turkey

This year’s Best Business hotel winner, the Georges, is a tiny gem of a boutique hotel, hidden in an art nouveau mansion on a narrow cobbled lane in Istanbul’s Galata district. Harder to find than a New York speakeasy, and inspired by Paris’ hôtels particuliers, the Georges is decorated with dark parquet floors, bespoke brass fixtures, ornamental plaster panels and handcrafted wood furnishings by local artisans. Most of its 21 rooms have balconies overlooking the Bosphorus, some even boast 10 sq m terraces with stunning sea views, while the sun-drenched penthouse has its own private swimming pool. But what makes this place irresistible for business or leisure is that each room comes with its own private butler on hand for any request. The club-style, brick-walled restaurant, Le Fumoir, serves French cuisine prepared by chef sara Tabrizi – think entrecôtes, croque-monsieur and the best coq au vin in the city – while the black lacquered bar offers an impressive selection of French wines.

Serdar-I Ekrem Sokak, 24 Galata; Tel: 90.212 244 2423; www.georges.com (opens in new tab)
Rates: €175 ($215)

Hotel Georges

(Image credit: Andres Gonzales)

Hotel Georges

(Image credit: TBC)

Hotel Georges

(Image credit: TBC)

Hotel Georges

(Image credit: TBC)

Park Hyatt, Sydney, Australia

Relaunched after a luxurious AU$65m ($68m) makeover earlier this year, Park Hyatt Sydney is a low-slung sandstone structure located within the historic rocks district on Sydney Harbour’s Campbell’s Cove. There are just 155 rooms, including three new rooftop suites adjacent to the pool on the fourth floor, all of which have balconies with a view. The prestigious Sydney Suite is the grandest with almost 360-degree views of the bridge, harbour and opera house. The rooftop spa features an outdoor jacuzzi overlooking the bay, while the dining room restaurant has a rich, warm décor with food by chef Andrew McKee, whose contemporary Australian-inspired menu is based around local produce. Eight Australian artists, including GW Bot, whose carved sandstone panels feature in the public areas, were commissioned to produce artworks for the hotel. And a business centre comes fully equipped with your every working need, including translation and secretarial services.

7 Hickson Road, The Rocks; Tel: 61.2 9256 1234; www.sydney.park.hyatt.com (opens in new tab)
Rates: from AU$890 ($936)

Park Hyatt

(Image credit: TBC)

Park Hyatt

(Image credit: TBC)

Park Hyatt

(Image credit: TBC)

Park Hyatt

(Image credit: TBC)

Downtown, Mexico City, Mexico

Located in Mexico City’s Centro Historico, Downtown is housed in one of the capital’s few remaining 17th-century palaces. Originally known as the Palacio de los Condes de Miravalle, it has a red volcanic rock façade, traditional handmade tiles in the rooms, perfectly manicured patios, and a stone-forged staircase dating from the colonial period and featuring a stunning 1945 mural by Manuel Rodriguez Lozano. The palace was painstakingly restored by the Habita Hotel Group with local practice Cherem Serrano.

Isabel la Católica 30; Tel: 52.555 282 21 99; www.designhotels.com/downtown (opens in new tab)
Rates: from $153

Downtown, Mexico City

(Image credit: TBC)

Downtown, Mexico City

(Image credit: TBC)

Downtown, Mexico City

(Image credit: TBC)

Downtown, Mexico City

(Image credit: TBC)

Downtown, Mexico City

(Image credit: TBC)

Downtown, Mexico City

(Image credit: TBC)

Fasano Boa Vista, Porto Feliz, Brazil

There might be no better place to hold a corporate retreat than the Fasano Boa Vista. Located 100km away from the bustling business hub of São Paulo, the resort boasts the amenities of the other five-star Fasano properties, including their attention to culinary detail. Brazilian architect Isay Weinfeld designed the complex, which spans 12 million sq m of virgin landscape, a third of which is covered by natural forest and natural lakes.

Rodovia Castello Branco; Tel: 55.15 3261 9900; www.fasano.com.br (opens in new tab)
Rates: from BRL$1,190 ($586)

Fasano Boa Vista

(Image credit: TBC)

Fasano Boa Vista

(Image credit: TBC)

Fasano Boa Vista

(Image credit: TBC)

Fasano Boa Vista

(Image credit: TBC)

Fasano Boa Vista

(Image credit: TBC)

Jervois, Hong Kong, China

The Jervois makes the most of its location in the heart of Sheung Wan’s hive of shops, galleries and restaurants. This is the third development from local hotshots National Properties Holdings. It was designed by two Frenchmen, Florent Nédélec (exteriors) and Christian Liaigre (interiors). The top five penthouse floors overlook Victoria Harbour.

89 Jervois Street; Tel: 852.3994 9000; www.thejervois.com (opens in new tab)
Rates: from HK$2,200 ($284)

Jervois, Hong Kong

(Image credit: TBC)

Jervois, Hong Kong

(Image credit: Michael Weber)

Jervois, Hong Kong

(Image credit: Michael Weber)

Jervois, Hong Kong

(Image credit: Michael Weber)

Jervois, Hong Kong

(Image credit: Michael Weber)

Wythe Hotel, New York, USA

A former cooperage dating from 1901, this industrial building on the Brooklyn waterfront is now a 72-room hotel with original exposed brickwork, arched windows and cast-iron columns. The hotel’s common areas and bar, located in a striking new rooftop glass box extension, have both been designed by local designers Workstead.

80 Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg; Tel: 1.718 460 8000; wythehotel.com (opens in new tab)
Rates: from $179

Wythe Hotel

(Image credit: TBC)

Wythe Hotel

(Image credit: TBC)

Wythe Hotel

(Image credit: TBC)

Wythe Hotel

(Image credit: TBC)

Wythe Hotel

(Image credit: TBC)

Wythe Hotel

(Image credit: TBC)

Hotel Bel-Air, Los Angeles, USA

The Rockwell Group and Alexandra Champalimaud have teamed up to revamp the legendary Hotel Bel-Air, injecting a fresh dose of Hollywood glamour into the Dorchester Collection property. Its Spanish colonial façade remains a bright shade of pink, and the décor takes inspiration from the 12 acres of gardens that surround the hotel.

701 Stone Canyon Road; Tel: 1.310 472 1211; www.hotelbelair.com (opens in new tab)
Rates: from $565

Hotel Bel-Air

(Image credit: TBC)

Hotel Bel-Air

(Image credit: TBC)

Hotel Bel-Air

(Image credit: TBC)

Hotel Bel-Air

(Image credit: TBC)

Hotel Bel-Air

(Image credit: TBC)

Four Seasons Hotel, Shanghai, China

The Four Seasons Pudong is the hotel group’s second property in Shanghai – a sign of just how bullish the Four Seasons is about China in general and Shanghai in particular. The new build is located in Pudong, Shanghai’s financial and commercial hub on the east side of the Huangpu River, and just across from the historic city centre.

210 Century Avenue; Tel: 86.21 2036 8888; www.fourseasons.com/pudong (opens in new tab)
Rates: From RMB3000 ($470)

Four Seasons Hotel

(Image credit: TBC)

Four Seasons Hotel

(Image credit: TBC)

Four Seasons Hotel

(Image credit: TBC)

NoMad Hotel, New York, USA

The latest venture from the group behind the Ace Hotel New York is a new hotel housed in a turn-of-the-century Beaux-Arts building in the city’s NoMad neighbourhood (north of Madison Square Park). Designed by celebrated French interior designer Jacques Garcia (the man behind Paris’ Hotel Costes), the NoMad is Garcia’s first New York hotel. The grand library comes complete with an eclectic literary collection.

1170 Broadway & 28th Street; Tel: 1.212 796-1500; www.thenomadhotel.com (opens in new tab)
Rates: from $395

NoMad Hotel

(Image credit: TBC)

NoMad Hotel

(Image credit: TBC)

NoMad Hotel

(Image credit: TBC)

NoMad Hotel

(Image credit: TBC)

Conservatorium, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Ideally located between the luxury boutiques of Hooftstraat and Museumplein, this grand red brick building, a former bank and music school, has been transformed by Piero Lissoni into an airy, light-filled hotel. A glass box insertion packs a powerful punch on arrival in the vast entrance lobby, and features a library and indoor garden.

Van Baerlestraat 27; Tel: 31.20 570 0000; www.conservatoriumhotel.com (opens in new tab)
Rates: from €325 ($399)

Conservatorium

(Image credit: Misha de Ridder)

Conservatorium

(Image credit: Misha de Ridder)

Conservatorium

(Image credit: Misha de Ridder)

Conservatorium

(Image credit: Misha de Ridder)

Conservatorium

(Image credit: Misha de Ridder)

W Paris – Opera, Paris, France

Housed in an elegant 1870s Haussmann building opposite the Opéra Garnier, the W has been designed by Rockwell Group Europe. An oversized backlit digital wall takes centre stage in the lobby, while historic features such as vaulted ceilings and marble staircases have been partially restored.

4 rue Meyerbeer; Tel: 33.1 77 48 94 94; www.wparisopera.com (opens in new tab)
Rates: from €340 ($418)

W Paris – Opera, Paris

(Image credit: TBC)

W Paris – Opera, Paris

(Image credit: TBC)

W Paris – Opera, Paris

(Image credit: TBC)

W Paris – Opera

(Image credit: TBC)

W Paris – Opera, Paris

(Image credit: TBC)

Hotel Daniel, Vienna

Hotelier Florian Weitzer’s second property, this is an intimate boutique hotel located steps from the city’s historic Schloss Belvedere. Designed by architects Atelier Heisse, it is filled with a mix of antique and contemporary pieces by local designers. There’s even a teetering sailboat sculpture by Erwin Wurm and urban beehives on the roof.

Landstrasser Gürtel 5; Tel: 43.1 90 1310; www.hoteldaniel.com (opens in new tab)
Rates: from €92 ($113)

Hotel Daniel

(Image credit: TBC)

Hotel Daniel

(Image credit: TBC)

Hotel Daniel

(Image credit: TBC)

Hotel Daniel

(Image credit: TBC)

Hotel Daniel

(Image credit: TBC)

Kelly Cha

(Image credit: TBC)

Kelly Cha
Musician, Beijing

The winning hotels were picked out from our shortlist by a panel of well-travelled creatives, including Kelly Cha. Born in China, the ingénue TV presenter, radio DJ, screenplay writer, author, songwriter and singer has spent much of her youth shuttling between China and America. Effortlessly parsing such distinctive cultures, she represents a new generation of cultural savvy Chinese. She’s worked with music legends such as The Eagles and Linkin Park, and toured China on community projects with Bill Gates. She even managed to convince Warren Buffett to perform a duet, with her with her on guitar and him on the ukulele. These days, when she’s not working on her new album, she’s developing a new show that she will host. All this while clocking in nearly 20 days a month of air travel.

Alvaro Gonzalez

(Image credit: TBC)

Alvaro Gonzalez
Creative director of SW1, Florence/London

It was a canny decision by shoe maestro Stuart Weitzman to tap Alvaro Gonzalez for his new luxury handbag and shoe line SW1. Over a glittering 16-year career, the Madrid-born, London- and Milan-trained designer has been the quiet creative force behind the likes of Valentino, Tod’s, Emilio Pucci, Loro Piana and Narciso Rodriguez. As design director of accessories, he created Jimmy Choo’s bestselling ‘Tulita’ and ‘Ramona’ handbags and, until Weitzman came calling last year to create SW1’s brand from the ground up, he was also designing its eyewear, scarves and fragrances. Weitzman has hailed Gonzalez as one of Europe’s premier designers, recognising the importance of the Spaniard’s blend of creative flair and commercial savvy to create a distinctive brand identity for the new shoe line. Gonzalez divides his time between his home, work studio and archives in Florence, SW1’s factory in Elda, Spain, and his London home and office. ‘I am on a plane every week,’ he says. ‘I’m currently searching for a beach house in Ibiza, so I will have a new airport to add to my life.’

Angelika Taschen

(Image credit: TBC)

Angelika Taschen
Founder of Angelika Books, Berlin

Angelika Taschen was born into a bookseller family in Bonn. She initially trained in classical ballet, but grew too tall to be a Swan Lake cygnet, so decided to study at Heidelberg University instead, where she gained a PhD in art history and German literature. For the next 28 years she worked both with and for her former husband Benedikt Taschen, publishing numerous books on art, architecture, design, interiors, travel and lifestyle. Some of her best known editions include the Great Escapes series, the Interiors series and Taschen’s city guides. In 2011 she established her own boutique publishing house in Berlin called Angelika Books publishing titles such as Frédéric Malle: On Perfume Making and Anna Bauer Backstage. Taschen is a frequent traveller and is an exacting and critical expert when it comes to hotels. ‘A hotel for me is not just about having a bed to sleep in’, she says, ‘but about having a special atmosphere, without which my trip does not feel complete.’

Nina Flohr

(Image credit: TBC)

Nina Flohr
Brand director of VistaJet, Milan

The brand director for her father Thomas Flohr’s private jet leasing company VistaJet, 26-year-old Nina Flohr has already demonstrated some savvy marketing moves, most recently plastering the tailfin of a new Bombadier jet with black and white graffiti by the guerilla artist Retna. VistaJet leases planes out on an hourly basis and Flohr has her work cut out overseeing the company’s expansion into emerging markets in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Although her mother (a former editor of Russian Vogue) had a career in fashion mapped out for her, Flohr preferred to follow in her father’s flight path instead.

Brett Sheehy

(Image credit: TBC)

Brett Sheehy
Artistic director of MTC, Melbourne

If there is a rave production on anywhere in the world, chances are Brett Sheehy has seen it – or is about to. The artistic director of the Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC) and, until October this year, the Melbourne Festival, has brought some of the world’s most exciting productions and performers to Australian shores, including the UK’s James Rhodes and Russia’s AES+F’s awe-inspiring ‘Angels-Demons. Parade’. Both performances were part of Brett’s 2011 Melbourne Festival, which set box office records for its 26-year history. He’s also commissioned a slew of works during his time in Melbourne and previously at the Adelaide and Sydney festivals. In 2011, the Australian Financial Review named Sheehy one of Australia’s arts A-listers, alongside four others, including Cate Blanchett. The 2013 MTC programme, which marks Sheehy’s first season, was launched this August, and it will be the company’s 60th anniversary, making it Australia’s oldest professional theatre company.

Frédéric Malle

(Image credit: TBC)

Frédéric Malle
Perfume entrepreneur, New York/Paris

Seduction must run in the Malle genes. Just as his uncle, the legendary film director Louis Malle, has beguiled generations of film buffs with his visionary take on human emotions, Frédéric Malle works a similar magic with scent. Working with some of the best noses in the industry - Dominique Ropion and Ralf Schweiger among them - Malle's eponymous atelier creates bespoke perfumes for discerning clients scattered around the world. 'I travel about four times a month,' he says, which, we think, makes him an ideal candidate for our panel of judges. The urbane Frenchman is self-effacing about what he does, describing himself simply as an editor who works with 'fragrance authors', gently pushing and encouraging them to explore new olfactory boundaries. It's a creative process that Malle says liberates his team from 'the kinds of restraints often imposed by marketers and focus groups'. The result is a body of work that's unique to Malle's perfume house, and that is nothing to sniff at.

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