Seoul-based architects The System Lab’s Healing Stay Kosmos wins the Wallpaper* Design Award for Best New Hotel. View the entire Judges’ Awards preview here.

Healing Stay Kosmos
Ulleungdo Island, South Korea

Perched on a cliff edge on the volcanic Ulleungdo Island, which lies 350km east of Seoul in the Sea of Japan, is this striking retreat by Seoul-based architects The System Lab. With a steep sugar loaf-shaped peak as a backdrop, it comprises Villa Kosmo, a private four-bedroom villa with two saunas and an infinity hot tub, and Villa Terre, which houses seven guest rooms, all with sea views and sweeping ceilings. Snow-white concrete walls swoop and swirl like the unusually potent chi energy elds that locals believe flow through the island.

Some of the resort’s high-ceilinged rooms – sparsely furnished with a severe white palette – also curve and bend like the interior of a giant seashell. It’s no surprise that the diversions here are almost entirely nature-based, taking full advantage of the island’s pristine haul of sea caves, waterfalls and ancient forests. Equally arresting is the work of chef Sun-jin Hwang (ex-El Bulli and Noma), whose menu features Dokdo shrimps with an oyster emulsion, and a short rib cooked sous-vide in red wine for 40 hours.

Location: 88-13, Chusan-gil, Buk-myeon, Ulleung-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do
Design: The System Lab
Room Rates: From £237

BEST NEW OR RENOVATED HOTEL SHORTLIST

Amanyangyun
Shanghai, China

Amanyangyun shanghai exterior image

When entrepreneur Ma Dadong learned that an ancient camphor forest and a number of historic villages near his hometown of Fuzhou, Jiangxi, were going to be demolished after the construction of a new dam, he decided to take action. This meant relocating 10,000 ancient trees and 50 houses, brick by brick, to a new ten-hectare plot 700km away. Fifteen years later, the transplanted forest is flourishing and the historic homes have just opened as the new Amanyangyun resort. Kerry Hill Architects transformed the buildings into 13 villas and added 24 courtyard suites, with access to a private garden and swimming pool. The houses’ original soaring ceilings, timber beams and stone carvings have been updated with local wood furnishings and subtle Asian details such as lattice screens and lamps. Alongside a cinema and a sprawling spa, there is also Nanshufang, a recreation of the scholars’ studios of 17th-century China, where guests can experience tea ceremonies and learn traditional crafts such as calligraphy. Dining options include Lazhu, which specialises in spicy dishes from Jiangxi, the original home of the property’s camphor trees and ancient villas.

Location: 6161 Yuanjiang Road, Minhang District
Design: Kerry Hill Architects
Room Rates: From CNY5,000 ($728)

The Jaffa
Tel Aviv, Israel

The Jaffa Hotel, Israel

Housed in a renovated 19th-century hospital combined with a substantial new build, The Jaffa is a collaboration between Aby Rosen and hotel group Marriott, who enlisted the help of British designer John Pawson and local practice Ramy Gill. Over a decade in the making, the 120-room property features grand columns with Corinthian cornices that form a stone canopy above a minimalist marble reception desk in the lobby, and ornate stained-glass windows that throw ashes of mottled colour across austere furnishings. The hotel’s rooms reflect the warm, neutral tones of Jaffa’s ubiquitous stonework, while the furniture nods to the Bauhaus style for which Tel Aviv is renowned. Old and new sit in harmony on the outside, too, as the façade of the old hospital, with its arched windows and sturdy architectural detailing, meshes with the robust, angular lines of the contemporary wing. And while the area is home to some of the city’s best eateries, guests will find a diverse range of restaurants within The Jaffa, from a Jewish deli to a New York-style Italian.

Location: 2 Louis Pasteur Street
Design: John Pawson and Ramy Gill
Room Rates: From $500

Verride Palácio Santa Catarina 
Lisbon, Portugal

verride palacio santa catarina, lisbon

Located next to the Santa Catarina viewpoint in Lisbon’s hip Chiado neighbourhood, this boutique hotel is housed in a handsome 18th-century palácio boasting panoramic views of the Tagus. In restoring the interiors, architect Teresa Nunes da Ponte walked a fine line between protecting the ancient but still beautiful bones, while injecting a sophisticated modernity. This has meant meticulously restoring the intricate mouldings, wrought-iron staircase, ornamental ceilings, and Portuguese and Greek marble, as well as the original blue-and-white azulejo tiles, which feature in some of the suites. The hotel’s 18 spacious rooms feature a muted palette, low-slung grey sofas, slender ‘AJ’ floor lamps and de Gournay silk wall panels. Meanwhile, gastro bar Suba serves up king crabs with a citrus and guacamole cream, and spicy shrimp aguachile.

Location: Rua de Santa Catarina 1
Design: Teresa Nunes da Ponte Arquitectura
Room Rates: From €500

Tsingpu Retreat
Yangzhou, China

Restaurant at the Tsingpu Retreat, Yangzhou China

Located near Yangzhou’s scenic Slender West Lake, Tsingpu Retreat is a 20-room hotel designed by Shanghai-based studio Neri & Hu, who transformed the site, originally dotted with small lakes and old, abandoned buildings, into a calm grid of low-slung grey-bricked pavilions, courtyards and decorative pools that call to mind traditional hutong houses. The rooms are calm oases lined with terrazzo, white oak, walnut and steel, and kitted out with furniture and lighting custom designed by Neri & Hu for this project. Public spaces, which include an art gallery, theatre and teahouse, are framed by broad timber overhangs that catch the light and slivers of sky, accentuating the sense of peace. At the restaurant, located in a former warehouse, guests can sample local Yangzhou cuisine, including deep-fried mandarin sh with sweet and sour sauce and homemade meatballs, at long communal tables.

Location: 1 Baocheng Road, Hanjiang District
Design: Neri & Hu
Room Rates: From CNY2,988 ($435). §