With competition fiercer than ever, it's nice to see a hotel that's prepared to go that extra mile. New York's newest boutique hotel (opens 1st August), the Nolitan, breaks new ground in guest-pampering with a range of quirky and - we think - long overdue services. Should you so desire, the Nolitan Hotel's staff will lend you a skateboard and book a bath for your dog. Standard check-out time is a very civilised 2pm - because, in their words, 'a good friend wouldn't give you the boot at 11am'.
Situated on the corner of Kenmare and Elizabeth streets, the 55-room hotel starts laying the groundwork for your future satisfaction before you've even checked in. Each reservation is followed up with an email asking guests to complete a personal profile, enabling staff to provide a 'customised' service - from selecting the right pillow type to arranging for organic groceries to be delivered to your room. 'Expect to be greeted by first name when you stay at The Nolitan,' says General Manager Patrik Horstmann. 'We're a place that welcomes your friends, your pets and your quirky requests.' Now there's a challenge.
30 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012; www.nolitanhotel.com
Writer: Damon Syson
The Nolitan Hotel, New York, USA
The Nolitan Hotel, New York, USA
The Nolitan Hotel, New York, USA
25hours Hotel, Vienna, Austria
25hours Hotels has launched its first property outside Germany, bringing its unique take on the boutique hotel experience to Vienna's 7th district, home of the Austrian capital's young, liberal, creative scene. Like previous 25hours properties, the Vienna hotel's décor is inspired by its environment. Drawing on the city's flamboyant big top tradition, its 34 suites are circus-themed, full of witty and surreal touches, such as a ringmaster's scarlet tailcoat or lights in the shape of top hats. Working with architects BWM Architekten und Partner and interior designer Armin Fischer of dreimeta, the 25hours creative team combined Austrian antiques with original pieces from Vienna's three circus buildings and from the private circus of the Empress of Austria. In its current incarnation the hotel comes equipped with a lobby bar, roof terrace and 34 suites with kitchenettes. But plans are afoot to add an additional 187 rooms, a spa/gym, summer garden and restaurant with a terrace facing the Weghuberpark.
Chef Toño Pérez and maitre d'/sommelier José Polo have been hatching their masterplan for seven years: to move their old-style Atrio restaurant in the new part of the city to a cutting edge contemporary building in the Old Town (a UNESCO World Heritage site). The result was certainly worth the wait. Outside, the combination of a traditional stone exterior with an internal contemporary installation - a series of white pillars covering a patio and courtyard garden by architects Mansilla and Tuñon - makes the building truly unique. Inside, the two Michelin-star restaurant offers an avant-garde reinterpretation of regional cuisine, the wine cellar stocks more than 35,000 bottles of wine (among them an amazing collection of Château d´Yquem) and the Relais & Châteaux hotel welcomes guests to 14 exclusive rooms all decorated in the same Scandinavian/Japanese style. The restaurant's excellent graphic design is by Barcelona-based studio Zimmermann. Its whitewashed wood-panelled walls are home to an outstanding art collection (ranging from Spain's Antonio Saura to international stars like Andy Warhol), while the black stone flooring is complemented by tables, sofas and chairs by Hans J. Wegner and lamps by Spanish design company Santa&Cole. To top it all off, there's a fantastic roof terrace with two plunge pools and a bar offering views over the medieval old town.
The Four Seasons' latest venture is a 40-acre walled resort in Morocco's red city, Marrakech. Inspired by local vernacular architecture and the nearby Medina, the hotel feels more like a palace, boasting lush gardens, reflective pools and floating pavilions. Each of the 141 rooms and suites features a terrace and balcony, allowing guests to admire the snow capped Atlas mountains and the Menara gardens surrounding the hotel's grounds. Its flexibility accommodates both families and couples - with two separate swimming pools, one strictly for adults, reflecting the Four Seasons ethos: to cater to the needs of every guest. Relaxation is at its core. The spa pavilion contains 15 treatment rooms with the opportunity to partake in the full hammam treatment, which includes bathing, facials and body wraps using rose and orange oils - culminating in an overwhelming synasthetic experience.
Joining the trend for hotels receiving fashion makeovers, Hotel Maison Champs-Elysées recently commissioned conceptual fashion visionaries Maison Martin Margiela to revamp much of its interior. Of the hotel's 57 rooms, 17 of them (known as the 'couture' rooms), along with communal spaces such as the bar and the ground floor, have been given a dose of the Margiela magic and now feature the quirky, minimal aesthetic the label is famed for. The 5-star hotel is set within a prestigious 19th century Haussmann building originally owned by the Duchess of Rivoli. Located in the hub of Paris' couture boutiques and a stone's throw from the capital's main monuments, fashionistas from around the world finally have the ideal place to hit the hay during Paris Fashion Week.
Earlier this year, Beirut's nocturnal elite greeted the news that legendary rooftop club White would be leaving its home atop the Al Nahar building with dismay. Thankfully its replacement, Iris, has already proved a worthy successor to this iconic location.
Opened in 2006 by Beirut hospitality group Add-Mind, White -- which has moved to a larger venue more suited to its bacchanalian revels -- became one of the mainstays of the city's resurgent nightlife. Iris may host a similarly hip and well-heeled crowd but in search of a less frenetic vibe and with more of a focus on the food.
To smooth the transition, interior architect Suzy Nasr replaced the monochrome décor with magnolia trees, stepped seating areas and custom lighting by PSLAB Design. Now less club, more secluded rooftop garden -- and with spectacular 180º views over the harbour -- you'd be hard pressed to find a better place for a sundowner anywhere in the Med.
There couldn't be a better time to unveil the new W St. Petersburg than during Russia's atmospheric 'white nights'. Sited in the city's historic centre, next to St. Isaac's Cathedral and not far from the lavish Winter Palace and State Hermitage Museum, the 137 room property is St. Petersburg's first contemporary design hotel. The W's restaurant, miX, is run by Alain Ducasse, while the miXup bar has a large rooftop terrace overlooking the Neva River. After exploring the Hermitage, try a Russian Banya (sauna) at the Bliss spa, followed by a red carpet Triple Oxygen Treatment. Inspired by the architectural ancestry of the city and jewel-tones of the famous Fabergé Egg, architect Antonio Citterio and designer Viel Partners worked hand in hand, focusing on colour, light, texture and comfort. Citterio used limestone and German Jura marble for the hotel façade - to blend in with its historic neighbours. 'St. Petersburg is a fantastic city,' he explains. 'The dream of every architect. It was newly built in the 18th century as the capital of the largest country in the world, so everything is monumental. The colours are amazing. The nature, light and panoramas are unique.'
Located in a unique corner of Folkestone harbour, Rocksalt is the first solo restaurant project from ex Gordon Ramsay and Michelin-starred chef Mark Seargent. Designed by local architect Guy Holloway, this spectacular curved building not only boasts panoramic views of the English Channel, it's also conveniently positioned on the harbour's jetty, ready to collect the catch of the day. With ex Claridge's head chef Simon Dyer at the helm, expect a menu that showcases the best of seasonal British produce from local suppliers. It is divided into sections that include Shell Fish and Smoked Fish, Catch of the Day, Fishmonger, Butcher, Sauces, Vegetables, Potatoes and Puddings. Clad in burnt timber and glass, the restaurant also offers a unique glass-walled private dining space with a variety of set menus from the kitchen. With boutique hotels, new art galleries and restaurants you'd actually want to eat in, it's no wonder people are enthusiastically returning to the British seaside.