The ten intimate boltholes proving that size does matter
The ten intimate boltholes proving that size does matter
15 Jun 2018
Intimate, stylish and unique, each of these small hotels – possessing 15 rooms or less – are home to an abundance of personality and charm that belie their size. Havens in their own right, yet undeniably rooted in their locales, these hotels are worth the trip alone.
Ticking all the right boxes of modern escapism is this millennial getaway set in the wild sierras of Maldonado, about 30 kilometres north of Uruguay’s Punta del Este and José Ignacio. The Brazilian and Uruguayan studio MAPA Architects have gently inserted 13 spacious cabins – prefabbed in Montevideo and assembled on-site with minimal disruption to the natural terrain – into 100 hectares of grasslands, spring-water reservoirs, and vineyards. The entire front of each cabin is sheathed in one-way mirror glass which creates a simple but effective camouflage against the setting, while providing the interiors, which are lined with cool dark stone and oak wall panels, with uninterrupted views. And set on a hilltop is a farm-to-table restaurant that serves barbecued lamb, veal and wild boar.
Km 7, Camino La Guillermina, Maldonado, T 598 9546 7676, www.sacromonte.com
Efendi Boutique Hotel
Comprising two 18th-century houses combined to create one property, Efendi Boutique Hotel is definitely a sum of its parts. The result of an eight-year restoration project overseen by Israel’s Antiquities Authority, the hotel honours its past, which is deeply rooted in this historic city of Acre. An 1878 fresco of Istanbul uncovered during the restoration process has been reconditioned, along with various Byzantine, and 16th- and 19th-century Ottoman Empire features, while the spa’s biggest draw is a 400-year-old Turkish bath. Each of Efendi’s 12 guestrooms extend this reverence for history – some featuring refurbished wooden ceilings, others with decorative illustrations – while pendant lamps introduce a modern mood. Nightcaps at The Wine Bar, carved from a 900-year-old wine cellar, appropriately round up evenings in this mystical property.
Louis HaTshi’i Street, T +972-74-7299799, www.efendi-hotel.co.il
Zash Country Boutique Hotel
Archi Riposto, Sicily
Once a winery, now a 10-room luxury hotel, Sicily’s Zash Country Boutique Hotel is a fulfilling country hideaway, supplemented by a slick spa, Mediterranean gardens and a creative restaurant. Guestrooms are evenly spread across three buildings – emphasising the hotel’s overarching mood of intimacy – and are characterised by cool, modern interiors. Floor-to-ceiling windows and glass balconies are instrumental in Zash’s inclusion of a surrounding landscape that incorporates the Gulf of Taormina and rolling countryside, and also imbue the property with a strikingly contemporary aesthetic that makes a welcome change from the region’s usual villa-style. Carved from a former wine cellar, Zash’s restaurant places an emphasis on slow cooking and local wine, while the spa puts volcanic rock from nearby Mount Etna at the heart of both interiors and treatments.
Via Strada Provinciale sp2 no° 60, Archi Riposto 95018, T +39 095 7828932, www.zash.it
Paarl, South Africa
Owned by former magazine editor and local style guru Karen Roos, Babylonstoren, a leisurely hour’s drive east from Cape Town, ticks all our boxes for an old-fashioned yet contemporary and luxurious getaway. Its location at the foot of the Simonsberg Mountains is a picturesque palette of muscular ridges and vineyard-swathed rolling hills. The masterplan comprises just 13 whitewashed cottages that slot seamlessly among the existing preserved Cape Dutch buildings that date back to the 17th and 18th centuries. There is a dreamy spa; a clean-lined steel and glass wine tasting room; and Babel restaurant, which serves up farm-to-fork fare in a disused cowshed. But it’s the kitchen garden that is the star of the show, where eight acres of more than 300 edible plants are best explored in the early morning, on foot with a guide, before heading back to the restaurant to tuck into a hearty breakfast.
Klapmuts Simondium Road, T 27.21 863 3852, www.babylonstoren.com
Troll Peninsula, Iceland
Set amidst the lush rolling hills of northern Iceland’s Trollaskagi peninsula, Deplar Farm is a retreat in every sense. Remote, peaceful and home to just 14 rooms, the 18th-century converted sheep farm is defined by contemporary Nordic country house-styled interiors that inspire hours of repose. Amongst the hotel’s biggest draws are a geothermal pool and two Isopod flotation tanks, while an activity room comes fully stocked with equipment for outdoor pursuits that include snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and dog sledding during the winter months. During the summer, each space is drenched in natural light via a series of floor-to-ceiling windows, which, come end of year, also provide an unfiltered view of the Northern Lights.
Deplar 570, Fljot, Skagafjörður, T 0208 102 9800, www.elevenexperience.com
Los Angeles, USA
This boutique property in Los Feliz by interior designer Sally Breer has just five suites, each conceived as a ‘chapter’ in the life of a well-travelled literary type. The story in the 1920s building starts with a vaguely midwestern ‘Chapter 1’ before progressing through swinging bachelorhood into the more subdued tones of adulthood. Accommodations combine the panache of French modernist-inspired fixtures with vintage furnishings, a warm, well-lived vibe continuing into the happening downstairs wine bar.
4626 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027, T 1.323 660 4300; hotelcovell.com
A jewel in Stockholm’s crown, Ett Hemm is almost synonymous with laidback Swedish style. Originally built in 1910, this arts and crafts townhouse was gently transformed into a 12-room hotel; a delicate process led by owner Jeanette Mix and interior designer Ilse Crawford. Here, lagom thrives, with just the right amount of Scandinavian cool merging with antique furniture, and modern design sensibilities. The outcome is a series of timeless spaces where interiors are an ideal balance of comfort and elegance. A rustic wooden table in the country-style kitchen, for example, sets the scene for informal meals made with seasonal ingredients, while a library area, draped in tones of slate and moss, offers quiet respite amongst wall-high bookshelves, and gives new meaning to the phrase ‘home from home’.
Sköldungagatan 2, T +46 8 20 05 90, www.etthem.se
Located in the heart of Vallata, Casa Ellul is a Victorian former palazzo steeped in Maltese history. Built around 1830, the property is an accurate demonstration of the changing architectural landscape of that era, when tastes for baroque and rococo opulence made way for a more pared back style. As such, the property takes on a neo-classical aesthetic with classic Maltese characteristics, such as concertina doors and patterned tiled flooring. Suites are a cool fusion of antique features, such as original timber-beam ceilings and vintage wardrobes, and modern additions including Ritchie armchairs and Flos Romeo Babe lighting, which even the pace. Rounding the up property is Risette Restaurant, led by Chef Andrew Borg, whose weekly changing menu draws both guests and locals.
81 Old Theatre Street, T +356 21 224 821, www.casaellul.com
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The playful aesthetics of Dutch conceptual design brand Droog are brought to life at Amsterdam’s Hôtel Droog, a multifaceted space spread across a three-storey building that is home to a guest apartment as well as an exhibition space, design store, dining room and whimsical gardens. The One and Only Bedroom is exactly as described, and as the hotel’s sole accommodation offers slightly more square footage than your average city bolthole. Here, from the building’s top floor, guests have full occupancy of a bedroom and bathroom, as well as a living area and kitchen, both of which offer impressive views of the city’s rooftops. Interiors are a harmonious mix of monochromatic palettes and a furniture collection that epitomises the brand’s raison d’être over the past 20 years.
Staalstraat 7B, T +31 20 523 5050, www.droog.com
Cape Town, South Africa
An Edwardian mansion, once owned by shipping magnates and investors Sir John and Lady Ellerman, Ellerman House is now one of Cape Town’s most iconic hotels. A spa, pool, library, whisky bar and tiered gardens provide guests with ample distraction, but the pièce de résistance is undoubtedly the hotel’s selection of art, which totalled over 1000 pieces at last count. The latest addition to the property is Bar Roc. Here, Adam Court of local outfit OKHA Interiors, has embellished raw, exposed stone walls with solid brass details, petrol blue and bottle green velvet furnishings, terrazzo flooring (which extends to the sleek bar) and subtle concealed lighting that highlights the carefully curated artwork — the perfect spot to soak up spectacular sea views with a sundowner.
180 Kloof Road, Bantry Bay, T +27 21 430 3200, www.ellerman.co.za