ENVIRONMENT

The best-designed hotels in the world

From a Thai beach house the Kardashians loved to a grand Manchester manor and a Maldivian resort with its own marine biologist

  • These architectural gems have been deemed worthy of inclusion in the Design Hotels collection 
  • The collection is described as ‘a handpicked portfolio of one-of-a-kind properties across the globe’ 
  • Here we present our pick of the portfolio, which also includes properties in Italy, France, NYC and Mexico

Hey, good looking!

Welcome to the most eye-catching hotels in the world – architectural gems so aesthetically pleasing that they’ve been deemed worthy of inclusion in the Design Hotels collection, ‘a handpicked portfolio of one-of-a-kind properties across the globe’.

Here we present our picks of a most impressive crop, from a jaw-dropping resort in the Maldives (with its own marine biologist) to a boutique property set in ancient caves in Italy and from a stunningly renovated manor house in Manchester to a ‘spectacular’ Thai beach house the Kardashians stayed in.

Seaside Finolhu Maldives employs an on-site marine biologist to tend to flora and fauna

Seaside Finolhu Maldives 

So dedicated is Seaside Finolhu Maldives to giving its guests a pristine tropical eco-system to ensconce themselves in that it employs an on-site marine biologist to tend to flora and fauna.

The resort also places a premium on offering jaw-dropping accommodation – there are 125 private villas, half of which have a pool.

The Design Hotels website, designhotels.com, says of the architecture: ‘Contemporary architectural design mixes harmoniously with rustic touches throughout the resort, with modern-style buildings fashioned using Maldivian influences. Though formidable, spacious, and embracing on the inside, the private villas are constructed with natural thatch roofs and light, unassuming exteriors that enable them to disappear into the surrounding natural flora.’

Nature Eco Residences, Santorini

And relax… Nature Eco Residences is a ‘sanctuary of stone carved from stone’

Behold… and sigh longingly.

There are several breathtaking hotels in Santorini – and Nature Eco Residences is most definitely one of them.

Designhotels.com describes the 15-room property, which is near the ancient settlement of Akrotiri, as balancing ‘sublime privacy with bright open spaces’ – a ‘sanctuary of stone carved from stone’.

 

Olea All Suite Hotel, Zakynthos island, Greece

This striking hotel was dreamt up by Athens and Stockholm-based firm Block722architects+, which created, says designhotels.com, a ‘sprawling property of 93 suites revolving around a 4,000-square-meter (43,055-square-foot) pool that resembles a lake’.

This striking hotel was dreamt up by Athens and Stockholm-based firm Block722architects+

Streams and pools ‘meander between island-like clusters of tropical-modernist cube structures, hidden gardens and age-old olive trees’.

The top room is a 1,130-square-foot presidential suite with a private infinity pool and terrace.

 

 

 

Iniala Beach House, Thailand 

Famous family stamp of approval: The Kardashians stayed here for six days in 2014

Check-in at the Iniala Beach House in Phang Nga province and you’ll be entering, according to designhotels.com, a ‘masterpiece of design that fuses traditional Thai architecture with organic, contemporary forms amid a world of sublime luxury’.

The property is set on the pristine sands of Natai Beach and the accommodation options are limited, but jaw-dropping – three ‘exquisite’ villas, two suites, and a ‘spectacular’ penthouse.

The view? The glistening turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea. Famous guests? The Kardashians stayed here for six days in 2014.

 

The Slate, Phuket

The Slate’s award-winning Coqoon Spa is housed inside gigantic bulbous wicker structures

One of the most eye-catching features at The Slate is the award-winning Coqoon Spa, which is housed inside gigantic bulbous wicker structures hung from a colossal banyan tree.

The resort also harbours 184 suites and villas, eight restaurants and three swimming pools.

In summary? It’s a resort to swoon over, says designhotels.com.

 

Rockhouse Hotel, Jamaica

If you want to indulge a castaway fantasy – put the Rockhouse Hotel on your bucket list.

If you want to indulge a castaway fantasy – put the Rockhouse Hotel on your bucket list

Designhotels.com says that its ‘hexagonal thatched-roof buildings, the volcanic Jamaican coastline, and sparkling turquoise waters’ give it a ‘look and feel that’s straight out of a Robinson Crusoe fantasy’.

There’s a stunning infinity pool and ladders and stairs carved into the rock for quick access to the Caribbean Sea for a salty swim.

 

 

Hotel Alaia, Chile

This 12-suite property on Chile’s Punta de Lobos peninsula is housed inside ‘low-lying minimalist

This property is housed inside structures made of materials upcycled after the 2010 earthquake

structures made of native woods, black rock, and materials upcycled after the 2010 earthquake’.

The interiors, meanwhile, comprise ‘rough wood panelling, surfing paraphernalia, photography and sculptures’.

And on the outside? One of Chile’s best spots for surfing.

 

Hotel Escondido, Mexico 

Hotel Escondido sits between the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra Madre del Sur mountain range

Hotel Escondido, which sits between the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra Madre del Sur mountain range,

is a ‘private paradise for beach bums and thrill-seekers alike,’ says designhotels.com.

The former because… well, look at the photographs. And the latter because this spot is a renowned surf spot.

Accommodation is in the form of rustic bungalows with sea – and cactus – views.

 

Ion Adventure Hotel, Selfoss, Iceland 

Concrete chic’ is the name of the game at the Ion Adventure Hotel – plus ‘warm accents of locally

‘Concrete chic’ is the name of the game at the Ion Adventure Hotel

salvaged driftwood and lava’, says designhotels.com.

The hotel, in the town of Selfoss, rose phoenix-like from the ashes of an abandoned inn.

It’s now a truly innovative – and enticingly secluded – place to stay.

 

The Omnia, Zermatt, Switzerland

The Omnia sits 5,410ft up in the Swiss Alps, above the Zermatt but far below the summit of the iconic Matterhorn nearby.

The Omnia sits 5,410ft up in the Swiss Alps, in the shadow of the iconic Matterhorn

Designhotels.com says the architectural style is ‘American Modernism meets European craftsmanship’.

The 30 rooms and suites are all unnumbered, apparently to ‘enhance the homey mountain lodge feel’, and are all unique.

 

 

 

 

Adelphi Hotel, Melbourne, Australia

Whimsical, comfortable – and edgy. These are some of the key ingredients of the warehouse-style Adelphi

Whimsical, comfortable – and edgy. These are some of the key ingredients of the warehouse-style Adelphi.

Up top there’s a cantilevered glass-bottomed pool that juts two metres out over Flinders Lane.

And inside there’s the renowned Om Nom Kitchen restaurant – and a large horse and carriage sculpture that doubles as the reception desk.

 

 

Domaine Des Andéols, Saint-Saturnin-Lès-Apt, France

The stunning outdoor pool at Domaine Des Andéols, which offers 19 villas

 

One hour from Avignon nestles Domaine Des Andéols and its 19 villas.

Each of these has a living room, some have private pools and gardens.

Designhotels.com points out that the property is also home to ‘a very personal collection of art and furniture’.

 

 

The Seezeitlodge Hotel & Spa, says Designhotels.com, ‘is a sublimely relaxing retreat’. Pictured is the ‘spa village’

Seezeitlodge Hotel & Spa, Gonnesweiler, Germany

And breathe…

The Seezeitlodge Hotel & Spa, says Designhotels.com, ‘is a sublimely relaxing retreat – a natural extension of the tall oak trees, rolling hills, and hypnotic water that surrounds it’.

There are 98 rooms and suites and outside there’s a ‘sauna village’ and herb garden.

 

Eremito, Parrano, Umbria, Italy

This eco-resort in Umbria was built, explains designhotels.com, stone by stone (130,000 in total) on

In total, 130,000 stones were used to build this remarkable property

top of a derelict house over four years using ‘the ancient art of Italian masonry from the 13th century’.

The hard work definitely paid off.

The result is a magical medieval-style retreat – where candles are the main source of lighting to keep things truly olde worlde.

 

 

Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita, Matera, Italy 

If you harbour any living-like-the-Flintstones fantasies, this is the place to indulge them

If you harbour any living-like-the-Flintstones fantasies, this is the place to indulge them.

Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita, in the village of Matera, is situated inside ancient abandoned cave dwellings. There are 18 ‘impeccable’ rooms altogether – and some that feature a balcony.

The verdict of Designhotels.com? ‘An architectural masterpiece that provides a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.’

 

Oddfellows On The Park, Manchester, United Kingdom 

The 19th-century Victorian mansion Bruntwood Hall has been transformed into Oddfellows On The Park hotel

The 19th-century Victorian mansion Bruntwood Hall has been transformed, following a ‘meticulous renovation’, into Oddfellows On The Park hotel.

You’ll find it around nine miles from Manchester set in 100 acres of bucolic parkland.

There are 22 rooms, many with original Victorian design elements, Designhotels.com points out.

 

 

Hôtel Les Roches Rouges, Saint Raphael, France 

This stunning hotel is a firm favourite with ‘influencers’ – but you can see why they like to go there to

This stunning hotel is a firm favourite with ‘influencers’ – but you can see why they like to go there to distribute their ‘influence’

distribute their ‘influence’.

It’s outrageously cool – a throwback, says Designhotels.com, to ‘the classic French Riviera style of the late 1950s/early 1960s’.

Book a room, admire its vintage furniture then go for dips in the outdoor pools – one contains natural seawater, the other is cut directly into the coastal rock.

‘It’s the perfect Provence escape,’ says the website.

 

The Ludlow Hotel, New York City

The Ludlow Hotel has the vitality of 1980s New York mixed with a splash of industrial chic and a dollop of opulence.

The Ludlow Hotel has the vitality of 1980s New York mixed with a splash of industrial chic and a dollop of opulence

Designhotels.com loves the oak-panelled walls, the antique chandeliers and the Parisian and New Orleans-inspired craft cocktails served at the bar.

The views of the skyline, meanwhile, are ‘impressive’.

 

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