Traveling after the pandemic is going to be uncertain, extremely cautious and probably boring as well. But as you ease back into travel, perhaps you could indulge more in safely sanitised luxury hotels – which have stunningly beautiful interiors – as compared to stepping on the road for sightseeing just yet. Moving from being mere accommodation, visit these hotels which assure you of a terrific story to tell back home
By: Nikita Vivek Pawar
Posted on: June 30, 2020
Travellers of this age need hotels that are vibrant and provide ‘Instagram-worthy’ pictures. As the cookie-cutter hotel fades away, hotel groups are trying to build properties that offer much more than the usual elite benefits. To amplify the ‘wow’ factor, hotel brands are now opening or acquiring hotels and resorts at places that not only add into the experience of unique landscapes, but also extraordinary experiences within the hotel.
Interiors of hotels are often over-shadowed by the destination they are in. As famous American designer Charles Eames said, "The details are not the details. They make the design". The interiors of a hotel equally contribute to the overall experience of guests. Here are 5 hotels who have successfully balanced the scale and created enthralling interiors that have a story to tell.
Words fall short to describe the splendour of Italy’s Capri Island. The combination of the whites, blues, and rust against the bluish-turquoise Mediterranean Sea create an enchanting painting. Situated on a five-minute walk from the Piazzetta, the 46-room Tiberio Palace capitalizes on the magnificent blue waves and white beaches.
Milanese designer Gianpiero Panepinto brings the true nucleus of the island: fresh yet retro! From Hawaiian totems in the lobby and South African wooden ceiling fans to Indonesian pouffes in the bar, the hotel is creatively designed to provide guests with a class-apart experience. The blend of contemporary and retro design reminds us of 1960s La Dolce Vita with smartly placed nostalgic pieces like mismatched printed furniture, pop art paintings, vintage armchairs, bright hand-glazed local ceramic tiles, patterned textiles and geometric wallpapers. The hotel is a treaty between nature and human civilisation.
At Tiberio Palace, every room is a masterpiece with unique pieces - from wooden sculptures, framed mirrors hanging over the built-in sofa, groovy lamps, curiosities from around the world and coffee table books. The wallpapers in the rooms imbibe the calming yet meaningful energy of the seas. The restaurants are full of colour, fun and excitement. The indoor, as well as outdoor dining space, is beautifully seasoned with wicker furniture and umbrellas. The indoor and outdoor pool are inspired by Roman architecture with archways and columns surrounding the terrace.
The Taschen library (the first of its kind in Italy) is another hidden and creative jewel with the bookshelves scattered across the property’s public areas for patrons to read as it would please them.
Hotel Des Indes, Hague has an unusual location, bright yellow exteriors, and the regal coat of arms of Batavia on the building façade. Standing tall since 1881, the hotel has a history full of romance, tragedy, amplified by its shabby chic design which is both charming and intriguing. The minute and intricate details like the initial ‘B’ on all glided doorknobs on the doors to the Van Brienen Salon, or the faux wooden tulip vase bearing the room number, heated slate floors and solid marble sinks in the bathrooms offer a historic insight to the hotel. The last of the four renovations was completed in 2006, expertly overseen by French interior designer architect Jacques Garcia, creating spaces fit for modern royalty.
The first floor consists of a grand ballroom accommodating around 200 guests. A note-worthy element is the huge bronze chandelier dominating the circular cutaway between the lounge below and mezzanine meeting rooms.
Consisting of 92 rooms and suites, the Victorian vibe is consistent. All steps are muffled by thick Brussels carpets. The rooms are done with canopy bed frames, and mahogany-finished armoires and desks that reference miscellaneous colonial styles. Wallpapers are in dusky and Victorian colour schemes—camel, mauve, olive, and taupe. The marble bathrooms are stocked with Molton Brown amenities, rain showers and soaking tubs. The restaurants at the hotel have a character of their own. The Des Indes Bar has a rich jewel-toned purple and brown combination, leaded windows, and high ceilings with extravagant chandeliers to add to the intimate yet palatial experience.
District 1 of the Ho Chi Minh City is busy, elaborate. Located in the bustling city, in the Times Square building, Reverie Saigon is the epitome of luxury. The structure and interior design were expertly completed after consulting a Feng Shui master. To say the least, Reverie Saigon oozes with oriental royalty, infusing European designs with Asian influences and Vietnamese tastes. The main lobby, situated on the 7th floor, is beautifully decorated with vibrant mosaics by Sicis of Italy and exemplary Italian marble flooring. Asian symbolism can be found throughout the property – however, subtle and discreet.
There is a grand five-metre long sofa from Colombostile, custom-made, with purple ostrich leather and bejewelled by a singular, precious amethyst stone. Another custom-made 3-metre tall emerald green Baldi Monumental clock, that weighs nearly 1,000 kilos, pulls your gaze. This dazzling hotel features 286 rooms alongside 89 residential-style suites, all of which are among the largest in the city and feature incomparable views of the Saigon River and the city skyline.
At The Royal Pavilion, the hotel’s fine-dining Cantonese restaurant, an interior marked by red and gold speak to the many countries influenced by China, while Romeo and Juliet has an Italian themed décor. The 12 different types of rooms available house most furniture by the legendary Philippe Stack, and broached wallpapers from Rubelli, Italy’s most exquisite textile company.
The winding staircase of the spa is crafted with white and gold mosaic and every therapy room incorporates leather-clad walls, fitted with 400-thread count Frette sheets and bath linens. A 7.3 metres central chandelier shines with Swarovski crystals in the centre of the hotel’s ballroom.
Bangkok-based designer Bill Bensley is known for being a visionary and designing hotels and resorts that are extraordinary and out of the box. The Capella Ubud was his first camp-themed resort. The 22 one-bedroom ultra-luxurious tented camps and a two-bedroom lodge takes you on a ride of profound spirituality. Mr. Bensley’s design scheme for this jungle sanctuary takes its cue from the colonial décor brought to Bali by European settlers in the early 1800s, combining it with local touches. Not a single tree was cut during the construction of the camp, capturing the imagination of those looking for a truly unique experience.
Situated on the hills near the Vos river, and the tents placed so to attain maximum privacy, and views of the jungle, rice terrace settings and the river, one has to hike down the earthen trails to reach the tents. Welcomed with a camping survival and essentials kit – the camping feel is real here! Available in four colour schemes, each of the tents feature a private saltwater pool, large outdoor decks, indoor and outdoor bathrooms and a bespoke theme –based on the characters and professions of the early explorers, such as Captain, Naturalist, Cartographer, Translator, Toy Maker and Story Teller.
Keeping the sustainability virtue intact, the windows are also made from canvas with zips. Every room has valuable antique art objects, paintings and furniture. Integrating traditional Balinese architectural elements, every tent has antique local style bed frames, hand-carved doors that took about a year to commission, and entrance gates, suspension bridges and Balinese ‘poleng’ and ‘ikat’ linens. The throne toilet, a key aspect of the rooms, though unpractical even with curtains, is a different experience!
The common elevated pool, called the cistern, made of large steel plates each weighing 100 kilos, pays homage to the old water collection systems, and offers a magnificent 360-degree panoramic view of the Keliki Valley. Apart from that, the hotel has the camp’s dining room Mads Lange, and Asian street food barbecue at Api Jiwa providing the best of the Balinese cuisine. To elevate the camping experience, there is a campfire every evening for pulled hot chocolate and toasted marshmallows under the stars with a local storyteller.
Three Auriga Wellness tents artfully link the indoors and outdoors. Furthermore, The Armory, the camp’s tented gymnasium, houses a state-of-the-art line-up of work-out equipment along with barre for barre-based classes.
The Toren by The Pavilion Hotels is a silent spectator of history. A few blocks away from the Anne Frank house, the Toren is a combination of two extremely private and unique canal houses perched on the banks of the famous Keizersgracht (Emperor’s Canal) of Amsterdam.
Built-in the 17th century, the houses also posed as safe houses for fleeing Jews from the neighbouring countries. The hotel is full of luscious fabrics, deep and rich purples and burgundy, dark carved wood chairs, and vases of fresh flowers. Designer Wim van de Oudeweetering is the master-creator of the rich colours, bold patterns, and theatrical details. The giant chandeliers make the lobby and corridors lavish and grand. The hotel is decorated more like a millionaire’s residence than a hotel. With spiral staircases in the main house – a typical in Amsterdam canal houses, the cosy yet alarmingly luxurious hotel grapples you into a completely another world as you step in. A painted ceiling, carved wainscoting and stucco moulding are some of the originals that are still intact. Despite lacking a wellness or fitness facilities, there is a spacious silent garden courtyard of the main house that is a heavenly sanctuary.
There are a variety of rooms to choose from, some small and some rather spread out and some with views of the canals. Every room is individually decorated with the four-poster bed, gilded ceilings, Empire-style writing desk and the abstract wallpaper like crocodile skin or the snakeskin faux corrugated-zinc wallpaper. Opulent golds and purple decor bring a modern touch to the rooms. There are other quirky touches like fringe curtains for some walls and skirt of the four-poster. A few rooms have a little more subdued décor with silvery wallpapers.
The hotel dwells in a dark and mysterious mode offering a unique experience altogether. The bar lounge is arguably the best touch of the hotel. It has maintained some of the most historic elements of the building. With the same golds and purple interiors, there’s no better place for one of the best Gin and Tonics or cocktails that Amsterdam offers!