Design Hotels Inc. advises and markets around 100 of the best designed and most innovative hotels across the globe.
Design - Hotel Room or Art Exhibit?
What happens when 21 graffiti artists, graphic designers and illustrators get carte blanche to give a blah three-star hotel a radical makeover? Volkswagen staged this experiment to publicize its new VW Fox—and the result is Hotel Fox, Europe's grooviest new hotel, with 61 psychedelic roomscapes. California-based German illustrator Birgit Amadori placed life-size fairy tale-inspired figures in her King's Forest room, while Venezuelan mixed-media artist MASA created a tribute to the trees that surround his Caracas apartment building. Even check-in at the Fox is unorthodox: Guests are given a cooler bag filled with Champagne and chocolates (the "lovers" bag), beer and popcorn (the "movie" bag) or Bloody Mary makings and aspirin (the "hangover" bag). Still, it's not all gimmickry: The bathrooms are normal. Details: Doubles from $150; Jarmers Plads 3; 011-45-3395-7755 or http://www.hotelfox.dk
Hotel Puerta América
It would not be overstating the case to call Puerta América the most ambitiously designed hotel ever. No fewer than 19 of the world's hottest talents collaborated to create the interior of this 342-room, sunset-colored, wedge-shaped building—itself the work of French superstar architect Jean Nouvel. Rather than choose a deluxe or an executive suite, you choose your favorite designer. Is it Iraqi-British avant-gardist Zaha Hadid? Then stay in her curvaceous white room, with walls made of LG Hi-Macs (a malleable, Corianlike material). Maybe it's British minimalist supreme David Chipperfield? Then choose his room with the black terra-cotta tile floor and wall of white sheers. After check-in, have a cocktail in the Marc Newson-designed bar. Details: Doubles from $365; Av. América 41; 011-34-91-744-5400 or
Hotel des Arts
This modest 51-room hotel has been quietly distinguishing itself from its middle-of-the-road rivals by gradually covering its walls with art by emerging talent. Nothing is framed, though. The artists range from techno-punk mavericks to stars on the verge. Brian Ermanski's room, a riot of black, white, fuchsia and turquoise, is so dense with text you'll be up all night reading; Anthony Skirvin's is an unsettling conceptual installation, a hideout full of personal effects that look like they could have been left behind by the Unibomber; David DeRosa's has a color-saturated portrait that hovers over the bed. Details: "Painted rooms" from $119 for a double (to reserve one, call the hotel instead of booking online); 447 Bush St.; 800-956-4322 or
Boquitas Pintadas, Buenos Aires Six bedrooms in this "Art Supermarket/Hotel" contain installations, graffiti and video art, all for sale. Once the pieces are sold, new artists redo the rooms. Details: Doubles from $135; Estados Unidos 1393; 011-54-11-4381-6064 or
Hôtel du Petit Moulin, Paris Christian Lacroix's batty, hyper-ornate fashions have been translated into interiors at this new Le Marais hotel. Details: Doubles from $220; 29/31 rue du Poitou; 011-33-1-4274-1010 or http://www.paris-hotel-petitmoulin.com
Lute Suites, Amsterdam Seven 18th-century houses along the Amstel River, just outside the city in Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, were fitted out by star local designer Marcel Wanders. Details: Doubles from $360; Amsteldijk Zuid 54-58; 011- 31-20-4722-462 or
I'm calling them "haute-tels" because they are luxury resort hotels that are being built by fashion designers.
Back in 2004, when Bulgari teamed up with Marriott/Ritz Carlton, there was no connection between fashion and travel, except for designers and models shacking up in fancy hotels on their glamorous globe-trots. But today, everyone from Betsey Johnson to Vera Wang is getting into the hotel and hospitality world. However, according to Forbes, industry analysts are skeptical because not only is the hospitality industry notoriously difficult (as if fashion weren't - pshaw!), but diluting a specialty luxury brand is risky. Designers, though seem to want exactly that - expanding their specialty reputation in shoes or leather or ballgowns into a "lifestyle brand."
Here are Forbes picks ten designer hotels:
Anouska Hempel has four hotels around the globe: Blakes London, Blakes Amsterdam, The Hempel (London) and Warapuru (Brazil). www.anouskahempeldesign.com
Betsey Johnson's Betseyville is on the Pacific coast of Mexico. www.betseyville.com
Bulgari Hotels and Resorts are currently in Milan and Bali, with more to open. www.bulgarihotels.com
Casual footwear maker Camper has a hotel in Barcelona, Spain near their headquarters. www.camper.es
Salvatore Ferregamo has teamed up with luxury hotelier Lungarno Hotels, with the newest property opened above a Ferragamo boutique in Rome. www.lungarnohotels.com
In the playground for billionaires, Dubai developer EMAAR has invested $1 billion in Girogio Armani's Armani Hotels, the first of which will open in Dubai in 2008. www.emaar.com
Karl Lagerfeld has re-done a German castle into the Schlosshotel in Grunewald. www.schlosshotelberlin.com
K Club in Barbuda, West Indies is the property of Mariuccia Mandelli, the designer behind Krizia. www.kclubbarbuda.com
Though she doesn't own the entire hotel, Vera Wang has designed a suite in the Halekulani Resort on Oahu. www.halekulani.com
Donatella Versace has built the palatial Palazzo Versace in Australia. www.palazzoversace.com.au
Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy
Sleep and dine from one to five stars
The Lloyd Hotel is a new Dutch hotel centrally situated in the fashionable heart
of Amsterdam’s Eastern Docklands Area. Renowned Dutch architects, designers and artists have transformed this monument dating from 1921 in a hotel where many inhabitants of Amsterdam, international artists, tourists and business people feel at home. The service is the same for everybody: 24 hours room service, free WIFI and satlellite television on all rooms. There is a restaurant, a bar, a library and even a “corner” shop.
NEW MAJESTIC HOTEL - Singapore
Singapore is the latest city to unveil a new themed room hotel, putting the 'b' into boutique as it's never been before. The new generation design hotel is all about individuality and intimacy - the anti hotel if you will - more Hollywood mansion than mega hotel chain.
Singapore's fabulous New Majestic Hotel fits the bill, with 30 unique rooms designed by prominent artists and designers. Showcasing a mix of vintage and new furniture, the rooms adhere to different themes from the 'Hanging Bed Room' where murals span whole walls through to the incredible Aquarium Room where a glass-encased bathtub sits in the middle of the room.
The Grand old lady (Majestic hotel @ Chinatown) reopen after an estimate $3 million Extreme makeover.
There is a special 10m long pool and all the room are specially design according to their location in the Hotel.
The room are theme in the following:
(1) Da Jie room : Inspired by Power Puff girl & Charlie Angel's; there is a potrait of a lady at the head of the bed.
(2) The Pussy Parlour : Inspired by Pop Art, Fashion Show sets and MAC cosmetic campaigns; had a nice springy bed with 4 post around the 4 corner.
(3) Fluid room : This room had a sleek and sexy ambience; which is design by the famous designer-Wykidd Song & his friend (Greg Elliot).
(5) There is this room that had no window, but it had ceiling mirrors that create a special effect on light within, that would brighten up the room.
(6) Weeds room : As the name suggest, there are weeds that grow out from anywhere, even from cracks in the walls.
Well, the rate are from S$280 to S$600 a night. Location is at bukit Pasoh Road (nickname Mistress Street), which is about 100m from outram park MRT station Exit. The new owner (owner of hotel1929) had bought over the 4 storey Hotel and configured it from a 56 rundown rooms into 30 rooms with a hip design sense but still have a hint of the grand old lady Glory day with the quirkily stylish lobby (the ceiling).
Hope this is good news to anyone who are looking for a unique place to stay in Singapore.
This list was complied while I was coordinating the Swinburne National Institute of Design Research NIDR masters of multimedia design course.