Travel trends suggest that more and more millennials are setting off on nomadic adventures and intrepid journeys than ever before. Generation Xers, meanwhile, are more inclined to book group holidays (for example renting villas) or focused wellness holidays – indulging in spa or activity breaks in order to recover from stress or detox digitally. While this may be a sweeping generalisation, for the vast majority of holiday-makers nothing beats the thrill of booking a hotel and being inspired by its design and hospitality.
Best for modernists
The Perianth, Athens
Agia Irini Square is one of the hippest addresses in downtown Athens. Formerly the city’s flower market, this piazza is now the epicentre of Athenian café culture. It’s a two-minute walk to Monastiraki metro station (with direct links to Athens airport) and a 15-minute stroll to the Acropolis via the pretty old town of Pláka, or via Monastiraki flea market. Designed by the in-demand K-Studio, the interiors of Perianth Hotel are inspired by the Athenian modernist movement, featuring terrazzo floors, marble furniture, slim black metal frames and wooden surfaces – all with Bauhaus overtones. Artworks by contemporary Greek artists such as Lito Kattou, Rallou Panagiotou and Maria Papadimitriou are on display in rooms and public areas. Il Barretto is the hotel’s main (Italian) restaurant with marble, mirrors and an impressive bar. As for the high-ceilinged bedrooms, with balconies overlooking the square, they are in muted tones and plush textures, while the penthouse suite occupying the sixth floor has its own pool and hot tub overlooking the Acropolis.
Best for tranquility
Masseria Torre Maizza, Puglia
Set in the area of Savelletri di Fasano, situated on the Adriatic coast and surrounded by ancient olive groves, Rocco Forte Hotels’ new Masseria Torre Maizza is a renovated original farmhouse dating back to the 16th century.
The stylish retreat combines Rocco Forte’s signature Anglo-Italian values of service, warmth and hospitality. The resort features 40 suites, all with stunning views of the Apulian countryside, including the addition of the two-bedroom Torre Suite, located on the top floor of the masseria’s original tower. Olga Polizzi, Director of Design for Rocco Forte Hotels, has worked with local artisans to restore the masseria by combining local heritage with contemporary design. Guests have a variety of amenities to choose from while staying at the resort – including a 20-metre pool and a nine-hole golf course, as well as access to a private beach club, fitness centre and spa treatments at the Rocco Forte Spa. Tailor-made experiences and excursions are available and can be created by the concierge in order for guests to discover Puglia.
Best for industrial luxe
Located in Rome’s historic Regola neighbourhood, Chapter Roma has a distinctive contemporary design inspired by its surroundings, spearheaded by owner Marco Cilia and South African interior designer Tristan Du Plessis. The ground floor lobby, cocktail lounge and dining spaces have been stripped to their architectural bones, and house murals by Roman and Californian street artists such as Willy Verginer, Alice Pasquini and Crycle. The edgy space also has groupings of mid-century velvet sofas and armchairs arranged around Seletti rugs, herringbone parquet and green granite floors. The rooms, however, are minimalist and art-free, to enhance relaxation. The overall feel is cutting-edge yet inviting – this is an affordable luxury: a four-star hotel with five-star decor.
Best for a capital break
Belmond Cadogan, London
A short walk from Sloane Square or Knightsbridge, there is no glossier place to stay than the newly-opened Belmond Cadogan, which has as former residents Irish author Oscar Wilde and actress Lillie Langtry. The former Cadogan hotel has been completely rebuilt and is light, airy and elegant. The rooms and suites are stylish yet homely, with velvet, silk, wood, marble and chrome, together with circular tables that double as desks, and statement paintings by local artists. The hotel overlooks Cadogan Place Gardens, a private park to which guests have a key, allowing them to enjoy a stroll, game of tennis or picnic.
Best for design travellers
The Times Square EDITION
In the heart of New York’s entertainment area, The Times Square EDITION – created by Ian Schrager in partnership with Marriott International – does not disappoint. The design credentials are apparent from the lobby and check-in areas, where guests are greeted by a monolithic front desk in ebonised wood with a densely landscaped vertical garden backdrop wall of ivy and succulent planting. The ebony concierge desk and Christian Liaigre light, stools and chairs are just the start of the designer details. Impressive corner suites face Times Square, while the 167-square metre, one-bedroom penthouse – with kitchenette, oak-panelled library/office dining area and large living room hosting furniture by Christian Liaigre and Jean Michel Frank – has arguably the best view of Times Square and the city from its terrace.
Best for sustainable glamour
Located on the remote Raa atoll, Joali comprises 73 elegant private beach and over-water villas. Before guests arrive, the resort offsets all carbon emissions from their stay by working with local communities to re-plant trees. Construction of the resort was designed around the island’s trees to preserve the natural flora of the island. This decision saved over 1000 palm trees, which remain throughout the resort. Joali’s owners have also bought neighbouring islands to preserve their natural environment, as well as to stop any further hotel development, thus keeping the resort’s exclusivity and privacy intact. Joali’s focus on eco-luxury means that all plastic used on-site is both recyclable and recycled, food waste is recycled using an innovative rocket composter, and guests are encouraged to participate in local CSR projects such as planting corals.