LIFESTYLE

The No-Frills Thrills

by Anton D. Javier
10 Mar 2017

A tightly edited design that leans towards the masculine is redefining the look of new hotels

Besides rigorously trained staff anticipating every guest’s demand, a pervasive, coherent design is among the things that make hotel stays a treat.

And where interiors and décor are concerned, softer has always seemed better. A dramatic spiral staircase is de rigueur, as well as tassels dangling from every curtained area. Cloud-like carpets are essential, while towering floral centerpieces should be visible in just about every corner.

But given the current ‘less is more’ aesthetics, independent hoteliers are starting to scale back the decorative bells and whistles in the lobbies and guestrooms. They play up instead the distinct charm of polished concrete floors and the warmth of wooden walls. Meanwhile, ‘industrial’ light fixtures are replacing ornate chandeliers.

Proving this global shift is a handful of newly launched design-centric hotels that are breaking away from tradition—from Lima to Chicago.

 

  • ATIX HOTEL, LA PAZ
  • MEMMO PRíNCIPE REAL, LISBON
  • THE ROBEY, CHICAGO
  • SIR SAVIGNY, BERLIN & SIR ADAM, AMSTERDAM

Atix Hotel, La Paz

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Atix Hotel breaks away from tradition that’s often associated with luxury hospitality in La Paz, Bolivia. It rejects a European template that deeply influences the city’s buzzing Calacoto district, and instead, draws heavily on its own identity.

The hotel is a celebration of Bolivia’s cultural heritage, beginning with a façade of locally sourced natural timber and Comanche stone, which was used to pave the streets of La Paz in the ‘20s and ‘30s. Details, such as handcrafted furniture in a neutral colour palette and alpaca, throw a nod to Bolivia’s rich culture of quality craftsmanship. In addition, Bolivian artist Gastón Ugalde’s presence can be subtly felt through his original pieces dotting public areas, hallways and guestrooms. 

Beyond design, everything local is also celebrated at the on-site restaurant Ona, which boasts an innovative menu comprised of fresh, seasonal, and locally sourced ingredients from Lake Titicaca to the Amazon. Meanwhile, Atix Hotel’s The Market—an in-house market offering organic produce—is a showcase of a curated mix of local goods that are selected in collaboration with socially-conscious organizations that support neighboring farmers.

www.atixhotel.com

 

 

  • ATIX HOTEL, LA PAZ
  • MEMMO PRíNCIPE REAL, LISBON
  • THE ROBEY, CHICAGO
  • SIR SAVIGNY, BERLIN & SIR ADAM, AMSTERDAM

Memmo Príncipe Real, Lisbon

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Portugal’s capital is celebrated for the harmonious blend of old and new, and reflecting this is the most anticipated hotel in town—the Memmo Príncipe Real. The hotel was brought to life by Samuel Torres de Carvalho, a Madrid-born Portuguese architect who is celebrated for his spectacular modernism that is seen as an ode to Lisbon’s memorable charm.

An apparent heavy handedness takes centre stage here, with limestone floors used in the reception area all the way to the bar, while natural oak is applied in the guestrooms’ custom cabinetry, walk-in closets, headboards, and even sliding doors. Softening all of these are floor-to-ceiling windows, which invites the golden Portuguese sun in, while providing uninterrupted views of the city. 

The hotel’s Café Colonial also celebrates the old and the new, with offerings created by Vasco Lello, a 35-year-old chef who takes inspiration from a variety of South American countries, Africa and even Asia. However, the cross-cultural cuisine he dishes up still have their roots in Portuguese cooking traditions, which he credits to the wisdom of both his grandmothers, and the home cooking he enjoyed daily as a child.

www.memmohotels.com

  • ATIX HOTEL, LA PAZ
  • MEMMO PRíNCIPE REAL, LISBON
  • THE ROBEY, CHICAGO
  • SIR SAVIGNY, BERLIN & SIR ADAM, AMSTERDAM

The Robey, Chicago

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An Art Deco skyscraper from 1929 in the Windy City has been repurposed to what is now known as The Robey, a modern yet timeless hotel that boasts 69 guest rooms, a second-floor lounge, an exclusive guest-only rooftop lounge, and a soon-to-open rooftop pool.

The building, fondly referred to as the Coyote Building because of its ‘howling’ appearance, favors a minimalist design with glass, concrete, chrome and natural wood used throughout the public spaces and guestrooms. Adding to its photogenic appeal is the building’s unique triangular footprint, which boasts lively views of the city, as well as an abundance of natural light that keeps the hotel from looking and feeling clinical. The hotel’s Art Deco roots have been maintained in the herringbone hardwood floors and furniture that ranges from sleek and streamlined to inviting and contemporary.

For fancy yet friendly affairs, Café Robey on the ground floor is the place. Helmed by chef Bradley Stellings, it boasts industrial finishes, high ceilings, and a backdrop of Wicker Park and Bucktown’s six-corner intersection. Guests and locals can enjoy Stellings’ French-American fare in cool style for breakfast, lunch, dinner or weekend brunch.

www.therobey.com

  • ATIX HOTEL, LA PAZ
  • MEMMO PRíNCIPE REAL, LISBON
  • THE ROBEY, CHICAGO
  • SIR SAVIGNY, BERLIN & SIR ADAM, AMSTERDAM

Sir Savigny, Berlin & Sir Adam, Amsterdam

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Any property from the SIR hotel family, which has its roots in Amsterdam, wouldn’t look out of place in a Tom Ford or Wes Anderson film. It prides itself as a chic home away from home for a new breed of the upper class. As expected, each hotel under the group promises smart designs, pitch-perfect locations, and a familiar experience that’s comparable to staying at the home of a close friend who has impeccable, worldly taste.

If you’re in Berlin, ease into a hedonist’s playground known as the Sir Savigny. The recently opened property lets you indulge in much needed rest in the luxurious guestrooms outfitted by Amsterdam-based designer Saar Zafrir, while a walk around the property will have you admiring the eclectic art collection in various areas. Meanwhile, slow down and sip on an expertly made tipple fireside in the Winter Garden, peruse an extensive book collection in The Library, or pass the time in the Savigny Garden, a leafy urban retreat to disappear in. 

Meanwhile, the Sir Adam in Amsterdam is like stepping into the achingly chic retreat of a music aficionado. New York-based agency Icrave is responsible for bringing the second Amsterdam outpost’s interiors and vibe to life, and by the looks of it, is set to become a cultural hotspot for visitors and locals alike. In the guestrooms, lose yourself in the music, which either wafts from Crosley record players or from the visual melodies created by the illuminated song lyrics adorning the walls. And when you’re finally in the mood to socialize, make your way to The Butcher Social Club for one of the best burgers in town, accompanied by live DJ sets, or to The Beer Garden, which offers unrivalled rooftop views of the city.

www.sirsavignyhotel.com