Say ‘adios’ to humdrum and ‘hello’ to ten hotels that are so fresh and so cool, they’ll have you reaching for the thermostat. Boutique hotel experts Mr & Mrs Smith have the lowdown on where the trendsetters sleep.
La Maison Champs Elysees - Paris
What: Classic couture, Haussmann heritage Where: 8 rue Jean Goujon
In the heart of the Golden Triangle, where fashion and sophistication reign supreme, La Maison Champs Elysées showcases design icon Martin Margiela’s impeccable aesthetic. A canvas of muted hues and eclectic artworks, the soothing colour palette extends into the monochrome restaurant, elegant White Lounge and darkly seductive Cigar Bar – exclusively for guest use, with staff not permitted inside. The Terrace, a lush green haven in the heart of Paris, is the perfect spot for taking breakfast or reinvigorating exploration-weary muscles.
Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa - Bora Bora
What: Turquoise tryst
Where: Motu Tevairoa, BP 169 Vaitape, Bora Bora, French Polynesia
A recipe for tropical perfection, Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa is a stunner — luring in loved-up honeymooners and glamorous jetsetters with its white-sand beaches and idyllic lagoon setting. Take in spectacular views from every angle on this island paradise; they're especially beautiful from the Overwater Bungalows, which have direct access to the water, or the Beach Suites with Jacuzzis that are set directly on the sand. If lazing on the beach or dining on lavish buffets suddenly becomes all too much, make a beeline for Manea Spa, whose menu includes Vichy showers or massages with ‘dancing feet’. For a souvenir with serious style — and that will never collect dust — the in-house tattooist Tuhei, from the Tuamotus islands, can help create a permanent reminder of your stay.
Sal Salis - Ningaloo Reef
What: Seaside safari Where: Yardie Creek Road, Cape Range National Park, Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia
Snugly nestled in the sandy dunes of the Cape Range National Park, Sal Salis flaunts a decidedly luxurious spin on camping. Leave your swags and camp kitchens at home; there’s no need for bush basics when there are heavenly pillows and organic 500-thread cotton sheets waiting at the end of the day. The lapping Indian Ocean is only metres from your doorstop, so while away hours dreamily swinging in your hammock or mingling with whale sharks, manta rays and shoals of fish. And when it comes time for a feast, bush tucker is banished as Sal Salis serves contemporary Australian cuisine under the star-speckled night sky, watched inquisitively by visiting kangaroos and wallaroos.
Claska - Tokyo
What: Too cool for school Where: 1-3-18, Chuocho, Meguro, Tokyo
Sleek and fresh in its contemporary architecture, Claska is at the apex of Tokyo’s cultural hotspot, and in the hub of what is considered to be the coolest suburb in the city. Beautiful in its elegant simplicity, Claska retains the hallmarks of traditional Japanese hospitality. We love the Tatami Rooms, designed by c, with pretty paper lanterns and contemporary furniture. The gallery and boutique, Do, offers innovative designs, creative products and bespoke souvenirs that reflect Claska’s innovative design philosophy. Commandeer one of Claska’s free ‘tokyobikes’ to enjoy a pleasant 10-minute pedal to the attractions featured on the hotel’s ‘Tokyo by Tokyo’ iPhone app.
King & Grove - Williamsburg
What: Urban jungle retreat Where: 160 North 12th Street, Brooklyn, New York City
In the city that never sleeps, King & Grove Williamsburg offers a welcome change of pace – without sacrificing on style and street cred – by seducing guests to venture into Brooklyn. A creative hub, Williamsburg’s collection of eateries, bars and indie boutiques is ripe for exploration (on the hotel’s hipster-approved red bicycles, of course). The open-air rooftop lounge of the Upper Elm overlooks McCarren Park and has snacks, cocktails, music and a view of the city skyline that takes some trumping. Leisure-lovers should snag a prime position in a day-bed by the backyard-style saltwater pool – one of the largest in the city – or spend an afternoon unwinding over a drink with fellow guests.
Taveuni Palms - Fiji Islands
What: Private paradise Where: Matei, Taveuni Island, Fiji Islands
Ever dreamed of retreating to the seclusion of a private island? With only three exclusive-hire villas, understated luxury is the name of the game at Taveuni Palms. Flanked by its own private plunge pool, day-beds and panoramic Pacific views, each villa comes with seven staff including a manager, two chefs, barman, housemaid and nanny. If you can tear yourself away from your villa, Taveuni Palms offers guided snorkelling and kayaking trips, cooking lessons and local excursions. The hardest thing you will have to do is leaving – a burden made lighter by instantly booking your return visit.
Withdraw from playing tourist into a place so hip, so cutting edge and so darned cool, it could only be in Berlin. Housed in the former lodgings of the Royal Danish Embassy, Das Stue is a heritage heavyweight with a serious dose of style. Everything from the impressive entrance, marble staircase and scattered artworks is impeccable – and enough to make even the most blase of hipsters twiddle their moustache with excitement. Backing onto Berlin Zoo, Das Stue guarantees a room with a view – feathery, furry or otherwise. Catalan chef Paco Pérez is at the helm of the restaurant, Cinco, and with four Michelin stars up the sleeves of his chef’s whites, he delivers outstanding gastronomic creations inspired by the rich produce of his native Spain.
Kahanda Kanda - Galle
What: Serene Sri Lanka Where: Angulugaha, Galle, Southern Province
Monkeys, mongooses and bright-feathered birds are your neighbours at Kahanda Kanda. Surrounded by a 12-acre tea estate, each of the eight villas has been impeccably styled by the villa’s British owner and has its own distinct feel; Peacock, Tamarind and Mango each have a private balcony overlooking the garden, and the only room with a TV, the Dubu Suite, is set into the hillside with large, private lawn and pool — just be prepared to share paradise with any tree-swinging visitors. Classic Sri Lankan curries and contemporary fusion dishes are crafted using fruits, vegetables and herbs exclusively grown on the estate. Cooking classes with Kahanda Kanda’s resident chefs are available for those wishing to learn the secrets of Sri Lankan or Thai cuisine.
Kurá - Costa Rica
What: Sustainably stylish Where: Uvita de Osa, Calle Bejuco, Osa/Bahia Ballena, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Six teakwood villas blend harmoniously into the lush backdrop at Kurá. Reflecting the hotelier’s passion and vision for eco-friendly accommodation that doesn’t skimp on luxury, the bungalows are minimalist in style but lavish in feel. Each contemporary, open-plan villa includes a floating bed, open-air showers and a balcony that ushers in views of the jungle and Pacific Ocean. Dive into the rectangular, saltwater infinity pool that offers bird’s-eye ocean views, calming underwater music and sun loungers tailor-made for spending an afternoon getting lost in a book or enjoying a cocktail. The Sky Lounge, which has 360-degree vistas of the Costa Rican jungle and ocean, is the prime position to whale-watch and specialises in tamarind margaritas, fruit coladas and inventive mojitos.
Soneva Fushi - Maldives
What: Desert-island indulgence Where: Kunfunadhoo Island, Baa Atoll
Shed your shoes and worries the moment you step onto this private island and into Soneva Fushi. Only missing Fabio riding a white stallion, Soneva Fushi has all the makings of a Harlequin romance: white sand, blue seas, an observatory, a wicked chocolate room and ice-cream parlour, a wine cellar and a private butler service. Bordered by imposing walls of untouched jungle and slices of too-turquoise ocean, the island is a playground of hot stone massages and Japanese watsu treatments, liquid thrills and fresher than fresh beachside feasts. As the day dwindles and sun descends, popcorn and tropical cocktails are served in the open-air cinema beneath a twinkling night sky.
Ready to leave? We thought so. Scoot over to Mr & Mrs Smith to book your own stylish stay or call the expert Travel Team on 1300 896 627.