While travelling might not be on the cards for us this year, there’s no harm in dreaming. We’ve gathered a few hotels — especially rounded-up for design lovers — to inspire some of your reveries.
As we cure our wanderlust withdrawal with dreams of places far and wide, it helps to have a rough idea of which places to set your sights on. If you’re the kind to get excited over culture, craftsmanship, and exquisite design details, these luxury escapes may definitely prove irresistible for your inner explorer. From striking interiors, to far-flung paradises nestled amidst serene natural wonders, these are the destinations to wistfully yearn for, if you’re a big design enthusiast.
45 Park Lane
If you like lighting, bespoke elements, and unbeatable views.
The brainchild of French architect and designer Thierry Despont, 45 Park Lane hotel follows a design concept that takes things back to the 1960s private residence, creating a vibe that’s all about intimacy, discretion, and complete privacy. The 45 spacious rooms and suites each come with unparalleled views of the royal Hyde Park, while rooms on higher floors can enjoy panoramas of London city.
Fans of lighting design will be happy to see that half of the interior is focused around how light is manipulated, as Thierry filters and plays with both natural and artificial light in creative ways. On the outside, fins and louvres create blinds that distinguish the restaurant space from the bar, while a metallic waterfall effect on the side of the building is reminiscent of water ripples, nodding to the idea of capturing movement and light. Add to that custom-made design details — even the door handles are bespoke — and you get a truly special space where you can truly appreciate the city’s stunning views.
If you like dreamy spaces, elegant interiors, and stunning craftsmanship.
Head over to Le Meurice’s Belle Etoile Penthouse Suite with Terrace, and you’ll be greeted by somewhat of a masterpiece, as far as interiors are concerned. With every detail meticulously chosen by design studio Lally & Berger, the penthouse offers an ultimate blend between craftsmanship and innovation — perfectly complementing its surrounding Paris-city views.
There are up to three connecting bedrooms, all of which come complete with large windows that light the space up with an easy breezy feel. The furniture set-up is flexible, meaning you can experience a home away from home, amidst the Versailles-inspired decor.
What we love most, however, is the expansive outdoor space, which houses a beautiful private garden that feels almost otherworldly — taking you to a haven of lush green, inspired by the Tuileries Garden below.
If you like nature, serenity, and far-flung paradises.
Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, Shishi-Iwa House is somewhat of a hidden gem, amongst paradise-seekers. With only ten rooms, the boutique resort is nestled within the serene woods of Karuizawa in Japan — rising as a smooth, curvilinear form with a roof that flows with the movement of the forest. Driven by the goal of preserving the surrounding trees, Ban built the retreat by using prefabricated plywood panels. These panels were used to create modular structural frames, which were then transported and assembled on-site, to achieve the striking curvature we see now.
True design enthusiasts may revel in taking note of Ban’s use of cardboard, and how bedrooms and public spaces have been fitted out with timber and paper tube elements for a homogenous ambiance overall.
Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok
If you like tradition, extravagance, and something close to home.
For Thai readers residing in Bangkok during the lockdown period, the good news is you may not even have to travel far to get a taste of all that travelling you miss so much. If you’re looking for a staycation spot, the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok makes for a great option to appreciate the spirit of Bangkok city. Inspired by the Chao Phraya River, the hotel’s River Wing was only just recently redesigned by renowned designer Jeffrey Wilkes back in 2019.
The resulting interiors are all about Royal Barge sculptures in hammered brass, to rugs and teak floors that lend a nice tropical touch. The fresh and light design styles are nicely complemented by whitewashed wooden panelling, textured linen drapes, and rich fabrics courtesy of Jim Thompson.
What’s especially worthy of mention is how the rooms draw inspiration from the hotel’s historic riverside location, with teakwood floors, carefully crafted furniture and beautiful Thai silks that truly enhance the resort-style ambience.