Best Urban Hotels 2016: the shortlist

  1. Alex Hotel

    Alex Hotel

    Perth, Australia

    The Alex takes advantage of its location in Northbridge, one of Perth’s cultural hotspots, by offering 74 light-filled rooms outfitted by Sydney-based interiors studio Arent & Pyke. Patchwork rugs and locally crafted pots mesh beautifully with contemporary materials and furnishings, and a rooftop terrace showcases spectacular views of the Perth skyline. Meanwhile, an atmospheric wine bar and dining room is the perfect place to unwind after an afternoon touring the neighbourhood’s fine collection of art galleries and museums.

  2. The Old Clare Hotel

    The Old Clare Hotel

    Sydney, Australia

    Rising from the site of a former pub and the historic Carlton & United Brewery, Sydney’s Old Clare hotel is the newest property from boutique hospitality veteran Loh Lik Peng, whose hotel portfolio includes Town Hall in London and New Majestic in Singapore. The design comes courtesy of local architect firm Tonkin Zulaikha Greer, which created an understated interior punctuated by walnut furnishings and luxurious leathers. There is also a slick rooftop pool with bar and three restaurants, including British chef Jason Atherton’s first Australian outpost.

  3. Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City Accra

    Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast ...

    Accra, Ghana

    Boasting the largest average room size in the city, the Kempinski Accra also houses the region’s first champagne bar, as well as upmarket shopping and a cutting-edge contemporary art gallery. It is well located close to the city’s commercial district and government administrative offices, and also features a Baroque spa clad in gold mosaics and natural stone, an outdoor pool, a state-of-the art gym, a tennis court, a yoga studio and an organic juice bar.

  4. Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech

    Mandarin Oriental, Marrakec...

    تجزية سيدي يوسف بن علي 4, Morocco

    Mandarin Oriental’s first African venture is based in Marrakech, not far from the medina. Parisian duo Gilles & Boissier have combined the group’s signature minimal Asian style with their own rigorous lines and flow, while adding subtle Berber and Andalusian touches. There are 54 villas – scattered across a fragrant garden planted with 100,000 roses – and nine suites, all with private pool. Three restaurants offer everything from traditional Moroccan to contemporary Mediterranean, while the spa has two hammams and an indoor pool, and outdoor treatments can be done amid olive groves and palms in an adjacent garden.

  5. TUVE


    Hong Kong, Hong Kong

    Hidden away in Tai Hang, minutes from Causeway Bay, Tuve’s minimal aesthetic is at odds with its frenetic location. Designed by local outfit Design Systems, this minimalist boutique hotel features 66 visually sparse rooms, in marble, concrete and wood, and all come with complimentary smartphones, kingsize beds and spacious walk-in showers. Silver Room, the hotel’s intimate ground floor restaurant, serves Japanese-inspired Italian cuisine.

  6. Alila Solo

    Alila Solo

    Merten, Indonesia

    Located within easy reach of Central Java’s Unesco-listed Borobudur complex of temples, the Alila Solo blends modern architecture with dramatic vistas of the region’s surrounding volcanoes. There are 255 rooms clad in marble, travertine and granite, including four Alila Suites, which feature furnished terraces and plunge pools. An enormous batik installation stretches across the lobby’s ceiling, while restaurant Épice serves a Yogyakartan farm-to-table menu.

  7. Four Seasons Hotel Seoul

    Four Seasons Hotel Seoul

    Seoul, South Korea

    Located in the city’s buzzing downtown with unobstructed views of Gyeongbok Palace, the Four Seasons Seoul is the Toronto-based company’s first property in South Korea. As well as 317 spacious rooms with state-of-the-art technology, spa-like bathrooms and floor-to-ceiling windows, the hotel features a three-storey spa, complete with indoor pool, Korean sauna and juice bar. Dining options abound, including a quintet of restaurants designed by André Fu and New York studio AvroKO, such as Kioku, an elegant Tokyo-style sushi bar overseen by chef Sawada Kazumi.

  8. W Amsterdam

    W Amsterdam

    Amsterdam, Netherlands

    Housed in two buildings – one a former telephone exchange, the other a bank – the centrally located W Hotel has a top floor lobby boasting 360-degree views over the Royal Palace and Dam Square. Designed by local practice Office Winhov and Tel Aviv studio Baranowitz + Kronenberg, the hotel has two restaurants – sleek steakhouse Mr Porter, and The Duchess, which matches contemporary grandeur with stellar cocktails and fine dining – as well as 217 rooms and 21 suites. There are also impressive gym and spa facilities, not to mention a rooftop bar and swimming pool.

  9. Mandarin Oriental Milan

    Mandarin Oriental Milan

    Milan, Italy

    Within waking distance of the city’s Brera quarter, the Mandarin Oriental features low-key interiors by Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel, with the building itself forged from three 19th-century structures. The hotel’s 104 rooms are outfitted with Egyptian cotton bed linen, wooden floors, organic Panpuri products and soundproofing. A host of amenities, including a luxury spa with Thai massage room, nail studio and hair salon, flank a formidable Michelin-starred restaurant overseen by chef Antonio Guida.

  10. Room Mate Giulia

    Room Mate Giulia

    Milan, Italy

    The owners of the Giulia – located moments from the Piazza del Duomo – have focused on keeping the hotel both affordable and sharply designed, enlisting Patricia Urquiola to cast her discerning eye on its 85 guest rooms and public spaces. An eclectic mishmash of furnishings and colour combinations, it is outfitted with Flos lighting, Kvadrat curtains and custom-made Cassina furniture designed by Urquiola herself, with artwork courtesy of local creatives.

  11. Senato Hotel Milano

    Senato Hotel Milano

    Milan, Italy

    Housed in a five-storey neoclassical building that’s just a few blocks away from Via Montenapoleone, Milan’s most fashionable shopping street, the Senato is a discreet, elegant property with 43 rooms clad in marble, brass, wood parquet flooring and rich velvet furnishings. The interiors have been impeccably curated by architect Alessandro Bianchi, using Milan’s most talented local artisans, including florist Rosalba Piccinni and metal lighting company Bottega Gadda.

  12. Hotel Saint Marc

    Hotel Saint Marc

    Paris, France

    Milanese design practice Dimore Studio led a two-year restoration of this handsome 2nd arrondissement property, situated a short stroll from the Opéra Garnier and the fashionable Rue Vivienne. The 26 art deco-inspired rooms have been stylishly outfitted with Louis de Poortere rugs, and Fontana Arte and Flos lamps, while public spaces have been dressed with black and white marble, and a palette of blues, pinks and dusky reds. There is also a spa, heated swimming pool and hammam in the basement.

  13. Hôtel Montana Paris

    Hôtel Montana Paris

    Paris, France

    This celebrated St-Germain-des-Prés restaurant and club has been reimagined by architect Elisabeth Lemercier and designer Vincent Darré with six new suites referencing Left Bank icons such as Serge Gainsbourg and Jean Cocteau. Rooms feature lacquered wood cabinetry, graphic print carpets and flea market acquisitions, lending an eclectic modernity to each. La Gauche Caviar, the hotel’s main restaurant, dishes up bourgeois takes on comfort classics, while the ground floor bar is a big hit with the fashion pack.

  14. Pousada de Lisboa

    Pousada de Lisboa

    Lisbon, Portugal

    The latest addition to the Pestana group’s portfolio, this 90-room hotel is housed in a bright yellow 18th-century Pombaline building that was once home to Portugal’s Ministry of Internal Affairs (the swanky wood-panelled Dom Perignon suite used to be the office of prime minister António Salazar). A ground floor cocktail bar and restaurant from chef Tiago Bonito serves fresh produce from the Alentejo and the Algarve, while a tucked-away spa and indoor swimming pool offer respite from the hustle and bustle of the Praça do Comércio, the grand waterfront square on which the hotel stands.

  15. Casa Bonay - Barcelona

    Casa Bonay - Barcelona

    Barcelona, Spain

    Designed by Brooklyn firm Studio Tack, Casa Bonay is housed in a 19th-century building on a leafy street in the Eixample district. Its warmly minimal rooms are brought to life via original mosaic floors and solariums or balconies, which flood rooms with natural light. There is also coffee and cold-pressed juice courtesy of some of Barcelona’s most acclaimed artisans, a cocktail bar and restaurant, and a rooftop orchard and herb garden for further relaxation.

  16. Haymarket by Scandic

    Haymarket by Scandic

    Stockholm, Sweden

    Located on Hötorget, Stockholm’s main market square, the Haymarket hotel takes up residence in a building that once housed the department store where Greta Garbo started her career as a sales girl. Taking inspiration from the art deco era, design studio Koncept adorned the interior with vibrant pastels and patterned wallpapers and textiles, alongside furniture by Rubn, Gubi and &Tradition. Two restaurants offering everything from light bites and grilled steaks to oysters and champagne, as well as a bar serving classic cocktails, encapsulate the glamour of 1920s Hollywood.

  17. The Arts Club

    The Arts Club

    London, United Kingdom

    Design consultancy Sagrada has carved out 16 rooms and suites on three floors of the Arts Club’s Dover Street location. Artworks by the likes of Sam Taylor-Johnson and Nobuyoshi Araki adorn the hotel’s art deco-inspired interior, while guest rooms feature embossed leather headboards, hand-tufted rugs and Calacatta Oro marble bathrooms with cast iron tubs. Rooms look out over the rooftops of Mayfair, and the penthouse enjoys views across the city.

  18. Grand Ferdinand

    Grand Ferdinand

    Vienna, Austria

    Located in Vienna’s Innere Stadt (Old Town), the Grand Ferdinand hotel, transformed by architects Atelier Heiss from a 1950s office building, features 188 rooms and numerous grand public spaces, kitted out by the likes of Lobmeyr, Thonet and Gubi. After a tour of the city in one of the hotel’s vintage Maseratis, guests can retire to the courtyard, verdant with tropical flora. A trio of restaurants, including a stately dining room, as well as an intimate champagne bar and rooftop pool with city views, complete the package.

  19. Autor Rooms

    Autor Rooms

    Warsaw, Poland

    Comprised of four elegant rooms and a shared central living area in Warsaw’s Śródmieście district, Autor Rooms was conceived by local design firm Mamastudio as a place for visiting friends to stay. The sleek but cosy interiors are by Polish architect Mateusz Baumiller, who has mixed vintage and contemporary pieces by local designers, and the walls are adorned with artwork, curated by Starter Gallery and available for guests to purchase.

  20. Hotel La Alondra Factoria

    Hotel La Alondra Factoria

    Asuncion, Paraguay

    Within a red-brick industrial building in Asunción’s chic Las Carmelitas neighbourhood, hoteliers Porfirio Aquino and Valería Rolón commissioned a team of architects, creative directors and historians to create a hotel that recalls Paraguay’s mid-19th-century splendour. The 17 guest rooms and suites feature a mix of recycled eucalyptus and pine, antique leather and velvet Louis XV-style chairs, while amenities include a library, a gym and a patio with a pool. The restaurant combines global and local Guarani influences.

  21. Four Seasons Hotel Casa Medina Bogotá

    Four Seasons Hotel Casa Med...

    Bogota, Colombia

    Meticulously preserved, the downtown Bogotá landmark Casa Medina has been converted by architect Milena Vargas into a 62-room Four Seasons. The building – built in 1946 using salvaged details from demolished local convents – has been spectacularly renovated to preserve features such as hand-carved wooden doors, stone columns and beamed ceilings, with interiors overseen by designer Lauren Rottet. Indulge in the spa’s white-gold coconut scrub ahead of an elegant evening meal at Castanyoles, the hotel’s chic tapas restaurant, or at one of the numerous eateries in the surrounding Zona G neighbourhood.

  22. Nomaa Hotel

    Nomaa Hotel

    Curitiba, Brazil

    The Nomaa is a discreet boutique hotel in the lively Batel neighbourhood, minutes from the Oscar Niemeyer Museum and the area’s edgy art galleries, restaurants and bars. Its polished interiors are styled like the apartment of a well-heeled creative, with natural elements such as limestone and walnut offset by an eclectic mix of statement furniture and specially commissioned art. The hotel’s spa offers, among other things, an antioxidant-rich vanilla body scrub and a champagne bath, a perfect precursor to dinner at the in-house restaurant headed by award-winning Brazilian chef Lênin Palhano.

  23. Casa Fayette

    Casa Fayette

    Guadalajara, Mexico

    Casa Fayette is the latest boutique hotel from hip Mexican hospitality group Habita. Nestled in Guadalajara’s blossoming arts district, the hotel boasts interiors curated by Milan-based Dimore Studio. Intimate public spaces occupy a converted 1940s mansion, while the 37 coolly minimal, light-filled rooms and suites are in an adjoining nine-storey modernist tower by local architects Estudio 5. Coloured glass walls screen off the bathrooms while oversized headboards double as room dividers and wardrobes. There’s a pool and terrace, a rooftop spa, and a restaurant, serving American comfort food with a local twist.

  24. Hotel Cumbres Lastarria

    Hotel Cumbres Lastarria

    Santiago, Chile

    On a charmingly meandering street in Santiago’s bohemian Cumbres Lastarria neighbourhood, this eponymous boutique hotel owes its audacious exterior to owner and architect Rodrigo Errázuriz. He has outfitted the interior with 70 rooms that mix bespoke modern pieces with old-style accents, championing Chilean heritage. The hotel’s eighth-floor social hub features a Mediterranean restaurant and a heated rooftop pool with views over downtown Santiago and San Cristóbal Hill.

  25. Brown Beach House

    Brown Beach House

    Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel

    A sister property to the beloved Brown TLV Urban Hotel by locally based hotelier Leopard, The Brown Beach House was designed as a luxury summer house on Tel Aviv’s redeveloped coastal strip. It features a spa, with couples’ treatment rooms, a garden and cabanas, as well as 40 guest rooms outfitted by interior designer Aline Langlieb with a distinctive blend of retro resort style and hip urbanism. The hotel’s popular Flamingo Bar draws a goodlooking crowd, while the café offers casual kosher dining.

  26. South Congress Hotel

    South Congress Hotel

    Austin, Texas

    Designed by Michael Hsu Office of Architecture, the South Congress Hotel combines refined design with craft elements and Americana; the works of local artists sit alongside Hunter S Thompson photographs, while terracotta screens contrast with white brick walls. The 83 rooms boast bespoke Matteo linens and brass basins in the bathrooms, while guests can enjoy rooftop poolside views of Austin with an Ancho Margarita from Café No Sé, the hotel’s Michael Paley-headed, California-inspired restaurant and bar. A vintage motorcycle shop on the ground floor completes the stylish retro credentials.

  27. Hotel Saint George

    Hotel Saint George

    Marfa, Texas

    The Hotel Saint George is located in the artistic hub of Marfa, Texas, a former railroad water stop that was beloved of artist Donald Judd. The hotel’s minimal, industrial spaces were created by Houston-based Carlos Jiménez Studio, while the 55 rooms have been dressed by interior designer Alice Cottrell with Austrian sheepskin rugs and distressed leather couches. There’s an outdoor pool, a fine dining restaurant, a taco stand and a farmers’ market, not to mention the Marfa Book Company, one of the country’s best independent bookstores.

  28. Faena Hotel Miami Beach

    Faena Hotel Miami Beach

    Miami Beach, Florida

    Part of Miami’s new Faena District, the Alan Faena-owned modernist block that was formerly the Saxony Hotel has been reimagined top-to-toe by film director Baz Luhrmann and costume designer Catherine Martin. The result is 169 theatrical guest rooms dressed in velvet and bathrooms that encapsulate old-world glamour, plus sumptuous public spaces adorned with gold leaf and commissioned murals by artist Juan Gatti. The hotel features three restaurants (including one from chef Paul Qui), a 160-seat theatre and Tierra Santa, a Latin American-inspired spa.

  29. 11 Howard

    11 Howard

    New York, New York

    Owned by property magnate Aby Rosen of Gramercy Park Hotel fame, 11 Howard makes its mark with a Scandinavian design sensibility complemented by impressive artistic credentials, with pieces by Hiroshi Sugimoto and Alexander Calder. It is also home to the first US outpost of Copenhagen’s Studio Oliver Gustav in the form of a design gallery/boutique. High ceilings and plush but minimal furnishings crafted in Denmark set 11 Howard’s rooms apart. There’s a stylish bar, The Blond, while the restaurant, from restaurateur Stephen Starr, offers modern French dining.

  30. 1 Hotel Central Park

    1 Hotel Central Park

    New York, New York

    Designed by local studio AvroKo with an in-house design team, 1 Hotel Central Park spans 18 floors in an old office building. It features a dramatic ivy-clad exterior and, as an LEED-certified hotel, impeccable green credentials, including paperless rooms (think chalk boards and tablets), Triple Clear filter taps in rooms and natural hemp-blend mattresses. The 229 rooms have Napa-style paned showers and window seats that offer enviable views of Central Park. A Tesla electric car will drop you at an eatery of your choice within a 15-block radius, while homebodies can enjoy Jams, the in-house restaurant led by chef Jonathan Waxman.


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