After what feels like eons of short term rental dominance, we’re starting to see a paradigm shift: hotels, it seems, are back in style. Boasting on-site amenities to augment their fresh interiors, these hotels curate a full-bodied experience for guests. Take the glowing orange lobby of Paris’ S/O, for instance. Extravagant detailing composes a retro-futurist portal, draping the accommodations with an otherworldly vibrance. Complimented by one-of-a-kind experiences like a rooftop dinner overlooking the City of Lights, it feels less like lodging and more like an immersive art exhibit. Explore how these hotels are redefining travel, elevating ‘overnight stay’ to ‘full-fledged escape.’
The Madrid Edition (Madrid, Spain)
Spain’s capital is spoiled with beautiful buildings and landscape architecture. Walking down the lush green paths of Parque del Buen Retiro, you’ll feel like you’ve made it to paradise. (There’s even some bright blue peacocks to add to the intrigue!) If you book a stay at the Madrid Edition, though, we’d hardly judge you for not leaving your room.
Designed by architect John Pawson, the hotel’s delightfully warm and minimalist interior represents all we love about Madrid: a dry palette of beige, brown, white, and tan reflects the city’s arid sensibility. Pawson’s artful reference to his surroundings parallels Barcelona-born photographer Montserrat Soto, whose work captures the dialogue between urbanity and environment. Both Pawson and Soto position viewers and guests inside the metamorphosis of landscape. Balmy colours mix with sharp, rigid contours, mirroring the rich interplay between nature and design in the Spanish capital. Outside, the hotel’s vast windows open up to stunning views; Madrid’s old-world extravagance is tempered by the sleek, minimalist interior.
Bab Al Shams (Dubai, UAE)
Winter looks good on Dubai. As you flip through the gallery of Bab Al Shums, you can almost feel the sun’s tingle on your skin while you stretch out on a soft white lounge by the pool. (OK, fine — maybe we’re just cold.) In any case, though, the hotel’s earthy palette doesn’t lie: this place was designed for relaxation.
A tranquil mix of turquoise, grey, and beige offers a soothing atmosphere, compounded by modern day amenities like a poolside bar and indoor-outdoor lounge. LW Designs outfitted the hotel according to a “lost princess” narrative — think of a lavish retreat in the midst of a sprawling desert. To achieve this affect, designers wove together accessorized the interior with repurposed furniture, tiles, and artwork.
Casa TO (Puerto Escondido, Mexico)
Just under seven kilometres from the Puerto Escondido International Airport lies a fantastic case for eco-brutalist architecture: the Casa TO. Combining the edgy and rugged feel of brutalism with the calm of tropical flora and fauna, the hotel has a natural way of putting visitors at ease.
The name Casa TO pays tribute to the idea of “serene contemplation.” Designed by Ludwig Godefroy as a modern version of an Oaxacan temple, the space is optimized for mindful relaxation. Powerful concrete walls build a smooth, geometric fortification from the pool to the bedrooms, instilling a sense of privacy in the wild. Even the local Madagascar palm — a symbol of the tropics — plays into the structure. Its grey-brown hue inspired Casa To’s calming, concrete DNA. Meanwhile, textile artwork provides a welcome contrast, infusing the stay with vibrant craftsmanship.
SO/ Paris (Paris, France)
There’s nothing we can say about this Parisian gem that isn’t better said by the pictures above. This hotel is a once-in-a-lifetime retreat. Inside its white-floored lobby, burnt orange lights and whimsical columns turn back the clock for an unabashed display of boldness reminiscent of mid-80s maximalism.
Originally conceived as an art gallery, S/O Paris stays true to its creative roots. Throughout the hotel, avant-garde displays range from the digital realities of Neïl Beiloufa to the pervasive warmth of Olafur Eliasson. Have a morning café au lait on the patio and snap some pics of the Eiffel Tower while you’re at it.
Mayfair House Hotel & Garden (Miami, USA)
The Mayfair instantly disrupted Coconut Grove design in 1985, thanks to the work of visionary architect Kenneth Treister. Hand-carved architectural details and electric hues matched the surrounding wildlife; like the flora and fauna outdoors, no two rooms are exactly alike. From its cheery peacock blues and burnt-orange accents to the balmy outdoor breeze, the Mayfair follows the tropical leanings of its South Florida home.
Decades later, New-York-based interior designer Matthew Goodrich ushered a new chapter in the Mayfair’s history. Informed by the area’s rich artisan community, Goodrich brought Treister’s original concept to life with a bespoke mosaic floor, curved furniture, and bold columns. The central courtyard is lined with charming fountains and lush greenery to match the flamboyant aesthetics. The Mayfair’s charismatic appeal gives a nod to its neighbours — specifically, the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. The Mediterranean-inspired museum offers an authentic look into the Pompeii-style opulence of early Miami.