19 December 2016


As we reach the end of 2016 it’s time to look back and let the light shine on the hottest openings of the year. The list is a combination of the most viewed addresses on petitepassport.com and my personal opinion; spots I think you really have to visit because the creative people behind it didn’t stick with the old, but came up with an entire new and innovative perspective of what a hotel should be like.


1.Casa Bonay in Barcelona 



Bring in talented locals
Ines, the owner of Casa Bonay, gathered her favorite local entrepreneurs who are the best at what they are doing to create the hottest hotel opening of the year. Everything you see in this hotel is made in Barcelona or Catalunya: from the plaids on the beds (Teixidors) to the graphic design (Studio Mucho) and from the lamps (Santa & Cole) to the coffee (Satan’s Coffee) and juices (Mother). Otras Cosas brought in a lot of rotan chairs, the colors used on the walls or warm and luxurious and of course there are a lot of plants visible. See my report of Casa Bonay here.


2.Zoku in Amsterdam  



From co-working space to co-working hotel
Co-working spaces are hot since there are so many people working for themselves. Places like Spaces, Fosbury & Sons and Neuehaus are popping up like mushrooms during fall because we, the creative people, like to work on in an inspiring environment right? The target group of those places are usually also the people that travel quite a bit. Urban nomads who only need a computer and fast internet connection to get their work done. That’s where Zoku came in. They thought: ‘why not create a co-working hotel space’? You can work upstairs in the communal living room and the rooms are all catered to work because the bed is tucked away in a very clever build cupboard so you can invite people for a brainstorm in here as well. See my report of Zoku here


3.Casa Cook in Rhodes 



Forget a citytrip, go on a quick nature trip
One of the most inspiring persons I’ve met this year was Remo Masala, chief marketing officer at Thomas Cook and former designhotels.com employee. Better described as the person who comes up with new hotel concepts. A visionair who believes that travelling is becoming slightly different: instead of a citytrip where we will be snowed under by external influences (like running from one hotspot to another, making restaurant reservations, travelling by tube) we also wish for an alternative. A quick trip to an island where we can recharge our batteries. No 3 week holidays like we did in the past, but a 4-day getaway to Casa Cook Rhodes for example where you will be inspired by the nature, the design and the delicious Greek food. See my report of Casa Cook here.


4.11 Howard in New York 



Forget the check-in desk
At 11 Howard you are being welcomed by the always smiling crew. They grab an iPad, check out your reservation and you will be in the elevator to your room in a blink of an eye. Perfect if you are jet-lagged and not really in for some chit-chatting. The team is always there for you if you do want to talk to them, get some information of how to get around in the neighbourhood or discuss the Alexander Calder art work in the lobby. See my report of 11 Howard here.


5.La Granja in Ibiza



A community to learn from
Another example of a stunning designhotel in nature where people come for a few days to relax and soak up the farm life. La Granja means farm in Spanish. An extra here is that they organize events for their guests or locals, all creative people. They invite a chef or dj for example to talk about their work or a film director to discuss the film the guests can see. Travelling is getting more and more about getting richer in terms of learning something you can take home with you. See my report of La Granja here.


6.Leon16 in Brussels 



Like home but without the distractions 
Airbnb.com and behomm.com changed a lot in the hotel world – staying at someone else’s home during your holiday or citytrip is bon ton. Guests like the fact that they have their own kitchen, to feel like a local and to meet people instead of feeling a bit lonely in the hotel room. Small hotels know how to import this into their concept but of course make it more beautiful and luxurious. Leon17 in Brussels for example is a place like that. In the morning you will have breakfast on a long communal table and chat with the owners or other guests and your room is filled with luxuries like a huge daybed to read a novel on, a freestanding bathtub and a log-in for Netflix. See my report of Leon16 here.


7.Los Enamorados in Ibiza



Bold and beautiful 
Slowly we’re turning away from the minimalistic Scandinavian interiors as we are longing for warmth, for more color, pillows, rugs, an open fire, curiosities that make you smile, thick linnen duvets, hammocks, wearing kaftans and of course the hit sofa: the Ligne Roset Togo in a fantastic color. Los Enamorados in Ibiza celebrates life by being a cabinet of wonders. With a shop, which is nowadays a must in a cool hotel, so your guests who are so inspired by your taste, can bring something of it home. See my report of Los Enamorados here. 


8.Huize Druivelaar in Breda (now closed)



Also an effect of the success of home-sharing websites is that we don’t like to stay in massive hotels anymore. When you want to become a hotelier you don’t have to think about huge properties because you can just start with a one-room hotel like the couple behind Huize Druivelaar in Breda did. They bought this 100-year old winery and plantation, turned it into their home and had one room left for a rustic homestay apartment. Other one-room-hotel is Clouds 9000 in Gent. See my report of Huize Druivelaar here.


9.Hotel Panache in Paris 



One of the hardest things to do is to come up with a name if you want to open a restaurant, hotel or shop. In the world of hotspots there are three things to choose from: name it to the street you’re at. 11 Howard in New York, SP34 in Copenhagen, No 1 Bent Street by Mike in Sydney. Then you can name it after what it is or after the former location. La Granja is a farm, The Store in Berlin is a store and De School in Amsterdam was a school. And then there’s the stylish/love category: Hotel Panache, Los Enamorados, For the Love of…, Love it! Other trends I’ve spotted this year. Name it after a bird (Parqiet, De Kanarie Club), use the word Park/Parc in it, or go for Mama, Maman, Mother (not that cool anymore). See my report of Hotel Panache here.


10. Casa Mae in Lagos



Bring the local artisans in
Just like Casa Bonay the recently opened Casa Mae is supporting the local entrepreneurs. Not in a city, but in a region where there are so many craftsmen working on rugs, tiles, cork, olive oil etc. People who stay here will definitely fall in love with the rugs and the deliciously smelling bath gel and they can learn more about the artisans who made it and buy it at the shop downstairs. Same goes with the food: local and coming from a local farm. See my report of Casa Mae here.