Architecture, culture and sunsets
18 December 2017
As we reach the end of 2017 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.
Joao, the owner of Santa Clara 1728, but also of Casas na Areia, Cabanas no Rio and Casa no Tempo, worked closely together with architect Manuel Aires Mateus to ensure they design their places in such a way your senses will be spoiled in the best way possible. And they do that with a close connection to nature. In Casas na Areia for example the floor is made of sand which make you start whispering in a second. At Santa Clara 1728 all of the rooms have a splendid view over the river in Lisbon (and the beautiful sunset and sunrise skies), when you walk barefoot over the wooden floor you will feel the floor heating and the bath is made out of Lisbon marble and is surrounded by candles at night. Read my review here.
At Manon les Suites of Guldsmeden Hotels they do not only have a super pretty pool patio surrounded by lots of plants which makes a stunning picture, but behind the scenes they make the hotel as eco-friendly as possible. For their guests, but also for the locals and the people they work with. For example they use big 500ml bottles of shampoos of their own eco-conscious beauty brand instead of tiny little plastic bottles they throw away. The mini-bar is filled with Danish eco-products. And they serve fresh local food in the restaurant on the top floor. Read my review here.
There’s a lot to say about McDonaldization, that cities like Barcelona, Amsterdam and Venice are being overwhelmed by tourists who just go to the same stores, hotels, restaurants wherever they are. What’s the purpose of travel then? Luckily we, everyone who reads my website including myself, who love travel, seek out to find more honest experiences in the cities they go to. A good example is it to stay at a local’s house such as that of Maria called Mi Casa en Lisboa. Beautifully decorated, but as she knows everything about local markets, workshops to do, Portuguese chefs she knows very well and invites into her home to cook for the guests, you’re experiencing Lisbon more as a local.
Read my review here.
The Slow, as the name already suggests, is all about slowing down. We are all running around with a never-ending to-do list in our heads while trying to keep up with the news, social media and messages on our phone. I like to see the development of hotels being designed in such a way that it slows you down. The hotel room at The Slow for example only has the necessities and is designed in a minimal way. There’s no tv, but there are coffee table books to read. The art, the neutral colors and the lack of distractions makes you feel rested and relaxed. Read my review here.
Another development in hospitality is to make beautiful places outside of the city, surrounded by nature. I feel very strong that there’s a counter-movement to our ‘always-on-mentality’. We can’t be plugged in all the time. In order to be creative we need to be un-plugged and be in nature for example. Parc Broekhuizen is located in a beautiful castle close to Utrecht, surrounded by nature and lots of walking/biking routes. The hotel rooms feel like retreats (see picture above: apart from the bath, the four-pillar bed and the view, there’s also a fireplace) and there’s a superb restaurant on the ground floor. Read my review here.
I really like to see inspiring love-stories of two or more hotspots coming together. In the case of Hotel National des Arts et Metiers that is: Le Cle Group of Hotel Bachaumont, Julien Cohen of Grazia and Pizza Chic and Jean-Pierre Lopes and Thomas Delafon of Bambou and Le Tres Honore. Together they’ve created an all-in-one concept created by the best of the best in their field. As a guest you know you will receive the best service in the hotel, the best food in the restaurant and the best cocktails in the bar. Read my review here.
For me a hotel has to be better than my home, has to surprise me in a way and needs to be there before I think I need someone. I will explain more. At home I have a very nice shower so if I stay in a hotel with a tiny little shower head with only three drops of water I’ll feel a little bit of agitation in the sense of saying to myself ‘my shower at home is better’. As a hotel you don’t want your guests to even think this and Soho House knows exactly to get those little agitations out of the way because they have thought about everything and then added another layer of extras to it. For example: you get 7 different kind of shampoos to choose from in the shower, there’s a make-up bag full of things you forget often as a frequent traveller like a razor or toothpaste and there’s even a world-adaptor for international visitors. Then they are there for you without being overly protective. When a thought is about to pop up in your head – ‘where’s the entrance’ – they already open the door. Thank you for setting the tone! Read my review here.
It’s really hard for me to go somewhere and stay at that exact place for a week. I always feel I need to discover more although I know I’ll feel more relaxed and rested if I just surrender to a slower pace. Pick up a book, listen to some music, take the time to enjoy a chocolate fondant. At Casa Cook Kos there’s not much more to do then just that. In a super inspiring environment. We’ve stayed at the beach, at our own private pool villa and had the holiday of the year. Read my review here.
As the owner of Vipp said to me: “Disney has Disneyland, Lego has Legoland, why don’t we have Vipp Hotels?” Vipp is known for their famous pedal bin and they make lots of other products. Nowadays we live in an experience-world. And that’s why they’ve created two hotel rooms. A Vipp Shelter, a nature retreat in Sweden. And Vipp Loft above the headquarters of the company. Other examples are for example Belgian design brand Muller van Severen who build their exact home in Miami for Art Basel two weeks ago and rented their own home in Gent via Airbnb. Muji is gonna open their first shelter in the new year. And Monocle has its own cafe in London – also around the corner of their head office. What’s next? A Petite Passport hotel? 😉
Nowadays you can’t be opening a hotel without thinking about the effects it has on nature. Innovative hotels like 1 Hotels are rethinking every step of the hotel business and inserted solutions in a pretty way. For example: you don’t receive a plastic keycard anymore, there are big bottles of shampoo and bath gel in the bathroom to reduce the waste of the tiny bottles and they have a vertical garden in the lobby. And that’s only the beginning. Read my review here.
Campo de Santa Clara 128 RC, 1100-473 Lisboa, Portugal