The winner of Best-Dressed Hotel will be innovative, exemplary and renowned for the integrity of its aesthetic. We're not looking for a repository of high-cost fittings or design-directory namedropping, but a well-curated assembly of refreshing, inspired ideas. In other words, it's one hell of a looker.
Winner: Palazzo Daniele, Puglia
Our judges say ‘We’d stayed at G-Rough, Daniele’s sister property in Rome, so we were expecting something stylish. But this immaculate palazzo at the furthest tip of Italy’s Puglia took our breath away, combining the finest Italian craftsmanship, quirky details, and expertly curated artworks with a lived-in and slightly rustic sensibility. It all chimes perfectly with the local area. If we could wear it to a first date, we would!’
Casa Fortunato, Lisbon
The nine suites at Casa Fortunato cycle through a whole range of architectural epochs and colour schemes, ensuring there’s something for everyone, regardless of design inclinations. One room might lean more towards the Twenties with its geometric prints; in another, the bright colours and bubble-like furniture evoke a sunny Sixties’ aesthetic. The overall impression is of a designer firing on all cylinders, treating every room like a new chapter without losing sight of the underlying theme.
The Fleming, Hong Kong
Inspired by the iconic Star Ferries that chug across Victoria Harbour, the Fleming is an inch-perfect ode to Hong Kong’s postwar glorydays. The team at design agency A Work of Substance went straight to the source: they got their hands on an old Star Ferry, stripping it down until it gave up its innermost design secrets. Every pleasing detail was then channelled into the rooms, creating a look that goes heavy on nostalgia but is as authentically Hong Kong as it comes. It’s all there: the boats’ bottle-green livery is reborn in tiles and wall panelling; brushed brass fittings are recast in lamps, sinks and handles; the shapely hull is reborn in elegant curves.
Urban Cowboy, Nashville
Urban Cowboy Nashville is a love letter to music and American craftsmanship, splicing the rough and readiness of the Wild West with the more genteel atmosphere of a music parlour. A lot of this modernised mansion’s look shouldn’t work, and yet it does so with aplomb. The angular patterns have art deco DNA – courtesy of local design studio 1767 – and are cast in reclaimed woods and glittering copper. Elsewhere, evocative vintage styling and a sense of faux-faded grandeur (see details like artfully faded wallpaper, rough-hewn wood panelling, enchanting Victoriana) helps it stand head, shoulders and ten-gallon hat above the rest.
Château du Grand-Lucé, Loire Valley
This limestone pile is marked by splendour that would please the Sun King himself. It’s hard to overstate the grandeur of the interiors of Château du Grand-Lucé – rooms of this calibre are usually roped off and watched over by eagle-eyed attendants. Then again, perhaps the hotel’s greatest achievement is that it doesn’t feel like a museum. 300 years of art and artefacts are strewn across the rooms, but they’ve been supplemented with furnishings that are more modern – fabrics in patterns by Christian Lacroix and Jean-Paul Gaultier, for instance.
Some styles never grow old. For more timelessly tailored stays, cast your eye over our previous Best-Dressed Hotels.
Best-dressed hotel award criteria
Would this hotel be considered exemplary by peers and critics – would it impress and nourish a visionary designer, architect, artist, or magazine editor? Can you picture it on the cover of Elle Deco or Wallpaper*?
There are no short-cuts to quality: attention to detail and a laser focus on finish are essential.
Has this hotel broken existing moulds or approached interior design in a refreshing or inspired way? We're looking for a stay with a unique personality.
Does the overall design concept have integrity? Not just a nod to passing trends but a singular focus and harmonious aesthetic – one that marries well with the hotel's location.
Here's the key: the whole must exceed the sum of its parts. Hotels have to feel good, as well as look good: comfort counts – and so does humour.
Fundamental to great design is someone with vision. Who's behind your Best-Dressed Hotel? Think of the design greats, and they'll all have an overarching sense of purpose that drives their creativity.