Getting the interior styling of a hotel right is paramount: niche personality can be offputting; if it's too formal, your guests can't relax; too matchy-matchy, and it'll feel corporate.
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.
Much-loved British artist and illustrator who finds the fun in fashion
Harper’s Bazaar’s suave Singapore editor-in-chief
Creative director and co-founder of style staple, the Coveteur
World's Sexiest Bedroom
Best Date-Night Bar
Best-Dressed Hotel winners...
WINNER: LE ROCH HOTEL & SPA, PARIS
‘Having spent nine straight nights in this hotel during Paris Fashion week, I must say I wanted to stay nine more. Its location is perfect, the decor is elegant, it’s chic yet cosy and the service was perfect.’
– Jake Rosenberg Founder, The Coveteur
RUNNER-UP: ARTIST RESIDENCE OXFORDSHIRE, UK
This innocuous honey-hued old pub has plenty of punkish attitude in its arresting artwork and delightfully idiosyncratic interiors – thatch entertainment, you might say… House of Hackney wallpapers, Andy Doig neons and pulp mash-ups by the Connor Brothers duke it out with flagstone floors, bare beams and inglenook fireplaces for attention in an easy-on-the-eye showdown between old and new.
RUNNER-UP: L'HOTEL MARRAKECH, MOROCCO
Trust English treasure Jasper Conran to elevate an already ravishing riad with antique paintings and marquetry, objet d’arts once owned by Yves Saint Laurent, and upholstery worthy of the V&A. There are still plenty of Moroccan trappings in the five-suite L’Hotel (once part of the Caidal palace) – whitewashed walls, restored zouack ceilings, flower-filled terraces – but the touches of Thirties elegance are pure Conran. You’ll be raising your mint teas to his vision as you tuck into a tagine in the lemon-striped dining room.
The boxfresh Hotel Villa Marie stands out for a few reasons: bold and bright prints, tropical-hued upholstery, and unique artisan furnishings (wooden trinkets, rattan throne chairs, shell-edged mirrors); the scattering of multicoloured bungalows and villas commanding sun-kissed views; the canary-yellow François Plantation restaurant; the palm-tree-patterned spa; and a pool area more vivid than a Pantone colour guide… No wonder the pet parrots feel at home.
The Warehouse pays tribute to its eponymous past with a seriously stylish take on industrial chic. A new generation of creators have collaborated to give the hotel a unique fingerprint – custom materials, bespoke woodwork, installations from local artists, hand-crafted ceramics, even special signature teas. The restaurant channels some golden-age glamour; and the centrepiece vaulted lobby is dangled with machinery-inspired lighting and served by a sleek cocktail bar.
Let’s face it, with design doyenne Dorothée Melichzon on interiors duty, Henrietta was always destined to be the belle of the ball. Bedrooms are dressed in a Gallic palette of navy, sky-blue and white, with an array of arced mirrors, brass lights and inventive headboard designs we’d pay to see an exhibition of. Tactile tiling lines the lobby, broad brushstroke script stamps personality throughout and Vico Magistretti's classic Carimate chairs seat hungry diners.
‘Semilla’ is the Spanish word for ‘seed’ and it more than suits the all-natural feel of this playa-side hideaway. The American-Mexican owners found this comely casa and – with a collection of eagle-eyed flea-market finds and time-worn natural creations paired harmoniously with pale walls and light-filled spaces – they soon grew it into a dialled-back design destination in its own right. Fittingly, for such verdant climes, it does a good job of bringing the outside in, too. A specimen worth shouting about.
Savignyplatz is a literati haunt – no wonder, then, that this Berlin base is modelled on a fictional bon vivant. Being fictional, of course, allows for his stylistic leaps through history: industrial millennial in the kitchen; outré Don Draper in the library; Renaissance romantic with a time-travelling art dealer in the bedroom… If that sounds like a confused compendium, it shouldn’t: this nobleman knows how to weave his storylines to a satisfactory conclusion.
Brooklyn personality looms large: design nods to its shipping past, a green wall planted with local flora, wood from the original Coney Island boardwalk… Plans for the hotel were first submitted the week Hurricane Sandy hit, so resilience in the face of destruction is something of a theme, too: a looming artwork made from pieces of wind-stripped rubber roofing graces the lobby, a ‘waterline’ mural lines walls, and debris-crafted sculptures stand tall.
Santo Maris, in sunset-famous Oia, softens its Cycladic architecture with off-white-and-honey hues, copper accents, wood and wicker, sheepskin rugs, well-placed plants – and a Jacuzzi in every suite. There are touches of Tulum in the woven wall-hangings, nods to African safari in the restaurant, and more than a hint of Miami poolside poise to the (indoor and outdoor) bars. The best decoration of all? The cakes and wine left in your room…
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.