Design Hotels: The Top 13

Travel is all about the journey, but oftentimes a truly spectacular hotel goes a long way in making the experience unforgettable. Here, we’ve rounded up 13 of our favorite design hotels in the world, all of which boast envy-inducing interiors as well as first-class service.

Contact Indagare to book a trip to one of these design hotels. Our travel specialists can advise you on the best room, plan great meals and activities and arrange behind-the-scenes access. 

Ett Hem, Stockholm

The Ett Hem is a chic, 12-room boutique hotel housed in a 1910 townhouse in a posh part of the town, and so special that it is worth visiting Stockholm simply to stay there. The décor is by British designer Ilse Crawford and it’s absolute perfection: a stunning mix of classic Scandinavian design and much more modern pieces. There’s also a lovely garden and an orangerie to enjoy the abundant sunshine in the summer.

The Silo, Cape Town

Towering above Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront, the Silo Hotel catches the eye with its striking glass exterior: a series of giant, pillowed glass windows tinted blue in the reflecting sun. The structure commands attention—and certainly receives it—as the 2017 opening of the Silo Hotel was some of the year’s hottest travel news. A project nearly 10 years in the making, the boutique hotel is part of an exciting urban development involving the restoration of the city’s historic grain silo, which also houses the Zeitz MOCAA art museum. The Silo is the fifth venture from visionary hotelier Liz Biden (behind the much-lauded Royal Portfolio properties), and her eye for style shines in each opulent guest room. The property is a feat of industrial-meets-Art Deco design and boasts an excellent collection of South African art, a fine-dining restaurant and a chic rooftop bar with 360-degree views.

Related: Design Miami’s New Travel Program with Indagare

Estancia Vik, Uruguay

Estancia Vik is a true labor of love. The owners, Alex and Carrie Vik, had a vacation home in the area for years before buying the sprawling property on which they built the estancia, a traditional Spanish colonial structure with white adobe walls and a red tin roof. Working with some of Uruguay’s top architects, artists, designers and craftsmen, they have created a property whose exquisite interiors showcase true individual passion.

Hotel Sanders, Copenhagen

For a long time, Copenhagen was a design city lacking a fabulous, design-focused hotel. All that changed in 2017, however, when the 54-room Hotel Sanders opened in the city center. The property, owned by Royal Danish Ballet dancer, filmmaker and designer, Alexander Kølpin, is a study in Danish design of the past and present—and is a supremely comfortable hotel.

Suján Rajmahal Palace, Jaipur

Built in 1729 as a private retreat for a favorite Rajput queen, the Rajmahal Palace has served as a residence and a guesthouse for the Jaipur royal family for centuries. When Jackie Kennedy and Queen Elizabeth II visited Rajasthan, they stayed here, as did Lord Mountbatten. Today, it thrives as a royal guesthouse with a hip twist that is perfect for design aficionados and those who prefer boutique properties.

Related: Helsinki for Design Lovers

Deplar Farm, Iceland

At Iceland’s most luxurious lodge, guests can spend days on exhilarating excursions and nights in the comfort of a high-end resort. Located on a former sheep farm in a Narnia-like wonderland on the Troll Peninsula, the 13-room Deplar Farm blends into the dramatic mountainous landscape with a grass roof and enough glass walls that it is camouflaged almost entirely when viewed from the right angle. Interiors are designed to perfection thanks to the owner’s wife, who owns her own design firm and styles each of the group’s properties as though they were her own home.

Kasbah Tamadot, Morocco

Sir Richard Branson fell in love with this kasbah in the Atlas Mountains and transformed it into a luxurious boutique hotel with tented suites and a spa. Today, Kasbah Tamadot is one of Morocco’s most memorable escapes. All bedrooms are decked out in traditional Moroccan and Bedouin style with antiques from around the world, and each of the 15 bedrooms in the main house boast unique views, style and layout.

Fogo Island Inn, Newfoundland

Newfoundland-born architect Todd Saunders designed the dramatic Fogo Island Inn, an architectural marvel, to sit on a jutting outcrop of rocks that have been dated to be 420 million years old. Everything, from the clothes hangers to the knitted throws are thoughtful design additions to the guest rooms with art and comfort in mind, but the star is the full wall of floor-to-ceiling windows that look out to the incredible seascape.

Cotton House, Barcelona

Formerly the private home of the wealthy Boada family in the late 1800’s—and later the site of the Cotton Textile Foundation—this elegant property quickly became one of Barcelona’s best when it opened in 2015. During the renovation, many original elements were restored, including intricately frescoed ceilings, parquet floors and a show-stopping marble staircase that forms the heart of the building.

Related: Venice for Design Lovers

Singita Mara River Camp, Tanzania

This semi-permanent camp on the banks of the Mara River boasts stylish tents, solar power and spectacular access to the Great Migration in the summer months. There’s a hipster-meets-Hemingway aspect to the décor that strikes just the right note for a modern take on refined living in the wilderness.

Crosby Street Hotel, NYC

Thanks to designer Kit Kemp’s inspired vision, the Crosby Street Hotel is an handcrafted, ultra-luxe retreat whose whimsical interiors bring out the inner child in all who stay. Each room differs in décor and color scheme, giving the accommodations a personal, handcrafted feel. Antiques and custom-designed light fixtures abound, as well as original art and life-size dress mannequins.

Hotel Marques de Riscal, Spain

Architect Frank Gehry’s bold hotel design for one of Spain’s great wine producers put the Rioja region on the map as a travel destination. The property’s rooms are all different (due to the building’s unique shape and roofline), but each features a calming, modern décor with light-colored wood paneling and Gehry-designed, white canvas “Cloud” lamps.

Royal Malewane, South Africa

The uber-stylish, privately owned Royal Malewane bush camp closer resembles a luxurious six-star hotel than a safari lodge. Each bedroom is individually decorated with artwork and furniture from various different cultures—African beaded necklaces sit amidst Japanese screens while British botanical prints and Chinese porcelain share shelf space—yet somehow it all works perfectly.

Contact Indagare to book a trip to one of these design hotels. Our travel specialists can advise you on the best room, plan great meals and activities and arrange behind-the-scenes access. 

– Emma Pierce on February 26, 2018



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