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Designers taking center stage

July 29, 2015

Lately, I have been inspired by several hotels I visited in Europe. Their common denominator is that they were all designed by well-known designers. I feel this really “completes” the hotel. I would like to congratulate the brave hoteliers that created these hotels. They believed in themselves, in their choice of designer, and they let them take a free hand and think of no limits with their designs.  That being said, every design you see here not only looks good, but it also completes the concept of the hotel in creating a unique guest experience. All four of the examples you’ll see here are extraordinary.

Guest bedroom in Ham Yard Hotel London, designed by Kit Kemp

Guest bedroom in Ham Yard Hotel London, designed by Kit Kemp

Das Stue – Berlin

Das Stue Hotel in Berlin, next to the zoo and Tiergarden Park, lets you glimpse exotic animals through their window as you sit in perfectly designed and pampering rooms designed by the famous Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola . If that is not enough, you can also enjoy a 25 course meal in a Michelin star restaurant!

The hotel is located in a restored building from the 1930’s that used to house the Danish Embassy. The outside retains its “proper” appearance, while the interior design received a completely modern twist: geometric patterns on the walls, statues of giraffes and monkeys made from neon wiring, and artistic photography, all combined to create an amazing look. As soon as you enter the lobby, you are greeted by an alligator skull reminiscent of a nature museum exhibit.

Entrance to Das Stue Hotel - Alligator skull greets guests

Entrance to Das Stue Hotel – Alligator skull greets guests

A climb up the marble staircase leads to the guest bedrooms. The hotel has 79 rooms and suites, each distinctly designed using luxurious and interesting textiles that are Urquiola’s trademark.The walls are covered with framed photographs. The rooms are not large, but have a great view. They offer a wonderful view of the neighboring park and zoo. If you’re lucky you can look directly into the ostrich enclosure.The hotel has a spa and two restaurants. A simple word to the concierge will get you set up in a yoga class or group jog in the park, as well as with bike rentals and picnic baskets for guests.

This is a real boutique hotel with a twist that gives a hospitality experience one doesn’t soon forget.

 Hotel spa DAS STUE

Hotel spa DAS STUE

Ham Yard Hotel – London

The Ham Yard hotel in London is a hotel that certainly leaves its mark. The atmosphere is hard to define and even harder to ignore.The hotel is part of the Firmdale chain, and owners Kit and Tim Kemp have another eight establishments around London. Kit Kemp, who does all interior design in the chain, succeeded in creating a look that is completely her own.

In her hotels’ open spaces, Kemp creates an atmosphere that is warm and inviting with attention given to every little detail. She is not afraid to use strong colors, crazy patterns and styles and shapes that anyone else would never use together. But, somehow, it all works together to create a look that is never repeated but is instantly recognizable as the Kit Kemp look.

Ham Yard hotel in London, designed by Kit Kemp. A style that is hard to define but easy to recognize

Ham Yard hotel in London, designed by Kit Kemp. A style that is hard to define but easy to recognize

The hotel’s 96 guest bedrooms are also individually designed, with no repetition or even recurring motifs. The walls are lined with fabrics Kemp designs herself, and many art objects are placed in the rooms and public spaces. The eclectic look combines Indian drawings, recycled plastic bottle lamps, pop art and a variety of other styles that create a fun, colorful and totally unique atmosphere.

Another happy and colorful corner in Ham Yard Londn

Another happy and colorful corner in Ham Yard Londn

Soho House – Berlin

The huge Bauhaus building of the Soho House in Berlin incorporates all of the city’s modern history. It was built in the 1920’s as a department store, owned by a Jewish family. In 1937 the Hitlerjugend youth movement took control of the building, and after the war it housed the archives of the communist party. Today, Soho House is a hotel and members club and a sign of the gentrification of East Berlin’s Mitte district.

Entrance to Soho House Berlin. Clean look with exposed concrete walls.

Entrance to Soho House Berlin. Clean look with exposed concrete walls.

The hotel lobby has kept the “clean” communist look, with exposed concrete beams and white walls covered with graffiti art by Damien Hirst. The atmosphere is one of laid back luxury, together with odd objects strategically placed to bring a smile. The service is also informal. The staff is very attentive and very friendly. The fact that the building is both a hotel and a members club gives hotel guests a chance to come into contact with the city’s “innest” crowd, without even leaving the lobby.

Graffiti by Damien Hirst in Soho House hotel

Graffiti by Damien Hirst in Soho House hotel

soho house 3

Sea Containers – London

Sea Containers hotel (part of the Mondrian chain) in London is near the Thames River, in a building that formerly housed a shipping company. Designer Tom Dixon, in his first hotel project, drew inspiration from the building’s past and combined it with new and surprising elements.

The design draws a lot from the world of ships and the ocean, while still being true to Dixon’s signature look – warm colors, combined with copper and metal, extraordinary lighting and touches of extravagant luxury (like gilded faucets in the lobby bathroom).

Sea Containers entrance. Like a ship from a different era

Sea Containers entrance. Like a ship from a different era

The atmosphere resembles a night club, while the copper front desk looks like something taken off a ship. Lighting in the floor leads guests further into the hotel to the bar and restaurant. The bar was inspired in its design by old steam boats. The green walls and upholstered sofas give a feeling of a gentleman’s club.

Sea Containers lobby

Sea Containers lobby

Dixon went all out in the hotel’s rooftop bar, with gold chairs and purple art deco tables.  The spa is designed with 70’s glam-rock style, and the atmosphere is one of decadent indulgence rather than health and beauty like most spas these days. The soundtrack playing includes David Bowie songs and the spa menu even has ice cream and champagne.

The guest bedrooms are small, but very luxurious, with a great view of the river.

Sea Containers Guest room

Sea Containers Guest room

**All pictures in this article are from the hotel websites.

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