2011 was a year full of travel, especially with the move to Prague from Toronto. I had the opportunity to visit some terrific hotels and I had the opportunity to visit some not so terrific hotels. Seeing that it is the new year and the new year is all about making lists, I wanted to share a list I created of my top five hotels that I stayed at in 2011. If I can help it, when I travel, I seek out boutique hotels (under 100 rooms) with a strong design story. These are not your average big-brand, cookie-cutter dwellings. They are unique, have a brand identity and are typically located in artsy, creative neighbourhoods.
Here are my 2011 hotel picks:
5. The Zetter Hotel in London, England. The Zetter hotel is a contemporary, boutique hotel in Clerkenwell that gives off the vibe that you are staying in someone’s cool apartment in a quaint neighbourhood of the city. This hotel is branded to the max with a “Z” on as many consumer touchpoints the designer could find. There is a cool coffee, tea and snack station on each floor, and rooms are equipped with a great selection of design magazines, mood lights, amazing bathrobes, colourful fleece blankets and bottled water. Also amazing continental breakfast with kick-ass muesli and homemade jam in massive jam jars. Mr. and Mrs. Smith liked the Zetter and so did the Telegraph.
4. The Cosmo Hotel in Berlin, Germany. The Cosmo hotel is located in the fashionable, Mitte district of Berlin and is adjacent to a very impressive and colourful kid’s jungle gym. The design of the hotel is modern, understated and industrial but with a warm feel. Their colour palette revolves around black in the lobby and hallways with purple accessories contrasted with natural wood or concrete on the floors and white in the bedrooms. The rooms are massive but all have beautiful windows that let in lots of natural light. My favourite thing about this hotel was their dining area where we ate every morning for breakfast. The communal and individual tables were made out of the most stunning wood you have ever seen. Affordable and well located. We are staying here again the end of January. Read more about The Cosmo on Chic Traveler and Style Hotel.
3. Hotel Wiesler, Graz, Austria: Hip as hip can be, Hotel Wiesler is vintage, cool and housed in an old set of buildings dating back to 1870. The rooms are large and comfortable and have lots of character. The lobby is minimalist-grand and is filled with fabulous and interesting furniture that looks like it is all made from reclaimed wood. The restaurant has a massive tiled mural that looks like it is from Gustav Klimt and offers a generous spread for its buffet. Finally, the hotel also boasts its own barber, deli, and Polaroid camera for taking pictures and sending postcards to your friends. We wanted to stay an extra night when we were there but sadly, this place was fully booked. Next time! This hotel is part of the Weitzer Hotel group which has two other hotels in Graz.
2. Lone Hotel Rovinj, Croatia: This hotel was brand, spanking new when we visited and was filled with all the modern luxuries one could ever hope for in a hotel that architecturally, looks like a cruise ship. I tend to prefer to stay in small or medium size hotels and was a bit apprehensive when I saw the size of the Lone, however, the design is such where you don’t feel like you are on top of the other guests and it has enough space and is designed well so you don’t feel like another number. Located in the beautiful surroundings of forest and water on the Istrian coast, the Lone hotel is ultra-modern on the inside with amazing couches, chairs and tables (that you can draw on) arranged in living room settings. Walls are black, furniture is light wood, and all rooms are furnished with contemporary furniture. It has the most amazing gym and massive spa facilities on the property that is free for guests to use (we used it everyday). This hotel has received a lot of attention because of its unique architecture and interiors like the article from the Independent, and blog posts from the Contemporist and Design Boom. It is a slice of modern heaven in Rovinj and I would 100% return to relax here.
1. Dormirdcine Madrid, Spain: Is a tiny hotel, movie themed hotel in the fashionable, Salamanca district of Madrid. I don’t even know how I found this hotel other than the fact that I was looking for a reasonably priced hotel where I could stay up the street from my brother, who at the time was living in the city. As the tag line for the hotel states “Cooltural Rooms,” this hotel has a lot of character and is very “cooltural” with movie themed murals on the walls and contemporary furniture. The rooms are each designed around the theme of movie and the hotel offers guests free movies to watch during their stay. Believe it or not, this deceivingly small hotel has 85 rooms, a bar and a nice dining room that serves breakfast.
Has anyone visited these hotels? I would love to hear your thoughts.