The World’s Best Hotels (According To Architects)
The Amangiri Suite, Amangiri, USA. Photograph courtesy of Aman
Compiling a list of the world’s best hotels is easy: most of us are suitably impressed with high-thread-count sheets, an infinity pool and 24-hour room service. Compiling a list of the world’s best hotels according to those whose job it is to design them? That’s a trickier endeavour. But Ms Sarah Miller, former editor-in-chief of Condé Nast Traveller UK, has taken up the task. Where Architect’s Sleep, Phaidon’s follow up to Where Chefs Eat, is a directory of hotels carefully curated by 250 of the globe’s most accomplished architects, who have made their choices based on exacting design standards. The resulting compendium is unlikely to disappoint: palaces, temples and even a fort or two show up on the more than 1,200-strong list, which is organised by both location and tagged with a series of handy categories such as “Wish I’d Designed”, “Eco-Conscious” and “Best-Kept Secret”. Here are just five of our favourites.
Cap Rocat, Mallorca
Entrance of Cap Rocat, Spain. Photograph by Uschi Burger-Precht, courtesy of Cap Rocat
Does the novelty of staying in an actual real-life fortress wear off after a couple of days reclining in the Spanish sunshine? Not at Cap Rocat. Listed as a Heritage Asset and National Monument, the lovingly restored 19th-century blockhouse in the Bay of Palma (just south of the capital) was recently renovated by Mr Antonio Obrador, earning the architect the prized Europa Nostra award in 2017. Now a lavish 26-suite hotel complete with rooftop terraces, infinity pools and tennis courts, it’s the ideal spot for some well-deserved R&R.
7132 Hotel, Vals
Entrance of 7132 Hotel, Switzerland. Photograph by Global Image Creation, courtesy of 7132 Hotel
Taking the top spot in the book’s “Wish I’d Designed” category (as well as the “Spa” and “Mountain” brackets), the 7132 Hotel in snowy Vals, Switzerland is well-deserving of its professional acclaim. Adjoining Mr Peter Zumthor’s lauded Therme Vals Spa, the Alpine retreat boasts suites by a who’s who of the world’s most in-demand architects, including Messrs Tadao Ando, Thom Mayne and Kengo Kuma as well as Mr Zumthor himself. Reserve the penthouse presidential suite for panoramic views of the Alps.
Pavillon de la Reine, Paris
Entrance of Pavillon de la Reine, France. Photograph courtesy of Pavillon de la Reine
The ivy-shrouded Pavillon de la Reine in the heart of Paris’ fashion- and food-friendly Marais district is a well-kept secret among the city’s frequent visitors, quite a feat considering the metropolis now boasts the largest number of tourists in Europe. Despite its nestled position behind the teaming Place des Vosges, the family-run private home-cum-palace has lost none of its character or intimacy thanks to the 56 individually designed bedrooms and suites, a secluded courtyard and subterranean spa.
Desert view suite exteriors, Amangiri, US. Photograph courtesy of Aman
Perhaps the most recognisable retreat on this list, Modernist hotel Amangiri is a secluded desert hideaway in Canyon Point, Utah, that you’d be forgiven for mistaking for a Bond movie set. Designed by Mr Wendell Burnette with the aid of Mr Rick Joy, it won the approval of a whopping 49 architects, whom praised its clean lines and harmonious relationship to the lakes, cliffs and mountains that surround. Try your luck and book for April 2020, when the resort will unveil its latest project, Camp Sarika, a tented enclave just a short drive from the main site with private plunge pools and an abundance of fire pits.
Heritance Kandalama, Dambulla
Exterior of Heritance Kandalama, Sri Lanka. Photograph courtesy of Heritance Hotels & Resorts
“I plan to retire here for six months of the year,” says British architect Mr Simon Henley, who nominated Sri Lanka’s verdant Heritance Kandalama hotel, earning it co-crown in the book’s “eco-conscious” class. Situated in Dumbulla, home to some of the country’s revered ruins and impressive cave temples, the sprawling concrete structure designed by Mr Geoffrey Bawa stands permanently enveloped in a tangled jungle of leaves and rainforest, which also serves as home to a family of monkeys who’ve taken to peering through the undergrowth into guest’s rooms.
Image courtesy of Phaidon