On The Road

Seven New City Hotels To Book Now

The latest openings to check into on your next work trip or weekend break

  • The Warehouse Hotel. Photograph courtesy of Design Hotels

Whether it’s a sanctuary in a quiet corner of a sprawling metropolis, or a social hub slap bang in the middle of the action, city hotels have evolved far beyond the interchangeable outposts of yesteryear. And thank heavens they have. Innovations include the opening up of public areas, allowing the locals in via coworking areas, rooftop pools and destination cocktail bars. Read on for the latest crop of hotels that have us cancelling our conference calls in favour of a face-to-face.  

  • Photograph courtesy of Design Hotels

If MR PORTER were in the hotel game, The Robey is pretty close to what we’d come up with. All 69 rooms are hardwood floored, the chicken-wire glass windows are just industrial enough, plus the vintage finds and custom-made designs make us want to start a new Pinterest board called “Office redesign”. On the top floor, the Panorama Suite swoops over the Chicago skyline and comes with a generously stocked bar. There’s a guest-only lounge on the 13th floor and at street level, chef Mr Bradley Stellings serves Franco-American classics such as steak frites and duck confit to the live theatre of cars and people crossing the intersection outside. Once spring has sprung, a rooftop pool and Greek restaurant will open – and joining them, the Up & Up cocktail bar with unbeatable (if a tad gusty) views of the windy city.

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  • Photograph courtesy of The Warehouse Hotel

This 37-room boutique hotel on the banks of the Singapore River is housed in a former 19th-century warehouse. The latest opening from The Lo & Behold Group – which has an additional 12 venues in the country, including the buzzy Loof terrace bar – embraces the building’s history as a storage point for spice deliveries from Malaysia and beyond. On the ceiling, there’s a custom light installation made from pulleys, which alludes to the days when they were used to hoist sacks of cardamom and star anise from passing ships, and the cocktail menu is also sprinkled with spicy kicks to classic recipes. The restaurant, Po, has circular marble tables where you can share popiahs – a Singaporean take on the spring roll – and the contemporary top-floor rooms (all masculine shades of leather and marble) have high-vaulted ceilings and look out over the lapping river.

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  • Photographs courtesy of Design Hotels

Taking its lead from the Ace Hotel, Sir Adam wants its residents to get a flavour of a city via its people. There are plenty of public areas such as coworking space The Hub, and a bar/restaurant The Butcher Social Club where you can play pool or ping-pong with local tech entrepreneurs. The 108 river-view rooms feature record players with vinyl and books to borrow. The design comes courtesy of New York-based design agency ICRAVE, and it’s all concrete pillars and double-height ceilings with mismatched furniture. Come here on business and you need never leave.

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  • Photograph courtesy of Totem

The hotels in the Marugal group are some of the best in Spain. There’s Cap Rocat, the former fortress on Mallorca’s south coast, Hotel Torralbenc, the converted Menorcan farmhouse, and Urso, in Madrid’s chichi Justicia district. They are now joined by Tótem over in Salamanca, the city’s shopping district. The rooms are a masterclass of clean and restrained design with just enough flourishes to impress. The Hermosos y Malditos (as in Mr F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful And Damned) restaurant and cocktail bar serves up a variety of homegrown gins and tonics (the drink the city has become known for). Around the corner are the city’s most buzzy restaurants, Amazónico and Pointer. And while the concierge wangles you a booking, you can wander over to Casa Loewe, the new flagship store of the Spanish leather brand.

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  • Photograph courtesy of Pier One

If you got any closer to the water at Sydney’s latest opening in The Rocks district, you’d be in it. In fact, you could easily swan dive off one of the sundeck-style balconies at this Marriott Autograph Collection hotel were you so inclined, but the management wouldn’t like it. They’d prefer you to kick back over a fresh juice while they arrange a water taxi to ferry you to The Opera House, picking you up on the private pontoon. The Gantry Restaurant sees Sydneysiders join residents to sample chef Mr Joel Bickford’s grilled squid, scallops and butterfish. There’s no windowless spa in the basement. Instead, the Stay-In-Spa service sees a therapist come to your room (all white-washed walls and even whiter linen) to deliver a massage, scrub or facial to the sound of real seagulls in place of canned whale song.

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  • Derek Rose Plaza Polka-Dot Cotton Robe

  • Photographs by Mr Nelson Garrido. Courtesy of Santa Clara 1728

His Casa na Areia cottages in under-the-radar Comporta are the weekend escape of choice for Lisbon’s elite. Now their owner, hotelier Mr João Rodrigues, is headed back to the capital with this boutique hotel in an 18th-century townhouse in the cultural quarter. Its minimalist design meets maximalist use of period details where cool grey limestone columns and polished stone floors dictate the neutral palette. There are only six suites, with views of the river Tagus. Within walking distance are the Feira da Ladra Saturday flea market (pick up traditional tiles, vinyl and old maps), and top chef Mr José Avillez’s Belcanto restaurant. If you like to travel en masse, why not take over the whole thing?

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  • Photograph courtesy of Gran Meliá Nacional Rio

A helipad on the roof, a bedroom view of Two Brothers mountain, plus an iconic Mr Oscar Niemeyer design. There’s not much more you can ask for from a hotel in Rio, the world’s most decadent city, where the sidewalk is a catwalk of taut bodies, where the beach is endless and on your doorstep – and by night the caipirinhas flow like Iguaçu Falls. Situated 4km from Ipanema beach, the Gran Meliá is a sanctuary where you can while away a whole day by the pool listening to the Atlantic surf before heading to Leblon, the upmarket restaurant district, for dinner (we recommend Sushi Leblon). If you happen not to have a helicopter to land on the roof, ask the concierge about paragliding – a 10-minute descent from one of the nearby mountains where you will feel just like a condor. We’ve done it. We’ll never forget it.

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