On The Road
The Best New City Hotels
Seven places to rest your head on your next urban adventure – from Chicago to São Paulo
Hôtel Saint-Marc, Paris. Photograph by Mr Philippe Servent, courtesy of Hôtel Saint-Marc
Autumn is upon us. The leaves begin to turn, our Orlebar Browns are back in the drawer and our minds move seamlessly from sand to city. It’s the time of the urban escape, when the metropolis no longer stifles and everyone returns to their day-to-day. The time, then, when things become interesting again. The cultural calendar renews (look no further than Rachel Whitehead at Tate Britain and MoMA In Paris), the most interesting books are released (Mr Alan Hollinghurst, Ms Jennifer Egan) and the shows change on the stages of Broadway, the West End and beyond. Happily, there are new hotels to match. Some are oases amid the thump and thrum, some are party palaces, and others homes away from home. So whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure, we have traversed the globe to find you the best of the newly opened city hotels.
01. The Lumiares, Lisbon
Photograph courtesy of The Lumiares
It is the dilemma faced by anyone in possession of a passport and a desire to get away: do you plump for the comfort and space of an apartment or the amenities of a hotel? At The Lumiares in the Portuguese capital, no such decision is necessary because all 53 rooms in this former palace in the lively Bairro Alto district are laid out as the former. Some have terraces, others have balconies, and all have kitchenettes with complimentary water, wine and milk. Though if you do tire of your mid-century modern-style rooms with their capacious sofas, handwoven tapestries and La Sultane de Saba products, you can seek refuge in the large communal spa. Or, indeed, at the rooftop bar and restaurant, which is overseen by chef Mr Miguel Castro e Silva. His grouper with orange and fennel is worth the trip alone.
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02. Barceló Torre de Madrid
Photograph courtesy of Barceló Torre de Madrid
The Barceló hotel occupies the first nine floors of the 36-storey Torre de Madrid, formerly the city’s tallest tower, and has enviable views down Gran Vía and across the broad, elegant Plaza de España. But it isn’t simply the setting that has drawn a battalion of tastemakers since it opened earlier this year. The 258-room hotel has one of the coolest interiors we’ve seen in many a moon. Created by Madrid-born designer Mr Jaime Hayón, it is a riot of eclecticism, of bold primary colours, sculptural lights and playful art (the sculpture of a zebra-print bear sporting a top hat is particularly fine). We could quite happily spend all day in the lobby lounge, with its design books and art magazines, only breaking for a bourbon and cava cocktail in Garra, the bold and gold ground-floor bar. At breakfast there is a buffet with all the accoutrements you’d hope for in the Spanish capital – churros, chorizo, manchego – though the main event is dinner on the top-floor restaurant, Somos, with its Spanish-with-a-twist menu. The grilled hake with romesco sauce is, we think, the perfect way to round off a late afternoon spent doing precious little in the eighth-floor spa.
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03. Palácio Tangará, São Paulo
Photograph courtesy of Palácio Tangará
Burle Marx Park is a 27-acre patch of Atlantic rainforest just south of São Paulo’s urban sprawl. It is home to marmostets, opossums, exotic birds… and the most anticipated hotel opening of the year. Run by Oetker Collection – an arm of the family-owned empire that deals in the finest hotels, as well as shipping and frozen pizzas – the Palácio Tangará launched earlier this year, joining stablemates Le Bristol in Paris and The Lanesborough in London. It is a copper-bottomed palace of a hotel with two pools, a Sisley spa, a restaurant under the care of peripatetic chef Mr Jean-Georges Vongerichten and decor inspired by French artist Mr Jean-Baptiste Debret. And, frankly, what more could you want? Well, the service is, as with all Oetker Collection hotels, superb. There are 277 staff attending to 141 rooms, and even the phones have to be answered in three rings. It’s not in the centre of São Paulo, so the hotel runs shuttles into the city and to the high-end Cidade Jardim and JK Iguatemi shopping malls, meaning the only thing you’ll be missing is the pollution.
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04. Hôtel Saint-Marc, Paris
Photograph by Mr Philippe Servent, courtesy of Hôtel Saint-Marc
Hôtel Saint-Marc is one of the chicest openings in Paris this year. And that’s saying something, given the French capital is experiencing an unprecedented hospitality boom, with hotels landing like leaves in, well, autumn. And while this one may be housed in the former home of Louis XV’s chief minister, the Duc de Choiseul, opposite the Opéra Comique, it is about as far from old world as it gets. Owners Ms Nadia Murano and Mr Denis Nourry, who are also responsible for the Christian Lacroix-designed Hôtel du Petit Moulin, commissioned modish Milanese design house Dimore Studio to create the interior. And what an interior it is. Halfway between a 1920s ocean liner and a Mr Wes Anderson set, it is like sojourning in a very comfortable art-house film. The guest rooms are a riot of good taste, with Dedar velvet, Jim Thompson silks and rugs from Louis De Poortere. And despite its relatively compact size – there are a mere 26 rooms – it has all the amenities you might expect (such as a bar and breakfast area) along with ones you might not (such as a basement pool with counter-current swimming machine).
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05. MADE, New York City
Photograph courtesy of MADE
It is a truth universally acknowledged that New York hotels fall into two categories: either scorchingly expensive or affordable but tiny. It may be a matter of real-estate prices, but New York doesn’t usually excel at boutique hotels. Not so with MADE, though, which recently opened at 29th and Broadway in the neighbourhood of NoMad. The 18-storey, 108-room hotel is the first from hospitality entrepreneur Mr Sam Gelin and combines high luxury with environmental consciousness. Sustainable wood is used heavily throughout, fabrics are handwoven, tiles are handpainted and even the stone sinks are handmade. The whole thing is a paean to American craft. The restaurant, Ferris, riffs on the rustic theme with a seasonal, veg-rich menu, while the rooftop bar specialises in craft beer, sharing cocktails and big views. A welcome addition to the New York scene.
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06. Hotel Viu, Milan
Photograph courtesy of Design Hotels
Boutique hotels can sometimes be much of a muchness, all tasteful interiors and nothing terribly special. No one could accuse Hotel Viu of such. The eco-sustainable building in Porta Volta is all floor-to-ceiling windows and spectacular vertical gardens overflowing with ivy, wisteria and honeysuckle, and the interiors are constructed from sustainable wood, metal and glass. Even the artwork in the lobby is made from recycled paper. It is a very comfortable hotel, too. There is a gym with a sauna, steam room and multi-sensory showers, a rooftop bar with a pool, and a restaurant where you can watch the great Milanese chef Mr Giancarlo Morelli ply his trade. Try his breaded veal cutlet – it’s succulento.
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07. Hotel EMC2, Chicago
Photograph by Mr Michael Kleinberg, courtesy of EMC2
Standing at the corner of East Ontario Street and North St Clair Street in Chicago, Hotel EMC2 is an education in how design can lighten the mood. Its bright exterior stands out with colourful shapes and open-air loggias, while inside it is as if you have walked into a rather wry and very well-appointed classroom. You will find Messrs Albert Einstein and Salvador Dalí pictured in the loos, and books everywhere. What it lacks in swimming pool and spa it makes up for in the little details. Each room has Netflix and other streaming services, a mini fridge and a Keurig coffee machine. Staff can be summoned by text and if you send for extra towels, they’ll be delivered by a robot. The Albert restaurant has a global menu and several vegan dishes, while the bar offers an inventive cocktail menu, including a very fine white negroni. Another reason to float on over to the Windy City.
What to pack