5 Top Design Hotels To Check In… and Out

11 Mirrors - Kiev, Ukraine (c) Design Hotels

11 Mirrors – Kiev, Ukraine (c) Design Hotels

There’s more than one thing that we love about hotel stays when we travel (spa, spa, spa, room service, room service, room service), but at the top of that list of “Pros” is the opportunity for us to discover, examine, and fully experience the many facets of art and design that go into creating a property. The idea that we can be transported to another world, inside a new world, thrills us. Design Hotels™ has been a part of our own travel story for years. Created by a global community for passionate travelers who love design, architecture, and culture, today, through it’s collaborators and community, these innovators, designers, and dreamers are behind some of the most original hospitality experiences around the globe.

So, take a journey through five inspirational properties, handpicked by Design Hotels™’s very own travel experts.

Incheon, Korea - nest hotel

Incheon, Korea – nest hotel

nest hotel, Incheon, South Korea recommended by Carsten Lima, Area Director, APAC, Design Hotels™

Located on the island of Yeongjongdo, the setting of nest hotel is absolutely spectacular with views overlooking the Yellow Sea and neighboring islands. Perfection is sitting on one’s balcony and being surrounded by pine trees and reed fields, a nesting ground for the local bird population and the inspiration for the hotel’s name. The reeds sway with the sea breeze and when the sun catches the landscape, it produces the most exquisite kaleidoscope of colors. The sense of tranquility is continued through the simple and sleek interiors of the 360 rooms, all of which feature diagonally placed windows designed to optimize the amount of sunlight streaming through.

Hotel Hotel - Canberra, Australia

Hotel Hotel – Canberra, Australia

Hotel Hotel, Canberra, Australia recommended by Brandon Chan, Director of Sales & Marketing, APAC, Design Hotels™

Housed in a Japanese-inspired building, at first glance Hotel Hotel would seem to be entirely removed from its location. However, the functional and minimalist interiors of the 68 guestrooms have been created using humble, locally-sourced materials such as natural clay, recycled oak and aged cork. Hotel Hotel’s program of thoughtful sustainability is evident at almost every level: from the off-form concrete structure, to the repurposed furnishings and central staircase fashioned from salvaged timber. Taken as a whole, this breathing cornerstone of the Australian capital is a “vertical village” that contains the Palace Electric cinema, cafés and bars. The hotel’s public lounge is a series of nested spaces formed by rough-formed concrete, home to two large fireplaces and a library thoughtfully stocked with independent magazines and vintage books.

Sir Albert Hotel - Amsterdam, Holland

Sir Albert Hotel – Amsterdam, Holland

Sir Albert Hotel, Amsterdam, The Netherlands recommended by Henning Schaub, Sales Manager, Central & Eastern Europe, Design Hotels™

The building was once a diamond factory but there’s no doubt that Sir Albert Hotel is shining at its brightest right now. Amsterdam’s cool and creative crowd is flocking to the hotel’s IZAKAYA Asian Kitchen & Bar, created by Yossi Eliyahoo, and the restaurant’s adjoining private terrace with sweeping city views is the perfect spot for sundowners. For those staying in one of the 90 stylish guestrooms once the party winds down, Sir Albert’s unique brand of ‘bedside burger’ room service comes courtesy of De Pijp foodie hotspot The Butcher. Wait… BEDSIDE BURGER ROOM SERVICE? I think I’m in love.

Vertigo Hotel Spa - Dijon, France

Vertigo Hotel Spa – Dijon, France

Vertigo Hotel, Dijon, France recommended by Samantha Schellhase, Head of Portfolio Development, EMEA, Design Hotels™

Set in the historic heart of Dijon, the capital of Burgundy and one of the four official French cities of gastronomy, Vertigo Hotel is intrinsically linked with world-class food and wine. This may be reason alone to visit for us and the hotel has fully embraced this culinary heritage, starting with the chic retro bar which serves a wide selection of vintage burgundy wines, alongside classic French cocktails. Quite possibly my favorite. For the best and most unique sampling of the region, the mini bars in each of the 42 rooms are sourced strictly with products from Burgundy. Bedside wine tastings come in the form of single-serving ‘test tubes’, a personal favorite and a great way to sample the region.

The Gate Hotel - Tokyo, Japan

The Gate Hotel – Tokyo, Japan

The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon, Tokyo, Japan recommended by Aik Wee Ong, Director of Account and Revenue Management, APAC, Design Hotels™

The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon and its 136 rooms is nestled in the culturally-rich neighborhood of Asakusa, steps from the main temple gate of Kaminarimon and surrounded by independent shops and restaurants oozing with the charm of old Japan. Far from being stuck in the past, the district is constantly evolving by embracing innovative art and design, and The Gate Hotel with its clean, contemporary vibe is playing a considerable role in this evolution. The sweeping panoramic views from the hotel’s lobby and restaurant offer guests a birdseye view of the shifting and contrasting landscape of one of Tokyo’s most exciting destinations.

Mexico: Swanky Deals to Spa For at Mexico Velas Resorts

Hotel Grand Velas Riviera Maya. Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo. Mexico

The Sultry Spa at Hotel Grand Velas Riviera Maya. Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo. Mexico

This just in! Mexico’s Velas Resorts are celebrating summer by showcasing a selection of special spa treatments for $99 each at their world-class destination spas, a savings up to 50%. Guests are invited to indulge in popular treatments ranging from a rejuvenating Radiance of Pearls Facial to an innovative Velas Fish Therapy Pedicure. The spa promotions are available from June through October at the four resorts, which include: Casa Velas, Grand Velas Riviera Maya, Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit and Velas Vallarta.

At Casa Velas, a highlight of the spa treatments offered is the Dead Sea Mud Wrap, which utilizes mud from the richest waters in the world, providing an ideal concentration of essential salts and minerals. A unique therapy at Grand Velas Riviera Maya is its Velas Fish Therapy, which incorporates the famous Gara Rufa fish, small fish from Asia that produce an enzyme in their mouths that eat dead skin cells and help repair minor skin lesions. The treatment is complete with a relaxing pedicure to polish the nails.

Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit Spatasticness

Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit Spatasticness

The Spa at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit will be showcasing three 25-minute spa specials: Back Massage, Tired Legs Massage, and a Face and Head Acupressure Treatment. At Velas Vallarta, guests are invited to enjoy its Seaweed Salt Scrub and Foot Massage, which uses seaweed salt to eliminate dead cells and improve circulation with a relaxing foot massage.

We’re already planning our trip now as The Spas at Velas Resorts have won numerous industry awards, including Most Excellent Spa Hotel by Condé Nast Johansens, Virtuoso’s Best Spa in the World, Trip Advisor Traveler’s Choice Award for Best Spa Hotel, a SpaFinder Readers’ Choice, and Travel + Leisure’s Best Spas, to name just a few.

Treatment options vary by location and month, but have a look and, who knows? Maybe you can get your feet properly cleaned and pampered by little fish too!

www.velasresorts.com

Alaska Fishing Lodges: The Lodge at Steamboat Bay

Steamboat Bay

Steamboat Bay

When I was a kid, my father used to take me fishing for rainbow trout. It’s one of my favorite memories to date. The casting of the line, the waiting for a bite, the cleaning of the fish, perhaps my least favorite part, but memorable and at one with nature, nonetheless.

I’ve never been to Alaska, but I do know this. If I go, you bet I’ll be fishing. Steamboat Bay Fishing Club came across our radar when we heard they were expanding their accommodation offerings with the addition of The Residence at Steamboat Bay, available to book for the 2015 summer season. Completed February 2015, the new eight-bedroom manor will join The Lodge at Steamboat Bay, inviting an additional eight guests (increasing the total guest count to 24) to indulge in luxury amenities at the closest lodge to the best fishing in southeast Alaska. The 2015 season (mid-June to mid-August) also brings to the Club a new fishing fleet of custom-built 27’ heated cabin cruisers each equipped with a livewell and dual outboard engines. The new fleet provides guests with an upgraded boating experience, including more deck space, an onboard head, and satellite radio. Sounds like a facing party, doesn’t it? Exclusively located on Noyes Island near Ketchikan, just a 90-minute flight from Seattle, The Residence at Steamboat Bay is adjacent the original Lodge.

A Room at the Residence

A Room at the Residence

Like the Lodge, the Residence features iconic Steamboat Bay styling including Native American artwork and artisan hand-crafted construction using island timbers, local stones and antique materials reclaimed from the island’s original seafood cannery. The new Residence also has something particularly cool: a transparent floor showcasing views of the salmon stream that runs beneath the house! Residential-style oceanfront and forest view accommodations with en-suite bathrooms, a comfortable Great Room featuring a large wood burning fireplace (because you can’t have a lodge without a fireplace), and its own hot tub on the Residence’s spacious deck overlooking the bay are other super fine lodge lovin’ features.

Getting toasty by the fire

Getting toasty by the fire

Guests at The Residence get complete access to the services and amenities at the nearby Lodge, including a made-to-order cocktail reception at the hosted open bar, fine made-to-order Alaskan cuisine, on-site therapeutic massage, bay kayaks, a sauna styled after a traditional Slavic banya, and more. Not bad for a fishing club that hosts novice and experienced anglers alike to enjoy the region’s best-guided salt-water Alaskan sport fishing, while exhilarating in spectacular coastlines and wildlife. This premier location is just minutes from the best fishing spots for trophy-sized wild Alaska King Salmon (Chinook), Silver Salmon (Coho), Halibut, Lingcod, Yelloweye Rockfish and more than 20 other abundant species. To ensure an exclusive experience for guests, Steamboat Bay Fishing Club will reserve booking The Residence for travelers that bring up to eight guests in addition to accommodating sixteen at The Lodge.

I’m hungry now. You too?

www.SteamboatBay.com

Off the Beaten Path: Brunch in Chicago

Originally posted on Taste Savant:

Brunch in Chicago is not simply a pastime. It is an art. Each Saturday and Sunday Chicagoans flock to the smart restaurants that offer the perfect cure: time to gossip about the week’s adventures, pure comfort food, and the hair of the dog. We like to have our perfect cure without the hour-long waits and unfortunately packed tables and head to these hidden gems instead:

Broadway Cellars

5900 N Broadway St

broadway cellars brunch

A little out of the way from the bustling streets of Lincoln Park and River North, this Edgewater joint is well worth the walk from the Thorndale station. Nestled in the middle of a neighborhood, there is no better place to sit and people-watch than on their tree-lined patio. Not only is the atmosphere the perfect mix of upscale and family-friendly, their portions are also generous and the menu is simply mouth-watering. With time-tested classics like Steak’n’Eggs next to innovative dishes such as Honey-Brined…

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Aruba, Adults Only

Bucuti's Romantic Beachside Huts

Bucuti’s Romantic Beachside Huts

Normally, we don’t write about Adult’s Only properties because it always makes us think of nudist colonies, but, sometimes, when we go on vacation, we do want some peace and quiet. Enter: Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts, one of Aruba’s premier boutique resort for couples. The award winning, owner managed resort caters to adults only and has earned a number of awards and honors. Most recently, Bucuti was named number one in the top 25 hotels in the Caribbean by TripAdvisor and is the only resort in Aruba to be honored in this category. Additionally, Bucuti was named number two in the top 25 hotels for romance in the Caribbean, number four in the top 25 hotels for service in the Caribbean and was honored among the top hotels for romance in the world. Bucuti has also appeared on Condé Nast Traveler’s prestigious Gold List, recognizing the world’s best places to stay.

A chic standard room at Bucuti

A chic standard room at Bucuti

Located on the white-powder sands of Eagle Beach, designated as one of the “Dream Beaches of the World,” Bucuti’s 104 guest rooms and suites, freshwater infinity pool, and Day Spa, make it recognized as a Five Star Diamond Resort by the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences.

We also like the property because it’s certified Green Globe 21, ISO 14001 and ISO 9001, and is a leader in sustainable tourism throughout the world, earning the Green Globe High Achievement Award. If vegging on the beach isn’t the only thing you’re after, Bucuti supports the local community with  monthly beach clean-ups, the Turtugaruba sea turtle protection group, and Donkey Sanctuary Aruba.

Eagle Beach, Aruba

Eagle Beach, Aruba

Did we mention that the resort is also TAG Approved® as a gay friendly hotel?

So, you can have an all around relaxing time on one of the best beaches in the world AND feel good about it.

From around $300/night

www.bucuti.com

Anguilla… Sweet Like Vanilla

CeBlue Villas and Beach Resort (courtesy of the hotel)

CeBlue Villas and Beach Resort (courtesy of the hotel)

Anguilla… rhymes with vanilla, but most likely takes its’ name from the word ‘eel’ in various European languages due to it’s unique shape. Although the island has gained popularity in recent years thanks to A-list visitors like Liam Neeson, Orlando Bloom, and Miranda Kerr, Anguilla has long enticed in-the-know travellers to experience any number of it’s 33 pristine beaches. A British overseas territory located in the north eastern region of the Caribbean, just five miles north of St. Maarten, and 150 miles east of Puerto Rico, the island is best known for its powder-white sand beaches, all with crystal-clear turquoise waters matched by few places in the world. Its warm, friendly people keep visitors coming back with an island culture infused with a love of the land and dependence on the sea, reflected in its history and cultural festivals that celebrate Anguillian traditions of fishing, boat racing, and cuisine.

Now, the re-opening of the famed Malliouhana Resort & Spa has placed Anguilla again at the forefront of the global conversation. Special offers and new dining options all create great reasons to choose Anguilla for that special winter getaway.

Upcoming Events

The 25th Annual Moonsplash Music Festival will take place March 27-29 under the full moon on gorgeous Rendezvous Bay. Hosted at The Dune Preserve, it is the longest running independent music festival in the Eastern Caribbean and highlights some of the biggest names in reggae and popular emerging talent.

The following weekend, Easter weekend, April 4-5, is the 7th Annual Festival del Mar. An epicurean celebration of all things from the sea, it is hosted in the picturesque fishing village of Island Harbour and features a multiplicity of seaside activities, including fishing competitions, culinary competitions, swimming races, crab races, and of course, Anguilla’s National Sport and beloved pastime, boat racing.

Malliouhana Hotel

Malliouhana Hotel

Accommodations

The renowned Malliouhana Hotel & Spa re-opened its doors in November 2014 after a three year closure and restoration by Auberge Resorts. Malliouhana has been considered one of the finest resorts in the Caribbean since its original opening in 1984. The resort features 55 rooms, two beaches, two restaurants and bars, an extensive array of sports and fitness facilities as well as a 15,000 square-foot spa all on 20 acres of elevated beachfront land.

Nightly rates start at $525 for a garden view deluxe room, inclusive of a continental breakfast buffet for two.

http://malliouhana.aubergeresorts.com/ or www.aubergeresorts.com

Ce Blue Beach Resort & Villas, Anguilla’s first and only luxury private residence club, has introduced a new concept for Caribbean vacations: the hybrid villa-resort. CéBlue encompasses just eight private villas, all with lush native landscaping, dramatic oceanfront vistas and configurations up to six bedrooms. Outside, each villa has a spacious 2,000 square foot covered deck plus 3,000 square feet of open terrace with a private pool, outdoor rain shower & bath. While privacy is paramount at CéBlue, guests who seek out a more traditional resort experience can take advantage of a clubhouse with luxury resort amenities and a variety of beachfront activities and entertainment options.

Beaches Edge West End Villa

Beaches Edge West End Villa

Beaches Edge has recently enhanced their two five-bedroom West End Villas with all new soft furnishings. Travelers will enjoy brand new luxury bedding and bath linens, updated accessories and expanded pool-side seating and umbrellas.

www.beachesedge.com

Frangipani Beach Resort acquired the villa formerly known as Seychelles in January 2015.  The five-bedroom/four-bathroom villa, scheduled to open in November 2015, is the only one of its kind directly on Meads Bay and features a private infinity pool, butler service and access to the amenities at Frangipani Beach Resort including the fitness facilities and complimentary water sports. Nightly rates will start at $3000.

www.frangipaniresort.com

Kishti Villa Collection will introduce not one but two new six-bedroom retreats to Anguilla’s amazing Meads Bay on March 18, 2015. Known as Kishti on Meads, the twin villas launch the brand-new Kishti Villa Collection, which also includes the five-room Kishti at Black Garden, a few miles east on Anguilla’s north shore. Each villa highlights capacious interiors featuring dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the sea (“kishti” is Urdu for canoe), with Cecconi Simone-designed interiors highlighting Eastern objets d’arts and Western artworks that create a distinctive environment of unusual refinement. The new six-bedroom villas offer: two kitchens per villa; patio and rooftop gardens; a home theater and home office; personal gym; and a staff of 11, including a butler and chef. The Kishti Villa Collection is exclusively represented by Ricketts Luxury Properties.

www.rickettsluxury.com

Altamer Russian - Amethyst Villa

Altamer Russian – Amethyst Villa

Altamer resort in Shoal Bay West recently renovated and transformed one of its three beachside villas, the Russian Amethyst, into an art villa. Curated by Jennie Lamensdorf, the villa boasts a variety of contemporary paintings from the personal collection of Francis Greenburger, Chairman and CEO of the resort’s New City-based developer, Time Equities Inc. (TEI).

http://www.altamer.com

Properties in Paradise, one of Anguilla’s premier real estate and consulting firms, has added the seven-bedroom estate Santosha Villa available for weekly rentals, and added the newly re-launched Elements Villas (Sea, Sand and Sky), formerly Temenos, to the firm’s portfolio. Lastly, Zenaida Beach & Tennis Estate is offering their summer rates for the whole winter season, a savings of nearly 50 percent.

http://www.propertiesinparadiseaxa.com/

Viceroy Anguilla (c) Viceroy

Viceroy Anguilla (c) Viceroy

The swanky Viceroy Anguilla is offering packages for Valentine’s Day for couples having large destination weddings or small, intimate gatherings to tie the knot. The Love & Legacy Package applies to groups of at least 100 adults staying for three nights and starts at US$500 per person, while Love in the Sky rewards couples who book six roundtrip seats on a Tradewind Aviation flight from San Juan to Anguilla with complimentary seats on the same flight. For those who prefer a couples-only ceremony, Love is Simple and The Elegance of a Vow include the wedding ceremony, a dedicated wedding specialist, a three-course dinner for two at the resort’s signature restaurant Coba and more. The packages are US$4,200 and $4,800 respectively, and also include personal assistance with the marriage license and certificate service. Of course, the fun doesn’t stop after the ceremony, as couples who host a wedding with more than 100 rooms will receive a complimentary five-night stay in a suite, a romantic dinner for two and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne for their first anniversary.

www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/en/anguilla 

Allamanda Beach Club is offering a Couples Spring Break Getaway. The four-day package includes daily continental breakfast, car rental for the four days, a one-hour glass bottom boat ride, a 40-minute massage for two and dinner for two on the final evening. The package is $1,640 and is valid April 15 through December 15, 2015.

Restaurants

French pastries - Cafe de Paris (courtesy of Cafe de Paris Facebook page)

French pastries – Cafe de Paris (courtesy of Cafe de Paris Facebook page)

Café de Paris offers a blend of French and Anguillian specialties. Led by the team that operated Big Spring restaurant in Island Harbour, Café de Paris is set among a lush garden in the West End of Anguilla.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cafe-de-Paris/274341452725952.

Dad’s Restaurant on Sandy Ground is offering “You Catch It – We Cook It” for fresh seafood at its best. Patrons can bring in their freshly caught fish for the chef to prepare it to their liking with three side dishes. Dad’s also features live music and dancing in the evening.

https://www.facebook.com/DadsAnguilla.

Pizza at Daisy's

Pizza at Daisy’s (courtesy of Daisy’s Facebook page)

Daisy’s is another restaurant new to the Anguilla scene. Located in a traditional Anguillian home in George Hill, the restaurant serves Caribbean food as well as thin- and thick-crust pizzas. Daisy’s is open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner.

https://www.facebook.com/DaisysAXA.

Ruthy’s Yum Yum is a new locally-owned restaurant featuring fusion-style menu options and international flair. Located in Little Dix, near Shoal Bay East, the restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

www.instagram.com/ruthysyumyum

Sarjai’s Restaurant opened in December 2014 by Chef Darren Connor, a member of the Anguilla National Culinary Team. Named for his daughter, the restaurant is located on Meads Bay and features a menu of local and regional dishes with an international flair. Sarjai is open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sarjais-Restaurant/359863227519292.

Romney’s is Anguilla’s newest restaurant, located in Lower South Hill. Serving tasty local cuisine and favorites such as oven-fresh pizza, succulent burgers, mouthwatering quesadillas and more, Romney’s is the place to dine this winter and is under the capable direction of Chef Kevin Paul.

For reservations or take-out orders please call 1-264-497-6810 or www.facebook.com/romneys

Anguilla is easily accessible via daily flights that connect directly to Anguilla from San Juan or St. Maarten. For those coming from St. Maarten, Anguilla is just a short seven-minute flight or 20 minute ferry boat ride away.

 www.iVisitAnguilla.com