Design Hotels Summer Specials

Memmo Baleeira Hotel - Portugal
Memmo Baleeira Hotel - Portugal

I don’t know about you, but I’d sure like to experience a surf ‘n’ sail season Memmo Baleeira style in Portugal’s southernmost tip. You too? Following in the wake of hotelier Rodrigo Machaz, himself a surfer who knows the best spots in the shimmering Algarve waters, Design Hotels™™ is offering some Summer Specials not to be missed.

The Mira Spa - Hong Kong
The Mira Spa - Hong Kong

Or, if you feel like taking in the shimmering nightscape of Hong Kong from your room at the The Mira Hong Kong, you can do that too. For an eclectically British feel, try the Firmdale hotels in London. Choose the funky neighbourhood of Soho with Charlotte Street Hotel or the exclusive upmarket locale of West End with Haymarket Hotel.

Apparently, Summer is just a click away…

The three different options include:

– 3 for 2: one complimentary overnight stay (minimum length of stay 3 nights)

– Upgrade: free upgrade to the next available room category (minimum length of stay 2 nights)

– Value: save a minimum of 10% off the best available rate (minimum length of stay 2 nights)

For travel: April 30 – September 18, 2012

NYC’s Sweet Downtown Digs – Courtesy of Thompson Hotels

Smyth Downtown - Thompson Hotels
Smyth Downtown - Thompson Hotels

We all know that Lower Manhattan aka. Downtown has something for everyone: cool architecture, rich history, a range of shopping from discount to high-end, and great food so, for those seeking to explore, we wanted to fill our awesome readers in on some Thompson Hotel properties that caught our eye: Smyth TriBeCa, Gild Hall, and Thompson Lower East Side. Things we like? Thompson’s LES haute minimalism, the Andy Warhol filmstrip pool, Smyth’s Yabu Pushelberg sleek design (think warm walnut paneling and crisp sleek glass), and Gild Hall’s classic English-inspired den compliments of Jim Walrod. I’d love to move into Gild for a nice long relaxing weekend. It almost feels like a hunting lodge in the middle of the city. All of their rates are competitive too (hey, it’s still NYC so you’re looking at at least $260 +), but the design and selection of art is so topnotch, any spend is worth it. Plus, they do a good job of showing you all that lower Manhattan has to offer.

South Side Seaport
South Side Seaport

Smyth TriBeCa is your sophisticated chic downtown property while Gild Hall is your modern-day club fit for the kings and queens of Wall Street. Both aren’t far from some Lower Manhattan sights like City Hall, New York Stock Exchange, South Street Seaport, 9/11 Memorial, Battery Park, The New York City Police Museum, Staten Island Ferry (go ahead and see Mob Wives up close and personal. We dare you!), Statue of Liberty, Skyscraper Museum, World Financial Center, Stone Street (for suits and brews), and Cipriani Wall Street.

You can also find more sights and attractions here:

Smyth TriBeCa does a great job of celebrating TriBeCa’s dynamic lifestyle by combining sleek and modern design with rich, vintage accents to create that bespoke experience. You can lounge, eat and drink in the chic and spacious lobby designed by Yabu Pushelburg and you don’t have to wander far to eat at Plein Sud, Fredrick Lesort’s downtown French brasserie located in Smyth TriBeCa. The restaurant features an array of dishes influenced by the diverse gastronomic heritage of France with a nod to its southern regions. In January 2012, Smyth TriBeCa was also named the year’s trendiest hotel in America by TripAdvisor. And hey, sometimes you want to hang with the trendsetters, nay?

Rates from $299

85 West Broadway | NYC 10007

Gild Hall's Lobby
Gild Hall's Lobby

Gild Hall, located on historic Gold Street, also brings a new level of luxury to Manhattan’s illustrious Financial District. The hotel features a bi-level library lounge and bar, a modern English tavern THE LIBERTINE, and 126 luxe, cosmopolitan rooms. Effortlessly blending classical European sensibility with American contemporary style, it does it’s street name justice. Classic, refined, and cozy… bankers and ballers – you’ll fit right in.

Rates from $279

15 Gold Street | NYC 10038

The Warhol Pool - Thompson Lower East Side
The Warhol Pool - Thompson Lower East Side

Thompson Lower East Side is inspired by the provocative undercurrent of its neighborhood’s surroundings embodying the ultimate in clean, industrial New York with timeless modern style. It also includes a bevy of hotspots (a private outdoor rooftop bar, luxe spa facilities, third floor outdoor pool and lounge as well as the newest addition, Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya). Starting rate: $299

Berlin Like a Local

We just caught wind of a cool little service from our peeps in Berlin. Plus One Berlin is a new hospitality model that gives travellers a local insider look at a city.  Launched in Berlin, Germany, from around €120 per night travelers can stay in an innovatively-designed space in ‘Kreuzkölln’, one of the most interesting and up-and-coming areas of Berlin, and have an experience with a well-connected and knowledgeable local of their choice. As their ‘plus one’ guests gain access to the most hidden and interesting restaurants, cafes, parties, and galleries, thus giving them a novel look at one of the world’s most changing and exciting cities.

A Local Look at Berlin Life

After booking the space via the booking enquiry form guests are given log in details to access the guest part of the website. Here they can read profiles of 28 locals and choose the date and time they want the experience. The locals have been chosen for their passion and knowledge of the city and have different nationalities, interests and professions. The guest can then choose to meet their local for a drink to get advice and quick tips (1/2 hr) or experience Berlin as their plus one (3-5 hrs). The guest is given the local’s email address so they can make contact with them prior to arrival to arrange a place to meet and discuss what they’d like to do. The rate includes accommodation and one experience with a local for every two to three night stay. Pretty cool.

Sustainable and Innovative Design

The 29-square-metre-space is innovatively designed by two Berlin-based architects, Paola Bagna (Spamroom) and JP Coss (CossA) using a combination of new and salvaged materials. The space sleeps 1-3 people and features a kitchenette (with fridge, kettle and toaster) and storage area constructed using reclaimed wood. A balcony provides an outdoor seating area and is connected to the interior through an indoor desk space and large glass windows. The space acts as an exhibition area for local artists where work changes every few months. In-room facilities include a 40-inch flat screen Cable TV, WiFi and an iPod dock. Located in the popular ‘Reuterkiez’ area of Neukölln, a vibrant and multicultural area in South East Berlin, the space is close to friendly cafes, intimate bars and popular restaurants.

Your Artsy Little Home Away from Home

Luxurious and Ecological Amenities

Each guest receives: a P1B illustrated map of the local area; a P1B key ring that gives them a 10% discount at nearby businesses; a surprise food or beverage welcome treat and luxurious ethically-sourced ILA-Spa toiletries. Handmade slippers made from organic cotton with reclaimed soles are also provided, of course.

Conrad New York’s Grand Opening

Conrad Rooftop Bar
Conrad Rooftop Bar

Did you know that on March 19th, The Conrad New York opened it’s doors? Our friend, Mark Ricci, just informed us that, located in the heart of lower Manhattan’s Battery Park City (102 North End Avenue) and rising 16 stories along the Hudson River waterfront, this almost 500 room all-suite luxury hotel is also the very first New York address from Conrad Hotels & Resorts (global luxury brand of Hilton Worldwide). We have to say, with magnificent views of the Hudson River, this exceptional hotel is adjacent to Hudson River Park, and in close proximity to many of the city’s important and historic landmarks and prominent neighborhoods, including TriBeCa and SoHo. Rooms average over 450 square feet (that’s probably bigger than my apartment!), each outfitted with integrated technology and flat-screen TVs, of course.

The artist roster is also impressive. Sol LeWitt, Pat Steir, Elizabeth Peyton, Sara Sosnowy, Mary Heilmann and many more have lent their talent in mediums ranging from painting, lithography, silkscreen and aquatint to woodcut, intaglio, heliograph, etching and mixed media. All works have been documented in coffee table books through a partnership with the Public Art Fund and are available for perusal in suites and for purchase in the atrium gift shop.

Conrad New York Standard Room
Conrad New York Standard Room

The hotel’s dramatic atrium is anchored by Loopy Doopy Blue and Purple 1999, an abstract work by conceptualist painter Sol LeWitt. It’s a work that The New York Times described as “invigorating eye-candy; the lines and shapes of color twist, dance, and battle playfully for dominance.” This is the most dramatic piece of artwork at the hotel, towering 13 stories high and custom designed for the space. A bit of fun around Loopy Doopy: It was painted by 50 peoples, required more than 100 gallons of paint, and took 3,000 hours to complete. That’s why I call artistic stamina. Surrounding the atrium is Yellow Flag and Mennige (Polygon) by Imi Knoebel, an internationally renowned German artist. It’s vivid burst of red cartwheeling across the wall blends minimalist austerity with high-spirited exuberance  – suggesting a collection of rectangular forms in motion.

The hotel also features a striking rooftop bar (affectionately called “Loopy Doopy” which pays tribute to the Sol LeWitt painting), and stellar views of New York Harbor, Statue of Liberty and lower Manhattan, as well as the Ken Smith-designed “green roof.” And, for corporate meeting and convention planners looking for a great corporate retreat that still in Manhattan, there’s 30,000 square feet of adaptable meeting space, including the 6,200 square-foot Gallery Ballroom. Danny Meyer’s Union Square Events will be the exclusive food and beverage partner of the hotel’s onsite conference and event facilities and… what else? Oh yeah… Conrad New York is pursuing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification. Duh.

Conrad New York's Green Roof
Conrad New York's Green Roof

For grub? Conrad New York’s signature restaurant, Atrio, serves contemporary Mediterranean cuisine prepared in an open kitchen with a wood-stone oven. What’s not to like? Atrio has a full bar featuring wines from around the world and Executive Chef Anthony Zamora, who recently came from Four Seasons Hotel New York to inspire with dishes from his Italian and Lebanese roots using farm fresh ingredients. 

Opening rates start from $249.00

One Luxury Amazon River Cruise in Peru You Can’t Miss

Aria - Peru

Meet my latest obsession: Aqua Expeditions. With the Aria and the Aqua, they’re the first luxury cruises to sail along the Amazon. You’ll experience the Amazon River’s three powerful tributaries in modern sleek style: the Marañón, the Ucayali, and the Puinahua as well as several hidden black water lakes. Combine this cruise with a pre or post-cruise Peru tour of Machu Picchu, Lima and Cusco and you have the makings of an unforgettable Peru luxury vacation.

A Room Aboard the Aria Overlooking the Amazon

Here’s a little sample of what you’ll see and do:

  • Arrival to Iquitos, transfer to Dock and Check-in
  • Iguana Isles and Piranha Fishing
  • Dolphin, Birds and Monkey Expedition
  • Magdalena Village or Yanallpa Flooded Forest
  • Pink Dolphins; Macaws at Sunset
  • Amazon Source, Village / 3 Nighters Depart
  • Forest of Mirrors / 4 Nighters Arrive
  • Nature Excursion
  • Jungle Walk, Meet the People
  • All-day Primary Forest Excursion; or Morning Rainforest Walk
  • Afternoon Caiman Expeditions
  • Breakfast with Pink Dolphins
  • Fishing Trip
  • Iquitos City, Visit Manatee Rescue Center and Departure

3-7 day cruises along the Amazon from $2800-$6300