Take for example Ellie Lai in Taipei, who has not only shone as the lead flute in the National Symphony Orchestra, but whose masterful art curation has blurred the lines between hotel and gallery. Her passion for the modern Chinese aesthetic infuses the Humble House Taipei, a glass and aluminium ode to her philosophy of “art in life, life in art.”
Then there’s a man in Tbilisi, Temur Ugulava, who, with the help of young and local talent, is at the forefront of re-defining Georgia’s design legacy. Taking the old-world charm of the region and casting it in a modern light, the Rooms Hotel Group is creating new wave Eurasian experiences.
Join Design Hotels™ as it shares the passions of inspired hoteliers. From the rainforests of Brazil to the soaring skyscrapers of Seoul, delve into five new destinations.
GLAD Hotel Yeouido, Seoul, South Korea
￼In the glimmering skyscraper-filled district of Yeouido – aptly nicknamed Seoul’s Manhattan – GLAD Hotel Yeouido’s brick façade stands out from its neighbors’ modernist glass buildings. Taking exterior elements inside, design team JOH & Company sourced a local type of brick, its intricately patterned stacks softened by spot lighting, evoking the warmth of a traditional Korean home. Street signs guide guests to the 319 rooms, each one an exercise in streamlined practicality and void of any unnecessary frills. The inviting GREETS restaurant and cafe revels in natural materials and pure forms, and the Bar Mark T serves up the city’s most extensive and unique collection of Single Malt Whiskey.
Rooms Hotel Tbilisi, Georgia ￼
Part artisanal masterpiece, post-industrial gem, and all sensual wonderland, Rooms Hotel Tbilisi is the second hotel from the trailblazing Rooms Hotel Group. While the first, Rooms Hotel Kazbegi, has been luring guests to the Caucasus Mountains for just over two years, owner and Original Temur Ugulava looked to Tbilisi’s intellectual neighborhood of Vera this time to create a cultural hub. Salvaging the soul of a dilapidated publishing house, Ugulava and the young, local architecture firm Adjara Arch Group combined 1930s New York with old-world Tbilisi charm in the 140-room hotel. Rich, fragrant leather, mood lighting, traditional textile work, and carefully selected sounds permeate the hotel which is fast becoming a focal point for the country’s new design movement.
Felissimo Exclusive Hotel, Balneário Camboriú, Brazil ￼
“Luxury need not be excessive,” agreed Terence Schauffert Reiser and Grace and Robert Schramm (the visionaries behind Felissimo Exclusive Hotel), before re-imagining Schramm’s family home. Reiser, a retired surf pro, worked closely with the Schramms to carve out the “stripped chic” 10-room hideaway, set atop a hillside, 500 meters from the laidback surf paradise of Amores Beach. Influenced by elements of Southern Italy and Provence, the property’s wood and glass façade plays a pivotal role in the architecture. Inside, Brazilian designer Paulo Alves combined native woods, sleek glass, coral, and masonry to create a refined, modern-meets-rustic simplicity.
Humble House Taipei, Taiwan
Located on the top floors of a Diamond-rated Green Building – in the vibrant heart of Xinyi – the 235-room Humble House Taipei merges design, green living, and art into one holistic concept. Crisp lines, warm tones and floor-to-ceiling windows maximize natural light while a deceptively simple design serves as a backdrop for over 600 works of art. Formerly the principal flutist of the National Symphony Orchestra, well-known Art Curator Ellie Lai has assembled an impressively large collection, showcasing contemporary works from Poland, Israel, Japan, Taiwan and beyond. Not only a gallery within a hotel, guests can also enjoy the allure of daily traditional tea ceremonies, relax with the healing power of scent and touch at the spa, or enjoy a rare inner city perk: a lush sixth-floor garden with sprawling views of the city.
Anya Hotel, Gurgaon, India ￼
Thanks to father and son duo Misha and Marcel Vadera, worldly sophistication, Indian panache and contemporary cool meet at the 177-room Anya Hotel, in the commercial hub of Gurgaon. From the spacious suites to the Amaltas Spa by L’Occitane, the hotel’s mantra of luxury with an undercurrent of minimalism runs throughout. Culture prevails with Gurgaon's only Spanish tapas bar and beer garden, and the hotel features multiple international music zones, from jazz and electronic to Indian classical concerts. Misha Vadera's passion for art is evidenced throughout the hotel, with works by such contemporary Indian masters as Bose Krishnamachari and Chittrovanu Mazumdar, and commissioned work by Remen Chopra.