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Design Hotels welcomes 8 new members

THE QVEST, Cologne, Germany
The Design Hotels™ Originals are the artisans, whose experiences and ideas are manifested into remarkable hotels. Built on the foundation of creativity and a personal vision, each is a result of a different life and a different story. From a runner of Moroccan marathons to a medical student turned designer: eight new members emerge with eight new tales. Each new property invites guests to experience the result of one Original’s wild ride.

AthensWas, Athens, Greece
Walnut walls, marble monochromes, portraits of stony-faced statues, and furniture by Le Corbusier, Ettore Sottsass, Michael Graves and Konstantin Grcic: AthensWas boasts a unique aesthetic which re-visualises the classic-modernism of the 1950s-1970s. Former student of anatomic pathology and Design Hotels™ Original Stavros Papayiannis set up his own design studio “Stage Design Office” with the notion firmly in mind that the job of a designer is similar to that of a doctor – which explains the tender loving care and eye to detail evident in the design of each of the 20 rooms. The hotel’s name pays homage to Athens’ illustrious past, a chapter of which – the Acropolis of Athens – can be seen from most rooms. Situated a stone’s throw from this masterpiece of ancient architecture, AthensWas' showcase of unique design and architecture is in good company. 

Furnas Boutique Hotel, Thermal & Spa, São Miguel, Azores, Portugal
After Portugese native Miguel Guedes de Sousa traveled the world in search of white truffles, fine wines, and an education in hospitality and gastronomy – with a few Moroccan marathons along the way – it’s no surprise that this Original wanted to retreat to a far-flung part of his homeland. Luckily for us, he brought his invaluable knowledge with him to create Furnas Boutique Hotel, Thermal & Spa, a 54-room retreat tucked away in Mother Nature’s back pocket on the Portugese Archipelago of Azores. The result is a rural sanctuary, which allows guests to bask in the island’s tranquillity and enjoy the natural thermal water, which is used in the hotel’s spa. Thoughtful architecture by Saraiva + Associados harnesses the island’s energy for a kick back like no other. 

Phum Baitang, Siem Reap, Cambodia
As the only Design Hotels™ member in Cambodia, Phum Baitang opens up a ream of possibilities for inspiring stories. Just like the traditional Khmer village which serves as its model, this property is a collective creation of 45 spacious villas set amidst eight acres of paddy fields in the countryside. Thatched roofing, wooden-stilted villas, local stone and wood, and wisdom gleaned from centuries of construction have contributed to Phum Baitang’s creation, offering guests full cultural immersion in mystical Siem Reap. The spa temple, yoga pavilion and pool bar turn the hotel from a continued tradition into a luxury getaway built on authenticity. Original Arnaud Zannier, the owner and founder of Zannier Hotels, is an old hand in hospitality but describes his newest project as his most personal one.

The Swatch Art Peace Hotel, Shanghai, China
“Art is the real luxury in life”. That’s the motto behind the Swiss watch brand’s The Swatch Art Peace Hotel, a property which sits on Shanghai’s Bund and consists of 7 guestrooms and 18 ateliers and artists’ apartments. From a wicker-encased birdcage bed to a collection of ghostly paintings and photos, the hotel is peppered with a myriad of creations graciously left behind by previous resident artists who are asked to leave a “trace”. The hotel is a collection of many individuals’ own lives and the artistic expressions which blossom, allowing guests to bask in, buy, and try their hand at life’s true luxury: art.

Hospes Palacio de San Esteban, Salamanca, Spain
In classic Hospes Hotels style, a convent originally built by Dominican monks in the 18th century has been reanimated as Hospes Palacio de Esteban: a modern hideaway whose rich history still resides as a permanent guest. Much like their other properties, this historically important building has been reawakened with the ancient stone walls playing host to 54 rooms and restaurant El Monje – situated in the convent’s original kitchen. Giving something back to locals and guests, the hotel offers unique views of the city’s cathedrals, cloisters and Dominican Garden, as well as serving traditional Castillan cuisine with a contemporary touch tastefully added.

THE QVEST, Cologne, Germany
A temporally fused design feat, THE QVEST is a synergy of Gothic architecture and mid-20th century interiors which occupies a quiet street in Cologne’s Old Town. Expect huge windows, high ceilings, oak-wood parquet floors, contemporary photography, intriguingly-odd furniture, and an overall sense of grandeur with a gloriously unique identity invention. The 34 rooms and suites are the visualization of Qvest magazine’s editor-in-chief Michael Kaune, after being one of the first guests to stay in New York’s Paramount hotel which lead to 20 years of hotel-hopping research. Kaune sees Qvest as an extension of his magazine’s style and design agenda which is accompanied by his art gallery for contemporary photography next-door. 

The House Hotel Cappadocia, Turkey
After running the successful House Hotels brand mainly in Istanbul, Originals Canan Özdemir and Ferit Baltacioglu – with backgrounds in mechanical engineering and auditing, respectively – made an almighty leap with their latest venture. The House Hotel Cappadocia is a labyrinth of ancient caves and traditional homes in a culturally-rich corner of Turkey, far from the hubbub of the economic capital. The first contemporary designed hotel in the area, it gives guests an authentic glimpse into life in fifth century Turkey, naturally embellishing the ancient interiors with modern-day design and luxury. Local marble is used throughout to achieve a stripped-back aesthetic inspired by the original structures. 

Casa Malca, Tulum, Mexico
Original Lio Malca has spent the last 20 years bringing emerging artists into the limelight, namely with his eponymous gallery in New York and his retrospectives at the city’s Whitney Museum. His latest venture – Casa Malca – allows him to continue his passion within the frame of hospitality. Perched on the white sands of Tulum beach, the intimate eight-room property welcomes guests with three pools and an interior characterized by contemporary art, nature, and laid-back luxury. The staircase to the roof whisks guests up to the bar with a 360-degree view of the beach, sea, and surrounding jungle: perfect for a Tulum sunset. 

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