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by Christiane Lemieux 



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Entries in Places to stay (65)



A beautiful fusion between old and new, the d-hotel in Kortrijk, Belgium offers its guests a different lodging experience. A windmill from 1841, a farmhouse and a the newly built futuristic structure come together gracefully to form this state-of the-art hotel. Each of the 45 rooms has a unique design concept, and all of them exuding glamour and serenity. The d-hotel truly brings out the best of both worlds.

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Seventeen oversized concrete pipes stacked over each other create the captivating façade of the Prahran Hotel bar in Melbourne. Designed by Australian architecture studio Techne, the new venue offers a unique entertainment experience, especially for those sipping a cocktail inside one of the circular conduit-like booths. It looks like a fun place to meet up with friends for happy hour. Right?

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For me, traveling is about expanding my horizons and experiencing other cultures and customs. It's about enjoying the city I'm visiting as much as the place I'm going to be staying in. That's why I'm a big fan of the Room Mate Hotels — a quite affordable hotel chain that's passionate about great and innovative design. Located just steps from Barcelona's Plaça de Catalunya, the Room Mate Pau is the latest addition to their family. The friendly hotel offers a unique cosmopolitan decor full of character and great sense of humor conceived by architect and interior designer Teresa Sapey. By using oversized graphic images throughout the hotel's public areas, she created unexpected and fun spaces for the guests. The dramatic design also extends to the rooms, where white and circles are protagonists. Super fun!

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A destination that's always been on my short list of places to visit is Salzburg, Austria. I guess I've always been drawn to this Alpine city for its history and my love for Mozart. Just an hour away from Salzburg and set smack in the middle of beautiful rolling hills, the Hotel Wiesergut re-opened its doors after a complex renovation and extension by GOGL Architekten. Their goal was to upgrade the existing traditional structure with purist architecture and transform it into a modern retreat that exudes organic warmth and comfort. By using local wood, natural stone, granite, glass and exposed concrete they created a timeless style putting nature at its center. The furnishings were entirely commissioned to Austrian designers who gave a contemporary twist to classic materials like linen and weather-beaten leather, all of which factor prominently in the hotel’s design concept. I'm really impressed with their attention to detail which gives the the hotel its harmonic and elegant overall impression. No doubt Hotel Wiesergut has become yet another reason for me to cross the pond and visit my beloved Salzburg.

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What started as a big dream and a project between two close friends, culminated in the first design hostel in São Paolo, Brazil. The stylish 'We' Hostel is housed in an early 1900s mansion, which adds character to the design of this low-cost inn. The urban chic decor is divine with a relaxed and unexpected mix of styles and restored flea market finds. Every space has an eclectic and interactive atmosphere that offers comfort, style and the refinement of any boutique hotel.

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Behind the facades of four old town houses in the old part of Ljubljana city, Slovenia, lies the modern interiors of the Vander Urbani Resort. The hotel's design, by architects Sadar and Vuga, is based on a kaleidoscopic play of 3D patterns in different materials and reflections. All 16 rooms and suites are designed in soothing colors, soft lines, exquisite materials and custom-designed furniture pieces, creating an intimate atmosphere and a unique living environment for the stylish traveler. One of my favorite features is the mirror-encased bed in one of the suites and the unexpected play of textures and patterns that create a luxurious yet welcoming place to stay.

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Every so often, I'm delighted to come across original hotels where the design concept is for every space to look completely different from each other. Recently opened, the Modez Hotel in Arnhem, The Netherlands offers its guests a unique experience through its eclectic look. Located in the middle of the city's Fashion District, thirty plus Dutch fashion designers were invited to design all twenty rooms of the hotel, each bringing a surprising concept that characterizes their personal styles. Although they're all wonderful, I happen to love the guestroom designed by Caroline Evers with her fun and quirky use of knits throughout the guestroom—including lamps, curtain, decorations and even chairs fully covered with knitting. Wouldn't it be interesting to have the chance to sleep in all twenty rooms and be pampered with so many different styles?

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The moment we got off the taxi and saw the spectacular 19th-century façade of the Nobis Hotel in Stockholm, we knew we were in for a treat. We were welcomed by a enchanting and exotic aroma that permeated the hotel and made that first impression memorable. The lobby displays a stunning collage of different-sized spherical pendants that makes quite a statement—one more gorgeous than the other. The über chic interiors of the Nobis were conceived by Swedish design studio Claesson Koivisto Rune. The design is not loud, flamboyant or self-righteous, but toned-down and discreet, which makes its interiors tranquil and extremely welcoming. The atmosphere in the rooms is calm, relaxed and sophisticated, with a demure decor, a mellow color palette and an exquisite attention to details. Our room was dreamy and wonderfully comfortable with a beautifully view overlooking a popular square in Stockholm. The Nobis is not all about looks and charm. The unparalled service by its friendly staff is also noteworthy. By far, this is one of the coolest hotels I've ever stayed at.

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