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by Christiane Lemieux 



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Entries in Places to stay (65)


Camping Above The Clouds

If your idea for a relaxing getaway is to be isolated from everything and completely surrounded by nature, the Endemico Resguardo Sylvestre, from Grupo Habita, was conceived with people like you in mind. Set on the mountains of Mexico's Valle de Guadalupe, these 20 stunning ecolofts were sustainably designed by San Diego-based Gracia Studio. Each hut is strategically placed on the mountain slopes so guests can enjoy the breathtaking views of the Mexican wine country, especially from their private patios. The cabins are minimally decorated in black and white with an uncomplicated vibe, but have everything you might need to make the most of your stylish camping adventure.

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This Is An Alaïa

This fabulous Parisian hotel goes beyond boutique. World renowned fashion designer and '80s icon Azzedine Alaïa has converted three 1080 square-feet flats right next to his own studio, shop and warehouse into large full-floor apartment-style suites. Located in the trendy Marais district, the small hotel was designed by Alaïa himself with all the comforts of a home to offer his guests the true essence of everyday Parisian lifestyle — each with its own private entrance. The interiors are divine, just like his collections, with a decor that combines furnishings from past and present. Since the building is right next to his flagship store, guests can snoop out of the back window into his busy atelier.

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Dreaming in Fashion

There is a fine line between fashion and interior design. They're both about proportions, textures, colors and great imagination. Such is the case in Amsterdam's new Hotel The Exchange, where both disciplines meet in the most unexpected and inspiring ways. All of the 61 rooms have been designed and dressed by graduates and alumni of the Amsterdam Fashion Institute, turning ordinary hotel rooms into diverse and inspiring spaces—like the neighborhood the hotel is located in. If you're a romantic at heart, you can stay in a Marie Antoinette-inspired room where a huge dress drapes over the walls and unto the bed. Or if you're more of a minimalist, then opt for a room that is based on the old fairy tale of the Emperor’s New Clothes. Either way, you're guaranteed to have an exceptional stay at The Exchange. Having worked on both fields of the design industry, I would definitely love to experience this place next time I visit the Dutch capital.

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Out of Africa

It wasn't long ago that I was enjoying the countryside in upstate New York. And to tell you the truth I wouldn't mind going back, except this time a little (well, a lot) further way—South Africa. A breathtaking country retreat, the Babylonstoren is one of the best preserved farms in the Cape Dutch tradition. The days are intentionally unscripted there, leaving guests free to do as they please: stroll out onto the 500-acres farm, see fruit being picked in the orchards, vines being pruned or rather sample some of the excellent wines grown on the slopes all around the Simonsberg—possibly the finest land for wine in Africa. What's not to love about this place? I'm already there in spirit.

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Locally Inspired

For those who love to have a different lodging experience when traveling, this funky hotel is one to consider. Located in a quiet street in the heart of downtown Lisbon, The Lisboanaire Apartments welcome and inspire visitors to discover the traditional and contemporary Portuguese capital and all the small things that make it so special. Local artists and designers lent their unique talents to individually decorate each of the 19 studios and one bedroom apartments, invoking a specific object or place from the surrounding area. The creative direction of the project was overseen by Portuguese architecture and design agency Experimenta, who created a bold, graphic and kooky look to the whole place. The best part: the prices are very affordable starting at 30 euros per person. Who can beat that?

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Capturing The Past

Extraordinary in design and unique in character, the Dream Downtown Hotel (located in New York’s Meatpacking District) signals an exciting and imaginative new concept in full-service luxury travel. Frank Fusaro of Handel Architects has gorgeously renovated the iconic Albert C. Ledner building, originally designed in 1966 for the National Maritime Union. While capturing and modernizing the surreal aesthetic that has become synonymous with the Dream hotels brand, the architects preserved the building’s distinct character, including its unique block-like structure and portal windows.

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Getting In The Mood

A month from today, I'll be embarking on a two-week long trip to three of Europe's most fascinating cities: Budapest, Vienna and Prague. I have always heard wonders about all of them, so I'm really looking forward to exploring everything these capitals have to offer, especially all the great design I'm about to be exposed to. While doing my usual research for fun places to stay in, I came across this ultra cool hotel in Prague's city center. The creation of Czech designers Roman Vrtiska and Vladimir Zak, the Moods Hotel is designed to a T. Everything about it is simply magnificent. I can't stop drooling over the mix of textures, materials, colors and graphics they used throughout the 51-room hotel. From the moment you walk in, Moods offers a unique and welcoming experience to its guests. Their attention to details is just delightful. As part of the quirky design, they came up with the idea of displaying chapters of a famous Czech book everywhere. You can start reading them from the lobby all the way through your bedroom and even the bathroom. If you're lucky to stay in multiple rooms, you might be able to finish reading the whole book. Beautiful design and a love of literature – how cool! How clever is that?

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Sleeping Among Art

Through my travels I have stayed in very special places, but this charming guest house in Tielrode, Belgium, looks out of this world. Originally an old shipyard, B&B Tielrode is part of an art gallery owned by jewelry designer Sofie Lachaert and painter Luc d’Hanis. The husband and wife team decided to open the two-rooms accommodation to welcome guests from all over the world. The decor is “minimalist, as in pure, poetic, and sensible — we have a lot of respect for materials and people. And it’s not at all posh,” says Sofie. They decorated the rooms with a whimsical mix of modern furniture and artifacts from the gallery, creating an inviting and cozy place to enjoy a great weekend. “The breakfast ceremony is also very intimate, very special. It’s served in the gallery and it’s very royal, so to speak. It’s served on beautiful tableware with candles, music, decoration and so on, and it's quite a feast,” she explains. What a marvelous experience it must be to stay in this place!

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