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by Christiane Lemieux 



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Entries in Travel (95)



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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Do you have plans of going to Paris any time soon? If you happen to be so lucky, you absolutely have to stop by the recently renovated Café Artcurial by architect and art lover Charles Zana. The revamped look is a hybrid between bold sophistication and that old Parisian flair we've all fallen for. Zana's use of materials is exquisite, creating a modern space that honors the past. If you're totally loving Zana's new vision for this iconic restaurant, you can easily achieve the same vibe for your home with some of the pieces I'm suggesting below.

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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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Please don't think I've abandoned you, but between a load of new projects and a nasty cold that hit me right before I left to help my dear friends with their wedding, I haven't had a moment to fulfill my blogging duties. The good news: I'm feeling better and back in action. So having just arrived from sunny Florida, where color abounds, I felt this bright and happy London apartment was the perfect inspiration for the day. Formerly a carpenter’s studio, this charming rental property was designed by Jack Mama and Nina Tolstrup of Studiomama. All the wood and streamline design gives this pad a wonderful Scandinavian vibe—just with the right amount of color splashes to make any stay quite cozy. It's the ideal lodging alternative for those who want to feel like a local.

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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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Warm and inviting with the unmistakable sense of Scandinavian coziness is what makes Copenhagen’s new Nordic restaurant Höst a delicious setting to dine. Norm Architects has created an organic environment in an urban setting by using “materials that age gracefully: recycled wood that has washed up on the west coast, granite in uneven pieces, concrete with clear structures and deviations, old cast iron and dented zinc. All of this is offset by a warm trickling light, soft wool rugs and lambskin”. Norm has even designed an exclusive dinnerware collection for Höst to compliment the raw and minimalist beauty of the space. I'm in love. This place is to dine for.

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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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I don't know if you're into Instagram, but if not, you're missing out on something really fantastic. I'm sort of addicted to the instant gratification by other people's quirky images and also by sharing with others all the cool and inspiring stuff that catch my eye. Last weekend, I took a mini break from the city and drove up to Provincetown, a charming New England town located at the extreme tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. I spent four glorious days of simply doing nothing but catching up on necessary rest, eating delicious food and partaking in a few cocktails. Besides chilling, I made good with my Instagram followers since it had been a while that I shared any snapshots with them. Here are some of the beautiful things that captivated me while roaming through the enchanting  streets of Ptown. If you don't already follow me in Instagram, you can find me under @TheDesignerPad to start getting your daily design fix. Enjoy!

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