Rest Your Head - THE SHANGRI-LA HOTEL

THE SHANGRI-LA HOTELCOLOMBO, SRI-LANKA

Halfway up the Indian Ocean island’s west coast, and home to around six million people, in recent years Colombo has emerged as a cosmopolitan metropolis, fusing Asian warmth with international influences to create a humming city that is positively booming with new businesses and entrepreneurial start-ups. Close to reclaiming its 19th century nickname of ‘the garden city of the East’, Colombo is now a must-visit destination within Sri Lanka, and has become a worthy tourist hotspot in its own right. Visitors are drawn to the Sri Lankan capital by its fascinating heritage, colonial monuments, culture at every turn and hospitable locals, together with some of Asia’s best restaurants, all encompassed within a bustling city that exudes a town-like warmth and authenticity.

A city break cannot happen without a good base and quality lodgings to rest one’s head, and whilst Colombo has an abundance of independent, boutique and historic hotels to choose from, until very recently the Sri Lankan capital was noticeably lacking in a world-class premium hospitality offering. The opening of a Shangri-La hotel, at no.1 Centre Road in Galle Face, has changed all this, and now provides a year-round upscale hospitality hub for overseas visitors, providing easy access to all parts of the charismatic capital from its central location.

Inspired by the legendary land featured in James Hilton’s 1933 novel, Lost Horizon, Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts is one of Asia Pacific’s leading luxury hotel groups, and has grown to encapsulate a high level of serenity and service for which the brand’s hotels and resorts are now renowned worldwide. Despite only very recently opening, such high standards are already evident throughout the brand’s new Colombo property, which positively oozes sophistication, attentive service and attention to detail from the moment one steps into the soaring, opulent lobby.

Combining modern luxury and genuine hospitality with authentic Sri Lankan charm, Shangri-La’s new Colombo outpost is home to more than 500 guest rooms, 34 suites and 41 serviced apartments, all boasting uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean, Beira Lake or the city skyline. All accommodations are decorated in a luxe and smart yet warm and inviting colour palate of teal and brown to reflect the coastal surroundings. And sumptuous soft furnishings, silk drapes, beautiful artworks and Sri Lankan touches abound, complementing the magnificent vistas. Bathrooms in every category are lined in marble. Rooms range in size from entry level 42m2 to the hotel’s premium 210m2 Shangri-La Suite, which boasts three bedrooms and unparalleled sea views. Every suite has a private covered terrace large enough to dine al fresco.

Occupying the top three floors are the hotel’s Horizon Club rooms which offer a host of added benefits, including in-room check-in, complimentary breakfast and evening cocktails, a dedicated concierge service and access to the 32nd floor Horizon Club – the city’s only exclusive high-rise lounge with direct ocean views.

The hotel’s gastronomic offerings truly set Shangri-La Colombo apart from the rest of the city’s five-star properties. The hotel’s premium eatery, Shang Palace, serves traditional Sichuan, Dongbei and Cantonese cuisine in a fine dining setting, with a custom-made duck oven taking centre stage. Meanwhile, celebrity chef Dharshan Munidasa’s Sri Lankan-themed Kaema Sutra restaurant and bar, utilises the island’s aromatic spices, rich ingredients and traditional cooking techniques to create authentic dishes from various regions of the country. And the stylish Capital Bar & Grill serves steaks, grilled seafood and the city’s most extensive whisky selection, complemented by live jazz.

For those needing to unwind after a day of sightseeing, the hotel’s onsite CHI spa offers seven treatment rooms and a selection of traditional Sri Lankan and East Asian therapies, and is situated adjacent to a well-equipped 24-hour gym, sprawling sun terrace and large swimming pool overlooking the Indian Ocean and Galle Face Green.

In short, Shangri-La’s new urban destination hotel, in the heart of the vibrant Sri Lankan capital, offers everything a discerning traveller could possibly need when visiting Colombo.

Rest Your Head - THE FONTENAY

THE FONTENAYHAMBURG, GERMANY

There are more billionaires and millionaires living in Hamburg than in any other German metropolis. As the richest metropolitan centre in one of the world’s wealthiest countries, Hamburg understandably oozes a sense of confidence and success. To say that Hamburg is having “a moment’ would not do justice to its impressive past as one of Europe’s most successful cities for more than a millennium. However, Hamburg is very much having a moment, and 2017 has been an exciting year for Germany’s second largest city.

The January opening of the Herzog & de Meuron-designed Elbphilharmonie concert hall drew the world’s attention to the German port city’s latest design renaissance, a maritime-meets-modern juxtaposition of centuries-old warehouses and sleek steel and glass.

Hamburg’s latest visually appealing addition doubles as the city’s first luxury hotel in decades. The Fontenay, set to open in January 2018, is the realised vision of renowned local architect Jan Störmer, who has created the sinuous building’s rippling facade by covering it in white porcelain tiles that echo the surface of adjacent Lake Alster. Unsurprisingly, the hotel has been making waves, with its bold contemporary design and idyllic lakeside location, ever since it started coming out of the ground. Built as a reflection of modern Hamburg, the hotel promises to seamlessly combine urban nature with a cosmopolitan way of life, and sculptural architecture that ensures every space is flooded with natural light.

The wow factor continues inside, where guests enter a spacious 27-meter-high glass atrium before retreating to one of 131 curve-walled guest rooms; the quirky dimensions and near absence of straight lines meaning that literally every piece of furniture had to be custom made.

The ambitious property also features an inner courtyard planted with trees, a garden restaurant, a panoramic sixth-floor Fontenay Bar boasting 320-degree lake views, a gourmet rooftop restaurant and a 10,000ft2 spa incorporating an indoor-outdoor pool – all evidence (if any were needed) that Germany is poised to welcome one of its most sophisticated hotels yet, The Fontenay is sure to capture the attention of luxury travellers around the world, and Hamburg’s status as a tourist destination will be elevated yet further, as the city rounds off one of its most historic years ever.

Rest Your Head - KEMPINSKI HOTEL ISHTAR DEAD SEA

KEMPINSKI HOTEL ISHTAR DEAD SEASWAIMEH, JORDAN

No matter how hard you try, you are unlikely to be able to force your feet to the bottom of the Dead Sea in southern Jordan. Better to stop, take a deep breath, marvel at your new-found buoyancy, feel everything move in slow motion, and relax into the unique experience of floating at the lowest point on earth, 430m below sea level.

Ten times saltier than the ocean, if you hadn’t already guessed by the name, no life lies beneath you as you float in the calm, warm, baby oil-like waters. But as it turns out, not even the Dead Sea is immune to eventual death, the cursed combination of rivers being dammed and evaporation threaten to make the landlocked lake disappear for good. Shrinking at a rate of around a metre per year, experts predict that by 2050 the Dead Sea could possibly be little more than a puddle. So now is the time to visit and experience this natural wonder of the world, and tick this aquatic anomaly off your bucket list before it disappears.

In many ways nature’s natural health spa, the Dead Sea’s rich, black mud packs a healthy mineral infusion for the body. High in minerals such as sodium, chloride, magnesium, potassium, iron and calcium, the mud does wonders for one’s skin, nourishing beyond any moisturiser. Slather the mud all over yourself, leave for 20 minutes, and then rinse off with a float in the mineral-rich waters. Dead Sea mud has been proven to provide relief for numerous skin disorders. Even the air is healthier in this part of the world – highly rich in oxygen due the barometric pressure – and with 330 days of sunshine, it’s little wonder that a number of internationally branded resorts line the salty banks of the Dead Sea on the Jordan side.

Each resort has its own private section of waterfront for guests to bob about in the salty lake. Some offer day access, although these are the resorts to steer clear of, especially if you’re in search of a rejuvenating break. A luxurious and exclusive hotel overlooking the northern shores of the Dead Sea, Kempinski Hotel Ishtar undoubtedly occupies prime position on the strip and is arguably the most upscale of all the area’s hospitality options, its Gardens of Babylon-inspired design tumbling down the hillside towards the water. Nicole Kidman, Tony Blair and Bono are just a few of the resort’s past guests, so you’ll be in good company.

Built with the pale stone native to the region, the hotel is first experienced via a cavernous reception hall. Inside, the hotel cascades down through a series of terraced levels, with clusters of accommodation anchored by nine free-forms pools to laze around by day.

Whilst the main building offers 200 sea facing rooms, the gardens feature suites and sumptuous villas with private terraces overlooking the Dead Sea. Rooms here are carved in natural stone and delicately styled with contemporary fittings. Everything is restrained, relaxing, comfortable and unpretentious. Needless to say, guest bathrooms are laden with luxury Dead Sea-inspired amenities.

The jewel in the Kempinski’s crown is the hotel’s Ishtar Spa by Resense, an adults-only relaxation haven and the largest spa in the Middle East. Ayurvedic and Asian therapies, Thai massages, Dead Sea scrubs and local salt and mud treatments are offered in 28 spa suites, complemented by a variety of Hammam pools, outdoor and indoor Jacuzzis, steam rooms and even an ice cave. If you want to up the luxe level of your Dead Sea experience, Kempinski Hotel Ishtar is without a doubt THE place to do it.

Rest Your Head - ROOMERS

ROOMERSMUNICH, GERMANY

Sitting opposite the impressive 19th century red-brick Augustiner Brewery, about 6-7 minutes away from the city centre Marienplatz, Roomers Munich, part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, is a newly opened five-star property located in the Westend Quarter, aiming to redefine the guest experience in a culturally rich and elegant city, where discerning travellers can already choose from an impressive list of upscale hotels.

The reinvigorated neighbourhood in which the hotel is located is in itself a bit of a departure for a luxury Munich hotel. But Roomers’ designers like to think a little outside the box, and once settled into the hotel’s home on busy Landsberger Strasse – which boasts a huge diversity of restaurants, bars, cafés and shops old and new – one realises that the property’s location is actually rather cool. The city’s famous Olympiapark sports venue, originally built for the 1972 summer games. and now an urban park used for many of the Bavarian capital’s big social events, is nearby. As are the offices of Apple and Google.

Inside the hotel, 281 spacious guest rooms range in size from 25m2 to 155m2, and each of the 10 suites has a private sauna and a Jacuzzi on its terrace. A natural-centric overall interior design style, utilising plenty of wood, marble, copper and leather, is enhanced by original artworks scattered throughout the hotel, and combined with a rich colour palette to gently lift the dim but clever lighting and dark aesthetic.

Roomers’ stylish approach also extends to its signature dining experience, Izakaya Asian Kitchen & Bar, which hails from Amsterdam. Largely Japanese and South American inspired, chefs cook as guests watch, fascinated as flames periodically shoot into the air. Izakaya is outstanding and alone worthy of a visit to Roomers Munich, even if you are not lured by the deluxe and glossy accommodations to stay overnight.

After dinner, guests move on to Roomers Bar, where hand-crafted cocktails and a selection of shochu fuel a lively vibe. Those lucky enough to be summoned through a tunnel to a second door, find themselves in an invite-only red-bedecked hidden den, where a sultry chanteuse sings or one of Munich’s hottest DJ spins until 4am. Hanging out here, amongst Munich’s fashion-fuelled and style leaders, will almost certainly lead to you spending the night.

Rest Your Head - THE RITZ-CARLTON

THE RITZ-CARLTONKOH SAMUI, THAILAND

Located off the east coast of the Kra Isthmus in Thailand, Koh Samui, the country’s third largest island, is a veritable cosmopolitan melting pot, attracting everyone from backpackers and budget travellers staying for a month or two in basic beachside bungalows, to the mega wealthy who drop in to laze at one of the island’s luxury resorts or stay at a decadent beachfront villa.

Like the island’s food and beverage offerings, which range from cheap beer and beach bars to world-class international fare and designer restaurants, the mood also swings from brash and noisy Chaweng to the soft thud of a coconut falling on a fine stretch of deserted sand. Spread across 58 acres of a former coconut plantation, the recently opened Ritz-Carlton Koh Samui is unabashedly aimed at upwardly mobile and discerning travellers, and has been designed to seamlessly combine the brand’s legendary service standards with the traditional spirit of Thai hospitality and colourful Samui island life culture to create a unique hospitality offering.

Overlooking the tropical setting’s turquoise waters and oceanfront amenities, the resort is home to 175 suites and pool villas, the property’s contemporary architecture paying homage to the heritage of the site via the extensive incorporation of coconut elements and natural materials, imbuing a sense of place and helping to immerse guests in the destination.

Amongst the expansive resort’s facilities, are a 3,800m2 spa village anchored in the healing culture of the region, complete with eight treatment suites, three massage pavilions, a dedicated yoga pavilion, health bar and a lap pool with private cabanas. Koh Samui’s Ritz-Carlton also offers a one-of-a-kind temperate swim reef within the resort, teeming with over 50 different species of fish. The largest of its kind in Southeast Asia, the reef offers unique snorkelling and fish-feeding experiences, plus two white sand beaches, a beachside pool and a water sports center.

Onsite dining amenities include interactive eatery Shook!; laidback Thai street food concept Baan Talat; poolside bar Sea Salt; cevicheria Tides, and circular bar and lounge One Rai, which produces top-end hand-crafted cocktails and Asian-inspired small bites. The resort’s signature restaurant, Pak Thai, offers modern interpretations of traditional southern Thai cuisine in a fine dining environment overlooking the swim reef.

Rest Your Head - ASMUNDO DI GISIRA

ASMUNDO DI GISIRACATANIA, SICILY

Situated on the edge of the Ionian Sea, under the shadow of Mount Etna (or “A Muntagna” as the locals call it), Catania is Sicily’s second largest city, with a population of around 300,000. Mount Etna has, to a large extent, shaped both the history and the actual existence of Catania. On several occasions, volcanic eruptions destroyed the city, the most devastating of which happened in the 17th century, when in 1669 Catania was covered in lava, and then, just a few decades later, a massive earthquake devastated most of south-eastern Sicily and reduced much of Catania to rubble. However, the resilient townsfolk’s reaction to the latter catastrophe was incredible – using lava from Mount Etna to rebuild the entire old part of the town in grand Baroque style, complete with large open squares, wide avenues and numerous fine buildings.

Today Catania is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a city rich in history and legend. So, in transforming an 18th century former mansion into boutique hotel Asmundo di Gisira, Giuseppe Minaldi and Valentina Giampiccolo, co-founders of Italian firm Studio GUM, chose to not only embrace Catania’s past, but also reinforce it with an unconventional design sensibility that pays homage to the stories and symbols that have come to define the ancient Italian city. This “stimulates the curiosity of the visitors” says Giampiccolo, “pushing them to explore their surroundings and reflect upon and celebrate the city’s legacy.”

The myth of Billonia, a beautiful young girl who handed out flowers and happiness, serves as design inspiration, not only for a portrait in the entrance, but also in graphic wallcoverings throughout the hotel. By way of tribute to the pink birds that would linger in the fountain in Giardino Bellini park, a larger-than-life flamingo by Domenico Pellegrino peers into the reception area. This whimsicalness is carried through to the six guestrooms, each of which tells a different story.

In the Proserpina room, the goddess of grain and architecture is reinterpreted as a greenhouse made of iron and tissue, set under a beautifully frescoed ceiling. Whilst the Uzeta room recalls the valiant knight who defeated Saracen giants, represented by a large ceramic alligator and a headboard of overlapping leather pieces studded in armour-inspired brass. The hotel’s other four rooms continue in the same artistic and highly detailed vain, rendering Asmundo di Gisira more of a living art gallery rather than simply somewhere to lay one’s head. Perhaps being part of the masterpiece and surrounded by the history of the destination when we sleep is the way forward for a more immersive hospitality experience.

Rest Your Head - SOFITEL, DARLING HARBOUR

SOFITEL, DARLING HARBOURSYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

Occupying a prime waterfront location opposite ICC Sydney – Asia Pacific’s newest integrated convention, exhibition and entertainment centre – when the new AUD350million Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour opened a month ago, it was the city’s most anticipated luxury hospitality opening for a number of years. In one of the world’s most photographed cities, the Sofitel was somewhat surprisingly the first new-build luxury hotel to open in Sydney since before the city hosted the Olympics in 2000.

Owned by hotel magnate Jerry Schwartz, operated by Accor and boasting 590 contemporary French styled rooms including 35 suites, the new Sofitel is now Darling Harbour’s tallest building, and guests sipping bubbly in the hotel’s exclusive Club Millesime Lounge on level 35 look down on the Hyatt Regency on the opposite side of the harbour, presently Australia’s largest hotel with 892 keys.

Designed by renowned and multi award-winning UK-born Sydney-based architect Richard Francis-Jones, the hotel’s design draws inspiration from the area’s waterside heritage, reimagining iconic motifs in a vibrant modern style, and the architecture pays tribute to the maritime industries that formerly occupied the site. Luxurious touches, artistic detailing and an obvious sense of style have been skilfully woven throughout the hotel, artfully combining French elegance and sophistication with local culture. Whilst this detailing is evident in the hotel’s public spaces, as well as the hundreds of guest rooms in various categories, it is in the property’s 35 covetable suites, which boast some of Sydney’s best views, where most of Francis-Jones’ deluxe frills come into play.

As well as the aforementioned top floor champagne bar, where premium guests soak in spectacular harbour vistas with a glass of vintage cuvee in hand, there are two other bars, an all-day dining “Atelier by Sofitel” signature restaurant, nine meeting spaces, a grand ballroom, an infinity pool and a state-of-the-art gym. Sydney may have waited a long time for a brand new 5-star property, but Darling Harbour’s swishy new Sofitel delivers slick facilities and designer accommodation in spades.

Rest Your Head - THE ORIENT

THE ORIENTJERUSALEM, ISRAEL

As the country’s most populated and largest city, Jerusalem presents a patchwork of ethnic and religious diversity. A city that is sacred to three of the world’s great religions, different parts of Jerusalem tell completely differing stories that together help to weave the narrative of the place. For spirituality and history, few cities in the world resonate with cultured travellers in the same way as Jerusalem, and even a week spent in the Israeli capital may not be long enough to sufficiently scratch below the surface of its often-unfathomable complexity. Yet the most contested city on earth is also one of the world’s most beautiful. The scope of its history is staggering, and its vital place in the traditions of all three monotheistic faiths has led to it being fought over continually through the centuries. Jerusalem is both the heart of the Holy Land and one of the most sacred sites in the world, and a tourist hotspot brimming with sights to be seen. So, it is essential that you chose the right base from which to explore this cultural melting pot.

Israeli hotel chain Isrotel’s recently opened Orient is located in Jerusalem’s lively, upscale German Colony, a five-minute taxi ride to the edge of the Old City district, within whose compact lanes most of the top tourist attractions are located. Once inhabited by the German Templar Society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and formerly serving as a school for their community, the historic property was lovingly restored by architect Eyal Ziv, to create a contemporary hotel which pays homage to the city’s past, through a material palette that includes stone, wood, tile and glass.

Accessible via a glass pavilion, the lobby is clad with an opulent, tapestry-lined ceiling. An elegant, earth-toned colour palette infuses the 243 rooms and suites, juxtaposing fabric detailing including burnt sienna and azure. In a nod to the bathhouses of yesteryear, intricate tiling and metallic finishes line the bathrooms.

Soak in stunning views of the Old City from the rooftop infinity pool and decide which historic sites to visit the next day while sipping on a hand-crafted cocktail. The Orient is both a haven from the bustle of Jerusalem, and a path directly into this most historic and religious of the world’s capitals.

Rest Your Head - HOSHINOYA

HOSHINOYATOKYO, JAPAN

International travellers generally visit Tokyo to zip around the city filling themselves with uni, see as much of the hectic Japanese capital as possible, shop ’til they drop and drink Japanese whisky, before leaving to a more rural part of the country to recover and unwind. But Hoshino Resorts may just have turned the typical Tokyo city break on its head, by the opening of its 84-room luxury ryokan property, Hoshinoya Tokyo, located in a slick, 18-storey skyscraper slap bang in the middle of the frenetic Otemachi financial district.

For the uninitiated, a ryokan is typically a traditional Japanese-style inn, that offers an immersive cultural experience. Staying at a ryokan usually means sleeping on a futon bed on a tatami (straw mat) floor, bathing in a communal hot-spring bath, and eating a multi-course kaiseki-style meal while wearing a kimono, all of which is highly recommended but rarely happens in a city centre, and the centre of Tokyo at that. Hoshinoya has taken the best elements of a ryokan and repurposed them – in an utterly traditional style – for modern travellers visiting one of the world’s busiest cities. The result is one of the most peaceful urban hotels anywhere on the planet and a true urban escape.

Even when the property is running at 100% occupancy, you’ll rarely see or hear another guest. The entrance from the street is devoid of typical concierge desks, ringing phones or any commercial activity. In their place are an art installation and a quiet space where you’re encouraged to remove your shoes, which the kimono-clad staff store inside bamboo lockers. Guests are required to pad around the hotel barefoot, even in the privacy of your own bedroom, which, whilst taking some getting used to (particularly after a day on the streets of Tokyo), soon feels surprisingly liberating, and makes the whole building feel like home.

Hoshinoya Tokyo’s main attraction however, is its open-air onsen, the area’s first natural hot-spring bath, where women and men bathe in waters rich in therapeutic minerals, in separate rooftop spaces each open to the skies, yet enclosed by towering walls. This free and liberating experience is both the ideal tonic to a busy day of sightseeing, and the perfect prelude to a night out in the Japanese capital.

Rest Your Head - PUBLIC

PUBLICNEW YORK, USA

Widely credited as the founder of the boutique hotel (Morgans, Delano and Royalton are just a few), which he came up with in prison whilst doing time for tax evasion, Ian Schrager knows a thing or two about hospitality. Of course, before turning his hand to hotels, the industry veteran first reinvented nightlife with Studio 54 in the ’70s, where elitist hedonism happened behind a velvet rope. Schrager is essentially the man responsible for colour block feature walls, for hotel lobbies with DJs that double-up as cocktail bars, and for the 21st century designer hotel experience, with all the exclusive swishyness that it entails. But Ian Schrager’s latest big idea is accessibility, or, as some would say, populism. Schrager himself calls it “accessible luxury”, and this is what his latest hospitality venture, Public, is all about.

The ethos of Public is “luxury for all”, whereby forgoing superfluous touches (such as a traditional check-in, bell boys and room service) enables Schrager to still offer all of the facilities and high-end design that his properties are known for, but at an affordable price.

Six years ago, the first Public opened in Chicago, but since it was an existing building, Schrager was limited as to what he could do. He has since sold it. This time, the new-build New York property gave him a clean slate to further refine and develop the brand, resulting in a slick yet pared-back 367-room hotel (topped with 11 luxury residences), tucked away in New York’s emerging Lower East Side in downtown Manhattan.

Designed by long-time Schrager collaborator Herzog & de Meuron, the concrete exterior with expansive windows gives way to a palette of modest materials used in clever and refined ways. A dramatic entrance escalator surrounded by mirrors and made of polished steel creates an intensely theatrical feel. The bedrooms are all window and pale wood, with blinds that go full black-out at the touch of a fingertip. You can check in online and download your room key to your phone. While there are advisors around to help, there’s no one waiting to move your luggage.

When it comes to eating and drinking, Public is essentially a microcosm of the best that New York has to offer. The entrance walkway cuts through a small park. The ground floor is home to a retail store, as well as two new concepts from prolific chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten – Louis, a grab-and-go market, and Kitchen, boasting an open kitchen with three white marble tiled ovens and outdoor garden seating. There is a basement multimedia performance space plus four different onsite bars, the crowning jewel of which is the rooftop where it’s all about the views.

In a city where people use their lodgings as a base from which to explore, Public is one New York hotel that you may never want to leave.

Rest Your Head - ATEMPORAL-HOTELITO

ATEMPORAL-HOTELITOLIMA, PERU

A city full of rich flavours, wonderful food, unique experiences, excellent museums and the magical union of the past and the present, Peru’s capital is still very much a tourist draw. In the beautiful residential district of Miraflores, you can drink while overlooking beaches lined with small rocks that form eye-catching patterns each time the tide rolls in and out.

Located in a quiet corner of Miraflores, and marrying an eclectic sense of modern urban cool with an old school service ethic that anticipates guests’ every need, Atemporal is the perfect base for discerning travellers interested in exploring the contemporary side of Lima. Situated in a safe and serene neighbourhood (by Lima’s standards anyway), Atemporal is within walking distance of the pre-Incan Huaca Pucllana archaeological site, and there are plenty of shops, banks, cafés and restaurants nearby. Miraflores’ lively commercial centre is just five minutes by taxi. Lima’s centre is 30 minutes away.

A small and stylish hotelito, housed within a revamped 1940s mansion, Atemporal’s nine guest rooms mean that the service is very personalised, and the informal and relaxed atmosphere breaks down the barriers between visitors and the friendly, knowledgeable staff, making this one-off luxury townhouse a perfect cosy refuge, where guests can decompress and recharge their batteries between adventures in Peru’s vibrant capital. There’s always a staff member on hand to advise about places to eat, drink and walk in the area. Delightful indoor and outdoor lounge areas on the ground and first floors add to the feeling of staying in someone’s home. Atemporal makes a Mini car and two bikes available for guests to use at their convenience. And, as well as free in-room wi-fi, guests are given a small hotspot device that can be used throughout Lima to stay connected.

Guest rooms are punctuated with an eclectic but sophisticated mixture of contemporary and classic artworks and artefacts collected from across Peru. While the bedrooms are a little on the small side, staying at Atemporal actually feels quite luxurious, like a bit of a hospitality treat. This kind of feeling is in stark contrast to larger hotels in the area. LAB+ rooms are the most spacious and comfortable, and include a sitting area with two armchairs, a table, and a sofa and/or chaise. Blackout curtains ensure that you get some sleep after a night out, and breakfast, afternoon tea and daily glass of wine are included in the room rate. For a slice of calm amongst the bustle of Lima, Atemporal may be just what you need to experience both the exuberance and warm hospitality of the Peruvian people and their lively capital.

Rest Your Head - HOTEL INDIGO, DOWNTOWN

HOTEL INDIGO, DOWNTOWNLOS ANGELES, USA

Part of the Metropolis development, which is also home to numerous luxurious condos which have been going up everywhere of late, as LA’s downtown district becomes an increasingly popular place to live, the 350-room Hotel Indigo Los Angeles Downtown has become the place to stay in the City of Angels for those after a more authentic and immersive experience.

Whilst the hotel is positioned in the midst of a thriving area of 21st century resurgence, back in the day, a century ago, this was the original epicentre of the movie business, where the Golden Age of Hollywood essentially happened, and where artists like Charlie Chaplin took centre stage. A section of Downtown’s main street Broadway named the Theatre District, lined with glorious, glamorous Art Deco theatres, was once the highest concentration of cinemas in the world. But Downtown LA was also the centre of many illegal goings-on during Prohibition, where corrupt city officials are rumoured to have smuggled alcohol via its 18 kilometres of underground tunnels. So, it is apt that Hotel Indigo’s design aesthetic is a nod to Prohibition-era Hollywood, and actively invites guests to experience what it was like in Los Angeles during the 1920s. The hotel is, in particular, inspired by the first Chinese-American film star and fashion icon of the time, Anna May Wong. Much of the imagery throughout the hotel depicts her life and career.

In the lobby, old newspaper clippings make up the upholstery for sofas in front of the registration desk, with a bicycle spoke light fixture hanging overhead, and a collage of historical images adorning the largest wall, tantalisingly obscured by an array of white flowers to lure in guests for a closer look. Next to the lobby, the bar and restaurant are separated by silver tunnel-like archways, with low-slung lights highlighting seats in rich turquoise and lime green velvet, and huge flower prints on the walls celebrating the Fiesta de los Flores, a popular parade that used to take place in Los Angeles at the time.

Throughout the public areas of the hotel, the art is fun and funky with respectful references. Meanwhile, guest room wall coverings resemble what occupants might have seen out their windows at the time, from historic buildings to parasols on the street, all overlaid on top of each other. Floor lamps resemble stage lighting. Rich colours are evident throughout, from mauve pillows and navy-blue bedcovers to purple walls and black and white tiled bathrooms. Staying at Hotel Indigo is Downtown LA is not only a contemporary hospitality experience which takes you back in time, but also an artistic and creative insight into the thriving creativity, urban vibe and unique multiculturalism of the dynamic 21st century Los Angeles of today.