Unveiling 5 Beautiful Design Hotels Worth Visiting

Be inspired by exquisite design, luxurious interiors, and flawless detail as we bring you to five destinations that embody warm hospitality and fine design.

Gundari Resort

What makes a good hotel design? These hotels prove that beyond the standard form and function; a dedication to art, heritage and discovery can make for a memorable stay.

Villa Mabrouka

luxury design hotels

Villa Mabrouka Marrakech – Suite (Photo by Andrew Montgomery)

Nestled within one of Tangier’s magical gardens, a historic villa marks British designer Jasper Conran’s second foray into Moroccan hospitality where the discovery of a villa left him completely enchanted. Villa Mabrouka, situated amid the bright hues, gentle breezes, and melodious bird calls overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar and the North Atlantic Sea, combines natural grandeur with attentive service.

Despite its proximity to Tangier’s bustling Kasbah and Medina, the intimate 12-room retreat has been artfully transformed into a sanctuary of serenity and repose. “One step through Villa Mabrouka’s heavy carved wooden doors and into the gardens, you are immediately transported to the feeling of being in paradise,” says Conran.

Formerly the private sanctuary of fashion luminary Yves Saint Laurent and his beloved partner Pierre Bergé, Villa Mabrouka has undergone a meticulous metamorphosis under Conran’s stewardship. Extending a warm invitation to wanderers far and wide, the property blossoms into an exquisite haven for the discerning voyager. Every detail, from the stunning carved wooden doors to the original pavilions designed by American architect Stuart Church, has been carefully restored to its former glory.

luxury design hotels

Photo by Andrew Montgomery

For Yves Saint Laurent, Marrakech was not just a city, but a muse, a wellspring of inspiration that enriched his world with vibrancy and life. The villa, affectionately named the “House of Luck,” stands proudly atop its perch, gazing out over the glistening expanse of the Strait of Gibraltar. Its architecture and design, a fusion of 1940s modernism and Moroccan heritage, echoes stories of yesteryears while heralding an unparalleled journey for those fortunate enough to cross its threshold.

As guests enter the lobby, they are enveloped in a symphony of rich hues and opulent textures, where fragrant spices mingle with the heady scent of flowers, whisking them away to a realm where luxury knows no bounds.

Each of the twelve suites lies a tale waiting to be told, a narrative woven through bespoke furnishings, vintage treasures, and carefully curated artworks. The interiors exude an inviting ambiance, blending whitewashed walls with tactile elements such as rattan, veined marble, and Mauritanian leather rugs. Delicate linens in rich hues, adorned with block-printed florals and antique embroideries, imbue each space with warmth and character. In the resplendent Marrakech Suite, whispers of Saint Laurent’s favoured hues adorn the walls, painting a vivid portrait of his legacy.

Small Pool (Photo by Andrew Montgomery)

The lush courtyard, adorned with banana and palm trees, welcomes travellers into a verdant oasis unlike any other. Overlooking the shimmering waters of the Strait of Gibraltar, with sweeping lawns, a verdant oasis punctuated by a myriad of flora, and two sparkling pools, Villa Mabrouka offers tranquil retreats amid nature’s embrace.

It’s not solely the sumptuous interiors that enchant; it’s the culinary odyssey awaiting at Villa Mabrouka. From the day’s catch transformed into delectable seafood dishes to the crisp freshness of salads and the indulgent allure of desserts, each creation is a masterpiece forged from the finest ingredients of the Mediterranean. Here, every bite is a symphony of flavours, promising not just a feast for the palate but a nourishment for the soul.

Hôtel Le Grand Mazarin

luxury design hotels

In the heart of Marais, where time alternates between the traces of history and the echoes of modernity, stands a monument adorned with seven centuries of narrative. It was once a mute witness to the ebb and flow of Parisian life, awaiting its glorious transformation into a world of luxury and splendour.

Five years flew by breezily as architects and craftspeople infused new life into the old walls, linking two nearby structures to create Le Grand Mazarin. A brush with the past emerged throughout the process, as old pottery unfurled beneath the dirt, beckoning a year-long dig to uncover hidden truths of millennia before.

Le Grand Mazarin, located on the Rue de la Verrerie, has a coveted position that makes it a neighbourhood’s social fabric. Its vibrancy spills into the streets, where the eclectic decor invites curiosity and admiration.

The freshly christened 61-room luxury haven now boasts a magnificent monument to maximalism in every nook. Within its halls, luxurious fabrics blend with unique patterns, and lush textiles cascade in a symphony of luxury. Hand-painted murals reminiscent of forgotten tales surround the corridors, guiding guests through a journey of extravagance, mere steps away from BHV Marais.

Martin Brudnizki, a Stockholm native interior designer with an eclectic approach created the bold décor at Le Grand Mazarin. Drawing inspiration from the 17th-century literary salons that once thrived in this neighbourhood, he expertly blends baroque and bohemian elements to create a unique look that defies description.

The décor and trimmings, crafted by France’s greatest maisons—many classified as “living heritage companies”—enhance the hotel’s unique character. From the colourful pink lobster carpeting to the intricate wall murals by Ateliers Gohard, the overall effect is bold, imaginative, and delightfully entertaining.

luxury design hotels

Views of Le Marais’ renowned rooftops or the hotel’s beautiful inner terrace are available in 50 rooms and 11 suites. Quirky painted wardrobes and tapestry canopies lend each room a whimsical charm, while the luxurious suites feature a separate living room, a hammam in the bathroom, and a balcony with stunning views of the Hôtel de Ville.

Given a sense of heritage elegance, the bed canopy is exquisitely crafted to mimic an Aubusson tapestry by the famed textile artisans Art de Lys. Additionally, the custom bedside lamps, the leopard-print armchairs, and the unique objets d’art sourced from antique markets around the world make up the pièces de résistance.

In the tranquil depths of Le Grand Mazarin, there’s an oasis of serenity – the subterranean spa. The mosaic-tiled pool and jacuzzi are the most remarkable features, both located beneath a vaulted ceiling covered with Jacques Merle’s pastel fresco. The painting, with its distinct Jean Cocteau vibe, depicts a face meant to be reflected in a mirror.

As day turns into night, the hotel’s bar and restaurant come alive with a dynamic mix of guests and locals, all drawn together by a shared appreciation for good company and great vibes.

The Rooster Antiparos

luxury design hotels

The Rooster Antiparos is more of a refuge than a resort, with a purposefully subdued and unobtrusive atmosphere. There is no magnificent sign, only a bumpy gravel lane leading to a bamboo hut at the entrance to the 30-acre grounds. It’s not exactly in the middle of nowhere, but it’s as close as you can go on Antiparos’ peaceful island.

Nestled in a valley dotted with a handful of villas and farmsteads, The Rooster’s 16 stone houses overlook the unspoiled dunes and breathtaking sunsets of Livadia Bay. Each house is secluded by flourishes of bougainvillaea, swaying bamboo, and rustling rushes, allowing guests to disappear into the landscape.

Eschewing the predictable Greek island white-on-white aesthetic, The Rooster embraces a global nomad style rather than a Cycladic purist look. Built from honey-coloured local stone, the houses are scattered above and below the central lobby and restaurant.

Each velvet cushion and leather ottoman in the villas is handpicked by the stylish owner. Every detail, from the mustard-coloured beach towels, velvet slippers, and slip dresses in the boutique to the black and white photographs on the pressed plaster walls, contributes to the hotel’s perfection.

The calm interiors in muted shades of sand and tan complement rather than compete with the landscape, which remains the true star of the show. Natural materials abound—weathered wooden tables, driftwood four-poster beds, terracotta urns, smooth tadelakt floors—all designed with meticulous attention to detail.

Soft, adjustable lighting, outdoor rain showers with peepholes framing the scenery, incredibly comfortable poolside daybeds, crisp sheets, and open-plan bathrooms with spacious closets—everything is thoughtfully crafted.

luxury design hotels

If accompaniment is craved, a low-key scene awaits at the open-air bar and modern Mediterranean restaurant, where sun-kissed guests in vibrant kaftans and stylish beachwear sip energy shots by day and spicy margaritas as the night falls.

Vermelho Melides

luxury design hotels

A transformation unfolds in the peaceful embrace of Comporta, a little Alentejo village, led by discerning eyes and refined taste of Christian Louboutin. Here, a sanctuary of understated elegance appears amid the soft murmurs of cicadas and the mellow swing of picture-perfect traditional farmhouses.

Christian Louboutin, known for his iconic red-soled shoes, finds solace in the simplicity of Comporta, a sentiment shared by luminaries. Together, they weave a tapestry of elegance without disturbing the serene peace that envelops the village.

Vermelho Melides, a modest hotel with only 13 rooms, is a tribute to their collaboration—a haven for fashion enthusiasts, creatives, and bohemians alike. Each room is a masterpiece of Iberian art that conveys a story about the region’s rich history.

White-washed walls with simple blue window frames and delicately carved wooden doors serve as a canvas for bursts of brilliant colour, such as green jewel-toned tiled flooring that mirror the lush surroundings and Louboutin's distinctive red, which ignites passion within.

Yet, Louboutin’s vision extends beyond aesthetics; it is a symphony of partnerships, each element carefully orchestrated. Carolina Irving’s lush fabrics drape the furniture, while Patricia Medina Abascal infuses Andalusian elegance into every corner. Bespoke doors from Granada’s Los Tres Juanes are embellished with knobs from Seville’s Orfebre Seco, casting a spell of old-world charm.

luxury design hotels

Bathrooms are swathed in marble and give refuge, with amenities inspired by Kama Ayurveda and ancient rejuvenation traditions. Azulejos de Azeitão Portuguese tiles tell stories from old times, while Eric Helaine’s luminous fixtures add ethereal charm to the area. The hand-painted strokes of Greek artist Konstantin Kakanias cover the walls, like poetry in motion, demonstrating the ongoing spirit of teamwork.

Treasures await discovery, indeed. Melides is modest and peaceful, with only two little shops where guests may buy unique souvenirs: Vida Dura, which sells brilliantly painted crockery as a kaleidoscope of memories to take home. Noemina is owned by Noemi Marone Cinzano, Louboutin’s close friend and heiress to the old Italian liquor family.

As day fades into night, culinary delights await at O Melidense, serving grilled sardines dance atop a tiny rooftop, and at Tia Rosa, where arroz de pato sings of tradition and flavour. Beyond the gastronomic pleasures lies the true allure of Comporta—a sanctuary where time slows, and moments are savoured amidst the company of kindred spirits.

Gundari Resort

Gundari, presiding over an 80-acre natural reserve on the lovely island of Folegandros, is soundtracked by the whispers of the Aegean Sea, urging guests to slow down and enjoy life in a pristine setting.

The magnificent scenery creates the ideal backdrop for a meditative vacation. From the crystalline blue of the sea and the sun-drenched pristine beaches to the silence of the suites, the resort basks in the perpetual Grecian sunlight in the balmy warmth of this hidden area on the South Aegean.

luxury design hotels

Folegandros is a hidden gem in the Cyclades, offering a raw and unfiltered experience that differs from popular tourist locations. As Folegandros’ first ultra-luxury five-star boutique resort, Gundari combines unrivalled luxury with a strong dedication to sustainability.

All 27 bio-climatically designed suites and villas are calm retreats set into the surrounding natural scenery, replete with private pools and terraces offering views varying from blue to the horizon. Throughout the resort, local materials such as natural stone, ceramic, wood and simple Cycladic styles are used to ensure that it blends perfectly with the allure of the surroundings.

Holistic wellness, soul food lovingly curated by the Michelin-starred chef, and the beauty of nature are at the centre of the resort, which is intended to be a direct and genuine response to its natural surroundings. Spend time relaxing at the pool, discovering stunning beaches, sampling local cuisine, or exploring the picturesque communities in a remote area of the world.

This story first published on The Peak Malaysia June 2024 Issue.

, , , , ,

Type keyword(s) and press Enter