Globe-Trotter picks our favourite hotels and resorts that put world-class design at the forefront
Manshausen Seacabins, Norway
Photos courtesy of Manshausen Seacabins
The remote island of Manshausen in northern Norway only has limited places to stay. Fortunately, those places are the picturesque seacabins designed by architecture practice Snorre Stinessen. Set in a region of natural beauty, the adventurous traveller can enjoy kayaking, hiking and mountain biking in the surrounding region — a remote area perfect for getting away from the everyday. The cabins are both personal and luxurious, set with an unparalleled view out over the sea and, if you’re lucky and the time is right, the Northern Lights.
Saffire Freycinet, Australia
Photos courtesy of Saffire Freycinet (unless otherwise stated)
The Saffire Freycinet in Tasmania has earned a reputation as one of Australia’s best luxury hotels. Famous for its views and outstanding food, it also represents a triumph of design. Local architecture firm Circa Morris-Nunn, renowned as one of Tasmania’s most innovative practices, created the award-winning scheme with its organic, wave-inspired curves and striking floor-to-ceiling glass facades. The accommodation comprises 20 large suites, each entirely private from neighbouring rooms, and offering phenomenal views over the Great Oyster Bay.
Heritance Kandalama, Sri Lanka
Photos courtesy of Heritance Kandalama
Shaped like the outstretched wings of a bird (with a one kilometre wingspan from end to end), the Heritance Kandalama in Sri Lanka merges with the surrounding mountains, and has been designed to blend in beautifully with its natural setting. The Geoffrey Bawa-designed building has ecology at the forefront of its scheme, with trees and plants sprouting from every corner to flow seamlessly with the surrounding forest. Found deep in the Sri Lankan countryside, it offers a wholly unique and unforgettable stay.
The Murray hotel, Hong Kong
Photos courtesy of The Murray hotel
In a busy city like Hong Kong, space is at a premium, so creativity is a necessity. The Murray hotel is a fine example of the ingenuity required, residing as it does in a former government headquarters building. Foster + Partners completed the renovation of the hotel in 2018, preserving much of the exterior while completely overhauling the interior. The result is an opulent, glamorous space with 336 luxury guest rooms, rooftop bar and surrounding amenities set in the heart of Hong Kong, blending the old and new of a constantly changing city.
Salt of Palmar, Mauritius
Photos courtesy of Salt of Palmar
French artist Camille Walala’s distinctive graphic prints can be spotted on large-scale installations throughout east London. But on the beautiful island of Mauritius, the designer had an entire hotel at her disposal in the form of the award-winning Salt of Palmar. This boutique hotel, which opened in 2018, is set in a riad-style building designed by local architecture practice JFA. Inspired by the island’s naturally vibrant colour palette, Walala introduced pastel hues and her signature graphic patterns to the Moorish-style architecture and contemporary interiors. The hotel itself has impressive sustainable credentials — working with local craftspeople and suppliers to minimise waste, and even implementing a no single-use plastic policy.