2021’s coolest hotel openings brought re-imagined styles to famous destinations.
The popular travel news concerned hotel closures, but behind the scenes, the world’s most creative hoteliers have been designing the travel of tomorrow.
These are the hottest city properties in world travel right now.
3. Bulgari Paris (especially the Penthouse)
Bulgari Paris opened its doors on Avenue George V. As we expected, it’s very chic, very opulent, and much closer to Italy than France. It’s instantly eye-catching and it couldn’t be any more different from the Four Seasons George V, which is literally just across the road.
Finally the penthouse. And this is probably the most elite place to stay anywhere in Europe right now.
They call it a hidden gem. Well, there’s nothing hidden. Firstly, on one of Paris’s most famous streets, the penthouse measures over 300 square metres. Two floors are connected by a spiral staircase and huge windows provide endless views over Paris. There’s lots of marble in the bathroom and space to entertain.
It’s a showpiece, show-off place to stay, topped off by the enormous and private rooftop garden. Walking on the roof of your penthouse, overlooking Paris, is a surreal experience. One night starts at a massive €35,000 and we’re told it’s booked up for most of 2022 already. Hey, if you want the signature piece from a jewellery-hotel brand you should expect it to be expensive and rare.
2. Rosewood Villa Magna, Madrid
Rosewood’s first Spanish property sits on Paseo de la Castellana in Madrid’s glamorous Salamanca district. The location is perfect for an explorer’s weekend. But Rosewood Villa Magna takes second prize for its creative renovation.
Rarely have we witnessed a hotel redesign find such perfect balance between old and new. It’s a juxtaposition of a 19th-century palace, classic Spanish fashions and tomorrow’s world.
They’ve even made a concrete, brutalist-era edifice from the 1970s look cooler than cool.
Like other Rosewood properties we admire, Rosewood Villa Magna creates this mix of nostalgia and contemporary, familiarity and foreign. Madrid’s best hotels tend to be all about old-world glory or completely of the 2020s. Rosewood Villa Magna is both and then more.
For a real splurge consider Salamanca House, a four-bedroom apartment with a 140㎡ terrace. And if you’re only in Madrid for a day, don’t miss Amos, one of the four restaurants. Helmed by Michelin-starred chef Jesus Sanchez it serves Navarre and Catabrian cuisine in central Madrid. Which sounds incongruent, but with Villa Magna, everything is counterbalanced.
1. Villa Igiea, Sicily
If we owned a Sicilian palazzo Sir Rocco Forte and his sister Olga Polizzi would be top of our list for renovators. Their creation is a blend of original Sicilian art nouveau and contemporary indulgence. Sir Rocco Forte tells us:
“Villa Igiea is an iconic building which, like its original owner Franca Florio, is a grand lady of charm and elegance and a symbol of hospitality.”
The IgieaTerrazza Bar is a good example of the styles coming together. Frescoes by Palermo artist Eugenio (Geno) Morici and botanical gardens preserve a century of history. The views over the Mediterranean are timeless. The food menu is fully Sicilian – think fresh, healthy and oodles of olive oil. Then the cocktail menu is by The Maestro Salvatore Calabrese, the world-famous mixologist creating drinks based on a century of Hollywood celebrities who have stayed at Villa Igiea.
Location, art, style, charm – Villa Igiea has so much that we love about the best Italian properties. Most of all, it has this unique Sicilian style that’s been visually preserved.