A country house whose chef is the main attraction? What could be more perfectly of-the-moment in today’s food-obsessed world? Of course, it’s a story as old as hotels themselves, and it’s been an apt description of Northcote since the 1980s, when general manager Craig Bancroft took a chance on a young chef by the name of Nigel Haworth.
Viewed through the lens of tourism, Bordeaux is all about wine bars and Michelin stars, and the hotels range all the way from quite luxurious to very luxurious indeed. But of course Bordeaux is a living city, not just an open-air wine museum — and any city worth its salt needs a stylish, budget-friendly boutique hotel in the Mama Shelter mold. Some concessions are made to the city’s status as a culinary destination — there are twice as many eating and drinking venues as the recipe originally called for — but for the most part, it’s got more in common with its cousins in Marseille and Lyon than with the rest of the Bordeaux hospitality scene.
Long one of London’s favorite residential neighborhoods, Notting Hill has finally got a boutique hotel that’s perfectly suited to its setting. The Laslett’s 51 rooms and suites span a row of five Victorian townhouses, less than a minute’s walk from the Notting Hill Gate underground station, which means the rest of the city is convenient as can be — but while you’re here, you’re perfectly placed at the nexus of creative West London.
Starck style, budget prices, professional hospitality thanks to the ownership’s Club Med connections — the Mama Shelter formula holds obvious appeal. What’s perhaps slightly surprising is that in addition to Paris, Los Angeles and Istanbul, it’s expanded into France’s secondary cities. But as with everything this partnership has done so far, it turns out to be a savvy move — if these youthful, stylish budget boutiques can thrive in the world’s most competitive hotel markets, they’ll absolutely clean up in a city as relatively underserved as Lyon.
Achenkirch, Tyrol, Austria
The Alpine experience is all about landscape — limpid mountain lakes, soaring evergreens, and some of the most iconic summits on the planet. Das Kronthaler, a ski-in/ski-out fixture towards the German side of Austria’s western corridor, makes the most of its setting. There’s guided hiking at various levels of difficulty, mountain biking, skiing of all varieties, golf, and tobogganing. Then there’s paragliding, horseback riding, Nordic walking, and a slew of watersports in and around nearby Lake Achen in the summer months. And, come winter, there’s plenty of skiing.
St. Moritz, Switzerland
It’s the rare classic grand hotel that actually lives up to its storied reputation — in this case it’s because the Carlton St. Moritz hasn’t been shy about renovating. On the theory that its rather demanding high-end guests could forgive a bit of contemporary design, especially in the service of a technological modernization, they’ve left the building pretty much as it was, but handed the interiors over to the designer Carlo Rampazzi to do with as he wished.
If variety is the spice of life, then it can only be a good thing that Park Hyatt is branching out beyond skyscraper-topping business hotels and trying its hand at seaside resorts — and this one, in urban Stone Town, has to count as extremely spicy indeed. Built partially from a 17th-century mansion, albeit a very heavily renovated one, the Park Hyatt Zanzibar could hardly depart further from the Lost in Translation template. But given Park Hyatt’s expertise, you have to trust that they’ll hit the mark.