The best part of traveling is rarely the hotel. Sure, you'll suffer a tatty travelers flop if it means an extra day wandering the streets of Seoul, but in the main, hotel stays, and hotel decor, are often treated like a body search at the airport: an indignity for sure, but one you put up with because, well, you have to. "But I've stayed in a handful of really nice, really well-designed hotels," you cry. "And they really did make all the difference." Fair play. But don't those experiences feel woefully hit-or-miss? Pick up Design Hotels's 2010 guide and start to really travel in style.
Design Hotels is an affiliation of nearly 200 luxury and boutique hotels worldwide that take design very seriously. I've had the good fortune of staying in a few of their member hotels--Hotel Greulich in Zurich (top-notch), the St. Paul in Montreal, and a drink in the lobby of Grims Grenka in Oslo--and they put anything else I've seen to shame. And though I'm sure I'll never stay at all of them, it's certainly fun to look.
The Design Hotels Book Edition 2010 is a catalogue of their members, and one that inspires a real yen to travel, if only to immerse yourself in one more element of global design. Boasting ten interviews with their hoteliers, hospitality designers and design luminaries--Sir Terence Conran figures prominently--the book's real joy is leafing through the 170 hotels inside. Each gets a fine spread and just enough pictures to have you counting and recounting those bonus miles.
Call it escapist fantasy on a February afternoon, but my first several wanders through the pages of the Design Hotels Book for 2010 have been pure pleasure, cut, dolefully, by the fact that I'll be lucky to get to two of them all year long.
Have a look at this slideshow for a glimpse of what's inside the book.