Game-Changing Check-Ins: Five Pioneering Hotels We Love

Game-Changing Check-Ins: Five Pioneering Hotels We Love

From an earth-conscious boutique in Tokyo’s coolest neighbourhood to a repurposed brutalist landmark in New England, these five trailblazing hotels are worth detouring for

is full of soul-lifting moments, but we’d argue that
there are few things more special than first arriving at your
hotel. Hitting that key card against the door, then exhaling a sigh
of happiness on opening it? Pure bliss. No longer just offering
standard double rooms, today’s leading hotels have evolved into
buzzy neighbourhood hangouts, thanks to the arrival of first-class spa offerings, in-house galleries,
co-working dens and award-winning menus. From a wellness-first
Mexican hideout to a reimagined brutalist
office block in Connecticut, these five trailblazing stays all
celebrate locality, sustainability and design.

Five of the world’s leading hotels

Trunk Bar Lounge


Trunk Hotel

Tokyo, Japan

The nature-rich Trunk Hotel is home to 15 art-filled bedrooms, a
forward-thinking concept store, destination restaurant and stylish
social spaces. Situated in the design-forward Shibuya
neighbourhood, the contemporary property is arranged across two
four-storey buildings, with interiors brought to life by the
Tokyo-based Tripster studio – a mishmash of glass, grey brickwork
and wooden panels enclosed by tumbling greenery. While there’s
plenty to be said for the rotating exhibitions, playful cocktails
and soothing chill-out-zones, it’s the hotel’s commitment to the
environment that we love. Be it tableware hand-crafted from broken
dishes, nesting areas for birds and insects, cushions fashioned
from boat sails, or bar stools upcycled from old wine corks,
there’s beauty to be found in the smallest of details here.


5 Chome-31 Jingumae, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150 0001, Japan

Paramount House Hotel
Photo credit: Tom Ross


Paramount House Hotel

Sydney, Australia

Could this be Sydney’s coolest crashpad? Based on its
crown-like copper roof, we’d say so. Originally the film-storage
warehouse for the city’s iconic Paramount Picture Studios, a
nine-year makeover helmed by Studio Johnston has seen the property
transformed into a contemporary 29-key stay. There are five
different room types to choose from, spanning loft-style studios to
cosy nooks, all characterised by plant-filled terraces, slick
bathrooms complete with luxe Aesop toiletries and living spaces
finished with airy linens, raw fabrics and artworks by local
artists. Elsewhere, a rooftop fitness space offering day passes,
outdoor café serving artisan coffees and banging club sandwiches,
in-house cinema and co-working den, plus acclaimed wine bar Poly,
have resulted in the address becoming a hangout loved by locals and
travellers alike.


80 Commonwealth St, Surry Hills, Sydney NSW 2010, Australia

Hotel Schwarzschmied Exterior


Hotel Schwarzschmied

South Tyrol, Italy

Located in the remote Tyrolean village of Lana, amid rolling vineyards and
tangled orchards, Hotel Schwarzschmied might just be our favourite
address for a go-slow Italian getaway. Built in 1981, the hotel
underwent a recent renovation headed up by Merano-based interior
designer Christina Biasi-von Berg – spot the bespoke lamps and
hand-crafted carpets made from locally sourced wool. The
state-of-the-art spa is equipped with an outdoor pool, steam bath
and sauna, while an in-house yoga teacher leads sessions on a
sun-kissed pergola. It’s the celebration of Tyrol’s fertile ground
that we think you’ll enjoy the most, though: think low-intervention
wines, homemade loaves and herb-drizzled goodness available from
dusk till dawn.


Vicolo Fucine 6, 39011 Lana BZ, Italy

Habitas Bacalar
Photo credit: Tanveer Badal


Habitas Bacalar

Bacalar, Mexico

Resting on the banks of the Bacalar lagoon’s hypnotic blue waters, the third
boutique from eco-conscious hotel group Habitas provides a tranquil
base for travellers looking to recharge. Canopied rooms seamlessly
blend into the surrounding landscape, with thatched roofs and tall
grasses cocooning the individual structures. Holistic treatments
and traditional healing rituals use organic, local ingredients, and
guests are encouraged to practise mindfulness and meditation.
Wellbeing is also at the forefront of the hotel’s in-house
restaurant, Siete, where plates of soul-nourishing, Mayan-inspired
cuisine are crafted from fresh local produce. We love the
property’s dedication to preserving and protecting the lagoon,
which includes giving guests handbooks on the endangered
million-year-old reefs and how best to respect the waters.


Carretera Federal 307 Xul Ha, 77963 Bacalar, Mexico

Hotel Marcel, Exterior
Photo credit: Seamus Payne


Hotel Marcel

Connecticut, US

Nothing warms our heart more than a deserted building being
given a new lease of life. Step forward, Hotel Marcel. The
brutalist 70s landmark, a former office building designed by
Hungarian-American architect Marcel Breuer, was carefully
repurposed into a 165-room bolthole late last year. Committed to
minimising its impact on the environment, the hotel is powered by
some 1,000 solar panels. Local craftsmen are behind the building’s
brass and concrete elements, with artworks by local and emerging
artists on display throughout. Light-filled bedrooms see living
spaces decorated with plush sofas, art deco-inspired pouffes,
stellar reading materials and dried florals. The downstairs bar is
exactly the kind of place you’d want to enjoy your favourite
cocktail at – all soft lighting, velvet bar stools and overgrown
potted plants.


500 Sargent Dr, New Haven, CT 06511, US

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Cosme, Paros

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