Beauty or Beast? Our Favourite Brutalist Hotels

Beauty or Beast? Our Favourite Brutalist Hotels

Brutalism is back. The fickle finger of fashion has touched these concrete beasts of the architectural world. In many design hotels it’s the coffee table brutalism book lying on the shelf in reception, while other hoteliers have spotted that people want to try out a night in these singular 1060s buildings.



From
Oscar Niemeyer’s showpiece Brasilia Palace Hotel to the
hotel inside Le Corbusier’s classic Unite d’Habitiation in
Marseille, to the striking Hotel Zlatibor in Uzice, Serbia,
brutalist hotels are eye-catchers. Check in to rediscovered gems of
the 1970s like the Bristol Marriott, the Britannia in Coventry and
the Concorde in Quebec City or the Swissotel Zurich – or the new
kids on the block like the offices converted into hotels (The 9 in
Cleveland and Bloc in a former modernist block on top of Gatwick
Airport) and the forthcoming London Standard, which will be housed
in Camden Town Hall, where architects once designed ground-breaking
social housing in London, times sure are changing. Love it or hate
it, this is our pick of the brutalist best.


hotel

At Six

Achingly hip re-imaging of the mid-century aesthetic in one of
the parts of central Stockholm that the post-war planners
completely got their teeth into. At Six is a new hotel that shows
that a brutalist building can be re-used (don’t knock it down – do
it up instead), updated and filled with finery to wow today’s
guests.

Address

Brunkebergstorg 6
111 51 Stockholm
Sweden


hotel

St Giles

Tucked away right in the centre of London, just behind Tottenham Court Road Station, is this under-appreciated but hugely interesting beast of a building by Elsworth Sykes. It opened in 1976 as the London Central YMCA but is now the St Giles Hotel. They’ve just refurbed the lobby and added public art, but they know that the building is all killer and no filler, and begs to be photographed.

Address

Bedford Avenue
Camden
London
WC1B 3GH


hotel

Totem

A little bit of French finesse from Marcel Breuer, one of the most important and famous architects of the mid-20th century. Here he created an entire modernist ski resort up in the Alps, and this hotel was its crowning glory. Now restored and managed by Terminal Neige it once again revels in its brutalist luxury.

Address

Flaine Forum
74300 Flaine
France


hotel

Four Seasons Sydney

Looking like a crinkle cut crisp standing proud against the Sydney CBD skyline, the Four Seasons by Michael Dysart and opened in 1982 is an eye-catcher. It’s tall, and like its near neighbour the Sirius Building lends a sophisticated air to the city. The jagged deployment of windows means the building is fascinating and you get double views from rooms.

Address

199 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Australia


hotel

Elma

This former convalescence home was a place where people recovered from illness, now it’s a place to restore the soul. Set a little inland from the sea, the architecture of the building is an unmistakable, wave-influenced set piece. It’s a part of the Design Hotels brand now and is also a performance space for music and the arts.

Address

1 Yair Street
Zikhron Ya‘aqov
3094260
Israel


hotel

Westin Grand

Munich’s Westin Grand is a genuine discovery. Hardly mentioned in the architecture books, it’s a complete showstopper of the early 1970s aesthetic – rough, tough, big and bold. This is concrete gone wild and it’s very beautiful on a sunny day. The huge hotel is by Edgar Frasch and dates from 1972 – it was built for Munich’s Olympics (and if you want more brutalism – almost the entire nearby Olympic Park is in the same urban style).

Address

Arabellastr. 6
Bogenhausen
81925 Munich
Germany


hotel

QT Canberra

The handsome QT in Canberra is a concrete colossus in a city that has its fair share of brutalism (check out the National Gallery of Australia too). It used to be a Rydges, but since its transformation into a branch of Oz’s premier boutique brand it’s shining again with vintage class. The lobby has a real retro feel with that crunchy bush-hammered concrete that lovers of the style relish and spiral stairs seemingly out of a 1970s talk show.

Address

London Circuit
2600 Canberra
Australia

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