“Creativity takes courage.” – Henri Matisse

Across sculptor, painting and a select number of architectural projects, Matisse’s intrepidness was contemporaneous with his craft. In that same sprit we’ve selected our choice design hotels eschewing conformity.

Brutalist concrete meccas, intricate Berber riads and design-driven Danish dwellings are showcasing rare pieces of art and developing progressive creative programmes in their enclaves. Striking design and ultra-innovative eco-ideas are transforming hotels, shattering conventions and moulding themselves into museum-like destinations.

Alexandra Copenhagen

Modelled entirely in mid-century Danish design, Alexandra is more museum than hotel. Every space pays homage to Denmark’s brightest minds. Curl up on Arne Jacobsen’s iconic Egg chair or stretch out on Borge Mogensen’s Spokeback sofa in rooms designed with the 50s and 60s in mind – think mother-of-pearl lamps, fibreglass chairs and clashes of purple and orange. Sealed with fashion powerhouse Christian Louboutin’s approval, it’s his preferred choice of stay when visiting Copenhagen; authentic, psychedelic and totally groovy, baby.

  • +45 33 74 44 44
  • Go to Website
  • H.C. Andersens Boulevard
    8, 1553
    København V

Elma Arts Complex Tel Aviv

The award-winning architect Zichron Ya’akov Tel Aviv-based creation is a beacon of positivity for brutalist fans. Embodying Israeli 1960s design, exposed concrete and geometric shapes, raised units create the impression that it is floating above the Mediterranean Sea. A cultural hub celebrating every form of artistic creativity, Elma Arts Complex houses two concert halls, several art galleries and regularly attracts critically acclaimed artists and musicians.

  • +972 4 630 0111
  • Go to Website
  • Ya'ir Street 1
    Zinhron Ya'akov
    3094260

Svart Article Circle, Norway

An eco-powerhouse hovering over a dramatic fjord in the Artic Circle is Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta’s latest ambitious project. The energy-positive hotel will produce more renewable energy over its lifetime than it would cost to maintain, helped by vast solar panels engineered to produce a significant amount of energy during the long summer nights. Modelled on a seasonal fisherman house, due to their robust structure, the circular structure will extend from the shoreline using poles to protect the natural flora and fauna. The 360-degree curved glass will provide unobstructed glacier views and guests can launch kayaks from the lower decks, which will be transformed into walkaways during the warmer months. Set for completion in 2021, it’s set to be the new place to catch Northern Lights.

Claska Tokyo

Channelling a zen aesthetic Claska is a creative haven away from the garish neon lights and towering skyscrapers of Tokyo. Housed in a multiplex building Claska is a one-stop Japanese design destination with several floors devoted entirely to creativity. Boasting a light and airy studio space, a beautifully decked terrace with Mount Fuji views and a celebrity dog-grooming salon, Claska caters to every whim. The rooms are designed by energetic, young designers peppered with antiques from all corners of Asia. An added bonus, custom-made fleet of Tokyo bikes are parked outside encouraging you to explore the Meguro Dori district that tempts with a treasure trove of second-hand furniture stores.

Hotel Marqués de Riscal La Rioja, Spain

Awakening the sleepy village of Elciego is renowned architect Frank Gehry’s radical titanium construction. His sequel to Bilbao’s Guggenheim stands in complete contrast to the rustic wine region that surrounds it. The fluid, steel waves act as sun visors framing the landscape with the pink titanium representing red wine and the gold representing white wine. Whether you view it as an eye-sore or eye-candy (the jury’s still out) a collective nod of approval is directed to the four-million bottle ageing ceiling found at the top of its very own Willy Wonka lift.

  • +34 945 18 08 80
  • Go to Website
  • Calle Torrea Kalea
    1, 01340 Elciego
    Álava

Encuentro Guadalupe Ensenada, Mexico

Nestled in the rocky terrain of one of Mexico’s oldest wine-making regions are 20 glamping cabins. The Corten steel covering the cabins alters colour over time, resulting in a colour palette that harmonises with the horizon. Juxtaposing white bedrooms with sleek, black bathrooms, these cabins provide all the mod-cons of city hotel rooms with the added bonus of a wooden-patio providing serene, panoramic views overlooking the Valle de Guadalupe.

  • +52 646 155 2775
  • Go to Website
  • Km. 75
    Carretera Tecate - Ensenada
    Valle de Guadalupe
    22750 Ensenada

L'Hotel Marrakech

How do you distinguish one elaborately decorated riad from the next? You call in famed British designer Jasper Conrad to cast his remarkable eye over a piece of medina paradise. Made up of five exquisite suites each boasts seductive white four-poster beds draped in mile-long voile, rare artworks (including pieces once owned by Saint Laurent) and hand-loomed carpets. Staying at L’Hotel feels like you’re staying in a fabulously stylish private home depicting 1930s elegance. Twin roof terraces invite you to sip mint tea as the sun sets under the honeysuckle pergola. L’Hotel will quickly seduce you, leaving you slack-jawed and struggling to absorb its many delights.

  • +21 252 438 7880
  • Go to Website
  • 41 Derb Sidi
    Lahcen Ouest Ali
    Marrakesh 40000

The Krane Nordhavn, Denmark

A beacon in Danish design, Arcgency have turned an industrial coal crane into a luxury two-person retreat. The all-black interior gives a sleek, minimalist feel designed to envelop you in a multi-sensory experience. Playing with sight, sound and atmosphere, the space is part of an on-going regeneration project by Klaus Kastbierg – the brain behind the design of the Nordhavn harbour area.

Mar Adentro Los Cabo, Mexico

This hypermodern hotel in the otherwise bohemian Los Cabo community boasts a striking aesthetic. The work of architect Miguel Angel Aragoné, his vision was simple – to fuse the hotel with the cobalt-horizon. Large reflective pools, criss-crossed walkways and the piece des résistance bird-nest restaurant complete the walk-on-water vision. At night a spectacular light show of blue and purple hues beam back from the cube-shape rooms that all face the ocean.

  • +52 624 104 9999
  • Go to Website
  • Paseo Malecon San José Lote 8
    Zona Hotelera
    23400 San José del Cabo

The Drifter New Orleans

Inspired by the spirit of the American Beat Generation, The Drifter is a statement of individuality. Wishing to bring together locals and travellers, the former 1950s down and out motel has been completed modernised with mid-century design touches of palm-tree murals and globe-shaped pendant lamps adding flair. Good to note that a busy events calendar of local designer pop-ups and pool parties take place underneath the retro disco balls and striped mint-green parasols.

  • +1 504 605 4644
  • Go to Website
  • 3522 Tulane Avenue
    New Orleans
    LA 70119

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