Fashion designers have come a long way from just making your wardrobe in vogue; many have branched off to create a name in home furnishings, accessories and, more ambitiously, high-fashion boutique hotels. All over the world, trendy jetsetters have been checking into hotels primarily due to the star designer behind the décor -- from Moschino's Milan Maison to Oscar de la Renta's Tortuga Bay in Punta Cana. Flaunting decadent amenities and fine attention to design detail, these hotels are destined to visually woo and personally pamper. Best of all? You can bet they're all pretty stylish.
Gold Coast, Queensland, AustraliaSoheil Abedian, the visionary behind the world's first fashion-branded hotel, was based in Australia, so it only made sense to open it there. Soheil went straight to the House of Versace to seek approval of the new designer hotel concept, to which the Versace family gave two thumbs up. Shortly after, a trendsetting crashpad was born in September 2000.
Palazzo Versace is inspired by the opulent palaces of Europe and the classic architecture of Roman times. Versace gave the hotel design his magic touch: its driveway is the second largest pebble mosaic in the world; the foyer’s chandelier was imported from the State Library of Milan; and there's more than $11.5 million worth of Italian-imported marble. The hotel on Queensland's Gold Coast features 200 rooms and suites, all decked out in Versace homeware and accessories, such as a private bar featuring Versace crystal and coffee-making facility comprising Versace china. Additionally, there's private butler service for all rooms, three restaurants, five pools, a manmade beach, a spa (Aurora, one of Australia's largest) and, as you would imagine, a Versace boutique. Don't ever want to leave? Visitors can buy one of the 72 luxury condominiums.
LondonLocated in the heart of London's highbrow Mayfair district, Claridge's London has been a landmark since it opened in the mid-1850s. Notable royalty -- from Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1860 to Kate Middleton in 2012 -- are typical guests. Fashion icon Diane von Furstenberg is also a fan, and has even produced fashion collections inspired by the hotel.
A guest of Claridge's since 1983, Diane collaborated with the hotel in 2010, designing 20 of their rooms and suites. Guests can expect her exuberant style, with the chic and understated design typical of her popular dresses. One of the most booked rooms is the Grand Piano Suite. Furnishings include Murano crystals, custom-made cashmere blankets, silk leopard-print rugs and amenities like zebra-print bathrobes.
Milan, ItalyIt only makes sense for Milan — considered one of the fashion capitals of the world — to serve as home for a designer-inspired hotel, and Moschino took that honor in 2010. Maison Moschino Milan is a 65-room hotel inside a 1840s Neo-classical railway station. Just like the brand's whimsical, haute-couture designs, the hotel is all about fairy tales and fanciful fantasy.
Once you enter, you're greeted by puffy-cloud light fixtures, white lamb chair and lit gowns. Not one room is alike, and the design comes straight from surreal, avant-garde dreams: tree branches serve as bedposts, vines climb across a striped wall and a red gown constitutes a headboard. The Little Red Riding Hood Room has a patterned and stuffed wolf awaiting, while Alice's Room beckons with a giant coffee cup in a twisted reality. Creativity here is an understatement.
Tortuga Bay Resort
Punta Cana, Dominican RepublicDominican Republic native Oscar de la Renta (the designer, not Oscar de la Hoya, the boxer) decided his country needed … well, more of him! In 2005, he designed the boutique hotel Tortuga Bay, and other fashion notables have since been guests there, including Anna Wintour and Carolina Herrera. The resort is within the Puntacana Resort & Club, a 26-mile complex that also features four exclusive residential communities, in one of which Oscar resides.
Tortuga Bay offers 30 suites in 13 villas situated on a private beach on the Caribbean. With open spaces and simplicity in mind, Oscar pays tribute to the raw beauty of the resort's settings with a palette of natural island colors, enhanced with wicker and wood furnishings and luxurious linens. There's a Six Senses Spa, 36-hole golf course, 1,500-acre ecological reserve with 15 natural spring-water lagoons, a brand-new 1,000-square-foot Oscar de la Renta boutique and the Bamboo Restaurant, featuring Mediterranean-infused cuisine. Guests are greeted upon arrival with VIP "Whisking Service," an escort that assists them with immigration, baggage claim and customs.
Edinburgh Scotland and Kuwait City, KuwaitIn 2009, Italian brand Missoni took a huge gamble by opening a hotel in not-typically-fashionable Edinburgh, but it paid off: It’s one of the most popular and fully booked in the city. The design hotel pays tribute to the brand's fashion and interiors sensibility (note the trademark, geometric prints) that blends with function, form and service. Hotel Missoni Edinburgh's success led the brand's creative director and Rezidor Hotel Group's CEO and president to partner in another atypical location: Kuwait.
Travelers to both hotels can expect stylish suites, complimentary minibars stocked with Italian favorites (like Peroni and Pelligrino), in-room Nespresso machines, staff in custom-made uniforms (zig-zag kilts in Edinburgh; striped-dash dash in Kuwait and a restaurant (Cucina) featuring personal recipes from Rosita Missoni herself.
Hotel Missoni plans to open 30 more properties, including Brazil (2013), Oman (2013) and Mauritius (2014).
JamaicaRalph Lauren has several homes (including a beach house in Montauk and a ranch in Colorado), none of which were open to the public — until he partnered with Round Hill Resort in Jamaica. The Laurens bought a two-bedroom house 25 years ago and, in 2004, became shareholders in the nearby Round Hill Resort, which has 36 rooms and 27 villas.
The 30-acre property is inspired by both the colors of Jamaica as well as an elevated style of the ’40s and ’50s, blended with a very English and Old World feel. The resort comprises a seaside terrace, infinity pool, spa, wharf, restaurant and sprawling beach on Round Hill Bay. Lauren not only decorated the Pineapple House villa (which features all oceanfront rooms, double-edge infinity pool and louvered windows on the top floor), but also The Grill with a new, organic menu by Chef Martin Maginley.
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