Globetrotters, take note. We’re taking you around the world to the hautest designer hotels out there. From Marrakech to the mountains of Mexico, we’ve untucked 14 artful alternatives to your run-of-the-mill accommodations. Inspiring interiors, sumptuous fabrics, innovative design and jaw-dropping vistas — these hotels are much more than just a place to lay your head. Ready to book your stay?
1. The Darling (Sydney, Australia): From the textured wallpaper and 400-count Egyptian cotton sheets to a meal at Sokyo, a fusion restaurant blending the vibe of Tokyo with the buzz of Sydney, your time at The Darling will truly be the sweetest thing. And don’t miss a dip in the outdoor swimming pool. It’s scented with a blend of white tea and eucalyptus.
2. Hotel Viura (Alava, Spain): Built atop a vineyard, Hotel Viura guarantees its guests will partake in their share of wine. After all, you are in the mecca of Spain’s La Rioja wine country. Along with good wine, you’ll find the architecture of Hotel Viura simply mind-blowing. Colorful, cuboid forms heaped upon one another, creating a whimsical structure that appears to erupt from the earth — this is your hotel. Among all the funk, you’ll find a marvelous restaurant, an old wine cellar with tastings from local wines and expansive terraces offering a breathtaking vista of the San Andrés Church and the mountains of the Sierra de Cantabria.
3. Hotel Jules Cesar (Arles, France): Swing by the south of France and bask in the palatial splendor of this old monastery dating back to the 17th century. Set in glorious gardens, you’ll soak in the sweet perfume of fresh lavender and the cool breeze of the Provence countryside. Within the ancient stone walls, you’ll find a palace drenched in pattern, texture and artistic expression, from the colorful frescoes on the walls to lush fabrics and antiques adorning each room.
4. Treehotel (Harads, Sweden): If you’ve always wanted to escape to a treehouse, you’ve found your destination. Designed to offer guests a return to nature, Treehouse will immerse you in the treetops of Sweden’s natural forest. Founders Britta and Kent worked with some of Scandinavia’s leading architects to create “treerooms.” The rooms are suspended four to six meters off the ground and include spectacular views of the Lule River, underfloor heating, hydroelectric power, combustion toilets — are you catching the drift? Eco-conscious and built to sustain the environment, Treehotel cultivates an experience of living in harmony with nature. (via Room 902)
5. Kakslauttanen Artic Resort (Saariselka, Finland): Find yourself soaking in the Northern Lights via the expansive view from your glass igloo. Or, hibernate in a log cabin, experience a night in a snow igloo or enjoy a toasty fire in your rustic cabin near the Arctic Circle. These are your options for taking in the perfection that is the wilderness of Finland’s Kakslauttanen Resort. (via Popular Travel Destinations)
6. Continentale (Florence, Italy): If Holly Golightly passed by you on a Vespa at this ’50s-decorated Florentine accommodation, you’d hardly be surprised. Catch the sights and sounds of the River Arno and Ponte Vecchio from your room. Patter along the bleached-oak flooring and enjoy an espresso while resting on hot pink furniture, surrounded by black and white fashion portraiture. Undeniably Italian, the Continentale pays homage to mid-century glamour and elegance. Play along with the theme and sip a glass of wine at the Bar + Sky Lounge or sweat it out in the sauna and enjoy your stay.
7. Huettenpalast (Berlin, Germany): Get your retro fix within the walls of a former vacuum cleaner factory where guests can choose the comfort of cozy caravans, designer bedrooms or wild wooden cabins. For real, you can stay in a camper complete with hammock, swing seat and plenty of AstroTurf. Did we mention this is in the heart of Berlin?!
8. The Flushing Meadows Hotel and Bar (Munich, Germany): If you’ve had your fair share of run-of-the-mill hotels, Flushing Meadows is your retreat from the ordinary. Designed for cosmopolitan travelers who appreciate detail and design, you’ll find loft studios that suit your taste, as each one is dedicated to various creative realms like music, cinema, design, sport and art. Kick things up a notch in one of the penthouse studios, each featuring a private terrace offering an epic view of Munich. Then head to the rooftop bar and relax with a drink and enjoy the sunset.
9. The Royal Mansour (Marrakech, Morocco): This magnificent hotel was built under the instruction of Morocco’s King Mohammed VI with an undisclosed budget — luxurious and elaborate are understatements. (photo via Deluxe Escapes)
10. Singita Lebombo Lodge (Mpumalanga, South Africa): Wake up surrounded by African flora and fauna. Accommodations come with guided Land Rover safaris, a lap pool, spa treatments and good South African wine. Your private loft-style suite is encased in glass overlooking the Kruger National Park. Find yourself in a spa-like atmosphere with an outdoor shower and zen-modern decor.
14. 21c Museum Hotel: (Louisville, Kentucky): Forget thread count and iPod docking stations, this artful alternative is way more than a place to rest your head. The historic boutique hotel boasts 90 (pretty amazing) rooms, a contemporary art museum and an award-winning restaurant. Basically, you’ll never need to leave the hotel when you stay here.
Globetrotters, fill us in on the coolest places you’ve laid your head to rest with a pic or link in the comments below.