Great hotel bathrooms #2

Soak in the tub or splash under the rainfall shower? Whether you prefer roll-top romance or hi-tech tap trickery, we've got a bathing beauty that's right for you. LUCY FENNINGS guides you round some of the world's best hotel bathrooms…

Smith Ski: What’s hot on the slopes

The other day Pip McCormac at The Sunday Times asked me my thoughts on ski chic for this article: We put our heads together…

Mr & Mrs Smith in Cookie Mag

Tamara's done one or two pieces for the Going Places blog, over at stylish Stateside parenting mag, Cookie (this month she's covered child-friendly London cafés),…

Inside Dubai – the best boutiques, bars and restaurants

Lara Dunston is the brains behind the Cool Travel Guide blog and has written or contributed to 40 travel guidebooks (for DK, Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, Footprint, Insight, AA Guides and Thomas Cook) and writes for magazines and newspapers all over the world, including National Geographic Traveler, Wanderlust, Get Lost, Lifestyle+Travel, Paperplane, The Independent and USA Today, to name just a handful. Now based in the UAE, Lara couldn’t be better placed to offer an insider’s guide to Dubai, (home to Mr & Mrs Smith’s recently launched  Desert Palm hotel), so we’re delighted to be able to bring you her top tips for exploring the Middle East’s most impressive city (if not the world’s). Over to Lara…

Sleep Awards 2008: Nominations

This year I’m a judge in the Sleep European Hotel Design Awards. The winners will be announced at the Sleep Awards 2008 ceremony is on 6 November at Sofitel, terminal 5, Heathrow.

The awards recognise the work of architects, designers, and developers across 18 different categories. They are judged by a panel of leading hotel designers, architects, owners, operators and developers, as well as respected journalists, editors and commentators on hotel design. Here’s who was judging what…

Top 10: the best hotel bathrooms

Wow-inducing bathrooms have become as important as seductive boudoirs at the hotels Mr & Mrs Smith visit, and they’re a great opportunity to showcase imaginative design. Double sinks, or even double baths create a glamorous boutique-hotel feel, glass-enclosed wet-room-style showers and baths with a view add drama. Beautiful materials and different textures, from stone tiling to special towels, creates interest. Otherwise attention to detail gives bathrooms more personality, whether it’s an extravagant mirror or beautiful antique chair. Zero clutter, plumbing that really works, adjustable lighting, enough hooks to hang your towels, and even the odd technological flourish are all factors that can turn a good hotel into a great one.

Without further ado, allow us to present, in no particular order, our run-down of the best hotel bathrooms on the great green earth. Hold on to your shower caps…

We ask the questions: Q&A with Yoo chairman John Hitchcox

After Tamara’s lunch with property guru, Starck-partner and Caprice-dater John Hitchcox a few weeks back, the busiest man in property development agreed to have a chat with us about what his company, Yoo, is up to, what it’s like working with Philippe, and where he hangs out in New York – when he’s not building 650-acre Cotswolds quarry conversions, that is…Jia hotel, Hong Kong

Tamara Hi John. It’s great to chat to someone so involved with contemporary design and development. You’ve got some very high-profile projects under your belt – among others, there’s the Jia hotels in Shanghai and Hong Kong, the Gramercy in New York, and now Yoo’s new Cotswolds village development, the Lakes – which have you enjoyed working on the most?

John All of them. I don’t have a particular favourite, I love all my projects because they are all different, diverse, creative and challenging in their own way. We have 30 projects on the including high rises such as a 72-storey building in Moscow that is about to get underway (I find vertical living intriguing), and then there’s the Lakes. All the projects are about building communities and it’s fascinating to discover how people live and how they recognise the value of their home.

Mixing business with pleasure: Dylan, Dublin

In the past, I’ve definitely deemed a hotel too ‘businessy’ to join our carefully selected collection of seductive stays, and have swiftly dismissed corporate-tinged places simply because its clientele just didn’t look like the kind of fun-loving folk our discerning members would want to while away their precious leisure time with. But when it comes to what makes a great boutique hotel tick, I’m always open to being convinced otherwise, and my recent spell at the Dylan in Dublin proved to me that somewhere stylish can be an excellent corporate option and still stay sexy.

Smith: Independently sexy

One of the most important criteria when we’re deciding whether a hotel will make Love & Sex logoit into the Smith collection is, quite simply, its sheer sexiness. Is its restaurant the perfect setting for candlelit dinners à deux? Is that bath tub big enough for two? Does the bed put ideas in your head? For five years, we’ve been putting a respectable face on the dirty weekend, and have accumulated a vast selection of what we think are some of the most sauce-inducing beds in the world, so we were more than happy to get involved with The Independent’s Love & Sex extravaganza, currently running in supplement form with the paper every day until 26 September. The series offers an in-depth exploration of all aspects of relationships, from romance to raunch and all the steps in between, and it just wouldn’t be complete without a sensual sojourn as a competition prize.

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