The Best Newcomer award is a hotly contested one in the travel industry: these hip new hotels are gunning for stardom from the moment the doors swing open, and this latest crop of cool getaways is no exception. The results of the public vote are in: here are your top 10 new hotels for the Smith Hotel Awards 2014 – but which one will take top prize?
THE PIG – ON THE BEACH, DORSET, UK
Killer details Magical thatched-roof dovecotes and shepherd’s huts • Acclaimed farm-to-table restaurant supplied with delicious ingredients from on-site walled garden • Thoughtful touches like colourful striped mats to take to the beach
With a postcard-perfect clifftop setting overlooking the lake-still expanse of Studland Bay, The Pig – on the Beach in Dorset would win us over purely for its location, even if it weren’t also a revived 16th-century manor house brimming with charming vintage-style finds and home to the glorious kitchen gardens that are all hallmark Pig. Whimsically outfitted in quirky collectibles and rustic accent pieces from French flea markets, this little Piggy has the same cosy, contemporary country-house style as its siblings, with marble sinks, reclaimed floorboards, super-comfy beds and soothing views.
DRIFT HOUSE, GREAT OCEAN ROAD, AUSTRALIA
Killer details Modern art gallery-inspired aesthetic in updated Victorian architecture • All suites have kitchenettes and maxibars stocked with snacks • Charming beach town and steps-from-the-water location
Part chocolate-box Victorian residence, part artsy metal modern addition, Drift House is the southwestern Australian beach house you never knew you wanted. But, from the moment you step into one of its four roomy, impeccably decorated suites – and get a whiff of the fresh-baked treats in your daily, overflowing breakfast hamper – you’ll never want to leave.
DORMY HOUSE, COTSWOLDS, UK
Killer details Spa including candlelit infinity pool, Veuve Clicquot nail parlour and rhassoul-mud room • Wildly inventive West Country cuisine at the Garden Room restaurant • Countryside walks on the Vale of Evesham with complimentary hampers and the key to Farncombe Estate’s secret Japanese garden
The 400 acres of the 17th-century farmhouse Dormy House seem sprung from the quintessentially English imaginations of Beatrix Potter and Jane Austen. With its elegant modern style, coiffed gardens, two renowned farm-to-table restaurants and one seriously spoiling spa, this hotel is ripe for romance. Designed by the minds behind Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, the rooms reflect the hotel’s history with either era pastel hues, whitewashed wooden beams and four-poster beds, or mod William Morris-style prints alongside antique statement pieces.
HAM YARD HOTEL, LONDON, UK
Killer details All rooms individually designed with their own mix of art • Prime central location next to Piccadilly Circus • Psychedelic blue-walled bowling alley with bar
Riffing on Kit Kemp’s signature multi-patterned, multi-coloured style, the Ham Yard Hotel – perched by Piccadilly Circus – is the designer’s coolest hideaway yet. With a retro bowling alley, rooftop terrace boasting London skyline views and a restaurant-supplying garden, film screening room and honesty bar in the guests-only library, there’s much to love.
ICONIC SANTORINI, GREECE
Killer details Panoramic caldera views from balconies of each room • Exceptional locally-sourced Greek cuisine at water-facing Pergola Restaurant • Private plunge pools with most rooms, plus shared cliffside infinity pool
Hugging the caldera’s dramatic cliffside, Iconic Santorini‘s cave-carved rooms, sunlounger-dotted patios and wow-worthy terraces sprawl over five levels of Imerovigli village, perched at the highest point of the island. A sea-view pool, cosy spa and breezy whites and blues have freshened the traditional dwellings, now the perfect spot for a luxurious break with dazzling Aegean Sea views.
HOTEL HOTEL, CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA
Killer details Art-gallery worthy design • Hot-spot restaurant and bar with hidden garden and live music • Prime NewActon location in cultural hub Nishi building
Canberra’s first true boutique hotel doesn’t do things by halves. New York via NewActon in style, the sultry Hotel Hotel lies in a cultural hotbed, rubbing shoulders with art galleries, designer boutiques and a basement cinema. The hotel has a pedigree of artists, designers and curators that would render gallerists weak-kneed with excitement. An artsy mélange of retro-inspired textiles and furniture, Aesop bath products, gallery-worth art and mood lighting, the hotel’s rooms are spacious and sexy home bases for your explorations of the lively local neighbourhood.
ACE HOTEL DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES, US
Killer details Stylish loft-like rooms with beds for the best sleep of your life • Star-studded LA Chapter restaurant and Upstairs rooftop bar • Trendy downtown location in the only LA area where cars aren’t mandatory
Where else can Spanish Gothic, art deco, LA noire, rocker chic and hipster cool coexist so peacefully but at the Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles? Some LA hotels have views, others have historic architecture, some host concerts and movie premiers, others have rave-worthy cuisine, a handful offer friendly service and even fewer have the causal, modern style of our daydreams. Revamped United Artists Theatre building, The Ace, is the rare beast that has it all.
POINT YAMU BY COMO, PHUKET, THAILAND
Killer details Signature spoiling Como Shambhala spa • Private island with guests-only beach and ferry from hotel • Two exceptional restaurants, serving authentic Italian and top-notch Peranakan-Thai
Point Yamu by Como’s take on Thai luxury has an Italian spin, thanks to Paola Navone’s sleek Med-inspired styling and La Sirena’s flawless Italian food. Sleek white lines punctuated by accent hues, whimsical furniture and covetable curios, jaw-dropping views of Phang Nga Bay and the Andaman Sea, plus sprawling private balconies for making the most of the vistas, are among the best Phuket has to offer.
SOHO HOUSE CHICAGO, CHICAGO, US
Killer details Four eateries, including a buzy lobby cafe-bar and the club-level signature restaurant • Year-round, heated rooftop pool with panoramic skyline views • Exceptionally spacious loft-like rooms, even for Chicago
The newest addition to the Soho House group brings the artsy, quintessentially boutique members’ club to Chicago’s ideal and trendy Fulton Market neighbourhood, and it might be the best Soho House yet. A Cowshed Spa, three open-to-the-public restaurants (including a craft-beer-and-cocktail bar) that hold their own in a foodie city and a guests-and-members-only rooftop bar and pool with exceptional downtown views. Its pretty much perfection.
CASACAU, ROME, ITALY
Killer details Right in the heart of Rome’s iconic landmark- scattered centre • Well-connected hosts who know hidden hot-spots • All rooms equipped with kitchenettes for the freedom of apartment living
In a 17th-century building just a coin toss from the Trevi Fountain, Casacau‘s fabulously faded boutique apartments are the perfect place to live la dolce vita and feel like a Rome native. Each crash pad is decked out in impeccable 1960s-inspired design with era-spanning art prints and a sprinkling of antique trinkets and hosts Flavia and Kevin are the most welcoming and knowledgeable you could hope for.
*Editorial assistant: Augusta Melia