This month sees the arrival of a plastic-free haven in temple hotspot Siem Reap, a restored Italian palace and library-turned-funky-hostel in Aarhus, Denmark.
Here are March’s most interesting new hotels.
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Jaya House Angkor Park, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Marrying eco smarts, insight into the local community – all bar one member of staff are Cambodian – and chic design is the second opening from the team behind Cambodia’s first plastic-free hotel, Jaya House River Park. Just a 10-minute tuk tuk ride from Angkor Archaeological Park, the new hotel has the same ethos as the original; so refillable water bottles (MD Christian de Boer is co-founder of the global Refill not Landfill campaign), no plastic, and profits supporting four local NGOs.
Design by Eric Raisina channels refined tropical luxe; think humbug-striped sun loungers, soothing-hued rooms with mint and grey colour pops and portraits of past and present Khmer artistic talent hung on the walls, as well as a spa, silvery-tiled swimming pool, and restaurant inside a palm-filled glass conservatory. Trips to little-visited temples, rural drives passing lotus flower-filled lakes – a far cry from neon-lit Pub Street – led by the in-the-know staff can be arranged.
Rooms from £148 including breakfast, minibar and 1 hour daily spa treatment
BOOK1 Design Hostel, Aarhus, Denmark
Swapping books for bunks, a once-upon-a-time library next to Aarhus’ Mølleparken throws open the doors as an eye-catching budget bolthole with 444 beds. The affordable design hostel from Brøchner Hotels, which has form when it comes to reimagining old buildings – it opened Copenhagen’s boutique Hotel Herman K inside an old transformer station – has curtained-off bunk dorms, pod-style rooms (similar to Japanese capsule hotel rooms), private doubles and suites.
Mobiles can be used for check-in and room access, and for socialising there’s an Airstream-look lobby bar with DJ events, a food court serving Nordic pizzas and traditional smørrebrød, as well as social spaces and a sauna. All electricity is generated by wind power, and another bonus is that the hostel has great views of ARoS Museum’s Olafur Eliasson rainbow walkway.
Single beds in a pod dorm from £25 a night
The Sense Experience Resort, Tuscany, Italy
Arriving in Tuscany’s Maremma is a 112-room hotel, which takes heavy inspiration from its rugged natural surroundings. Ringed by 12 acres of parkland, thick with centuries-old trees, sandy dunes and bordering the Tyrrhenian Sea, the property’s green and blue colour palettes mirror the pineland and ocean waves.
For aperitifs, there’s Red Rabbit bar, followed by casual bites from a funky street food truck, buffets at Dimorà restaurant or posh multi-course dinners served on the sands. There’s also a private dog-friendly beach, a heated pool and two golf courses a few minutes’ drive away. Complimentary bikes are provided to pootle along hillside paths to Medieval villages, and there are spots where you can go horse riding (the area’s famed for it), sailing, scuba diving and kite surfing nearby.
Rates from £86 per room per night based on 2 sharing
Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa, Ostuni, Italy
Another interesting Italian opening is a restored palazzo rosso (red palace) in Puglia’s Ostuni, half an hour’s drive from Brindisi airport, that’s once the home of the city’s first mayor. Behind a bold red brick facade, traditional techniques have been employed to restore period frescoes and fireplaces in its 11 rooms, alongside South African sofas and French parquet flooring.
Each room is unique – some have terraces, others a balcony, and in the ritziest, a sunken bathtub. Food at Restaurant 700 comes courtesy of acclaimed chef Paulo Airaudo, while innovative drinks are served up by Salvatore Vita.
Ostuni’s main square is five minutes away, and there’s a citrus grove and pool to retreat to after days spent on a motorbike tour, wine tasting or at sister beach club P-Beach in Specchiolla.
Rooms from £250 based on two sharing on a B&B basis
Kwessi Dunes, Namibia, Africa
The latest opening from safari experts Natural Selection – which has five other Namibian properties including remote Hoanib Valley Camp and kooky Shipwreck Lodge – sits inside the protected desert wilderness of the 215,000-hectare NamibRand Reserve.
The brand – which donates 1.5 per cent of turnover to local conservation projects and are known for their small-scale, stylish projects – stay true to form with just 12 low-impact thatch and canvas suites, decked out with vintage four poster beds, map-inspired feature walls and al-fresco showers.
The masterstroke? Each has a “stargazer” room so that adventurous travellers can admire the night sky (the area’s a Dark Sky Reserve) as they drift off. Activities include nature drives to spot gemsbok, bat-eared foxes and curious “fairy circles”, as well as day trips to Sossusvlei’s impressive sand dunes.
Rooms from £460 per person per night pn on a full board basis including safari activities
Locke at Broken Wharf, London
It’s a bumper month for new aparthotels in London. First up is Locke’s new 113-room property on the north bank close to Millennium Bridge; expect excellent views of Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe. Rooms, designed by Matthew Grzywinski of Grzywinski+Pons, feature high-spec kitchens, natural and pastel tones, marble worktops, smoked glass and polished copper details. If you don’t fancy cooking, there’s the NYC-style Deli Cat & Sons for bagels and salads, as well as a bar, co-working space and roster of arts and fitness events.
Over at Whitechapel’s 189-room The Gate, artwork has been curated by Maddox Gallery, and includes a Banksy piece in the lobby. Rooms have Hypnos beds, mid-century European furniture and Le Labo amenities, and there’s a gym with Peloton bikes.
In Camden’s Hawley Wharf, the co-working whizzes at LABS Collective have opened their first property, STAY: 169 serviced apartments designed by Yaara Gooner, close to Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill.
Rooms at Locke at Broken Wharf from £135
Rooms at The Gate from £100
Rooms at STAY from £145
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