5 Best: fashion designers' hotels

The top style resorts designed by the biggest names in fashion
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The Independent Travel

Palazzo Versace, Australia

The Gold Coast's magnificent white beaches provided designer Donatella Versace with the ideal location for her hotel-cum-Versace-lifestyle showcase.

The glitzy complex boasts several swimming pools, a spa, restaurants and bars. Palm trees adorn the gardens while the interiors are ornate and dramatic - think Grecian columns, mosaics, marble and gigantic chandeliers. The bedrooms reek of expensive luxury and are dressed in rich fabrics, brash colours and opulent Italian furnishings, while some even have en-suite spas.

Guests can learn Tai Chi by the pool, practise yoga or join organised scenic walks. For those wishing to venture outside "Planet Versace", the lush Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves, a World Heritage International Park, are just 30 minutes away by car.

Palazzo Versace, Sea World Drive, Main Beach, Queensland, Australia (00 61 7 5509 8000; www.palazzoversace.com). Double rooms from A$340 (£139) including breakfast.

Charlton House, England

Roger and Monty Saul, founders of the Mulberry label, have brought their style vision vividly to life in this elegant country house hotel near Bath.

Charlton House is dressed top to bottom in Mulberry's signature tweeds, tartans and checks, and throughout the hotel, shades of burgundy and gold highlight eye-catching antiques.

The 17 bedrooms and suites, some with their own gardens, have romantic four-poster beds and cosy fireplaces. The Mulberry restaurant is Michelin-starred and offers over 30 wines by the glass, while Monty's spa provides pampering with handmade products. The grounds contain a trout lake and croquet lawn, and shopaholics can indulge at the nearby Mulberry factory shop, which holds a large selection of discounted goods.

Doubles start at £155, including breakfast. Charlton House, Shepton Mallet, Somerset (01749 342008; www.charltonhouse.com)

Hotelito Desconocido, Mexico

Italian fashion designer Marcello Murzilli created this luxurious eco-resort on Mexico's Pacific coast, two hours' drive from Puerto Vallarta. Hotelito Desconocido, meaning "little, unknown hotel", was built with the help of local villagers and resembles a traditional Mexican fishing village. It lies in the midst of the El Ermitano estuary, a nature reserve that is home to over 200 species of birds and wildlife. Of the 24 guest palafitos (indigenous wood, clay and thatch cabanas), 12 are on stilts bordering the estuary and the rest on a broad sandbar overlooking the Pacific. Hotelito operates on solar energy by day and sparkles with over a thousand candles by night. Its romantic bedrooms have crisp white sheets and hand made muslin mosquito nets, though floorboards are hewn from rough wood and there is no glass in the windows. The spa is open-air and guests can also choose to ride on the beach, learn yoga or simply lounge in hammocks.

Hotelito Desconocido (00 52 322 281 4010). Double rooms from US$260 (£162.50) room only. No under-12s.

The Morrison, Ireland

Since it opened in 1999, The Morrison has gained a reputation as one of Dublin's most fashionable destinations. It is little surprise, therefore, to learn that designer John Rocha is behind this stylish hotel. Right in the heart of the city, the hotel overlooks the River Liffey. The outside might be elegant Georgian townhouse but inside the interiors are sleek and contemporary. Throughout the hotel, high ceilings, dramatic staircases, white walls, stone floors and beautiful hand-crafted Irish carpets make a calming backdrop for an eclectic collection of original art and sculpture. The hotel is at its most vibrant at night, when a crowds flock to its buzzing bars and restaurant. The Morrison's bedrooms, all soothing browns and neutral tones, provide a tranquil retreat and all have state-of-the-art sound systems. Frette linen sheets and jeweled velvet throws cover the beds, while the bathrooms are elegant, with limestone floors and mosaic tiles.

The Morrisson, Ormond Quay, Dublin, Ireland (00 353 1887 2457; www.morrisonhotel.ie). Double rooms from €160 (£114) including breakfast.

Gallery Hotel Art, Italy

Owned by the Italian fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo, the Gallery Hotel Art is a modern presence in the heart of historic Florence. The hotel is set on a tiny square just steps from the Ponte Vecchio, and, as the name suggests, it doubles up as a contemporary art gallery with exhibitions all through the year. The chic bar and restaurant cater to the Florentine élite, serving "sushi fusion" food and cocktails. The rooms are an exercise in good taste, with pale walls hung with studies of Florentine monuments. Leather headboards, 200-thread sheets and soft woollen bed shawls adorn the beds. The Japanese-inspired bathrooms come with Bulgari products and kimonos. Naturally, the hotel is just moments away from the Ferragamo store.

Gallery Hotel Art, Vicolo dell'Oro 5, Florence, Italy. (00 39 055 27263; www.lungarnohotels.com). Double rooms from €275 (£196) including breakfast.

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