Five Best: White hotels
The coolest hotels around the world, whose minimal colour schemes don't mean minimal comfort
Saturday 17 July 2004
The Hempel, London
The Hempel, London
It seems appropriate that the Hempel is a member of the Design Hotels group, since it was one of the original boutique hotels. Created by designer Anouska Hempel from a row of white Georgian townhouses, its monochromatic Asian simplicity was seen, controversially, as being too minimal for some tastes when it first opened. However, eight years on people have got used to the idea. Fresh from a revamp, the original ethos hasn't changed (it's still woundingly close to the cutting edge thanks to the addition of Wi-Fi technology and oxygen bars) but the atmosphere has been slightly softened with warmer textures like leather and linen.
The Hempel, 31-35 Craven Hill Gardens, London (020-7298 9000; www.the-hempel.co.uk). Double rooms start at £275 per night, breakfast is £15 extra per person
The Whitelaw Hotel & Lounge, Florida
Set on Miami's South Beach, the Whitelaw is self-consciously hip. Its slogan - "clean sheets, hot water, stiff drinks" - may not promise anything spectacularly original (though the stiff drinks on offer in the recently opened martini lounge are more glam than the choice at your average hotel bar). However, the shag carpets, vinyl sofas and generous use of aluminium are pulling in the party crowd. The all-white colour code touches everything from the TV to the stereos. And there's a real sense of indulgence in the free happy-hour drinks and complimentary nightclub passes.
Whitelaw Hotel & Lounge, 808 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, Florida (00 1 305 398 7000; www.whitelawhotel.com). Doubles start at $125 (£73.50), including breakfast
Hillside Su, Turkey
The Hillside Su, in the southern coastal city of Antalya, gives the bleached-out theme an Austin Powers-esque interpretation. Crisp white linen is the start of the concept here, with everything, right down to the in-room TV, a sparkling, shining or glossy white. The effect is toned down by ambient, multi-coloured lighting, but the ultra-minimal 1960s furniture and shiny disco balls will have you crying "yeah baby" before you've so much as stepped into the foyer. As you might have guessed, the emphasis at Hillside Su is firmly on fun. Hence the provision of a "maxi bar" in each room, offering toiletries, snacks and "a range of booze". Hillside Su, Konyaalti, Antalya, Turkey (00 90 242 249 0700; www.hillside.com.tr or www.designhotels.com). Doubles from $190 (£112) including breakfast
Hotel 101, Iceland
If you still think minimalism means cold and sterile this will change your mind. The ultimate in pared-down cosiness, the black-and-white decor at Hotel 101 cleverly makes the most of different textures to ensure the effect is never harsh. Rococo chairs, raging fires and shaggy rugs greet you in the lounge, while up in the bedrooms there are soft wool blankets, thick cotton sheets, embroidered lamp shades and underfloor heating. The one niggle is the expense. They may think they're providing Icelandic quirk by including DVDs of the film '101 Reykjavik' in the minibars, but the real cheek is the whopping price you'd have to pay to buy one: Isk3,500 (£30).
Hotel 101, 10 Hverfisgata, Reykjavik, Iceland (00 354 580 0101; www.101hotel.is). Doubles start at Isk26,900 (£204), without breakfast
Convent de la Missia, Mallorca
Step inside Convent de la Missio, a converted monastery in Palma's old town, and it feels like entering a real sanctuary. The hotel's pale stone floors, soft muslin drapes and stripped walls are the perfect antidote to the sticky summer heat outside. That's not to say the atmosphere is frosty. Cocoon-like furnishings, a steamy Japanese bath and a zen-style rooftop garden take the chill off the all-white and cream decoration and the overall effect is of a luxurious, peaceful retreat. It's also surprisingly child-friendly; the restaurant, in a pretty courtyard at the back of the building, even has designer high-chairs to match the sleek adult versions.
Convent de la Missio, 7a Carrer de la Missio, Palma, Mallorca (00 34 971 227347; www.conventdelamissio.com). Doubles start at €200 (£142), including breakfast
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