TRAVEL Archives - The General Aesthete

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Ion Hotel

Outside of Reykjavik, very close to the Unesco World Heritage Site Thingvellir National Park, sits Iceland’s Ion Hotel. Billing itself as an “adventure hotel” the Ion’s location makes it perfect for exploring Iceland’s otherworldly geography, with access to hot springs, glaciers, and a perfect vantage to view the Northern Lights.

Designed by Minarc, the hotel is built with a prefabricated panel system, that not only incorporates recycled materials, but is designed to maximize energy efficiency. The architecture is perfectly suited the the lava fields and stark surroundings, and its suspended-by-pillar construction is an homage to Iceland’s first settler, Ingólfr Arnarson, who, according to legend, en route to Iceland in the year 847, threw his pillars overboard and sailed to where the gods took him ashore.

Hot springs provide geothermal heating, and extensive use of natural light minimizes the need for artificial. With just 46 rooms, a restaurant, and a spa, the hotel is full-service, but with a disconnected, aligned-with-nature approach. In addition to its subdued external appearance, Minarc has thoughtfully incorporated natural materials throughout the hotel, such as recycled wood furniture, lamps made from lava and found-wood, and indigenous birch wood details; in the rooms, images of Icelandic animals stylishly and minimally serve as wall art.

An immersive position in Iceland’s visually arresting wilderness, paired with the luxuries of excellent design, local food, and hotel comforts work together to create an experience that is not only sure to encourage relaxation and health, but an exploratory admiration of nature’s wonders.

More at: Ion Hotel

Ett Hem Stockholm

Ett Hem is a 12-room hotel in Stockholm, based in an early-20th-century former private residence. The interiors were executed by designer Ilse Crawford (Studioilse), and feature a comfortable composition of antiques, mid-century design icons, and simple, decidedly Swedish luxury.

This short video by Gavin Elder explores the intention behind the space and decoration.

More at: Ett Hem

Hôtel Americano

In Manhattan, near the much-celebrated High Line park, and alongside Chelsea’s world famous collection of galleries, stands Hôtel Americano. A Grupo Habita property, it is their first in the United States, expanding a collection that includes ten acclaimed boutique hotels throughout Mexico. While Hôtel Americano encompasses a variety of international influences, its heart is in the warmth and hospitality of Latin America.

The ten-storey building, designed by architect Enrique Norten, is a glass structure encased in a metal mesh facade made from repurposed conveyer belts. This strong industrial appearance is both a nod to the neighborhood’s history and a relevant example of modern architecture. The fifty-six guest rooms and studios, designed by Parisian designer Arnaud Montigny, known for his work at famed boutique Colette, suggest something of an urban ryokan; with wooden platform beds, natural materials throughout, and warm lighting, the space is a welcome respite from the bustling city outside. Custom-crafted furnishings in company with classic mid-century designs, make for a smart and thoughtfully composed tableau.

At Hôtel Americano, design details can be found at every turn; in-room robes and staff uniforms designed by Loden Dager, Japanese Imabari washcloths, guest iPads, bento box room service, Zanotta bean bag chairs, and Joe Colombo-designed alarm clocks are just a few of the specifics that work to encourage a design dialogue between guests and the hotel’s spaces.

From the rooftop pool that converts to a winter thermal bath during the colder months, to the Manhattan-built Bowery Lane bicycles for guest jaunts around the neighborhood, Hôtel Americano is just the right size to employ this sort of detail and design-centric personality, without feeling contrived.

Not only do I recommend Hôtel Americano to travelers, but also to those that live in New York City. The hotel is certainly worth visiting: simply to admire, for a drink on the rooftop, or maybe a meal at the chic, ground-floor restaurant, The Americano.

Hôtel Americano is located at 518 West 27th Street, rates range between $325-750.

More at: Hôtel Americano