Seven buzzy new city escapes
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
Old-school elegance on Rhode Island
Gardiner House, in Newport, Rhode Island, is a passion project five years in the making by locals Howard Cushing and Wirt Blaffer. Cushing’s grandfather, Howard Gardiner Cushing – the celebrated American impressionist painter whose work hangs in the Whitney in New York – provided inspiration, as did the whimsical decor of The Ledges, the family home overlooking Bailey’s Beach (Cushing and Blaffer had the ornate landscape mural that graces its grand entrance hall reproduced in the hotel’s foyer).
The new building, just off Thames Street and overlooking the International Yacht Restoration School, fits in seamlessly with the rest of the 18th- and 19th-century waterfront; it has a bar, Studio Bar, that all but commands you to put on your navy J Press blazer and order a Dark and Stormy; and 21 rooms and suites that toe perfectly the old-money elegance of the seaside mansions for which Newport is famous: a bit of chintz, a bit of chinoiserie, some rattan, not too much swag, tons of Atlantic light. gardinerhouse.com, from $725
Anglo-Swedish flair in Paris’s Eighth
Swedish-born, London-based interior designer Beata Heuman has earned her following by deftly blending Scandinavian ease and English quirkiness, both in her interiors (which harness adventurous but nicely judged palettes) and in her product lines. It was probably only a matter of time before Touriste – the independent collection of Paris hotels that has already worked with Chloé Nègre, Dorothée Meilichzon and FT Weekend contributor Luke Edward Hall – approached her to collaborate. Hôtel de la Boétie opened last month on Rue la Boétie, a block and a half off the Champs-Élysées in the 8th arrondissement – a very tony address, where the hotel’s excellent value (rates start at €250) marks it out as unusual. In the 38 guest rooms and ground-level meeting room and lounge, cosy spaces are made to seem more voluminous with light timber floors, simple joinery painted white or in jewel tones, and rosy-neutral plaster or hessian walls. The art, the tapestries enlisted as headboards, the clever sculptural sconces: all are quintessential Heuman. hoteldelaboetie.com, from €250
Mandarin Oriental lands in Mayfair
The biggest news in London this autumn is on Hanover Square, where Mandarin Oriental will soon inaugurate its second address in the city. The Mandarin Oriental Mayfair couldn’t be more different to M-O’s Hyde Park flagship, with its concrete and steel façade by RSHP, they of the City of London’s 122 Leadenhall (aka the Cheesegrater), and interiors by Tokyo-based design studio Curiosity.
The 50 rooms and suites mix delicacy – pretty rug designs in ice-cream shades on white, whimsical flouncy chandeliers – and clubby style, with a lot of marble. Akira Back, the globetrotting Korean-born, Colorado-raised chef, oversees the bars and restaurants, most notably his eponymous Japanese-Korean fine dining. The subterranean spa (M-O majors in spa, so you can bet on it being good) has a 25m pool, other vitality-water therapies and treatment rooms with the full gamut of face and body care on offer. mandarinoriental.com, from £925
Down on the Sloane range
Small is beautiful in London this autumn, it seems, with a clutch of independent and original new hotels opening across town. First out of the gate in September was One Sloane, the maiden UK foray from Parisian hotelier Jean-Louis Costes and François-Joseph Graf, the maître of sumptuous interiors (and one of the most revered talents in the architecture-design world). Over a six-year renovation, the mansion at 1 Sloane Place was completely overhauled (though the Edwin Thomas Hall-designed building’s façade remains unchanged); a sixth floor, complete with cupola, was added, which now houses the hotel’s restaurant – inspired, Graf says, by Whistler’s 1876 Peacock Room. Homages to Victorian and arts-and-crafts design are everywhere; stained glass, trompe l’oeil, gleaming wood panelling and mouldings, Benson lamps, neoclassical vases, antiques and replicas of period furnishings, and dozens of Graf’s original rug, wallpaper and textile designs: it’s a lot, in the best possible way. The speakeasy-style lounge has a resident DJ, its own entrance on Holbein Place, and the feel about it of an already-made destination. onesloane.co.uk, from £600
Soho goes disco dazzle
Broadwick Soho – which opens next month at 20 Broadwick Street, in the heart of London – will have 57 rooms and suites designed by that darling of hotel interiors Martin Brudnizki. Dear Jackie and Bar Jackie, its Italian-inflected restaurant and boîte, will be open to the public, while a second dining lounge is for residents only. But Flute, the rooftop restaurant, will probably be the table to get.
Brudnizki and the owner, Noel Hayden – who grew up in his family’s Bournemouth hotel – wanted to channel Soho in all its louche glory: the plush velvets mix amiably with the disco dazzle; soft colours and natural materials are layered in the bedrooms; cork walls, mirrored ceilings and animal prints take over upstairs. broadwicksoho.com, from £595
Chewton Glen and Cliveden hit Chelsea
A few blocks away from One Sloane in Cadogan Gardens, the old Draycott Hotel has been reinvented as The Chelsea Townhouse by the team behind Chewton Glen and Cliveden House – and 11 Cadogan Gardens, just down the way (to whose fitness centre and personal trainers guests of Chelsea Townhouse have access). The three adjacent Queen Anne townhouses hold 36 rooms, running the gamut from cosy singles to small apartment-like suites (send your provision list ahead and they’ll stock the kitchenettes); each comes with a key to the gardens. The design could fairly be characterised as the anti-One Sloane: neutral, clean, understated. thechelseatownhouse.com, from £499
Plenty of Rooms in Batumi
Rooms Hotels have become the go-to stay in Georgia thanks to the original and thoughtful ways they showcase the various faces of contemporary life in the Caucasian destination, from art to performance to music (DJs from around the world come to perform in Tbilisi, and when they do, Rooms is most likely where they’re crashing). The fourth Rooms property has just soft-opened in Batumi on the Black Sea coast: its 120 rooms are complemented by a rooftop bar-restaurant (with a swimming pool for good measure); there is another, smaller, eatery and bar at ground level, as well as a fitness centre. Batumi has beaches, promenade cafés and a weirdly wonderful mix of architecture to admire, and an old town with some beautifully intact art deco mansions dating from the time of the city’s prominence on the Caspian oil route. (But if you’re only there to dance, Rooms has your back.) roomshotels.com, from €118