As much as I love looking at hotels, I sometimes get bored of them. And that’s okay because with sites like Airbnb there are a lot of other options. The Casa Cardenas in Merida, Mexico a great choice if you are looking for somewhere to stay in the Yucatan. Er, make that you and a large crowd.
This five bedroom home is the brainchild of two Aussie-turned-New Yorkers who also happen to be travel writers. They were looking for a vacation home that was close enough to use regularly. They bought a run down home in Merida and over the course of year transformed it into a quirky and cool vacation home.
Working with a Mayan construction crew, the couple redesigned the home by gutting one third of the existing home and adding an extra storey. 4,000 square feet include four bedrooms and a casita, meaning there is plenty of space to spread out. A rooftop terrace, screening room and backyard with a glassed-in pool and firepit are a few luxury features.
But as lovely as that all is, the tongue-in-cheek details like a bust of a former Mexican president, lines of piggy banks in the kitchen and large letters spelling name of a Mexican boy band that add the real interest. Minimalism with a sense of humour? Yes please.
One night stays from $300.
I’m daydreaming of Marrakech on this rainy summer day. Morocco is definitely on my bucket list and if I’m going to daydream, then why not dream high end? The Selman Marrakech seems like a wonderful choice for a daydream.
The hotel opened in The red brick exterior belies the interior design, handled by architect Jacques Garcia, that displays that distinctive French flair.The lobby sets the tone with an eclectic mix: a marble table from Versace’s home mixes with a Tiffany lamp and a grand Turkish chandelier. Traditional archways and mosaic columns give the place a serene and regal vibe.
The sprawling property offers 56 guest rooms and five roomy riads. Antique carpets mix with Napoleon III-inspired chairs and ebony plasterwork. The hotel is unified by a gray and silver color scheme but each room offers a bright burst of color. Zellige-style bathrooms are minimalist and beautifully contrasted by gleaming chrome fixtures.
The spectacular Olympic pool – the longest in Marrakech – is the biggest draw here. The pool is surrounded by luxury four-poster daybeds and towering palms. Surprisingly, the hotel also has a stable of 16 Arabian show ponies. Owner Abdeslam Bennani Smires is a proud rider and offers some of his private stable up to guests. After your ride, luxuriate the numerous treatments available in the Henri Chenot spa.
B.P 24 530 Marrakech Atlas
Km 5, Route d’Amizmiz
Marrakech 40160, Morocco
Rooms from $450.
It seems kind of strange that NYC and London got outposts of the Ace Hotel before LA but I suppose the Ace team was just waiting for the perfect opportunity to come along. Lucky for everyone, it finally did. The Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles is fresh off the presses having opened only a few weeks ago in the once famous United Artists theater, a gorgeous Spanish Gothic-style building from 1927.
Sticking close to its hipster roots, the 182 rooms and 16 suites are outfitted with everything artisinal and hip. Local conspirators Commune Design handled the interior design as well as the custom furniture fabrication. Rooms are as utilitarian as you would expect from the Ace but include Revo Radios, free internet and Rudy’s toiletries. Suites are a great choice for longstays and include gorgeous marble and brass wet bars that are equipped with mix, booze and fresh citrus in the fridge. So smart.
This hotel explores a new musical theme for the chain – a dream of the late Ace Hotel Group founder Alex Calderwood. Ace x Rega RP1 turntables and a curated collection of vinyl records can be found in each space. Select suites also include a Martin acoustic guitar and a ceiling spotlight to encourage impromptu performances.
Next door to the hotel, the United Artist’s marquis theater has been transformed into a lush performance space brimming with ornate period details. Each of the 1,600 seats has been reclaimed and reupholstered while a new Art-Deco inspired ticket booth (turned daytime newstand) greets visitors at the entrance.
LA Chapter, the onsite restaurant, is helmed by chef Ken Addington and serves cuisine that is local, organic and modern (so fitting for LA). For more casual fare, a coffee bar that features Stumptown coffee is available in the lobby. The mostly concrete rooftop bar and pool area was developed to look like Donald Judd’s pool in Marfa and includes a lighting installation by Michael Schmidt.
Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles
929 South Broadway
Rooms from $199 a night.
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