Ahh the joy of hotel living: brew yourself a nice cuppa, flick through the paid blue movies – and all whilst your Corby Trouser Press is doing its business on your Marks & Spencers suit. Then it’s off to the bar/diner for a chicken tikka masala and a pint of Carling. Bliss. Think again suckers – check out, the 1970s want their mahogany back, leave your Filofax at reception and order a cab… we’re towing your Mondeo away as we speak.
In case any of those largely British stereotypes are leaving our international readers scratching their heads, allow me to elaborate: the staid face of the hotel industry is being left behind, and even the traditional business hotel is getting a 21st century makeover. However, we’re more interested in establishments at the bleeding-edge of the travel industry – those places that offer more than just a bed and a tea and coffee making kit, the hotels that dare to be different, and are all the better for it.
In 2012 we featured countless design-conscious stopovers, but the ones that we’re hoping will shape 2013’s travel experiences are those that left the mould firmly in the last century. Art, design and architecture continued to filter into contemporary hotel life: Au Vieux Panier‘s collaboration with street artist Tilt, Athens’ NEW Hotel with its design entirely overseen by The Campana Brothers, Dutch design giant Droog putting a one-bedroom hotel in their Amsterdam complex and Erwin Wurm’s diving speedboat at Vienna’s Hotel Daniel… even fashion got in on the act, with Amsterdam Fashion Institute students literally dressing rooms at Hotel The Exchange.
It’s not just the aesthetics of hotels that were changing in 2012 though – the overall travel experience is on the shift. Hip hostels continued to dominate our attention as design-savvy travellers increasingly consider budget as a major factory, brave and bold one-offs like A Room for London wowed, and home-from-homes like Detroit’s Honor & Folly offered a more personable encounter, with the owner’s local knowledge playing a key role. Plus One Berlin even go as far as allowing you to choose a personal tour guide, who will accompany your stay, at the time of booking.
Elaborate installations, inspirational amenities, personal touches and far-out locations – we’re looking to 2013 to inspire us even further, as experience increasingly becomes the essential weapon in any accommodation’s arsenal.