COURTESY OF CASA BONAY
BY FIEL ESTRELLA
From a brick-paved artists’ refuge in Brooklyn to a laid-back summer sanctuary in Barcelona, these hotels readily become second homes thanks to artisanal furniture, contemporary art pieces, and their proud championing of local culture.
MATTHEW WILLIAMS/COURTESY OF THE WYTHE HOTEL
Located in a 117-year-old brick-lined factory building in Williamsburg, the Wythe Hotel proudly calls itself “the original Brooklyn Hotel,” sharing with its guests the vibrant and creative spirit of its colorful borough through good eats, a warm community, and genuine experiences of local culture.
Inside the cozy rooms, you’ll find gorgeous skyline views of the city through windows spanning the lengths of the walls, and roomier lofts allow access to living areas and their own interior staircase leading to a private outdoor terrace. With locally made furniture (the beds in particular are made of reclaimed pine), commissioned art pieces from artists Duke Riley, ESPO, and Tom Fruin, and one-of-a-kind wallpapers, the accommodations have a minimalist feel with an extra kick of vintage Americana. The spaces are unassuming, but full of character, making the Wythe Hotel a perfect place for artists and solo travelers.
The hotel frequently hosts and organizes events such as Pride celebrations with local drag queens (some of whom have been on RuPaul’s Drag Race) and tours around Williamsburg. Don’t forget to have brunch at Reynard, the Wythe’s American eatery that makes use of fresh seasonal produce, and call it a day with sunset cocktails at rooftop bar The Ides—it’s almost like living out the best parts of your favorite Brooklyn-set sitcoms and dramas, only more authentic.
COURTESY OF KATAMAMA
Combining modern architecture and traditional materials—in this case 1.5 million hand-pressed bricks used for holy temples around Indonesia—the facade of the Katamama, the work Indonesian architect Andra Matin, is an immediate signifier of the hotel’s identity, rooted in Balinese craftsmanship and sustainable living, deftly balancing cutting-edge design with homages to its island heritage.
Make the most of your stay in luxurious rooms and rooftop suites with their own private gardens and pool decks, boasting beautiful Indian Ocean views to complement the contemporary Indonesian artwork on the walls. Locally sourced amenities include midcentury-modern furniture, hand-dyed indigo kimonos, and hand-woven textiles. Inside the closets, you’ll find hats as well as Anjat baskets, woven by hand by the Dayak tribe and converted into beach-ready backpacks.
As a guest, you’ll be treated to exclusively entry to the Potato Head Beach Club, the ocean-facing amphitheater that’s home to an infinity pool, bar and restaurants, and even the occasional music festival. Take social drinking to the next level at Akademi, the Katamama’s center of mixology, or get your caffeine fix at One Fifteenth Coffee. There’s also Kaum, an upscale eatery with the best Indonesian dishes. And if you get bored of the rest and relaxation, there’s no shortage of activities at the Katamama that can foster self-growth and teach you about the culture: surfing lessons, tours and treks to local spots, visits with artisans, woodcarving workshops, and classes on mepantigan, a form of Balinese mud wrestling with elements of dance.
COURTESY OF THE UPPER HOUSE HONG KONG
Designed by architect Andre Fu to evoke calm, comfort, and intimacy, the Upper House has a friendly, no-nonsense approach to welcoming and taking care of guests (BMW driving services, anyone?).
The interior design combines the cosmopolitan sophistication of Hong Kong with subtle natural elements, aided by bespoke furniture and original Asian art and sculptures. Each room has a Maxi Bar with complimentary drinks (including soda, juice, water, coffee, tea, and liquor) and snacks. The penthouses have the added luxury of panorama views of the harbor and the island.
Check out Cafe Gray Deluxe for modern European dishes from Chef Gray Kunz, made from organic and seasonal ingredients and fusing European, Asian, and American cuisines. The sky-high Cafe Gray Bar, meanwhile, is great for intimate conversation and socializing, letting you cap off the night while observing the city below. For something more akin to a secret garden party or a picnic, head to The Lawn, a secluded green space on the sixth level.
While exploring Hong Kong might be at the top of your to-do list, the Upper House has facilities for getting active and keeping fit even when you just want to stay in, including a full-service gym and yoga classes. You may also opt to rent one of the house bikes to get around—it’s the best way to feel like a local.
COURTESY OF CASA BONAY
Get a true neighborhood feel of Barcelona at Casa Bonay, a collaboration between local young creatives in different fields, including artists, designers, artisans, and chefs, who all share a love of food, sunny weather, good company, and dancing. The hotel is housed in a restored 19th Century neoclassical building with preserved antique hydraulic-tile floors, ceilings, and sliding doors, and it’s situated near local markets, parks, and beaches. The interior design is distinctly Mediterranean, with plants everywhere complementing the subtle earthy and summery tones of the walls and furniture, playing off solid colors and different textures.
Casa Bonay offers a variety of rooms, all of which are pet friendly, with high ceilings, access to natural light, views of the streets, select magazines, and full yoga kits. Select rooms also have private terraces with outdoor showers and hammocks—an ideal example of Spain’s laid-back, siesta culture and energetic street life—as well as sundecks and balconies for sitting out with drinks and having idle or meaningful conversation.
On the rooftop, there’s an exclusive space for clients with an orchard and some sunbeds, and it also holds Chiringuito, the beach shack-style restaurant that serves summer barbecue, tapas, and cocktails. Start the day’s adventure at Satan’s Coffee Corner, home of ironically heavenly breakfast and baked goods, or taste some Southeast Asian flavors like curry and tom yum at Elephant, Crocodile, Monkey. If you’re a night owl, the 24/7 Libertine Lounge has a do-as-you-please attitude (and good tapas and drinks) that will take you back to when everything was simple and easy to dance away.