4 -min. read

If you’ve got it, flaunt it: making a dramatic entrance on to the collective’s playground are four rebels who are here to school the industry in cool, quirky ways to surprise the ‘been-there-got-the-t-shirt’ traveller.

NAME: Village Castigno by Chateau Castigno

LOCATION: Assignan, France

CAUSE: Making their mark on rural France with a hankering for the outrageous.

Village Castigno Wine Tapas & Bar – via XO Private
Village Castigno Wine Tapas & Bar – via XO Private

Any traveller who’s clued up on the character of a typical French village will tell you to expect something understated and quaint from a rustic retreat in the south of France… Any traveller, that is, who hasn’t paid a visit to Village Castigno. Touches like the wonderfully garish red- and purple-painted rooms add an unexpected dash of flamboyancy to the chateau’s rural French offerings. Even a simple stroll in the grounds won’t fail to bring the element of surprise: amidst enjoying the characteristically French aromas from the vineyards, you won’t be able to resist a good gawk at the giant red statues of dogs and Balinese gods.

The activities on offer at Village Castigno are just as bemusing and bonkers as the décor: prepare to scooter your way around the village… Or ride in a horse-drawn carriage. If that’s too conspicuous, you could always cruise along in an old 2CV (bright red, of course – no need to be too subtle ;)) and enjoy fine dining with an immaculately presented picnic, complete with a turntable playing your tunes. Have these guys gone to town, or what?


NAME: Ambassador Chicago


CAUSE: Allowing guests to walk in the footsteps of legends… And all that ‘20s jazz.

Journal Hotels’ recent rebranding of Chicago’s first-ever boutique hotel brings back old-school charm and Chicago’s Jazz Age to a contemporary stay in the Windy City. Far from yet another meaningless display of luxury that’s indistinguishable from your last ‘bespoke’ hotel experience, the cool cats at Ambassador Chicago keeps the experience traveller engaged by embracing the decade of the hotel’s inception: the ‘20s. Experience the era of sneaky hip flasks and flapper-glamour in a modern setting with touches of ‘20s décor, such as crafted glass doorknobs, ornate crown mouldings, original mail chutes and crystal chandeliers.

Historic fireplace in living room at Ambassador Chicago
Historic fireplace in living room at Ambassador Chicago – via Jetsetter

The hotel’s pizzazz has also attracted quite the array of twentieth and twenty-first century film and music legends over the years – even the most savvy of travellers will not be able to contain their glee at the idea of rubbing shoulders with the living memories of Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe and David Bowie…

Ambassador Chicago loby – via Jetsetter
Ambassador Chicago loby – via Jetsetter



NAME: Only YOU Hotels

LOCATION: Madrid, Spain

CAUSE: Pulling out all the stops to create a service that’s 100-per-cent-tailored to their guest.

Only YOU Atocha – via The Telegraph

Only YOU’s two hotels – Only YOU Boutique and Only YOU Atocha – are planted along the buzzing streets of Madrid, and pride themselves on stellar customer service. Both offer traditional, urban havens designed to leave a dazzling impression on experienced travellers. One a beautiful renovated nineteenth-century palace and the other a mansion, both are all about the detail: find all you could possibly want from your experience with amenities such as Nordic goose-feather duvets, soothing rain showers, high-tech sound systems and LCD smart TVs. The hotels’ interiors, designed by Barcelona-based Lázaro Rosa Violán, stop you in your tracks, yet avoid being overly formal and intimidating: expect art-deco flooring, uniquely shaped bookcases and mismatched chairs that bring fun and personality to an Only YOU stay, no stiffness attached.

The homely, personal experience doesn’t stop when you venture out on to the streets of Madrid – the Only YOU staff can give you an extensive low-down on the city and hook you up with off-the-beaten-track eateries, bars and activities that you’d never be able to find in your guide book.






CAUSE: Flying the flag for experience as the new luxury.

MADE Hotel – courtesy of MADE Hotel
MADE Hotel

Located in the infamous NoMad district, MADE Hotel has turned the word ‘luxury’ on its head. These guys know full well that yet another ostentatious display of extravagance will do little to woo the contemporary hotel buff – so they’ve chosen to revolve their narrative around luxury as an experience to seduce the new, globally minded traveller. The beautiful, yet utilitarian design transports guests out of New York and into a world that revels in human expression: the tones of walnut and ash wood warm; the navy softens; the stripes and zigzag patterns intrigue; and the gold accents draw the eye.

MADE Hotel – photos are courtesy of MADE Hotel
MADE Hotel – photos are courtesy of MADE Hotel

We’d be doing MADE a disservice not to mention the food. Amongst their rooftop tiki bar and coffee spot, the hotel’s showstopper is Ferris, a restaurant led by risk-taker chef Greg Proechel, which wows the bored foodie with an offbeat dining experience. Die and go to heaven with a plate of their octopus with egg custard, confit potato and pedro ximinez (and don’t turn your nose up at the custard part before you’ve tried it – trust us).



John Segar

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