WELCOME TO THE COLLECTIVE: 4 HISTORICAL HOTELS WHERE THE WALLS CAN TALK
Authenticity can be hard to come by: any hotel can add exposed brickwork and vintage light fittings and claim historical influence, but the chance to sleep in a room where the walls are storied – and the décor even more so – is a little harder to find. Enter these four new additions to the LE community: from theatres and hotels to opera houses, each are former historical buildings that have been lovingly restored for a contemporary audience. Whether in Nashville or Portugal, their aesthetics are guided by fascinating historic roots and thriving city ‘hoods.
LOCATION: Nashville, TN
THE SECRET HISTORY: An impossibly sophisticated second act for Noel Place, one of Music City’s first boutique hotels.
One of America’s fastest-growing cities, an average of 100 people a day swapped sunhats for Stetsons and moved to Nashville in 2016. MAKEREADY – the secret (Southern) sauce behind Dallas’s Adolphus hotel and Savannah’s The Alida – have followed suite, transforming 1929-built Noel Place into Noelle – a reimagining that pays homage to, and celebrates, its colourful history.
For its “second act”, the hotel has been both restored (original terrazzo floors; brass hardware; gilded letterboxes) and reimagined, tapping into Nashville’s abundant creative community to forge a new narrative. Wedged between Broadway and ‘Printer’s Alley’, the nexus of Nashville’s once-thriving printing industry, this summer will see the opening of Noelle’s experiential art space, complete with a working vintage printing press.
NAME: Hotel Teatro
LOCATION: Porto, Portugal
THE SECRET HISTORY: A suitably dramatic homage to the Teatro Baquet, an iconic theatre destroyed by fire almost 150 years ago.
The Teatro Baquet was in business for less than a quarter of a century before a fire destroyed the 1859-built theatre, but the impression it left on Portuguese culture was indelible. Amateur dramatics this isn’t; architect Nini Andrade Silva has conceived an entirely faithful reimagining of the theatre in hotel form, complete with a veritable ‘box office’ – the hotel’s reception, where guests pick up ‘tickets’ to their rooms.
The entrance doors are engraved with poetry by Almeida Garret; glossy wooden seating has been carved to resemble a showreel; each lavishly decorated bedroom has thick curtains, gold sheets and opulent lighting. The show must go on.
NAME: Hotel Sanders
THE SECRET HISTORY: Restored Victorian townhouse-turned-hotel-turned-retreat with a hefty dose of Danish cool.
Hotel Sanders is steeped in history and culture from every side: simply cross the road to the Royal Danish Theatre, walk a few steps to the city’s numerous art galleries, and a few more to breathtakingly regal castles. Once inside, every detail is precise but effortless, vintage yet contemporary, right down to the theatre-curtain red of the lampshades – it’s like stepping into your own, perfectly curated living room.
Founder Alexander Kolpin is a former ballet dancer, and it shows: elegant theatrics are evident in every room of the hotel. “‘I have been telling stories all my life”, explained Kolpin. “From the first note to the closing of the curtains, it is all about the journey you take a spectator on. I think about the guest experience at Sanders in a similar way.”
NAME: The First Hotel
THE SECRET HISTORY: A nineteenth-century nobleman’s palace that moonlights as a contemporary art gallery? Only in Rome…
Rome isn’t exactly lacking in art hotspots, but it’s also a city never short of tourists, meaning prohibitive queues and obstructed views are hard to avoid. You’d certainly never be able to sleep in an art gallery, which is what makes The First Hotel so very unique.
Each of its 29 rooms is a gallery in miniature, showcasing works from emerging and established Italian artists; the experience continues as you move from room to room, where temporary and permanent exhibits meld with plentiful natural light and bold blue accents.