WELCOME TO THE COLLECTIVE: JAN 2016
After a debauched December spent popping corks (and nursing the subsequent hangovers), we’re back for 2016 with our game face on. With just a few months remaining until travel’s most contemporary elements reassemble in Miami, it’s time to check in on who’s joined the collective this month, with a closer look at three properties that are all putting their own spin on a storied past…
NAME: Mercer Hotel
LOCATION: Barcelona, Spain
CAUSE: Embedding a little contemporary chic (literally) into historic city walls
Time for some serious Mediterranean fantasy fulfilment courtesy of the 28-room Mercer Hotel Barcelona, which epitomises a singular Spanish flair in both design and attitude. Situated down a narrow passageway in the Gothic quarter of the city and on the site of an ancient defence tower, the hotel uses an innovative, symbiotic architectural scheme that seamlessly melds a modern sensibility with original Roman fortifications and medieval arches. The vibe is relaxed and intimate, with a decked rooftop garden and plunge pool providing the ideal spot to dip out of the busy Barcelona streets. When the sun goes down, the cocktail lounge, tapas bar and restaurant mean you don’t have to leave the hotel’s stone walls to enjoy some Mediterranean flavour – and welcome touches like the free minibar and Molton Brown toiletries mean you don’t even have to leave your room…
NAME: Grand Ferdinand
LOCATION: Vienna, Austria
CAUSE: Recapturing Viennese grandeur for the 21st century
In explaining the motivation behind the launch of the Grand Ferdinand, fourth-generation hotelier Florian Weitzer comments, “The Viennese have always had exceptionally high standards. Second-best has never been good enough. So nothing seemed more logical to me than to create something grand as the fundamental attitude behind the Grand Ferdinand”. Thus inspired by a landmarked building dating from the 1950s and a passionate drive to celebrate beauty, Weitzer has created a curious character that mixes the glamour of the past with the inclusiveness of the modern era. All the hallmarks of eras gone by are present: silverware, champagne, chandeliers and Viennese cuisine, including intriguing-sounding dishes like Emperor’s soup or violet ice cream. Guests can also hire a vintage 1964 Jaguar or Maserati to slide through the city streets in. However, alongside the grandeur and 3000-Euro-per-night suites, there’s also an option for guests to book into the Orient Express-inspired dorm beds via Airbnb at just 30 Euros per night. The hotel opened in October 2015, with NY and London offshoots set to follow soon.
NAME: Hotel Zoo
LOCATION: Berlin, Germany
CAUSE: Injecting some animal spirit into an old gem
Built in 1891 as a family’s private residence before being converted to a hotel in 1911, the Hotel Zoo was once renowned as one of Berlin’s glitziest hangouts, becoming the VIP hotel of the International Film Festival in the 1950s and hosting several of the brightest stars of the era. The recent renovation has sought to restore some of this glamour, with designer Dayna Lee borrowing some New York sass and London townhouse elements to enhance its glittering history. Oh, and there’s animals – lots of animals…from Diane von Furstenberg’s lizards leading the way to the front desk, to leather hippos and topiary giraffes scattered throughout. One of the property’s highlights is undoubtedly its ‘living room’, with towering glass walls looking out to the city beyond.