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The other week, we gave you the gossip on the G-Rough, Rome’s newest design hotel (and Design Hotel), which opened on March 23 – or rather, on its intriguing location in Piazza di Pasquino. But enough gossip; today it’s time to go inside.
Like many other Rome hotels, G-Rough started out as a house – a 16th-century palazzo, to be precise, that was a family home for generations before being converted into apartments.
Unlike many other Rome hotels, though, it has cleaved to its original function. The 10 rooms take up the space of the 10 apartments (the bathroom’s where the kitchen used to be in each apartment, for example, and the doors on each floor are intact). And instead of either tarting up the premises to “hotel standard” or meticulously degrading it to “shabby chic”, the G-Rough has stripped it back to its origins. “Rough luxe”, they like to call it, but we don’t think that quite explains it. Totally original and historically fascinating is more to the point. But no, that doesn’t sound as good.
See, this is how they designed it: G-Rough held a “demolition party” one night, and invited local designers, artists and trendy locals (the owner is a seventh-generation Roman, he knows them) to do what they wanted with the hotel. Wallpapers and paints were stripped, leaving behind only pallid traces of original color from the 1940s on the walls (each room has a different color scheme, and some mix it).
Tiled floors were left untouched (the palazzo’s protected status demands this), but ceilings had faces painted on the beams, other walls had pencil drawings done, and one even has its hallway decorated with hundreds of adhesive nail files (which probably seemed like a good idea at the demolition party, a couple of proseccos down).
As we told you before, the building originally opened as a bath house – Marcel Proust’s favorite, no less. In the 1970s, a newbie designer called Philippe Starck turned it into a nightclub, and it swiftly became the place to party in Paris. Then, it fell into disrepair, occasionally hosting artist residences. And now, it’s a hotel. Or, rather, hotel, restaurant and club, according to Paris Match. (Starck’s famous black-and-white checkered club flooring is now part of the restaurant.)
G Rough behind Pasquino
When in Rome… well, you know what to do.
But contrary to what tourist tradition might have you believe, Romans don’t toss coins in the Trevi Fountain, or idle away hours squatting on the Spanish Steps. They don’t really do Piazza Navona, either. Instead, they head for a little square just behind Piazza Navona: Piazza di Pasquino.
When the G-Rough opened in Rome on 23 March, much was made of its modern style – a completely new departure for the city, neither traditional nor modern. Nobody mentioned its location, other than the fact that it’s central. But it turns out that the G-Rough has one of the most fascinating locations in the Eternal City.
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It’s also the latest addition to the Design Hotels portfolio, and part of the Spanish Unico hotel group, which has two other hotels – one in Barcelona, one in Madrid – so you know it already has cred. Add to that that it’s the first five star hotel on the Gran Via (for reals) in an equally grand building from 1917, and it’s an appealing prospect.
Remember when a stranger stopped you on the street and asked you the time, and you looked at your wristwatch? Now, we are more likely to look at our smartphones or tablets but at least we can revisit the watch as art at a new boutique hotel in Italy. Hotel L'Orologio Venice, aka Hotel L’O, celebrates the art of fine watchmaking.
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Mindfulness – or mindful meditation – is all the rage right now and it looks set to stay that way. What better way to cash in on the trend than by opening a ‘mindful hotel’?
An eco-resort owned by fashion designed Marco Murzilli, it’s a simple place – “eremito” means “hermitage” in Italian, and the place has the ascetic feel of a monastery (it was built from scratch, but using 13th-century masonry techniques). There are just 14, pared back rooms based on monk cells – whitewashed walls, arches, no extraneous décor, sheets made of hemp, definitely no minibars. There’s no connectivity – no internet, no phone, no TV, no business center. There’s even no coupling – rooms are strictly for single occupancy. (If you're wanting to come as part of a couple, they suggest you book adjoining cells.)
A rapidly growing yet totally bespoke trend in boutique hotel design--rough lux--(it's ok to roll your eyes) will have another unique offering this March, with the opening of the all-suite G-Rough in Rome.
G-Rough, a member of Design Hotels and now by association, a Starwood property, is the sister hotel to the glam-packed PalazzinaG in Venice and the second hotel from partners Gabriele Salini and Emanuele Garosci. PalazzinaG was the Italian debut for Philippe Starck back in 2009. Had to throw that in.
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Switzerland has been concentrating so hard on their budget offerings recently that we were beginning to worry they’d forgotten all about what they do best – insanely expensive luxury properties.
The Kameha is already styling itself as your new “lieblingsplatz”, or regular haunt, in Zurich. Not sure where they reckon we hang out already, but this is a bit of an upgrade.
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If you don’t know much about Dijon other than its mustard, know that it is one of France’s most famous foodie places, with over 400 restaurants and so many listed buildings (100 hectares-worth) that it’s one of the largest culturally protected areas in the country - ie, you probably want to go. The Vertigo – which has already signed up as a Design Hotels member - is in a 1926, Haussmann-style building on Place Darcy in the center of town, near the pedestrian area.
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So many (cool-looking) hotels, so little time (to highlight them individually.) We love hearing about new hotels in the design pipeline, and lately, we've been stumbling across so many interesting projects from all corners of the hospitality world. And even though we have limited information and limited renderings, we still think it's worthwhile to highlight what's coming up. Oh, and just so you know, 2015 was like, so, yesterday. We're already looking forward to 2016 and 2017.
"High Design" and "Radisson" may not be two phrases that often go together but when you're talking about Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group's Radisson Blu and Park Inn by Radisson brands, it makes a bit more sense, especially when studying these four flashy hotels set to open in the coming years.
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Got plans for the holidays next year? YOO Hotels & Resorts do as they expand into South America with their "diffusion" lifestyle brand YOO2. The campaign kicks off in Rio de Janeiro with the opening of YOO2 Botafogo in December 2015.
This sounds like the start of something big, with a newly formed alliance between YOO Hotels & Resorts and Intercity Hotel Group, who will manage all YOO2 hotels in Brazil. We hear there are up to seven in the works, but could there be more?
Looking for a hot beachfront getaway that will knock your socks off, and quite possibly the cell phone right out of your hand? Check out Bulabog Beach on the eastern shores of Boracay, Philippines, a small and heavenly island that is gaining momentum as the next "it" beach destination. And guess which seriously stylish hotel group will open the first branded resort on the island? "YOO" guessed it, it's YOO, whose design-driven brand will debut later next year as Aqua Boracay by YOO.