Hotel Amsterdam Zaandam in the suburb of Amsterdam, the Netherlands is a whimsical real life gingerbread house. The concrete building with a quirky façade of irregularly stacked Dutch wooden houses is the work of WAM architecten. The traditional houses in bright green and blue speaks the architectural language of the region. This 160-room hotel has individually designed guest rooms which refer to typical products from the Zaan region.
The Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea has a bizarre history and is a symbol of the extravagance of the totalitarian state. The 105-storey pyramid-shaped hotel began construction in 1987 with planned completion in 1989. After several delays, work was halted in 1992 when the building had reached its full height.
Without windows, fixtures or interior fittings, the building sat unfinished for the next 16 years due to a lack of funds, concerns for its structural integrity, and amid food shortages in North Korea. For years, the North Korean government didn’t even want to acknowledge its existence despite its looming presence.
The Posada de Mike Rapu lodge at explora en Rapa Nui on Easter Island, Chile is a remote paradise on a hilltop. Architect José Cruz Ovalle designed the structure to have minimal impact on its natural surroundings, which was the first in South America to obtain LEED certification. The intimate interiors offer expansive ocean views and integrate aspects of the local culture. Travellers can enjoy the beauty and tranquility of this mysterious destination while using the lodge as a base to explore the famous Moai carved-stone statues, whose origins remain a mystery today.
Mamilla Hotel is an intimate and elegant sanctuary with views of the Old City Walls in the heart of Jerusalem, Israel. The exterior architecture by Moshe Safdie uses Jerusalem Stone as required by municipal law to maintain the aesthetic traditions of the city. With nearby Alrov Mamilla Avenue and historic buildings, the hotel rises out of the network of alleys which connect the old walled city and the new Jerusalem. The interior design by Piero Lissoni is retro-modern which blends in seamlessly with Safdie’s modern classic architecture.
Amangiri is located in the dramatic landscape of Canyon Point, Utah in the region known as the Four Corners where the states of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona meet. This stunning resort hotel with deep canyons and towering plateaus in the backdrop occupies 600 acres of land in a valley near the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument. From the Pavilion at the centre of the resort, one can enjoy sweeping views of colourful rock formations. The interior design of the rooms uses white stone floors and concrete walls to echo the natural stone in the area. There is a rustic softness of light colour palette that blends in with the surrounding environment.
At 12,000 feet above sea level, the St. Regis Lhasa Resort in Lhasa, Tibet is one of the highest luxury hotels in the world. Inspired by the nearby Sera Monastery, the eight-acre resort hotel designed by Denniston International Architects combines the traditional Tibetan architectural elements with modern luxury. The hotel faces the stunning Potala Palace with views of the Himalayas and Lhasa Valley. The exterior of the buildings with stone walls and dark shale pagoda-style roofs pay homage to the ancient Buddhist culture. The interiors showcase works of art from local and international artists such as the six-panel painting in the lobby by Christian de Laubadère. The Iridium Spa has an ornate gold-tiled pool with artwork of a black and white Sea Serpent. Sustainable features such as solar panels and an underground water recycling system were also incorporated into the hotel design.
Marina Bay Sands in Singapore is an integrated resort with three 55-storey towers capped by a boat-shaped 340 meters long SkyPark with a 150 meters infinity swimming pool. This impressive resort developed by Las Vegas Sands and designed by Moshe Safdie Architects cost approximately S$8 billion (over US$6 billion) to build. The 16-hectre resort combines a casino, 2,560 rooms, two theatres, a shopping mall, restaurants, a Museum of ArtScience and world class convention facilities. The project’s foreground — composed of the ArtScience Museum, an outdoor event plaza along the promenade and the grand arcade — serves as a base from which the hotel towers rise.
Saffire Freycinet is a stunning new resort located on the Freycinet Peninsula in Tasmania, Australia. This boutique hotel overlooks Great Oyster Bay, and close-by is the internationally acclaimed Wineglass Bay. The resort’s interesting architecture was designed by Morris Nunn and Associates. The building’s roof line resembles the Hazards Mountains in the background and the suites below are like waves peeling on the shores. The simple contemporary interior design by Chhada Siembieda (CHADA) harmonizes with the pristine environment. The use of timber and stone creates a seamless feel between the inside and outside.