1. Hotel Bocage, Thailand
Located in the seaside holiday town of Hua Hin, less than three hours from Bangkok, this six-room minimalist hotel was dreamed up by acclaimed Thai architect Duangrit Bunnag, also behind some of Thailand’s most dramatic resorts and Bangkok’s creative and lifestyle space, Jam Factory. Hotel Bocage is an unobtrusive cement-and-glass structure and its rooms bear a predominantly white and grey colour palette and an open-plan concept. Every corner oozes a sense of quiet luxury, from the sleek sofas by Living Divani to the free-standing bathtubs by Antonio Lupi. Located in Seenspace, an equally sleek shopping mall, the hotel offers a dose of minimalism not often associated with vibrant Hua Hin.
2. Nobu Hotel Shoreditch, United Kingdom
Since opening its doors in July 2017, the London outpost of the Nobu Hotel collection has been offering a restful reprieve from Shoreditch’s frenetic energy.
On the outside, the hotel cuts an imposing figure, with exposed beams jutting out from its glass, concrete and steel exterior. But on the inside, it offers a sense of serenity. Muted hues and strong Japanese accents, from the wooden slats over the windows to the tea sets, make the rooms the perfect place to rest and relax.
3. Muji Hotel, China
Japanese homeware brand Muji expanded into hospitality with the opening of its first hotel in Shenzhen in January 2018, followed by a second in Beijing a few months later. Both hotels are fine examples of the brand’s pared-down, clean aesthetics, with the rooms featuring natural tones in everything from the wooden furniture to the amenities and products (which come from their homeware line). Other cool perks in the Beijing outlet include a 24-hour utility room (to do your laundry) and an expansive library of over 8,000 books. The hotel also encourages visitors to explore the area with free bikes.
4. Hotel Koé Tokyo, Japan
Located in the bustling Shibuya district, the hotel opened in February 2018 and is part of the Koé lifestyle brand, which aims to be counter-cultural in its approach to fashion, food and experiences. The 10 rooms occupy the third floor of the three-storey building and are inspired by tea ceremony rooms in traditional Japanese culture. Bathed in calming grey hues, they are also sparsely furnished with modest, unpretentious fixtures. Head down to the Koé lobby on the first floor for sustenance, shop the brand’s lifestyle goods and apparel on the second floor and keep a look out for cool DJ sets and art events.
5. Amanyangyun, China
While Muji brought affordable minimalism to Shenzhen and Beijing, over on the outskirts of Shanghai, the Amanyangyun offered understated luxury when it opened in early 2018. The best of traditional Chinese architecture gets a minimalist slant courtesy of the late architect Kerry Hill. The sprawling hotel space, which was a 16-year labour of love involving the relocation of 10,000 camphor trees and 50 Ming and Qing-era homes from Fuzhou, features elegant courtyard suites and massive pavilions all kitted out in woody, earthy tones, cool stone furnishings and sliding paneled doors. Learn about Chinese crafts in the hotel’s cultural centre or take a gander through the adjoining forest park.
6. Form Hotel Dubai, United Arab Emirates
2018 was a busy year for minimalist hotels. Over in Dubai, this independent hotel opened with a striking, minimalist façade comprising blocky, irregularly placed glass windows against a stark white finish. Upon booking, guests can customise their stay, adding services and experiences such as a private yoga session, a curated art tour and a heritage safari tour. Bespoke furniture fills the entire space, while the art includes specially commissioned images by acclaimed travel photographer Nina Dietzel. The rooms, meanwhile, are awash with clean lines and furnishings that are both functional and pleasing to the eye.
7. Sister City, United States
Taking inspiration from Finnish saunas, Japanese bento boxes, prehistoric cliff dwellings and avant-garde composer John Cage’s 4’33” (a near silent piece of music that encourages listeners to take in the sound of the environment), this 200-room hotel opens in New York City this spring but is already taking reservations. The design ethos here focuses on essentialism, or the pursuit of “less, but better”. All-day dining restaurant Floret will serve inventive flavours and cocktails focusing on fresh fruits and vegetables.
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