Corte San Pietro Hotel is an abandoned structure that was beautifully restored into a luxury hotel by architect Daniela Amoroso, located in Matera, Italy. Matera is one of the most ancient cities in the world and its territory contains the evidence of human settlements as from the Palaeolithic times.
The Sassi districts, World Heritage site, are the original urban core of the city and, based on natural caves, they have been further extended over the millenniums to be turned into even more complex structures.An intricate network of streets, alleyways, inner courtyards and neighborhoods overlooked by habitations of all sizes, ancient defensive walls, towers, warehouses, wine cellars and cisterns. A never-ending excavated and built system.
In the very heart of the Sassi district, an abandoned structure in disuse dating back to the XVII. C and which surrounds an internal courtyard has been restored and reinvented to be turned into new spaces of a 5,381 square foot (500 square meters) hotel.
Useless architectural contaminations and superfluous layers of pavement have been removed, uncovering the original tufa stonework topped with vaults: the historical structure has been laid bare, as an architectural evidence to confront and dialogue with. In this search for essence, authentic, pure space free from excess, we can recognize the Wabi spirit conceived by the Belgian Axel Vervoordt.
The historical places, full of an attractive identity, harmoniously and precisely combine to the comfort and to the refined and elegant design.
Turned into refined hotel rooms, the former habitations at the ground floor overlook an internal courtyard which, thanks to long and accurate restoration works, is characterized by an original stone pavement called “a chiancarelle”.
Enlightened with candle lights in the evening, the courtyard becomes very cozy and intimate, giving a sense of protection.
The rooms located all around the courtyard are rigorously monochromatic, characterized by chestnut brown shades, from the beige of the stone to the brown of the wood and the weathering steel. Soil, stone pavement and the natural colour of the stone become wall, ceiling and sitting.
The constant search for a connection between the various inner rooms and the landscape is the very base of this combination of local stone, wood and iron in each single room with different proportions according to a linear and essential design. Poor elements usually combined to a country style become light and modern.
The linen curtains of the entrance doors skillfully made by hand let a bright light reach the first area of each room dedicated to sitting/living area and relax whereas the following private areas carved out from the rock face, are enlightened through skylights from the vaults. These small windows, from above, allow beams of light to alternate with large dark intimate areas.
Tufa arches introduce to bathrooms, intimate and cozy spaces featured by niches and cavities now containing large stone bathtubs or showers.
The interior design is based on restored vintage furnishings and typical tools. Nature and timeworn objects perfectly suit each single room through various furnishing elements: old benches in century-old chestnut tree become either doors, shelves or tables, old wooden chairs frames become towel holders, tree logs become stools or bedside tables.
The whole hotel develop horizontally all around an area, the courtyard, characterized by slight differences of level and surrounded by five rooms, the reception hall and the breakfast room, in an ancient typical system which features the whole structure.
Under the hotel, below ground, are located eight bell-shaped cisterns, evidence of the former system for the collection of the rainwaters and excellent example of sustainability. Rainwaters were forwarded through gutters, drainpipes and channelings down to the cisterns connected to the habitations. Cisterns are visitable through narrow inner passages. Going through the changeable silence of a cave and adapting ourselves to these dark environments means to be immersed into another dimension, where it is possible to seize the deepest and ancestral meaning of these places, of this land. It is a place where to feed our souls and feel a strong well-being.
From the entrance in Via B. Buozzi, visitors are greeted as in a private house in the graceful and cozy reception, elegantly furnished, through which it is possible to access the private courtyard.
Photos: PierMario Ruggeri
Baan Hinyai Villa is a stylish and spacious luxury vacation home that is available for rent, nestled beachside in tropical Baan Makam, Koh Samui, Thailand. Upon entrance to the villa, the first thing that strikes you is its generous size. The beautiful designed split-level, living and dining area opens onto breathtaking tropical views and a drastic infinity-edge pool.
To stay at this sensational luxury vacation home in Koh Samui, rates range from $1,150 – $2,750 / per night, from here.
The villa features five bedrooms all of which have TVs, feature king size beds and boast sea views, as well as dramatic en-suite bathrooms. The bathrooms feature free standing bath tubs and separate shower cubicles, plus his and hers washbasins. Generous sized wardrobes with gowns and slippers supply 5-Star comfort.
A huge wooden dining table seats up to 20 people, whilst the nearby pool-side sala is perfect for outdoor dining and relaxation. Back in the main living area, two oversized sofas sit either side of a sleek wooden table with a flat screen TV (satellite channels) and DVD unit poised for evening entertainment.
An open-plan western kitchen is equipped with LG and Siemens fridges, a fitted oven, microwave, gas hobs and a full range of modern appliances.
For watersports lovers with a sense of adventure, staying at one of the two expansive, luxury beachfront villas of either Baan Hinta/Hinyai offers a unique opportunity not only to enjoy a memorable beachside vacation, but also to try out the very latest in hi-tech marine toys. The villa comes with a choice of watersports equipment, including a Sea Kayak and paddle board.
Kandolhu Island is an exquisite luxury resort in the Maldives, a tiny private island showcasing a beautiful white sand beach and pristine coral reef. The resort features just 30 villas in five different styles, each style distinct in design. All of these villas perfectly combine natural elements of the Maldives with local architecture, modern interiors and creature-comforts, creating an experience so memorable that it will stay with you forever. Choose between beach villas or over-water villas, some with a Jacuzzi and others with a private plunge pool. All have daybeds, a sundeck and sun loungers to make the most of the outrageously beautiful sea views. Grab your complimentary snorkelling gear and discover Kandolhu Island’s colourful house reef encircling the island.
A luxurious spa facility along with a gym, four wonderful restaurants, and a wealth of non-motorised water sports, this could be your temporary Maldivian home. A diver’s paradise, Kandolhu Island provides day and night dives from on board a Maldivian dhoni. Swim among turtles, Napoleon wrasse, parrotfish, snappers and jacks through caverns and overhangs. Take sailing lessons, or enjoy hours of pampering in the spa. Go on a sunset cruise and return later for Mediterranean cuisine in the Olive Restaurant or fresh seafood at the Sea Grill, right on the beach.
Located 70 kilometres south west of Male’ in North Ari Atoll, Kandolhu Island is reached in 25 minutes by seaplane. To stay at this sensational retreat, the average daily rate starts at $826 per night, with a two night minimum, from here.
Villa Kra is a luxury dream vacation showcasing luxurious rooms in a beachfront villa, surrounded by beautiful tropical surroundings in Koh Samui, Thailand. Nestling on a hillside, the villa has taken a unique location on one of Thailands most beautiful islands. As you gaze out over the sea, the nearby islands, the tropical gardens and the incredibly beautiful pool, you realize that paradise exists.
Just seven minutes away lies Koh Samuis vibrant centre, Bophut, with its trendy bars, quaint shops and bustling markets. And as if that were not enough, the international airport is a mere fifteen minutes away. In short: Largo Villa Kra is a dream destination.
To stay at this fabulous retreat, rates run from $593 – $942 per night or $4,155 – $6,594 per week, from here.
This four-bedroom villa has everything necessary to melt stress away in an instant. In this modern design, the boundaries between inside and outside are blurred, making this a perfect getaway for groups of friends or successful family holidays. The stunning infinity pool is both refreshing and eye-catching. A small shallow childrens pool in the shade makes the outdoor area ideal for small children. A third pool with pool bar is the perfect setting for enjoying the stunning sunset on Koh Samui. In the stylish Chill Lounge you can enjoy a drink and each others company, while the eating area by the pool is a dream place to start your day with a delicious breakfast. At the end of a sublime day, you can go out onto the Moon Terrace. The wonderful Thai night sky conjures up a firework display that makes Las Vegas seem half-hearted.
The interior of Largo Villa Kra is likewise a joy to behold. Four bedrooms are tastefully decorated, and each has a private bathroom. The master bedroom comes complete with a relaxation pool on the terrace. Almost anything is possible in this little fragment of heaven on earth: you only have to ask. By request the chef will be delighted to make the finest local dishes, but even French cuisine is on the menu if you so desire. Yoga, massage, Pilates the range of relaxation options is endless.
Photos: Courtesy of Largo Villas
La Suite Sans Cravate is an historical house that has been converted by Véronique Bogaert into a luxury guesthouse with four guestrooms, located in Bruges, Belgium. The success of the owner’s restaurant was the inspiration for the guesthouse, and with an expanding family, there was not enough room for them to continue taking up residence above their restaurant. Have a look below for the owner’s inspiring story of how the project transpired into what was once just a visionary dream.
We (Veronique 37 years and Henk 34 years) have a restaurant (1 Michelin star) in Bruges since 10 years. We’ve lived above the restaurant until now; it became too small with our 2 kids (6 & 7 years). We were looking for a private house but didn’t find anything which was close the restaurant and enough space. Suddenly a great opportunity came along, the historical house in front of our restaurant came free and we take the shot… Result it was too big for us, so we aid to each other “why don’t we make some guestrooms in the building?”
We ourselves had enough ideas how to separates the places in that big house. We of course needed an architect to draw for us. There was one big rule!! We wanted to have absolutely a private house were our guests couldn’t come, let’s say a red line for them not to cross. Therefor we provided 2 very high luxury rooms and 2 suites. The house is separated is 2 parts, one for the guests and one for us. We’ve put an extra stair especially for us. It’s a very ancient house; we have information that leads until 1450! A house with a soul and character!
The whole decoration we did ourselves, till the smallest detail. We didn’t use the help of any interior architect or someone of that kind. We ourselves are creative minded people the name of our guesthouse is called “La Suite”, for us it has several meanings, first, it means if you translate it, the following, it is the following step of our lives, it also means like a kitchen name, that reply’s in the kitchen that the next dish can follow. Like the people who are in our restaurant, they can go to their rooms for the next step of their evening.
Why a French name? That’s because our restaurant is called “Sans Cravate”, now we’ve changed our logo to La Suite Sans Cravate, it match very well together. We have a very personal style in our kitchen and interior of the restaurant, now we have that also in our new guesthouse. The rooms have the name of wine grapes, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Syrah and Pinot Noir. Each guest receives when they arrive a glass of bubbles with a personalized macaroon biscuit with the flavors of their room that they booked.
The renovation took three years in total but the result is magic, we are of course very proud that we realized something like that. With only one month open and already nominated for “Best design hotel”.
Photos: Courtesy of La Suite Sans Cravate
POD Boutique Hotel is a luxurious hotel subtly promoting discretion and elegance, completed in 2009 by Greg Wright Architects, located in Cape Town, South Africa. POD is more than a luxury boutique hotel. It’s a declaration of love for fine living, fine design, and unforgettable experiences. Conceived of as a discreet and super-stylish location and getaway on the Camps Bay strip, this project is set to become the destination of choice for those “in the know”.
A unique palette of granite, slate, African timber and glass has been brought together in elegant simplicity in an attempt to make rooms and relaxation spaces desirable to those who appreciate stylish accommodation backed up by discreet, luxurious service.Add to that the fact that all that makes Camps Bay the international destination of choice, this project is set to redefine the boutique accommodation business in Cape Town and set the benchmark for those going forward.
15 bedrooms and suites provide ultimate comfort and privacy, evoking a feeling of sanctuary and serene relaxation.
Villa Kalos is nestled on the beautiful Greek island of Ithaca, which once lay in ruin and was completely abandoned but has been returned to its former glory as a guest vacation house. The home was discovered by two South African photographers in the surrounding countryside of Lahos. The couple’s mission was to fulfill their dream of creating a home for the design conscious traveler looking to spend their holidays overlooking the peaceful Greek countryside, with the azure waters of the Agean only a few minutes away.With the help of local builders and craftsmen, the beautiful stone building was successfully resurrected and turned into a luxurious, sublimely understated, yet perfectly adorned, boutique villa.
A stylish and secluded villa escaping technology, Villa Kalos sleeps 8 guests, with rates starting at $471 per night, from here.
The property occupies 6,000 square meters, encompassing terraced gardens surrounding the home and almond trees and olive groves dotting the nearby countryside. There is a salt water pool that overlooks the stunning island vistas. The interiors showcase perfection for a Greek island villa – cement floors, stone walls, polished concrete benches, limed timber beams, fine muslin drapes on the windows and layers of linen.
Photos: Robert Koene
Casa de La Flora is a modern beachfront resort designed by VaSLab Architecture, located along a palm tree lined beach in Khao Lak, Phangnga, Thailand. The latest member of Design Hotel in Thailand, the resort was commissioned in 2008 by one of Thailand’s leading businessmen Sompong Dowpiset. There are 36 cube-shaped villas aimed to serve as a new high profile yet humble destination hotel in this beautiful town of southern Thailand.
The brief given to the architect is a unique resort that consists of a series of pool villas with maximum ocean views. Facilities such as a reception lounge, swimming pool, pool bar, beachfront restaurant, spa, fitness, and library are the must-have programs in this hotel. The owner challenged the architect to create a a bold look of architecture but one that yields to warmth and nature after its implied name, “flora.”
VaSLab’s metaphorical design takes on the act of “arising flora,” where each concrete versus wood villa reflects as a flora form, emerges from the ground, and blooms to reach the daylight. Deviated walls and tilted roofs are characterized throughout the series of 36 cubic-form villas, where these tapered elements do not only recall the act of arising flora but widen the rooms’ perspective frames when looking outward to the sea.
The continuity of these lines can also be seen in the interior space and interior elements such as built-in beds, coffee tables, and built-in cabinets. Custom-made furniture designed by Anon Pairot Design Studio carries this thematic design, as some of them represent the organic form of a flora. The same concept is carried throughout the landscape and hardscape work from talented designer T.R.O.P., who extends the lines of architecture into a set of charming pathways, pavement blocks, and green walls as they act like the architecture’s root, stem, and branches. APLD, the lighting designer, abstractly sets the resort’s lighting to provoke the main architectural elements; deviated walls and tilted roofs, as if the villa cubes are arising above the ground.
Its glass-fronted villas have clean interiors featuring concrete surfaces, natural stone walls, and wooden floors/ ceilings. Ten units stand directly to the beach, with maximum sea views, and all come with private pools, 24-hour butler service, and the latest in-room entertainment. Eco-friendly credentials come in the form of an ozone (low-chemical) purification system for the swimming pools and wastewater and rainwater recycling.
Photos: Courtesy of VaSLab Architecture
With a crisp, modern aesthetic and stunning seaside location, Golden Rays Villa is a luxury resort situated in the town of Primošten, in Croatia. Golden Rays Villa 3 offers a spacious interior comprised of 3,595 square feet of living space with three bedrooms and three bathrooms. This high-end, Croatian retreat offers beautiful Adriatic vistas, luxurious amenities and sleek decor designed to complement the rugged Mediterranean landscape.
While drifting along the Adriatic shoreline, one can immediately identify the angular, yet harmonious, villas of Golden Rays. The distinctive resort boasts rectangular holiday homes and terraces and unparalleled views of the sparkling bay. These unique, architectural features also ensure each guest has ample access to the salty air and sunshine – not to mention peace and privacy.
These exclusive 370 square meters (3,983 square foot) villas are ideal for romantic escapes and refined getaways. Each private unit spans three levels that tumble gracefully down the hillside, and offers a spacious, sun-soaked open floor plan. Both three and four bedroom options are available, and all villas include partially-sheltered pools.
The resort’s modern, fully equipped kitchens cater well to traveling gourmets, while the comfortable and stylish dining areas are excellent for hosting intimate gatherings and celebrations. Additionally, guests can indulge and relax in the steamy private sauna, or work up a sweat their very own open air fitness area. In the evenings, Golden Rays’ picturesque terraces are a perfect place to enjoy an inspiring Mediterranean sunset and a glass of the renowned – and locally produced – Babic wine.
Aesthetically, Golden Rays is a welcome respite from the many uninspired hotels and resorts that dot the Croatian coastline. Rather than overpower the cliffside and detract from the area’s distinct natural beauty, architects opted for environmental harmony and hand selected design elements.
Each of the seven villas features a green roof and lush atrium garden, which allows the spacious, multi-tiered retreat to blend more seamlessly into the local flora. The villas are also partially constructed into the hillside and designers were careful to ensure each unit’s two-car garage became an interesting design element, rather than the typical aesthetic dead space.
The villas’ expansive picture windows also help diminish the separation between nature and living space, and allow the rugged and rocky landscape to become part of the greater decor. Even the furnishings are reminiscent of Golden Rays’ surroundings. Rich designer pieces in natural fabrics and textures emulate the outdoor environment, while the classic, earthy tones, crisp white walls and natural wood floors contrast beautifully against the seascape. Additionally, the floating staircases, engaging art pieces and interesting architectural accents come together to create a fashionable, yet relaxing, Croatian retreat.
Golden Rays may cater to a chic and design-savvy clientele, but the top shelf treatment doesn’t stop at stunning views and sleek decor. Thanks to a well-trained and dedicated staff, guests rarely lift a finger. Butlers and private chefs are available, and all villas are maintained by a discreet cleaning staff. Qualified local guides are also on call for various excursions and adventures. Plus, thanks to a lovely seaside walkway, guests can access the sand and surf in moments.
To better experience nearby villages such as Primosten and Kemik Marina, guests can continue down the scenic walkway or hire a car. These colorful Mediterranean hamlets offer charming shops, delicious local dining, tourism offices and many historical points of interest. The area is also well known for its myriad diving spots and wide variety of watersports.
From the gorgeous surroundings to expertly designed interiors, Golden Rays is truly a stunning destination. Boasting peaceful, sun-filled escapes to design-centric adventures, this exclusive Croatian resort is sure to leave guests dreaming of blue skies, blue seas and world class luxury.
Golden Rays provides the perfect luxury base while you explore the best of Primosten and the Croatian coast.
The Retreat Selous is an all-suite tented lodge, an enchanting refuge situated in wild bush on the banks of the Ruaha River, Tanzania. Your suite is one of just twelve in this remote haven in the Northern Selous. As the largest protected wildlife sanctuary in Africa, The Selous Game Reserve is often described as a place where one will find the most pristine wilderness – one of the “secrets of Africa” indeed. The Retreat Selous has been built into pristine land, untouched for centuries far away from anybody else. A mystical and historical spot where the journey to experience the power of the African nature and undisturbed behavior of wildlife roaming freely around you is getting a new dimension.
The main house, ‘The Fort’ is perfectly positioned on the site of a former military observation point from World War 1 and provides guests with a direct 360 degree panoramic view over the Ruaha river and untouched plains. The beautiful tented suites are mounted on raised teak wood platforms and each comes with its own private deck and outdoor bath and chill out area allowing you to savour your own experience of the surrounding wilderness. The canvas interiors are handmade to reflect the stars of the African sky and are complimented with African antiques and local handcrafted materials.
To stay at this incredible retreat, nightly rates start from $695, from here.
The Retreat offers four different styles of accommodation. Twelve spaciously 100–220 square meters, more than six meter high tented suites under palm thatched roofs with expansive distance between each suite have been constructed in three independent units to correspond with the surrounding habitat, whilst guaranteeing privacy and romance.
Each suite has its own private outdoor deck with a stunning signature outdoor antique copper, brass or silver bathtub. Ethnic elements, bespoke furnishings, African antiques, natural materials and precious stones have been blended to create a unique sense of comfort and natural luxury using principles of Feng Shui and the Five Elements in materials and interior design.
Guests have a choice of Eagle Hill Suites with breathtaking views, the River Suites which are situated beside the river bank and come complete with their own private plunge pool or the Lion River Suite which is larger with an additional tent and ideal for families or honeymooners.
Guests at the lodge can enjoy a refreshing cocktail at the river bar while watching the sun set then dine by the breathtaking infinity pool or on one of the towers overlooking the Selous.
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