Three top hotel designers reveal the thinking behind their latest projects—and point out details you shouldn’t miss.
1. Patricia Urquiola, Studio Urquiola, Milan
The Hotel: Both high-design and budget-friendly, Room Mate Giulia opened in April, with 85 rooms near the city’s Piazza del Duomo.
The Inspiration: “I tried to invoke the spirit of Milan. The lobby’s curved wall, made with terra-cotta bricks, is a reference to classic Milanese architecture, and the pink marble in the lobby floor is a nod to the stone used in the Duomo and in area cafés. Geometric patterns reflect the rigor of the city and refer to the graphic arts, so important to the cultural history of Milan.”
Check out: the works by Milanese artists throughout the hotel. “Watercolors by Sandro Fabbri hang in the main hall, illustrations by Andrea Q decorate the guest rooms, and photographs of the city’s open-air markets by Antonio Rovaldi line the corridors.”
2. Alexandra Champalimaud, New York City
The Hotel: The 125-suite Four Seasons Jakarta opened in the Indonesian capital in June.
The Inspiration: “The design reflects local cultures and traditions, even a bit of Jakarta’s Western European influences—particularly from the Dutch, who traveled to the city as spice traders. The Nautilus Bar, for example, has a large mural of schooners en route to port, with delicately swirling lines in the carpet to evoke the feel of the ocean.”
Check out: the patterns on the library ceiling. “The placement of the gilded, hand-carved tiles references Indonesian design. In the soaring Palm Court, the light-green finned columns look great, but also help absorb sound with their tiny perforations.”
3. Silvia Tcherassi, Miami
The Hotel: The 42-room Tcherassi Hotel + Spa, the fashion designer’s second property in Cartagena, Colombia, is housed in a colonial mansion in the centro histórico.
The Inspiration: “I connected the effortless elegance that guides my fashion with magical realism to achieve a Caribbean-chic aesthetic. Also, I wanted open spaces with vegetation, so we put hanging gardens of native species in the terraces and courtyards.”
Check out: the check-in and concierge desks. “They’re created from ebony to mimic an 18th-century steamer trunk that’s on display at the city’s Palacio de la Inquisición Museum. They evoke the essential part travel has played in the city’s history.”