Sat, May 14, 2011 - Page 16 News List

Hotels on the cutting edge

Looking for a glamorous getaway? Read on for a list of 10 of the world’s swankiest hotels, in locations ranging from Bangkok to London

Reuters, LONDON

The Waterhouse in Shanghai offers views of the Huangpu River.

Photo: Bloomberg

Some holidays you want to enjoy the sleek and chic luxury of a cutting-edge hotel. Boutique hotel collection Mr & Mrs Smith’s ( offers those seeking a stylish getaway its top 10 picks for an edgy escape.


It’s not often that a hotel comes with its own art gallery attached, which is why Hobart retreat MONA Pavilions in Tasmania is a must for culture-vultures. This year’s opening of cavernous cliffside MONA (ambitious private venture the Museum of Old and New Art), has brought head-turning local and international art to this one-stop style shop. A short stroll away, eight ultra-contemporary bedroom pavilions hug the Derwent River, named after Australian architects and artists including Sydney Nolan and Brett Whiteley, with original paintings inside. Sleek restaurant the Source, a microbrewery and vineyard ensure guests here won’t just be feasting on ideas.


Its wittily wacky themed rooms might not appeal to everyone, but the young at heart — and fans of fantastical fun — will feel right at home at Wanderlust, a style-sussed 29-bed boutique hotel in Singapore’s vibrant Little India quarter. Dreamed up by hot hotelier Loh Lik Peng, with help from a fistful of local designers, the most extreme rooms are decked out like spaceships, treehouses and even monster typewriters, but if you’re after something more subtle ask for a Pantone-colored pad or one of the white Mono Origami chambers. Wanderlust’s wonders include French comfort food at casual bistro Cocotte, a custom-created “passport” guide to the area’s charms and a sun-deck Jacuzzi.


East London is the go-to spot for style-seekers in the English capital these days, and there’s no better launch pad for making the most of the area’s hot shops, galleries and markets than sexy Shoreditch Rooms. The 26 bedrooms may be bijou, but bag a Small+ for a spacious city-facing terrace. What’s more, a stay here allows you to access all areas of adjoining private members’ club Shoreditch House, including its buzzy bars, restaurant, games room, bowling alley, Cowshed Spa and so-hip-it-hurts rooftop pool. DJs spin discs on Friday and Saturday nights, when you can mingle with skinny-jeans-sporting graphic design types to your heart’s content.


Checking into Tenface, you’ll be handed a box of tricks. Inside you’ll find a Skytrain pass, Thai SIM card, herbal toiletries and an iPod nano loaded with video podcasts by in-the-know locals sharing their favorite spots to eat, drink and shop. This street-chic 79-room retreat may be hard to find, tucked away down a leafy soi in Bangkok’s business/residential district, but once here you’ll feel like you’ve arrived in hipster central (the style-savvy mix of local and international guests helps). Chill out with a Lovelorn Tosakan cocktail in clubby Sita Bar, which sports a DJ booth. Repair to airy Wanara Eatery for casual bites, fusing Thai and global flavors. Then escape to your apartment-style suite, where vibrant hits of color and graphic wall design makes for urban elegance.


This hipster’s canyon commune south of downtown Palm Springs, California, proves you can have style on a budget. Combining a modernized Sixties motel with retro furniture, a classic diner and aquatic activities, there’s a boho mood at the 180-room Ace Hotel that’s totally West Coast. Vintage furniture and vinyl record players (in Patio rooms or above) ensure attitude. Outdoors a kooky caravan and fabric-draped alfresco lounging areas add to the “glamping” (glam camping) feel. The sexy Swim Club sports two pools, a hot tub, sauna, steam room and that Californian essential, the massage yurt. Bring a guitar for fireside singalongs.

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