The Birch is a hotel where you can have fun, socialise, rest and reflect in Hertfordshire, England, just 30 minutes north of London. Not bad for a countryside hotel, no wonder it has been voted theHotel of the Year 2020 by the London magazine Times. Apart from the many cool indoor and outdoor spaces (and bars) where you can meet people or simply hang out, there are several workshops (glassblowing, pottery, bread making), a yoga room, a cinema, an on-site organic farm and a wellness space. The original features of this 1763 Georgian mansion were preserved and not overwhelmed by the furniture which is a wonderful selection of functional pieces that range from trendy vintage to the more modern. The interior was curated by the architect studio Red Deer, run by founders Chris King and Chris Penn.
I love September. I love its golden light that enhances colors and shapes, I love the clear sky and the cooler evenings. I love the sensation of calm and regeneration that I carry after the holiday, the positive attitude and hopeful vibe that my contact with nature has left me with a slower pace after the summer months. I relish the fact that September is the end of the summer in Italy and yet is not quite the start of the cold season unlike many other countries in the Northern hemisphere. I like the nostalgic feeling that is floating on the air and the proximity of another holiday, Christmas.
I love spending time by the sea in September and in the autumn in general: contemplating the immense blue sea when most of the tourists have departed is for me a treat that not many get to revel in.
Of course, it is even better if you can do it in a charming place, with a lot of personality and an attractive views. Hotel La Minervetta in Sorrento is the perfect retreat for my September mood. I love how it has been decorated with marine colours and patterns and a well-balanced combination of local artisan pieces and eclectic art and photography. This explosive and color combination makes the hotel unique and snug.
Stripes, chevron, checks, pois and classic tiles patterns decorate walls, floors, chairs, sun longes and beds; the use of mainly two colours, red and blue, makes the look cohesive.
I love the liquid floor tiles in the living area, it makes the space look like it is floating on water. I love the extensive, worldly collection of objects and furniture, it all combines to create a marine, joyful contest that celebrates the beauty of the Costiera Amalfitana where the Hotel La Minervetta is based.
Photos by Bernard Touillon, courtesy of Hotel La Minervetta
I feel like going to New York and spending there a few weeks if not months. I would like to spend there enough time to really be able to explore the city and slip into its folds.
In the last two years ago, I have read mainly autobiographies and biographies. I find extremely interesting reading about the developments and moods of a person who has created or done something memorable, never mind if he/she is a hotelier or a fashion designer.
The book “Just Kids” by Patty Smith have catapulted me in the Nineteen Eighties and Nineteen Ninety New York, in the buzzing Chelsea Hotel rooms, in the pre-HIV bars of the big Apple.
Another tassel that has cemented my attraction for a city that encorporates the entire world but still manage to be almost a state in itself.
So, just to put you in the mood, I am going to show you some images of an hotel where it would be nice to stay, the Ace Hotel, a trendy hotel in a 1904 building. Try to believe.
There is so much to discover about the Fife Arms Hotel.
The first thing I have noticed and loved was the tweed wall upholstery designed by Aramita Campbell (Aramita, what a cool name!) in the living rooms and corridors (as seen in Marie Claire Maison).
As you probably know by now, I am a tartan fan, in fashion and in interiors.
The second thing that jumped into my eyes was the art displayed in the property: the eighteen century art and features together with the sophisticated contemporary pieces complement and enhance the spirit of this magical place.
TheFife Arms is no doubt one of the hottest hotel in the Highlands, Scotland. In the Victorian time the mansion was a coaching inn, it now hosts 46 rooms and suites, a bar, a restaurant and a park designed by the award winner Jinny Blom.
The project was run by Russel Stage and Moxon Architects who managed to put in effect Manuela and Iwan Wirth‘s vision, two well-known Swiss art gallerists.
I am well, I spent the entire afternoon at home today because Giulio had a bad cough and I didn’t have a back up sitter. It was actually nice, I managed to do the little chores around the house that I generally do in super-fast mode (and probably badly). However I am never quite on top of things but, if the situation is under control, I don’t mind it.
It is part of my personality, not saving myself and making an effort to do things that, I believe, make my life more beautiful. For instance I always set the table properly even if it is only me and Giulio dining. I always put a fork and knife even if I know we probably won’t use it, I always put a bowl and a flat dish and a napkin.
Life is too short to not make an effort.
It doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to spend a week or two in one of the resorts shown below of course, even if I could probably find a way to keep myself busy.
Which one would you go for?
They are all incredible but the one I like best is the Kingston Treehouse even if I don’t understand how you don’t find a monkey in your bed..or maybe that is part of the fun…
Nowadays budget hotels set trends and serve as an inspiration.
We have already seen some pictures of the colourful HotelHenriette in Paris with some amazing ideas to copy and a selection of images of the super cool Mama Shelter’s Hotels designed by Philip Starck; today it is the turn of the Hotel Panache, located near the Grands Boulevards and Gare du Nord.
The beds, the wallpapers, the old black telephones on the wall, the seats in rusty orange velvet, the golden details….a must see!
I have started to work for a cool production company called Allucinazione and I am glad to have returned to normality after the Christmas break.
I am the first to admit that I’m not a big Christmas person. I like spending time with my family and friends, I like the festive atmosphere but I miss my space after a bit. I like to be by myself sometimes, I need it. I like to go to places by myself. I like some silence at times.
The place I am showing you today is to share too. It would be a shame not to.
The Mazzini 31 Hotel is in Monteleone, a municipality in Umbria, near Terni and was founded in 1052 by Orvieto’s town leaders.
The hotel is a stupendous palace overlooking the countryside. Well chosen modern elements and all the possible comforts fit in well in the old rooms; original floors and walls present elegant shades of pastel shades, somehow enhanced by the strong colours of some newly upholstered pieces of furniture and the punchy tones of the plexyglass inserts.
Hotels are an endless source of inspiration; the new hotels Mama Shelter designed by Philippe Starck are affordable enough to allow you to spend a few nights there and have a proper look around, steal some ideas. Philippe Starck is a bit like Kate Moss, he is everywhere and inevitably his omnipresence has became a bit annoying and has made him less interesting, however he is undoubtedly so talented and has an eye for setting trends that he often comes up with great visions like the Mama Shelter Hotels pictured in the photos above. I really like the white and yellow stripy wall in the first photo, it gives meaning to a space that otherwise would look like a bare corridor. I love the million people wallpaper in the second photo with the two classic armchairs upholstered in a funky orange. The graffiti and writings on the black bedroom walls remind me of a blackboard, a massive trend now, and the cartoon character plastic masks lights add a playful touch. I love the splashes of lemon yellow like the football table in the lounge or the wall paint in the bedroom, cleverly combined with a salmon pink/orange. Philippe Starck is a 64 years old boy who likes to inject some lightness in what he creates.
The hip hotels (at Istanbul, Paris, Marseille and Lion) are of course a success, remember to book early if you want to go.
P.S: Yes the colourful things hanging from the ceiling in the third photo (from the top) are inflatable rings.
Chairs first of all need to be comfortable (it’s not accident that one of my first posts was about ergonomic chairs*). I tried the Maxima chairs by Sawaya and Moroni at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Rome and they are very comfortable and solid. The top floor of the hotel, where the photo was taken, has a wonderful 270° view of Rome and a chill out bar by the swimming pool. The entire floor looks like a sailing boat on the city’s roofs. The rest of the hotel is nice, with a few nice design pieces and ideas but needs an update.
*One of my best friend is still taking the mickey out of me, every time we want to buy a present for a common friend he proposes to get a cool-ergonomic-chair (see my previous post). I take the chance to openly tell me that he is a muppet