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After taking in timeless hotels and destinations, we turn our discerning eye to specific suites. Why 20? With the two decades of hotel curation we’re celebrating, it’s our magic number for the year. With so many special rooms to choose from, we’ve honed in on different design styles to help you choose your next great stay, including much-loved minimalism and niche aquatecture. It’s a sweet suite life, indeed.

Minimalism

hotel design styles - minimalism - Casa Angelina
hotel design styles - minimalism - Viceroy Los Cabos

The visual equivalent to a breath of fresh air, minimalism strips away clutter to emphasize open space and showcase clean lines. This style is captured across the Amalfi Coast’s Casa Angelina, but its most spacious suites, Angelina and Azure, provide the most room to revel in it. In Mexico, Viceroy Los Cabos’ Ocean View One Bedroom Suite, among others, also favors a blank slate of white, with wood and stone to lend warmth, and low-profile furnishings so as not to interrupt sightlines out to the pools and Pacific.

Maximalism

hotel design styles - maximalism - San Francisco Proper
hotel design styles - maximalism - Bensley Collection – Shinta Mani Wild

Not everyone is bold enough to embrace a more-is-more look within their own home, but there are hotels where one can dip into maximalism for a spell. Take, for example, the living room of the San Francisco Proper’s Premier Suite with its busy wallpaper, contrasting rug, menagerie of chairs—including a pink one rimmed with big red tassels. It’s a lot, but it whimsically works. A 19-hour flight from there, Cambodia’s Bensley Collection – Shinta Mani Wild dishes out its own version, as exemplified in The Bohemian Tent with its multicolored couch, bright artworks hung from the ceiling and ornate bed.

Art Deco

hotel design styles - art deco - Peninsula Shanghai
hotel design styles - art deco - Claridge's

Geometric motifs, shiny metallics and decandant fabrics are all hallmarks of Art Deco—the set design of 2013’s The Great Gatsby shows off this design style perfectly. Present day examples include the Peninsula Shanghai. There are flourishes across the property, and certainly in the Deluxe River Suite with its diamond-shaped tufted headboard and glittering chandelier. In London, Claridge’s is an Art Deco icon, and the Mayfair Terrace Suite’s sitting area is quintessential—mirror with gilded arches, plush scalloped chairs, it’s all very oh la la.

Mid-Century Modern

hotel design styles - mid-century modern - Il Sereno
hotel design styles - mid-century modern - The Vintage Lisbon

What feels retro now was considered futuristic when it debuted—perhaps that’s why mid-century modern or MCM, with its clean lines and mix of organic and manmade materials, has such staying power. For Il Sereno, masterful designer Patricia Urquiola created a contemporary vision of it, with the Signature Penthouse offering some of the most private space to soak it up—along with big Lake Como views. The Vintage Lisbon is another classic example. Any of the hotel’s rooms, and especially its green-walled Castle Suite, could be used as Mad Men set if Don and Betty had gone to Portugal rather than Italy.

Tropical Modernism

hotel design styles - tropical modernism - Six Senses Zil Pasyon
hotel design styles - tropical modernism - Patina Maldives

As its name implies, tropical modernism is a merging of modernist and tropical vernaculars—think clean lines and organic materials that feel utterly natural in situ. In Seychelles, Six Senses Zil Pasyon captures this style, with the most modern expression of it being the residences, such as The Sanctuary, which rise up from the rocks. In the Fari Islands, Patina Maldives’ Beach House is another grand example with its sun-bleached woods and floor-to-ceiling sliding doors letting the sea breezes blow through.

Industrial Chic

hotel design styles - industrial chic - Silo Hotel
hotel design styles - industrial chic - 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

Occupying what was once a grain silo, Cape Town’s Silo Hotel is the epitome of industrial chic. One can’t go wrong when picking a suite—all feature the convex geometric windows which fill in the structure’s original concrete frame—but the Royal Suite’s antique steel tub with a view is a particularly cool setup. The LEED-certified 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge in New York is industrial revolutionized. Along with plenty of plant life, the hotel features lots of reclaimed wood and blackened steel. In the 2,000-square-foot Riverhouse and other rooms, the cool headboards may inspire a DIY project using metal fencing and a shipping container slab.

Rustic

hotel design styles - rustic - Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita
hotel design styles - rustic - Bishop's Lodge

An enticingly broad category, rustic’s interpretations include farmhouse, ranch, coastal, Tuscan and others. Two properties across the world highlight the contrasts. In Matera, Italy’s Sassi area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita preserves the simplicity of its historic cave dwellings for modern travelers—take Cave 21, with all its aged stone, wood and iron. Over in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Bishop’s Lodge is the epitome of Southwestern—just look at the Kiva Suite, with its traditional adobe architecture, wooden headboard and patina leather.

Biophilic

hotel design styles - biophilic - Keemala Hotel
hotel design styles - biophilic - Zannier Hotels Omaanda

A word taken from a Latin meaning “love of living things,” biophilic design is about being as closely connected to nature as possible. That means greater openness and access to nature, as well as bringing its materiality inside. In Phuket, the Keemala Hotel truly brings this style to life in its aptly named Bird’s Nest Villa, with a bathroom of stone-like tubs and sinks that’s open to the outside. In a very different climate, the Namibian savannah, Zannier Hotels Omaanda achieves the same openness and connection, albeit through tones and materials that suit its location. Not only does the extended organic roof of the One Bedroom Hut provide much needed shade from the sun, just as a tree would, it draws the eye out to wild beyond.

Aquatecture

hotel design styles - aquatecture - Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
hotel design styles - aquatecture - Soneva Jani

The Little Mermaid’s Ariel may have wanted to be where the people are, but with “aquatecture” trending it looks like lots of people want more water in their life. Up the ante from having a home aquarium to living in an aquarium when it comes time to take a holiday. The Muraka at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island lets guests live under the sea, with a main bedroom more than 16 feet below the water. At Soneva Jani, the Water Reserve is perched above the Medhufaru Lagoon with its own slide for entering the water. When it’s time to dry off for lunch, there’s also a circular glass cut-out beneath the dining table for watching the fishes swim by.

Palatial

hotel design styles - Palatial - Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul
hotel design styles - Palatial - Taj Lake Palace

Then there’s living like a queen or king. While people wearing the crowns may change, palace interiors largely don’t—large being the operative word. Palatial design is all about sprawling square footage, dramatically high ceilings and the most sumptuous fabrics. At Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul, the Sultan Suite has all that, and you don’t have to be royal to stay there. A Grand Royal Suite at Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur, India, is smaller but no less grand—soaring headroom, chandeliers, ornate finishings, all abundantly present.

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