International Getaways: Beautiful Architecture
While many vacation destinations offer a multi-page menu of pampering pleasantries, few do so with artistic architecture that renders a lasting imprint on guests. Here are just a few global locales that not only indulge, but inspire.
Alila Villas, Uluwatu, Bali
The water may crash against the shore of Bali’s Bukit peninsula, but you don’t need to worry about getting drenched. You are safely perched high above the sea in your private cabana, overlooking the Indian Ocean at the Alila Villas Uluwatu. Designed by award-winning Singapore architectural firm WOHA, this stunning destination infuses contemporary luxuries with Bali’s rich culture. The final product is a wonder rarely seen in traditional retreats, gracefully swinging over a natural plateau. Each of the 84 villas is built with an open concept, and features a private pool and cabana. The openness allows the ocean breeze to dance throughout, and seamlessly entwines the interior with the outdoors.
The Opposite House, Beijing, China
In the heart of Beijing’s Sanlitun Village, an emerald palace prosperously stands, ready to astound all those who grace its lobby. Contrasting old-world ideals with novel designs, The Opposite House’s collection of 98 contemporary studio-suites breathe freely with a spacious, upscale loft design. Natural light floods every corner, as warm, welcoming wooden flooring sprawls under foot. These Zen-like rooms are a soothing divergence to the darker, bolder, more eclectic styling of The Opposite House’s public amenities, such as the sci-fi seeming pool and workout room, the inventive atmosphere of Bei restaurant, the funky design of the late-night bar and club Punk; and the esteemed sculpture collection of The Art House.
Hotel Sezz, Saint Tropez, France
A pristine French Riviera haven that’s filled with the private yachts of millionaires, models and movie stars, Saint Tropez easily stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the world’s most luxurious locales. So what better place to strut side-by-side with the opulent elite than Hotel Sezz? A member of Design Hotels, Hotel Sezz’s 35 rooms are more like private residences, while its two spectacular villas glisten with charm and privacy through a personal pool and garden. Sharp, simple designs present a refined modern esthetic, which focuses on utilizing light and allowing the salty breeze to effortlessly waft through the nearly three acres of property. Lush gardens of flowers and trees juxtapose these straightforward structures, adding balance to the Mediterranean mood.
Torre Di Moravola, Moravola, Italy
As you march up a winding stairwell, surrounded by medieval stone and architecture, it may become clear you’re climbing through history, but not so obvious that you’re entering a bastion of blissful serenity. For while this 10th century watchtower was once a symbol of keen military strategy, today it is the Torre Di Moravola – a tranquil sanctuary that melds ancient fortification tactics with the luxuries of modern living. Overlooking the Carpini valley and riding the ridgeling between the two feudal towns of Montone and Gubbio, this fortress of leisure pampers guests with a 25-metre heated pool, seven seductively elegant tower suites, open massage pavilions, and alfresco dining with fare cultivated on the surrounding grounds.
Playa Vik Jose, Ignacio, Uruguay
On the southeastern coast of South America resides a little country that might not be your first thought for a lavish holiday. Outside of a temperate climate and great surfing, Uruguay is home to the Playa Vik Jose Ignacio – an architecturally captivating beachfront retreat that is as much art as it is abode. A central, sculptural structure of arched titanium and glass is wrapped by six individual flower-crowned casas. These inspiring edifices scream originality, as each room is furnished with modern comforts and lined with local Uruguayan and international art. Blending nature and architecture, the Playa Vik Jose Ignacio represents harmony between the natural and the manufactured with you peacefully unwinding in the middle.