city el­e­gance

Soak up the grandeur in these lux­ury ho­tels com­bin­ing his­tory with mod­ern flair

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these new­lyren­o­vated ho­tels are so fab­u­lous, you won’t ever want to go home

Blend­ing old with new, daz­zling ren­o­va­tion projects has trans­formed tired old build­ings into op­u­lent bolt­holes in some of the world’s most beau­ti­ful cities. A stun­ningly taste­ful makeover of the grand 13th-cen­tury Palazzo volpi in Venice has turned the bou­tique prop­erty into an el­e­gant Ital­ian sanc­tu­ary. While at Madrid’s Gran Ho­tel Inglés, the Art Deco vibe might see you swap­ping your jeans for a vin­tage frock as you soak up the sun, and in the city that never sleeps, New York’s quirky No­mad is an ur­ban de­light. Closer to home, Prin­ci­pal in Ed­in­burgh blends a proud sense of tra­di­tion with mod­ern touches and Copen­hagen’s Nimb Ho­tel of­fers stylish ex­trav­a­gance along­side oblig­a­tory Scandi min­i­mal­ism. But be warned: while city breaks are all about see­ing the sights, you may strug­gle to leave these ho­tels…

Palazzo Volpi Venice, Italy

The lowdown A slice of the Dolce Vita with in­di­vid­ual de­sign. Best for Ro­man­tics who want to get away from the crowds. It hardly seems pos­si­ble that this beau­ti­ful 13th-cen­tury Vene­tian palazzo stood de­cay­ing and unloved for nearly 70 years, in­hab­ited only by a soli­tary pri­est. Hap­pily, new own­ers and Paris-based de­sign­ers Anna Covre and Fred­eric Tubau have come to the res­cue. Stay­ing faith­ful to the Palazzo’s her­itage, they have cre­ated a sump­tu­ous haven, which is hand­ily lo­cated on one of Venice’s most at­trac­tive and serene squares. With just three spa­cious suites (and a fourth on the way) the Volpi’s cool, re­fined el­e­gance of­fers a unique way to ex­pe­ri­ence the Ital­ian city. Two of the suites have one bed­room, while the third has three – plus a canal view and its own pri­vate court­yard. No ex­pense has been spared on restor­ing the Palazzo’s orig­i­nal fea­tures, in­clud­ing ex­posed tim­ber beams, ma­jes­tic old stair­case and win­dows. These are complemented by brushed oak par­quet and white Ital­ian mar­ble floor­ing with match­ing fire­places. Be­spoke fur­nish­ings com­prise silk rugs, vel­vet chairs and ar­ti­san light­ing, as well as glit­ter­ing mir­rors with in-built Net­flix-ready TVS. The bath­rooms are wildly lux­u­ri­ous, and the suites also have state-of-the-art kitchens and dreamy beds with mem­ory foam mat­tresses and satin linen. Other fin­ish­ing touches in­clude un­der­floor heat­ing for the cooler months.

Book it Suites from £263 (palaz­zo­

The no­mad New York, USA

The lowdown Parisian-style chic with Broad­way buzz.

Best for Hip­sters keen to soak up one of NYC’S coolest districts. This turn-of-the-cen­tury Beaux Arts build­ing in the Flat­iron Dis­trict has been re­stored to its orig­i­nal grandeur with in­te­ri­ors by French de­signer Jac­ques Gar­cia. In a great lo­ca­tion close to Madi­son Square Park and the Meat­pack­ing Dis­trict, the No­mad’s op­u­lent el­e­gance is pep­pered with funky bo­hemian touches – such as ta­pes­try-cov­ered fur­ni­ture, faded Per­sian rugs, a 200-year-old mar­ble fire­place and an antique stair­case. The 168 un­der­stated rooms fea­ture king-size beds, orig­i­nal art­work, re­claimed maple floor­ing and cus­tom-made fur­ni­ture, in­clud­ing leather arm­chairs and vin­tage ma­hogany writ­ing desks. Some also have free­stand­ing claw­foot bath­tubs – as well as eye-open­ing views over Broad­way and Flat­iron. With the high­lights of the Big Ap­ple right on the doorstep, there’s a pri­vate rooftop which is per­fect for aper­i­tifs, and the No­mad’s sleek din­ing room is over­seen by chef Daniel Humm of ac­claimed restau­rant Eleven Madi­son Park. His so­phis­ti­cated dishes in­clude suck­ling pig and quail with foie gras, while the menu in the leather-seated main bar has sim­pler op­tions. Don’t miss cock­tails in the swanky Ele­phant Bar, ei­ther, as it’s home to an award-win­ning mixol­o­gist and you may even catch a res­i­dent magic show as you sip your Man­hat­tan.

Book it Rooms from £223 (theno­mad­ho­

Gran ho­tel Inglés Madrid, Spain

The lowdown A mix of time­less glam­our with mod­ern luxe.

Best for Cou­ples seek­ing refuge in the heart of the Span­ish cap­i­tal. Dat­ing back to 1886, Madrid’s old­est ho­tel has been mag­i­cally trans­formed by a £15mil­lion re­vamp that merges el­e­gant Art Deco style with shiny mod­ern twists. A bling-free oa­sis, the uber-cool New York Rock­well Group has re­in­stated by­gone lux­ury with re­stored chan­de­liers, vel­vety so­fas, a well-stocked li­brary and old pho­tos of former star guests, in­clud­ing nov­el­ist Vir­ginia Woolf and painter Henri Matisse. The 48 rooms and suites are decked out in muted greys and soft whites, with plush fur­nish­ings, wooden floors and colour-pop­ping ac­ces­sories. Many rooms are sound­proofed against the city clam­our, and some have free­stand­ing mar­ble baths and pri­vate ter­races with hot tubs. Set within the city hub­bub, the ho­tel is just me­tres from Puerta del Sol, the fa­mous cen­tral square, which bus­tles with shops and street per­form­ers. But there’s lit­tle need to ven­ture far from the ho­tel with its su­per-chic cock­tail bar and restau­rant serv­ing de­lights such as pork cheeks in sherry, as well as a se­lec­tion of pre-desserts to be en­joyed be­fore ac­tual dessert. You can work off the calo­ries in the ho­tel fit­ness cen­tre, which also of­fers per­sonal train­ing ses­sions, pi­lates and yoga. Seem a bit much? Then opt for a pam­per­ing ses­sion at the ho­tel spa in­stead. Book it Rooms from £256 (granhotel­in­

nimb ho­tel Copen­hagen, Den­mark

The lowdown Fairy-tale es­capism in the heart of the cap­i­tal. Best for Week­enders want­ing the buzz of the city at their fin­ger­tips. Lo­cated on the east­ern edge of the achingly-hip Vester­bro dis­trict, Nimb is known for its dis­tinctly un-scandi façade. Orig­i­nally con­ceived by Dan­ish architect Knud Arne Petersen in 1909, the white-washed, Moor­ish-in­spired ex­te­rior fea­tures or­nate mar­ble stucco lined with floor-to-roof light­bulbs, promis­ing a ro­man­tic spec­ta­cle to be­hold by day or night. In­side, its 38 rooms (21 of which sit in the Tivoli Cor­ner ex­ten­sion designed by New York-based ar­chi­tects Pei Cobb Freed & Part­ners) fea­ture four-poster beds and antique fur­ni­ture set against pinewood floors and muted walls. Dan­ish de­sign gets the nod with sleek tech­nol­ogy cour­tesy of Bang & Olufsen, bath­rooms are stocked with Mer­aki skin­care ham­pers (to be en­joyed as you soak in a Philippe Starck ultra-luxe two-per­son tub), and a strict ‘home from home’ ethos means you’re greeted by low light­ing and jazz mu­sic when you en­ter your room. Set in the his­toric Tivoli Gar­dens, Nimb’s culi­nary of­fer­ings pro­vide just as much to swoon over: head to the light-soaked green­house, Ge­myse, for or­ganic goods, en­joy pas­tries at Cak­en­hagen or sam­ple Smør­re­brød at Fru Nimb. Over-in­dulged and in need of some R&R? Heave yourself up­stairs for ci­tyscape views and the only rooftop pool in the city. Book it Dou­ble rooms from £534 (

The Prin­ci­pal Ed­in­burgh, UK

The lowdown A tar­tan take on the cool club vibe.

Best for Those seek­ing a quirky base in the Scot­tish cap­i­tal.

The newly ren­o­vated Prin­ci­pal styles it­self as a ‘cos­mopoli­tan club­house’ – and it’s easy to see why. Over­look­ing a pri­vate gar­den square, the ho­tel is made up of seven in­ter­con­nect­ing Ge­or­gian town­houses in the heart of Ed­in­burgh’s New Town, a UNESCO world her­itage site. Though there are 181 bed­rooms and 18 suites, the re­cent £25 mil­lion restora­tion has steered away from a cor­po­rate feel, in­stead cre­at­ing an ex­clu­sive, homely at­mos­phere. Bed­rooms re­tain a tra­di­tional Scot­tish feel with tar­tan throws, leather so­fas, hand-drawn art­work and play­ful red bed­side phones. Chil­dren will love the tuck­box of Scot­tish good­ies, while adults can lux­u­ri­ate in the Ed­war­dian-style bath­rooms, with rain­fall show­ers and sig­na­ture Per­fumer’s Story toi­letries. Some suites are even equipped with portable record play­ers and vinyl col­lec­tions, and guests can en­joy the spa and gym, too. When it comes to meal­times, break­fast is best en­joyed in the glass-roofed court­yard Gar­den Room, while din­ner in the turquoise-walled BABA restau­rant is a must. With its open char­coal grill, Mid­dle East-in­spired dishes might in­clude beet­root hum­mus with whipped feta, and lamb shoul­der with tahini yo­gurt. Book it Dou­ble rooms from £250 (ph­com­­ci­pal/ ed­in­burgh-char­lotte-square).

CLOCK­WISE FROM TOP LEFT Blush pink and mono­chrome flow into the cor­ri­dor; a spa­cious liv­ing area is at the heart of Suite iii; en-suite bath­rooms of­fer ex­tra lux­ury in Suite i; and no dec­o­ra­tive de­tail is for­got­ten

CLOCK­WISE FROM TOP LEFT Take a walk around the Flat­iron Dis­trict; lux­u­ri­ate in the free­stand­ing bath; soak up the op­u­lence of the Art Deco-style din­ing room; and the li­brary, with its spi­ral stair­case, is a haven for guests

CLOCK­WISE FROM ABOVE Pam­per yourself in the el­e­gant bath­room; sip a copa de cava in the lobby bar; re­lax af­ter a day of exploring in a deluxe room; and en­joy some con­tem­po­rary Span­ish food in the Lobo 8 restau­rant

CLOCK­WISE FROM TOP LEFT Lit­tle touches await; sam­ple the ho­tel’s restau­rant of­fer­ings; en­joy views over Tivoli; the stylish bath­room em­bod­ies Dan­ish de­sign; snug­gle down in a four-poster bed; and look out over Copen­hagen

CLOCK­WISE FROM TOP LEFT The lobby evokes the feel of a pri­vate mem­bers’ club; ad­mire the typ­i­cal ar­chi­tec­ture in Ge­orge Street, en­joy a meal in the fo­liage-filled Gar­den Room; and re­tire to a so­phis­ti­cated suite

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