Where in the world do our well-traveled Kiwi Experts most like to overnight? Every Thursday for the next 10 weeks, a different expert will dish on their five favorite hotels of the moment, sharing what makes each one especially top-notch. First up, El Presidente and CEO Philippe Kjellgren.
1. COMO Shambhala Estate, Bali, Indonesia
Located in a very unique location atop a gorge in the Ubud area, the property features amazing architecture by Cheong Yew Kuan. There are five residences in five different Indonesian styles, and my favorites are the Sumbawa-style Wanakasa (“Forest in the Mist”) and Java-style Tirta Ening (“Clear Water”). The place also has my favorite bathtub in the world, one carved out of a solid rock.
2. Upper House, Hong Kong, China
The entire hotel has such a zen-like feel. Rooms are spacious, bathrooms are big, and the views of Hong Kong Bay are spectacular. The rooftop bar and restaurant is well worth a visit.
3. Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona, Spain
Located in an old bank building, the hotel had a smart architect who has created a very sexy product. With interiors by Patricia Urquoila, the rooms are very detailed and include great amenities. And location, location, location! It’s situated right on the best shopping street in Barcelona, Passeig de Gràcia. If that weren’t enough, it’s also home to Michelin-star chef Carme Ruscalleda’s Catalan restaurant, Moments.
4. Raffles Le Royal Monceau, Paris, France
This is the newest hotel by interior designer Philippe Starck. To-date, I have not seen a hotel with more attention to detail than this one. It’s not for everyone, but if you love design, this is your spot in the City of Light. The rooms, restaurants and spa are all stunning. The on-site screening room, “Le Cinéma des Lumières”, has the only 3D, 9.1 surround set-up I’ve seen.
5. La Villa des Orangers, Marrakech, Morroco
My favorite hotel in Marrakech is a small property in the Medina with tons of personality. You can see that the owner built this for his own taste, and so you feel that you are in someone’s beautiful home. It’s an oasis.
(Because with more than 2,000 properties in the Collection, how’s a CEO supposed to choose just five?)
6. Fasano, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
First, the coolest marble infinity rooftop pool you’ve ever seen overlooking Ipanema Beach. Second, sharp room design. Third, a to-die-for Italian restaurant. Here and elsewhere, the Fasano family has done it all right.
7. Greenwich Hotel, New York City, U.S.
Robert De Niro is one of my favorite actors. And this hotel he co-owns is also a favorite. It has those personal touches that makes you never want to leave. Located in the TriBeCa neighborhood, the small boutique property delivers both comfort and privacy.