Putting the classic European city trip back on our radar for 2014, are these stellar openings.
Hotelier Adrian Zecha’s new Venetian venture Aman Canal Grande (www.amanresorts.com) sees him pit his pared-back style against the grand surroundings of a 16th-century Venetian palazzo. Modern B&B Italia furniture is found against gilded cherubs and ornate wallpapers, while guests can lie in bed and gaze up to original 18th century frescoed ceilings painted by master artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. Full of delicious surprises, such as secret gardens and a unique Thai-Italian menu in the upper salon restaurant, this gives an unexpected and delightful perspective on Venice.
Meanwhile, making its mark in St Petersburg is the utterly glamourous Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace (www.fourseasons.com/stpetersburg). Years of meticulous restoration has seen the historic Lion Palace, next to St Isaac’s Cathedral and immortalised in an Alexander Pushkin poem, be transformed into an impressive hotel. Returned to its former glory, the formidable entrance sets the scene and makes way for elegant interiors, period details, a chi chi vodka and champagne bar and a luxury spa, found in the hotel’s original courtyard.
Finally, The Thief in Oslo (www.thethief.com) is making its name as one of Europe’s leading art hotels. Oslo’s first waterfront hotel, in the rejuvenated Tjuvholmen area, it boasts an impressive collection of contemporary art handpicked by a renowned curator, Warhol’s Ladies and Gentlemen and works by Fiona Banner and Tony Cragg are just a few. Adding to the avant-garde spirit is furniture designed by upcoming Norwegian designers, video art-on-demand and smart phones to be used as room keys. New for 2014 is their own series of collaborations – one of which is with Mags from pop band A-Ha. Remember him? As one of the founders of supergroup Apparatjik (along with Coldplay bassist Guy Berryman), he has designed an inventive hotel suite ideal for pop princesses.
Read my full feature on travel trends for the year ahead in the January issue of The Mayfair Magazine. Out now.