We believe in the overall travel principle that less is often more. Short trips with fewer destinations means more time spent absorbing and really connecting to a locale. Less baggage to carry around means more freedom on the road. And we always love when things work out to be more bang for less buck! This simple travel truth must be why we have such affinity for hotels with modern design. Based on the straightforward idea that "less is more," modern design focuses on creating more with, well, less -- by using simplicity, minimalism, and geometry. Popular elements of modern design include clean interiors with unadorned walls, minimal decor accents (or none at all), natural materials, raised furniture, and bare floors. Basically, modern designers believe you shouldn't have to tart up a place in order for it to look fabulous -- and considering some of the opulent, ostentatious, and sometimes downright gaudy decor we've seen in some hotels, we couldn't agree more. So,we're sharing some of our favorite super-chic spots with great modern design that will either make you want to mix up an old-fashioned -- or slide into a space suit. Either way, we're coming with you.
Modeled after the “capsule hotels” of Japan, with small rooms and
largely automated service, citizenM Amsterdam City has a mega-cool feel
and chic design features at affordable prices. The tech-savvy rooms are pod-like, and the mix of retro and futuristic styles in the eatery show strong elements of a contemporary modern design with simple, stylish furniture raised off the floor, smooth metal frames, and bold colors. The hotel also has a 24-hour canteen and lobby iMac center.
Although the location is a little far from tourist attractions, a tram
stop is adjacent to the property for access to the rest of the city.
With a stylish lobby reminiscent of the inside of a space station, and a
retro-modern restaurant area where diners are served sitting atop molded plastic chairs and under a smooth, rippled ceiling, the Room Mate Emma
is a cool pick for tourists visiting Barcelona and wanting to stay in a
“design” hotel. Here, it’s not just the furniture alone, but the whole funky lighting-decor-design package that draws us in, making it feel as though we’ve traveled into the future. The mid-range chain has 56 colorful guest rooms that
stand out for their bold use of color and artistic touches. There are
plenty of restaurants and cafes nearby, but guests wanting to stay
closer to Las Ramblas may want to consider Hotel Ramblas, a stylish,
more expensive option closer to the action.
The understated exterior of the UNA Hotel Vittoria belies the funky, ultra-modern decor found inside this 84-room property. The hotel’s eclectic style is hard to peg: Plastic furniture can be found in common areas, while Renaissance-style paintings adorn dark, atmospheric hallways. However, the Lobby Bar is decidedly modern with white walls, bare floors, molded plastic chairs, and a set of spiraling corkscrew seats (and mini, glass-topped versions of Robert Indiana’s famous “LOVE” sculpture as cocktail tables). But that’s not all: Overall, the hotel’s design elements are definitely distinctive and add to its generally trendy appeal.
Just note that the hotel is a bit removed from the tourist heart of the
city — but it’s still possible to walk to popular sights in around 20
This ultra-modern, 10-floor, 211-room hotel in the heart of Bilbao is
all about clean lines and interesting architecture. Right in the center
of town and very close to the Guggenheim Museum, the Melia Bilbao feels
to many like a modern art museum versus a hotel. Designed by a Mexican
architect with inspiration drawn from the Basque sculptor Chillida, the
hotel is filled with bright colors, interesting angles and a sleek,
minimalistic vibe. Though advertised as a five-star property, it doesn’t
quite live up to that level of luxury with bland rooms, no spa, and
long lines at the front desk and elevators. However, rooms do have
gorgeous bathrooms and the Michelin-rated restaurant is a true standout.
The 40-room, upscale boutique Hotel Monte Sarago is ideally located for
tourists, business travelers, and those who want to relax above the
urban fray. The Ostuni hotel is a five minutes’ walk from the heart of the
historic “White City,” and the beaches are a 10 minutes’ drive away. The
small, but beautiful pool is nestled along the cliffside above the main
building, with spectacular panoramic views. Rooms are modern, pristine,
and lovely, with platform beds and handsome gray marble bathrooms that
ooze luxury. The Monte Sarago looks and feels modern throughout with clean lines and white walls, hard angled wood-framed couches and coffee tables, and shiny metal-based chairs and stools.
Visitors who want more rustic digs should also check out the Hotel Rione
Antico La Terra in the heart of the historic district.
If you’re looking for an uber-modern, art-chic hotel with futuristic, experimental
design and luxe features, i-Suite is hard to top. Squeaky clean white walls, floors, and furniture with a sleek and smooth aesthetic spill throughout the hotel’s lobby to the pod-like guest rooms and retro-futuristic outdoor garden and pool spaces. From the panoramic
views from the top-floor spa (featuring rain rooms, saunas, and multiple
temperature pools), to the gourmet seafood restaurant, to the rooms
focused on decor over functionality, this 55-room property is built for
hip-minded couples who value the experience of aesthetics. (Easy access
to the Adriatic Sea doesn’t hurt either.) Meanwhile, the hotel’s
state-of-the-art conference and event facilities are often used for
brand launches and other business purposes. Those looking for a more
traditional and plush luxury stay should look elsewhere.
A 2013 renovation transformed this hotel’s interiors into a showcase of
chic, contemporary modern design, without forgetting a few homey touches. The
riverfront location in central Dublin is superb, with most of the city
center within walking distance. Rooms also have an uber-modern
aesthetic, and include impressive tech to match. A stylish blend of contemporary and modern design give way to stark, unadorned walls and smooth wooden floors in pale neutrals, sharp lines, and simple pops of color through satin silver furniture and a few bright accents. While some rooms have large floor-to-ceiling windows, some lack any external windows. The restaurant, dining room, and bar are also
interesting spaces worth spending some time in. It’s not the cheapest
option, however, so if quirky contemporary is your thing (but for a lesser price tag), compare rates
with The Morgan on the other side of the river.
Few hotels are more self-consciously hip and funky than the four-pearl
Nhow Milano. From the attention-grabbing uber-modern interiors of the
restaurant and lounge to the sparse industrial lobby and revolving art
exhibition, every corner of the hotel oozes an artsy aesthetic.
Minimalist yet comfortable rooms follow the design theme, although some
feel a little cramped. Free Wi-Fi, breakfast, and access to the Turkish
bath are nice freebies. The hotel is a bit pricey given its setting on
the outskirts of Milan center, so if location is an issue, you can
easily find somewhere more central for a similar price, like Hotel Spadari al Duomo — but you’ll lose a few features.
An immaculately crisp, white facade, clean contemporary design, and
wonderfully quirky futuristic furnishings set the scene for this
ultra-modern, technology-driven property. Just past a statue of two
ghostly figures and through a pair of large glass doors, the lobby
continues the ambience of 21st-century chic, with swivel chairs, elegant
but playful molded furniture, and a liberal smattering of freshly cut
flowers. The mood is hushed but welcoming, attracting a blend of
business guests who use the reception area for casual meetings and
leisure travelers looking for somewhere less traditional.
The upper-middle-range Sportsmen’s Lodge Hotel drips with style and
design features that combine old and new Hollywood, with 190 sleek rooms
loaded with colorful details. Furniture reflects traditional modern design, and by cleverly replacing stark molded plastic with more natural materials and colors, and using large blocks of wood as tables, the hotel successfully creates a unique modern lodge look and feel. There are open common areas with trendy
furniture, a pool and hot tub, simple but modern rooms, garden space,
on-site dining, and free Wi-Fi. The hotel has a both party and business
vibe, but not necessarily one that caters to families (toys are not allowed
in the pool, for example). Plenty of families still come, though, thanks
at least in part to the free shuttle to Universal Studios. A more
kid-friendly hotel is down the street at the Studio City Courtyard,
which offers less snazzy decor but lower prices.
Located in the upscale neighborhood of La Recoleta, the Recoleta Plaza hotel offers 38 apartment-like rooms with a modern minimalist vibe. Studios have sleek lines created by the earth-toned furniture and are equipped with glass-enclosed kitchenettes, large flat-screen TVs, and balconies. On the higher floors, balconies offer great views
over Recoleta cemetery but on the lower floors, some guests complain of
street noise. We especially like the gym area, where exercise equipment looks light, less clunky, and even — dare we say it? — stylish! This hotel is within walking distance of restaurants,
shops, and museums, but most major sites require a cab. While there is an annoying fee for in-room Wi-Fi, perks include a fitness room and outdoor pool surrounded by a chic wooden terrace for lounging.
Restored in 2007, the Risorgimento Resort is a 47-room luxury hotel in
the historic center of Lecce near monuments, churches, and lots of
dining options. The hotel has private parking, a gourmet restaurant with a beautiful, exposed-stone wine cellar, and an inviting rooftop terrace and bar oozing almost every element of modern design (white walls, large windows, hard angles, raised furniture with metal bases) and nice views of the city. Rooms are also modern and stylish with chic bathrooms; some have terraces. There is a small spa, free quality breakfast, and reading room, but only wired Internet is free.
Leone di Messapia is a modern, upper-middle-range hotel with 108 guest
rooms and four meeting rooms. The hotel often hosts conventions and
receptions, and has a restaurant with a wood-burning pizza oven, and a
spacious lobby bar flooded with natural light. Furniture reflects the best of mid-modern design with clean lines, smooth angles, sleek lacquered floors, retro-futuristic furniture, and a few natural material accents. Rooms are spacious with minimal decor,
flat-screen TVs, and stand-up showers with rain showerheads. The
historic city of Lecce is less than a 10-minute drive away. Travelers
wanting a comparable business hotel closer to Lecce could try the
8piuhotel, which is within walking distance or a five-minute drive from
European chain Yotel is known for its hip atmosphere and affordable rates. This Midtown West outpost is certainly hip, featuring three bars (including two on an enormous rooftop terrace), a Latin-Asian fusion restaurant, and funky, ultra-modern outer-space design from the ceiling to the floors. White walls, white furniture, smooth surfaces, and soft neon lighting can all be found here. And it’s usually affordable, at least for the area. Rooms are tiny, and the location on quiet 10th avenue is a bit out of the way, but the cool factor will make this a worthwhile option for a young, well-heeled hipster set. Dream and Hudson Hotel are similar in price, room size (small), and trendiness, so it’s worth weighing your options.