Five-star style: Interiors inspiration from the world's top hotels

Sir Joan Hotel


For anyone with a keen eye for design, travelling the world often means picking up a wealth of interiors inspiration along the way. Just as superyacht designers are pushing boundaries in an effort to create something entirely bespoke and ultra-luxurious, high-end hotels are working harder, in a competitive market, to stand out from the crowd. So the next time you check in, says Tory Kingdon, take a look around: you may well find inspiration for your upcoming project.

Sir Joan Hotel, Ibiza

Where better to seek design inspiration for your yacht than a hotel inspired by the maritime culture of its location? The Sir Joan Hotel in Ibiza was designed by Tel Aviv-based studio Baranowitz & Kronenberg in collaboration with Paolo Castelli, with the intention of reflecting life at sea. As well as a striking colour palette of sea greens, grey and copper, which would look beautiful on a yacht, the lobby and bar area features a dark wood nut floor juxtaposed with a reflective polished aluminium lamella mirror finish on the ceiling. “The changing light on the ceiling is intended to alter the mood of the room, but also to replicate the movement of the sky and the sea,” says Castelli.

A central feature is the bar, made from stainless steel and evoking ocean waves through its undulating shape. “It was inspired by the bollards that keep ships at bay,” says the designer. Stainless steel also lines the walls in the bar area, in the form of mottled wall panels. “These flood the space with shimmering reflections,” says Castelli. A large rug in the lounge area is intended to call to mind the tattoos of old mariners. With so much to draw the eye, furniture is kept trim and contemporary.

Armani Hotel


The Armani Hotel Milan’s dramatic exterior – designed in 1937 by Enrico A Griffini – draws the eye, but its interior, designed by Giorgio Armani, is the epitome of quiet luxury, an aesthetic often sought after by superyacht owners. “I concentrated all my efforts on delivering my personal aesthetic vision within a precisely defined ambience of total comfort,” he says. Armani has long confessed his passion for order and optimal sense of space, and at the hotel everything from the discreet high-tech amenities to the placement of furniture offers practical inspiration.

Each room is a lesson in stylish restraint, featuring a sophisticated muted colour palette of creamy browns and soft greys, and materials that are pared back but tactile, including soft limestone walls, silk georgette curtains and marble in the bathrooms. Furniture is elegantly linear and upholstered in the softest leather or fabric. When designing superyachts, Armani says he aims “for comfort, arranging spaces that leave plenty of visual freedom, so that one never feels closed in a box with low ceilings. I want the boat to feel like a home.”

The Goring


If, like certain members of the British royal family, you’re a fan of the Goring in London, you will likely have enjoyed the old-world glamour of the bar and lounge. Designed by Tim Gosling for the hotel’s centenary celebrations and refurbishment, the brief was to find something quintessentially English, without it being a recreation of an Edwardian setting. “We opted for gilded ceilings, exquisite bespoke furniture either side of the replace, and a portrait of Nelson above,” says Gosling.

Gosling worked with DKT Artworks to produce the hand-gilded ceiling, a process which involved applying a Dutch metal directly to the surface. According to director Steve Keeling, the same technique has been used on superyachts. “We’ve added gilding to feature ceilings over a dining table, or in a lounge area over a central raised part of a ceiling,” he says. Gosling agrees that a gilded  finish would work well on a yacht: “At the Goring we added lighting in alcoves, which reflected off  the ceiling. This would be perfect for a superyacht where height is restricted, as it creates a visual height and lightness.”

The Ritz-Carlton

Tysons Corner

The Presidential Suite at the Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner, just outside of Washington DC, is a lesson in creating a unique scheme through the use of one stand-out feature. In this instance, the feature is a bold geometric rug, designed by Wimberly Interiors and created by ICE International: a hand-tufted combination of New Zealand wool and silk. To ensure a clean, contemporary scheme, the rest of the furnishings have been kept modern, with largely angular lines in a co-ordinating colour palette. Geometrics work well on a yacht, says Rogier Janssen of Ice International: “There are many different ‘shapes’ to work with, whether it is the shape of the boat itself, the shape of a particular area, the reflection of handcrafted ceilings, or other geometric details. These can all be reflected in the floor covering,” says Janssen.

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