Three newly reimagined designer hotels worth the double take. 

One question: Which to visit first?

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  • Written by
    Jennie Nunn

Where: Sausalito, California

What: The Inn Above Tide

Backstory: Initially constructed by William “Bill” McDevitt in 1961 for use as an apartment building, the inn was redesigned in August 1995 and transformed into a luxury boutique hotel. For more than 20 years the McDevitt family has continued to maintain the luxury property, now replete with two new suites and a redesigned second-floor suite.

Design Firm: San Francisco–based interior designer Antonio Martins, principal of Antonio Martins Interior Design, and Sausalito-based art consultant Julie Coyle of Julie Coyle Art Associates

Design Talk: “The concept was to have rooms that open into the bay and honor the view above it all. The rooms were inspired by nature, and we brought the elements into the room with custom-created wallpapers. One room has a fish wallpaper, giving the impression that the water comes into the room, and a magic pond is created in the room. Another has bird wallpaper where the internal walls of the room become seamless with the view. The upper room has a blue wavy wallpaper, extending the bay level into the room. They all have a very peaceful effect and bring nature in.”

Wow Factor: Wallpaper by Aux Abris including School and Fish; a Gisele pendant by Arteriors; artwork by Barbara Wildenboer.

Where: Careyes, Mexico

What: El Careyes Club & Residences

Backstory: The brainchild of Italian entrepreneur, artist and banker Gian Franco Brignone, who first visited in 1968 from Turin, Italy.

Location Scout: The property is situated along approximately 7.4 miles of Pacific shoreline spanning nearly 5,000 acres of jungle, mangroves, cliffs and beaches on the Jalisco coast.

Design Firm: Taller de Arquitectura, Mauricio Rocha and Gabriela Carrillo

Design Talk: “We wanted to work in two ways: trying to be as intelligent as possible optimizing and taking advantage of what was already there, including a structure more complex in the lower levels than in the highest levels; and a huge opportunity to have different types of apartments, all facing two facades—one to the ocean and the other to the jungle. On the other hand, we got inspired by a beautiful image we saw from a visit of Francis Ford Coppola that he had when this building was originally open to the public. He said that it was beautiful … this feeling of getting out of your room and placing your feet on the sand. By that image of sand and nature creating this ‘primitive sophistication,’ we realized we want to keep this Careyes feeling, which is unique, and bring to the heart of the horseshoe the spirit of the jungle, with raccoons and birds, plunge pools that match with the color of the sea and a landscape that owns the land.”

Materials Used: “We use a local brick for floors, screens and walls, which is very particular because of its measurements—really big and beautiful, handmade. We also used local woods like the rosa morada tree and natural, local purple stone.”

Where: New Orleans, Louisiana

What: The Jung Hotel & Residences

Backstory: Once the largest convention hotel in the south, the property originally opened in 1908 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

Reliving History: President Lyndon B. Johnson delivered a re-election speech at the hotel in 1964.

Design Firm: Lisa M. Condon and Gustavo Arroyo, Lisambiance Design

Design Talk: “The vision for the hotel was to create a comfortable, modern environment while maintaining the artistic elements of this historic building. Ease of movement from one venue to another in the public areas was considered, and the bar, private niches, restaurant and Daily Grind Coffee Co. are within range of each other. The guestrooms are very spacious with soft blue and beige tones, and the graffiti artwork adds a burst of color.”

Artistic Touch: “All of the artwork in the hotel is by local artists, using a range of techniques and sizes. There are currently 33 pieces of artwork that can be found throughout The Jung Hotel & Residences.”

Designer Elements: “The lobby walls and columns are hand-selected white Carrara marble. The lobby flooring is oversized Italian porcelain tile, tone-on-tone design. The standout features are the draped niches in the lobby and the open niches in the gallery, which allow guest privacy. The deeply toned Macassar woods, accented with chrome elements on the furniture along with lush upholstery fabrics, add to the comfort of sitting in the niches.”

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