VIP arrivals: hottest hotels opening in July 2023

From bijoux and boutique, to big and bold in Budapest, this months hotel openings perfectly illustrate the shift in hotel design for more considered and personal spaces that are deeply imbedded in and reflective of, a location. From Mexico City to Margate, writer Pauline Brettell takes a look at a few of the latest hotel openings that are inviting us to sink into a sofa, retire to a roof terrace or soak up a sea view…

seating area in ember Locke in shades of terracotta and green with plants and wicker furniture

A far cry from the neutral zones and anonymous spaces of chain hotels from years gone by, the hotels on this months list all seem to offer a warm and very personal embrace – from roses on the ceiling to ocean views, it is about taking on board what the location has to offer and amplifying it through design. Embracing the trend to create a sense of place, each of these new properties is doing that in wonderfully idiosyncratic ways through design and storytelling, that is about both the individual and about community.

Ember Locke

Ember Locke guestroom interior in teal and rust

The latest aparthotel from Locke, spread across eight floors, will include 121 apartments, ranging from studios to duplex one-bedroom apartments. The lobby and common areas of Ember Locke will be complemented by a coffee shop, bar, restaurant, small stage for live performances, co-working space, meeting room and garden.

Designed in collaboration by creative and interior design studios Atelier Ochre and House of Dré, the inspiration behind the design was taken from the late Kensington Roof Gardens and the laissez-faire flamboyance demonstrated by the iconic mid-century fashion brand Biba, born in Kensington’s bohemian fashion scene in the 1960’s. The interiors of the apartments have been curated as a series of boudoir rooms with colourful tones, luxurious materials, vibrant patterns and Art Deco details.

Hotel San Fernando

olive green, wood and concrete on a rooftop terrace in mexico city

Image credit: Chad Wadsworth

The reimagined boutique Hotel San Fernando, marks Bunkhouse’s second property in Mexico. Located in the La Condesa neighbourhood of Mexico City, the new property is a serene retreat central to the city’s bustling energy, with 19 guestrooms across five floors, a lobby bar and lounge and a rooftop terrace.

Taking its name from the building itself, Edificio San Fernando, the property honours the patron saint of the Spanish Army Corps of Engineers. This ties in to the building’s architectural features, which draw from the anti-traditional elegance of the Art Deco era. Built in 1947 as an apartment building, original architectural details such as casement windows, encaustic tile floors, wainscoting in the corridors and lobby and stained glass, remain, while Bunkhouse and Mexico City-based Reurbano revitalised the design to reflect the rich colour and history of Mexico, melding old world elegance with new world style.

La Fantaisie Paris

wallpapered ceiling with vintage lighting and velvet seating in the Martin Brudnizki Hotel La Fantaisie

Image credit: Hotel La Fantaisie

La Fantaisie is the dream of a garden brought to life, with a design inspired by local Parisian history, the hotel reimagines the story of master gardeners Jean and Jacques Cadet who transformed the street in the heart of Faubourg Montmartre, into abundant market gardens. Sheltering 73 guestrooms and suites with interior design by Martin Brudnizki, the colour palette of soft greens, warm yellows and touches of coral references the plant world, while creating a soothing, comfortable environment.

The unique decor transports guests into a dreamlike world, with richly upholstered seats, sumptuous headboards and walls and ceilings adorned with floral wallpaper. As one of the only five-star hotels with a full garden and rooftop bar in the heart of Paris, La Fantaisie is preparing to offer a uniquely enchanting experience in the already enchanting city.

In addition to the Brudnizki interior, the return of Dominique Crenn, who will be overlooking the hotel’s culinary direction is creating more than a few ripples of interest in the opening. Crenn is the first and only female chef to be awarded three Michelin stars across the whole country and the move to La Fantaise marks a return home to her native France for the first time since the 1980s.

No.42 by GuestHouse

guestroom in No.42 by GuestHouse decorated in warm neutrals with balcony and seaview

The elegant, arcaded frontage of No42 by GuestHouse was built as part of the original seafront development and is strongly reminiscent of the era. True to brand this iconic building, originally named ‘The Terrace Hotel’, has been both restored and reimagined. Guests stepping inside the elegant, seafront property will find 21 bedrooms, a restaurant, a rooftop bar, a beachfront café serving healthy and organic food throughout the day, a lounge space and a spa. All these areas have been designed by GuestHouse’s in-house interior design team, drawing inspiration from the colourful and unfading seaside character of the town, while collaborating with some of Margate’s many creative forces for the interior.

The spaces are warm and spirited, positively lacking formality and pretension and the bedrooms look and feel like that of a stylish friend’s townhouse, many of which have sea views and private balconies. Chalky whites and moody greens sit alongside warm golden yellows contrasted with hints of pink and red. Textures and movement associated with the sea come through in the surface finishes.

La Fiermontina Ocean

cream and white and stone interior in La Fiermontina Ocean with views across the pool to the Atlantic

Image credit: Eric Martin

La Fiermontina Ocean is the third in the La Fiermontina portfolio, a collection that has its roots in the strong desire of the Filali siblings to reconnect with the places linked to their grandmother Antonia and uncle Enzo Fiermonte, from Puglia, their native land, to Paris and then Morocco. La Fiermontina Ocean has been designed as a boutique eco-retreat, on the wild Larache coast, in the northwest of Morocco, providing respectful hospitality and telling incredible, soul-stirring stories. Sheltering 12 Pool Suites and two Family Villas with private gardens and pool terraces with ocean views, it is located within the newly created ‘Dunes of Kkmiss Sahel’ Regional Natural Park.

The property includes four stone houses and a hammam for wellness treatments and argan oil massages in the nearby rural village of Dchier, which is part of an important community development project that is integral to the hotel ethos. The cultural diversity in the Filali family is reflected in the resort’s interior design, with its combination of Italian taste, French restraint and Moroccan warmth.

W Budapest

W Budapest suite with gold details and blue accents

Image credit: Marriott International

Hot on the heels of the opening of W Rome in 2021, W Budapest showcases the continued evolution of W Hotels design direction, creating a modern, inviting, unexpected and sophisticated setting for the next generation of luxury travellers. The soon-to-open hotel will offer stylish guestrooms and suites, including the exceptional Extreme WOW – W’s take on the Presidential Suite, as well as a destination bar, restaurant, W Lounge and AWAY Spa – all influenced by Budapest’s rich history, creativity and diversity.

The 151-key hotel is sheltered in the iconic Drechsler Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on Andrássy Avenue. The ornate building has been both carefully restored and transformed by London-based interior design studio Bowler James Brindley and Hungary-based studio Bánáti + Hartvig. Both studios came together and drew inspiration from the palace’s rich cultural history and multiple identities as a café, social hub and Hungarian State Ballet Academy.

Main image credit: Ember Locke