Sleep - March 2013
20 W29th Street, New York 212 679 2222
Words Sophy Grimshaw
This relatively new Midtown address - it's been open since 2010, in a building that dates from 1904 - has cool credentials that are hard to beat, even in New York. The hotel's lobby music, not usually a celebrated genre, is a handpicked selection from indie record store Other Music, for instance. There's a discreet entrance from within to hip boutique Opening Ceremony next door, and another to Stumptown Coffee Roasters (always packed out, but it's worth waiting in the early morning queues).
You can dine in-house at The Breslin, brought to you by Ken Friedman and April Bloomfield, the people behind New York's hit gastropub The Spotted Pig. It's all very trendy, but it's also extremely good, with one Michelin star no less. "Rich salty roasted flavours predominate," says the blurb, and you can expect a nose-to-tail dining experience, as befits Bloomfield's St John London connection.
Bedrooms run the gamut from surprisingly modest bunk bed set-ups to huge lofts with hardwood floors and vintage furniture.
The best bathrooms have big ol' tubs that make them much more soulful than your average hotel facilities. Even the laundry bags, made to look like an old US Post Office sacks, are cool. I had no idea a laundry bag could be cool; it's that sort of hotel. Rooms from €60/$79.
Museumstrasse 1, Vienna +43 1 522 2520;
Words Adrian Mourby
It was Frederick the Great who built the original Sans Souci in Potsdam, near Berlin - an opulent summer palace whose name translates as "without worries" or "carefree". That, too, is the idea behind Vienna's latest hotel, the Sans Souci Wien. Opened last December, it sits just beyond the Ringstrasse, in a neighbourhood nicknamed "Boboville" in honour of its Bourgeois Bohemian residents.
The block was constructed as a hotel in the 1890s, lost its way in the 20th century and ended up as offices after World War II. Recently, a Viennese businessman by the name of Norbert Winkelmayer bought it up, and encouraged his design team to let their creativity run riot.
It begins with a dazzling foyer of marble and chandeliers, which gives way to more sober, spacious bedrooms with parquet flooring airy white walls and antique-style rugs. Windows, triple-glazed against the roar of the Ringstrasse, look out on to the MuseumsQuartier.
The stygian dining room is along the same stately lines, with even more chandeliers, while the bar is not to be missed: a gloriously rococo concoction of painted panels, marble and gold, where the specialty is champagne cocktails.
Down in the basement, meanwhile, is the extensive fitness and sauna area. Its revamp of the traditional Austrian sauna owes more to Terence Conran than the Tyrol, while the centrepiece is a vast swimming pool, lit by five crystal chandeliers.
It makes for a luxurious retreat after browsing the city's museums or the shops in nearby Kohlmarkt (dubbed Kohlingrad by locals, due to a preponderance of well-heeled Russians). Doubles from €209.
Odette en Ville
25 Rue du Châtelain, Brussels +32 (0)2 640 2626
Words Elizabeth Winding
These days, the term boutique hotel is much-misused; this place, though, is the real thing. Set in a gracious 1920s townhouse on a tree-lined street in Ixelles, close to the chi-chi Place du Châtelain, Odette en Ville has just eight rooms.
Children are made welcome, but we didn't spot any on our visit: this is more a stylish hideaway for a romantic weekend à deux.
The décor, indeed, is a study in seduction, mixing restrained blacks and greys with opulent crushed velvets and sleekly modern fittings: flatscreen TVs, wi-fi and iPod docks are present and correct, along with big, gloriously comfortable beds. Our opulently tasseled key belongs to Room 6 - much in demand, thanks to its marble tub for two and palatial bathroom, stocked with Penhaligon's toiletries.
Down the wrought-iron staircase, the dining room is a polished but unstarchy affair, as is the dimly lit lounge and darkly decadent bar. The library, too, is an inviting spot for a drink, with its black lacquered walls, book-print wallpaper panels and little honesty bar; settle into a low-slung Chesterfield and make yourself at home.
Come the morning the lounge is transformed, its tables set with pristine white tablecloths and gleaming silverware. We breakfast on eggs Benedict by a crackling open fire; what this place lacks in big-hotel amenities, it more than makes up for in charm. Rooms from €250, not including breakfast.