THE WATERHOUSE AT SOUTH BUND
Maojiayuan Road, No 1-3, Zhongshan Road South, Huangpu District, Shanghai,
Tel: +86 21 6080 2988, www.waterhouseshanghai.com
What is it: Located in Shanghai’s historic dockyard district, Shiliupu, The Waterhouse at South Bund was once a crumbling factory built in the 1930s and a one-time Japanese military headquarters during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937 – 1945). Aside from the novelty of feeling like you’ve stepped into a time portal, the architecture and décor is every designophile’s wet dream; the exterior’s Old World Art Deco charm juxtaposes rather nicely with the interior’s industrial chic-meets-modern Chinese aesthetic that only Shanghai-based duo Neri & Hu can execute with such effortless chic. While the overall design is sleek and minimalist, it’s hardly sterile: the architects calibrated the layout so that diners at the hotel’s restaurant, which overlooks an internal courtyard, are given voyeuristic glimpses into the rooms up above. Non-exhibitionists can rest assured, though, that privacy is guaranteed thanks to the double-glazed treatment of the windows.Why we love it: Luxury is all about exclusivity: with only 19 rooms available all year round, expect to be put on a long wait list. And as they say – location, location, location. The hotel is adjacent to the hipster-tinged hotspot Cool Docks, and is across the road from Zhongshan Nan Lu, where you can stock up on bespoke suits at the famous Shiliupu fabric market. Or, for more upmarket offerings, check out the boutiques on nearby Huaihai Zhong Lu and Xintiandi.
TOWN HALL HOTEL
Patriot Square, London. Tel: +44 (0)20 7871 0460, www.townhallhotel.com
What is it: In an ironic twist of fate, the former Bethnal Green Town Hall – an Edwardian building set in London’s vibrant East End – is now colonised by Singaporean hotelier Loh Lik Peng as part of his Unlisted Collection properties. Rechristened The Town Hall Hotel Apartments, the 1930s building has been assiduously restored by London/Paris-based Rare Architecture, and transformed into a spacious 98-room hotel and residence. The hotel still retains the historical essence of the building, with the original Henry Poole sculptures remaining untouched, and the council chambers restored for the public to be re-acquainted with the hotel’s rich heritage.
Making the ol’ gal relevant to Millennials, the designers added their signature cerebral touch to the hotel’s makeover. Deriving inspiration from the area’s edgy arts scene, and the neighbouring council housing, a futuristic extension wing adds an otherworldly element to the otherwise classic Edwardian-era architecture. The new wing is entirely wrapped in an aluminium skin that is laser cut with patterns taken from Art Deco motifs in the original Council Chamber, perhaps symbolic of the area’s rising status on the cultural radar.Why we love it: This one’s for foodies. The hotel has made a name for itself in London’s culinary scene with its restaurant, Viajante, helmed by celebrity chef Nuno Mendes, who’d worked with the upper echelons of gastronomy across both sides of the Atlantic such as Wolfgang Puck, Rocco di Spirito and Jean-Georges Vongerichten. His restaurant Viajante (‘travellers’ in Spanish) is an ode to the various ingredients, culinary techniques and flavours that he’d picked up on his journeys as a chef.