I’m a big fan of boutique, arty hotels, so was delighted to stumble across the Design Hotels portfolio. With over 200 hotels and resorts located around the world, most heavily in Europe, there are many lust-worthy hotels listed on the website. Only 5% of hotels that apply for membership have it granted. Design Hotels has the following philosophy when looking for new members:
“…we always look for its distinguishing factor – the originality in its concept. It is about scrutinizing key areas to find exactly the right members: holistic concepts, location, architecture, design, local integration, corporate ethics and – most importantly – the people behind the concept and their commitment towards their hotel…”
You wouldn’t then be mistaken for thinking that all of the hotels are expensive and far from affordable. Indeed, many are. When I became a member, I was mainly interested in getting access to the member-only private sales and discounts of up to 50% at selected new properties (whether new hotels or just new to Design Hotels). But, since then I’ve noticed quite a few affordable Design Hotels, including all of the following hotels with rates starting at under $150 USD per night.
Fresh Hotel, Athens, Greece
An urban resort, Fresh Hotel is built upon Omonoia Square, one of Athen’s oldest squares. Its bold, candy box like dashes of colour lend a splash of colour to downtown Athens. Inside it’s all modern, mixing natural materials and pops of colour along with a selection of designer furniture. There’s a rooftop pool and bar from which you can view the ancient ruins of the Acropolis. Six rooms even have private, zen-like gardens. I found rooms available from $123 USD per night, including a buffet breakfast.
The House Hotel, Cappadocia, Turkey
Each of the rooms in The House Hotel Cappadocia in the town of Ortahisar is unique. That’s because they’ve been created from several caves and traditional homes built in the 5th century, as well as the 1800s and late 1900s. The rooms feature a variety of original elements, including frescoes, fireplaces, storage alcoves and even a wine vat. There’s also simple modern touches such as local marble and custom-made wooden furniture. On site is a spa with Turkish Hamam, sauna and steam, as well as a locally inspired restaurant. The hotel has also been designed to best retain the surrounding views of rock formations. I found rooms available from $111 USD per night, including buffet breakfast.
Hotel Teatro, Porto, Portugal
Located in the heart of Porto, Hotel Teatro offers more than just a perfectly central location to explore this historic UNESCO-listed city, from its riverbanks to wine cellars. Located on the site of the renown 19th-century Teatro Baquet, this newly imagined hotel channels the spirit of the old theatre, with theatrical lighting and plush velvets. Designed by Nini Andrade Silva, it offers theatrical touches and staging throughout. I found rooms available from $140 USD per night, including breakfast and a Welcome-Porto wine.