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A Mexican Utopia to a coastal Cretan retreat: Thease are Design Hotels’ newest members

Hotelito at MUSA
Hotelito at MUSA

More than a collection of hotels, Design Hotels brings forward-thinking member hotels insightful travel industry expertise – from trend forecasting and creative consultancy, to PR, marketing, and global sales representation.

Ancient Japanese literature meets contemporary art in Kyoto. A 12th century palace transformed into a majestic Mallorca getaway. A utopia for modern adventurers in Mexico nestled amongst 165 acres of palm groves and 40 kilometers of undeveloped coastline. These are the six newest members of Design Hotels around the world.

Design Hotels

Japan
A secret world in the heart of Kyoto, Genji Kyoto prioritizes gardens within its spatial layout, dissolving the boundaries between interior and exterior spaces. This design embodies the concept of teioku ichinyo, where garden and architecture coalesce to become one. Custom-designed locally made furniture, washi-paper lamps, a bamboo-lined entrance, and century-old handcrafted tansu chests instill a sense of quietude, while imprinted concrete and innovative washi windows are examples of cross-cultural elements that allow the new build to blend with ancient Japanese culture. In guestrooms, such elements are complemented by one-of-a-kind paintings that young Kyoto artists created in tribute to the 11th-century Japanese literary masterpiece The Tale of Genji.

Greece
In a stunning and secluded waterfront setting on the island of Crete, The Tanneries Hotel & Spa invites guests to connect with its industrial past. Four former tanneries conjoin to form an all-suite hotel boasting airy and bright interior spaces, indoor and outdoor pools, a seafront restaurant and bar, and a wellness center and spa. Throughout the spaces, the buildings’ industrial characters were preserved—particularly the facade, roof tiles, floors, and ceilings—while natural materials like concrete, glass, marble, and wood combine for a clean and minimalist look. At the Periplous Seaside Restaurant, executive chef Nikos Mylonakis, a well-known figure in the Cretan gastronomy scene, honors tradition while pursuing freshness, modernity, and excitement with high-quality, locally sourced ingredients.

Spain
At Nobis Hotel Palma, modern day Palma de Mallorca comes alive in a former 12th-century medieval Muslim palace. Situated in the heart of Old Town and carefully updated using the best of both Scandinavian and Spanish design, the hotel merges the past with the present. Many of the building’s original elements, such as old stone, brick walls, vaulted ceilings, and imposing archways, complement contemporary pieces in natural and sustainable materials, including wood, stone, wool, and leather. Striking combinations are further reflected in the Mirall Bar, a classy spot for cocktails with nine-meter-tall walls adorned with high-quality artworks, including a restored painting dating back to the 15th century. Elsewhere, renowned chef Xema Álvarez helms the onsite restaurant, NOI Palma, and an intimate spa with an indoor pool and sauna call to mind ancient Roman baths.

Design Hotels

Portugal
On the Portuguese coast north of Lisbon, Immerso Hotel has established a reputation as the first world-class hotel in Ericeira, a renowned surf destination with more than 12 beaches. Embracing the beauty of its location, the hotel’s building is surrounded by a world of greenery and art that includes a large hedgehog sculpture by artist Paulo Reis, a vegetable garden that supplies produce for the restaurant, an outdoor firepit for barbecues, walking paths through meadows, and a yoga deck with sea views. Inside, guestrooms are fresh, bright, and filled thoughtfully with custom-made pieces to create calming atmospheres and draw guests’ eyes to large windows that frame the valley and ocean beyond. At the restaurant Emme, chef Alexandre Silva’s fresh and straightforward cuisine values the local terroir and organic produce, while the serene spa features a sauna, Turkish bath, sensory bath, and three treatment rooms stocked with products from Vinoble Cosmetics.

Mexico
Inspired by the terraces and patios in front of Santo Domingo Church, the newly built Otro Oaxaca echoes the warmth of the region and emulates the historic facades that surround it. Brick and soil from the valley rest upon exposed concrete walls, augmented by custom-designed, artisanal furniture and touches of natural resins, steel, glass, and recycled wood. At the subterranean Otro Spa, rejuvenation and indulgence are encouraged: guests can unwind in a steam room, cold-water bathtub, and plunge pool reminiscent of a cenote, as well as enjoy treatments in one of two massage cabins. Upstairs, contemporary cuisine is served al fresco on the ground-floor patio and at a large communal table on the roof, where chefs cook on an open grill and views stretch out over the city and valleys beyond.

Set in Guerrero, Mexico, amongst 165 acres of palm groves and 40 kilometers of undeveloped coast, Hotelito at MUSA (short for “Modern Utopian Society of Adventurers”) offers a tropical modernist escape. The hotel is characterized by sleek lines, airy interiors, and an effortless wabi-sabi sensibility, establishing a meaningful connection between oneself and the stunning surroundings. Open-air bathrooms and living areas allow for a seamless transition between inside and out, while lush rooftop gardens and exterior landscaping promote naturally cooler indoor spaces. Transcending the traditional realms of hospitality, the surrounding MUSA community and amenities are rooted in art, innovation, exploration, and regeneration. Outdoor spaces range from shaded grassed areas with silken hammocks, arboretum sitting areas, organic gardens, and wildlife sanctuaries to saltwater pools with shaded daybeds and a palm wood water temple deck. Elevated dining and chef’s table experiences await at Alba, while Club de Playa is a go-to spot for après surf, with all-day snacks and cocktails.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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