Friday, 5 August 2011

Donde está mi hotel del diseñador?*

Given that we are smack bang in the middle of the holiday season I thought I would depart from my recent series of blogs and share details of my surprise whirlwind weekend trip to Madrid (booked by my devoted hubby to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary - although, all that good stuff said, only two years to go until we reach seven years and then I might consider trading him in for a younger, richer and fitter model). Surprisingly (I am expressing surprise because my husband booked the weekend), we stayed at the Hotel Puerta America and, if you are anything like me and love design and super cool contemporary interiors, you will absolutely adore this place (and then some)...

Hotel Puerta America is a hugely successful collaboration between several of the most eminent and innovative architects and designers from around the world. The hotel literally represents the who’s who of interior design (I have all the geeky ‘marked up’ pictures in my library of ‘best of’ design textbooks to prove it), and it’s all housed in one modern building (with an alluring selection of bars and restaurants to complement the hotel itself). For someone like me who is passionate about design, it was fascinating to have the opportunity to understand how 12 different and inspiring architects and designers interpret exactly the same space on each of the different levels within what, if I am being fair, is a fairly standard building. In short, the results are absolutely astonishing - each floor felt like a totally different space and provided an amazing wealth of diversity, both in terms of design and the actual experience of being in the lobby area of the floor or in the rooms themselves. I should at this point explain that you can actually go on a tour of the hotel - it’s not one of those scenarios where you roam the floors and walk into what you think is an empty hotel room and find someone standing naked or, worse still, doing something naughty...

So, as I said, each of the floors has been conceived by a top class designer and each showcases something entirely different and unique... From the colourful, impactful and sleek lines of Marc Newson (Floor 6) to Kathryn Findlay’s white Tatooine** inspired pods (Floor 8 - where we stayed in one of the Suites!), to the industrial feel of the purely stainless steel Floor 4 (designed by Plasma Studio). Alongside this, there are more design ‘heavyweights’, including; Sir Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid (with a floor of flowing organic lines) and Jean Nouvel. There genuinely is something for everyone here - from curvy minimalism, to bright red bathrooms that feel like the dressing room for a movie star (minus the rider that specifically demands only the yellow M&Ms, a large bowl of ‘white powder’ and pink fluffy bunnies), to strange combinations of vibrant colours, wood, glass, Corian and stainless steel - all combined very effectively in one ‘five star’ luxurious space. 



  • First Floor : Zaha Hadid 
  • Second Floor: Sir Norman Foster 
  • Third Floor: David Chipperfield 
  • Fourth Floor: Eva Castro and Holger Kehne (Plasma Studio) 
  • Fifth Floor: Victorio and Luchino 
  • Sixth Floor: Ron Arad 
  • Seventh Floor: Marc Newson 
  • Eight Floor: Kathryn Findlay 
  • Ninth Floor: Richard Gluckman 
  • Tenth Floor: Arata Isozaki 
  • Eleventh Floor: Javier Mariscal - Fernando Salas 
  • Twelfth Floor: Jean Nouvel 

(Floor 1 – Zaha Hadid - Image by Rafael Vargas)
(Floor 6 – Marc Newson - Image by Rafael Vargas)
(Floor 4 – Plasma Studio - Image by Rafael Vargas)

It really is an extraordinary pastiche of styles honoring the best in the industry - in some ways it will probably become a gallery... a tribute... an illustration of the most influential designs of our time...

As you walk in through the frosted glass entrance you are immediately immersed in a fabulous organic reception designed by John Pawson (where you are presented with an ipad to view the 12 different floors and to choose where you would like to stay). We chose a suite on the 8th floor designed by Kathryn Findlay. The pure white room is Star Wars inspired, with organic shaped seating and white sheer curtains used to separate all the different areas including the bathroom and standalone bath - simply divine, although I don’t envy the cleaners or recommend puppies...



(Floor 8 – Kathryn Findlay - Image by Rafael Vargas)
(Floor 8 – Kathryn Findlay - Image by Rafael Vargas)
(Floor 8 – Kathryn Findlay - Image by Rafael Vargas)

The spacious public areas have received just as much design attention - from the elegant Lagrimas Negras Dining Room, by Christian Liagre (one of my favourite designers) to the minimlist Marmo Cocktail Lounge, with its gleaming Carrara Marble bar top (where a serious amount of Cava was consumed during the course of the weekend).



  • Public Areas- John Pawson
  • Restaurant- Christian Liaigre
  • Landscape- Harriet Bourne and Johnathan Bell
  • Lighting- Arnold Chan
  • Lighting- Jason Bruges
  • Garage- Teresa Sapey
  • Bar - Marc Newson
  • Architectural Project- Felipe Saez de Gordoa



    (Marmo Cocktail Lounge - John Pawson- Image by Rafael Vargas)  
    (Lagrimas Negras Dining Room - Christian Liagre - Image by Rafael Vargas)


    Somehow it works perfectly, all hanging together as it would in a gallery of the finest in contemporary art. The unifying themes are luxury, comfort, embracing different concepts and, importantly, a no-expense spared attitude towards budget. An awesome weekend away where my husband earned a few extra brownie points - I might just keep him for a few more years... I have heard there is a similar hotel in Copenhagen that I may just want to visit for our next anniversary.

    *Where is my designer hotel?

    **Tatooine is a fictional planet from the Star Wars saga. It rests in the distant Outer Rim, beyond the reaches of Republic and Imperial law. Even the Trade Federation lacked a presence on the desert planet. Poor, with very little industry to boast, Tatooine is a mixture of hard-working locals attempting to extract a living from the unforgiving environment and transients visiting the world for... oh, you get the picture...

    1 comment:

    1. The most eminent and innovative architects and designers from around the world. The hotel literally represents the who’s who of interior design ..Hotel Design ...design looks so great.

      ReplyDelete

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