Three swish hotels – from Sydney to Sri Lanka and Miami – have opened their doors to guests.
Argentinian hotelier Alan Faena has transformed Mid-Beach, a once-unloved neighbourhood of Miami, into Faena District. At the centre of the $US1 billion development is the recently opened Faena Hotel, housed in a 1947 building (formerly the luxurious Saxony Hotel). Australian film director Baz Luhrmann and his costume-designer wife, Catherine Martin, are behind the vivid interior design that echoes the glamour of the 1950s – velvet drapes, blue-tiled bathrooms, hardwood floors and splashes of bright red in almost all of the 169 rooms and suites and 13 penthouse residences that span the top two floors of the property.
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The town of Tangalle, on Sri Lanka’s southern coast, is one of the country’s best-kept secrets – a relaxed getaway with untouched beaches, lapped by the azure water of the Indian Ocean. Along this scenic strip and set amid a coconut plantation is Anantara’s spanking-new resort. Here, guests travel from the reception area to their rooms in tuk-tuks, sprawling villas open onto private terraces with plunge pools and complimentary outdoor yoga classes make the most of the sea breeze and views. The hotel has four restaurants but our pick is Verele, which serves up delicious Sri Lankan fare inspired by the teppanyaki style of dining.
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Few hotel atriums in Australia are as striking as the one at this address. Occupying the 100-year-old Finger Wharf in Woolloomooloo, the building was converted into the W hotel just before the Sydney Olympics and was then relaunched in 2006 by the Taj Group as Blue Sydney. Now, following an acquisition (and a $20 million refurb!) by a Hong Kong-based hotel group, it has been reborn as the Ovolo with help from design firm Hassell. Fans of the historic building will be pleased to know that – to honour its past (and conform to heritage laws) – the atrium is more or less untouched. The 100 rooms skirting the central void, however, have been imbued with quirky little touches; a lime-coloured chaise longue in one room, for example, a headboard with an oversized-fish print in another. The all-new lobby is just as impressive with its 86-kilogram clock designed by Swedish studio Humans Since 1982. Each of its 128 clock faces rotate every minute to display a variety of kinetic art formations and, of course, the time.
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