19 October: Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) welcomes four new members to its exclusive collection of small, independent hotels this month. Discover traditional cultural gems near to these hotels that are steeped in local culture in their own right. It is this tranquil dialogue between traditional culture and modernity that makes a stay at the otherwise comfortably-furnished hotel so unforgettable.
At the heart of the French Riviera, Hotel & Restaurant Chateau le Cagnard is an exceptional stone dwelling in the medieval village of Haut-de-Cagnes with an authentic Provençal charm. Originally built to defend nearby Chateau Grimaldi (which is now a museum) in the 13th century, this hilltop hideaway has become an integral part of Provence’s flourishing art scene alongside all the makings of a luxury country retreat. Its eclectic list of famous guests include The Beatles, Robert De Niro and Greta Garbo.
Each room and suite is named after a prominent artist such Renoir and Soutine associated with Haut-de-Cagnes, and is finely decorated with trompe l’œil paintings by artists from the region. While walking the hallways, you will find a lot of hand-painted details — including a snug library decorated with enchanting murals by Emile Wery, a post-impressionist who painted with Matisse – all small hidden treasures just waiting to be discovered. Cultural activities are aplenty – from French classes, painting/drawing courses to perfume making sessions in the historic village also known as the ‘Montmartre of Provence’.
Insider SLH Tip: Savour seasonal Provençal specialities at the restaurant featuring a hand-painted ceiling by renowned architect Philippe Roberti that slides back to reveal the blue sky as well as a sublime view of the Mediterranean sea and surrounding hills. It is also ideally situated for exploring Nice (10 km), St-Paul-de-Vence (5 km) and other magnificent villages in the vicinity.
Rates start from: EUR195 (Approx. USD218)
Standing on Goldgasse, a century-old lane once lined with luxury goldsmiths’ workshops, Hotel Goldgasse is a modern, luxury hideaway brimming with historic atmosphere. The building served as a coppersmith’s workshop in the 16th century. Recently renovated, it pairs original features, such as stone floors and frescoes, alongside chic modern furnishings complemented with bold, oversized photographs that feature Salzburg’s artistic character. Get a flavour of the city’s heritage in the 1500s at restaurant Gasthof Goldgasse, where regional Austrian cuisine served in “Kupferpfandl’n” (copper pans) is well-paired with an extensive collection of fine Austrian wines.
The hotel’s outstanding location in the heart of Salzburg’s old town also puts its cultural gems within easy reach. A short walk will take you to Residenzplatz where Salzburg Cathedral stands, Mozart’s birthplace, and the DomQuartier museum. And it’s still the place to browse for jewellery, antiques and fine wine.
Insider SLH Tip: Choose from their very special pillow menu which is categorized not by regular pillow sizes or thickness – but by herbal filling! These unique pillows are produced in Austria with locally-sourced organic materials.
Rates start at: EUR203 for a double room (Approx. USD227)
With a name meaning ‘magic’, Hotel Sahrai offers extraordinary views over the largest medina of all Moroccan imperial cities, a UNESCO World Heritage Site marking twelve centuries of history. Standing on the former site of Marshal Lyautey’s summer palace, the hotel revisits the distinctive motif of the great arches that once adorned the façade of the original structure. Traditional Moroccan features are prevalent throughout this modern retreat, from Taza stonework, gypsum patterns to Fassi ceramics – alongside marble bathrooms, glass walls and bespoke furniture.
Just moments away, discover the city’s enchanting history and culture at Fez’s labyrinth-like Medina with over 9,000 winding streets, or watch local artisans craft quality leather items at the Chaouwara Tanneries. As the sun goes down, watch the twilight spread across the land as you hang out at the white marble bar in the Arcades or, sip cocktails to the sounds of ‘live’ DJ sets at the glamorous rooftop bar.
Insider SLH Tip: Indulge in a spa treatment at the exclusive Givenchy Spa – one of just four in the world, and the brand’s first in North Africa. Other “must-see” features include the zellige
jacuzzi, tearoom under the arches, and the traditional hammam, all with a distinctive Moroccan touch.
Rates start at: MAD3,300 for a Junior Suite (Approx. USD340)
With its elegant Art Deco facade and bright red shutters, Hotel Vagabond appears perfectly at home in the historic Kampong Glam precinct. The sleek boutique art hotel is Singapore’s first experience-driven luxury boutique hotel to feature an Artist in Residence program. It is also the first and only hotel in Asia to feature interiors by celebrated French designer Jacques Garcia. The heart and soul of the hotel manifests itself in the Vagabond Salon – a modern interpretation of a Parisian salon – where guests have the opportunity to mingle with resident artists every evening over a hand-crafted cocktail by Proof & Company, dine amongst a performance, watch an independent film, or listen to a jazz quartet.
Every piece of artwork in the hotel has been personally sourced and commissioned by its owner Satinder Garcha. No details are spared – the solid brass Rhino reception desk took artisans 8 months to create across 15 villages in Rajasthan, not to mention the striking gold banyan trees in the foyer, handcrafted animal sculptures by French artisans, and photographs taken by the owner decorate the guest rooms. Guests of Vagabond Salon can also look forward to enjoy a five star dining experience courtesy of 5th Quarter, run by award-winning Executive Chef Andrew Nocente and offering cuisine using traditional methods of curing meats with the aid of modern instruments.
Insider SLH Tip: When taking the lift, look out for the highly immersive 7-minute video art installation by Milan-born, New York City -based video collage and installation artist, Marco Brambilla, known for his elaborate re-contextualization of popular and found imagery. Just remember to get off the lift at your level, you have been fore-warned.
Rates start from: SGD350 for a Classic Room (Approx. USD428)