Rural England Gets East London Hip
Located on the fringes of dramatic Dartmoor National Park, Weeke Barton occupies a restored 16th-century longhouse—a two-story granite structure that would have once housed a farming family (upstairs) and their livestock (below). You’ll still find original architectural features, such as huge granite fireplaces, exposed beams, and a castle-heavy front door, but the place isn’t stuck in the past. The property was opened by a hip husband-and-wife duo who moved here from East London’s trendy Hackney neighborhood. Jo Gossett, a former restaurant manager, is responsible for the locally sourced communal meals (wild venison, Devon sausages, local ciders) served at the nine-foot-long slate table, and graphic designer Sam Perry infuses the space with the kind of quirky decor items you might find back in their Hackney home: a collage of pinup postcards, cowhide rugs, and kitschy Ministry of Food tins. Outside, however, it’s pure British countryside, from the apple and chestnut trees to the playful little piglets and the ball-mad springer spaniel, Coco.
The Filipino Capital Goes Full-On Vegas
In May, Robert De Niro and celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa brought their brand of Japanese-inspired chic to the Philippines with the opening of their first Asian Nobu Hotel. The property is part of the new $1.3 billion City of Dreams Manila complex, which includes three hotels, a live music venue, a DreamWorks-themed interactive kids’ area, and a casino, and is centered around a giant golden egg housing two nightclubs. Designed by renowned architectural firm the Rockwell Group, the hotel skews decidedly minimalist and Zen-like, resulting in a space that feels miles away from the hustle and bustle of the gaming floor. And it wouldn’t be a Nobu property without its signature restaurant, which here includes nods to Filipino flavors in dishes like tapsilog, a breakfast of garlic fried rice, a fried egg, and beef—made, in this case, with wagyu.
High-Tech Hospitality in Silicon Valley
Palo Alto, California
Opened last year by the forward-thinking Joie de Vivre Hotels chain, Palo Alto’s Epiphany is the techie crashpad Silicon Valley never knew it needed. The owners converted a 1970s assisted-living residence with the help of Steinberg Architects, McCartan Interior Design, and high-tech design firm IDEO (the creators of the original Apple mouse). They brought in smart design touches such as a lobby light installation made from 100 Edison bulbs that ascend or descend, brighten or dim based on the mood in the room. The entire space is intended to spark creativity: In the mezzanine-level Tinderbox, whiteboard desks fold up into the walls like Murphy beds, and high-backed “hoodie” chairs are designed to block out distractions. Suite guests have access to luxe Master & Dynamic headphones, described as “modern thinking caps.” In fact, the only sign of the hotel’s prerenovation days is the six-story mosaic mural of El Palo Alto (“The Big Stick”), the thousand-year-old Coast Redwood for which the city is named. It also happens to be the logo of Stanford University, just a few blocks away.