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Stunning Fireplace Designs to Get You Ready for Winter


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Since we always see the glass half full, we refuse to be sad about summer coming to an end. Instead, we’d much rather focus on the future and, honestly, we could use a break from those 90+ degree humid days. Even if you’re not a fan of pumpkin spiced lattes or early holiday decorations, you have to admit that the thought of curling up under a soft blanket with a book in hand warms up your heart.

Allow us to indulge you in some early wintry moments and interior design goals thanks to a few beautiful fireplaces from around the world. So sit back and prepare to “travel”—from California to Switzerland and South Africa—and enjoy 12 stunning fireplaces that will make you wish it was already winter.

The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe

Fireplaces often become the focal point of a room or, in the case of the Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe, the entire resort. The design of the property is inspired by the idea of bringing the outside in where a “tree” theme takes center stage. The goal was for guests to feel like they are “under the protection of the canopy of trees.”

That’s why the entire property was built around a 55-foot high weathered granite fireplace, the construction of which required the work of 20 local masons and 200 tons of stone that were hand-placed. The result is actually two fireplaces (one on the ground floor and another one on the second floor), situated in the resort’s living room that represents a large tree trunk with wooden beams extending out at the top to imitate branches.

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Scribners Catskill Lodge, New York

Originally built in the 1960s, Scribners Lodge in the beautiful Catskill mountains is now a modern-day luxury retreat for world adventures looking to explore the local art scene. Brooklyn-based architecture and design company Studio Tack was tasked with the renovation of the 38-room property.

“When we first started exploring the property we found quite a few rooms containing vintage wood-burning Malm fireplaces,” said Studio Tack co-founder Ruben Caldwell. “Another little gem that we found during our explorations was a closet that had been constructed in the vaulted space above the current central fireplace, completely concealing that open space and the skylights above. We wanted a circular gathering area in the middle of the large open volume and so reached out to Malm to explore some updated options,” he explained.

The California-based company was able to provide a glass-enclosed fireplace and Caldwell and his team designed the rest of the space taking cues from some of the materials in the rooms and the angular form of the hotel.

Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, California

Winter may not be your first association with sunny Los Angeles but that doesn’t mean fireplaces are non-existent there. In fact, one of the first things guests see when they step into the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, designed by Pierre-Yves Rochon Inc., the famed designer behind the Four Seasons George V in Paris, is the beautiful high Onyx fireplace flanked by olive trees—a focal point in the expansive double-height lobby.

Book with American Express Travel to receive your complimentary Fine Hotels & Resorts® benefits. Terms Apply.

Huus Gstaad, Switzerland

Housed in a traditional wooden-clad chalet, the interior of this 136-room hotel nestled in the Swiss Alps oozes a surprisingly contemporary vibe. Architect Erik Nissen Johansen, of Swedish design duo Stylt Trampoli, wanted to create a space that’s home-y but infused with a sense of modernity. He used natural, locally sourced materials throughout the interior to blur the lines between inside and out.

At the heart of the hotel is the living room, an inviting cozy lounge where guests can enjoy the beautiful mountain vistas, play some tunes on one of thmusicalic instruments, or curl up with a book and a hot drink in front of the modern glass fireplace.

Hotel Palomar Los Angeles—Beverly Hills, California

It’s difficult to imagine Los Angeles without the movie industry. So it’s not surprising that when Dawson Design Associates started working on the renovation of Hotel Palomar in Beverly Hills, they used the city’s cinematic heritage as inspiration.

The new design is a tribute to the independent film industry and juxtaposes vintage décor elements with sleek contemporary furnishings. A centrally located, glass-encased fireplace inspired by the lens of a camera sets the stage upon entering the hotel’s lobby. Natural woods wrap the ceilings, walls, and floors, reminiscent of the 70s, and a warm, beige-and-brown color palette makes the space feel incredibly cozy and intimate.

Qorokwe Camp, Botswana

Designed by architect Joy Brasler and interior designer Michelle Throssell, Qorokwe Camp is a luxury, environmentally-friendly property comprising of nine elegant tented suites overlooking a beautiful lagoon in Qorokwe Concession in Botswana.

The gorgeous natural surroundings inspired the interiors of the suites—the timber ceilings are perforated with light to make you feel like you’re beneath the trees at the side of the lagoon while the idea for the fireplace design came from the "cycle of life ," natural fires occurring in the Okavango Delta (where Qorokwe is located) that give way to new vegetation.

The fireplace cladding and coating consist of laser cut panels inspired by the anatomy of leaves. As natural light changes throughout the camp, the leaf can appear lighter or darker always changing like it does in nature.

Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt

It is not an overstatement to say that Austin is now one of the coolest, most vibrant cities in the country. So it’s only normal that its hotels live up to the hype.

When New York-based designer Mark Zeff created the interior of the hip Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt, he carefully curated vintage pieces and furnishings in heavily brushed brass and rich upholstered textiles, and commissioned art work, inspired by Austin’s music scene.

Geraldine’s restaurant and a beautiful pool deck occupy the hotel’s top floor, which offers incredible views of the Austin skyline. But the centerpiece of the space has to be the custom tall fireplace, crafted from Ipe wood. The lounge around it is reminiscent of a “glamping” setup and makes up for the perfect spot to unwind with a craft cocktail in hand.

Bisate Lodge, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Situated within the amphitheater of an eroded volcanic cone, the 42-hectare Wilderness Safaris’ Bisate Lodge is comprised of just six luxurious and spacious forest villas. The property is located right next to Volcanoes National Park so its guests can enjoy sweeping vistas of the Karisimbi, Bisoke, and Mikeno volcanoes.

All villas are built according to Rwandan building traditions—they stand at the side of a hill and have a spherical shape with thatched roofs. Inside, Rwandan designer Teta Isibo has chosen an eclectic mixture of textures and textiles drawing inspiration from Rwandan culture. The semi-circular fireplaces, which provide the heating for each villa, are built with volcanic stone to honor the neighboring Volcanoes National Park.

The Saguaro Scottsdale, Arizona

While the Sonoran Desert could be a very hot place in the summer, winter sees many warm days that are accompanied by crisp and cool nights, setting the perfect scene for curling up in front of a fireplace after the sun has set.

When architects/interior designers Paul Aferiat and Peter Stamberg were tasked with the décor of the Saguaro hotel in Scottsdale, they took inspiration from the flora of the desert. The result? An explosion of bright colors—12 to be precise, one for each of the wildflowers and plants, native to the Sonoran Desert.

The vivid façade of the property features hues of green, yellow, orange, and pink — shades that are also echoed in the interior, along with healthy doses of red, purple, and blue. Naturally, the pink concrete-and-plaster fireplace they built on the patio of the hotel is just as striking as the rest of the interior.

Majeka House Stellenbosch, South Africa

This gorgeous fireplace in the lounge of South Africa’s boutique Majeka House hotel was inspired by the multiplying effect of the infinity mirror, said its designer Etienne Hanekom.

He played with the mirror around the fireplace and the reflective glass ball pendants on the ceiling to visually double the number of lights in the lounge. “I decided to go for a bronze tone mirror to create warmth and to enhance the library wallpaper from Andrew Martin on both sides of the fireplace,” he explained.

The fireplace is an open timber burner so in the winter, a lovely smell of timber permeates the space. During summertime, when the fireplace is not in use, the mirror reflects the entire lounge and blue bar so guests don’t have to stare into a blank box.

Big Cedar Lodge, Missouri

This award-winning wilderness resort is tucked in a wooded hollow in the Ozarks that turns into a beautiful wintry wonderland once the first snow falls.

And the best spot to enjoy sweeping views of the serene Ozark Mountains is by this cozy fireplace in the Osage Restaurant. C & F Masonry’s Chris Blevins, whose grandfather started building fireplaces at Big Cedar Lodge in the late 1980s, and his team worked off a general sketch to build this glass-enclosed fireplace that features local sandstone rock.

Nakoma Resort, Lake Tahoe

When famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Clubhouse at Nakoma Resort near Lake Tahoe, he wanted the structure to embody the connection humans have with nature. Step into the beautiful Wigwam Room and the idea for this bond is unmistakable.

The central four-sided fireplace mirrors the edges of the Lost Sierras where the resort is located while the stained-glass windows above it douse the space in natural light contributing to its almost worship-like ambiance. Despite the towering ceilings with exposed beams, the cozy fireplace creates an intimate setting that makes for the perfect background for a glass of wine or a hot drink après-ski.


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