The firstdesign hotels sprang to life in the 1980s, when Ian Schrager opened thelandmark Morgans Hotel and the Royalton Hotel, both in New York. The propertiesoffered chic and intimate lodging for guests more interested in a buzzing,social lobby and hotel bar scene than the austere Four Seasons and Fairmonts ofthe day. Now, more than two decades later, the term “design hotel” has been sooverused and abused that it’s difficult to know exactly what it means.
Fortunatelywe have our own definition today: A great design hotel is small, thoughtfullyplanned, meticulously executed and creates an environment unlike any other.Each is a place where tactile materials, craftsmanship and distinctive,cutting-edge design all come to the fore. From the otherworldly desert canyonsof Amangiri in Utah, to the bright and airy rooms at the 12th-centurywatchtower of Italy’s Torre di Moravola, to the vast collection of contemporaryart at Louisville, Kentucky’s 21c Museum Hotel, these ten properties definewhat a design hotel should be.