A special touch

Japon Amanemu

A fabric panel slips aside, sweeping away the clouds and revealing the view through the window of Ago Bay and its islands and pearl farms. At Amanemu, omotenashi (the Japanese art of hospitality) is deployed with discretion in this architectural showcase. Black cedar pavilions furnished in white oak, private onsen (hot spring bath) of basalt and steam, Genbei Yamaguchi kimonos hang on simple wood, and kumiko latticework, an ancient inlay technique using no nails or glue. Luminous minimalism.


2165, Hazako Hamajima-cho, Shima-shi, préfecture de Mie. Tél. +81 0120 951 125.

Suède Ett Hem

These two syllables, in the context of this Stockholm district, pretty much say it all: Ett Hem (literally, “a house”). Built in 1910 by proponents of the Arts & Crafts movement (begun in England to promote craftsmanship as a reaction to mass production), this brick house with bow windows has a multitude of unique detailsfrom the decor (period ceramic stoves, bathtub carved in gray marble, oak and stone from Gotland Island) to the little extras provided by owner Jeanette Mix (vases filled with fresh flowers every day, a crackling fire with the first gusts of wintry wind). And since pleasing the palette is as important as enjoying beautiful surroundings, chefs come to your new home daily to cook up a meal in tune with the Swedish seasons.

Ett hem

2, Sköldungagatan, Stockholm. Tél. +46 8 20 05 90..

états-Unis Baccarat Hotel

Opposite MoMA in Midtown Manhattan is a palace of fire and ice: a double-sided fireplace in the lobby and massive crystal elements in the Grand Salon; art works lining the B-Bar’s crimson walls inspired by the stables at Versailles; elegantly subdued interiors by Gilles & Boissier. In the lobby, a wall of 1,530 Baccarat Harcourt glasses (photo); and by the room doors, the Harcourt again, set on a plinth: 11 artists were asked to reinvent the iconic model. After fire, water: a 15-meter pool and Biarritz-style cabins; and a Lorraine landscape near the town of Baccarat by François Houtin leading to the La Mer spa. Which brings us full circlesince glass is made with melted silica sand.

Baccarat hotel

28, West 53 St, New York. Tél. +1 212 790 8800.

Italie Baccarat Hotel

A pinch of irony, a dash of rigor, a splash of colors and materials. To dress up the new Room Mate Giulia, opened in spring, architect Patricia Urquiola took a deep breath of trendsetting Milan air. Curving walls in Lombardy brick; pink marble floors (echoing the neighboring Duomo); pastel yellow, blue and green panels in the rooms, custom furniture by Cassina. You could spend all morning taking in the details, without leaving your (impeccable) bed. Fortunately, breakfast is served until noon.

Room mate giulia

4,Via Silvio Pellico, Milan. Tél. +39 02 8088 8900.

France Hôtel La Tamise

This renovated 19th-century mansion near the Tuileries Garden has retained its signature stairs with inlaid bannister, stained-glass windows and mosaic cement tiles, all restored. Communal spaces appear, half-hidden, here and there, and the sound‑­proofed rooms are in soft, muted tones. Artist Mathilde Jonquière designed the bathroom tiling with friezes like fabric ribbons. Guardian angels with a magic touch have deployed their talents here.

Hôtel La Tamise

4, rue d’Alger, Paris. Tél. +33 (0)1 40 41 14 14.

France Château des Avenières

Guests at the Château des Avenières, half way between Annecy and Geneva, enjoy the amenities of a luxury hotel, including a gourmet restaurant, while supporting its eco-friendly adaptation to regional resources. Locally born owners Laurence and Nicolas Odin maintain links with the farmers and artisans of Cruseilles. A gardener planted the vegetable patch used by chef Marc Le Roux. A cabinetmaker repairs chairs and makes trays with wood from the trees on the grounds. It’s a trip back through the last century, from the Belle Époque to post-World War II, when the chateau served as a school. Nicolas arranges helicopter rides over the Alps and Annecy Lakean invention dating back to 1907, the year a wealthy American had the chateau built and adorned it with her coat of arms. The place’s charm comes from the harmonious blend of traditional gilding and the suites’ contemporary design in the adjacent Maison des Écureuils.

Château des aveniières

Lieu-dit La Chenaz, Cruseilles. Tél. +33 (0)4 50 44 02 23.

Espagne Casa Bonay

A group of friends asked local Barcelona artisans to give a homey feel to this four-floor establishment with a neoclassical facade (1869) and a rooftop terrace. Studio Tack (NY) did the interior design; cabinetmaker Marc Morro made the furniture; and baTabasTa created the cheerful prints on the uniforms, cushions and wallpaper. Alejandra “Asilvestrada” looks after the greenery in the lobby and corridors and the aromatic garden on the roof. In the former doorman’s booth, Blackie Books offers titles from all over the world; for a good read after a bite at the Libertine bar and tearoom or a meal at Elephant Crocodile Monkey, headed by Argentinean chef Estanislao Carenzo. For southern-style living in warm and simple surrounds.

Casa Bonay

700, Gran Vía de les Corts Catalanes, Barcelone. Tél. +34 93 545 80 70.

Belgique Hôtel des Galeries

Located under the lofty glass roof of the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert shopping arcade (1847), this boutique hotel commissioned Fleur Delesalle and Camille Flammarion to design the interiors of its four floors. The pair placed the accent on light and white with splashes of color. Camille partnered with the Fauvel ceramics studio to come up with a modular ensemble that combines to provide a stool, a low table, a bedside table or a bench. The Comptoir restaurant in these cozy Galeries once frequented by Victor Hugo, Verlaine, Apollinaire and Dumas, has an open kitchen and a patio, and serves a seasonal menu by Julien Burlat.

Hôtel des Galeries

38, rue des Bouchers, Bruxelles. Tél. +32 2 213 74 70.

Inde Svatma

Thanjavur has an ancient soul. Many an art was born in this city that was once a royal capital: dance, music, painting, sculpture. A magnificent stone library houses some 30,000 manuscripts. The library at Svatma is less imposing, but it contains the personal collection belonging to the owners of this centuries-old house. Krithika and Sumanth Subramanian are architects, and they designed their 38 rooms as a legacy to the traditional craft techniques of southern India. The expertise, like the beauty of the bronze statues made with the lost-wax process, panels of inlaid precious stones and mirrors framed by wooden arabesques, spans multiple centuries.


4/1116, Blake Higher Secondary School Road, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu. Tél. +91 4362 273 222.

A comme Afrique. Impressions d’Afrique Avec un peu d’imagination, avec quelques accessoires aussi, avec une allée et des palmes, la Sicile, c’est aussi l’Afrique. Il ne s’agit pas d’arpenter la ville. Ailleurs est ce qui arrive.

A as in Africa: Impressions of Africa With a bit of imagination and a few accessories, such as a path and some palms, Sicily can also be Africa. You don’t have to amble all over the city. Afar is what appears.

L’artiste Ali Mahboubi Soufiani achevant un tableau d’inspiration persane.

The artist Ali Mahboubi Soufiani completing a painting of Persian inspiration.

Mosquée du Sheikh Lotfollah, chef-d’œuvre de l’architecture colorée safavide.

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, a colorful masterpiece of Safavid architecture.


Inside information