More than ever, people are traveling for the sake of good design. And they’re coming home with great ideas to use in their own homes. Here, we’ve rounded up the five of the most exciting new destinations, from the rustic-chic Berber Lodge in Morocco to the luxurious bohemian Hotel Californian in Santa Barbara, offering inspiration in high design.
Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa
A former 1946 roadside stop in the Napa Valley town of Calistoga has been reimagined as a 50-room property by New York-based design firm AvroKO. The accommodations are modern interpretations of a camper van and harken back to midcentury motor lodges. “We transformed it into a joy-filled ode to the great American road trip of the ‘50s and ‘60s,” says Ingrid Summerfield, president and partner at Filament Hospitality. A color palette of navy and light blues, mustard yellow, and shades of green mix with woven and striped fabrics and simple wood furniture and lighting from the midcentury through the 1970s. “It’s all really unfussy and natural,” says AvroKO principal Kristina O’Neal.
At home: For a similarly simple and clean, but retro, aesthetic, “Try using a combination of millwork pieces with cushions—some off-the-shelf and some fabricated elements,” says O’Neal.
The Lygon Arms
The Cotswolds, U.K.
The Lygon Arms, in the heart of the Cotswolds, has just debuted a top-down refurbishment blending modern comforts with the property’s fascinating history. The 16th century coaching inn’s 86 uniquely-designed rooms and suites, reimagined by Anita Rosato Interior Design, honor the building’s charm and heritage while adding some much-needed contemporary luxuries (and techy conveniences) by mixing new historic furniture and furnishings with restored original pieces. “The hotel is steeped in history with references as far back as the 14th century,” says Rosato. In the public areas, a dark blue and anthracite gray palette is offset with rich tan leather and interspersed with plaids and tweeds; bespoke lighting, Italian Arabescato marble, timber paneling, and Scottish chandeliers made from stag antlers and many other antique pieces adorn the great hall.
At home: “Pick up antiques that appeal to your senses and don’t be afraid to integrate them with modern pieces,” suggests Rosato. “Also, using dark color in small spaces can create intimacy.”
Midcentury Modern Classic
The Drifter in New Orleans is a blend of modernism and playful, eclectic design. Originally built as a motel in the 1950s, the Mid-City property was designed by Nicole Cota Studio with tropical colors and textures. The guest rooms feature custom-made furniture (manufactured in Guadalajara, Mexico), work by local artists, troweled concrete walls, and patterned-cement Oaxacan tilework. At the heart of the hotel are Roberto Burle Marx-esque lush tropical planting beds and a pool that features a cantilevered disco ball and a Barragan-inspired accent wall. “We used glossy black, white, and wood as neutrals so that we could have fun with other colors throughout the space,” says Cota.
At home: “Use a fun tropical print wallpaper in a small transitional space like a hallway or powder room to add a playful pop of color,” says Cota. “And high gloss oil paints and new brass hardware are great ways to transform lackluster cabinets and furniture into stylish pieces.”
For the new Hotel Californian in Santa Barbara, L.A.-based designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard called on an unexpected mix of California Spanish Colonial Revival architecture and Moroccan and Andalusian interior motifs. Bespoke furnishings and unique details including concrete tile wainscoting, gilded snake sconces, bright colors, and a mix of furniture and finishes lend an eclectic feel. “The midcentury-style furnishings and vintage accessories provide the element of surprise, while luxurious details and materials provide comfort on every level,” says Bullard. For the custom furniture, Bullard was inspired by Italian midcentury pieces by Gio Ponti and Mangiarotti, but also mixed in vintages pieces from Lawson Fenning along with items from India, Africa, and The Middle East.
At home: “To add some Santa Barbara style to your home, try tiling the backsplash of your kitchen, bathroom, or even a tabletop,” says Bullard. “It’s an easy way to bring a little bit of exotica home with you.”
Nestled at the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, Berber Lodge is a short, scenic drive from Marrakech along untouched countryside and through local villages. Owned and designed by Romain Michel-Meniere with the help of longtime friends, Studio KO’s Karl Fournier and Oliver Marty, the nine-lodge property features earthy brick walls, limestone and terracotta floors, and bamboo-and-palm-tree-ceilings combined with country chic interiors, local textiles, and antiques. “Here, the earth is our palette; there is no artificial effect,” says Meniere, who cites designer Axel Vervoordt as an inspiration.
At home: “I prefer one nice piece to a lot of bad ones,” says Meniere. “And never do things for other people. It’s important to be comfortable and modest—and to forget useless function.”