urban escapes

Design Retreats: Experiencing the Best Hotels from Bangkok to San Francisco

It is no surprise that staying at a good hotel is something incredibly important. Being able to properly relax after a day of exploring or hard work is everyone’s highlight, especially if you are at a place, you are completely unfamiliar with. Often city stays can be misleading and thus not provide you with the accommodation you may need or require. Yet, there are hotels whose interior design is not only exquisite, but they also put emphasis on innovation and unique architectural features. In this story, we are going to dive into five hotels that opened their doors to visitors last year and were awarded the LIV Hospitality Design Awards.

Hotel Indigo Vienna

Hotel Indigo Vienna is the epitome of the concept of boutique hotels which in Austria means the immersion of the guests into a specific neighborhood. In the case of the Hotel Indigo, this is the 5th district of Vienna with its multicultural Naschmarkt. The vibrant market is a must-see for visitors of the hotel because locals gather at all times of the day. At night, once all the shops are closed, a number of unique restaurants and bars come alive.

Everything about this hotel reflects Viennese society. For example, the guest rooms are divided into three categories of interior design and each one of them references Vienna in a different way. Furthermore, the wall décor also creates a connection to Vienna. And this is not all, the elements and materials typical for the city were used in the design of the hotel meaning that Viennese wickerwork was implemented for the hanging lamps and herringbone parquet in the library. The secret gardens and hidden green spaces of the area come alive in the hotel across its charming terrace, beautiful courtyard, and rooftop garden. Erich Bernard is the founder and leader of BWM Designers and Architects who have a custom-tailored approach to interior design.

Hotel Indigo Vienna
Photo credit: BWM Designers & Architects / Mato Johannik

ibis Styles Bangkok Silom

This hotel is located in Bangkok’s business district not far away from Lumpini Park. Ibis Styles Bangkok Silom’s design concept intertwines modern features with original Thai characteristics. This creates a fine combination of comfort and original design. Nampet Petruk’s main goal was to provide an exhilarating and original guest experience.

With 264 comfortable rooms and a modern urban design, this hotel allows the perfect accommodation for a stay in Thailand’s capital. The rooms can accommodate up to five people letting families enjoy a mix of privacy and openness. In addition to this, ibis Styles Bangkok Silom offers a bohemian-themed rooftop bar with a swimming pool a state-of-the-art fitness center, and modern yet laid-back co-working and event spaces we have you covered.

ibis Styles Bangkok Silom
Photo credit: dwp | Design Worldwide Partnership

Dubai Edition

Another one of the city stays that should be on your list when traveling is the Dubai EDITION. Designed by Pooja Shah-Mulani, this is the first hotel with such elevated style and design language. The Dubai EDITION is a unique example of what the brand offers to its visitors as the project takes exclusivity to a whole new level. Furthermore, it marks a significant expansion for the brand into the Middle East’s most popular travel destination.

Situated in Downtown Dubai, the hotel is located in one of the city’s most popular locations, opposite the world-famous Dubai Mall. Upon arriving at the Dubai EDITION an enormous triple-height space is showcasing the journey through the different spatial volumes. The layered experience is consolidated with carefully planned lighting levels that unify the contrast between high and low, dark, and light, creating a friendly welcome to the heart and soul of the hotel. The harmonious color scheme and contemporary minimalism make each room feel fresh and light and complement the elegant lines of the custom-made furniture and textured upholstery.

Photo credit: Natelee Cocks

1 Hotel San Francisco

Putting sustainability at the forefront, 1 Hotel San Francisco is a calming place in the heart of the busy city. In addition to being on the water and across the street from the Ferry Building, the Embarcadero walking path, and the beloved restaurant Boulevard, the hotel is about a 15-minute stroll from so many highlights, like Chinatown, the SoMa district, City Lights bookstore in North Beach, and Coit Tower in Telegraph Hill.

Nicole Hollis decided to take into account the patterns and colors of nature, creating spaces rounded with neutral but that the same time sophisticated color palette. The urban design of this hotel distinguishes it from other buildings. It focuses on a biophilic design with spaces colored with oak floors and lush plantings.

1 Hotel San Francisco is the brand’s seventh property and its second in California. While the lobby and the hallways are on the moody side of lighting, the 186 rooms and 14 suites, are bright and sunny. Nearly every aspect of the guest experience is an eco-component.  There are water filling stations on every floor, and water bottles and glass carafes in every room. There’s no plastic packaging in any of the minibar offerings.

1 Hotel San Francisco
Photo credit: Douglas Friedman

Anantara Plaza Nice Hotel

Anantara Plaza Nice Hotel is a place, appropriate for anyone who would like to indulge in luxury in Nice. Architecturally stripped-back, interiors with classical forms are treated in a modern way. Simon Rawlings, the creative director of David Collins Studio, took matters into his own hands and decided to reference organic shapes such as shells and the sea’s waves in order to create the lighting and furniture of the place.

Due to the hotel’s location at the heart of upmarket Nice, it is easy to spend days exploring the Place Place Masséna and the world-famous Promenade des Anglais. The hotel’s 151 rooms and suites have all been newly redesigned and decorated in a contemporary style. Luxurious and unusual materials are strategically placed at key touch points and high-traffic areas for the most effective. The studio responsible for the development of this project was founded in 195 and has worked on a variety of different projects across the globe starting from New York and Seoul to the Middle East and Hong Kong. David Collins Studio creates environments for those who appreciate detail, craft, and refinement.

Anantara Plaza Nice Hotel
Photo Credit: Ben Broomfield


Hotels can play a role of utmost importance when it comes to picking up a place to stay when traveling abroad. Regarding the reason for the trip choosing the right fit for one’s needs influences the whole experience of the visit as well as the feelings that the traveler would foster after leaving. An unforgettable experience promises most likely a second visit or a recommendation to friends and family.

Furthermore, being familiar with urban design further help with the choice of a destination and appropriate accommodation suitable for your needs. Design stays are highly likely to offer you the best options out there and thus taking into consideration the above-mentioned hotels would just further improve your stay at the chosen destination. But here’s a piece of advice: regardless of the chosen place, make sure to choose wisely. The interior of the hotels would certainly be of value because it is the thing that would make you feel most welcome.