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January 01, 2017

5 Hotel Suites You Won’t Wan’t To Check Out Of

Text by Devanshi Mody

With their well-appointed rooms outfitted in lush fabrics and carefully chosen accents, Verve checks in to some of Europe’s best-dressed suites

If renowned wine destination, The Yeatman Hotel, has suites replicating in cloth the kaleidoscopic pageantry of UNESCO World Heritage site Porto, which it overlooks from a perch across a river, and the Mandarin Oriental Geneva’s new rooms in florid reds and fanciful fuchsias reflect the city’s autumnal colours, then extraordinary suites in couture capital Paris are often rigged to immerse you in the exoticism of some fabulous faraway destination. We could unfurl reams on the subject but will hem it in with a quick selection….

Hotel Alfonso XIII: Created by the eponymous emperor in 1928 to host court guests in what was intended to be the world’s most spectacular hotel (built as a hotel, it isn’t a converted something), this iconic property in southern Spain is a masterpiece of architectural grandeur whose nuanced intricacies are knitted into the adornment of its suites, an intriguing amalgam of Moorish, Andalusian and Castilian styles that enshrine Seville’s vicissitudinous history and variegated culture. Recently refurbished to thread contemporary sophistication into its quaint regality, the hotel implements textile with dexterity to capture in cloth the Moorish motifs that permeate it, notably in the streaming hypnotism of its tiles. Carpets in particular are a woven ode to the geometric patterns pervading the legendary palace, Alcazar of Seville, that neighbours the hotel. The monument’s sculpted grills and frames, its ornate arches and architectural arabesques seem to infiltrate and incarnate in a modern avatar in cushions, curtains and carpets of the Alfonso XIII’s suites. The Moorish impressions imprinted on silk, suede and velvet have a bewitching three-dimensional liveliness about them. Clever couture if ever!

Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon: Close to the Portuguese capital’s marvellous Calouste Gulbenkian Museum showcasing the most astonishing private art collection, this hotel seems almost an extension of it, conceived to create a contemporary artistic legacy through an eclectic weave of tapestries, paintings and sculptures for which acclaimed Portuguese artists and artisans were employed. Where art is, the French are never far from and famous French interior designer Henri Samuel wed art deco with Louis XVI. But this hotel’s highlight is textiles in the form of tapestries by Jose de Almada Negreiros who enjoys Picasso-like celebrity in Portugal. If you cannot have a magic carpet then settle for those which span walls of the Foundation Suites, designed as small royal apartments recalling those at the Palace of Queluz. The carpets, like floored frescoes, quietly complement the frescoed walls in nimbly hued neoclassical themes influenced by French painter Jean-Baptiste Pillement. While curtains and upholstery were handcrafted in artisanal workshops, more remarkable are the 40,000 square metres of ravishing and rare marble that impart a shimmering silken drape to floors and walls.

Six Senses Douro Valley: The sensuousness of textile isn’t restricted to visual splendour and Six Senses seems to debunk any such view with its suites, sparsely upholstered so as to thrill the other senses, most emphatically, touch. Sight isn’t allowed to stray and smother in a suffocation of brilliant and beguiling silks within the suite as the floor-to-ceiling glass draws the eye outwards towards the picturesque fabric of the Douro Valley, velveteen with vines. But a remote-control touch brings down a black screen starkly obliterating the exterior world, inviting a sensuous and indeed sensual exploration of Egyptian cotton sheets of singular quality…. I recall only that tucked into the duvet I felt as if in a titillating cocoon. I tasted the freshness of cotton, its fragrance intoxicated like the finest Douro wines. The crackle of crisp sheets exhilarated. If any sixth sense was aroused I know not, for I sank into a most sensuous slumber.

The Xara Palace Relais and Chateaux: The enchanting 17th-century palace within the fortified embrace of the old Maltese capital Mdina; the intentionally and ineffably serene suites seduced even Prince Charles recently. Mdina is famously called ‘Silent City’ and suites are dressed demurely to usher in the silence outside. If ‘silent colour’ makes sense then the subdued upholstery and drapes incarnate it. There is fabric, lots of it. And there is colour, but it blends in placid harmony so that the play of fabric strikes without stinging and dissolves itself exquisitely. You needn’t close the Maltese wooden shutters on the windows to shut out sound. Voluminous fabric implemented with Maltese craft quenches it, rendering the deliciously hushed Xara Palace a consummate (in every sense) honeymoon haven.

Saint James Paris — Relais and Chateau: ‘Airy fairy’ quite captures this abode, the French capital’s only hotel accoutred with its own private parks, once Paris’ first ‘airport’, from where the first hot-air balloon was launched. An ethereal use of fabric suggests the ‘airy’ affiliation. And this address is Paris’ only ‘chateau’ hotel, envisaged as the residence of an imaginary 19th-century family whose ‘regular house guests’ were apparently Austrian empress Sisi and the last queen of Scotland whose suites are tartan-clad.… Famous Franco-American designer Bambi Sloan concocted crazy chic for the hotel, an unmitigated opulence of sumptuous curtains, plush upholstery and carpets designed by Bambi herself to replicate Point de Hongrie pieces prevalent in 19th-century Parisian homes. Expect the unexpected as fanciful suites pulsating with green, like 508, evoke a tropical jungle whilst others exhibit neoclassical poise. The decor never unravels into vulgar kitsch or asphyxiating OTT.

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