Changing the Urban Experience
The best hotels offer a distinct perspective on the cities they call home.
Hoshinoya Tokyo delivers the serenity of the country’s rural hot-springs retreats inside a 17-storey tower in the Otemachi financial district. Guests don yukata and dine on kaiseki cuisine, while staying in sleek guestrooms with washi screens, tatami floors and custom woodwork. But it’s a soak in the hotel’s hot-spring baths that proves most transformative, offering travellers an unequivocally traditional experience in the world’s most modern city.
Known more for its natural beauty, Cape Town is home to hotels that rest gracefully on clifftops or in the shadows of Table Mountain. But the South African city’s newest hotel, Silo, is a decidedly cosmopolitan departure from the norm, located within the remains of an early-20th-century grain silo on the rapidly transforming Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. It is within this concrete structure that the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa is located. On the seven stories above the museum, the 28-suite hotel opened in March as a work of art unto itself, featuring Egyptian crystal chandeliers, Ardmore fabrics and massive prismatic windows (with the requisite Table Mountain views).
Meanwhile, in Manhattan the new Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown found itself at the forefront of another revival. The 189-room hotel opened in September last year in the Financial District — a neighbourhood that not long ago slept straight through the weekend — bringing with it chic suites, a marble-clad spa and a Wolfgang Puck steakhouse.
Suddenly, New Yorkers had a reason to stay downtown well past five o’clock on Friday; hip vacationers soon followed. By year’s end, Lower Manhattan had become the coolest neighbourhood in town.