Holidays. I live for them. Love them. Can’t wait for them. I even enjoy planning them. But the one thing that always trips me up is finding accommodations that catch my eye and excite me. As someone who spends a lot of time thinking about architecture and design, I love exploring new hotels and houses just for the opportunity to scavenge for new ideas and appreciate someone else’s curation. With that in mind, my strong preference is to stay in places that are aesthetically interesting and encompass thoughtful design. This, unsurprisingly, is pretty hard to find. Online there are a few sites that offer a curated array of accommodations, like BoutiqueHomes but they hardly ever have a property in the area where we wish to travel. Inevitably I end up scouring HomeAway for hours, trying to find the gem in the rough. Adding “modern”, “mid-century”, or even “contemporary” doesn’t to your search terms doesn’t really help either, because people property owners throw those terms around in the property descriptions like they are going out of style. So I thought I’d start keeping a list of great properties we’ve found, so that those of you also on the endless hunt for interesting holiday accommodations need not suffer quite as long as I did. Full disclaimer: most of these properties come with a hefty price tag and are definitely special occasion accommodations.
So the first property I want to recommend is the Bayhouse in Virgin Gorda (pictured above). We’ve spent two holidays there with our best friends — each of our families flying in from opposite sides of the Atlantic — and have loved it. We walked in the front door the first year and my best friend said “whoah, this is so you. It looks like you designed it!”. Sure enough, a number of the architectural details and particularly the furniture and finishes are things we have in our own home. And that view…. to die for. The only downside is the mosquitoes.
The second property to recommend is the Hydeaway House in Sonoma, California. We booked this house for our very close friends’ wedding in April this year and a week after booking it the New York Times featured the home in it’s Great Homes and Destinations section under the title, Bespoke for the People. It’s a simple, gorgeous house and a wonderful place to stay. It’s open plan living at its finest, with big glass doors that open to an expansive yard, and even has a little guest house too.
The third property is one of our all-time favourite hotels, the Crosby Street Hotel, in New York City. The Crosby is a gorgeous boutique hotel with an edge, where every detail has been thought of, service is (almost) flawless and it is located smack in the center of Soho. The interior design is impeccable…. nothing like I’d ever do in my own home (it’s too put together for my taste) but it’s a joy to experience. And those beds…. pure heaven. We’ve made a tradition of spending a night or two there in the lead up to the holiday season each year and it’s a weekend we look forward to with a vengeance! As an aside, the Crosby is part of the Firmdale Hotels group, which has numerous properties in London. We’ve yet to try one of the London properties but I’d bet they’re equally lovely.
I’ll post about more dream-worthy properties as I find them and please feel free to suggest others in the comments so we can keep a running list and build a bit of a virtual, design-conscious, accommodation library.