Shape Shifting Hotels
Hotel Designs That Surprise and Delight
Forget the columned entryway, the stately pillars and the rooftop pool. The latest destinations are twisting and turning, curving and swerving everything we’ve come to expect from traditional hotel architecture. The result? A series of mind-bending design experiences, guaranteed to jolt the senses into a new dimension.
A new generation of pod lodging takes travelers far beyond the limits of traditional construction. At Kachi Lodge, solar-powered domes are positioned directly on the Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia, a stark, almost-no-man’s land at the base of the Tunupa Volcano. While the anchor dome functions as a lunar-inspired lobby, there are six bedroom pods, each with heating, comfortable bedding, restrooms and some of the most surreal views on earth.
Forget the tree house hotels and bubble pods: At Free Spirit Spheres, bauble-like rooms hoisted onto trees within Vancouver Island’s coastal rainforest stake their very own architectural claim. Created by designer Tom Chudleigh, each of the fiberglass rooms is accessed via spiraling timber staircase.
Shipwreck Lodge offers an intriguing architectural answer to Namibia’s Skeleton Coast. The desolate, windswept beaches face notoriously difficult-to-navigate seas, which have historically led to more than 1,000 shipwrecks in the area and later, skeletal remnants of the whaling industry that routinely washed ashore. Today, that legacy is woven into a series of 20 luxury lodges, with whale-bone-like beams curving around each of the angled structures. Inside, each of the cabins look onto the rugged Atlantic coastline, while within, wood-burning stoves and plush bedding keep it cozy. The hotel is located within the Skeleton Coast National Park, where inland riverbeds attract lions, giraffes and black rhinoceros.
Well & Good
The KRANE elevates the hotel experience to a new level of post-industrial cool. Located in a former coal crane in Copenhagen’s newly booming North Harbour, the building machine has been transformed into a one-room, charcoal-hued retreat, complete with ground floor reception area, glass-enclosed meeting room and top floor penthouse with wrap-around harbor views. There's even a spa offering charcoal facials, twin soaking tubs and floor-to-ceiling glass walls looking onto the sea.
Eat, Drink, Repeat
Known for its spectacular scenery, South Korea’s Ulleungdo island boasts jagged mountains, untamed seas and dramatic cliffs — and is now home to a hotel worthy of its improbable topography: Healing Stay Kosmos hotel hugs its cliffside perch with exaggerated curves, its stark white walls a contrast to its forest context. Architect Kim Chan Jung of The System Lab says he conceived the space as a “celestial tool that can contemplate and feel the natural phenomenon of the universe and the earth.” It's from this magnificent location that former El Bulli chef Sunjin Hwang makes her culinary magic happen, with creations that include lots of local ingredients (cuttlefish, shrimp, beef) that are elevated El Bulli-style to works of art.
INTRO/LAUNCH PAD: @Shipwreck Lodge
INN CROWD: @Kachi Lodge
THE BRAG: @Free Spirit Spheres
WELL & GOOD: @The Krane
EAT, DRINK, REPEAT: @Healing Stay Kosmos