Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Travel + Leisure: Best New Hotels 2011 - Worst Of

A few days ago I gave my top picks of Travel + Leisure's "It List: The Best of New Hotels 2011."

Today I'll feature the hotels that are on the bottom of my list.

1. The Redbury Hotel, Hollywood

Sam Nazarian, can you just go home already? I promise I don't mean that in some creepy, xenophobic way. I mean it literally. Just go to your house, sit on the couch, watch all 5 seasons of The Wire, and stop designing cheesy hotels that make me embarrassed for my city.

Everything I hate about over designing is embodied here. This looks like the deformed love child of Amelie and 2007 Pier 1 Imports. Don't get me wrong. I love Amelie, and ethnic prints, but this was done so poorly. Ikat chairs and paisley wallpaper? Dude, come on.

Photos: Redbury Hotel

2. Hotel Beaux Arts Miami

Dear 1997, please come reclaim your Miami design hotel.

I do not understand how this hotel made the list. Is that an image of Christy Turlington in the lobby? (Okay, I know it's not, but this hotel is just not avante garde enough for an early 90's Peter Lindbergh homage.)

And then the room looks like a random airport-adjacent hotel room in any city in any country. I actually think I stayed in that exact room in Abu Dhabi, or maybe it was Toronto...

Photos: Beaux Arts Hotel Miami

Now what have I taken away from this?

First, not all layering is equal. Two extremely busy styles placed on top of each other, like with The Redbury, often don't work. There are obvious exceptions, but this is why many successful examples of layering feature one simple inspiration with clean lines, like Rustic Farmhouse or Contemporary Japanese, paired with another more ornate or bold style like French Colonial or 1960's Mod. Ornate plus ornate just makes me seasick.

The real problem with the Miami hotel is not that it's decidedly uncool, which it is, but that I don't see anything distinct about it. There is little connection to place, which is my number one criterion in determining an interesting new hotel.

Jared, my beyonce, thinks it would be a nice place to stay. In a way, I agree. I bet the service is great and the bed very comfortable. It's just that this hotel, especially the room, could be anywhere. When I go somewhere different, I want to stay somewhere that feels like I'm there. (Yes, I'm a broken record.) And I really believe there is a way to offer all the great amenities of an urban business hotel - attentive service, useful electronics, intuitive layout, delicious room service, comfortable bed and shower - without compromising a strong sense of place.

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