New thatched roof huts on Lake Kivu, Rwanda
Welcome to T Wanderlust, a new travel newsletter from the editorial staff of T Magazine. Twice a month we recommend destinations and hotels around the world that are worth visiting. Sign up here to find us in your inbox every other Fridayalong with our T-List newsletter every Wednesday. And you can always reach us at [email protected].
A heritage-inspired guest house in the Aegean
When Maria Lemos, of London-based lifestyle shop Mouki Mou, and her husband Gregoris Kambouroglou, a retired trauma surgeon, first visited Patmos twenty years ago, an island of around 3,000 people that is part of the Dodecanese archipelago in the Aegean Sea, they were instantly drawn to it enthusiastic about it. Having recently taken over a 16th-century guesthouse belonging to the Monastery of St. John and converted it into the three-suite Pagostas, they’ve fallen for it again. “With simplicity as a guiding principle, we wanted to create a universe that is modern and light, yet rooted in our Greek heritage,” says Lemos, who grew up between Greece and England. In collaboration with Greek designer Leda Athanasopoulou and Apostolos Koukidis of Mouki Mou, Lemos sourced vintage cane furniture from Athens, ceramics from Lesvos and hand-blown Cretan glass. A lace tablecloth made by Maria’s own grandmother adorns the walls of one of the rooms. The Athenian landscape gardener Helli Pangalou, known for her collaboration with the architect Renzo Piano, designed the small garden with jasmine and myrtle plants, reminiscent of monastic courtyards. Toiletries will feature a signature fragrance with notes of eucalyptus, cypress and incense – a collaboration with Lyn Harris of Perfumer H in London. “We are a home with soul,” says Kambouroglou, “we welcome travelers who want to understand the Patmian way of life.” Rooms from $300; pagostas.com.
The Portuguese seaside resort of Comporta and the neighboring municipality of Melides may be where some of Europe’s hottest personalities – Jacques Grange, Philippe Starck, Christian Louboutin – buy exceptional holiday homes, but it’s still possible to drive through and notice little more than fishing villages and the occasional stork’s nest stacked on top of an electricity pole. That’s because exceptional private properties are out of sight — or, like Pateos, a new quartet of dramatically angular vacation rentals nestled at the end of a bumpy dirt road near Melides, obscured by cork and olive groves. Designed by award-winning Portuguese architect Manuel Aires Mateus, the Tetris-style concrete bunker interiors are serenely minimalist, with sleek stucco walls, furniture upholstered in earth-toned linen, and sliding glass doors framing stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. There’s little art, aside from the floating Danish Flensted mobiles, but most guests spend their afternoons lounging by the shared triangular pool. The one-, two-, and three-bedroom units were originally intended as guest houses for friends and family, but Pateos owners Sofia and Miguel Charters were so involved in the design process that they decided to try their hand at hospitality. Private yoga sessions are offered on-site, and one of the area’s most pristine beaches, Praia da Aberta Nova (Vigia), is just a 20-minute drive away. Rooms from $560, including breakfast; pateos.pt.
A culturally immersive experience at Lake Kivu
Travelers prepared for mountain gorilla trekking and Big Five game drives will soon have a compelling new reason to venture into wildlife viewing on hilly, verdant Nkombo, an approximately 8.5-square-mile island in Lake Kivu near the Congolese border. The Capanne Project launches in August with two thatched huts inspired by exhibits at the Ethnographic Museum of Rwanda in Butare. The rustic accommodations are built in the local style using bamboo, Congolese hardwood and five types of thatch; Arched entrances provide the only natural light, though each dome cabin is equipped with modern conveniences like electricity and hot water. Capanne is the third property to be developed by eco-conscious hotel group Sextantio, whose other retreats in Matera and Santo Stefano di Sessanio have helped preserve rural southern Italy’s fading architectural heritage. Founder Daniele Kihlgren wanted to replicate his so-called social uplifting model in Africa, where he has traveled extensively by motorcycle. Kihlgren funded the construction of the Capanne project himself, and his proceeds benefit Sextantio Onlus, a nonprofit organization he founded in 2008 to provide health insurance to local residents with treatable diseases like malaria. Prizes are by donation only and visitors can have chance encounters with local fishermen, basket-weavers and others who call Nkombo Island home. “It’s a bit experimental,” says Kihlgren. “This is not your typical African luxury resort. You really feel the everyday life of the place.” sextantiorwanda.com.
An island of intricately crafted temples and sprawling rice terraces, Bali has seen many artists, dreamers and spiritual seekers over the years. Lost Lindenberg, an eight-room boutique inn that has just opened near a black lava-sand beach on the west coast, plays on this utopian fantasy. Before guests can enter the grounds, they must find a door hidden on a 10-foot-tall wall created by German sculptor Tobias Rehberger. Like a Vegas casino, its facade is covered in glowing neon signs that read “24/7” and “Relax Later” — making the zen-like serenity of the surrounding jungle feel all the more soothing when guests pass by. “It’s all about the contrast,” says Rehberger. Once inside, they’ll be engulfed by ferns, fiery red Heliconia plants, and lush banyan and banana trees. Rooms are tucked away in modern, treehouse-like structures built from bangkirai wood and designed by German architect Alexis Dornier and Venezuelan-born Maximilian Jencquel of Studio Jencquel, both expats who have been practicing on the island for more than a decade. After a day of poolside reading or surfing at the nearby Medewi Break, travelers can gather over slow-cooked jackfruit rendang and other plant-based Indonesian fare, served around a 22-foot shared dining table. Rooms from $350, including breakfast and surf lessons; thelindenberg.com.
The green hills of Umbria, Italy are less crowded with tourists than neighboring Tuscany and full of quiet hamlets. one of the region’s newest hotels, the Vocabolo Moscatelli, immerses its guests in the everyday rhythms of the countryside. Opened August 1st in a restored 12th-century convent 45 minutes from Perugia, the 12-room inn was designed in mid-century Italian style by Jacopo Venerosi Pesciolini of Florence’s Archiloop Studio. The raw materials and furnishings are also mostly Italian: bathroom tiles are from Cotto Etrusco, 20 minutes away; Four-poster beds are the work of Lispi in the nearby Città della Pieve; and the iron door frames in the monastery’s original arches were made by Eros, a blacksmith less than a mile up the road. In the public spaces and guest rooms with neutral tones (with original wood-beamed ceilings), visitors will encounter the chromatic works of local artists, including Massimiliano Poggioni and Edoardo Cialfi, chosen for the hotel by Umbrian curator Matteo Pacini. The restaurant’s seasonal lunch and dinner menus focus on vegetables, which co-owner Frederik Kubierschky hopes will attract locals as well. Kubierschky, a former concierge at Park Hyatt Zurich, was born in Germany but grew up in Italy; Together with his partner Catharina Lütjens, he pursues an individual approach to hosts. The couple plans to offer pottery classes for guests at the nearby Endiadi ceramics studio and truffle-hunting trips with their dog, Wilma, a Lagotto Romagnolo. “The future of gastronomy is smaller,” says Kubierschky. “People want someone who listens to their preferences and can guide them to a beautiful experience.” Rooms from around $327, including breakfast; www.vocabolomoscatelli.com.
A Paris hotel with green ambitions
With 18 hotels across France, MyHotels group co-founder Joris Bruneel is no newcomer to the hospitality industry. But its recent opening — a partnership with designer Marion Mailaender, known for her work at Marseille’s hip Tuba Club — marks a turning point. The 60-room Hôtel Rosalie in Paris’ 13th arrondissement is a conversion of an existing hotel — one that takes a sustainable approach to reclaiming nature’s rightful place in the urban landscape. The couple hired landscape architects from Merci Raymond to weave foliage into the renovation – plants now spill over the roof and lichen and moss grow where there used to be concrete slabs. “With Rosalie, the line between inside and outside was intentionally blurred,” says Bruneel. Galvanized steel, typically used for outdoor furniture, invades the spaces via benches and wall lights by Mailaender. The carpet in the guest rooms is made from recycled fishing nets; old chairs have been carefully restored; and plastic from the original hotel bathrooms has been reused in terrazzo-like finishes. Behind a third-floor door, travelers can relax in a secret rooftop garden adorned with hazelnut trees, purple willows, a 20-foot-tall hop plant, and a scrapped Peugeot 205. By the end of the year, the founders hope to earn the Hôtel Rosalie the prestigious Clef Verte title – the first sustainable tourism label in France, encouraging the travel industry to do everything in its power to protect the environment. Rooms from $150; www.hotel-rosalie.com.
A new standard in Bangkok
Designed by Ole Scheeren, the King Power Mahanakhon building has been a defining feature of Bangkok’s skyline since 2016, with a pixelated facade that looks like it will stop loading on a shaky dial-up. Now this unusual skyscraper has found a new tenant in Standard, Bangkok Mahanakhon. After making its Thailand debut last year with the Standard Hua Hin, a 1960s-inspired beach resort three hours southwest, the hotel group showcased its Asia flagship on the top three and bottom 18 floors of the tower. Working with Spanish artist Jaime Hayon, the Standard’s design team, led by Verena Haller, gave the space distinctive quirks — a Matisse-meets-Memphis mix of scribbled rugs, checkerboard tiles, and sculptural rattan lampshades dangling from the lobby ceiling. Rooms range from cozy studios to party-size penthouses, and follow a similar theme with curved sofas and cartoon-style end tables. But this is more than just a pretty place to sleep: Target restaurants include Thailand’s first outpost of Hong Kong dim sum powerhouse Mott 32 and a rose-gold rooftop spot serving modern Mexican dishes created and created by chef Francisco “Paco”. Ruano, and the on-site cultural calendar covers everything from DJ sets to queer tarot card readings. “We don’t see ourselves as a traditional luxury hotel,” says Mai Vejjajiva Timblick, Standard’s chief creative and culture officer in Asia. “We hardly see ourselves as a hotel.” Rooms from $200; standardhotels.com.