Great escapes for the autumn season
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Portrait-perfect in Milan
Even some of the heaviest hitters in business have side hustles. Take Leonardo Ferragamo, president of his family’s publicly traded fashion and accessories house, who oversees a nice line in hotels. His Lungarno Collection includes some of urban Italy’s best, with three boutique properties in Florence; two more exclusive propositions, supra-branded the Portrait Collection, operate there and in Rome. On 1 December, he’ll open Portrait Milano, his largest and most ambitious project to date, as much an urban-regeneration initiative as it is a luxury hotel.
The building, established in the mid-16th century by Carlo Borromeo and long the seat of the Archdiocese of Milan, is Europe’s second-oldest seminary; its loggia – which connects Corso Venezia tothe Via Sant’Andrea – will open to the public for the first time, lined with a curation of boutiques, among which are the showroom of Ferragamo’s jewellery-designer daughter, Maria Sole, and an outpost of fashion concept store Antonia. These will be joined by two restaurants and cafés, and, on the upper floors, the 73 suites of the hotel itself, with signature interiors by another enterprising Florentine, Michele Bönan, who has collaborated with Ferragamo since 1995. lungarnocollection.com, from €935
Morocco’s new desert redoubt
Habitas has emerged as the little hotel company with big experience-travel ambitions: it currently consists of just seven properties, but they’re scattered as far and wide as Saudi Arabia, Baja California and Namibia. It has planted a new flag in Morocco’s Agafay Desert – less than an hour from the bustle of the Marrakech medina, it’s a world of silent, severely beautiful landscapes, with the peaks of the High Atlas as a backdrop.
Caravan Agafay’s guests will sleep under canvas – there are 20 tents on its five-hectare site – and enjoy the use of two swimming pools, various communal spaces, stargazing talks in the evenings and, if they’re keen, a gallop out into the sands on one of the camp’s own horses (or, alternatively, a lope out on one of its camels). In keeping with the Habitas mission, food is locally sourced, wellness plays a key role and the surrounding Berber villages – which guests can visit for insights into how Morocco’s ancient nomadic tribes live in the 21st century – benefit from the support of RISE, Habitas’ affiliate impact initiative. ourhabitas.com, from £285
Livin’ it up at the motel California
Cayucos is one of old California’s best-preserved, still authentic beach towns: devoid (gratifyingly) of brand boutiques and Tuscan bistro micro-chains, it offers instead chowder houses, taco stands, fishing and whale-watching excursions, and a main drag lined with 1910s storefronts. If you’ve ever dreamed of an Airstream trip up Highway 1, it’s a can’t miss.
If you prefer a stationary bed, there’s this charming addition: The Pacific, a clever reinvention of a classic old California motel, in the spirit of Malibu’s brilliant Surfrider. It opened last month, with 20 rooms that are spread across a main building and a series of little private bungalows, the latter all with patios, mini-fridges/bars and fireplaces. Inside are timber floors, white-wainscoted walls, midcentury-inflected textiles, pendant lamps and floods of West Coast natural light. The complimentary amenities – from locally roasted Spearhead Coffee to the Linus bikes, fire pits and (of course) Tesla chargers – are pure Golden State. thepacificmotel.com, from $299
In Paris, a tale of two views
And to Paris, where two new super-central addresses offer variations on City of Lights style. At the Hôtel Dame des Arts, which opens in December in the heart of the sixth arrondissement, Israeli-born designer Raphael Navot (who recently launched his first furniture collection for Loro Piana) has bespoked almost every last interior element, from the wall coverings to the blackened-oak floors.
Those on the top floors have private balconies, but if you can’t score one, the rooftop bar is open to all. Across the Seine, overlooking the Pont Sully and Île Saint Louis, SO/ Paris, with 162 rooms and suites in a David Chipperfield-designed new build, is a bigger (and, under the Accor umbrella, arguably more predictable) affair. But with that come all the benefits (massive all-day fitness facilities; indoor swimming pool). And this has its own buzzy rooftop bar-club, called Bonnie. damedesarts.com, from €375; soparis.com, from €600