Design Destinations

Well-traveled tastemakers reveal places where the style is inspirational

The highly dramatic dining room at the Four Seasons Surf Club.

This story is found in the Winter 2019 edition of Park City Home.

It’s no secret that architects and designers have long been inspired by travel. Balinese rice paddies find their way onto L.A. rooftops and Mexican plazas are emulated in desert homes. We asked 13 design-savvy travelers to share places so visually impactful and inspiring, they’re worth a journey in themselves.

The Four Seasons Surf Club, Surfside, Florida
Just outside of Miami Beach, the Four Seasons is breathing new life into the destination. The historic Surf Club has been repurposed as a sophisticated hotel with an Instagram-worthy restaurant from the team behind Le Sirenuse, the legendary Amalfi Coast getaway, and chic, whitewashed guestrooms from star designer Joseph Dirand. There’s no more glamorous yet comfortable place to be at the beach.
Jacqui Gifford, Editor in Chief, Travel & Leisure
San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome
When I can drag myself away from the bustle of Rome’s Piazza Navona, I go to a quiet parallel street and the church of San Luigi dei Francesi. The restrained exterior doesn’t prepare you for the great drama within: Caravaggio’s paintings dedicated to Saint Matthew, three works that changed the course of art history. The revolutionary painter imagined Christ calling on the tax collector Matthew in a location that seems like a contemporary tavern inhabited by Roman roughnecks, all illuminated by a theatrical fall of light. I’ve been there often when visitors stood in silence just taking it in — I’ve been one of them.
Andrea Bayer, Deputy Director, the Metropolitan Museum of Art 

Frankie’s Tiki Room Bar, Las Vegas
Paneled in bamboo, hung with fishing nets, and guarded by massive, hand-carved tikis glowering at you from all sides, Frankie’s Tiki Room is a dimly lit paradise of Vegas kitsch. It’s where you go to retreat from the modern Strip’s mega-resorts and lose yourself in a Wild Watusi, a Bearded Clam, or a traditional Mai Tai, made with a generous squeeze of fresh citrus. In a town where the glamour of old is usually razed for something bigger and flashier, here the tide of rum and the boozy breath of the air-conditioner will wash you back to the louche, more intimate Sin City of an earlier day.
Joshua David, Co-Founder, The High Line

Amanjiwo, Java, Indonesia
This magical architectural wonder by Aman Hotels was conceived by American architect Ed Tuttle. Tuttle designed the circular lobby and almost all of the 36 suites to have a breathtaking view of the Buddhist monument (and UNESCO World Heritage Site), Borobudur. In some, you can even see the majestic volcano, Mount Merapi. When I stay there I have to pinch myself, it is so surreal. I feel transported to another place and time.
Gretchen Lagrange, Creative Director

Fogo Island Inn, Newfoundland, Canada
Built to save an isolated outport community, the Inn — which has won design accolades from around the world — immerses you in the unique landscape, heritage, artisanship, and very soul of that community, restoring your own soul in the process.
Wendy Perrin, Editor,

Sketch, London
A feast for the eyes, this Mayfair eatery encompasses four imaginatively decorated restaurants, including the enchanting, bough-and-branch-filled Glade and the sumptuous Gallery, where the powder puff pink walls and banquettes are accented by brass table lamps and cartoonish wall art. Be sure to visit the loo: Each toilet is encased in a giant egg.
Mark Marino, Commerce Director, Apartment Therapy 

Dali Jewels Museum, Figueres, Spain
I love looking at jewelry as art form. Tucked away in its own space at the Dali Museum are 41 works conceived by the surrealistic genius of Salvatore Dali and executed in gold and platinum using emeralds, diamonds, sapphires, and other precious stones. My favorite pieces include The Royal Heart, Ruby Lips, and the Corset Ring.
Rachel Leonard, Editorial Director, The Bridal Council

Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, India
Fantasy becomes reality at Taj Lake Palace. How easy to pretend you’re a princess at this hotel, a former historic palace “floating” in the middle of a misty lake. Arrive via boat and greeters shower you with rose petals. The architecture and interior design weave a spell with ornate carvings, lavish wood, frescoes, marble floors, and stained glass. Art and culture fill every niche and corner, everywhere you look. You’ll immediately start planning the next trip back — or you might never leave.
Janice Wald Henderson, Food and Travel Journalist

Villa Balbianello, Lake Como, Italy
Castle-like Villa Balbianello, the film location for Casino Royale, began life as a 13th- century monastery and became the residence of 20th century explorer Guido Manzino. Now a museum, his quirky collections — maps, narwhal tusks, and glass paintings — are housed in elaborately decorated rooms. They’re matched by lush manicured gardens on the lake’s most dramatic promontory.
Everett Potter, Journalist

The Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris, France
I love this garden because although it’s a public, exterior space, the layout and design make you feel as if you are walking through a series of rooms and hallways — from the linden tree-lined entry off the rue de Bonaparte to the grand ballroom-like central fountain. I love to visit in spring when the pink geraniums are flowering in the planters around the terraced garden, in early summer when the rose garden is in full blossom, and in late fall when the clipped, high chestnut trees have turned golden brown. Every visit reveals a new part of the garden I don’t know, or a detail or a tree I have never noticed. I love that sense of peaceful discovery in the heart of a bustling capital.
Kate Betts, Journalist

Little Kulala, Namibia
Set amid the sands of the Namib Desert, Little Kulala has a design sensibility hatched from its dramatic surroundings. In the lobby, chandeliers made from tree branches and recycled glass hang from the soaring thatched ceilings, and the sun-bleached biomorphic furniture looks like it tumbled in from the nearby dunes. Sand paths lead to the 11 guest bungalows, each with its own private plunge pool for cooling off after a day under the intense sun, as well as a “starbed” for sleeping under the African skies.
Laura Begley Bloom, Travel & Lifestyle Authority

25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin
This centrally located former office space captures Berlin’s chic, modern vibe. Many rooms overlook the zoo and botanical gardens, making for some interesting wake-up sounds. All reflect the fun locale, with animal-themed decor and accouterments (my suite had a hammock hanging in the corner). The plush robes look like costumes from The Flintstones. At night, the glassed-in rooftop is home to one of Berlin’s hottest lounges: Monkey Bar (of course).
Barbara Fairchild, Former Editor in Chief, Bon Appetit

TWA Hotel, John F. Kennedy Airport, New York City
Nothing transports you back to the glamour of the jet age like the Eero Saarinen TWA flight center. Beautifully restored this year, it’s a must see for fans of Saarinen, Lowey, the Eames, and Noguchi. Stay overnight or take a few hours to get inspired and enjoy the iconic building’s sunken lounge and restaurant with swooping curvilinear cement and glass, or have a drink inside a vintage plane and swim in the infinity-edge pool with a view of modern jets taking off. 
Amy Rosenfeld, Creative Director

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