Welcome to T Wanderlust, a new travel newsletter from the editors of T Magazine. Twice a month, we’ll recommend global destinations and hotels worth visiting. Sign up here to find us in your inbox every other Friday, along with our T List newsletter each Wednesday. And you can always reach us at [email protected].
A Heritage-Inspired Guesthouse in the Aegean Sea
Twenty years ago, when Maria Lemos of the Mouki Mou lifestyle shop in London and her husband, Gregoris Kambouroglou, a retired trauma surgeon, first visited Patmos, an island of roughly 3,000 inhabitants belonging to the Dodecanese archipelago in the Aegean Sea, they instantly fell for it. After recently taking over a 16th-century guesthouse owned by the Monastery of Saint John and transforming it into the three-suite Pagostas, they’ve fallen for it all over again. “Using simplicity as the 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. Teaming up with the Greek designer Leda Athanasopoulou, and Mouki Mou’s Apostolos Koukidis, Lemos sourced vintage cane furniture from Athens, ceramics from Lesbos and handblown Cretan glass. A lace tablecloth from Maria’s own grandmother adorns the walls of one of the rooms. The Athenian landscaper Helli Pangalou, known for her work with the architect Renzo Piano, designed the small garden to be somewhat reminiscent of monastic courtyards, with plantings of jasmine and myrtle. Toiletries will feature a proprietary scent with notes of eucalyptus, cypress and frankincense — a collaboration with Lyn Harris of Perfumer H in London. “We are a home with a soul,” says Kambouroglou, “welcoming travelers who want to understand the Patmian way of life.” Rooms from $300; pagostas.com.
The Portuguese beach resort town Comporta and the neighboring community of Melides may be where some of Europe’s most fashionable personalities — Jacques Grange, Philippe Starck, Christian Louboutin — buy extraordinary vacation homes, but it’s still possible to drive through and notice little more than fishing villages and the occasional stork’s nest stacked on an electricity pole. That’s because exceptional private properties are tucked out of view — or, like Pateos, a new quartet of dramatically angular vacation rentals nestled at the end of a bumpy dirt road, obscured by cork and olive grove, near Melides. Designed by the award-winning Portuguese architect Manuel Aires Mateus, the interiors of the Tetris-style concrete bunkers are serenely minimal, with smooth stucco walls, furniture upholstered in earth-toned linens and sliding glass doors framing stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. There is little art, save for the floating Danish Flensted mobiles, but most guests will idle away their afternoons lounging by the shared triangular pool. The one-, two- and three-bedroom units were originally intended as guesthouses for friends and family, but the Pateos owners Sofia and Miguel Charters became so involved in the design process that they decided to try their hand at hospitality. Private yoga sessions will be available 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 on Lake Kivu
Travelers primed for mountain gorilla treks and Big Five game drives will soon have a compelling new reason to break up the wildlife sightings on hilly, green Nkombo, a roughly 8.5-square-mile island in Lake Kivu near the Congolese border. The Capanne Project launches in August with two thatched-roof huts inspired by exhibits in the Ethnographic Museum of Rwanda in Butare. The rustic accommodations are built in a vernacular style with bamboo, Congolese hardwood and five kinds of straw; arched entrances offer the only natural light, though each domed hut is equipped with modern comforts such as electricity and hot water. Capanne is the third property to have been developed by the conservation-minded hotel group Sextantio, whose other retreats, in Matera and Santo Stefano di Sessanio, have helped preserve the disappearing architectural heritage of rural southern Italy. The founder Daniele Kihlgren wanted to replicate his so-called social-upliftment model in Africa, where he has traveled extensively by motorcycle. Kihlgren funded the construction of the Capanne Project himself, and its proceeds benefit Sextantio Onlus, a nonprofit he founded in 2008 to provide health insurance to area residents with treatable diseases like malaria. Rates are by donation only, and visitors may 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 the typical luxury African resort. You truly feel the day-to-day of the place.” sextantiorwanda.com.
Bali, an island of finely wrought temples and sweeping rice terraces, has seen its share of artists, dreamers and spiritual seekers over the years. Playing into that utopian fantasy is Lost Lindenberg, a boutique eight-room inn that just opened near a black lava sand beach on the west coast. Before guests can enter the compound, they must find a door hidden along a 10-foot-high wall created by the German sculptor Tobias Rehberger. Like a Vegas casino, its facade is covered with blazing neon signs that read “24/7” and “Relax Later” — making the Zen-like serenity of the surrounding jungle feel that much more calming when guests pass through. “It’s all about the contrast,” says Rehberger. Once inside, they’re engulfed by ferns, fire-red Heliconia plants and lush banyan and banana trees. The rooms are secreted away in modern treehouse-like structures built of Bangkirai wood and designed by the German architect Alexis Dornier and Venezuela-born Maximilian Jencquel of Studio Jencquel, both expats who have practiced on the island for more than a decade. After a day spent reading by the pool or surfing the nearby Medewi break, travelers can connect over slow-cooked jackfruit rendang and other plant-based Indonesian fare, served around a 22-foot-long communal dining table. Rooms from $350, including breakfast and a surf lesson; thelindenberg.com.
Less tourist trodden than neighboring Tuscany, the verdant hills of Umbria, Italy, are filled with quiet hamlets; one of the region’s newest hotels, Vocabolo Moscatelli, immerses guests in the quotidian rhythms of the countryside. Opening Aug. 1 in a restored 12th-century monastery 45 minutes from Perugia, the 12-room inn was designed in midcentury Italian style by Jacopo Venerosi Pesciolini of Archiloop studio in Florence. The raw materials and furnishings are also mostly Italian: Bathroom tiles come from Cotto Etrusco, 20 minutes away; canopy beds are the work of Lispi in nearby Città della Pieve; and the iron door frames set within the monastery’s original arches were fashioned by Eros, a blacksmith less than a mile up the road. Throughout the public spaces and neutral-hued guest rooms (with original wood-beam ceilings), visitors will stumble across the chromatic works of regional artists, including Massimiliano Poggioni and Edoardo Cialfi, selected for the hotel by the Umbrian curator Matteo Pacini. The restaurant’s seasonal lunch and dinner menus are centered around vegetables, which the co-owner Frederik Kubierschky hopes will attract locals, too. A former concierge at Park Hyatt Zurich, Kubierschky was born in Germany but raised in Italy; along with his partner, Catharina Lütjens, he takes a personalized approach to hosting. The couple plan to offer pottery classes for guests at nearby Endiadi Ceramic studio and truffle-hunting excursions with their dog, Wilma, a Lagotto Romagnolo. “Smaller is the future of hospitality,” says Kubierschky. “People want somebody who listens to their preferences and can lead them to a beautiful experience.” Rooms from around $327, including breakfast; vocabolomoscatelli.com.
A Parisian Hotel With Green Ambitions
With 18 properties across France, the co-founder of MyHotels group Joris Bruneel is no novice at hospitality. But his latest opening — a partnership with the designer Marion Mailaender, known for her work at Marseille’s fashionable Tuba Club — represents a watershed moment. The 60-room Hôtel Rosalie, located in Paris’s 13th Arrondissement, is an overhaul of an existing hotel — one that takes a sustainable approach to reclaiming nature’s rightful place in the urban landscape. The pair hired landscape architects at Merci Raymond to weave foliage into the renovation — now, plants spill over the rooftop and lichen and moss grow where concrete slabs used to be. “At Rosalie, the frontier between interior and exterior has been left deliberately blurry,” says Bruneel. Galvanized steel, typically used in garden furniture, infiltrates the rooms via benches and wall lights designed by Mailaender. The carpet in the guest rooms is made from recycled fishing nets; vintage chairs have been carefully restored; and plastic from the original hotel baths has been reused in terrazzo-like surfaces. Behind a door on the third floor, travelers can unwind in a secret rooftop garden trimmed with hazel trees, purple willows, a 20-foot-tall hop plant and a junked Peugeot 205. By year’s end, the founders hope to earn Hôtel Rosalie the prestigious Clef Verte title — the first sustainable-tourism seal in France, which encourages the travel industry to go above and beyond in its efforts to preserve the environment. Rooms from $150; hotel-rosalie.com.
A New Standard in Bangkok
With a pixelated facade that looks like it stopped loading halfway on a wonky dial-up, the Ole Scheeren-designed King Power Mahanakhon building has been a defining feature of Bangkok’s skyline since 2016. Now, this off-kilter skyscraper has found a new tenant in the Standard, Bangkok Mahanakhon. After making its Thailand debut last year with the Standard Hua Hin, a 1960s-inspired beach retreat three hours to the southwest, the hotel group launched its Asia flagship on the tower’s top three and lower 18 floors. Together with the Spanish artist Jaime Hayon, the Standard’s design team, led by Verena Haller, infused the space with signature quirks — a Matisse-meets-Memphis mix of scribbled carpets, checkerboard tiling and sculptural rattan lampshades dangling from the lobby ceiling. Rooms range from snug studios to party-size penthouses and follow a similar theme, with curvy sofas and cartoonish side tables. But this is more than just a pretty place to sleep: Destination restaurants include Thailand’s first outpost of the Hong Kong dim sum powerhouse Mott 32 and a rose-gold-tinted rooftop spot serving contemporary Mexican fare, created and overseen by the chef Francisco “Paco” Ruano, and the on-site cultural calendar covers everything from D.J. sets to queer tarot card readings. “We don’t think of ourselves as a traditional luxury hotel,” says Mai Vejjajiva Timblick, the Standard’s chief creative and culture officer in Asia. “We hardly think of ourselves as a hotel at all.” Rooms from $200; standardhotels.com.