How hotels are revitalizing forgotten neighborhoods

Call it the ACE effect. The hotel brand has become famous for moving into offbeat neighborhoods, where rent was presumably cheaper, and then turning those neighborhoods into new capitals of cool. They were pioneers in neighborhoods like New York’s NoMad, London’s Shoreditch and DTLA. And they have inspired others, both in cities and in rural areas.

DAVE Red, Athens

The first of the new range of affordable DAVE–Son of a Brown hotels (from the hip Israeli group Brown Hotels) to be launched outside of Tel Aviv, the Athens hotel occupies the former headquarters of the KKE ( Greek Communist Party) in Omonia Square. The square was in a state of disrepair after its original water feature was demolished; in recent years it has undergone a redevelopment program to make it a UN-certified “sustainable destination”. (And anything that helps get people out of the busier tourist areas gets sustainability points in my book.) The hotel is one of the centerpieces, with a mural on the mezzanine that honors the history of the building and an “adult play area” with pool tables, original Nintendo and Packman consoles, and a balcony with hammocks.

TWA Hotel, New York

Not so long ago, some New Yorkers did everything possible to avoid flying out of JFK. Now they eagerly go there, even without a plane ticket in hand. That’s because the TWA Hotel gave them all sorts of reasons to take the A train. Eero Saarinen’s iconic terminal from 1962 is now an “experiential hotel” with 512 mid-century modern rooms and immersive exhibits. , several restaurants (including one by Jean-Georges), a rooftop infinity pool and observation deck, a roller skating rink, an Intelligentsia café bar, and a 1958 airplane turned cocktail bar.

Galei Kinneret, Israel

Few people make it to the Sea of ​​Galilee in northern Israel, but that’s changing with the revival of this 123-room luxury hotel. Built in 1946, it was inspired by the owner’s trip to Villa d’Este on Lake Como. The hotel was uninhabited when Amsterdam-based designer Saar Zafrir began work, drawing inspiration from its early glory days, the ancient ruins discovered at the site, the natural landscape and the owner’s original vision.

Magnificent George, Cape Town

George Street in Cape Town city center is far from the traditional waterfront tourist trail, but with its first boutique hotel, part of Design Hotels, curious tourists have started to come. In the process, new galleries, bars and restaurants in the city center, as well as a new exhibition space next door. Of course, the hotel itself is a decoy, occupying two beautifully restored heritage buildings with a sleek African aesthetic by South African designer Tristan du Pleiss, and with works by local artists and designers throughout.

ReMIX, Paris

Another Saar Zafrir project, this redesign of an old hotel brings life back to the Parc de la Villette, on the north-eastern outskirts of the city, in the 19th arrondissement. Its colorful and eclectic design for the 259-room hotel is inspired by the 1980s pop song “Forever Young,” with vibrant patterns, retro textures, and abstract touches throughout. Today, it’s the anchor of a newly cool neighborhood that oozes culture, art, and dining.

Lopota Lake Resort, Georgia

In 2008, building a hotel on one of the forgotten lakes in Kakheti, Georgia (the country) seemed like a crazy idea. But the founder of Lopota Lake Resort, Goga Maisuradze, stuck to it and put Lopota on the tourist map of the world. Demand has been so high that what started as a seven-room family hotel has grown into a 232-room resort, multiple restaurants, a spa, horses and vineyards. (Kakheti is Georgia’s premier wine region.) What hasn’t changed is the warm hospitality still offered by the founder’s family.

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