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Concrete Thinking with Zaha Hadid

Frequent Flier The past year has been crazy. In September, I went to Venice for the Biennale, Innsbruck for the ski jump opening, and Bartlesville, Oklahoma, where I'm designing an extension for the Price Tower Art Center. I was in Phuket over Christmas, and then I came back to London—via Singapore—for a week before flying to Graz for the opening of Desire, an opera I did the sets for. Then I flew to New York for meetings.

I was in Rome twice, to talk about my exhibition and about the next stage of the contemporary arts center that I'm designing there, and to attend the Pritzker Architecture Prize dinner.

Boutiques Are Best I like staying at the Rafael in Rome—it's a very sweet hotel and very convenient. You can walk everywhere and then head right through the lobby and straight to the elevators. On short trips, it's easier to stay in a place like that, because you're in and out of your room in no time. In Berlin, I love the Grand Hyatt on the Potsdamer Platz, designed by Rafael Moneo. I'm sure there are nicer hotels, but it's very easy, it has a pool, the rooms are clean, and there are no curtains or froufrou. It also has excellent bathrooms.

When I was teaching in New York City in 1998, I pretty much lived at the Royalton. The lobby scene was fabulous. Sometimes I'd take all my Columbia students there to have cappuccinos with me. Those got to be expensive visits! But after 10 years of staying there I got sick of never finding a seat in the lobby.

Now I always stay at the Mercer. The rooms are bright, and I don't have to negotiate the lobby or fight my way through "creatures." And I can unpack and put my clothes out of sight. When you're in a hotel room you shouldn't be aware that you're traveling.

In Miami Beach, I stay at the Delano. Of all the Philippe Starck hotels, it's the most incredible. To render a hotel lobby like a street party and have people promenading back and forth to the beach is very clever.


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