High design doesn't need to be austere, especially at these four European hotels that have just opened their doors. BARCELONA Architect Fernando Amat, the mastermind behind Spain's housewares boutique Vinçon, created the 25-suite Casa Camper (11 Carrer Elisabets; 34/93-342-6280; www.casacamper.com; doubles from $230) for the hippie-chic Spanish shoemaker. Whimsical rooms are fire-engine red and playfully outfitted with beds and hammocks. LONDON Guests can stay in the building where Oscar Wilde and Mick Jagger confronted their legal woes, now the Courthouse Kempinski (1921 Great Marlborough St.; 800/426-3135 or 44-207/297-5555; www.kempinski.com; doubles from $298). Pass through the salvaged prison gates to sip cocktails at the Bar. PARIS Philippe Starck protégé Christophe Pillet decorated Hotel Sezz (6 Ave. Frémiet; 33-1/56-75-26-26; www.hotelsezz.com; doubles from $363), where bright acid colors pop against textured stone walls and polished hardwood furniture. CYPRUS At the InterContinental Aphrodite Hills Resort (1 Aphrodite Ave.; 800/327-0200 or 35-72/682-9000; www.aphrodite.intercontinental.com; doubles from $335), mosaics and Doric columns set off the modern rooms, which all have private balconies. Tee off on the seaside golf course or soak up the scene at the outdoor spa.
Decorated by Philippe Starck–trained Christophe Pillet, the new, 27-chambre Hotel Sezz is phonetically named after the 16th Arrondissement it calls home. The lobby, lit with Murano-glass fixtures, doesn’t have a front desk—that’s been replaced by an itinerant team of personal assistants, one of whom remains at each guest’s beck and call—but it does have La Grande Dame, its Veuve Clicquot champagne bar. Rooms are accented with bright, acid colors that pop against textured stone walls and stainless steel furniture, like the lits de camp, or camp-style beds, fitted with painted wooden drawers.
Many a rebellious lad, from Oscar Wilde to Keith Richards, has spent time within the confines of 19–21 Great Marlborough Street—the present-day site of the 116-room Courthouse Hotel Kempinski—not as hotel guests, but as defendants in what was the United Kingdom’s second-oldest magistrate court. Book the Lalique Suite and unwind in the former residence of the metropolitan police commissioner; four other suites are situated in what once were the judges’ robing rooms, and four more are in the clerks’ chambers. Standard rooms are housed in a new wing built on the site of the old police station, including the holding cells and shooting range. Guests pass through salvaged prison gates to sip cocktails at the Bar and dine in the shadow of the judges’ bench at Silk.
Fernando Amat, owner of Spain’s housewares boutique Vinçon, and architect Jordi Tió created the 25-suite Casa Camper for the bohemian Spanish shoemaker. Whimsical touches like hammocks and fire engine–red walls temper strict minimalist interiors. Guest rooms—none of which face the street—are divided by a hallway into two spaces, one for sleeping and one for lounging. Guests appreciate the complimentary healthy snacks and the central location in the lively Raval district, situated between the Ramblas and the contemporary art museum, MACBA. With its foolproof design sensibility and recipe for stylish comfort, Camper proves that footwear and hotels really do have a lot in common.