HERE’S a familiar scene: you arrive at your hotel after a long plane, train or car journey and all you want is a shower. Instead, you’re in a queue at reception. Hoteliers have heard you and they’ve got creative. In today’s new hotels, entrance lobbies have been replaced by ‘digital keys’ sent via smartphones, social spaces with ping-pong tables and living rooms serving tea and wine. Here is a selection of our favourite global spots…
A SECRET door is the intriguing way in for guests at Melbourne’s Notel. In the absence of any reception, guests get in through the neighbouring coffee shop using a digital passcode sent to their phones. Set atop a former car park in the city’s Central Business District, the hotel’s six chrome Airstream trailers feature white-and-pink decor plus queen-size beds, showers, wi-fi, iPad Pros and complimentary mini-bars stocked with champagne and cold-brew coffee. The premier Airstream With Benefits also chucks in a private hot tub.
From £245 per night, notelmelbourne.com.au
Mandalina Luxury Boutique Hotel
TURKEY’s new beach hotel, which opens on May 20, isn’t just minimal in terms of design – where crisp white walls and high ceilings eschew any sense of clutter – but also in its welcoming process. After being met at the airport, Mandalina’s guests are transferred by private car and taken directly to one of the dozen suites, which have a complimentary bottle of wine waiting. Form-filling? It’s done in your room at ‘your convenience’, leaving you to relax as soon as you arrive, either in the infinity pool, on the sun terraces, amid pretty gardens, aboard a gulet (sailing boat] cruise or along the private sands. More active options involve hiring kayaks to explore the bay, or renting bikes to pedal inland.
From £3,000 per week B&B including flights, fairlightjones.com
TWO elevators greet guests at the Zoku hotel in trendy east Amsterdam, which immediately transport them to the rooftop eighth floor. From there it’s a stroll through a plant-filled glass corridor, past hammock-draped terraces, into the open-plan social space filled with mismatched sofas, a small general shop, a communal-bench restaurant, a ping-pong table, craft beer taps, co-working offices and a computer games room. Grab any passing white-shirted ‘Sidekick’ staff member, who will check you into your room – home to a foldaway staircase leading to a loft bed – on an iPad. Those same Sidekicks will also arrange bike rental or suggest the best local coffee shops and bars.
From £108 per night, livezoku.com
The Butler Hotel
FORMER auto-repair shop The Butler in San Luis Obispo – halfway between San Francisco and LA – is now an upmarket, six-room hotel. Though its original facade survives, the arrival process is wholly modern: the online check-in sends you a code to enter into your room’s digital lock. Laundry, picnics, massage and spa services can all be ordered via a ‘virtual concierge’ that simply involves sending a text. Should you crave human interaction, guests are encouraged to mingle in The Butler’s library lounge.
From £165 per night, thebutlerhotel.com
Hotel Cala Sant Vicenç
One of Mallorca’s loveliest hotels has just redesigned its ground floor with the chief purpose of removing the reception. When it reopened last week, the Hotel Cala Sant Vicenç greeted arrivals with a sweeping lounge area with glass walls revealing the glistening pool, tall palm trees and lush gardens. Where once was a desk is now a living room filled with comfortable armchairs and sofas. You can sit back with a chilled glass of the local callet wine and a staff member will come to you with your key. Those same aides can also arrange hiking or wine-tasting, sun-lounger hire on the beach five minutes away and dinner at the hotel’s acclaimed Cavall Bernat Restaurant.
From £105 per night, hotelcala.com