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Turn your next business trip into a holiday by checking into one of these stylish hotels that are making financial centres worth staying on at over the weekend.
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With Conran interiors and artwork from the Hoxton Gallery, South Place Hotel stands out from its Square Mile counterparts. “The City of London has always retained importance as the financial district, but it has recently enjoyed a cultural renaissance,” says the hotel’s general manger Bruce Robertson. Weekend highlights include wine tastings and Sunday afternoon rooftop parties in collaboration with Fabric nightclub. Look out for the ‘secret’ garden atrium bar tucked away in the middle of the hotel on the first floor.
“Traditionally, you didn’t visit the Tiergarten – Berlin’s embassy quarter – in search of cutting-edge quirkiness, but things are changing fast,” says James Lohan, co-founder of Mr & Mrs Smith. Take Das Stue, for example, a hotel set in the former Danish embassy building, which instead of sitting alongside skyscrapers, overlooks the city zoo. “You can find yourself drinking a whisky sour surrounded by in-the-know locals when an ostrich pops up at the window,” continues Lohan. “I’ve yet to find anywhere in the east that offers a view to rival that.”
Local designer Marcel Wanders has taken Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland as the inspiration for Andaz Amsterdam’s theatrical interiors. No surprise, then, that it’s known more for creative collaborations and events (think video art installations and projects with the Dutch Fashion Foundation) than its business centre or conference facilities. Don’t miss the farm-to-table brunch at the Bluespoon Restaurant on Sundays – it’s a bit of an institution with locals.
Aloft Brussels Schuman, part of Starwood’s newest urban-influenced brand, is adding design panache to Brussels’ European Quarter. “The Aloft was a part of the first wave of fresh openings linked to the Leopold Village project,” says hotel manager Eveline Noort. “There are a few trendy local businesses that have opened up since the hotel arrived in the area, such as The Winery and the Italian restaurant and ice-cream bar.” Weekend visitors can also benefit from bargain rates.
The Swedish capital’s new Miss Clara Hotel sits on Sveavägen, a street running from the City to the more trendy Vasastan. “Both areas are starting to tie together,” says director of PR and marketing Alessia Catenacci. “Next to Miss Clara, a building is under construction that will be a vibrant venue with restaurants such as Urban Deli.” Watch out for the hotel’s collaboration with Swedish brewery Grythyttan to make its own Miss Clara beer.
The Netherlands’ second city was tipped as one of the top places to visit for 2014 by The New York Times, thanks to its post-World War II reconstruction – like the building that’s occupied by the futuristic, harbour-side Mainport hotel. “This up-and-coming area represents the current city trend for new culinary, cultural or architectural initiatives to show up everywhere,” says general manager, Hans van Schaick. “The district around Witte de With attracts locals with new coffee bars such as Hopper and culinary highlights at Gusto.”