LONDON (Reuters Life!) - The clothes, the glamour, the shows are all heavily covered in the media, but where does a fashionista stay when visiting New York, London, Milan and Paris for fashion week? Boutique hotel collection Mr & Mrs Smith (www.mrandmrssmith.com) rounds up 10 of the most style-sussed stays in the world's fashion capitals. Reuters does not endorse this list:
Paris 1. Hotel Keppler
A welcome retreat from the fast-pace of Champs-Elysées shop-hopping nearby, this classic 39-room boutique hotel is great for glamour pusses. Designer Pierre-Yves Rochon blends a sophisticated Hausmannian hideaway with a relaxed home-from-home feel, deftly wielding bold toiles, animal prints, stripes and dark wood details. For high-contrast chic check into one of the black, white and yellow Executive Rooms, or for a real treat the four Superior Suites offer balconies with Eiffel Tower views. Elegant accessories in the lounge span outsize vases, statement mirrors, modern art and welcoming flowers.
2. Murano Resort Paris
For a flamboyant, fashionable funhouse in the heart of the bohemian Marais quarter, opt for the full-on French wow factor of Murano Resort Paris. The 52 rooms are no slouch in the style stakes; accessed by finger-touch gadgetry, rather than keys, they feature pastel-pretty mood lighting, with private pools in two of the nine suites. Venetian glass, shiny inox, white marble and deep-red velvets add to the Murano’s sex appeal, as does its avant-garde restaurant and DJ-hosted bar with 130 vodka flavors to choose from. If you can tear yourself away from the endless white Chesterfield sofa in the bar, warmed by a luxurious linear fireplace, the Marais’ beguiling bars and boutiques beckon.
London 3. Shoreditch Rooms
East London is currently the capital’s most creative hub, with edgy fashion labels, art galleries, boutiques and bars in and around epicenter Shoreditch. So where better to soak up the scene than style-savvy Shoreditch Rooms, attached to buzzy private members club Shoreditch House? Set in a converted warehouse, the hotel’s 26 compact but cool rooms come in Tiny, Small and Small+ sizes, with sun loungers on private terraces off the largest boudoirs. What they lack in space, they make up for in access: guests enjoy the full run of the club, including the Cowshed spa, bowling alley, House Kitchen restaurant, several sexy bars and the must-visit rooftop pool. Perfect for partying after taking in the East’s up-and-coming shows during London Fashion Week.
4. The Connaught
Venerable 121-room hotel the Connaught, which has welcomed guests in monied Mayfair for over a century, may seem an unlikely place to find London’s beautiful people, but this stately dowager has recently had a seductive makeover. Its old-fashioned values are still intact, with top-notch service, English grandeur and elegant antiques, but now you can also hang out at the glitzy Connaught Bar (revamped by Brit interiors whizz David Collins), sip cocktails at the contemporary Coburg Bar (with witty cameo portraits, styled by Parisian designer India Mahdavi) and dine on sophisticated cuisine by chef Hélène Darroze. Fashionistas will also love Europe’s only Aman Spa, where the green-tea foot bath soothes paws fatigued by gadding about the area’s high-end shops.
There’s nothing stark about French design guru Philippe Starck’s deliciously playful contemporary sanctuary Sanderson, an iconic, theatrical 150-room hotel in super-handy Fitzrovia, just north of Soho. One of London’s original boutique boltholes, founded by Ian Schrager, the Sanderson has always attracted the fashion set, with suites often commandeered for magazine shoots and media events. The outside may be austere, but inside you’ll find a dramatic look-at-me lobby with vibrant, quirky furniture, a purple billiard table and the catwalk-inspired Long Bar, where silver and white bar stools sport all-seeing eyes. Strike a pose at Malaysian eatery Suka, then repair to the guests-only Purple Bar to compare shopping finds.
Milan 6. Maison Moschino
With dress-shaped floor lamps and decorative sheep in the lobby, you know you’re in for a surreally stylish experience at this quirky Milan boutique hotel, founded by Italian mega-brand Moschino. Set in a classical, shutter-strewn building that once housed the city’s first railway station, the Maison’s 65 avant-garde rooms are inspired by a dreamy mix of fairytales and, of course, fashion. Book Sleeping in a Ballgown if you fancy bedding down under a giant princess-worthy frock or Alice’s Room to sit at a tea-cup table. Pamper yourself in the in-house Culti Spa, then sample Italian sushi at the hotel’s sleek restaurant Il Clandestino Milano.
7. The Gray
You can never have too many swings in a hotel lobby! Certainly at chic central Milan retreat the Gray, you’ll be tempted to pose elegantly on the fuchsia-upholstered swing that greets guests on arrival. A playful den for modern lovers, or just lovers of up-to-the-minute fashion, the hotel’s 21 individually designed rooms are plush and inviting (101, 201 and 301 have king-size beds, round hydro tubs, and views of vaulted designer shopping arcade Galleria Vittorio Emanuele). Two rooms even offer private gyms, should you need to tone up before slipping on that body-con Dolce & Gabbana number. Don your largest dark glasses for dates in the lobby cocktail bar, where velvet banquettes beckon. Both the Duomo cathedral and La Scala opera house are nearby.
8. Hotel Straf
If industrial-chic is your bag, then Milan’s minimal Hotel Straf should be right up your street. In a jaw-droppingly prime location just doors from the Duomo, this hip 64-room hideaway is beloved of fashion and design folk in the know. The unassuming façade masks a bold modern interior, where raw concrete, scuffed-satiny walls and tactile floors rule, care of Italian architect and fashion talent Vincenzo De Cotiis. Corridors are adorned with distressed fabric under glass and a moody palette of chocolate-brown, grays, rust tones and metallics adds luxe to spacious rooms. Breakfast and lunch are served in bijou Bar Straf, which has a happy hour come evening for those in party mode. Dress up for fashion week or when the Milan Furniture Fair takes over town.
New York 9. The Standard NY
For a stylish stay in New York, the Standard NY is anything but standard. The latest creation by boutique hotel trendsetter Andre Balazs, this glassy high-rise lords it over the Meatpacking District, home to alluring restaurants, bars and boutiques, and sensational aerial park the High Line. Enjoy gob-smacking views of Manhattan, the Hudson River or even the Statue of Liberty from your bed or bubble-filled bath, depending which of the 337 cool contemporary rooms you select. Aim for the eighth floor or above for the best vistas; then hit 18th-storey bar Top of The Standard for cocktails. To refuel pop to the Standard Grill for meat and seafood with a twist. Black and gold bikes are on tap for exploring the area with attitude.
10. Crosby Street Hotel
Fancy a dash of eclectic English charm in NY’s cobbled SoHo? Book into quirky Crosby Street Hotel, which sports salvaged vintage phone lights and comic-coated dog figurines. Firmdale Hotels’ interiors whizz Kit Kemp’s first outpost in the city comes with her signature kitsch-meets-classic-yet-contemporary furniture, art and accessories, sealed with vibrant colors and stamped with British humor. Pewter-countered bar-restaurant the Crosby Bar serves tasty modern American meals, with socializing spilling out into a foliage-fringed courtyard. It’s proving a hit with the media crowd, as is the basement movie screening room. The 86 color-coordinated rooms are all individually designed, with fashion-forward upholstered mannequins to match; we also love UK perfumer Miller Harris’ classy toiletries.