Themed restaurants and hotels are often hit-or-miss. Don’t get us wrong, the results can be disastrous (see also: Planet Hollywood and Bubba Gump Shrimp Company). In the hands of a sophisticated designer, however, a themed eatery or luxury resort can be extraordinary. Mere feet from one of Thailand’s most famous beaches, one designer hotel is proof of the latter.
Thailand’s aptly named The Library is a rare example of a themed hotel done right. Situated on the island of Koh Samui, the library-inspired hotel is a bibliophile traveler’s dream getaway. Every aspect of the property pulls inspiration from all things book-related in a way that’s obvious and cheeky, but tasteful. The smallest guest rooms, for example, are labeled Pages, while larger suites and private villas are dubbed Chapters.
Inside and out, The Library exudes a chic minimalist aesthetic. The monochromatic color palette and stern, angular architecture would feel perfectly at home wrapped around a modern art museum. The stark, geometric design might feel monolithic and cold in any other setting. But, the hotel’s designers wisely dispersed the 46 guest rooms, common areas, and other buildings throughout the lush vegetation of the sprawling 68,000-square-foot property. Coupled with an idyllic location steps from the pristine white sands of Chaweng Beach, it serves as a warm (literally) and comfortable backdrop.
The sleek, understated exterior hides a thoroughly bold and eclectic interior. Design group Tirawan Songsawat blends disparate elements of industrial, Zen minimalism, and modern gallery design. Concrete walls and bare white floors wrap spaces adorned with simple wood furniture, bold red seating, and Asian-inspired artwork. From the lobby to the rooms to the library, every space feels like a standalone art installation. The blood-red pool, for example, is a bold, eye-popping centerpiece that visually ties in with crimson pops of color found throughout the property. A curated, 1,400-book library anchors the inside of the hotel, providing a focal point that’s not only beautiful but also adds a functional space for guests to decompress away from modern distractions.
Guest rooms at The Library are equally stunning. The black-on-white color palette is punctuated with warm wood furnishings, tasteful Asian accessories, and pops of red. All are spacious, with even entry-level Studios starting at nearly 700 square feet of living space. Mood lighting, rain shower heads, large plasma TVs, and in-room iMacs are all standard. Multi-bedroom suites and villas upgrade to more than 1,000 square feet with the largest offering sprawling floor plans that rival most four-bedroom American McMansions. Some boast luxury amenities like separate dining rooms, full-sized bars, and private terraces with saltwater swimming pools.
For nature-loving travelers who like their design hotels a little closer to the wilderness, Finland’s Jávri Lodge is a sleek, modern, mountain retreat.
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