When you stay in a Sovereign hotel, you know luxury is a given. But you can also choose to stay somewhere that stands out from the crowd. This collection of quirky hotels have something special going from them, with unique designs and unusual origins that set them apart from the pack. From Feng Shui-chic in the Indian Ocean to Moorish majesty in Morocco, these hotels really turn heads.
The 12th-century monastery
Nestled in the foothills of the Serra de Tramontana mountains, this meticulously restored monastery cleverly combines original architecture with crisp modern interiors. It’s a boutique experience, with just 23 rooms, a restaurant and beautiful spa complete with fabulous original features.
The Son Brull dates back to the 12th century, with roots as a farmhouse and later a monastery. It opened its doors as a hotel after nearly two years of restoration by Spanish architects Forteza + Aparicio, who kept as much of the building’s heritage as possible. Rough stone walls and wooden beams are soften by a cool, soothing palette and clean lines.
The original central courtyard connects the main reception rooms, including the bar, which integrates a huge original oil press, soaring ceilings and atmospheric arches. Rooms and suites are each individually designed, with an emphasis on space and light, plus high-spec touches that contrast with the historic features.
The stylish safari
When you catch your first glimpse of the Lopesan Baobab in Gran Canaria, you don’t quite realise what’s in store. Cross beneath the soaring iron rafters and over the floating wooden walkway, however, and you’ll start to realise. Entering a towering jungle with the sound of waterfalls and wildlife, the penny drops.
This vast resort’s African theme celebrates the Canaries’ proximity to the continent – and it really goes all out. The reception-slash-jungle is bursting with exotic flora and fauna and the sound of birdlife; mini pools filled with idling turtles dot the ground floor and huge wooden walkways criss-cross throughout.
Raw materials and natural fabrics are everywhere in Lopesan Baobab. Named for the native African Baobab tree, you’ll encounter wall-to-wall wood, beautiful woven chairs and a soft, natural palette, with the main building (modelled on an African lodge) overlooking the meandering watering hole (pool).
The modern-day landmark
Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach Hotel has quickly established itself as an architectural icon – and in a city full of record-breaking structures, it’s an impressive feat. Soaring out of the sea, the hotel tops 93 metres in a dynamically curved design to mimic the shape of a breaking wave.
Architects WS Atkins began work on Jumeirah Beach Resort back in 1993, creating the wave design to complement the sail-shape of its sister hotel, Burj Al Arab. The exterior was built in aluminium and blue-plated glass, reflecting the waves of the ocean.
All 618 rooms and suites feature sea views, and floor-to-ceiling windows throughout flood the hotel with light. In terms of the décor, it’s all about calm, neutral tones, designed to mimic the elements of nature.
The Moorish palace
The award-winning Four Seasons Marrakech is an architectural gem in Morocco’s Red City, standing out from the crowd of riad-style hotels. Modelled on the nearby Medina, the hotel’s Moorish-inspired architecture sits within a 40-acre walled garden – a real refuge from the heat and energy of Marrakech.
In 2011, architects Hill Glazier (original concept) and Didier Lefort pulled out all the stops to create a modern take on traditional Moroccan architecture. The gardens are threaded with fountains, rose-hued pavilions, courtyards and elegant arcades, while the buildings are deliberately low-rise, allowing for uninterrupted views of the city and Atlas Mountains.
Rooms are finished in soothing neutral colours, with traditional touches including handcrafted Moroccan woodwork, and over 10,000 original Zellige tiles.
The purveyor of Feng Shui
From the moment you step foot in Constance Le Prince Maurice, a feeling of zen washes over you – and that’s exactly how it was designed. The hotel is inspired by Feng Shui principles, creating a feeling of harmony and calm.
Everything in the hotel is open-plan, to help the circulation of Qi (an ancient Chinese concept of energy flow) – it lets guests move through the hotel uninterrupted, giving a sense of space and freedom.
Architect Jean Marc Eynaud and designer David Edwards developed a sophisticated style that bucks the trend of hotels on the island. The architecture works with, and not against, its natural surroundings, from its shield of coconut palms to an actual fish reserve.
Wood and marble are the key materials, with thatched roofs and a real water theme – water features provide the ubiquitous soundtrack. The hotel’s 89 rooms enjoy direct beach access, private gardens or are nestled in mangroves overlooking the lagoon.