New styles, new destinations

Relaxation for lovers in Mexico and Hong Kong

Style blogger Costas Voyatzis spends his year travelling the world. In this column he turns the spotlight on new places, exhibitions and buildings that are worth a visit. This time round: a bar for lovers in Hong Kong, healing relaxation in Mexico and the nose vases of Matteo Cibic.

Costas Voyatzis

Food and drink for lovers: the Mrs Pound Speakeasy Bar and Restaurant in Hong Kong, China

Inspired by a fictional love story, the Mrs Pound Speakeasy is tucked away behind the unassuming façade of a speciality stamp shop in Hong Kong’s Sheung Wan district. To gain entry you pull on one of the stamps in the shop window. Once inside, guests are greeted by a lurid décor of bold colours and playful kitsch. The rooms are divided into distinct his ’n’ hers areas that represent the story’s two protagonists: the burlesque dancer Mrs Pound and her married lover Mr Ming.

Healing relaxation: the Hotel Sanará in Tulum, Mexico

Set beside the shimmering turquoise waters of the Caribbean seafront near the ancient Mayan city of Tulum, Mexico, the Hotel Sanará is the perfect spot for chilling out. Conceived by Daniella Hunter and Charlie Gay, the building designed in 2015 by Mexican architectural office Studio Arquitectos is decorated with hand-painted cement tiles and Mayan stones. It comprises 17 luxurious hotel rooms, a semi-private villa and extensive campus. With direct access to the beach, the Sanará sits amid gentle landscaping offering guests a wonderfully relaxing environment. (© Pablo García Figueroa/Fotografía de Arquitectura)

Style, seclusion and a private bay: holiday retreat in New Zealand

The Banks Peninsula on New Zealand’s eastern seaboard is famous for its majestic volcanic landscape. This secluded holiday cottage retreat exploits the geographical setting in an unusual way: built directly into one of the rock escarpments, it boasts its own remote private bay. Access is by helicopter or 4x4 vehicle only. Designed initially as a honeymoon destination by Pattersons Associates Architects in 2011, today it is available to anyone who yearns for style, seclusion and awe-inspiring views. (© 2014 Simon Devitt)

Above the clouds: mountaintop restaurant on Mount Chäserrugg in the Swiss Alps

The pioneering architects at Herzog & de Meuron recently modernised this 1972-built cable car station with restaurant in the Swiss Alps. Built on Mount Chäserrugg, a peak in the Churfirsten range, they reinterpreted the Alpine character of the original design – in part by working with local craftsmen to fashion the building’s new wooden structure. Nowhere in the Swiss Alps currently offers a more modern or authentic culinary experience. (© Jürgen Pollak)

New lease of life: the renovated Tsunyuji Temple in Tokyo, Japan

The Edo-period Buddhist Tsunyuji Temple is regarded as a popular architectural landmark in northeastern Tokyo. Destroyed by air raids during the Second World War, it was modestly restored in 1949. Now the architectural firm of Satoru Hirota Architects has breathed new life into the temple: the building has been renovated and complemented with new facilities. The architects’ minimalist yet remarkable intervention has reinstated the temple’s dignity. (© Satoru Hirota Architects)

Vases with noses: the VasoNaso Series by Italian designer Matteo Cibic

Matteo Cibic has embarked on a design journey: every day this year, he is publishing a new unique design of vase on his website. The resulting series is entitled VasoNaso, since each creation contains a reference to the shape of a nose. Cibic is famed for his playful design idiom, which is seen to full effect in his creative versatility. The limited-edition handmade pieces are available through the designer’s website.

A concert hall in granite: the revitalised town centre at Blaibach, southern Germany

Coated in a granite façade – a reference to the local stone-carving tradition – the new concert hall in the centre of Blaibach in southern Germany resembles a large-scale rectangular sculpture. It was designed by Munich architect Peter Haimerl as part of an ambitious project to revitalise the town centre; in addition to the concert hall, the project included the construction of a new town hall and guesthouse for artists.

Skating temple: street artist Okuda’s redesigned church in Asturias, Spain

A church building in Asturias, Spain, has been transformed into a giant indoor skate park by a collective of local skaters known as The Church Brigade. The church’s nave dates back to 1912, its lofty murals were designed by Madrid-based street artist Okuda. The bright colours are designed to remind visitors of the relationship between man and nature. The artist sees his work as his personal Sistine Chapel.

Sweet authenticity: El Moro Churrería in Mexico City, Mexico

No visit to Mexico City would be complete without a trip to the Cuauhtémoc quarter to sample authentic churros with hot chocolate. And churros don’t come much better than the ones prepared at El Moro. Founded in 1935, El Moro Churrería is an integral part of the local food culture. The new store in Mexico City, designed by Cadena + Asociados, reflects El Moro’s lengthy history and tradition and is as much a feast for the eye as for the palate.