New styles, new destinations

Relaxation for lovers in Mexico and Hong Kong

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

By
Costas Voyatzis

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

Inspired by a fictional love story, the Mrs. Pound Speakeasy is tucked away behind the unassuming façade of a specialty 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 colors and playful kitsch. The rooms are divided into distinct his-and-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 – completed in 2015 by Mexican architectural firm Studio Arquitectos – is decorated with hand-painted cement tiles and Mayan stones. It comprises 17 luxurious hotel rooms, a semi-private villa, and an extensive campus. With direct access to the beach, the Sanará sits amid gentle landscaping, offering guests a wonderfully relaxing environment.

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

The Banks Peninsula on New Zealand’s eastern seaboard is famous for its majestic volcanic landscape. This secluded vacation 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 truck only. Designed initially as a honeymoon destination by Pattersons Associates Architects in 2011, it’s now available to anyone who yearns for style, seclusion and awe-inspiring views.

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

The pioneering architects at Herzog & de Meuron recently modernized 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 else in the Swiss Alps will you find a more modern or authentic culinary experience.

New lease on 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.

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 unique new 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 revitalized town center at Blaibach, Germany

Coated in a granite façade – a reference to the local stone-carving tradition – the new concert hall in the center 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 revitalize the town center: 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, and its lofty murals were designed by Madrid-based street artist Okuda. The bright colors 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

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 eyes as for the palate.

10/12/16