Passport to Design [Part 2]

Wanderlusting for more beautiful design? Marshall Erb expands on his hotlist of hotels that deliver first-class service and striking interiors.

By Elise Hofer Shaw

Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dallas

A celebrated Texas icon, Mansion on Turtle Creek boasts singular style and refinement. Once a palatial private estate, the Uptown hotel is tucked away in an exclusive neighborhood in the heart of Dallas. “Staying at the Mansion on Turtle Creek is like staying at a private mansion,” says Marshall Erb, lead designer at Marshall Erb Design in Chicago. “And for its 40th anniversary, internationally recognized interior designer Thomas Pheasant was brought in to oversee a chic and convivial redesign that has taken its residential quality to the next level while honoring the Mansion’s rich heritage and history.” Now, the interior features meticulously restored old-world touches like hand-carved fireplaces, marble floors and stained-glass windows, while the rooms and suites wow with classic architecture (French doors, petite balconies and bold crown molding) and modern design (damask wall coverings, mahogany paneling, whitewashed oak floors and original art). And because it’s part of the ultra-luxury Rosewood Hotels and Resorts collection and a Leading Hotels of the World, the service is next level. “Sit beneath the magnolia trees, order a Texas Sunset cocktail and soak up the Mediterranean embellishments. You’ll never want to go home.” Insider tip: For those who want to bring home a bit of the Mansion, the property has partnered with Miron Crosby, a local cowboy boot maker based in nearby Highland Park Village. Made of calf, Nile belly crocodile and kid skin, the custom-designed Mansion Boot features intricate inlay and appliqué details that highlight the Mansion’s iconic quatrefoil motifs. 2821 Turtle Creek Blvd, Dallas, Texas

Hotel Costes, Paris

Located a heartbeat away from the Place Vendôme in the center of Paris, Hotel Costes is famous for its cozy elegance, delightful comfort and evanescent glamor. “The moment you step foot into Hotel Costes, the decor by Jacques Garcia immerses you in another dimension in which time loses all meaning,” says Erb. “Walking through the sound gallery, lunching on the patio, drinking tea by the fireplace, enjoying a lobster and chips in your room in the middle of the night… The magic never breaks.” But hold onto your beret (and try to keep up): Hotel Costes is morphing into a “three-dimensional” luxury hotel conglomerate comprised of three hotels—Hotel Costes, the former Hotel Lotti on rue Castiglione, and a third hotel on rue de Mount Tabor—each with totally different yet complementary atmospheres, and all positioned around the legendary Le Restaurant terrace, La Terrasse. But this time, Christian Liaigre was tapped to lead the design charge. (Liaigre completed his plans for the property shortly before his death in 2020.) “Leave it to Jean-Louis Costes to juxtapose the theatrics of Garcia with the sobriety of Liaigre,” adds Erb. “He’s playing to a diverse set of sensibilities and then bringing them all together in a wild social mix in the middle—and that’s exactly the point.” Insider tip: Book a stay during the haute couture shows in January and July for some fabulous rubbernecking. Loyal clients include Naomi Campbell, Monica Bellucci and the entire press and design team at Valentino. 7 Rue de Castiglione, 75001 Paris, France

Villa San Michele, Fielsole, Italy

Blending 14th-century artistry with the region’s ethereal beauty, Villa San Michele’s design rivals Florence’s greatest cathedrals and galleries. Its facade, attributed to Michelangelo, is hugged by lush woodland and terraced gardens, several of which afford views that reach the capital of Tuscany and the Chianti hills beyond. “Nestled in the Fiesole hills, Villa San Michele was once a medieval monastery,” shares Erb. “The hotel perfectly captures the romance of Florence. It’s far enough from the city for peace and quiet, exudes authenticity—like that movie Stealing Beauty with Liv Tyler—and flaunts just the right amount of formality without being pretentious.” Speaking of relaxation, sleeping in this spectacular hotel is an indulgent affair. Warm-toned fabrics and custom-made furniture echo the rich history of the building, making each room an irresistible sanctuary. “Many of the rooms benefit from inviting private gardens or terraces,” adds Erb. “Wake up, throw on your Frette robe, and follow the scent of the flowers to your patio for un caffè con panna [espresso with whipped cream]. La dolce vita, indeed.” November 25-28, 2021, Villa San Michele welcomes guests for its Curiosity Circle experience. Go shoulder to shoulder with the pioneering craftspeople working in Florence via private atelier tours. Watch masters work on jewelry, hats, shoes, perfume and more—and explore Italy’s design heritage in true style. Includes exquisite dining and guided tours of Florence and its museums. Via Doccia 4, 50014 Fiesole, Florence, Italy

The Siam, Bangkok

Occupying three acres of land on the banks of the Chao Phraya River in the historic district of Dusit, The Siam is a one-of-a-kind urban oasis in the heart of Bangkok. The authentically charming design here begins upon approach courtesy of a sun-drenched courtyard encircled with leafy ferns and a lotus-shaped fountain, followed by an atrium outfitted with a reflection pool where towering vegetation extends to the glass-and-steel roof. “The overall setting reflects the period of Bangkok’s greatest grandeur [under King Rama V, circa 1853-1910] with Art Deco accents,” says Erb. “To emphasize this, architect and interior/landscape designer Bill Bensley opted for a muted color scheme of black, white, cream, gray and neutrals combined with natural textures such as wood, weave, leather and stone, not to mention sprawling gardens and verdant shrubs throughout.” Choose from spacious suites, picture-perfect pool villas, or the truly unique Connie’s Cottage—a fabulously updated 100-year-old bi-level villa that features a private pool and spacious living room on the first floor and a luxe master suite, outfitted with a four-poster bed and balcony, housed on its second story. (The Siam’s original owner, Connie Mangskau, was a prominent Thai socialite, famous for hosting legendary parties that were frequented by Jackie Kennedy and William Holden.) Insider tip: The Siam is known for having one of Bangkok’s best afternoon tea experiences. Settle in amongst the art and antiques for a variety of sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and an assortment of delicious cakes and tartlets—and a glass of French sparkling, natch. (The Siam Afternoon Tea is available daily from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm with the choice of two sets.) 3/2 Thanon Khao, Vachirapayabal, Dusit, Bangkok 10300, Thailand

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