Have you ever been so enamoured with a hotel, that you were tempted to just stay inside all day instead of exploring the city? Well, I certainly have. And more often than not, it’s not your typical 5-star hotel chain (as luxurious as some of them maybe), but a boutique hotel.
There’s just something about some of these boutique hotels that have really nailed down their unique aesthetic. From almost everywhere you look being Instagram-worthy, to the ambiance, decoration, and scent. It’s about the distinct touches that are inspired by the hotel’s location, that really give it a different character that you just can’t find anywhere else.
With how Airbnb has really been embraced by travelers around the world, hotels have had to really step up their design game a notch. Today, a hotel is no longer just seen as a place to rest, but as a place to continue the experience of the local surroundings that you are at.
So other than looking at interior design inspiration on Pinterest, I think that boutique hotels are a great way to look for suitable designs to adapt from too. To help you create a similar experience at home, I’ve shortlisted 5 of my favourite boutique hotels here – along with tips on how to incorporate them.
1. Ross Farm
Let’s just start by saying that Ross Farm is one of my favourite examples of how design can really transform a place – even for something as traditional as a farm. Robyn and Lindsay Moore converted the abandoned dairy farm into an idyllic boutique lodging. It seamlessly fuses Danish and Japanese interiors together with the rustic surrounding landscape.
The cabin, barn, and the dairy are three major structures repurposed to provide guests with a sense of connection to the land’s history. At the same time, it creates a sense of calmness all throughout.
While it’s impossible to mimic the landscape and architecture in an HDB or condo apartment, copying the interiors is achievable.
Inside, the earthy tones of the walls and handcrafted pieces of furniture create a soothing and calm atmosphere. Warm timbers, rustic dark steel, and eucalyptus green are the prominent colours that accentuate the room.
The Japanese-style bathroom with its charming Cyprus bathtub works well if you have an excellent natural light source in your own bathroom.
This theme has a catch, though. Unless you have a magnificent open view of the city’s landscape, the combination of accents can create a sombre mood in the house.
So to really pull off this design, you need to have an open concept floor plan and large windows that bring in natural light. I know that the natural light in Australia is just a whole different vibe compared to Singapore (almost every picture you take there looks fantastic), but I’m sure some of these would still do well here!
There are several ways to make any home a place of serenity and calmness. But if you want to add a rustic and natural appeal, the interiors of Ross Farm can provide one of the best inspirations.
2. Inness Resort
I know for some people, the design of Ross Farm may be too rugged for you. If that’s the case, then perhaps the interior style of Inness Resort might be something more suitable.
Converted by architect and restaurateur Taavo Somer, Inness Resort was once a golf course (a massive 225-acre one at that). Named after a famous landscape painter in the 19th-century, George Inness, this elegant hotel focuses on the beauty of the landscape in the surrounding area.
Creating a landscape effect indoors requires some subtle techniques achieved by Inness Resort throughout its 12-room farmhouse and 28 cabins.
For instance, using light-coloured walls – from pure white to creamy off-white – produces a canvas-like effect. When you apply this same approach to any room in your home, the pieces of furniture inside naturally stand out.
Decorating your home with indoor plants perfectly goes well with light-coloured walls.
However, you should remember that the plain wall acts as a blank canvas, and any clutter you have in the room will also stand out. And so, this inspiration calls for simplicity in home furnishings which is precisely what Inness has.
Whether you choose to go with antiques, shaker dining tables and chairs, rustic ceramics, or even a contemporary coffee table, these furnishings should follow a particular rule. They should all have clean lines and designs.
Inness Resort is a fantastic inspiration for those who want a minimalist interior with a knack for antique or rustic design. The wall colour and simple furnishings can help visually expand any room. So it’s a great design option if your home doesn’t have a good source of natural light or has limited spaces.
3. Soho Farmhouse
Soho farmhouse, dubbed by many as a grown-up’s Disneyland, is another incredible source of inspiration.
For the sake of those who may not know, Soho House was founded by the renowned Nick Jones who has created Soho House as a members-only club where all the cool people want to be seen. Design is incredibly important to the Soho House brand, so much so that they have an in-house team of between 50 to 60 designers and architects to design the interiors and furniture that go into each new Soho House. There’s now even an online store, for Soho House fanatics to buy their products from.
Soho Farmhouse is quite unlike the rest (in terms of size, at least). It is about 90 minutes from London in a 100-acre valley set in the massive 4,000-acre estate in the Cotswolds.
Fortunately, you don’t need to become a member of Soho House or book six months in advance to borrow ideas from their decor.
The central theme of this Soho Farmhouse is a country getaway so expect a whole lot of wood.
There are a total of 40 cosy cabins here. To mimic the two-bedroom cabin’s design, you will require ample open space to allow a lot of room for a large sofa and an open kitchen space. The white-painted wood-panelled walls prove two visual functions, it makes the room seem bigger and adds warmth.
When it comes to the actual bedroom for the cabin, Soho Farmhouse uses muted colours to bring out sophistication and a sense of calm.
On the other hand, the interior of Soho’s newest cabin cluster offers a lot to the plate for those living in space-challenged homes. Called Piglet, it’s a bedroom for two that squeezes in cosiness and comfort in such a small room.
Each Piglet cabin, with a 26 square metre area made of timber and corrugated iron, exudes a Scandinavian feel.
To achieve the same cabin appeal in your bedroom, you can install timber panelling for your walls and ceiling. You can also maximise the snuggly atmosphere by installing untreated floorboards.
Creating a Soho Farmhouse feel in your home is a worthy endeavour if you want to have a countryside atmosphere – warm and cosy – all year round. It creates a magical effect transporting you immediately to a rural resthouse even if you’re in the middle of the city.
4. The Chow Kit
If the above designs are too “Western” for your tastes, my next choice may probably be something more relevant to the Asian palate. When it comes to balancing retro and contemporary designs, The Chow Kit is one of the best sources of inspiration. A boutique hotel with 86 rooms and 27 suites, The Chow Kit retains the city’s vibrant history without being too old-fashioned.
As soon as you enter the lobby, a plethora of classic furnishings will immediately greet you.
For instance, the ceiling fan with blades similar to a palm leaf would look good in HDBs with high ceilings. Then there are the rattan-backed sofas in the lounge, which would look great in any living room.
To further flesh out your home’s character, you can also add a similar vintage mid-century wicker chair.
Each piece of furniture can add up to bring the retro effect you want. But if you would like to go beyond furnishings, the best place to get ideas is The Chow Kit’s bedrooms.
This boutique hotel has three rooms to choose from, the Den Room, Twin Den, and King Den. Except for the size and additional furnishings, the interior looks pretty much the same for all three.
The combination of dark green ceiling, wooden floorboards, and light coloured walls add to the feeling of being close to nature.
There’s a catch, though.
A dark coloured ceiling can make a room look smaller.
As such, it’s best to implement this design if you have floor-to-ceiling windows or a high ceiling in the room. These characteristics can balance out the design and counteract the condensing effect.
If you’re looking to renovate your bathroom into a more earthy design with a splash of retro vibe, The Chow Kit can provide you with a complete template to achieve this. From dark grey square tiles on the wall to glass shower partition, and right down to the bright brass bathroom fixtures, you can quickly turn your bathroom from boring to luxurious.
Creating chic interiors using classical designs from colonial Malaya is what The Chow Kit offers. It allows you to create an old-fashioned, antiquated theme for your home without looking gloomy or cheap. On the contrary, using their design ideas will make your home look even more classy.
5. The Hari Hong Kong
Is The Chow Kit too old-school for your taste? You’ll definitely love this next boutique hotel which involves a magnificent blending of contemporary and luxurious design.
The Hari is a newly-opened luxury hotel, combining the elegance of London with the dynamic energy of Hong Kong. While this hotel caters primarily to business travellers, it doesn’t have the same bland and monotonous designs you’ll commonly find in chain hotels.
Renowned interior designer Tara Bernard brought the luxurious rooms of The Hari to reality by combining design elements such as timber panelling, posh velvet upholstery, and natural linen wallpaper.
Let’s start in the lobby. As soon as you enter the hotel, you are immediately greeted by opulence. It’s a stunning view that would look good in any living room.
While it can be difficult and expensive to achieve the same marble design for both floors and sofa base, you can use the same technique with a different material. The rule of thumb is to use the same material for the sofa’s underside and the floor to create a seamless effect. Install a leather sofa on top of the base with a contrasting colour for a strikingly luxurious design.
Using wood for the floors and walls doesn’t always necessarily translate to a cabin-like ambience, as exhibited by most of the rooms in The Hari.
To mimic this design, you can choose to go with either linen wallpaper or a dark wood timber panelling for your bedroom. Having a fabric headboard is a must regardless of the wall design. Contemporary artworks on the wall will also add a classy flair to the room.
What about bathroom renovation ideas?
In The Hari, the bathroom walls, floors, and sink are all made out of marble – you’d think they carved the bathroom from this luxurious stone. It creates a seamless effect that is pretty much the same as the one in the lobby.
You can create a similar result for your bathroom using the same design without necessarily using marble. Marble-design tiles and epoxy flakes flooring can also do the trick. Just make sure that the style and colour are consistent throughout. Adding LED lighting to your mirrors can also make a big difference in lightening up the ambience.
You can get so much inspiration from The Hari Hong Kong, especially if what you’re after is a contemporary and luxurious design.
Infuse Your Home With These Aesthetic Hotel Designs
Some people have a knack for decorating their homes, but not everyone can reach the same level as those of boutique hotels. For most of us, the project results in either a stylish or functional design, rarely both.
While it’s true that interior design should be both visually and physically appealing, it should also consistently provide comfort. Your home design should exude qualities that boutique hotels have already achieved.
Taking inspiration from boutique hotels will help ensure you get the best of both worlds. You don’t really have to get the same chair or bathroom fixtures to pull off a similar design – even more so if you don’t have the budget.
It’s not about being a copycat but about awakening the creative soul within you.