Visiting beautiful places when you’re a writer who specializes in both home and travel puts you in the enviable position of reporting on new destinations and all of their fabulous interior designs. 2022 was the year I made up for lost travel, and I spent twelve months keeping a visual journal of all the design inspiration I found along the way. Ahead, my favorite design ideas from hotels around the world.
Colorful Wall Art
While visiting my son in college for his birthday, I fell in love with these portraits by the artist R.T Houben in the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown, Washington, D.C. Suspended against old bricks (the hotel was once home to a 1930s incinerator), it wasn’t just the colors that popped on these canvases of statesmen like Abraham Lincoln and Ben Franklin that caught my eye, but the actual texture of these acrylic and foil paintings as well.
Vintage Beach Portraits
My girlfriends and I gathered for a college reunion in Asbury Park, New Jersey, a beach town known for its lively arts scene, and I was immediately drawn to interior designer Anda Andrei’s beachy feel at The Asbury Hotel, which included black and white retro prints on the walls. From early 20th century beach bathers to 1960s summer concertgoers, I loved how seamlessly the vintage images from bygone years at the Jersey Shore picked up on all the other black elements in the room.
Floating Bar Stools
I surprised my husband with a trip to Charleston, South Carolina, for his birthday and loved the way these wooden bar stools at the Emeline hotel were affixed to the wall—great for people who don’t have a ton of floor space yet yearn for a home bar. I was also drawn to the mix of gold framed art hung against the green palm wallpaper on the gallery wall.
Plush Leather Chairs
There’s a reason designers put leather seating in hotel lobbies—leather is durable and easy to clean. I loved this super comfy chair at the Emeline hotel not only for its stylish padded and belted arms, but for its soft coffee-hued color.
A stylish open storage system is a great solution when you’re short on closet space. I loved the vintage cane accents on this wood and brass open closet in my room at the Emeline, which contained both hanging and shelf space along with a boardwalk-style base that connected the closet with a 6-drawer dresser.
Sometimes bronze or copper sconces can look overly traditional in a more current setting, which is why I fell in love with the handmade fixtures I discovered while visiting Blackberry Farm in Tennessee this past spring. With their soft glow and modern yet vintage feel, they’re a perfect fit no matter what style the home.
When the semester was over and it was time to pick up my son from college, I stayed at the Thompson Washington D.C., located in the city’s Navy Yard neighborhood. The hotel’s interior design takes its cue from the area’s maritime past, and I quickly fell in love with this floating desk, great for people who WFH but don’t have a ton of space, or for someone who just wants to fold things away when the work day is over.
A great lighting option for anyone looking to hang multiple pendants without visually overwhelming a room, this midcentury-feeling mahogany pendant at the Thompson Washington D.C. mixes wood with a milk globe for a simple yet stunning look.
I loved the contrast of the light wood framing against the colorful blue banquette seating, tiny square tile backsplash and blue and white patterned floor tile at the Thompson Washington D.C.
Art meets function with these U-shaped cubed chairs I discovered in the lobby of the Thompson Washington D.C. Made from wood and black leather, I loved the seat’s unique piping design and the swivel base which allowed me to people watch without getting up.
Lighted Dressing Mirrors
This stylish full length mirror with its built-in circular light at the Thompson Washington D.C. made it easy to do my makeup and find the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Sometimes an unexpected tile choice is just what a room calls for—at the opening of the Hard Rock Hotel New York, writers got up and personal with the gold tile that added shine and texture against an otherwise neutral-toned tile.
I was finally able to take a long-planned trip to Venice in June. At the Ca' di Dio hotel, I fell in love with a tweed headboard that featured support padding for reading in bed and stylish brown leather straps to hold the padding in place.
Mixing wire baskets and striped pendants that resembled flying saucers created an unusual assembly of ceiling lights at the Hotel Excelsior Venice Lido Resort in Venice. The textured glass globes and the corded arms with their pom pom fringe added to their quirkiness.
On a Viking cruise to the Great Lakes and Canada, I was able to appreciate the modern Scandinavian aesthetic of designer Richard Riveire’s décor at every turn. This curved bench, with its natural-colored wood base and black leather cushion, looked great in the living space on the Viking Octantis, but would also look at home in any bedroom or mudroom.
Natural Hide Chairs
Combine a rust-colored hide with a light wood frame and you’ve got an example of how Nordic design never sacrifices function for beauty. I found myself plopping down in these comfy chairs at the end of the day with a book and a Bellini on the cruise ship.
Multi-Purpose Wall Units
The padded bench provided the perfect spot to rest after a day of sightseeing on the cruise. Also included on this multi-purpose wall unit: shelving for plants and books as well as space for a TV, gas fireplace and decorative logs.
Pushed together, these two blue squared leather chairs with their oversized armrests could pass as a loveseat. I loved how the bright bold color popped against all the neutral-toned woods in the common space on the cruise ship.
Floating Wall Shelves
A multi-shelf storage unit is ideal when you don’t have a lot of space on one side of a bed or when you want to create some room division. This two-drawer unit on the cruise ship holds everything from books to binoculars – and even housed a fun light for late night reading.
I loved how this unique wall partition, made of leather straps joined together with metal buckles, created privacy yet also allowed for a see-through experience.
Based on the classic Eames stool, this bowl-shaped accent table I discovered on the cruise ship is perfect for holding drinks or flowers.
On a visit to Michigan where I met up with an old friend, I had lunch at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island where I couldn’t stop looking up at the fabulous turn-of-the-century crystal chandeliers. A mix of clear and green crystals, they tied in beautifully with designer Dorothy Draper’s bold, riveted green and white striped chairs in the restaurant.
At a press event at the The Wall Street Hotel in New York City, I pulled out my phone to take photos of these beautiful sconces made of white plaster that took on a coral hue against the toile wallpaper—they even looked a bit like coral themselves.
For my birthday, my husband took me to Boston where we stayed at the Langham Boston, a historic hotel that was once home to a former bank. There, I fell in love with this smokey blue loveseat, the tubular overhead pendant, trio of mini sconces and the geometric patterned rug that could pass for tile encompassing this banquette.
Wooden Plant Shelf
I loved this squared wooden shelf unit that mimicked the ceiling’s design at the Langham Boston. This feature served not only as a stand to hold various plants in decorative blue pots, but as a unique room divider by the hotel’s indoor pool.
In October, I stayed overnight at La Mer Beachfront Resort, a seaside hotel in Cape May, New Jersey, where I fell in love with the brown leather sunburst headboard framed in white wood, and the leather inserts on each side of the bed that displayed brass lights for reading.
Hallway rugs tend to take a beating at home or at a hotel—finding one with a pattern can help disguise dirt. During another beach reunion with friends post-Thanksgiving, I stayed at The Reeds at Shelter Haven in Stone Harbor, New Jersey, and immediately fell in love with the striped blue, green, and yellow carpet in the resort’s hallways.
I visited the island of St. Bart’s with my husband for a long romantic weekend in December and loved these sconces that looked like dried dune grass, illuminating the walls at Hotel Manapany.
I couldn’t stop touching the knobby wood hardware displayed on the white doors at Hotel Manapany.
Armoires are great if you’re short on closet space but the truth is they’re not always stylish—one of the reasons I fell in love with this bamboo armoire at Hotel Manapany in all of its sun-kissed colors.
Danish-Inspired Oak and Leather Chairs
In the 1950s, a Danish furniture maker named Borge Mogensen designed a hunting chair for an exhibition. This reproduction at Hotel Manapany, made of solid oak wood and performance grade vegan-microfiber leather, is not only stylish but durable.
Rope mirrors are nothing new to beach design, but I loved the way designer Francois Champsaur hung them in various shapes by the window in the bathrooms at Hotel Manapany to reflect the sun and sea outdoors.
It’s not always easy to find a great looking floor lamp yet this one at Le Barthelemy Hotel & Spa looked stylish and dispensed the perfect amount of glow—the diffused light mimicked the way sunlight filters through a shutter.
Bird cages were a running theme in the lobby of Le Barthelemy, designed by Sybille de Margerie. The interior swings offer a unique way for guests to rest their feet and the decorative bird cages over the reception desk provided a warm welcome at check-in.
The wooden backs on the stylish stools at Le Barthelemy Hotel & Spa made sitting at the bar with a rum punch all the more enjoyable. Created by designer Patrick Norguet, the aluminum frame and padded seats are ideal for both indoor and outdoor use.