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Waheeda Harris

Contributing writer

Waheeda Harris is a freelance journalist who writes about travel, design, culture, cuisine, style and the people who are passionate about what they create.

Does location and price always determine your hotel choice? When trying to find that special spot for a long weekend in the city, consider a hotel through a different lens: How about for its design and décor IQ?

Furniture style, accessories and art can make an interior distinct and memorable. With these five boutique hotels the mix of locally-created crafts, contemporary art, classic furniture and vintage items make them worthy of as many photographs as the destination.

Photo courtesy of Hotel Amigo

Hotel Amigo, Brussels, Belgium

Steps from the Brussels Grand Place, this 500-year-old building, a former prison, is now part of the Rocco Forte Hotels Group. It skillfully combines the old and new: Seventh-century cobblestones are used as flooring in the lobby while a framed print of modern Belgian literary hero, Tintin, is displayed in each room. Designer Olga Polizzi, part of the Rocco Forte family, created a sophisticated palette of contemporary dark wood European furniture, crisp Italian linens and historic tapestries paired with modern Belgian art prints, ceramic sculptures and colorful textile accents.

Photo courtesy of Casa Azul Hotel

Casa Azul Hotel, Merida, Mexico

This 19th-century French colonial home was converted to offer eight individually decorated suites surrounding a lush, open-air courtyard garden with a fountain. Each spacious room features oversized antique dark wood furniture, patterned tile floors and super-soft textiles, with luxe touches such as handmade soap and vintage accessories. Guests will appreciate the street side blue and white terrace with its wrought iron furniture, the hidden pool area with nap-worthy lounge chairs, and the shaded courtyard with its curated collection of vintage European love seats and chairs, all good spots to plan for the next day’s exploring.

Photo courtesy of Luciano K Hotel

Luciano K Hotel, Santiago, Chile

A discreet reception is hidden behind the bold bar/lounge decorated with red and gray velvet furniture and theater posters. Guests can ascend to rooms via the winding marble staircase or the historic 1920s wrought iron elevator, where rooms feature king or queen beds decorated with blue velvet headboards and uber-soft white linens, a desk/dressing area, Carrera marble bathroom and photography on the walls. Head to the open-air hotel rooftop bar/restaurant, where black iron and wood furniture sit atop a rainbow array of ceramic floor tiles.

Photo courtesy of Hotel Indigo Dundee

Hotel Indigo Dundee, Scotland

Newly-opened in a former jute mill in Dundee, this small hotel celebrates the city’s historic industries, with marmalade inspired décor, jute textiles and secret signs acknowledging the local video gaming industry. The lobby includes a nod to technology’s past with photos and objects like typewriters, telephones and a 1980s Apple computer paired with mid-century inspired furniture. The industrial-styled rooms feature vast desks, upholstered oversized chairs and ottomans and king beds layered in locally-designed accent pillows, as well as a selection of Beano comics and a red rotary dial telephone that lets you play with the past.

Photo courtesy of Hotel Dubrovnik Palace

Hotel Dubrovnik Palace, Dubrovnik Croatia

Part of the Escape Collection from Adriatic Luxury Hotels, you will feel like you’ve escaped to a seaside resort while being close to old town Dubrovnik. All rooms are oriented towards the Adriatic Sea, decorated in a soothing palette of cream and gray mid-century modern furniture, blonde wood accents, teal blue chairs and a bold abstract mural surrounding the platform bed. Public spaces continue with earth tones and décor made with driftwood, glass or stone, creating a laid-back place to soak up the sun on the pool or dining terraces.

(Feature photo courtesy of Hotel Indigo Dundee)

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