When traveling, it’s easy to just look up a chain hotel (these days, likely a Marriott), get a cheap rate and call it a day. They’re familiar, typically a good value, and likely identical to something you’ve stayed in before. Yet, the hotel in its proper form should be a reflection of the location in which you’re staying. It should introduce you to the place’s spirit, culture and hospitality. And, in the best hotels, the design matters as much as the service.
Great architects, ones of Frank Lloyd Wright‘s or Mies van der Rohe‘s caliber, never succumb to corporate stencil designs. Whether it be incorporating the surrounding nature, challenging the way human and building interact, or stretching the physical imagination, each abode has their unique signature. And while you can visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim or attend Jean Nouvel’s Copenhagen Concert Hall while visiting a place, there’s also the opportunity to stay in places designed by the greats. These hotels or houses are the structures dreamed up by notable architects, and they give a whole new reason to travel to lustrous destinations like Ibiza, Spain — or Canaan, Connecticut.
Emil Bach House
Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright | Location: Chicago, IL
Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the most famous architects in American history and the man who penned the Guggenheim in New York City, also designed the humble Emil Bach House in Northern Chicago. Built in 1915, it has since become a Chicago Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Wright designed the house late in his Prairie Style phase, and Emil Bach House marks his transition to a more expressionist style of design.
Architect: Jean Nouvel | Location: Ibiza, Spain
John Nouvel is one of the most decorated architects in the modern era, earning the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the Wolf Prize in Arts, and the Pritzker Prize. Staying in any building designed by Nouvel would be a eyeful to behold, let alone when you place it in Ibiza, Spain. And the bottle of wine you receive upon arrival undoubtedly sweetens the deal even more.
Burj Al Arab
Architect: Tom Wright | Location: Dubai, UAE
The Empire State Building in New York, the Eiffel Tower in France, the Sydney Opera House in Australia, and the Burj Al Arab in Dubai — each one has become synonymous with the place it was built. But of that group, Tom Wright’s Burj Al Arab is the only one you can stay in. Costing $1 billion to build, the luxury hotel opened in 1999 and has become a symbol in a flourishing region. It is definitely worth paying the premium to stay a night (or two).
Casa Fuster G.L Monument
Architect: Lluis Domènech i Montaner | Location: Barcelona, Spain
Right in the heart of Barcelona, Spain, the Casa Fuster G.L Monument is a five-star base camp to see all the sights the city has to offer. Architect and local Catalan Lluis Domènech i Montaner is credited with bringing Barcelona’s architecture into the modern age (in the late 1800s), and this is a perfect piece of architectural history to put you within walking distance of even more of Barcelona’s famous buildings and churches.
Architect: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe | Location: Chicago, IL
When it comes to forward-thinking modern architecture, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe can be mentioned in the same breath as Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright. The Langham is the first hotel ever to be in a Mies van der Rohe building, the IBM Regional Headquarters. The hotel officially opened in 2013, and due to its world-famous container it was quickly made a Chicago Landmark and placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Marqués de Riscal Vineyard Hotel
Architect: Frank Gehry | Location: Elciego, Spain
Unveiled in 2006 and designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry, the Marqués de Riscal Vineyard Hotel in Elciego, Spain has quickly become a regional icon. Its rooflines mimic the surrounding rolling countryside with tilting walls and cambered windows that exaggerate the local, ancient architecture, making the Marques a sight to behold. Between the food, wine, art and architecture, this is the perfect place to get a Basque country overload.
The Glass House
Architect: Philip Johnson | Location: Canaan, CT
Though you can’t stay overnight in Philip Johnson’s Glass House, you can rent it out for parties and events. It earns a mention because of designer Philip Johnson, who played a critical part in modern American architecture, founding the Department of Architecture and Design at MoMA. Built in 1949, the Glass House, an exercise in minimalism, served as Johnson’s residence until his death in 2005.