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Hotels Where Profit Isn't the Only Motive

  • Galery69

    Galery69

  • Michelberger Hotel

    Michelberger Hotel

  • Argos in Cappadocia

    Argos in Cappadocia

  • Las Alamandas

    Las Alamandas

  • 21c Museum Hotel, Louisville

    21c Museum Hotel, Louisville

  • Atrio Restaurante Hotel

    Atrio Restaurante Hotel

  • Lv Garden Huanghuali Art Gallery

    Lv Garden Huanghuali Art Gallery

January, 2015

Hoteliers’ pursuit of the almighty dollar has its advantages for travelers. Some of the most outstanding hotels, especially in major cities like New York or Tokyo, result from the challenge of turning a profit amidst intense competition. From time to time, however, we come across a hotel whose owners are motivated by something other than the desire to make a buck — and when we do, we always pay close attention. In most cases, the people behind these hotels have a genuine instinct for hospitality, and a sense that sharing their work is a reward unto itself.

1.

Galery69
Stawiguda, Poland — Suffice it to say that if a budding hotelier is out to strike it rich, northern Poland’s Lake Wulpinskie probably isn’t the first place they’d think to set up shop. More than anything, Galery69 is a showroom for the handiwork of owners Małgorzata and Wojciech Żółtowsky; everything you see (or sit on, or lie on) was made by their own hands.
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2.

Michelberger Hotel
Berlin — The team behind the Michelberger, including the eponymous Mr. Michelberger himself, were hospitality-industry virgins before they launched this rough-edged, effortlessly cool Berlin hotel. In the best possible way, the amateur spirit is everywhere in evidence, from the DIY-style furnishings to room rates geared toward guests with more taste than money.
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3.

Argos in Cappadocia
Uçhisar, Turkey — Argos in Cappadocia began as a relatively modest plan to rescue a few historical sites that had been buried under the local garbage dump. Nearly two decades on, it’s turned into a massive archaeology project, drawing scientists and students from around the world. It’s also a wonderfully unusual hotel, billed as “an ancient village with a reception desk.”
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4.

Las Alamandas
Quemaro, Mexico — Las Alamandas was meant to be a beachfront mega-resort, but when Isabel Goldsmith inherited it from her tin-magnate grandfather, she called the project off and decided to build a tiny, exclusive, low-impact hideaway instead — preserving the stunning natural landscape (and, not incidentally, making life a little easier on the local dolphin population).
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5.

21c Museum Hotel, Louisville
Louisville, Kentucky — You almost wonder if collectors Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown just needed more space to house their incredible contemporary art collection. As a result of their prolific collecting, Louisville now has both an outstanding new art gallery and a remarkably urbane hotel — plus a downtown neighborhood that feels like it’s on the rise.
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6.

Atrio Restaurante Hotel
Cáceres, Spain — The name doesn’t lie; Atrio is as much a restaurant as it is a hotel, run by a pair of accomplished chefs in ancient walled city of Cáceres. In addition to the excellent restaurant and a spectacularly well-stocked wine cellar, there’s a collection of contemporary art that includes works by Andy Warhol and Georg Baselitz.
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7.

Lv Garden Huanghuali Art Gallery
Beijing — Built by the writer and antique collector Hai Yan, Lv Garden is home to a world-class collection of precious yellow-rosewood antiques, laid out just as they would have been in a Ming- or Qing-dynasty home. Even as a museum it would have been a highly ambitious project; that guests can live amongst the beautifully restored furnishings only makes it all the more impressive.
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