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10 Ultra-Modern Cube Hotels

Blame Donald Judd. Lately we’ve noticed a profusion of cubes in the world of hotel design — modern, self-contained pods set in some of planet’s most otherworldly landscapes, or even just cube-y (Cubist?) statements to mix up the urban profile. Here are a few of our favorites.

Aire de Bardenas - boutique hotel in Navarre
Navarre, Spain
Aire de Bardenas

Set at the edge of the desert in Spain’s northern Navarre province, Aire de Bardenas’s prefab pods are designed around the windows, with their views of the wheat fields and wind-scoured rocks outside. The setting, plus nooks with mini-mattresses and lounge pillows, make this possibly the world’s best hotel for getting a bit of reading done.

LONGITUDE 131 - boutique hotel in Yulara
Yulara, Australia
LONGITUDE 131

Built on steel stilts above the fragile bush of Australia’s Red Centre, the fifteen cabins at Longitude 131 combine the traits of a cutting-edge cube hotel (an environmentally friendly design, a lunar-landscape setting, walls of glass and an open plan) with canopied safari tent–style roofs and décor à la British Africa. It’s a combination that works surprisingly well, helped along by views of Ayers Rock in the distance

CASA DE LA FLORA - boutique hotel in Phuket
Phuket, Thailand
CASA DE LA FLORA

Technically these beachside villas are closer to cuboids, but even the geometry buff is probably more interested in the way the slate-grey structures taper off toward glass walls overlooking the Andaman Sea. The layout takes advantage of the natural slope of the beach, each villa graced with an uninterrupted view of the sand and surf.

AREIAS DO SEIXO CHARM - boutique hotel in Póvoa de Penafirme
Póvoa de Penafirme, Portugal
AREIAS DO SEIXO CHARM

Areias do Seixo Charm looks a bit like a Tetris game come to life, only the pile of blocks here is made of glass and polished concrete. And somehow it also manages to seem like an outgrowth of Portugal’s rugged Atlantic coast, with gnarled, salt-bleached tree limbs for support beams and towering glass walls that bring the outdoors in.

CONSOLACIÓN - boutique hotel in Aragon
Aragon, Spain
CONSOLACIÓN

Here’s yet another designophile’s hideaway in an unexplored corner of Spain. Perched at the edge of a bluff in under-appreciated Matarraña province, each wood-clad cube at Consolación contains a guest room with sunken slate baths and all manner of high-tech electronics.

JUMEIRAH HIMALAYAS - boutique hotel in Shanghai
Shanghai, China
JUMEIRAH HIMALAYAS

Call it an exercise in misdirection — a Shanghai hotel with the word “Himalayas” in the name, and it’s from the Dubai-based Jumeirah group. If that’s insufficiently mind-bending, it also happens to take the form of an enormous cube cased in tubular neon lights, a very long way from those little eco-bunkers in the desert.

HOTEL VIURA - boutique hotel in La Rioja
La Rioja, Spain
HOTEL VIURA

In case it wasn’t already clear that rural Spain is the champion of the high-design box hotel, here’s an entire stack of precarious-looking cubes in the form of Rioja’s Hotel Viura. With an 18th-century church as its neighbor, the hotel isn’t the first thing you’d expect in a traditional Spanish wine village, but its unusual layout ensures lots of corner-office views of the town and nearby mountains.

DAR SABRA - boutique hotel in Marrakech
Marrakech, Morocco
DAR SABRA

Not to knock on Marrakech’s medina — you’ll spend time there no matter what — but a little breathing room nicely offsets that density, if we do say so. Turns out there’s also metaphorical space to play with the idea of a box hotel, here reconfigured as a Modernist cluster of forms and outcroppings for an exterior most refreshing. An eclectic art collection similarly enlivens the interiors.

CITIZENM SCHIPHOL AIRPORT - boutique hotel in Amsterdam
Amsterdam, Netherlands
CITIZENM SCHIPHOL AIRPORT

The needle is still shifting, so to speak, so suffice it to say that airport hotels need all the architectural ingenuity that can be mustered. Trust citizenM to shake things up, though not quite how you’d expect; on closer glance, this seemingly staid rectangular prism skews closer to “shipping-container chic” than “interrogation chamber,” outfitting each pre-fabricated unit with the latest tech and gleaming future-mod charm.

ST MARTINS LANE HOTEL - boutique hotel in London
London, England
ST MARTINS LANE HOTEL

Cube as in Rubik’s, if the photos didn’t give that away; come nightfall, the façade’s motley cast swaggers knowingly into the iconic. Inside, the aesthetic goes full tri-dimensional, pairing the decadent with the absurd in a parade of over-the-top visual puns. Squares may be, well, square, but anyone can tell you that a cube knows how to have fun.

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