As Jigsaw expands worldwide, it gives us an excuse to seek out a new breed of boutique hotels. Serving design-conscious business travellers who don’t want to squander time in soulless chains, these city retreats are triumphs of form and function
The first Hoxton opened in east London in 2006, when its affordable chic and punchy personality proved something of a novelty. Sociable yet switched on, service isn’t fussy or formal here on Herengracht canal, in a building where the city mayor lived in the 17th century. Digital nomads have all they need to be productive – including supermarket-price snacks from an in-house tuck shop.
BUSINESS CRED Communal tables in the mezzanine library, a row of borrow-me Macs in the lobby, and an hour of free international calls for guests. The Apartment is a flexible four-room event space with flipcharts, 55in screens and superfast Wi-Fi.
BOUTIQUE CHIC Five separate canal houses fashioned together are decked out with vintage furniture, and the cocktail-slinging bar/eatery, Lotti’s, is run in cahoots with the members’ club empire Soho House.
“Work hard, play hard” is the slogan at this ultramodern hotel in the tech-savvy Californian city. Close to Union Square, SoMa and the Financial District, all 116 rooms are fully digitally connected, with a host of meeting rooms and conference areas to spill over into as well as a dedicated lounge for gamers, the Playroom.
BUSINESS CRED Rooms have 46in Samsung smart TVs and G-Link Obsess docks to plug mobile devices into and you can also request a printer to be hooked up. Meeting spaces have all the audio-visual bells and whistles plus whiteboard and corkboard walls for brainstorming scrawls.
BOUTIQUE CHIC Trad meets rad in the neoclassical architecture of this carefully preserved 1913-built hotel, which has quirky features such as stand-up desks crafted from butcher’s blocks and a London phone box in which to make those Skype conference calls.
Situated in Zurich’s cobbled old town, this style-conscious bolthole is a breath of fresh air in a country renowned for its formal five-star hospitality. These luxe-for-less lodgings have been created from one of Zurich’s most storied inns combined with a centuries-old townhouse. References to local culture abound, such as a library of books on Dadaism – the abstract art movement was born steps away from here in the Cabaret Voltaire nightclub.
BUSINESS CRED In a city that wears a lot of suits, the snappier set favour Baltho, the bistro and sexy cocktail bar that is sophisticated yet casual – a hallmark of this new generation of hotel. Ditto for Delish, a deli-style café providing healthy snacks served in the cute second-floor social spaces that are beloved for brainstorms and pitches.
BOUTIQUE CHIC There is a Scandi air to the simple, curated interiors which allow the 15th-century architecture to sing – stucco details and charmingly sloped floors have been painstakingly preserved, and the pared-back aesthetic reflects the city’s Protestant heritage while providing a chic backdrop to art books and homegrown furniture from Swiss company Vitra.
This vine-entwined urban abode in Singapore’s polished Central Business District not only has 73 comfortable rooms but also a desirable destination restaurant, Table by Rang Mahal. Fully stocked free minibars and on-the-house aperitivos from 4.30pm to 6.30pm mean leisurely tipples are a must. Escape your schedule by heading up to Cloud9, the hotel’s rooftop pool and bar, where you can gaze at the city state’s skyline.
BUSINESS CRED As well as three soul-uplifting meeting rooms there are hi-tech in-room enhancements such as built-in USB chargers and Apple TVs that mirror Apple devices on screen.
BOUTIQUE CHIC Inspired interior design flaunts Poltrona Frau and B&B Italia furniture, Tom Dixon gun lamps and a Porta Romana chandelier. Video installations and street art set the tone that this is no place for pinstripes.
A smart, white Victorian terraced house in west London offers elegant home-from-home comfort under a name inspired by one of the founders of the Notting Hill carnival, Rhaune Laslett. Already a favourite with film directors, models, stylists and ad agency types for its discreet service, the simple, stylish rooms at this fresh-faced stay between Heathrow and central London are sisters to the sleek suites at No 5 Maddox Street in Mayfair and 56 Welbeck Street in Marylebone.
BUSINESS CRED Rooms include bedside USB charging points and handy phones to borrow (which include free international calls). The low-key lobby bar and library are small sanctuaries for those tired of the fussier grand establishments – don’t be surprised to see the likes of Stella McCartney or Solange Knowles sipping a cup of Joe’s Tea or Workshop coffee here.
BOUTIQUE CHIC Antiques guru Jerome Dodd of Notting Hill store Les Couilles du Chien has curated the curios and sketches by Biba founder Barbara Hulanicki adorn the walls – this is a thoroughly British establishment. The cocktail-serving Henderson bar and café is named after Russ, another carnival forefather, and the gentle reggae mixed into the smooth soundtrack tells you that the Laslett is proud of its postcode.
By Juliet Kinsman