True architectural vision isn’t restricted to brand-new structures. It’s also the ingenious transformation of old into new; the restoration of crumbling into functional and beautiful. A celebratory merger of centuries. And nowhere does it better than these 3 hotels.
The 3 Nominees for Outstanding Renovation
Hospes Palacio del Bailio, Cordoba, Spain
Hidden in the backstreets of Unesco-listed Cordoba, this amazing hotel occupies a 16th-century palace built over Roman foundations. Restored and updated, it still retains its keyhole windows, faded frescoes and white marble corridors, along with fabulous Roman ruins, floodlit below the restaurant’s glass floor, and authentic thermal baths in the underground spa.
L’Iglesia, El Jadida, Morocco
This beautiful hotel in Unesco-listed El Jadida is spread across a once-crumbling Catholic church and the former American consulate. Both have been brilliantly renovated: the nave is now a soaring cocktail lounge lit by chandeliers, while the cloister houses live music. Eight of the 14 bedrooms sit in the old convent, their interiors a mix of Moorish, Art Deco and modern European, with a sprinkling of flea-market finds.
Villa Pedra, Beiras Mountains, Portugal
All the renovated cottages in this once-abandoned hamlet are stunning, but owners Manuel and Victor surpassed themselves with their vision for the former infant school. Split into 2 rentals – Girls’ House and Boys’ House, with the traditional entrances still in place – it features ancient maps, blackboards, miniature desks and anatomy figures in the living rooms. Out back, the playground has been retained. Quirky and super-cool.