the hotel and travel industries have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. while the time for jet-setting has been put on hold, designboom looks back at some architectural destinations and design-minded boutique hotels. these spaces each offer a gateway to experiencing far-off retreats through a curated, architectural lens. mainly reflective of the culture and traditional language of their contexts, the projects together offer an intimate look into destinations across south america, to the mediterranean sea, to the dolomite mountain range, and beyond. until their reopening, travelers can continue to support these hotels by postponing, rather than cancelling a stay, or planning a visit for the future. meanwhile, many of the designers and owners have offered hopeful messages that express solidarity with a global reach.



k-studio transforms derelict wine factory into seaside hotel along the coast of greece

coronavirus hotels
image by claus brechenmacher & reiner bauman



architecture practice k-studio completes the transformation of an abandoned wine factory on the west coast of mainland greece with the dexamenes seaside hotel. the original structure dates back to the early 20th century collapse of the currant’s trade which resulted in the conversion of unsold currants stock into wine and the development of wineries and distilleries throughout greece. dexamenes was built on the sea so that the ships could be loaded with wine through a system of piping arrayed along the beach of kourouta. by the 21st century the ultimately derelict structure had been renovated into the artfully curated coastal hotel. dexamenes owner nikos karaflos emphasizes the hotel’s campaign to stay strong during the global lockdown by encouraging travelers to gift a stay for the future.


‘sala ayutthaya‘ hotel fuses multi-curved brick walls with pure white geometries

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image © wison tungthunya



‘sala ayutthaya’ by onion is a 26-room boutique hotel across the picturesque site of the old capital of thailand along the chao phraya river. built in 1353 by the first monarch of ayutthaya kingdom, phutthai sawan temple becomes the encompassing view of the restaurant and the riverfront suites. the main entry, next to a sala tree on U-thong road, is a single iron door on a long brick façade that leads occupants to the low wooden ceiling above the reception desk and the double volume art gallery. 


the scattered zallinger refuge cabins by noa* overlook the tyrolean dolomites

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image by alex filz



noa* (network of architecture) completes the renovation and expansion of the zallinger refuge at the seiser alm, or alpe di siusi, in the italian dolomites. the project presents an historical and landscape recovery intervention in a high mountain context. nineteenth-century barns are reborn as a boutique hotel comprising a collection of timber ‘mini-chalets,’ which emanate the charm of an alpine village. south tyrolean tradition is combined with design quality and sustainability in every aspect of the construction. noa* introduces 24 rooms with the new mini-chalets, leaving the original 13 rooms in the central building of the guesthouse. 


noting the COVID-19 lockdown, the team at noa* (network of architecture) comments:we think that places like zallinger will be a small “place of hope” for future vacationers, where we can keep more distance from other tourists and be closer to nature.’


MAPA scatters personal hotel cabins across the sacromonte vineyards of uruguay

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image courtesy of leonardo finotti



in uruguay’s idyllic landscape of sacromonte, young vineyards grow among lush, hilly grasslands, natural spring water reservoirs and several streams that run through a valley densely surrounded by pristine vegetation. scattered throughout this landscape are the thirteen cabins which make up the sacromonte landscape hotel. designed by MAPA architects, the project retains the comfort and sophistication of an urban hotel while eliminating concept of contiguous rooms for far-reaching, individual dwellings. has curated a network of pathways and elements that amplify the experience of the landscape, enhancing the spots yet to be explored.


the team at MAPA comments:luckily, here in uruguay we are dealing quite well with the pandemic for now, but there is some uncertainty about how it will develop over the next weeks… at MAPA we are working from home and trying to keep everything as orderly as possible.’


CO-LAB’s tulum treehouse elevates guests to the yucatán peninsula’s tropical canopies+

coronavirus hotels
all images by brechenmacher baumann



mexico-based CO-LAB design office presents the tulum treehouse, nestled in the among the tropical jungles of the caribbean coastline. a design hotel, guests at tulum treehouse are elevated to the lush canopies of the yucatán peninsula. situated along a coastal road near the sian ka’an biosphere reserve, this private residence is a collaborative effort between local artisans, builders, designers and tulum-based CO-LAB design office. the project is built with environmental sustainability as one of the foremost priorities. the white concrete structure intertwines with the surrounding jungle through its wraparound terraces, indoor and outdoor dining spaces, and spacious bedrooms among the trees.


santos bolivar architects scatters rammed-earth hotel across mexican landscape

coronavirus hotels
image by jose maria gonzalez villavicencio



mexico-based studio santos bolívar presents a reimagination of the hotel typology, entitled ‘santulan.’ meaning ‘balance’ in hindi, the concept of santulan initially drove the project’s development. the space introduces both a tourist destination as well as a beacon to foster a culture of respect for the site’s natural ecosystems. unlike traditional hotel organization which houses its services and living spaces within the same volume, santulan divides each program between five independent structures. this cluster of rammed earth units is interconnected by a network of walkways which interact directly with the geographic conditions, offering visitors a diversity of architectural experience.


santulan owner lokesh dhar comments:unfortunately, we all have to pause right now… but we are encouraging people to book for later in the year.’


coolnvintage reflects the coastal vibes of comporta with its ‘build 87’ land rover restoration

coronavirus hotels



coolnvintage, a portuguese studio specializing in vintage land rovers presents its ‘build 87,’ a vibrant and expressive land rover developed in collaboration with the tranquil cabana villa in sublime comporta. the exclusive coastal hotel retreat comprises a collection of rooms and villas which stretch across several buildings including a main house, a guest house, and many villas. sublime comporta is situated upon a seventeen hectare estate and surrounded by a canopy of cork trees and pines, wild sand dunes, and white-sand beaches. the build 87 was first sketched by restoration house coolnvintage with inspiration by the villa.