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The 20th century was an extraordinary time for Midcentury-Modern Hotels as hotel interior design, with groundbreaking styles constantly popping up. One of the most popular was the midcentury-modern movement, the American interpretation of its European counterparts, the Bauhaus and the International Style. As the “midcentury” period spanned quite a few decades—the ’30s to the ’60s, to even the early ’70s—there are a range of looks associated with the style. Today, the aesthetic has seen a resurgence, with designers riffing on retro looks for their contemporary project works. Here, we highlight 10 hotels that employ the era’s different design elements, from the desert modernism of Palm Springs to a surf-chic look in Hawaii to Scandinavian-inspired aesthetics in Paris.
Perhaps one of the most iconic hotels in U.S. history, the infamous Watergate Hotel is a bastion of midcentury-modern design. Having finished a ten-year, $125 million renovation by Ron Arad in 2016, the property has embraced its ’60s-chic roots, even down to its staff uniforms, which were created by Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant.
Housed in former office building constructed in 1929, the Robey has an Art Deco exterior and a midcentury modern interior, the latter of which made its debut when the hotel opened in 2017. Both the rooms and the public spaces are adored with retro furniture—like the reproduced Dunbar sofa in lobby—and a midcentury modern design look inspired by the works of painter Edward Hopper.
Architect Albert Frey, the king of desert modernism, designed this historic hotel in 1960. Like Scottsdale, Palm Springs was a celebrity hotbed, and legends like Lucille Ball, Marilyn Monroe, and Gene Wilder chose Monkey Tree for accommodations. The hotel’s current owners, who bought the property in 2015, have left many of the original design elements as untouched, including wallpaper, tilework, and bathroom fixtures.
Though not a true midcentury modern design hotel per se—it was built in the 1980s—the 32-room Hotel Henriette Rive Gauche has been remodeled by its owner, former fashion editor Vanessa Scoffier, who used Scandinavian midcentury design elements to decorate the space. Scoffier scoured markets for more than a year to find the perfect vintage pieces for her hotel.
Though Miami might be best known for its Art Deco heritage, its many hotels, including the Eden Roc, also take on a Miami-flavored midcentury glamour. Built by Morris Lapidus—who not only designed the neighboring Fontainebleau, but also South Beach’s Lincoln Road—the luxury design hotel is known for its lounge bar design, which was recently updated by David Rockwell.
Set in a former motor lodge, the Jupiter Hotel on Portland’s east side stays true to its origins, with ’50s-inspired furniture in its rooms, and a on-site restaurant and lounge design, Douglas Fir, that displays a woodsy take on midcentury modern. The hotel is also home to a gallery space in its lobby that showcases emerging artists.
For a surf-inspired version of the midcentury-modern movement, head to the Surfjack in Waikiki. The building was constructed in 1961 for the Hokele Suites, a project by Hawaii architect and hotelier Roy Kelley, but the Surfjack itself opened in 2016. You’ll find reed ceilings, koa-wood furniture, and vintage postcards here that all nod to Hawaii’s retro surf scene.
In 2016, a former post office was transformed into one of the chicest hotels in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. Danish firm Space Copenhagen tackled the interiors as its first U.S. project, designing custom, handmade furniture and lighting fixtures to fill the rooms. Here you’ll find a midcentury modernism based on Scandinavian minimalism with clean lines, simple blocks of color, and natural materials.
Not to be confused with Paris’s Hotel Henriette, this fun London boutique hotel is owned by the four Parisian gentleman of the Experimental Cocktail Club fame. The group tapped frequent collaborator Dorothée Meilichzon to design the hotel interior design, which blend all kind of design elements, from ’70s-style furniture to Art Deco headboards.
This new hotel focuses on the sultrier side of midcentury-modern hotels design by Amsterdam-based studio Concrete, with a darker palette that includes all-black bathrooms and hallways; plenty of brass, glass, and mirrors; and luscious textures that range from velvet to leather. For a ’60s-style club experience, visit the Hidden Room, an all-red secret lounge design with geometric lighting.