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June 27, 2012updated Jul 13, 2016

Confidante: The World’s Best Hotel Designers


Suite / Ellerman HousePavilion Conservatory Suite / The BerkeleyFitness Facilities / Las Ventanas al ParaísoOrange Living Room / San Ysidro RanchNew York, New York – Reported by Mary Gostelow for Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazine

Designer David Collins is just one of the many A-listers who jet off to Ellerman House, on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa. This 11-room hotel, where Nicolas Cage filmed Lord of War, is where international cognoscenti come for privacy. Mike Rutherford of Genesis is among those who favor the three-bedroom suite directly above the spa. Many flock to the recently opened semi-underground 30-foot gallery that shows off the best of South Africa’s contemporary artists, including sculptor Angus Taylor.

David Collins’ interiors can also be seen to perfection at two Maybourne Hotel Group properties in London. At The Berkeley in Knightsbridge, his Blue Bar was patronized by Madonna and her then-husband, Guy Ritchie, within the first few days of its opening in 2001. For The Connaught, in Mayfair, he designed the hotel’s penthouse Apartment, a loft with soaring ceilings and periwinkle-colored suede linings on all closets and drawers. The Apartment also boasts two big terraces, both large enough for entertaining up to 20 guests. The hotel is a favorite of Marchesa designer (and Mrs. Harvey Weinstein) Georgina Chapman when she is in London.

Harold (Ty) Warner may have been one of the world’s largest manufacturers of soft toys, but today he’s something of a designer: Just take the new-look fitness facilities at Las Ventanas al Paraíso, which he bought in 2004 from Mexican developer Javier Burillo Azcarraga. Warner and his innovative hotel managing director, Martein van Wagenberg, who recently arrived from another Rosewood property (Little Dix Bay on Virgin Gorda in the BVI), also enhanced the resort’s retail with a gallery selling Mexican art.

Warner certainly loves his hotels. His portfolio includes Four Seasons properties in both New York and Santa Barbara. He owns the 40-cottage San Ysidro Ranch, also situated in the Montecito area of California, sprawling over more than 527 hillside acres originally acquired in 1769 by the King of Spain. Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier married at San Ysidro, and John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier honeymooned here, in what is now called the Kennedy Cottage. Among today’s regular guests is Nadja Swarovski, creative director of the family Swarovski business, who loves the feeling of being surrounded by nature, and, she says, the amazing food.

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