Hotels smartly and chicly employ white—the color of purity, peace, modernity, and fresh starts—to highlight views, art, and architecture, reflect light to make spaces seem bigger, and mentally cool down hot zones. For this edition of HAP’s color series, journalist Carrie Bell found the cream of the crop who turn the neutral into a colorful statement.
Mystique Hotel (Santorini, Greece)
Greece is ground zero for designing with the hue. Carved into Santorini’s cliffside, seemingly out of bony clay, this otherworldly Luxury Collection member offers guests a near whiteout from the restaurant to the cave-like quarters save for some wood furnishings and azure pools.
Oyster Bay (Pensacola, FL)
A new bright spot in the Sunshine State, this Pensacola pearl, awash in various shades of white, establishes a sense of place with coral decor, dried palm fronds and driftwood. Especially whimsical are a local potter’s ceramic ecru turtle shells hung above the beds.
The Ritz-Carlton Bacara (Santa Barbara)
The zen begins the second you step into the great white four-story foyer of the property’s 42,000 square-foot pamper palace. Gauzy curtains, candles, and an inlaid stone path set the stage for the showy centerpiece—a fairy-lit pendant that drops to kiss a bubbling pool.
Ambergris Cay (Turks and Caicos)
Hard to tell where the beachfront suites’ alabaster patios end and the powdery sand begins at this private island resort in Turks & Caicos. You’ll have time to figure it out as you relax under white umbrellas with rum punches you didn’t have to mix because stays include butler service and daily massages.
Soneva Jani (The Maldives)
The white-washed overwater villas are some of the Maldives best in part because much of the design mimics the cotton cloud show guests get every time they slide into the salt-hued sunken dining nook.
JW Marriott Parq Vancouver (Vancouver, Canada)
Tell me you’re a baller without telling me: book the bi-level Parq Villa with its gleaming pool table, soaking tub, icy lounge area and white oak floors in British Columbia.
Hotel Esencia (Tulum, Mexico)
Just outside of Tulum, Mexico, on the reimagined 50-acre estate that once belonged to an Italian duchess, the stark white solarium of the Rooftop Wellness Suite towers over a sea of green that is the dense Riviera Maya jungle. Cool off in the pool after using the suite’s private gym or nap in the color-coordinated hammock.
Martinhal Cascais (Cascais, Portugal)
The lobby of this Portuguese paradise aimed at families is coming in hot, white hot. The airy contemporary space features the palate from floor to the ceiling but a great deal of the wow factor comes from the zig-zag staircase and the wavy hanging lights that draw inspiration from the nearby coastline’s crashing surf and would feel at home in a pop art museum.
Magnolia St. Louis (St. Louis, MO)
Old Hollywood glamour meets modern hospitality in the historic Tribute Portfolio Hotel‘s Cary Grant Presidential Suite, so named because the leading man was a regular guest when in St. Louis. In fact, legend has it that the star is credited with inventing the turndown tradition of chocolates on the pillow here. Now, he watches over current guests from black-and-white photos that populate the classy mostly chiffon-colored namesake space.
Explore More with Hotels Above Par
Love this article? Make sure to check out the Italian design-centric hotels we love and our Miami Design District destination guide.