We’ve seen design hotels, and we’ve seen fashion hotels, but the Byblos Art Hotel Villa Amistà is something slightly different. Though it’s owned by the family that owns the Byblos fashion house, it’s far from just an exercise in cross-branding — instead it’s something more like a museum, a showcase for the family’s impressive collection of 20th-century design objects and contemporary artworks, right down to the gallery-style placards in every room listing the pieces contained within.
Design junkies, quite obviously, are in heaven here, given the chance to spend time living with what would ordinarily be museum pieces. But for some, the objects may play second fiddle to the setting — not some minimal urban loft space, but a fifteenth-century villa outside Verona, a place where sedate gardens and fountains give way to Baroque interiors, where Venetian chandeliers clash with mid-century Scandinavian furniture and life-size color photo prints.
It’s showy, to be sure, but the appeal of the Villa Amistà is more than just visual. Underneath it all, it’s really just a classic luxury hotel, complete with a pool terrace, a fine restaurant under the direction of chef Luca Mazzola, and a Henri Chenot spa. The difference is all in the details — while in your average five-star hotel the furniture and art strive to fade into the background, here they’re more or less the main event.
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