British author Sara Maitland makes a case for it beautifully: “I got fascinated by silence; by what happens to the human spirit, to identity and personality when the talking stops, when you press the off button, when you venture out into that enormous emptiness.” Here, a roundup of hotels with stripped-down aesthetics that help you grasp the vastness of one’s own silence.
Built in the tradition of a 14th-century monastery, Eremito sits on the edge of a vast forest preserve in the Umbrian hills and faithfully encourages a spirit of solitude in its monastic design. Here, “Celluzze” rooms that help guests digitally detox, while farm-to-table vegetarian cuisine is served in a setting that emphasizes silence. The hotel functions today as an eco-luxury hermitage, where visitors disconnect from the material distractions of contemporary life in order to reconnect with a deeper, more meaningful reality.
Located in Puglia, Palazzo Daniele is a 13-suite hotel housed in a 159-year-old family palazzo. The hotel’s stripped-back interiors augment the grandeur of the palazzo’s original frescoes and mosaic flooring to create a dramatic canvas for the property’s contemporary art collection and site-specific installations. The sparsely furnished suites heighten a cloistered atmosphere ripe for quiet moments to reflect on self and nature.
Restored from abandoned ancient caves in the village of Matera, in Southern Italy, Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita offers guests a new take on authenticity. Swedish Italian entrepreneur, hotelier, and philanthropist Daniele Kihlgren breathed new life into the caves while honoring the lives spent dwelling in their depths. The pocked stone walls and curved ceilings of the rooms are hauntingly atmospheric.
At the core of Vocabolo Moscatelli is a revived 12th-century monastery with beamed ceilings, heavy stone fireplaces, and soft wooden floors, all crowned with a bell that the Olivetan monks of Gubbio would ring when it was time for prayer. Architect Jacopo Venerosi Pesciolini, of studio Archiloop, faithfully restored the original structure. Inspired by the richness of the Umbrian land, the hotel’s ristorante serves dishes made from sustainable, locally sourced ingredients where vegetables take center stage.
Frederik Kubierschky, the original behind Vocabolo Moscatelli
A meditation in concrete, Genji Kyoto reveals a secret world of serene gardens in the heart of Kyoto. A serene and ambient space for enjoying the subtleties of Japanese design, here custom-designed locally made furniture, Washi-paper lamps, and a bamboo-lined entrance are just some of the details brought forth to instill a sense of quietude. Despite the site’s long shape, the floorplan is oriented in such a way that every room has scenic views of the river and mountains, the city, or tranquil private gardens.
Set in an 18th-century abbey, ORA Hotel Priorat is a gateway to the region’s beautiful landscapes, fine cuisine, and timeless traditions. A world of baroque arches, pillars, and ceilings guides you through corridors to spaces that are both austere and welcoming. Stone and tile floors, as well as an interior courtyard replete with a small garden, offer up a timeless feel where the passage of days is marked by a different barometer.
Architecture studio Ambrosi Etchegaray were influenced by the pared-back design ethos of the Shakers to create the minimalist interiors at Círculo Mexicano in Mexico City. While the studio has left behind some of the 19th-century elements of the original building, inside the guestrooms is a different story. An ascetic aesthetic prevails with just a few blocky plinths, forming the bed, side tables, and storage. Now here is a space that begs some sweet solitude.