R&C Spotlight: Craftsmanship Connection

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Charles McDiarmid
By Charles McDiarmid, Managing Director
Newsletters28 April 2023


The presence of unique craftsmanship transcends basic trends. When hoteliers integrate the talents of local artisans, a distinctive authenticity is born. Explore these four properties, including our very own, that have made artisanry central to their identity, preserving generations-old techniques as they strengthen ties with their local communities.

Villa René Lalique, Wingen-sur-Moder, France

Vila Rene Lalique
Villa René Lalique

Built in 1920 by René Lalique just prior to the establishment of his glassworks in Alsace, every element within the walls of this villa pays homage to the trade that has made Lalique the very emblem of crystal. This was his home when staying in the region, and after major renovations, the villa reopened in 2015 as a hotel featuring six elegant suites steeped in luxury. Each suite boasts décor inspired by a unique René Lalique motif: Hirondelles (Swallows), Rose, Zeila Panther, Dahlia, Dragon and Woman Mask. From lamp bases to door handles, even the gourmet restaurant’s lighting and tableware are celebrations of the sparkle of Lalique’s trademark approach to crystal.

In Lain Hotel Cadonau, Brail, Switzerland

In Lain Hotel Cadonau
In Lain Hotel Cadonau

Woodworking has run in the Cadonau family for centuries, with the artisanship of the Hotel Cadonau showcasing just how embedded the craft is in their heart and soul. When the former farmhouse was converted into a restaurant in the 1970s, and subsequently to a hotel in 2006, these transformations were largely thanks to the expertise of the family’s own carpentry skills. The term ‘in lain’ means 'made of wood', and the hotel lives up to its name. Not only are the structures and the walls made of wood, but every piece of furniture and sculpture throughout the establishment was made under the direction of Marco Cadonau. Each room displays the heritage of the Engadin region, with carved and turned wood executed in different styles: traditional in La Stüvetta restaurant, and contemporary in the gourmet restaurant Vivanda and the hotel's modern suites.

The Inn of the Five Graces, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

The Inn of The Five Graces
The Inn of The Five Graces

A one-of-a-kind hotel, The Inn of the Five Graces melds arts and crafts from across the globe. A supremely colourful melting pot of cultures, the textures and patterns might otherwise seem confusing together, but all make sense here due to the curational talents of the property’s owners. What makes this collection far beyond simple decor is that each item represents a piece of their journey through life. Ira Seret would find himself traveling to Afghanistan in the late 1960s on the hunt for interesting objects and inspiration. He then met Sylvia, an embroiderer, and they continued the journey together, designing their own pieces, tracking down the best artisans in Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Tibet and Türkiye and ordering their wares. In 1981, they moved to Santa Fe and opened Seret & Sons, an extraordinary shop filled with these many colourful finds. Today, the Inn of the Five Graces is an extension of this passion, the embodiment of an approach to life which aligns perfectly with the free-spirited attitude of Santa Fe.

Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino, Canada

Carving Shed
Wickaninnish Inn Carving Shed

From its inception, the Inn has embodied the spirit of the Pacific Northwest and the ocean, sky, and trees that surround us. In 1978, craftsman Henry Nolla built a vacation home on this property for the McDiarmid family, and his work would later come to adorn the Inn. Not just a gifted carpenter, Henry was also a brilliant wood carver, one who inspired and brought together a community of craftspeople who all left their mark on the community. Guests will find his skillful adze work throughout the hotel, from the yellow cedar doors at the entrance to the signature fireplace mantles in each guest room. Known as The Carving Shed, Henry’s cabin still stands just down the beach from the Wick, now used by wood carving artists in residence.

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