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Our little black book of enchanting places

Back to the Fifties

Posted in HOTELS + VILLAS By Maggie O' Sullivan

I recently went retro in the French Alps. No – I wasn’t cruising the slopes in vintage skiwear, but staying in a fabulous Fifties-style hotel in Courchevel 1850. Forget rustic Alpine: functional Fifties is the new chalet chic. Hôtel des 3 Vallées, Courchevel 1850Hôtel des 3 Vallées dates from 1947 and is the oldest hotel in Courchevel 1850. Recently renovated by its new owners, it’s all about stylish, functional design, with furniture by iconic French designers such as Charlotte Perriand and Jean Prouvé. The retro theme continues in the bedrooms, which are hung with framed Fifties posters and furnished with a mix of vintage and contemporary pieces (mine also had a small sledge artfully placed in the middle of the room). Of course, today’s skiers need more than nostalgia: they want first-class service, top-notch cuisine, an on-site ski room and easy access to the slopes. Hôtel des 3 Vallées has all of the above, plus a small spa. Retro heaven. B&B in a Supérieure room, from €101 per night.Shelborne Hotel, MiamiIt’s not just mountain hotels that are looking to the Fifties for design inspiration. For Fifties style that is a bit more in your face, head for Miami, where many of the original 1940s and 50s hotels have now been restored to their original glamour (though admittedly they’re not quite the same without Frank and the rest of the Rat Pack). A typical example is the Shelborne, in the South Beach Art Deco District. Such is the attention to retro detail here that even the staff uniforms are reminiscent of late 1950s silhouettes. From around £190 per night.Bowling Alley, Ham Yard Hotel, LondonFor retro closer to home, get yourself invited to a party at Ham Yard Hotel in London’s Soho. Its subterranean private events space houses The Croc, a genuine Fifties bowling alley imported from Texas, with visible return runs and hand warmers. Check out the wall of 70 vintage bowling shoes which were sourced from eBay (don't worry; they're for decoration purposes only). Contact Ham Yard for prices.Airstream in Alicante, Sawday's Canopy & StarsLove Fifites style but hate bowling? Then how about a night or two in a genuine 1950s Airstream Caravan. Sawday’s Canopy & Stars has several on offer, including this one, above, parked in an olive grove in Alicante. The owners imported the Airstream from Orlando and though it has lots of its original features, contemporary comforts include a stainless steel kitchen and a modern bathroom. From £51 per night, based on two sharing.

BY MAGGIE O'SULLIVAN

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