Design Travel explores the interplay between design and travel. It might be a new hotel for business travellers, an airline collaborating with a world-renowned architect or a product designed specifically to enhance the travel experience. Our brief is to make you want to be there and inspire you to seek out incredible design examples when you travel, or in your own city. 

Stephanie Williams, is an interior designer,  writer and travel communicator. Stephanie was the first editor of Qantas epiQure and her work has appeared in magazines, newspapers, television and online.  She also has a love of fashion design, borne while working for Comme des Garcons

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PHOTO ESSAY: Panama's finest at the American Trade Hotel

PHOTO ESSAY: Panama's finest at the American Trade Hotel

When the American Trade Hotel came onto our radar, hearts skipped beats. We had to share with you all the photos. Once the headquarters of the American Trade Developing Company built in 1917 in the leafy UNESCO World Heritage neighborhood of Casco Viejo, the American Trade Hotel was developed by the Ace Hotels group and opened in 2013. Inspired by the Havana hotel scene (check the indoor plant situation here), the hotel is a partnership between Atelier Ace, the team behind the popular Ace Hotels in the United States, Panama City-based Conservatorio, a real estate development company that has been a major force behind the renewal of Casco Viejo, and Commune Design, an LA design firm.

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It feels like the kind of a space you imagine foreign correspondents hang out, or indoor plant enthusiasts. The concept is to bring the best of the city under one roof - to host everything that is fascinating, incredible and noteworthy about the neighbourhood, through the food, music, drinks and art/craft offering. For example Danilo's Jazz Club (above), developed by Grammy-winning Panamanian jazz pianist Danilo Perez, it is a world class jazz club featuring Panamanian jazz, only 50 seats and all the knowledge of clubs that Danilo has collected during his illustrious career. 

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From the entry level Cuarto Chico rooms, to the huge suites overlooking Plaza Herrera or the Gulf of Panama, they're calm and restrained with a palette of creams, navy and white, featuring plantation style reading chairs, timber panelling, Turkish linen and Aesop products. 

Inspired by this photo essay? You can book the American Trade Hotel here

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