The Perfect Imperfection of Wabi-Sabi Design


The way of Wabi Sabi is to find profound beauty in imperfection and to accept the impermanence of life. Wabi Sabi celebrates possessions that are rough, authentic and modest. It sees beauty in the cracks and frayed edges left by time, weather and loving use.

This Japanese philosophy came about in the 15th-century, relying on lavishness, rare materials and ornamentation. Think rustic elegance and celebrating furnishings and design pieces as they are — discolourations, chips, blemishes, faults and all! It centres around recognising the importance of authenticity whilst enjoying the simple pleasures of life. A crucial part of this magnificent lifestyle is about connecting with the Earth, so there’s no surprise that this trendy interior design trend relies heavily on the use of natural materials.

We’ve put together a selection of some of our boutique hotels who relish the Wabi Sabi way of life, to help inspire not only your homes, but also your souls.

Eco Hotel Saltus

“Our mission is to provide impulses for sustainable living in order to preserve the imposing natural force of our earth in its purity. For us, the concept of sustainability goes beyond environmental protection.” - Eco Hotel Saltus

An eco haven set amid the Dolomites’ peaks in Italy’s enchanting South Tyrol, Eco Hotel Saltus is a magnificent mountain retreat located 1100 metres above sea level. This rejuvenating wellness retreat implements the Wabi-Sabi principles into its unique building, made using natural materials from the surrounding region. With rooms that inspire all those who step foot into them, filled with textured walls and floors made from porphyry and lime, repurposed tables and chairs and simple yet authentic furnishings that seek to marry its guests into it mountain surroundings, the overall feeling of Eco Hotel Saltus is one of a seamless connection to nature, bringing the outside in. This architectural beauty made completely from larch wood is not only the perfect retreat for wellness seekers, but also for the wellbeing of our Earth.

Masseria Dagilupi

Wabi-Sabi’s deep affiliation with nature is the cornerstone of this trend and so too, is the notion of accepting an item throughout its entire lifecycle; selecting items for their longevity and sustainability, so at each stage, they could be repurposed and turned into something new and versatile to use in your home, keeping their history alive.

Discover a pure breath of fresh air at the charming Masseria Dagilupi. This minimalist oasis is hidden within four hectares of olive groves in the picturesque valleys of Puglia, and is the ultimate cool and spacious environment to relax. Renovated from an old olive mill, it projects a true Wabi-Sabi way of life, restoring natural simplicity and authenticity into its interior spaces. From its original limestone walls and vaulted ceilings melding the property with its rural surroundings, to its textured terracotta flooring and sophisticated furnishings, blush pink hues blend seamlessly with the muted matte accessories.

Seehof Nature Retreat

Wabi-Sabi signifies a powerful lesson about acceptance and imperfection. Beautiful, complex and unique, step foot into this magical retreat and in a moment of reflection, try to become aware of the aspects of yourself that you view as imperfections, the traits that cause you stress and self judgement, attributes you label as flaws or defects, and transform them into acceptance.

Where the mountains begin and nature expresses the best of itself, Seehof Nature Retreat allows you to indulge in a true heaven-on-earth experience. This family-run private retreat envelops every light alteration and dynamic change in the environment, aligning you with the natural state of things. Perched beside a lake within the Isarco Valley, with the breathtaking Tyrolean Mountains as its backdrop, rejuvenate your mind, body and soul with the Wabi-Sabi style of living here at Seehof. Neutral colour palettes and natural wood and stone elements, fill this immersive heaven, with pops of copper accessories that blend with this earthy style. Dedicated to the calm and relaxing lifestyle, allow this enchanting oasis to inspire your own home design.

Design Hotel Tyrol

The Wabi-Sabi world view reveres the natural cycle of birth, growth and decay. It reminds us that we are transient beings, that our bodies and the material world around us will one day return to the dust from which we came. Combining the best of wellness within the South Tyrolean mountains with stylish design, Design Hotel Tyrol maintains an eco-conscious ethos, whilst allowing its guests to reconnect with their inner calm. Indulge in the natural wooden walls, ceilings and exposed concrete flooring, and revel in the neutral colour palettes that fill the rooms, marvel at the moss-green sun terraces and marvel at the pure majesty of the Dolomites.

La Segreta

A key element of Wabi-Sabi is its focus on nature — after all, what is more perfectly imperfect than the raw textures and forms that nature has endured throughout the centuries.

La Segreta truly embodies its namesake as the secret heart of Italy. An endearing farmhouse set among tranquil cherry groves and traditional stone borgo, this charming retreat features terracotta and concrete-resin floors with oak beams and cathedral ceilings. Discover the limestone fireplace carved by local artisans, gorgeous neutral colour palettes complemented by surrounding olive groves, and private baths featuring hand-laid river stones. The rustic elegance of La Segreta makes it all the more enchanting.

recommended HIP Hotels

Explore Seehof Nature Retreat South Tyrol
Explore La Segreta Umbria
Explore Masseria Dagilupi Puglia
Explore Eco Hotel Saltus South Tyrol
Explore Design Hotel Tyrol South Tyrol