Alexandra Champalimaud

by Catherine Shaw
Alexandra Champalimaud New York-based residential and hospitality interiors designer Alexandra Champalimaud is renowned for her classical style with a distinctively modern edge. Born and raised in Lisbon, Portugal and with a degree in the decorative arts from the prestigious Ricardo do Espírito Santo Silva Foundation, she presides over a global network of design projects, the most recent of which is the transformation of the Green Leaf Niseko Village — a popular ski resort in Hokkaido—into a sleek year-round luxury destination. Champalimaud is also responsible for the renovation of the legendary Algonquin Hotel, suites at the Carlyle in Manhattan, and the Berkeley and Dorchester hotels in London. She was named the 2009 Designer of the Year at the Gold Key Awards for hospitality design.

My personal style
Hippo Point, Kenya

Hippo Point, Kenya

I would hope that others would see my interior design as sophisticated, grounded in classical design, paired-back, and modern … with an edge. I like to design spaces that are well proportioned, detailed beautifully, layered, open, fluid and easy on the eye. Lighting, both in function and its effect on mood, is of great importance. I use simple lines when designing or choosing furniture, and add texture and colors to create layers of subtle complexity and character. And, I use iconic art, creative sculpture and the odd, exceptional piece of furniture as anchors to my expression of style. Taken together, these elements create memorable spaces that are, seemingly effortlessly, places in which people simply want to be.

Inspiration for my work World travel, classical design and architecture, and ancient cultures.

Favorite weekend escape A family retreat in Kent, Connecticut. It’s an old children’s camp, on a private, pristine lake in the woods. Almost by definition, children’s camps bring back fond memories, even if you never went to camp. Normally, we see no one else in the site. The style is a simple version of Adirondack. This family compound of small houses containing bedrooms is centered by a large barn-like theatre, with a secondary Shakespearian stage painted by campers in the 1960s. It’s a wonderful venue for fun and games and great parties!

My favorite place in Japan In Hokkaido, at the Green Leaf in Niseko — of course! This great hotel, with its views of Mt. Yotei, is unparalleled in natural beauty, therapeutic natural onsen, great sport summer and winter and absolutely wonderful local food. What more could you want?

Personal Grooming Routine
Oils by Charym

Oils by Charym

Do you have an hour? I can take you through my routine. It starts with a self-administered body massage with doshic oils by Charym and my signature perfume, which is actually an essential oil from Floracopeia. When in New York, I visit Julian Farrell for hair on Madison Avenue and the Peninsula Spa, and ESPA — designed by yours truly.

The luxury I cannot do without The ultimate, affordable luxury is the best of white, soft, ironed sheets on a great bed. It’s the first requirement for happy children, guests and a good marriage!

Where I feel most at home At home, in my favorite red room, the library of a wonderful, 18th Century American house, built by one of the founders of the country. It has happy ghosts!

The best gift I have ever received My wonderful, extraordinary family. Nothing else really compares … except, Oscar, my English Field Spaniel who represents real competition.

My favorite website
Green Leaf Niseko Village

Green Leaf Niseko Village

Today, it’s I have no time to shop. This site represents a great way for me to deal with a necessary evil. Otherwise, I love It will get you to someplace fabulous and relaxing, wherever you are.

Favorite Meal Dinner in bed from room service in a great hotel, watching mindless television, after an exhausting day.

Twitter or not Not. Which probably means … not yet.

Future plans Christmas and New Year’s, skiing in Niseko and staying in my most recently finished project … the Green Leaf Niseko Village!

And in Kenya, East Africa there is a new home at Hippo Point on Lake Naivasha ( for Charym, my wellness business. Together, we will be hosting Wellness Safaris.