The past years have been tough for most if not all. It seems as if we combined three years in one. 2019, 2020 and 2021 past just like that and if you where a traveler and enjoy the feel that luxury stay in world’s finest hotels and resorts brings forth, the three years weren’t well-spent. The good news is your time is back to enjoy what you love with a feel of luxury and to ease your work I have put in few finest hotels and resorts that won’t disappoint your taste of luxury.
1. La Mamounia — Marrakech, Morocco
You can feel the magic of La Mamounia the moment you walk up the green tiled steps to this most bohemian of grandes dame. It seems to take hold. La Mamounia’s faded pink walls inspired Churchill to abandon his suit and pick up his watercolor brushes; Paul McCartney wrote “Mamunia” (meaning “safe haven” in Arabic) during a 1973 stay; and Alfred Hitchcock, who filmed The Man Who Knew Too Much here, got his inspiration for The Birds from some overzealous finches on a jardin-facing balcony.. Jacques Majorelle’s bright stylings from 1946 to Jacques Garcia’s theatrical noughties revamp (Hotel Costes) and most recently a series of sly additions by Parisian futurists Jouin Manku including a new cinema and teahouse, La Mamounia has undergone numerous facelifts over almost 100 years. You’ll find all of the photogenic medina riad features—the columns, lush courtyards, mosaics, and more—but you’ll also find a dark Churchill speakeasy, a vibrant Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant serving Asian cuisine, and a legendary square pool around which I can’t stop staring at the passing people (bring dark sunglasses). The fashionistas with kaftans and cigarettes are the reason why the actors and rock stars keep coming back. La Mamounia is woven into the fabric of Marrakech like the knots in a Berber rug, but it has never been boring. From a starting point of $600, you can get a two-fold return.
2. Grootbos Private Nature Reserve — Gansbaai, South Africa
For a long time, South African safari lodges were primarily focused on viewing the Big Five. There is something special about Grootbos, a fynbos-covered knoll south of Cape Town near Walker Bay. Smaller, finer things should be treasured in this 6,177-acre private reserve. It’s a rare botanical treasure trove with 889 plant species, seven of which are brand new discoveries, and owner Michael Lutzeyer has employed some of the Cape’s top botanists and entomologists to work on it. Glassy and modern, the lodges have a strong pull toward the great outdoors, whether it’s taking lantern-lit dinners in the 1,000-year-old milkwood forest or tracking elusive aardvarks and Cape leopards. Since arriving on the island, I’ve had the opportunity to ride horses across the sands, past ancient sea caves, and participate in flower safaris, tree planting expeditions, and whale-watching flights. Food grown on site and served by staff who graduated from the inhouse hospitality academy is a major part of this carbon-negative reserve’s mission. Grootbos, on the other hand, teaches us that the most fascinating thing about life is simply stopping and taking a moment to marvel at the interconnectedness and mad beauty of it all. Doubles start at $895.
3. Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara — Liwa Desert, United Arab Emirates
Qasr Al Sarab emerges from the sands of Abu Dhabi’s remote Empty Quarter like a fever dream, one I’d happily return to time and time again. There’s always a thrill when I see the fort-like compound emerge from the dunes at the end of a slick tarmac ribbon, with its crenellated walls, faux watchtowers, and horseshoe arches. To my astonishment, the courtyards are interconnected by canals modeled after ancient Arabian falaj irrigation systems, which are shaded by date palms. The small touches, such as Moroccan-style lanterns, intricate mashrabiya screens, and even the odd Bedouin artifact, such as a dagger or a brass coffeepot, help to create a sense of place, rather than making it feel like a tourist trap. Wooden chests and patterned rugs add tactile warmth to a desolate setting in Sienna-walled guest rooms. Intriguingly, both activity and inactivity are equally prevalent here. I could just as easily spend the day riding my fat bike over the sand dunes or staying put and taking a sound bath. Every trip concludes with a sand dune climb. Some of the most captivating sunsets I’ve ever witnessed have been from this vantage point, with its waves constantly carving waves into the ocean-like sands; fleeting but, for a brief moment, perfectly wrought. Doubles are available for as little as $470.
4. Jumeirah Beach in Dubai, the Four Seasons Resort
If you’re looking for the best of both worlds, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better place than Jumeirah Beach Residence on the Dubai coastline. Marble, gold-leaf-ceiling Murano chandeliers, and gold-leaf-decorated ceilings make up the majority of the hotel’s opulent decor, which is punctuated by earthy, desert-inspired colors. Couples are frequently seen making their way to the beach’s orb-like sculpture, which is lit up by fire as the sun sets, where attendants stand ready with citrus shooters and blueberry muffins. Pauline Burgener, a Swiss anti-aging guru, designed the spa’s anti-aging treatments, and much of the food served at Sea Fu and Folia is locally sourced. However, this is still Dubai, so Nusr-Et, the steakhouse opened by divisive Turkish showman Salt Bae, has its place in the spotlight. The Burj Al Arab and Burj Khalifa still dominate Jumeirah Beach, and the rooftop Mercury Lounge, with its Arabian archways framing the twinkling city, is the best place to see them. If you want to see and experience Dubai in the best possible way, then this is the best option. From $540, the price rises to $1,080.
5. The wilderness of Lewa in Kenya
The “Big Six,” as my guide Johnson Gilisho referred to them, included the usual Big Five of buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard, and rhino, as well as a cheetah relaxing on a termite mound. I had seen all of them within a few hours of my first game drive at Lewa Wilderness, a safari lodge and conservation near the foot of Mount Kenya. As well as the endangered Grévy’s zebras, I had also seen a large antelope called an eland, a waterbuck, and several endangered Grévy’s zebras. Former cattle ranchers started Lewa 50 years ago as an adventure camp, and it has since grown into one of the world’s most successful community conservancies, an example to other African countries and the United States National Park Service. To top it all off, there is a pool, a tennis court, and a cozy sitting room where guests can relax after a long day of exploring the Western Marania Valley, as well as rustic thatched cottages overlooking the valley and communal alfresco meals made with local ingredients. A 1932 biplane restored by Lewa owner Will Craig, which Anthony Bourdain was seen riding in during an episode of Parts Unknown, is available for guests to take a ride in. Other activities, such as horseback riding and birding, are also available. Game drives and sunset cocktails overlooking some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes and animals are the best ways to spend a vacation. From $1,400, the price doubles.
6. Located in Cambodia, Shinta Mani Wild
There aren’t many hotel designers whose designs have made my face hurt from laughing so hard. When I stayed at the Capella Ubud in Bali, a joyous feat of maximalist storytelling in the jungle, I discovered the work of Bangkok-based American Bill Bensley. It’s an even deeper immersion into the natural world, this time in southwestern Cambodia’s lush jungles. That you arrive by army four-wheel-drive and then zip-wire over the forest canopy, your smiles met with a Khmer G&T beside the rushing river isn’t the most exciting part of the place for me. But Bensley’s purchase of an 865-acre swath of magical, orchid-rich rain forest in the middle of three national parks is what’s making headlines right now. In the middle of the Raging Sister waterfall, I could enjoy a decadent, whimsically themed tent and herbal tonics made from scratch in the thatched spa. I could not wait to be escorted by the sharply dressed staff on a river safari or in the main tent to enjoy delicious foraged food. Anti-poaching patrols were among a slew of river and forest-based adventures that I found most rewarding. Their sheer love for the jungle belied the AK-47s strapped to their shoulders. As far as Shinta Mani Wild goes, it is no mere greenwash. This is the real deal, despite the fact that it makes you want to smile. From $920, the price has increased by a factor of two (all-inclusive, minimum three nights).
7. Songtsam Lhasa Linka — Tibet
If I’m being honest, the Songtsam Lhasa Linka was the primary reason I traveled to Lhasa, Tibet. The hotel group’s meticulous approach to site selection shows in this sprawling complex’s ability to cling to the hillside in pockets of stone and lime slurry. Before making a decision, the location of each property is meticulously researched. Almost one hundred miles to the east, the Songtsam Shangri-La Lvgu Lodge stands where Baima Duoji’s home once stood. Even so, this mountain compound took nearly two years to materialize. The brand used the same techniques and materials that were used to restore the neighboring Potala Palace, a magnificent fortress built in the 17th century. Handcrafted copperware and impressive Thangka paintings and tapestries hang from the hotel’s walls, and the hotel’s floors, walls, and ceilings are all made of wood. You could spend a few days admiring Songtsam Lhasa Linka’s many vantage points, but it is also an ideal starting point for exploring this region. Also, the friendly staff, which is made up of Tibetan residents, can set up excursions to Basong Tso, an emerald-green alpine lake in eastern Tibet, which I found to be both foreign and strangely familiar. From $197, the price has increased by a factor of two.
8. The Bulgari Beijing
Beijing, with its congested ring roads, is one of the world’s most densely populated cities. A flurry of activity permeates the city’s imperial core, including the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, and the Drum and Bell Towers. My favorite thing about the Bulgari Hotel in Rome is that it’s a place where you can attack and then retreat. Hugging the Liangma River, it’s far enough away from Sanlitun’s embassies and expats to have a garden designed by Swiss landscape architect Enzo Enea. It’s a welcome respite from the city’s grayness. This hotel’s interior is decorated in crisp black and gold with old photographs and fold-out copper screens, with Asian influences. When booking a hotel, I always request a room on the south side of the building with floor-to-ceiling windows so that I can enjoy the sun as well as the quirky skyline across the river. There are leather walls, velvet sofas, fringed Bulgari-branded bedspreads, and sliding wooden screens. Great geometric Murano chandeliers illuminate Niko Romito’s regional Abruzzo dishes such as Wagyu tagliata and oyster risotto. Baths of Caracalla, which were once in Rome, inspired the spa’s pool, which appears hewn from black marble. In spite of the frenetic pace outside, the Italian-inspired decor keeps things pleasantly calm inside. Doubles start at $583.
9. The Mandarin Oriental
My mother would take me to the Mandarin Oriental for afternoon tea as a special treat when I was a kid. On the mezzanine level of the hotel’s Clipper Lounge, we’d eat rose-petal jam on plump scones served by white tunic waiters, all in the company of taipans and politicians, celebrities and royalty, as well as tourists and ladies in cheongsam. My niece and I still perform the rite forty years later. In the eyes of those who have stayed there, the Mandarin (the name given to it by those who have) is an institution. There are no stale and stuffy ones here. It’s not like this hotel has ever been anything other than a celebration of Hong Kong. After 20 months of border closures, this place is still zipping along at the same speed as the horses galloping around the Happy Valley racecourse. One of the best new bars in town, The Aubrey—a Japanese-inspired bar with dark wood paneling, jewel-toned velvet, gilt-framed paintings on the walls, and ferns swaying from the ceiling—pokes fun at the 19th-century European trend for Japonism with its opulent design. As a result of the recent theatrical renovation, Man Wah’s China-blue walls, brass birdcage lamps and calligraphy artwork have remained in the same spot since 1968, overlooking the dome of the former Supreme Court (the dim sum remains as divine as ever). The hotel now has a club lounge with cocktail hours and afternoon tea for the first time in its history. When all is said and done, it’s not the new attractions that are important. In the end, it’s the Mandarin Oriental’s cosmopolitan history that matters most. Doubles start at $330.
10. The Maldives’ Soneva Fushi — Kunfunadhoo Island
We never remember the things that drew us to this place, but the things that keep us here are the ones we remember most. So no ice cream parlor or floating breakfast in your private pool, or the slide that flies from the top floor of your overwater villa into the Indian Ocean. However, despite the constant influx of new Maldives resorts, the elements that keep guests returning to Soneva seem far less seductive on Instagram. Let’s start with the vegetation: In addition to the endless expanses of blue sky and sea, there is as much tropical greenery as there is. When you’re riding your bike to breakfast, you’re bound to come across some interesting things like rabbits digging in the sand for food scraps. Soneva’s dedication to sustainability began long before it became a trendy term. About 90% of what used to be thrown away on the island is now recycled or reused. Artists, sculptors, chefs, and jewelers are invited to transform discarded cans and kitchen scraps into works of art for every celebrity you see here (and you will). In Soneva’s organic garden-based plant-based restaurant, you’ll learn about the island’s marine conservation program as well as what lies above and below the waves (with an astronomy session). The wind, waves, and clouds serve as a gentle reminder of our interconnectedness with the planet. That even in Soneva’s most opulent surroundings, there is a mission is perhaps Soneva’s greatest message. This is the top destination on my bucket list for when I retire in 2022. For less than $2,000.
11. Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur — India
The golden sandstone façade seems sharpened by the Jodhpur sun—peeking across groomed gardens to the city’s sky-colored houses from a plum position on a hill just outside. Few hotels are as grand and unabashedly regal as Umaid Bhawan, which is a part of one of the world’s largest private residences and still serves as a temporary residence for members of Jodhpur’s former royal family. Finished in 1943, the palace is a glorious blend of aesthetics: Partly inspired by Angkor Wat, its Rajasthani style was injected with notes of Art Deco by Polish artist turned interior designer Stefan Norblin, a famed illustrator in his home country who painted the striking frescoes as interpretations of Hindu mythology. Despite the fact that its massive central dome and the portraits of former maharajas may appear intimidating, I have always felt at home here. That’s largely down to the warm staff in bright turbans, who make me feel entirely deserving of the Champagne breakfasts, raw-milk baths, and folk performances in the marble-columned pavilion. Finally, it is not, in the end, an intimidating place, but rather a place where one can be pampered and indulged. $700 now costs $1,200.
12. Aman Tokyo
The capital of Japan is many things: sprawling, neon-lit, nocturnal, but relaxing is not one of them. Approximately an hour after I checked out of Aman Tokyo, I became aware of this discrepancy. Instead, I was floating 34 stories above ground with a meditation teacher, taking deep breaths and exhaling slowly while being distracted only by the stunning sunset views below. It’s no secret that the word “aman” has long been associated with a certain brand of fresh, zen well-being. In the middle of a metropolis, surrounded by the perfect geometry of the late Australian architect Kerry Hill, who was inspired by Japanese design for a long time and considered this to be one of his finest works, there’s something extra special about discovering it. As a result, bringing the Aman concept to the big city in 2014 was a more risky move than it may have appeared at the time. The lobby, with its soaring ceiling, abstract blooms, and kimono-clad musician plucking a koto’s strings, continues to turn heads. The bedrooms, with their aromatic hinoki-wood, sliding screens, and varying levels, always seem to me more like mindfulness spaces. Food and service are top-notch, as they should be, but the spa is where the real magic happens, an oasis of sensory deprivation amidst the frenzy of the city. Shinto purification rituals and iaido sword training are just a few of the new treatments available. But really, just being here is a form of therapy, as Tokyo glimmers and growls below. Doubles from $975.
13. Six Senses Yao Noi — Ko Yao, Thailand
Starlight fading in the night sky creates the perfect backdrop for the gradual transition from indigo to violet. Phang Nga Bay’s jagged limestone karsts look like dragon silhouettes in the distance. The Andaman Sea has an uncanny hue of cerulean, as if lit from below. Lotus flowers open and hornbills, kingfishers, and coucals call as the day dawns in a flash of scarlet and flame orange. Six Senses Yao Noi’s early-morning rituals made me rethink my lifelong morning routines. This tropical-island resort’s beautiful sunrises are just one of the many reasons I’d like to return. Some other highlights include the breezy villas with their driftwood-canopied beds, sunken sea-view bathtubs, and expansive decks big enough for cartwheels; the friendly staff who treat guests like only-children; and the communal half-moon infinity pool perched high above the bay in the hills that form a crescent shape. Also on the hillside is a spa with long-lasting treatments like the Signature Yao Noi Journey that include a coconut scrub and Thai herbal steam as well as lemongrass teas, hot herbal massages, and other wellness rituals. A poached Phuket lobster in coconut broth or a hot-and-sour grouper curry are just two examples of the delicious fare that can be found in the hotel’s gardens, mushroom hut, and chicken coop. Taking in the sights and sounds of nature and the endless possibilities that each new day brings is a treat. Doubles start at $590.
14. The Leela Palace New Delhi — India
It was 2011, and the Leela Palace New Delhi had just opened its doors for the first time to me. With its gold-plated furniture, chandeliers, and silver knickknacks, the room was a sensory overload. Since then, however, I’ve come to appreciate all that this hotel has to offer in a whole new light. Tofu sashimi and a decadent chocolate mousse with fresh raspberries on Megu’s vegetarian menu are two of the restaurant’s best vegetarian offerings, and they’re served with thoughtful, old-school hospitality like transfers straight from the baggage carousel (save your judgments until after you’ve waded through Delhi’s airport crowds). A new izakaya with a garden setting will open its doors this winter. The Library Bar will play a variety of music, from traditional Sufi to EDM, and focus on gin-based cocktails in an effort to attract a younger crowd. The Leela’s glitter game is still strong ten years later and under new management. Starting at a price of $250.
15. The Farm at Cape Kidnappers — Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
This 6,000-acre working farm in a rolling coastal landscape, as well as a golf course and a wildlife sanctuary, is about a 40-minute drive from the Art Deco town of Napier on the South Pacific coast of the North Island of New Zealand. A beautiful secret is revealed as you make your way up a forested hill to the farm’s lofty timber-and-stone lodge (one shared by Benedict Cumberbatch, who spent lockdown at a neighboring house). Although there are soaring ceilings and agricultural tools in the main building and 22 cottages with fireplaces, the overall impression is of a crisply modern take on farm style. This is also a sanctuary for the kiwi and ancient tuatara, as well as a breeding ground for seabirds and seals, as I discovered on an off-road journey to the estate’s sea cliffs. In the glacial landscapes, there are miles of hiking and mountain-biking trails, and you can always bring picnic hampers to the beach. When you return to The Farm after a long day of exploration, you’ll find yourself chatting with other guests over moon shell clams and local lamb. As the gulls cry and the clouds roll in, I sleep better here than almost anywhere else. Starting at $1,600.
16. Chicago’s Peninsula
It’s possible that this 19th-floor hotel houses the city’s best-kept secret: an expansive, 80-foot pool with floor-to-ceiling windows and an unbeatable view. On my first visit, I was awed by the fact that the place was rarely crowded. After my spa appointment, I overheard a woman checking in for her 9:15 am massage, 11:15 am pedicure, and 12:30 pm manicure—I could have easily spent all day there blissfully unperturbed. I wondered why I didn’t have the foresight to block off a whole day to alternate between spa treatments and dips in the pool. Fortunately, there’s plenty of relaxing to be done in the guest rooms, many of which are more spacious than a Chicago apartment. You know a hotel is at the top of its game when the towels are so plush they feel as though they were woven on-site and there are neatly labeled amenity drawers so you don’t have to pry each one open to find what you’re looking for. Peninsula hotels are known for their intuitive technology (in-room tablets let you control the lights, request housekeeping, and check your flight status), but what I most look forward to are the unparalleled blackout shades. If you’re in need of a good night’s sleep, spend a night at a Peninsula hotel. From $425.
17. Bellagio — Las Vegas
This Lake Como–inspired wonderland opened in 1998 as a model for the over-the-top Vegas extravaganza resorts that would follow; its fountains remain the biggest free show in town. The Strip icon could have rested on its reputation, but Bellagio has taken the last couple of years to reinvest in the experience for its guests—not just those who walk in for the spectacle. The Chicago firm The Gettys Group Companies, in partnership with MGM Resorts International Design Group, oversaw a full renovation of all 2,568 guest rooms in the main tower, taking design cues from the Bellagio fountains with natural stone and pops of aqua; in some rooms, vast showers replaced the old tubs. But even as it modernizes, the resort has smartly realized it can’t get rid of its icons. The lakeside Le Cirque reopened in October after a 19-month revamp, keeping the tableside caviar and theatrical truffle shaving. Wolfgang Puck now has a weekend brunch right by the fountains. At The Mayfair Supper Club, which opened in December 2019, a wild takeover by Pacha Group’s Lío Ibiza in October was emblematic of Bellagio’s next chapter as a resort that retains its classic appeal while embracing the new. From $149.
18. Post Ranch Inn — Big Sur, California
Early Spanish settlers gave a name to the area where Post Ranch Inn now sits: ventana, or window. Not just a natural vantage point with jaw-dropping views (though that is true as well), but also an aperture into another world. A place so powerful you could almost touch the great beyond from it. Today, that sense of magic still floats and crackles about one of the most romantic hotels in the U.S. Relaxation and inspiration go hand in hand here, perched 1,200 feet above Big Sur’s crashing waves, and shielded from the outside world (namely Route 1) by rolling hillside and towering Californian redwoods. The 40 guestrooms are housed in cottages or tree houses perched high above the forest floor, many of which have undergone extensive renovations in the last 18 months. (The oceanfront private hot tubs are a special treat.) Chef Reylon Agustin, who has been awarded a Michelin star for his work at Sierra Mar, a dramatic glass box on the headland with 180-degree views, has made the restaurant a destination in its own right. With its avant-garde menu of treatments, including shaman sessions, herbal spirit journeys, and the Post Ranch Sleep Program, the Spa at the Post Ranch is arguably the star of the show. Even the most frazzled insomniacs can be transformed into world-class sleepers. Post Ranch Inn has made me a member of the latter group, and I can attest to this fact because I was previously a member of the former. Those early Spanish settlers knew the truth: This ventana has a unique energy, and Post Ranch Inn has harnessed it in the most opulent way possible. From $1,425 to $2,50.
19. Chatham Bars Inn — Cape Cod, Massachusetts
My memories of Chatham Bars Inn, Cape Cod’s most famous resort, always bring back memories of a grandmother in pearls I met there last year. In the midst of having two children, she told me, “This is the summer of the chase!” Like she’d been there before, she had a longing in her eyes for that white Adirondack and my shoes. In the tradition of CBI, where family and luxury have long coexisted, she sat back and watched the world go by. Contemplative of contradictions—palatial and homey; sandy feet and designer sandals; kids menus and adults-only spa—CBI has been loved by those who have come for generations. It’s not because of renovations or complimentary kids’ activities that families keep returning year after year. Those who come are enthralled by the property’s 25 acres (CBI has quietly acquired more over the years). There’s a sand-swept wedding in the distance, a private beach launch to a secluded sandy spot, and a cool Atlantic breeze hitting the bluff. The hotel has an oceanfront pool, is close to downtown Chatham, and has a fireplace in the lobby for when you get back. It exudes a warm, fuzzy feeling of fondness. As a result, many visitors return year after year—kids a little older, parents a little wiser, and grandparents dressed in pearls taking in the view a little longer—to the Cape in the summer. Everything about CBI is perfect: the views (do you see the fishing boats at the pier and the fog settling on the water? ), a seaside respite (the ocean view cottages are unbeatable), and a place to spend time with the family. The Cape is, in my opinion, all about that. Starting at $300.
20. East Miami
In a city known for beachfront resorts, a sleek, Blade Runner-esque tower with a lushly landscaped rooftop bar on the 40th floor stands out. The $1 billion Brickell City Centre, designed by Miami’s Arquitectonica, houses this luxury hotel’s 352 rooms right in the heart of downtown. The elevator, with its infinity mirror, sets the swanky and playful tone for the rest of the experience. Swire Hotels of Hong Kong opened the hotel, which features a dramatic lobby decked out in dark woods and a gold, bronze, and silver metallic color scheme. Every room has floor-to-ceiling windows, and the cloud-skimming rooftop oasis Sugar features a teak bar surrounded by Asian-inspired stools hand-carved from the wood. There’s a fifth-floor pool deck with rattan ottomans and the wood-fired Quinto La Huella, an outpost of Uruguayan Parador La Huella, that makes the public spaces feel the most welcoming. Despite its proximity to the beach, Miami is a vibrant, multi-cultural, and urban city. Starting at $359
21. Montage Kapalua Bay — Maui, Hawaii
Even if you are a resident of Maui, a trip to the far northern tip of the island’s west shore, where the resort community of Kapalua is located, feels like an escape. As soon as you step off the crowded beach, you’re greeted by pristinely manicured wide-open areas and roads lined with towering Cook pines that once grew coffee and pineapples on the plantation. There are only two hotels on this exclusive 22,000-acre enclave, which borders two marine reserves. The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua, with its 466 rooms, is magnificent, but the Montage stands head and shoulders above the rest. At 1,250 square feet, it’s the smallest of its 50 residential-style rooms. There’s no need to give up any of the hotel perks if you do decide to stay put, which is understandable. Room service is available for Cane & Canoe’s signature dishes like kanpachi and shrimp curry, and the resort can set up a chef’s table with wine pairings and live music in your room. However, a T-shirt or a swimsuit cover-up is a good idea for a trip to the spa. It’s a destination unto itself, with an infinity pool overlooking the island and eight hales, which are freestanding outdoor treatment rooms surrounded by bamboo gardens. From a starting point of $1,250, this bet doubles.
22. Asheville, North Carolina’s Dewberry Charleston
Ground-floor columns of The Dewberry have been clung tightly to the base of fig ivy since it opened its doors in the fall of 2016. The hotel is now perched atop a lush green space. This is exactly what John and Jaimie Brown Dewberry intended when they built the eight-story, limewashed monolith in the middle of the twentieth century. It’s JFK-era coolness has always appealed to me: The popular Living Room is located across the enormous slabs of buffed marble and past the warm cherrywood paneling with unlacquered brass inlay. This establishment’s attention to handcrafted detail is evident in the classic old-fashioned I receive from a well-dressed server, as is the oversized monogrammed ice cube accompanying my drink. Natura Bissé facials draw locals to the quiet spa, and weekend brunches fill the patio. However, the rooftop bar will always be the most popular spot for sunset cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and views of Charleston Harbor. The atmosphere is upscale but fun and not overly fussy. Finally, The Dewberry manages to pay homage to the past while remaining refreshingly contemporary in one of America’s most historic cities. Starting at a price of $550 or less.
23. Village of The Moorings — Islamorada, Fla.
Many people have the impression that the Florida Keys are a tropical paradise filled with palm trees and white sand beaches. Actually, these strange outcroppings that dot the eastern seaboard are rocky and reefy, and not at all sandy. Only at The Moorings Village in Islamorada will you be able to do so. The Moorings, a picture-perfect waterfront community, may be to blame for the confusion. After all, Netflix’s Keys thriller Bloodline used Blue Charlotte’s 6,000-square-foot vacation rental and its stunning white-sand beach as its lush backdrop. The real-life story of the Moorings is almost as exciting. The old-fashioned property, a hidden outpost on the Florida Straits, was discovered by West African Hubert Baudoin in the 1980s while he was windsurfing and soon became a canvas for his vision. There are now eight well-appointed cottages on the 11-acre property, which is filled with palms, banyans, and hundreds of hand-tended orchids. With The Moorings’ secluded quality and limited room count, staying there is like escaping to a private island in a faraway land. As low as $680.