Best Train Trips in the World

Train trips are a great way to see the countryside with a sense of nostalgia and romance. Whether you listen to the train’s sound whizzing along the rails or are mesmerized by the beauty that passes outside your window, train trips can be some of the most memorable that you will ever take. You also do not have to worry about traffic or bad weather.

The following are a few train journeys that are full of adventure, romance, and history.

The seven-hour journey through the fjords in Norway

This train trip starts from Oslo to Bergen. You will crisscross upward for two hours, passing snow-shrouded mountains, gazing down into valleys, and ride past waterfalls. After the two-hour ride, you’ll pass through the famous Sognefjord and afterward head to the enormous Fjaerland Glacier. You will also pass through the mountain range in Oslo and verdant valleys, taking you into Bergen city.

The Rocky Mountaineer

This is one of the most beautiful train trips in Canada. The journey commences in Vancouver and gives travelers amazing sights of magnificent mountains, rugged valleys, forests, and peaceful lakes as the train moves from Vancouver to Banff. The route from Whistler in British Columbia to Jasper National Park, Alberta, also offers great views of the mountains.

The Ghan

The Ghan is one of the longest train trips in the world. It is a 1,851-mile trip across Australia. The journey begins at the bottom of the Australian continent, heads north up to the center of Australia, then to Darwin city. Another route of the Ghan trip runs between Adelaide, Alice Springs in the Red Center to Darwin. There are no views like these anywhere else. You will go through an endless unfolding of red and umber. Look out for camels as well as kangaroos.

Niagara Falls to New York

Travelling by train from Niagara Falls to New York is sensational. En route, you’ll see:

  • The picturesque Hudson River Valley,
  • New York’s wine country,
  • The canyons of the Finger Lakes region.

Once at Niagara Falls, go for a boat ride from the Hornblower to the waterfalls or take a tour of ‘Behind the Falls,’ which takes you 150 feet down to the tunnels and viewing spots at the foot of the Falls.

Williams, Arizona to Grand Canyon National Park

This trip offers a truly fantastic approach to encounter one of the natural wonders of the world. The 65-mile ride itself, which takes barely two hours, is brimming with history, from the over 100-year-old terminals on either end, to the land you’ll go through, and the renovated rail vehicles you ride when you arrive at Grand Canyon National Park.

Napa Valley Wine train trip

If you are a wine and vintage lover, the Napa Valley Wine train trip is a must go. The trip transverses through a 150-year-old railroad, covering 36 miles. The railroad once transported visitors to a spa resort in Calistoga, and now leads to a peaceful scenery at St. Helena and back, stopping at the famous region’s wineries. For a luxury experience, try the top-end cuisine served by the train companies offering this trip.
Taking these journeys provides unforgettable experiences. You will also experience the most luxurious train travel, as most train companies have accessorized carriages with linen napkins, gourmet meals, down pillows, and crisp bed linens. This kind of train travel is just what you need.

See Now: The U.S. had the highest number of Most Wanted properties, dominating the Hotels.com Loved By Guests Awards 2018

How hotels are helping their neighbours fight the pandemic

WHEN Casa Palopó, an intimate, 15-room retreat on the slopes of Guatemala’s Lake Atitlan, began assessing how best to go about reopening for tourists, it sought to secure the approval of one group in particular: Its 5,000, mostly Kaqchikel Maya neighbours.
According to owner Claudia Bosch, her return to prep the property for reopening was not initially well-received.
“Some took photos of the helicopter arriving and departing, creating bulletins accusing us of mass tourism,” Bosch says. Locals worried that reopening would mean the introduction of the virus to Santa Catarina Palopó, a remote town where, to this day, not a single Covid-19 infection has been reported.
Who can blame them? Destinations such as the Bahamas experienced a spike in infections just two weeks after reopening to foreign visitors. Casa Palopó has been receiving locals since Aug 1, when domestic travel was again permitted in Guatemala, while it’s been announced that international visitors, including Americans, can come back on Sept 18, when the airport in Guatemala City is back in operation.
As in the Bahamas, tourism is a major economic driver for Guatemala’s highlands. And as the local standard-bearer for luxury, Casa Palopó plays no small role in the area’s Ascal wellbeing. Its staff of 24 comprises almost entirely locals from Santa Catarina Palopó or neighbouring San Antonio Palopó, and the ripple effects of their competitive wages beneAt many more individuals. Meanwhile, tourism interest in the hotel’s Pintando Santa Catarina Palopó project, an artistic endeavour to paint the town’s facades in colourful indigenous imagery, has led to the founding of nearly a dozen local businesses.
Bosch, a Guatemala native who comes from a family of business owners, sees reopening as a critical lifeline for both the hotel and the area at large. “Residents were and are still sceptical and fearful,” she says in early September. But she’s listening closely. “We are slowly easing those concerns, and realise this is going to be a very long process.”

Community Vouchers
Conversations with Santa Catarina’s mayor and its indigenous leader-led Bosch to create the Community First programme, which will transform 10% of the nightly rate from all bookings, starting Sept 18, into vouchers that can be spent at select restaurants and artisan shops located in town, a half-mile downhill from the property.
But the programme’s initial rollout will focus on a handful of on-site pop-up shops at which guests can spend their vouchers without leaving the conAnes of the resort. Among them will be the traditional weaving collective Centro Cultural, which produces colourful woven goods, including embroidered pouches, scarfs and huipiles, the colourful blouses worn by Mayan women.
Once locals feel more comfortable with having visitors on the streets, at their tables and in their shops; Casa Palopó will introduce other partners such as Café TUK, a coffee shop that sells bags of Guatemalan coffee beans. Unused vouchers will be donated to Pintando Santa Catarina Palopó.
Bosch and her team have also set their sights on improving public health advocacy in town, having donated fabric for the production of face masks and installing antibacterial gel stations in high-tralc areas, such as the main square and the dock. Eventually, they plan to add handwashing stations, too.

Ghost Kitchens, Studio Space
Casa Palopó is not alone in realising that post-pandemic business relies as much on the wellbeing of its neighbours as on its public health protocols. For hotels in denser areas, though, that can mean many things, such as maintaining the unique spirit of the neighbourhoods they’re in by helping local businesses stay alive.
Baltimore’s Hotel Revival, a Joie de Vivre Hotel, for instance, loaned various on- property culinary spaces to a group of food vendors displaced by the pandemic. Its 750-sq-ft kitchen was used by the likes of Sporty Dog, a food hall mainstay beloved for its creatively composed gourmet hot dogs.
Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort transforms its unused ocean-facing lounge, the Reef Club, into a tracking call centre (Source: Marriott)
The eatery was able to use the hotel kitchen and execute takeout and
delivery services from its ground-noor cafe. Revival activated this offer
from March to May. It has since handed the baton to its sister hotel, the Hyatt Regency Baltimore, which will temporarily loan a kitchen to Urban Oyster, the city’s Arst Black-owned oyster bar, which closed in July because of the pandemic.
At Andaz West Hollywood, GM Nate Hardesty and sales director Matthew Ojinaga have loaned the outdoor terrace to Barcode, their still-closed favourite barbershop. The 533-sq-ft space houses up to Ave barber chairs, which Barcode owner Jorge Lara says have been booked out for weeks, spurring him to hire more barbers.
Ojinga says the hotel “gets some brand awareness” out of the arrangement, but he’s more concerned about simply keeping Barcode going. “Once you And the right barber, you stick with them, no matter what.”
Other hotels are more focused on health-minded community initiatives.
In the Caribbean, Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort transformed its unused ocean-facing lounge, the Reef Club, into a tracking call centre at which 30 newly hired locals make upward of 2,500 daily health checks on the island’s 3,000 or so weekly visitors. The Health Department couldn’t handle this volume on its own, explains GM Mark Nooren; given how strongly the tourism sector is pushing for expanded tourist arrivals, the private sector stepped in to shoulder responsibilities.
According to Nooren, the centre is staffed by “paid volunteers” from various industries, including some from his hotel, which not only provides the space, but caters daily meals.
“Our economy has collapsed,” Nooren explains. “If this call centre helps the island go back to a higher level of visitors, that will beneAt all of us.” — Bloomberg

Graduate Hotels, Atlas Obscura Team on Road Trip Experiences

CHICAGO—Graduate Hotels and Atlas Obscura have partnered to create guided tours uncovering hidden gems within the local communities of Nashville and Knoxville. Launched on Sept. 15, with Orientation Tennessee, the multimedia road trip showcases a Tennessee adventure between Nashville and Knoxville. The experience includes immersive city walking tours of each destination, followed by the addition of road trip itineraries in October and hotel storytelling tours at the Graduate Nashville and Graduate Knoxville in December.

“Our hotels are deeply rooted in the power and importance of local storytelling, and we’re honored to team up with our friends at Atlas Obscura to build upon these narratives in such a meaningful and culturally rich way,” said Ruben Navarro, AJ Capital Partners/Graduate Hotels VP, strategy. “Today’s travelers are looking for accessible, yet inspiring, opportunities to experience a new destination, and no one creates these types of distinct experiences better than Atlas Obscura. We look forward to sharing this fresh perspective with guests.”

Atlas Obscura highlights the world’s hidden wonders and inspires curiosity through its storytelling, online experiences led by experts on topics like scientific histories, magic and obscure arts, and its online community has built a global database of more than 21,000 incredible places and foods, according to the company.

“Exploring the roads less traveled and discovering the hidden places and stories that make a destination special is at Atlas Obscura’s core,” said Atlas Obscura CEO Warren Webster. “It’s very exciting to help arm travelers with itineraries that enrich their exploration of Nashville and Knoxville within the Graduate Hotels community and beyond.”

Graduate Knoxville and Graduate Nashville tours uncover hidden gems throughout each hotel from local nods in lobby art to more obscure hints to storied alums and locals incorporated into custom bedroom furniture, window treatments and more. In Nashville, recommendations range from squirrel spotting at Magnolia Lawn at Vanderbilt University and eating at Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish, while in Knoxville guides will lead to a drink at Saloon 16, Graduate Hotels’ watering hole in partnership with NFL legend and University of Tennessee alum Peyton Manning, followed by a visit to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

Trips can begin at either Graduate Nashville or Graduate Knoxville and once guests arrive at the hotel, they’ll be armed with an interactive introduction to their corresponding destination. Each road, hotel and destination itinerary will be fully optimized for mobile usage. Access to Orientation Tennessee is provided to guests complimentary throughout their stay. All tour and video content will additionally be available on Graduate Hotels and Atlas Obscura social media and web platforms.

Graduate Nashville’s decor inspired by Dolly Parton, Minnie Pearl and Vanderbilt

Nashville’s newest hotel opened its doors this week with a unique style, taking a nod from Music City’s country stars and nearby Vanderbilt University.

Located in Nashville’s Midtown neighborhood on West End Avenue, Graduate Nashville (https://www.graduatehotels.com/nashville/) is the brand’s 22nd property.

The 12-story, 205-room hotel, which opened its doors on Jan. 6, features several food and dining experiences at Poindexter
(https://www.graduatehotels.com/nashville/restaurant/poindexter/), an all-day café concept; Cross-Eyed Critters Watering Hole
(https://www.graduatehotels.com/nashville/restaurant/cross-eyed-critters-watering-hole/), a ground-level animatronic karaoke bar; and the forth coming Miss Bessie’s (https://www.graduatehotels.com/nashville/restaurant/miss-bessies/) , a rooftop bar and restaurant.

Read or Share this story: https://www.tennessean.com/story/entertainment/dining/2020/01/11/nashville-hotels-graduate-nashville-midtown-
vandernbilt-first-look/4431585002/

LAKE EFFECT

December in Chicago can mean windy days and freezing nights, making a warm, inviting space to gather incredibly important. The Kimpton Hotel Monaco Chicago, one of the city’s original boutique hotels, recently completed a full renovation, taking inspiration from Lake Michigan and the Chicago Riverwalk, which can be seen from the hotel’s window seats.
“The new feel at the Monaco Chicago is truly engaging, enveloping our guests into a bright, inviting and curious environment with unique color schemes and design patterns, thought-provoking artwork, and nods to our building’s history as a hat factory,” said GM Adam Gurgiolo. “Playful references to the past century, but through a modern lens, make the experience unforgettable with the desire to return, again and again.”
“We drew inspiration for Hotel Monaco Chicago from the close proximity that the property has to both the Chicago River and Lake Michigan and how the local weather patterns or ‘lake effect’ impact the city and its people,” explained Ciarra Celiano, designer, Gettys Group. “We incorporated various organic patterns and deep blue and green tones that the water takes on as the seasons change. For example, the pressed glass material selected for the front desk reflects the frozen river in the dead of winter.”

The green marble mosaic coffee table in the lobby is one of Celiano’s favorite elements of the design. “Its unique texture and color make it stand out against the white two-story living room space and reminds me of the long tradition of dying the city’s river green,” she said.
“In addition to being inspired by the ‘lake effect,’ we also tapped into the history of the building, which was once the largest women’s hat factory in the country,” she continued. “We brought this story to life through fine tailoring lines and colorful decorative trim details found in millinery techniques of the 1920s.”
Fashion students at nearby Columbia College designed hats and accessories—coursework for the school’s newly created millinery class—that will be displayed in the lobby and worn by hotel staff.
“The exotic African Juju hats in the window seats and the hatbox-inspired amenity tray filled with local treats were key moments that connect the design back to the millinery history of the building,” Celiano added. “The tailored and colorful corridors also create a memorable moment upon exiting the elevators. We worked closely with our wallcovering (Koroseal) and carpet (Ulster) manufacturers to make our vision of wrapping the floors and walls in the same pattern come to life.”

The Monaco’s 191 guestrooms and 22 suites feature luxe materials and contemporary amenities, including new 55-in. televisions with full streaming capabilities, tiled walk-in showers with marble accents, rain showerheads and yoga mats tucked in the closets. The suites offer oversized bathrooms and a separate sitting area in each. Large bay windows in the rooms remain a Monaco Chicago signature.

“My favorite part of the guestrooms are the deep and bright window seats that look out on to the city,” Celiano said. “They really are the bridge between our inspiration and our design, and allow for so much natural light to fill the rooms. We wanted to make this a cozy spot for guests to relax while also bringing in unexpected elements like the koi fish-patterned cushions.”

For his part, Gurgiolo has three favorite features: the bright yellow headboards; the subtle, yet popping, baby blue patterned drawer handles on the bureaus; and the stark contrast of the tiled black and white patterns of the bathroom walls. “These elements, to me, work together to hit all facets of Chicago from its vivid and vibrant colors of spring and summer, as well as its longevity and strength through the fall and winter when things may be a little grayer, but the vibrancy remains intact in the city lights, people and rich history,” he said.
Director of Sales and Marketing Amy Leahy added, “To second Adam, I love the pulls on the bureau. It’s such a small but impactful touch. My favorite thing is probably the corridors, which are such an interesting juxtaposition to the guestrooms. With nods to the city’s vast park spaces, the design is so thoughtful, from the chic wall covering, to the mural on each floor, and the light fixture that evokes a feather— like one in your cap.”

“From the living room to the guestrooms, the experience was designed to reflect that of one’s lively and well-traveled pied-a-terre with discovery moments around each corner,” Celiano said. “The bright and airy lobby is the perfect background to reminisce on the day’s adventures with a glass of wine next to the fireplace.”
“The feedback we consistently receive from clients is that the hotel has a certain warmth to it. The design—and of course, the people— has an authenticity that translates to our guests,” Leahy said.

The Lobby + Poindexter

Graduate Nashville has a bright interior with soaring ceilings, colorful décor, and plenty of flare. A Minnie Pearl art piece is the focal point at check-in. Make your way over to the hotel’s caffeine destination, Poindexter, for beverages (including beer, kombucha, and wine), bites, and some incredible photo ops.

The Rooms

Hello, Dolly! Each room is decorated in similar fashion, including portraits of some of Country music’s most famous female icons, pink and white wallpaper, and vibrant patterns throughout. If you want a Music City vibe, this is it!

The Exterior

Graduate is situated at the corner of West End and 20th Avenue North. The main entrance is located on 20th Avenue. Valet parking is available, as well as affordable street parking and garage parking.

Cross-Eyed Critters Watering Hole

Cross-Eyed Critters Watering Hole, the world’s first animatronic karaoke bar, officially opened on Thursday, January 9, 2020. An animatronic backup band—similar to what you may remember from Chuck E. Cheese as a kid—plays the accompanying music as tourists and locals take the mic. The name “Cross-Eyed Critters Watering Hole” is inspired by lyrics from an Eric Church song.
The cowboy-chic space features a variety of lighting, including antique fixtures and beams wrapped in string lights, a Dolly Parton pinball machine, and a long bar with a dozen seats (including a saddle). And those random letters above the bar have a meaning, but expect to buy the next round for anyone who reveals it.
As for the menu, there’s a full bar including cocktails, beer, draft beer, wine, and shots. Bites include options like churros and double-decker tacos (a nod to the former Taco Bell that once occupied the same locale).

The Details

Have a meeting at Poindexter, drink cocktails at Cross-Eyed Critters, or spend the weekend at this standout hotel on West End. Stay tuned for the spring 2020 opening of the rooftop bar and pool, Miss Bessie’s.

Grandma-Chic and Glorious, Graduate Is One of Nashville’s Most Visually Interesting Hotels

In a deluge of new hotels opening in Nashville, Graduate Nashville is one of the most stunning to date. This place seems to, truly, have everything — from singing pigs leading karaoke songs to natural wines, a taco truck, and even a Dolly Parton-themed hotel suite and pinball. Chuck E. Cheese (and really OG Showbiz Pizza) fans all over rejoiced yesterday with the opening of Graduate Nashville’s animatronic karaoke bar, Cross-Eyed Critters. But there’s a lot more happening here, both as far as food and beverage and and as far as visually captivating details underneath this not-yet-open rooftop restaurant and bar. The hotel itself opened earlier this week, as did Poindexter, the lobby’s all-day cafe and bar (also from hospitality team Marc Rose and Med Abrous). Design in the common spaces takes inspiration from both nearby Vanderbilt University and the diverse and inspiring music culture synonymous with the city of Nashville. Guests are welcomed into the opulent, open-plan lobby with terrazzo marble floors and highgloss walls, complemented with vibrant mismatched furniture, eclectic Music Cityinspired statement pieces and spirited university nods. The front desk is reimagined as a vintage stereo cabinet and is positioned before a hook-rug portrait (created by Margaret Timbrell) depicting legendary country comedian and Grand Ole Opry headliner Minnie Pearl. Amphitheatre-style seating with rows of bright, eclectic couches and a striking light fixture (composed of an evening gown) hint to Nashville’s artistic identity, while area rugs featuring black and gold stars reference marry Vanderbilt’s school colors and the Tennessee state flag. Guest room décor continues to emphasize Nashville’s creative spirit and innate southern roots with bright floral bed canopies, pink and white striped walls and rich gold accents.
Inspired by music greats who have called Tennessee home, rooms carry a residential energy with portraits of Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton adorning the walls. Intricate wool carpets and mini jeweled pendants under bed canopies carry the lavish energy felt throughout the lobby upstairs, encouraging guests to live like a country star. In homage to
music legend Dolly Parton, the hotel’s presidential suite has been reimagined as the “9 to 5” suite. The elevated guestroom takes on the spirited energy of Parton, debuting a kingsized water bed complete with disco-ball surface ceilings, pink shag rugs and concert posters and vintage memorabilia throughout. Scroll to see a bit more of the gorgeously detailed hotel, then stay tuned for more details, then a look at the upcoming rooftop restaurant and bar, Miss Bessie’s.

New Graduate Hotel Gives Nashville Animatronic Karaoke and Late Night Tacos [ENASH]
Graduate Nashville Announces Food and Beverage Plans — Including an Animatronic Karaoke Bar [ENASH]
Two LA-Based Restaurateurs Are Bringing a Rooftop Bar to the Graduate Nashville [ENASH]
Graduate Nashville [Official Site]

The Best Hotels and Resorts in the U.S. and Canada: The 2020 Gold List

This year’s Gold List of our editors’ favorite hotels, resorts, and cruise ships in the world is created by teams in New York and London. It spans six continents and 49 countries. They’re gold as in exceptional. Gold as in classic. Gold as in brilliant. Gold as in you’d do it all tomorrow.

Edited by: Erin Florio, Rebecca Misner, Fiona Kerr, and Rick Jordan.

Contributors Contributors: Jesse Ashlock, Rodney Bolt, Lauren DeCarlo, Paulie Dibner, Mark Ellwood, Erin Florio, Lanie Goodman, Adam H. Graham, Annie Hanley, Rachel Howard, David Jefferys, Jenny Johnson, Rick Jordan, Tabitha Joyce, Fiona Kerr, Sarah Khan, Steve King, Jane Knight, Mike Maceacheran, Lee Marshall, Rebecca Nicole Franzen Misner, Jen Murphy, Aoife O’Riordain, Ed Peters, Alex Postman, Corina Quinn, Candice Rainey, Susannah Rigg, Cynthia Rosenfeld, Lindsey Tramuta, Maggie Shipstead, Charlotte Sinclair, Toby Skinner, Melinda Stevens, Nicky Swallow, Janice Wald Henderson, Stephen Whitlock, Stephanie Wu.

Zero George

History is so much a part of the Charleston experience that you don’t want to leave it behind when returning to your hotel. At the three early-19th- century in-town “singles” and two carriage houses that form the Zero George, each of which comes with a pleasantly quiet, shaded courtyard nook to beat the steamy streets, you don’t have to. When plantation shutters are closed and the happy hour cheese board in the small bar is running low, sleep comes easily in one of the 16 rooms, which offer an unfussy palette of cream, gray, and sage, and not a lick of kitsch. Garden suites are sweet with heart pine floors and period millwork, though like the Dewberry down the street, the kitchen is the heart and soul of this place, as should be the case in the South. Chef Vinson Petrillo isn’t about pretense or elaborate sauces; royal red shrimp are served with generous amounts of heritage pork fat. This is classic Charleston, down to the deeply satisfying underfoot crunch of oyster shells in those nooks. Doubles from $359.

Sunset Tower Hotel

Piercing the blue Californian skies on Sunset Boulevard, this elegant Art Deco tower has long been a landmark of the city, home to Hollywood greats since its arrival in 1931, courtesy of architect Leland A. Bryant. In those days it was Clark Gable and Greta Garbo, Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner—and John Wayne, who apparently kept a cow on his balcony to ensure fresh milk for his coffee. Now it’s shiny again after a multi-million- dollar renovation, and 21st-century stars are coming here just for a night or to grab a drink at the see-and-be-seen Tower Bar on the notorious Sunset Strip. Maître d’ Gabé Doppelt discreetly juggles regular guests such as Jennifer Aniston with those who prefer dim lighting or need private corners for tête-à-têtes, while the bottom of the menu rmly reads:

“No photographs. No phone calls.” The spicy tuna tartare is nearly everyone’s favorite; the seared scallops with black leek and true sauce a close second. The 81 bedrooms are done up in dusty pinks and browns with dazzling bathrooms clad in metallic gold wallpaper designed by fashion illustrator Donald Robertson, and there’s a Joanna Vargas spa for those red-carpet moments. The newly refreshed outdoor terrace overlooking the small but beautiful pool is one of the loveliest spots—in a city with a strong alfresco game—for a breakfast of mashed avocado on sourdough with poached eggs, or simply to relax for an hour or so, taking in the spectacular views of L.A. and basking in that brilliant goldensunshine. Doubles from $356

Dunton Hot Springs
Located in an old mining town in the Colorado Rockies, Dunton Hot Springs combines the rustic feel of log cabin-living with the modern comforts of a resort. Nestled in a valley 8,850 feet up in the San Juan Mountains, Dunton is shaded by spruce, aspen, and cottonwood trees. Guests have six options for enjoying hot springs—such as under the stars or inside the bathhouse—and spa treatments, along with yoga sessions, enhance the restorative experience. Nine of the fourteen mining-era cabins at the rustic-chic resort thirty miles southwest of Telluride were relocated here from other parts of Colorado. The 1,500 private acres are home to bears, lynx, moose, deer, otters, cougars, foxes, and bald eagles. Dunton also has its own vineyard, library, and saloon, and the wilderness grounds are great for hiking and horseback riding. Cabins from $695.

The Surfrider

For a low-key, personal stay in Los Angeles you can do no better. This light-lled, design-forward spot was a motel in the 1950s before a California architect and his Australian wife transformed it. Feel at ease in the cozy library, or chat it up with the staff who are Malibu natives.

There’s a proper bar with stools and multiple seating areas commanding amazing beach and sunset views—including comfy linen-covered couches facing a repit. The roof deck is only open to hotel guests, the ocean is yards away, and Bellino linens on the beds maintain that perfect balance of luxurious and unpretentious. The owners are often around and willing to chat, and you should ask the staff—most born and raised in Malibu—for advice about the area. You really do feel like guests in one big familyhome. Doubles from $348.

Farmhouse Inn
Even by the high standards of Northern California wine country, the Farmhouse Inn is something special. You know this as soon as you catch your rst glimpse of the charming jumble of butter-colored cottages, tucked into a little wooded gully between the wineries of Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley, but it really becomes clear once you’re exposed to the easy graciousness of the hotel’s owners, siblings Joe and Katherine Bortolomei. They’re often around to say hi at reception, share tips on which estates to visit during their regular afternoon wine tastings, even offer an ad hoc report on the Tahoe snowpack during a chance meeting around the hotel grounds. (Joe’s a serious ski buff.) Once you meet them, you really understand the source of the hotel’s laidback sense of luxury, which extends from the double-sided indoor-outdoor replaces in the guestrooms to the Dutch stable doors and hand-painted horse murals in the spa, the most recent addition to the property. The Michelin-starred restaurant, housed in the 1873 weatherboard farmhouse that gives the hotel its name, has become a destination in its own right for its delicious but unfussy way with the region’s prized produce, sh, and game, and of course the wine list—which includes Joe and Katherine’s own Lost & Found reds—is top-notch. Doubles from $491.

Wickaninnish Inn

Tono is like the Pacic Northwest’s older teenage cousin—loud, a little dangerous and always up for an adventure. The rugged cliffs and dense forests of Oregon and Washington to the south seem almost quaint compared to those of this remote district on Vancouver Island, off Canada’s west coast, where storm watching is a sport and cedars live to be 1,000 years old. In 1996, a decade before the area became a destination for outdoorsy professionals in Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans—the former shing town’s popularity has risen in direct proportion to improved wetsuit technology—the Wick opened its hand-carved wooden doors overlooking Chesterman Beach. When one of those gales is blowing, it’s tempting to hunker down, pulling up a cloud-like duvet and watching the ocean rage, settling reside with a bowl of chowder and an inch of Macallan, or sampling regional cooking at the restaurant (excellent, although the beachfront summertime crab cookouts of whole Dungeness and corn-on-the-cob are even better). But that’s missing the point of the place, which is all for getting visitors outdoors, as the hurricane lantern and bright-yellow rain gear in every room attest. The weather changes in a blink, and the last thing guests need to worry about when hiking the Big Tree Trail on nearby Meares Island—or hiding behind a blackberry bush to spy on a black bear foraging for starsh at low tide—is wet socks.
Doubles from about $249.

The Greenwich Hotel

In an era of the ever-more-exclusive members’ club luring the black-card- carrying wolf pack, Robert De Niro’s hotel makes privacy feel refreshingly effortless. Built more than a decade ago in a cobblestone quarter of Lower Manhattan, it creates the sensation of stepping into the actor’s own salon. The lobby is hung with abstract paintings by De Niro’s late father, and beyond it more inner sanctums await: A book-lled drawing room merges into a pocket garden, where topiaries cast an Italianate charm. Each of the 88 rooms is idiosyncratically arranged with antique silk rugs, the odd vintage table, and marble bathtubs, while the TriBeCa Penthouse is earthy and minimalist. But the enduring revelation is the Shibui Spa, where the lantern-lit pool glimmers under the beams of a 250-year-old Japanese farmhouse. A festive din still kicks up at Locanda Verde, which serves rustic plates of duck orecchiette, and New York xtures such as Yoko Ono and Jay-Z go pretty much incognito, but things settle down early. The wolf pack can go elsewhere.
Doubles from about $755.

The Whitby Hotel
NYC’s second import by British brand Firmdale Hotels, is designer Kit Kemp at her playful best. She has created a place that’s the antithesis of the staid, neutral-heavy luxury options in the area. It’s like an English summer garden come to life in hotel form. A welcome addition to staid

Baccarat Hotel

No one knew what to expect when a 252-year-old French luxury brand
opened its first property, Baccarat Hotel, on West 53rd five years ago—except that there had better be at least one over-the-top chandelier. The hotel did not disappoint, but what was surprising was how wonderful its opulence felt, after all that industrial, bare-bulb and rough-hewn everything. Like a return to Champagne after years of lager. Unabashed
opulence is what you get as soon as you step into the lobby, there are about 15,000 pieces of the brand’s crystal throughout, including glassware and chandeliers. Arrangements of fresh red roses everywhere add a touch of color. But even thought the hotel is a singular vision, it may be the little touches—Ladurée treats in the minibar to Baccarat tumblers in the bathroom—that make a stay special. Doubles from $895

The Wauwinet

One of the top hotels in tony Nantucket, and part of the larger Nantucket Island Resorts, which runs multiple properties on the island. The Wauwinet is the only Relais & Chateaux property on Nantucket, and was founded in 1875. Back in the day, rooms started at $7 per night. The rooms are spacious, with a high bed that you want to climb into immediately. Just about every room also has a large terrace with wicker lounge chairs. The terraces lead out to the back of the hotel, where you can walk to a lawn with sun-loungers, to the beach, or to the dock where you can take the Wauwinet Lady boat to downtown. The Wauwinet’s main restaurant, Topper’s, is an island standby. Must-orders here are all seafood-based, of course, but don’t overlook the pate, their signature chowder, or the soft shell crab BLT when it’s seasonally available. The Wauwinet is set off from the other attractions and hotels on the island, which is part of its charm.
But its got an hourly shuttle that can take you to the heart of downtown,where the action is. Doubles from $201.

Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills, A Four Seasons Hotel

The Beverly Wilshire is as close to a European grand dame as you’ll nd in L.A.—with impeccable service to match. It was good enough for Elvis and the British Royal Family, and exists in triumphant opposition to the informal, minimal lobbies sprouting up across the city. Regular guests love the views of Rodeo Drive and Hollywood Hills and the pool, which was based on Sophia Loren’s Tuscan villa. And because this is LA, the scene here wouldn’t be complete without somewhere to eat: There’s The Blvd, an all-day spot, and the Michelin-starred CUT by Wolfgang Puck, a modern-day steakhouse designed by architect Richard Meier. If you’re looking for classic luxury, look no further. Doubles from $536.

The Lowell

The Lowell, on the Upper East Side, reopened in 2017 after a three-year renovation. Its 74 rooms got a refresh, but the important touches stayed the same: wood-burning replaces, grisaille wallpaper in the lobby, tasseled key fobs. Nowhere in the city feels quite as rened. Every room has fresh owers, while huge marble bathrooms have separate tub and shower areas, Frette bath robes, and custom-made products from the high-end line DDC28. Unlike big luxury chains, there’s a small scale, quiet, and personalized feeling here that’s worth the lack of extras (like a swimming pool or spa). Doubles from $610.

Montage Palmetto Bluff

Never mind that Justin Bieber had his wedding here—Palmetto Bluff is nothing if not lost in time, and that’s precisely the appeal. Set on 100 acres of wildlife sanctuary on South Carolina’s May River, it’s a romantically haunting landscape of Southern oaks draped in Spanish moss, the iconic

state palmetto, cranes ying overhead, and live gators sunning on the banks in the hazy early morning. (Cautionary note when shing—gators also love large-mouth bass and will snap them right off your line).Technically, Montage Palmetto Bluff is a resort, with the archetypal Southern mansion or inn acting as its anchor, but in reality it’s a small, charming village—albeit one with multiple pools, restaurants, bars, and a spa that the resort manages. Kids play wie ball in the main square at dusk, couples walk their dogs with a drink in hand and say hello as you pass them; there’s even a daily late afternoon “porching” session with drinks and s’mores at the re pits. Whether you’re posting up at the inn itself or in one of the riverside cottages, you’ve got a boat rental outtter, Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, and old-time general store all at your ngertips, not to mention cruiser bikes for exploring. It’s slow, languid living in the best possible way. Doubles from $535.

The Langham, Chicago

A highlight of any Chicago riverboat architecture tour is Mies van der Rohe’s last skyscraper, 330 North Wabash, still commonly referred to as the IBM Building. It’s a paragon of the late International Style: a 52-story rectangle of anodized aluminum and bronze glass that is the perfect distillation of corporate might and urban promise. To check into the Langham Chicago, which has occupied the building’s rst 13 oors since 2013, is to step into the story the building tells about the American city. You feel like you could be a character in a spy thriller as you pass through the note-perfect midcentury lobby and take the elevator to the elegant second-oor reception area. (The hotel makes an appearance in the 2018 lm Widows.) Everywhere you go, there are encounters to be had with the City of the Century: You’ll ponder the curious curlicues of Marina City, the iconic “corncob” apartment towers next door, over a bowl of cacio e pepe in Travelle, the handsomely brassy New American restaurant, and admire the bold way North Wabash slices diagonally through the urban jungle from the cream-and-taupe comfort of your vast guest room. For the traveler, it’s Chicago’s nest address. Doubles from $340.

Four Seasons Resort Lanai

There’s Hawaii, and there’s Lanai. Driving through Lanai City—still more plantation outpost than the island’s only town—on the way from the airport to the hotel, there are none of the usual signiers: no ABC Stores or shave ice stands (there aren’t even trac lights). In addition to palms, there are willowy Cook pines planted a century ago. In 2012, billionaire Larry Ellison purchased 98 percent of Lanai, including this hotel, which he closed in 2015 for a major overhaul. Rooms were freshened up with teak and zebrawood; key cards morphed into waterproof wristbands, handy for late-night dips in the new pool. Nobu and Malibu Farm were clever additions—sashimi and salads are brilliant after sun and sea. But what really makes this hotel stand out is that there’s no feeling of being on- or off-property. Every part of Lanai, from sunbathe-naked-empty Polihua Beach to the interior’s Garden of the Gods, with otherworldly red- rock formations, feels all yours. Doubles from $1,150.

NoMad Las Vegas

NoMad Las Vegas is a hotel within a hotel; specically, the Park MGM, the completely re-thought former Monte Carlo. But unlike some other hotel- in-hotel pairings in Las Vegas, there’s some synchronicity here, since the Sydell Group had a hand in the redesign of the entire property. But while Park MGM is fun and accessible, NoMad is its totally grown-up side. It’s all old-world luxury here, with sexy dark corners and a grand, library- inspired restaurant. When you walk into NoMad, it’s like wandering into some amazing secret hidey-hole. If you thought you were too sophisticated for Las Vegas, you haven’t been here yet. Doubles from $149.

NoMad New York
Walk through the velvet- and-gilt lobby of the Jacques Garcia–designed NoMad Hotel and spend enough time in its moody bar, and you’ll see the after-work creative set getting progressively louder over dirty martinis and guests having a last drink before bedding down in apartment- like rooms. The NoMad is a little bit of Paris in the Flatiron district: urbane and cultivated, without a hint of stuness. If it’s possible, the food may be even better than the accommodations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner come from Daniel Humm, also of the 2017 best restaurant in the world, Eleven Madison Park. Doubles from $400.