You don't have to be an architecture enthusiast to find sudden inspiration at the Hotel Wind. Just as hearing a rousing rendition of Puccini's Nessun Dorma could spark a passion for opera and tasting an old Barolo might trigger an interest in wine, buildings like this one, thoroughly modern and exquisitely crafted to reflect its particular landscape, are the kind that generate (or revive) an interest in design.
Parma, Bologna, Prosecco: a list of Italian destinations can sound, rather deliciously, like a glorious spread of antipasti and aperitivi. Diehard cheese enthusiasts will be pleased to learn that the Asiago Plateau is a real place — and a strikingly beautiful one at that — northwest of Venice in the province of Vicenza. And it gets better: there's an excellent hotel up here in the mountains. Meltar Boutique Hotel is located inside a restored old farmhouse in the middle of, well, nowhere, making it a perfectly tranquil getaway from the tourist crush of the Veneto.
San Francisco, California
Like San Francisco itself, Carriage Inn has something of a split personality. On the one hand, it’s a slightly off-color Victorian funhouse–style homage to San Francisco’s subversives and eccentrics, each sunny room dedicated to a local figure who’s as likely to be shady as luminary. On the other, it’s an efficient former Best Western that satisfies business travelers attracted, in part, by the hotel’s proximity to the Moscone Convention Center and the SOMA neighborhood’s many tech offices. It’s hard to imagine there’s another hotel on the planet with a Cheech Marin-themed room, for example, let alone one where guests are quite so likely to overlook the typewritten sheet of Marin’s pot-smoking wisdom in their rush to connect to the free wi-fi.
Mexico City, Mexico
When you touch down in the largest city on the continent, you need to get your bearings quickly, or risk wasting precious time staring at maps when you could be sinking your teeth into the perfect taco. Or you could do both at once. In D.F. you’ll do most of your sightseeing in the Centro Histórico, you’ll take the trip out to Coyoacán to see Frida Kahlo’s house, you’ll make dinner reservations in Polanco. And you’ll probably want to stay in Condesa. It’s that neighborhood — the one with the pretty parks and the Art Nouveau architecture and the art galleries and bohemian chic cafés — and AR 218, a stylish all-suite hotel, offers a glimpse of what it might be like to live here in a smart studio, right in the middle of the action.
In a city like Venice, deeply attached to its past, we might expect a hotel to lean toward the classic, to play up its connection with Venice’s unique architecture and history. Hotel Ca’ Pisani, then, is a surprise, in design terms. Though the exterior is classic enough, a five-hundred-year-old merchant townhouse, the interiors show a strong Futurist influence. This is not to say that Ca’ Pisani is futuristic, by any stretch of the imagination — this is the Futurism with a capital F of the Thirties and Forties.
It’s rare that a hotel manages to give itself a name that’s quite so on-the-nose, but if you know that El Born is one of Barcelona’s hipper neighborhoods, then the name “chic&basic Born Hotel” tells you just about all you need to know. (They sold the capital letters and passed the savings on to the customer.) The only questions that remain are: how chic? And how basic?
East meets West along the Bosphorus. Secularists walk alongside devout believers. And old-world buildings have been outfitted with ultra-modern comforts. Modeled down to the details on the eighteenth-century mansion that originally stood there, Les Ottomans has just ten suites, each with sumptuous fabrics and specially selected color palettes, and views of either the verdant garden or boat-busy river. Guests who run their own empires, like the pasha who once lived in the mansion, will appreciate the in-room fax machines, laptops, and Wi-Fi.
They call Hainan Island the Hawaii of China, but as of this moment it may have surpassed Hawaii in at least one important respect: Hawaii suffers from an abject shortage of Park Hyatts. It’s located in a spanking-new resort community along the scenic inlet of Sunny Bay, only a couple of miles over from the longer-established Yalong Bay. So it’s safe to say you’ll have all the conveniences of home, and then some — though, Park Hyatts being what they are, you’ll be able to make it as private an experience as you like.
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
To get to the Resort at Pedregal, you must pass through a tunnel blasted through the mountains that abut the beach — an unconventional approach, and the first of many reminders that this isn’t your crazy younger cousin’s spring-break Cabo. Here, you’ll get foot rubs and cool treats by the pool, rather than thumping bass and body shots — or, for privacy, you can hang out in your very own plunge pool, with its views of the Pacific Ocean. The villas and casitas come with even more goodies, including fire pits and private breakfasts, prepared by your own majordomo. For those of you keeping track, the majordomo is in addition to the personal assistant.