We're relentless in our search for the best hotels, and we're religious about keeping our selection up to date. Below you'll find this week's crop of hotels that have managed to survive the rigorous vetting process. We've done our part, and now it's your reviews that decide whether they stay or go.
The Hôtel du Petit Moulin may take some determination to find — the sign on this listed 17th-century building still reads “Boulangerie” — but those who persevere are in for a treat. Hidden behind this century-old facade is a vibrant and contemporary environment designed from top to bottom by the fashion designer Christian Lacroix, an environment that is remarkable for the fact that it’s equally opposed both to the 19th-century antique look on display in most Parisian hotels and to the minimalist style that’s the default option for modern boutique hotels the world over.
St. Helena, CA
Several towns in California’s Napa and Sonoma Valleys have a legitimate claim on the title of America’s culinary capital, and St. Helena, home of the West Coast branch of the Culinary Institute of America, is a strong contender. These days it’s also home to one of the California wine country’s most rarefied — and wine-obsessed — hotels. Meadowood Napa Valley was a country club first, a winemaking estate second, and only recently has it emerged as an absolutely first-rate luxury resort.
See and be seen, the Spectator Hotel’s name proclaims, and who are we to argue? This is Charleston, seat of the South’s historic capital, and a quick look at the hotel’s environs — where the French Quarter and Market Street districts come together — proves as much with a series of stately, pastel, pillared façades. Tradition counts, in other words, though not always in the high-Antebellum sense; here, you step lightly past varicolored brickwork, clean Modernist awnings, period lanterns, and a neat battalion of glossy windows into a four-story structure with a debonair, avuncular bearing. With a little renovation, the Roaring Twenties are in fine fettle for a victory lap in the Twenty-Twenties.
All business hotels aren’t created equal, and the name doesn’t always convey the full atmosphere. We say this by way of explaining the “Marriott” in Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel. It means one thing at the Houston airport, for example, and something else entirely when it’s occupying floors 38 through 57 in Japan’s tallest building, the thousand-foot-tall Abeno Harukas. Welcome, if you’ll pardon a pun, to the upper echelon.
Villa Extramuros is a buzzed-about boutique hotel that’s located in Arraiolos, which is near the city of Évora, which is the capital of the province of Alentejo. If you’re still not quite sure sure which country we’re talking about — it’s Portugal — it’s a testament to just how quiet and comparatively remote the place is. And while the sculptural white villa might seem, at first, at odds with the natural landscape, there’s nothing over-the-top about this hotel. With just five guest rooms and a sleek, down-to-earth aesthetic, Villa Extramuros is a minimalist getaway surrounded by olive groves and oak forests that invite a late-afternoon wander...
Sometimes a hotel is just a place for travelers to sleep and eat. (We tend to ignore those ones.) Other times, a hotel performs on other levels: as a showcase for creative talent, as a meeting place for locals, as a celebration of regional history. Quirk Hotel in Richmond, Virginia, hits all of these marks. This stylish new boutique hotel was born out of Quirk Gallery, a mainstay in the city’s downtown arts district. Anticipating the potential of this recently revitalized neighborhood, the gallerist and her husband snapped up a century-old landmark that used to be a department store, transforming he Italian Renaissance-style building into a cool boutique hotel that shows off the work of some of the city’s best artists, makers, designers, and chefs.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
The name gives it away: the Condado Vanderbilt isn’t your typical beach resort. The oceanfront hotel, financed by the Vanderbilt family in 1919, was considered Puerto Rico’s first luxury hotel. And the Vanderbilts, of course, spared no expense — they hired the same architectural firm responsible for New York’s Grand Central Terminal. After several iterations, including extensive recent renovations and new construction to the tune of $220 million, the Condado Vanderbilt has reopened its doors under new ownership.
If you suspect that the Jaz Hotel Amsterdam might have a little something to do with music, you aren’t wrong. But far from being a strictly jazz-themed hotel, it’s more properly described as an all-purpose hotel for the modern traveler. Modern meaning young, or simply young at heart — anyone, in short, who appreciates an eclectic combination of rough-edged industrial chic and tasteful modernist-classic design furniture, and who prefers big, bold, street-inspired art to the usual nondescript watercolors.