Issuu on Google+

EXCLUSIVE traVEL OFFErS FOr aMErICaN EXPrESS PLatINUM rESErVE CrEDIt CarDMEMBErS ENjOy a COMPLIMENtary NIght at MaNDarIN OrIENtaL hOtELS

FanTasTiC WinTer. One mOre exCepTiOnal nighT. What would you do with an extra day? This winter, indulge in a little extra at one of Mandarin Oriental’s legendary hotels and resorts around the world. With our Fantastic Winter offer, you can stay an extra day at no extra charge – giving you more time to soak up the sun, relax in the spa, shop ‘til you drop or explore to your heart’s content. Exclusive privileges for Platinum reserve Credit Cardmembers: • Complimentary* third or fourth night at participating Mandarin Oriental Hotels worldwide • For booking from 1 December 2011 to 28 March 2012 • For stay from 1 January 2012 to 31 March 2012 • Visit www.mandarinoriental.com/americanexpress for the full list of participating hotels

hotel highlights Complimentary third night • Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong • Mandarin Oriental, Jakarta • Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur • Mandarin Oriental, Macau • Mandarin Oriental, Manila • Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo • Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona • Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London • Mandarin Oriental, Paris Complimentary fourth night • The Excelsior, Hong Kong • Mandarin Oriental, Singapore • Mandarin Oriental, Munich • Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC

Term and Conditions

* To enjoy this offer, full payment must be made with the American Express Platinum Reserve Credit Card. Offer is valid for booking from 1 December 2011 to 28 March 2012 and stay from 1 January 2012 to 31 March 2012. Offer is valid for new reservations only. Offer is subject to availability and blackout dates may apply. Cardmembers must stay at least two or three consecutive paid nights to receive the complimentary night. A stay is considered to be consecutive nights at the same hotel. Cardmembers may book up to a maximum of three rooms per stay for the complimentary night offer, and must be part of the travelling party. Only one complimentary night is available per room, per stay. Advance booking is required and offer is valid only by quoting the promotional code “American Express Fantastic Winter”. Available room categories vary according to each participating property. Cancellation policy depends on the participating hotel. Contact the individual hotel for full details. Offer is nontransferable and non encashable. Offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotions, offers or privileges. Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group reserves the right to change the terms and conditions at any time without prior notice. Information is correct at the time of publishing.

For reservations, please visit www.mandarinoriental.com/americanexpress or call 6222 4722 and quote “american Express Fantastic Winter”.

contents january 2012 volume 06 : issue 01

88

d av e l a u r i d s e n

features 82 Sydney’S next Great neiGhborhood Hidden in the heart of downtown, the once rough-around-the-edges district of Surry Hills has emerged as a top culinary, shopping and arts destination, thanks to a cadre of trailblazers with a serious

creative edge. mark ellwood takes us on a tour. photographed by petrina tinslay. map 87 88 deSert hiGhS Palm Springs may be all about glitz and glamour, but its counterpoint is the bohemian and artsy towns up north. david a. keeps takes in the architecture, design and eccentricities of these

California desert nights.

wildly different landscapes. photographed by dave lauridsen. guide and map 95 96 t+L 500 WorLd’S beSt hoteLS In our annual T+L 500, we bring you the ultimate collection of the top hotels around the globe, as selected by readers.

travelandleisureasia.com | january 2012 5

contents

january 2012 volume 06 : issue 01

On the cOver

at le méridien Bangkok, one of this year’s t+l 500. Photographed by nat Prakobsantisuk. model: dagmar @iz. styling by araya indra. make-up by ekarine Wongaganit. Hair by yanapat thamwises. assistant: ackarat ubonsri.

special section

29 newsflash

48

24 Heritage hotels reconsidered, where to go skiing this winter, trips for the New Year, a creative corner in Bangkok and more.

39 insider

43 innS Small, stylish and brimming with character, Thailand’s laid-back second city of Chiang Mai has a host of stays to match. story and photographs by marisa marchitelli 46 WeLLneSS From acupuncture to tai chi, China’s oldest healing traditions have been taking hold around the globe. jennifer chen goes to the source.

43 6 january 2012 | travelandleisureasia.com

48 expert T+L checks in with culinary maestro Pierre Gagnaire. by christopher dewolf

f r o m to p : w h i t n e y l aw s o n ; c o u r t e s y o f m a n d a r i n o r i e n ta l ; m a r i s a m a r c h i t e l l i

29 12 For 2012 A dozen places that will inspire you to travel further afield this year, ranging from a scenic corner of Sri Lanka to the wilds of China to the coast of Mozambique.

contents

january 2012 volume 06 : issue 01

74 78

52 niGht out Phnom Penh is abuzz with new watering holes, from a sleek rooftop lounge to a cozy bar dedicated to absinthe. by naomi lindt

stylish traveler

52

55 iCon With its inimitable French flair, the Celine Cabas bag is a great travel tote. by alexandra marshall 56 SCrapbook Four globetrotting designers tell T+L’s mimi lombardo about the places that inspire their work.

55

59 traveL uniForM Whether at the airport or beside a fashion runway, celebrity stylist Sean Kunjambu favors an easy, casual look. by mark lean

journal

69 Food In the far north of Thailand, a resort takes a modern look at the wisdom behind local flora and fauna. And guests, writes robyn eckhardt, are the ones 8 january 2012 | travelandleisureasia.com

who benefit. photographed by david hagerman 74 art Passionate and inspired, emerging and energetic, a new artistic community based in Phnom Penh offers a fresh new look at modern Cambodia. by naomi lindt. photographed by cedric arnold 78 drivinG On a journey through California’s Eastern Sierra, michael frank uncovers a rugged land of snow-tinged mountains, cowboy villages and quirky characters. photographed by brown w. cannon iii

departments 10

in thiS iSSue

12

editor’S note

16

ContributorS

17

MaiL

20 beSt deaLS 22 aSk t+L 61

StrateGieS

66 SMart traveLer 122 LaSt Look

c l o c k w i s e f r o m t o p l e f t : c e d r i c a r n o l d ; b r o w n w. c a n n o n i i i ; c h a r l e s m a s t e r s ; c e d r i c a r n o l d

50 iSLand SCene Rising star Jake Shimabukuro—who’s taking ukulele music to the masses—leads shane mitchell on a hometown tour of the Hawaiian capital.

in this issue

hamburg 29

palm Springs 88

Chiang Mai 27, 43, 96

hawaii 50

phnom penh 52, 74

Sydney 82

trIp IDeAS

DeStInAtIOnS lanka 29 sri tokyo 56, 96

SOutheASt ASIA Bali 96 Bangkok 24, 96 Boracay 96 Cambodia 74 Chiang mai 27, 43, 96 Chiang rai 69, 96 Hong Kong 61, 96 Kuala lumpur 61, 96 luang Prabang 96 manila 27, 96 ninh Binh, vietnam Phnom Penh 52 singapore 27, 61, 96 vietnam 96

AuStrAlIA, new ZeAlAnD AnD the pAcIfIc sydney 82 eurOpe Costa navarino, Greece 29 Guimarães, Portugal 29 Hamburg 29 the AmerIcAS Bahia, Brazil 29 Colombia 56 Palm springs 88 toronto 29 u.s. 26, 29, 50, 56, 78

29, 78

arts and culture

29, 74, 82, 122

Beaches

29

city

29

design

88

Fashion

55, 56, 59

Food

48, 69

Hotels + resorts

43, 96

nightlife

52

travel tips

46, 61, 66

AfrIcA AnD the mIDDle eASt abu dhabi 29 mozambique 29

Featured destination

Sydney

For three weeks each january, the sydney Festival (sydney.com) dominates the city, with up to 500 artists taking part in 80 dance, theater, visual arts, music and cross-media events. this year’s festival takes place january 7–29. (For more on sydney, see page 82.)

10 january 2012 | travelandleisureasia.com

p e t r i n a t i n s l ay ( 3 )

travel tip

ASIA agra 96 Beijing 96 Bhutan 56 China 46, 61 india 25, 96 Kyoto 96 seoul 96 shanghai 96 sidhpur 122

yunnan 29

adventure

editor’s note Where to Find Me )) chrisk@mediatransasia.com

new AnD nOtABle

Wh e r e s h o u l d w e g o t h i s y e a r ? I t ’s a question I hear, both from readers and f r i e n d s, ev e ry d ay o f t h e w e e k . N ow t h at we’ve closed the book on 2011, just as relevant as where to go next is how we vacation, whether on long weekends spread over 12 months or one big, leave-everything-behind break from the routine. And now more than ever, saving money without surrendering quality is a major part of the conversation. That’s why in the coming months, we’re going to revisit the idea of package holidays— thankfully, they are being reinvented to make your dollar go further and to avoid the hassle of planning everything on your own—as well as stress the infinite variety of three- and four-day breaks we all need from big city Asia. With those shorter breaks in mind, we’ve got a couple of stories that fit the bill in our pages this month, including Chiang Mai, where we check out the town’s small, stylish inns (page 43) and Phnom Penh, which we prowl in search of the perfect after-hours watering hole (page 52). Readers with an eye out for one spectacular trip this year should peruse our 12 places to visit in 2012 (page 29).

Everywhere from the Sri Lankan coast to remote Yunnan to Mozambique is included. For a peek at a handful of intriguing travel trends, give our Strategies section (page 61) a close read. If you’ve been away from home at all in the past few months, you’ll recognize a few of the topics and are already plotting how to take advantage of—or, if need be, avoid— them. Finally, I hope you have the chance to make a reservation or two at some of this year’s T+L 500, a roundup of the world’s top hotels (page 96), gleaned from our World’s Best Awards survey. It’s great to see that the global interest in Asian hotels and resorts is not waning—and in many cases is setting the standard for services and amenities—but if your favorites are not listed this year, now is your chance to vote for them in 2012 at www.tLWorldsbest.com/intl until March 31. As well as telling us about your favorite hotels and resorts in Asia, remember to keep us in the loop when it comes to where your travels take you.— chr istop her ku cway

hOKKAIDO niseko, Japan celebrates the 50th anniversary of its first ski lifts this season, with skijapan.com offering a free night’s stay for every four nights booked or three free nights for bookings of seven nights. the ski resort offers 60 different ski and snowboard runs. SAnYA Hainan island continues its boom, with the St. regis Sanya yalong bay resort the latest resort to open its doors. With 373 rooms and 28 villas, it offers a spa and an 800-meter beachfront linked to—this being china—a mall. 86898/8855-5555; stregis.com/sanya. BAnGKOK new to the thai capital is the 296-room aloft bangkok–Sukhumvit 11, a colorful hotel aimed at those who need their Wi-Fi. 66-2/207-7000; alofthotels.com/ bangkoksukhumvit11.

travel + leisure editors , writers and photographers are the industry ’s most reliable sources . while on assignment, they travel incognito whenever possible and do not take press trips or accept free travel of any kind.

12 january 2012 | travelandleisureasia.com

Exploration of thE surrEal Breathing life into retreats, resorts and residences around the globe

huvafen fushi, Maldives Desert palm, Dubai niYaMa, Maldives (2012) nurai, abu Dhabi (2012)

luxury that dares to be different peraquum.com

editor-in-CHieF art direCtor Features editor senior desiGner desiGner assistant editor/illustrator assistant editor

christopher kucway James nvathorn unkong lara day wannapha nawayon sirirat prajakthip wasinee chantakorn liang Xinyi

reGular ContriButors / PHotoGraPHers cedric arnold, Jennifer chen, robyn eckhardt, tom hoops, philipp engelhorn, david hagerman, lauryn ishak, naomi lindt, Jen lin-liu, nat prakobsantisuk, aaron Joel santos, adam skolnick, darren soh, daven wu

CHairman President PuBlisHinG direCtor

PuBlisHer direCtor sinGaPore/assoCiate PuBlisHer diGital media manaGer Business develoPment manaGers Consultant, HonG KonG/maCau Consultant, australia/new Zealand CHieF FinanCial oFFiCer ProduCtion manaGer ProduCtion GrouP CirCulation manaGer CirCulation assistant

J.s. uberoi egasith chotpakditrakul rasina uberoi-bajaj

robert fernhout lucas w. krump pichayanee kitsanayothin michael k. hirsch Joey kukielka shea stanley stuart singleton Gaurav kumar kanda thanakornwongskul supalak krewsasaen porames sirivejabandhu yupadee saebea

ameriCan eXPress PuBlisHinG CorPoration President/CHieF eXeCutive oFFiCer senior viCe President/CHieF marKetinG oFFiCer senior viCe President/CHieF FinanCial oFFiCer senior viCe President/editorial direCtor viCe President/PuBlisHer, travel + leisure u.s. eXeCutive editor, international PuBlisHinG direCtor, international

ed kelly mark v. stanich paul b. francis nancy novogrod Jean-paul kyrillos mark orwoll thomas d. storms

travel+leisure soutHeast asia vol. 6, issue 1 travel + leisure southeast asia is published monthly by media transasia limited, room 1205-06, 12/f, hollywood centre, 233 hollywood road, sheung wan, hong kong. tel: +852 2851-6963; fax: +852 2851-1933; under license from american express publishing corporation, 1120 avenue of the americas, new york, ny 10036, united states of america. no part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage or retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher. produced and distributed by media transasia thailand ltd., 14th floor, ocean tower ii, 75/8 soi sukhumvit 19, sukhumvit road, klongtoeynue, wattana, bangkok 10110, thailand. tel: +66 2 204-2370. printed by comform co., ltd. (+66 2 368-2942–7). color separation by classic scan co., ltd. (+66 2 291-7575). while the editors do their utmost to verify information published, they do not accept responsibility for its absolute accuracy.

this edition is published by permission of ameriCan eXPress PuBlisHinG CorPoration 1120 avenue of the americas, new york, ny 10036 united states of america tel. +1 212 382 5600 online: www.amexpub.com reproduction in whole or in part without the consent of the copyright owner is prohibited.

suBsCriPtions subscription enquiries: www.travelandleisuresea.com/subscribe advertisinG advertising enquiries: e-mail advertising@mediatransasia.com

mark ellwood writer

petrina tinslay photographer

aSSiGnMent Wrote “sydney’s next Great neighborhood” (page 82). in Surry hiLLS... you’ll have to wait for a table, no matter how important you are. that’s the charm of the place—it’s all about letting go. need to knoW australians are snobby about one thing: coffee. you’ll get sniffed at if you don’t order correctly. it’s either a “long black” or “flat white.” don’t MiSS taking a detour from the main street and strolling the back roads. the ramshackle houses, surrounded by greenery, are all so beautiful and humble and lovingly taken care of. very australian, with a hint of new orleans. proFeSSionaL neWS on my new show, Local Currency (Plum tv), i travel the world to find out how to truly pass as a local.

aSSiGnMent shot “sydney’s next Great neighborhood.” you’re a Surry hiLLS LoCaL. What’S your tip For traveLerS? take your time. Wander the streets, stumbling upon little shops, cafés, galleries ... there is so much to discover. dine in my regular haunt: Bourke street Bakery. it’s buzzy, with great food and coffee (every neighborhood needs at least one like it!). neWeSt Find F de c, with wonderful vintage fashion by the world’s finest designers (from yamamoto to mcQueen). photo tip Be in the right place at the right time of day with gorgeous light falling on your subject matter. it’s easy!

marisa marchitelli photographer and writer aSSiGnMent covered chiang mai inns (page 43). Fave hoteL aMenity sabu-sabu soap, made by my mother’s natural-bodycare line in chiang mai. beSt thinG about ChianG Mai Where else in the world can you ride an elephant in a sanctuary, swim in a waterfall, visit a temple, eat durian-flavored ice cream followed by tapas and sangria prepared by a spaniard, all in one day? do you take hoMe hoteL Soap? i don’t, but i do collect cloth laundry bags! next biG trip islandhopping in tarutao with a group of students studying marine ecosystems. dugong tracking by day, beach campfires by night.

t o P, F r o m l e F t : c o u r t e s y o F m a r k e l lW o o d ; c o u r t e s y o F m a r i s a m a r c H i t e l l i ; G e o F F l u n G B o t t o m , F r o m l e F t : P e t r i n a t i n s l ay ; m a r i s a m a r c H i t e l l i ; P e t r i n a t i n s l ay

contributors

mail

Letter oF the Month

All fOr SAmuI

It’s funny that we would ask ourselves if Koh Samui is a beautiful place [“Can This Be Paradise?,” November 2011]. Obviously, Samui is a great getaway, even if it’s not as pristine as it was 20 years ago. Today, the facilities on offer there are nothing short of world class and I think we should appreciate that fact rather than moan about what has gone missing. —thomas ong, bangkok eYeS wIDe Open

It was refreshing to read of people who still prefer the smell of books and magazines or simply gazing out a window when they travel to those who prefer to have their eyes glued to all manner of electronic readers [“Paperback City” and “The Global Nomad,” November 2011]. I don’t want to sound old fashioned, and am thinking of buying an electronic tablet myself, but too often these days I see people traveling and ignoring their surroundings. They might just as well stay home. Don’t we travel to new places to uncover somewhere new or even something in ourselves? I read your magazine for clues as to where

send your letters to editor@travelandleisuresea.com and let us know your thoughts on recent stories or new places to visit. letters chosen may be edited for clarity and space. the letter of the month receives a free one-year subscription to Travel + Leisure (southeast asia only). reader opinions expressed in letters do not necessarily reflect those of Travel + Leisure southeast asia, media transasia ltd., or american express Publishing.

I might want to travel next and, once I come across something, then I go discover the place all for myself. —brian jacoby, kuala lumpur GOOD DOSA ADvIce

I would like to add the following recommendations to your article about chef Hari Nayak [“Adventures in Flavor,” September 2011]. As a diehard Bangalorean—I belong to the cultural hub of south Bangalore—I have some more information regarding masala dosa. Readers should try Vidyarthi Bhavan in Gandhi Bazaar Main Road, which is closed on Fridays. Also, MTR, or Mavalli Tiffin Rooms, on Lalbagh Road opposite the main entrance of the world famous Lalbagh Gardens. It is closed on Mondays. Sri Udipi Krishna Bhavan, near the Bangalore City Railway Station is also worth a stop. And Maiyyas Restaurant is a few minutes away from the Jayanagar 4 block shopping complex. The dosas in these four restaurants are reasonably priced at Rs50. I would also recommend the idlis and vadas at MTR. Finally, if you happen to be in Singapore, the Murugan restaurant is an excellent choice for a night out. —k. srinivasa rao, bangalore travelandleisureasia.com | january 2012 17

SPECIAL PROMOTION

Under the Spotlight at Marina Bay Sands

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE EXHIBITION The Exhibition takes place until the end of this month.

TITANIC: THE ARTIFACT EXHIBITION Features 275 artifacts from the ill-fated ship, 14 of which have never been seen.

CARTIER TIME ART The largest collection of Cartier timepieces ever displayed in public.

Kicking off under the spotlight is the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical WICKED, the untold story of the witches of Oz and their remarkable odyssey. Nearly 28 million people have seen the performance—it’s into its eighth year on Broadway—but this is the first chance theater goers in Southeast Asia have the opportunity to fall under its spell. Whether you’re 8 or 80, this is a mustsee performance with music and lyrics by Academy Award-winning Stephen Schwartz. Inspired by the legendary C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Exhibition takes place until the end of this month in the skating rink at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands®. Singapore is the first overseas destination to host the exhibit, with all nett proceeds going to The Straits Times School

WICKED Award-winning Broadway musical WICKED, the untold story of the witches of Oz and their remarkable odyssey.

Pocket Money Fund, in support of the youths of Singapore. The scene displays and props on show are meant to excite and stimulate the senses and the mind. Specifically, visitors can feel the icy chill of a replica of the White Witch’s Throne, while at the same time learning about the impact of climate change. Or learn about architectural structure and strategy when you stop by King Miraz’s Castle. The mythical creatures of Narnia are never far away either. Visitors can recreate the characters in three-, four- and six-foot stacks of building blocks. Like the ship it celebrates, Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition is a blockbuster event, one that features 275 artifacts from the illfated ship, 14 of which have never been seen before. The artifacts were rescued from the ship’s final resting place by the only company permitted by law to retrieve them, more than 3,800 meters below the ocean surface. Re-creations of the ship itself and the compelling tales of the passenger and crew have also helped this exhibit sell more than

WIN

WICKED WICKE D

When you think of Marina Bay Sands®, let your imagination run wild because there’s more to the destination than its world-class casino. Just take a look at the entertainment lineup to get an idea of what we mean.

A two-night stay at Marina Bay Sands and a pair of tickets to Wicked by visiting http://contest.TravelandLeisureAsia.com/mbs

25 million tickets worldwide. Nine separate galleries take visitors through the Titanic’s conception, construction, sailing day, life on board and even to the famous iceberg. There’s even an exact replica of the 27-foot-high Grand Staircase from the ship. Until February 12, 2012, Cartier Time Art takes visitors on a journey to the heart of Cartier watchmaking. Along the way is the largest collection of Cartier timepieces ever displayed in public. It’s a story that starts in 1853 when Cartier Maison began to sell timepieces in Paris. The oldest watch on display dates to 1874 and, 156 timepieces later comes the Cartier ID One watch in niobium-titanium, and featuring carbon crystal. While Cartier watches are noted for being both modern and avant-garde, it’s the daring spirit behind each of its craftsmen and designers that stand out the most. FOR TICKET BOOKINGS: www.MarinaBaySands.com/Ticketing 65/6688-8826

bestdeals

budget-friendly tips for your travel planning

affordable asian trips

deal oF tHe montH

S n a p

the naka island, Phuket.

Bunwin Boutique Hotel, Cambodia.

HISTORIC IMMERSIONS

cAmBODIA Traditional Escape package at Bunwin Boutique Hotel (855-63/969-158; bunwinboutique.com) in Siem Reap. wHat’s included A two-night stay in a Suite

Residence; round-trip airport transfers; daily breakfast; a lunch or dinner for two with a bottle of wine; a day trip of the Angkor temples inclusive of driver, entrance fee and English-speaking guide; a sunset cruise of the Tonle Sap; and a traditional pagoda offering. cost US$425 (US$212.50 per night), double, through April 30. savings 20 percent. chInA Heavenly Retreat package at tHe westin Xian (86-29/8554-0986; westin.com/ xian). wHat’s included A stay in a Deluxe

room; daily breakfast; and free entry to the Xian Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts. cost RMB1,380 per night, double, through June 30. savings 31 percent.

desa seni, indonesia.

thAIlAnD Opening Special package at tHe naka island, PHuket (66-76/371-400; luxurycollection.com/nakaisland). wHat’s included A stay in a private villa; round-trip

speedboat transfers; and daily breakfast. cost From Bt9,000 per night, double, through March 31. savings 33 percent.

SPA RETREATS

hOnG KOnG Winter Spa-cation package at Plateau Spa in the grand Hyatt Hong kong (852/2584-7688; hongkong.grand.hyatt. com). wHat’s included A stay in a Plateau Terrace room; breakfast, all-day coffee and tea, and evening cocktails at the Grand Club lounge; one 60-minute Plateau Massage; one 60-minute Restorative Facial; one spa meal; and use of fitness studios, saunas and outdoor heated pool. cost From HK$4,700 per night, double, through February 28 (blackout dates apply). savings 53 percent.

ANDAMAN ESCAPES

mAlAYSIA Grand Opening offer at Four Points By sHeraton langkawi resort (60-

InDOneSIA Village Get Away package at desa seni (62-361/844-6392; desaseni.com) in Cangu, Bali. wHat’s included A three-

4/955-6888; fourpoints.com/langkawi). wHat’s included A stay in a Comfort room; daily breakfast; 20 percent off dining, excluding room service; and late checkout until 3 p.m. (if available). cost RM360 per night, double, through June 30. savings 60 percent.

night stay in a Village House; round-trip airport transfers; daily breakfast; two lunches and three dinners; daily yoga; and a choice of a Balinese massage or reflexology treatment. cost From US$850 (US$283 per night), double, ongoing. savings 25 percent.

20 january 2012 | travelandleisureasia.com

tHailand Style at a Steal package at aloft Bangkok – sukhumvit 11 (66-2/ 207-7000; alofthotels. com/bangkok sukhumvit11). what’s included A stay in a Chic room; free entry to Bed Supperclub; free Wi-Fi; and a Bt200 dining credit for a two-night stay and an additional Bt100 for each extra night. cost From Bt2,111 per night, double, through March 31. savings 53 percent.

aloft Bangkok – sukhumvit 11, thailand.

clockWise From toP leFt: courtesy oF tHe naka island, PHuket; courtesy oF tHe BunWin BoutiQue Hotel; co u rt e sy o F d e sa s e n i ; co u rt e sy o F a lo F t B a n G ko k – s u k H u m v i t 1 1

i t

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a pool villa at the Komaneka at Bisma, ubud.

50% ON THE COVER PRICE

Check-in counters at Bangkok’s suvarnabhumi airport.

thrill seekers test their limits.

is there any trick to getting through customs inspections more quickly? —nick peterson, sinGapore

suBscriBe now! TO OUR DIGITAL EDITION AT www.zINIO.COM

Q: Can you reCoMMend a SMaLL but Good reSort in ubud? —luke roGowski, banGkok

Q: are there any Good roLLer CoaSterS in aSia? —ben chancham, chianG mai

A: Where Bali continues to grow in

A: Last month in Hong Kong, ocean

leaps and bounds when it comes to new resorts, finding a quiet getaway has become even more relevant. Komaneka has four properties in Ubud, but check out the komaneka at bisma (komaneka.com; 62-361/971-933; suites from US$346), which is perched on a lush hillside. Each of its suites and villas comes with its own plunge pool and terrace, though the views overlooking a river, nearby rice paddies and coconut groves all lend to that great feeling that you really are away from it all.

park opened the Hair Raiser, where you’ll experience four times the force of gravity. If that’s too much, head to Singapore’s universal Studios and Transformers: The Ride, which uses 3-D visual effects. What’S your traveL queStion?

» e-mail us at

editor@travelandleisuresea.com

» post queries at

facebook.com/travelleisureasia

» follow us on twitter at

@travleisureasia (Questions may be edited for clarity and space.)

clockWise From toP leFt: © 1000Words / dreamstime.com; W W W. k o m a n e k a . c o m ; © G r i G o r ata n a s o v / d r e a m s t i m e . c o m

organization is the key to packing your bags and getting through customs and immigration without a hitch, according to the u.s. transportation security administration. Believe it or not, X-ray machines and security officers both benefit if your bag is neatly packed since they can identify what they might deem to be a problem more quickly. so keep all your cables and rechargers neatly tucked into one corner of your bag. if possible, do not pack oversized electronic items in checked baggage; do not wrap gifts; and take note of any prohibited items. Bulky clothing such as winter coats should be carried in your check-in luggage when possible. as always, with carry-on luggage, separate any liquids into a plastic bag, and do the same with any undeveloped film. removing all items from your pockets should also speed up your departure.

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RIVERSIDE REVIVAL

Modular Mondrianinspired tables at P. Tendercool, in Bangkok. Clockwise from bottom right: Warp Studio 54; Viva & Aviv; P. Tendercool also shows surrealist art photography.

On the banks of the Chao Phraya at the fringe of Bangkok’s Chinatown, T+L tracks down three creative havens worth traveling to. b y l a r a d a y and a soaring gabled ceiling are the backdrop to the paintings on show at 1 Warp Studio 54. While the focus is on Belgian artist-owner Christian Develter’s vivid, large-scale portraits, the space also plays host to popup events, such as a recent dance tribute to French writer Jean Genet. By appointment; Charoen Krung Soi 30; 66-81/867-5002; warp54.com.

Warp Studio 54 1 2 p. tendercool 3 viva & aviv

24 january 2012 | travelandleisureasia.com

ShOp Linking history with contemporary design, the beautifully hand-crafted bespoke tables at 2 p. tendercool, a slick industrial showroom reminiscent of New York City loft space, are fashioned from materials like sand-cast bronze and

antique-wood slabs. Don’t worry about shipping—the owners will arrange it for you. By appointment; 48-58 Charoen Krung Soi 30; ptendercool.com; 66-2/266-4344. unwInD Ready for an alfresco sundowner? Head to hip new riverfront bar 3 viva & aviv, where the ever-changing cocktails are an exercise in sophisticated whimsy. A recent standout: Tea Time in Mexico, a blend of chamomile tequila, Earl Grey, saffron, palm sugar, lemon and bitters— indulgently paired with a slice of Indian fudge. Ground floor, River City, Charoen Krung Soi 30; vivaaviv.com; 66-2/639-6305; drinks for two Bt500.

c l o c k W i s e F r o m t o P : c o u r t e s y o F P. t e n d e r c o o l ; c o u r t e s y o F Wa r P s t u d i o 5 4 ; c o u r t e s y o F v i va & av i v ; c o u r t e s y o F P. t e n d e r c o o l . m a P, Wa s i n e e c H a n ta k o r n

See Rough teakwood-planked floors

spas

SUbCONTINENTAL bLISS

A handful of hotel spas have opened across India, with treatments inspired by ancient healing techniques. b y s a n d r a r a m a n i

NEw DELHI

Head to the 1,486-squaremeter imperial Spa (Janpath; 91-11/41116210; theimperialindia. com; treatments from Rs3,000) for a range of traditional therapies such as shirodhara: a resident ayurvedic therapist will pour a warm blend of indigenous essential oils, including frankincense and mysore sandalwood, onto your forehead to help relieve stress. the two-level espa at the Leela palace new delhi (Diplomatic Enclave, Chanakyapuri; 91-11/39331230; theleela.com; treatments from Rs4,100) offers a signature facial during which a heated poultice infused with ginger, camphor or licorice is applied to pressure points.

HyDERAbAD

With its chromotherapy whirlpools, amethyst-lined steam rooms, and chakrabalancing hot-crystal massages, the aura Spa at the park hyderabad (22 Raj Bhavan Rd., Somajiguda; 91-40/23456789; theparkhotels.com; treatments from Rs2,600) pays homage to the city’s jewelry heritage.

KERALA

For the abhisheka treatment in kerala’s beachside vivanta by taj bekal Jiva Spa (Kappil Beach, Kasargod; 9122/6601-1825; vivantabytaj. com; treatments from Rs3,180), you’ll be doused with holy Ganges water before being wrapped in a soothing sandalwood paste to a soundtrack of meditative vedic chants.

ski

reSort

race to the top

reSort Verbier,

These new high-speed chairlifts shave minutes off those mountain rides—which means more time going down than up. by sarah l. stewart reSort

t o P : c o u r t e s y o F t H e l e e l a Pa l a c e n e W d e l H i . i l l u s t r at i o n B y G i l l i a n B l e a s e

Buttermilk, Colorado reSort Bergbahn

AG Kitzbühel, Austria reSort Mount

Snow, Vermont neW LiFt Bluebird Express vertiCaL MeterS

490 duration

7 minutes

neW LiFt

Resterhöhe vertiCaL MeterS

505 duration

5:45 minutes

neW LiFt Tiehack

Express vertiCaL MeterS

506 duration

6:54 minutes

Switzerland

La Plagne, France neW LiFt

Verdons Sud

neW LiFt

Mayentzet–Tête des Ruinettes vertiCaL MeterS

521

vertiCaL MeterS 650 duration

5:07 minutes tiMe SavinGS

7 minutes

duration

5:29 minutes tiMe SavinGS

6:06 minutes

tiMe SavinGS 11:06

minutes

tiMe SavinGS

8 minutes

tiMe SavinGS

7 minutes

travelandleisureasia.com | january 2012 25

newsflash trips

have resolution, will travel

RENEw yOURSELf fROM THE INSIDE OUT at Sha

drink

SMOLDERING SPIRITS

From coast to coast in the U.S., bartenders are creating smoky libations that’ll warm you up this winter. b y n i k k i g o l d s t e i n lOS AnGeleS wHERE TO GO The molecular-

minded Bar Centro at the Bazaar by José Andrés. THE DRINK Smoke on the Water (US$18). wHAT’S IN IT Blackberries, atomized Islay Scotch, liquid nitrogen and a flaming orange peel. 465 S. La Cienega Blvd.; 1-310/246-5567. mIAmI wHERE TO GO The new Yardbird

Southern Table & Bar, helmed by Top Chef’s Jeff McInnis. THE DRINK Smoked Pear (US$8). wHAT’S IN IT Woodford Reserve bourbon, pear liqueur, lemon juice, maple bitters and smoked-pear purée. 1600 Lenox Ave.; 1-305/538-5220. BOStOn wHERE TO GO Clio, home to the

city’s most extensive cocktail list. THE DRINK The Hunter (US$13). wHAT’S IN IT Sage-infused white rum, Willet single-barrel rye and apple cider, plus a cloud of burned oak and cinnamon. 370A Commonwealth Ave.; 1-617/536-7200. 26 january 2012 | travelandleisureasia.com

Wellness Clinic, set on the mediterranean in alicante, spain, medical experts lead two- to 14-day sessions focusing on stress management, sleeping and weight loss. 5 Verderol, El Albir; 34/966-811199; shawellness clinic.com; from €418, plus accommodations.

GET OVER yOUR fEAR Of fLyING

LEARN TO COMPOSE MUSIC Pack your

jittery passengers can look forward to friendlier skies thanks to virgin atlantic’s Flying Without Fear courses. offered at Heathrow, Gatwick and other airports in the u.k., they include a psychology session and a 45-minute flight. 44-14/23714900; flyingwith outfear.info; £255.

guitar for musicand lyric-writing sessions at the el Cosmico hotel in marfa, texas, led by the likes of kevin Welch, who has penned songs for Garth Brooks and Waylon jennings. March 1–4; 802 S. Highland Ave.; 1-432/729-1950; elcosmico.com; from US$1,200, including meals.

DO SOME GOOD AND COMMUNE wITH NATURE on this new relief riders international trip, travelers journey on horseback through turkey’s cappadocia region and provide medical aid to remote communities in need. June 19–July 1; 413/329-5876; reliefridersinter national.com; from €4,360.

—stirling

ke l s o

books

MUMbAI TO MARRAKESH two legendary hotels recently released coffeetable tomes: The Taj at Apollo Bunder (taj hotels, resorts & palaces) chronicles the 108-year history of mumbai’s most iconic property, while La Mamounia (assouline) vividly showcases the lavish marrakesh retreat, built in 1923 and restored in 2009.— sa r a h k ha n

c l o c k W i s e F r o m t o P l e F t : j e s s i c a s a m P l e ; i l l u s t r at i o n B y G i l l i a n B l e a s e ; l a r s k l o v e

Bar Centro bartender Robert Floyd prepares a Smoke on the Water.

hotels

PAST TIMES

T+L picks four history-steeped stays in Southeast Asia

t o P, c l o c k W i s e F r o m t o P l e F t : c o u r t e s y o F 1 3 7 P i l l a r s H o u s e ; c o u r t e s y o F t H e s u lta n ( 2 ) ; c o u r t e s y o F B ay l e a F i n t r a m u r o s ; c o u r t e s y o F t H e s t e r l i n G . B o t t o m , c o u r t e s y o F l - at i t u d e

SINGAPORE | THE SULTAN In the historic Kampong Glam district, this 64room hotel occupies a row of 10 conservation shop houses. Original architectural details are a highlight: timber-beamed ceilings; tall columns; shuttered windows; intricate wooden lattices. T+L TIP Restaurant Pasha serves tasty Moroccan fare—a nod to the area’s Arab past. 101 Jln. Sultan #01-01; 65/6723-7101; thesultan.com.sg; doubles from S$145. CHIANG MAI | 137 PILLARS HOUSE Old-world elegance meets Lanna Thai charm in a restored 1889 building with 30 suites named after colonial-era explorers (Louis Leonowens; William Bain). Interiors start at a generous 70 square meters and feature claw-foot bathtubs, tiled verandas and woven rattan chairs. T+L TIP History buffs, take note: the structure was once the East Borneo Company headquarters. 2 Soi 1, Nawatgate Rd.; 66-53/247-788; 137pillarshouse.com; doubles from Bt12,333.

MALACCA | THE STERLING Taking its architectural cues from Singapore’s Raffles Hotel, this new three-story, whitewashed property channels Malacca’s British colonial past: the 37 rooms have names such as Churchill, Windsor and Brighton. Be sure to book one with a view—the panoramic vistas overlook the nearby river and the iconic, red-hued Christ Church. T+L TIP Anyone for high tea? Swing by the rooftop Loft restaurant for English scones with house-made jam. 232 Jln. Temenggong; 60-6/283-1188; thesterling. my; doubles from RM350.

Historic corners Clockwise from top left: The East Borneo suite bedroom at 137 Pillars House, in Chiang Mai; The Sultan, Singapore; rooftop lounging at The Sultan; the new Bayleaf Intramuros; the Churchill bathroom at The Sterling, Singapore.

MANILA | THE bAyLEAf INTRAMUROS The Bayleaf’s nine levels may tower above Manila’s old walled city, but its classical façade marries perfectly with its surroundings. Inside is all modern comfort, with 57 sleek guest rooms defined by vibrantly hued accents (lime green; purple; orange). Some overlook the citadel’s ramparts. T+L TIP Soak up the breathtaking 360-degree views from Sky Deck, the newly opened rooftop bar. Muralla corner Victoria St.; Intramuros; 63-2/5226484; thebayleaf.com.ph; doubles from P3,700.— l i a n g x i n y i

shopping

far-flung finds L-Atitude tracks down pieces like this colorful clutch by Philippine designer Rezie Asprah.

From Bali to Bogota, Manila to Milan, destination shopping has never been easier thanks to L-atitude, a sleek, beautifully curated online storefront from founder Alisa Ng and her team of fashion tastemakers. Shop for finds by city, designer, product or even activity. It’s the next best thing to traveling there yourself. shoplatitude.com.—k a r e n ma travelandleisureasia.com | january 2012 27

World’s Best aWards

2012 wOrlD'S BeSt AwArDS SurveY vOte fOr YOur 2012 fAvOrIteS www.tlworldsbest.com/intl

For your Favorite hoteLS, SpaS, airLineS, CruiSe LineS, traveL CoMpanieS and the deStinationS you Love—in the onLy truLy GLobaL traveL Survey that MatterS! vOte nOw!

dear Travel + Leisure southeast asia readers, We trust you. We trust your judgment. that’s why we want you to rate your global travel experiences for us, in the 2012 Travel + Leisure World’s Best awards. these awards are recognized as travel’s highest honor, so it’s time to give back to those hotels, spas, airlines, cruise lines, travel companies and destinations you love. readers of all global editions of Travel + Leisure will participate in the awards. so visit www.tLWorldsbest.com/intl and tell us exactly what you think. the full global results will be published in our august edition. christopher kucway editor-in-chief Travel + Leisure southeast asia

12 2012 for

t he

p laces

to

go

t his

ye a r

30 | SRI LAnkA 31 | XISHuAngBAnnA, CHInA 32 | ABu dHABI 33 | guIMARãES, PoRTugAL 34 | HAMBuRg, gERMAny 35 | CoSTA nAVARIno, gREECE 36 | ToRonTo 37 | BEnTonVILLE, ARkAnSAS 38 | MozAMBIquE’S noRTHERn CoAST 39 | PAnAMA 40 | ST. VInCEnT + THE gREnAdInES 41 | SouTHERn BAHIA, BRAzIL

lorne bridGman

richard serra’s Tilted Spheres at Pearson international airport, in toronto, one of our 12 picks for 2012.

o

ne of the wonders of travel is that, even if you think you’ve been everywhere, there’s always someplace new on the horizon. Destinations emerge, cities reinvent themselves and new hotels invite

us into landscapes that were once unfathomably remote. From hill-tribe villages in southern China to a bold museum that’s putting a small town in Arkansas on the culture map, the dozen places we’ve collected here will inspire you to make 2012 a year of new discoveries.

travelandleisureasia.com | january 2012 29

12 for 2012

sri lanka’s lush hill towns and pristine beaches have long appealed to a certain breed of worldly traveler, but the flareups of the country’s brutal on-again, off-again 26-year civil war kept all but the most devoted of them away. the conflict ended three years ago, and as a prolonged peace finally takes hold, this indian ocean island is on the cusp of a tourism boom.

ISlAnD lIvInG Clockwise from top: the entryway to one of the villas at Bar reef resort,

on the Kalpitiya peninsula; a chalet at the ulagalla resort, in the northwest; looking into the old House at the maya hotel, on the southern coast.

tHe Breakdown

wHo it’s For

Beach lovers with a yen for culture and wildlife.

30 january 2012 | travelandleisureasia.com

wHen to go jan Feb mar apr may jun jul aug sep oct nov dec

How to do it

many international airlines fly to colombo, from cities such as Bangkok and kl.

sri lanka’s beach-lined southern coast, centered around the popular town of Bentota, is the country’s strongest draw—and big developers are moving in. the minor Hotel Group chose the area to debut its sister brand to anantara with last month’s launch of the 75-room avani bentota resort & Spa (94-34/227-5353; avanihotels.com; doubles from US$180) in a restored Geoffrey Bawa–designed building. a second avani, a six senses resort, and a shangri-la property are also in the works. • in the meantime, a handful of designers have opened boutique hotels, including the 15-room villa bentota (94-34/2275311; paradiseroadhotels.com; doubles from US$224), the latest project from sri lankan tastemaker shanth Fernando. Farther south, in Beliatta, Hong kong decorator niki Fairchild has turned a centuryold house into the glamorous five-suite Maya (94-47/567-9025; mayatangallesrilanka.com; doubles from US$170). • in the northwest, an ambitious government scheme aims to transform the kalpitiya peninsula into the country’s next big resort destination. until those plans are realized, the laid-back bar reef resort (94-777/352-200; barreef resort.com; doubles from US$125) has airy cabanas and a quiet twokilometer beach. • Perhaps the biggest peace dividend has been the reopening of the leopard- and elephant-filled Wilpattu national Park, in the northwest. stay at the ulagalla resort (94-25/567-1000; ulagallaresorts.com; doubles from US$374), which has 20 thatchedroof bungalows on 23 hectares an hour from the park. — j e n n i f e r c h e n

eXotic Factor Familiar

Foreign

Far-Flung

c l o c k w i s e f r o m t o p : c o u r t e s y o f b a r r e e f r e s o r t ; c o u r t e s y o f u l a G a l l a r e s o r t s ; c o u r t e s y o f m aya

1

Sri Lanka

2

xishuangbanna, China

yunnan is thronged with visitors both Chinese and international—but this untamed corner of the province at the foot of the Himalayas is still largely overlooked. with rain forests, Buddhist temples, tribal villages and China’s last remaining wild elephants, it’s the place to get a cultural fix without the crowds.

STAy

Xishuangbanna enjoyed a brief vogue with domestic travelers two decades ago, so it has some basic hotels. But the anantara xishuangbanna resort & Spa (86-691/871-7777; anantara.com; doubles from US$350) will set a new standard when it opens this spring. the province’s first luxury retreat faces the banks of the winding luosuo river in the bucolic town of menglun. the 103 rooms, some with private pools, will have gabled roofs and lotus motifs. the restaurant will showcase the indigenous cuisine.

SEE

© e r i n pac k a r d p h oto G r a p h y / d r e a m s t i m e .c o m

the local ethnic groups—dai, Hani, yi and others—share southeast asian ancestry, making Xishuangbanna’s culture feel less chinese and more a blend of thai, lao and Burmese. stroll through manfeilong, a traditional dai village, at dawn and you’ll hear the chants of Buddhist monks and watch the sun rise over an 11th-century pagoda. visit plantations growing yunnan’s coveted, smoky Pu-erh tea leaves. nearby, the 900-hectare xishuangbanna tropical botanical Garden (en.xtbg.ac. cn) has more than 1,000 species, including fig trees, bamboo and orchids.

EXPERIENCE

For a more immersive trip, Wild china (wildchina.com) leads treks through dai market towns and verdant river valleys, and organizes stays with local families. Guests can extend their trip to follow the mekong into northern thailand. — j . c .

a baby boy wearing a traditional hat of the Hani people in a market in southern yunnan province.

tHe Breakdown

wHo it’s For

asia hands looking for the next cultural frontier.

wHen to go  jan Feb mar apr may jun jul aug sep oct nov dec

How to do it

Wild china’s five-day trek costs us$1,590 per person.

eXotic Factor Familiar

Foreign

Far-Flung

travelandleisureasia.com | january 2012 31

12 for 2012

3

abu dhabi

8

1

rocco Forte hotel the wavy, blue-and-green glass building created by Ws atkins & Partners, of london, mirrors the colors of the gulf. roccofortehotels.com.

Guggenheim abu dhabi (2014) Frank Gehry’s new Guggenheim will be the foundation’s largest location, and will recall arabian wind towers and courtyards. guggenheim.org.

7 yas viceroy hotel made up of two steel-and-glass towers linked by a bridge, this futuristic hotel, built by asymptote architecture, is now part of the viceroy chain. viceroyhotels andresorts.com.

2 Louvre abu dhabi (2014) created by jean nouvel, the floating domelike structure will showcase a range of international artwork on loan from the Paris flagship. louvre.fr.

3

4

Zayed national Museum (2014) Five soaring, wing-shaped towers designed by londonbased Foster & Partners will house an exhibition on the uae. zayednational museum.ae.

tHe Breakdown

5

St. regis overlooking kilometers of white sand, the just-opened resort includes 377 spacious rooms and seven restaurants and lounges. stregis.com.

wHo it’s For

design junkies; business execs in need of downtime.

32 january 2012 | travelandleisureasia.com

wHen jan Feb mar apr may jun jul aug sep oct nov dec

6

park hyatt the new Park Hyatt is surrounded by an 18-hole golf course and a protected turtlenesting habitat. park.hyatt.com.

How to do it

etihad airlines flies direct from various asian cities.

Monte-Carlo beach Club saadiyat’s first beach club has a spa, poolside cabanas and gulf-front restaurants. monte-carlobeach.com.

eXotic Factor Familiar

Foreign

Far-Flung

m a p, wa s i n e e c h a n ta k o r n . c l o c k w i s e f r o m t o p r i G h t : r o c c o f o r t e h o t e l s . c o m ; v i c e r o y h o t e l s a n d r e s o r t s . c o m ; m o n t e - c a r l o - b e a c h . c o m ; p a r k . h yat t. c o m ; s t r e G i s . c o m ; z ay e d n at i o n a l m u s e u m . a e ; l o u v r e . f r ; G u G G e n h e i m . o r G

move over, dubai: the capital of the united arab emirates is booming, with starchitect museums and high-design hotels on saadiyat island and beyond remaking the skyline. By vinita Bharadwaj

4 9 A.M.

start the morning with breakfast on your private terrace overlooking the city at the hillside pousada de Santa Marinha (351/253415-969; pousadas. pt; doubles from US$210), a ninth-century monastery turned hotel.

10 A.M.

c l o c k w i s e f r o m t o p : . c c v f. p t ; c o u r t e s y o f h i s t ó r i c o ; c o u r t e s y o f p o u s a d a d e s a n ta m a r i n h a

Hike the 9.7kilometer Citânia de briteiros (csar mento.uminho.pt), which leads to the dramatic ruins of an iron age settlement.

NOON

don’t miss the small but highquality selection of local products at verde inveja (351/ 253-554-020), including artisanal chocolates, pottery and soaps by the century-old antiga Barbearia de Bairro.

1 P.M.

What Guimarães lacks in cuttingedge gastronomy it makes up for in well-executed traditional fare. about 20 minutes from town, the intimate São Gião (351/253-561-853; dinner for two US$100) specializes in house-made foie

tHe Breakdown

Guimarães, portugal

a burst of cultural creativity and youthful energy is breathing new life into one of Portugal’s oldest cities. Here, how to make the most of your day there. gras; fish, roast meat and game; and excellent Portuguese wines.

3 P.M.

For the latest in Portuguese music, theater, film and art, take your pick between the vila Flor Cultural Center (351/253424-700; ccvf.pt), in an 18th-century palace downtown, and the new Center for arts & architecture affairs (centroaaa. org), in the formerly industrial district of rua Padre.

8 P.M.

Whether grilled, fried or baked with bread crumbs, bacalhau (salt cod) is the dish to order at histórico (351/ 915-429-700; dinner for two US$65). not a cod lover? the menu is also strong on other regional classics, such as cheese fondue and grilled octopus.

11 P.M.

swing by the city’s oldest square, Largo da oliveira— it’s full of lively cafés where locals gather to drink and people-watch until the wee hours. — a l ex a n d r a marshall

wHo it’s For

travelers who like their old-world europe with a contemporary spin.

OlD meetS new Clockwise from top: vila Flor

Cultural Center, in downtown Guimarães; the courtyard of Histórico restaurant; Pousada de santa marinha, a monastery turned hotel.

wHen to go jan Feb mar apr may jun jul aug sep oct nov dec

How to do it

Guimarães is a fourhour train ride from lisbon airport.

eXotic Factor Familiar

Foreign

Far-Flung

travelandleisureasia.com | january 2012 33

5

hamburg, Germany

hAppenInG In hAmBurG Clockwise from above left: the lobby of the 25hours Hotel HafenCity; the marco Polo tower, in HafenCity; a view of the development, with Herzog & de meuron’s elbphilharmonie at far right.

Hamburg has always been a cosmopolitan city, with the famously louche St. Pauli district (where the Beatles played some early club dates) rubbing up against the monied quarters built by shipping and banking fortunes. Despite a slew of sleek postwar glass towers, however, Hamburg has never been known for design. That’s bound to change with the Hafen City development, a hypermodern showpiece that’s rising on the city’s old docklands. The 157-hectare mega-project is being built in phases (it’s not due for completion until 2025), but it’s already giving Hamburg a welcome jolt of architectural glitz, with a handful of new hotels, boutiques and restaurants drawing in the style set. Herzog & de Meuron’s Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall, where performances will start in 2014, is the star of the show, resembling an enormous ship passing STAy

Book a corner unit with a view at the ultrahip, nautical-style 25hours hotel hafenCity. 49-40/257-7770; 25hours-hotels. com; doubles from US$144.

tHe Breakdown

wHo it’s For

architecture geeks; urban renewalists; culture mavens.

34 january 2012 | travelandleisureasia.com

wHen to go jan Feb mar apr may jun jul aug sep oct nov dec

How to do it

through fog—a trick of treated glass that seems to bend and twist in the silvery light. The building looms over HafenCity’s completed, visitor-ready Am Sandtorkai/Dalmannkai quarter, an enclave of trophy apartments built over canals. Entering feels a bit like going back in time; you cross over a canal and through a series of enormous 19th-century brick warehouses. But beyond this historic ring, everything is brand-new and topsy-turvy, with nary a straight line in sight. The Marco Polo Tower, a luxury residential building, exemplifies the off-kilter aesthetic: a narrow-waisted, broadshouldered structure with terraces angled so that the whole building seems to be wriggling away. HafenCity is so new you can still smell the construction dust, but it’s already shifting the city’s center of gravity.  —r a l ph m a r t i n

EAT

Carls serves French-accented German fare (lobster bisque; dill-scented haddock). 49-40/ 300-322-400; carls-brasserie.de; dinner for two US$105.

stop at a european hub, or fly china eastern from shanghai.

SHOP

Witty knitters sells jutta schweiger’s cashmere knits in an Alice in Wonderland setting. 4940/211-117-911; wittyknitters.com.

eXotic Factor Familiar

Foreign

Far-Flung

f r o m to p l e f t: 2 5 h o u r s - h ot e l s .co m ; c h r i st i a n k e r b e r ; co u rt e sy o f h a f e n c i t y h a m b u r G

12 for 2012

6

Costa navarino, Greece

c o u r t e s y o f s ta r w o o d h ot e l s & r e s o r t s

Greece’s economy may have seen better days, but that hasn’t stopped the tourism industry from moving forward. Take the region of Messenia, the westernmost finger of the hand-shaped Peloponnese peninsula, filled with sun-drenched valleys, Byzantine churches and sandy dunes that border the crystal-blue Ionian Sea. The area has remained virtually unknown to travelers, who have traditionally preferred the white-sand beaches of the Greek islands. But Costa navarino, a new resort complex set on 1,000 hectares, is aiming to change that, turning this low-profile stretch of coastline into Europe’s newest Riviera. Costa Navarino is ambitious and international, with several hotel partners. Starwood opened a Westin resort and the

Romanos, a Luxury Collection hotel, last year; a Banyan Tree is slated to debut in 2013. But it’s also intensely local. At the Starwood properties, more than 75 percent of the staff is from surrounding villages and guests are encouraged to spend an evening at the house of a Messenian family. The low-slung villas are made from native stone and have Greek art from the 17th century, and treatments at the 4,000-square-meter spa are based on 4,500-year-old recipes found at King Nestor’s palace nearby. With rates much lower than at similar hotels in Mykonos and Santorini, this quiet slice of the Peloponnese might just experience a Greek revival. costanavarino.com; Westin doubles from US$276; Romanos doubles from US$193. —e l e n i n. g ag e

a beachfront villa at the romanos, in messenia, Greece.

tHe Breakdown

wHo it’s For

anyone who wants the next european beach escape.

wHen to go jan Feb mar apr may jun jul aug sep oct nov dec

How to do it

Hop a 30-minute flight from athens to nearby kalamata airport.

eXotic Factor Familiar

Foreign

Far-Flung

travelandleisureasia.com | january 2012 35

12 for 2012

7

toronto

If all you know of Toronto is that it’s clean, safe and able to double for New York City on film, then you haven’t been here in a while. The city has undergone a dramatic change in the past few years, led by remarkably hip restaurant, fashion and nightlife scenes. Three locals give T+L their take on Toronto’s new style.  —jon at h a n du r bi n toronto’s skyline, as seen from its islands.

What characteristics would you identify as uniquely torontonian? We’re voracious cultural consumers. to be well-versed in both vintage dub reggae and different kinds of hot sauces from asia is totally normal here. Where do the film-industry players hang out during the festival? the Hazelton Hotel’s one restaurant (1-416/961-9600; dinner for two US$250) is a hot spot. locals like quiet places: bar italia (1-416/535-3621; dinner for two US$95) is where atom egoyan eats. has the city upped its style game? men’s style here used to be jeans and a lumberjack jacket. now there are boutiques and tailor-made clothes. The 2012 Toronto International Film Festival runs Sept. 6–16 (tiff.net).

tHe Breakdown

wHo it’s For

Film-industry types; foodies; tastemakers and fashionistas.

36 january 2012 | travelandleisureasia.com

 mAtt GeOrGe owner of the men’s clothing boutiques nomad and the speakeasy- style Goodnight bar

What would you say is changing the city’s sensibilities? there’s a huge community of new immigrants. We’ve got the largest indian, Pakistani and West indian populations outside of london, creating a melting pot of ideas. What are your favorite restaurants? i love Woodlot (1-647/342-6307; dinner for two US$75) and the harbord room (1-416/962-8989; dinner for two US$125). they’re real canadiana— traditional and contemporary food. my go-to sushi spot is Sushi kaji (1-416/ 252-2166; dinner for two US$220) in a suburban strip mall in etobicoke. Nomad stores (1-416/682-1107; nomadshop.net); Goodnight (1-647/ 963-5500; goodnightbar.com).

wHen to go jan Feb mar apr may jun jul aug sep oct nov dec

How to do it

Fly in via tokyo, shanghai, Beijing, Hong kong or seoul.

 emIlY hAIneS lead singer of the Canadian rock band metric

What do you think is driving the city’s recent transformation? torontonians are great travelers. We’re aware of what’s happening internationally and bring these things back—but make them our own. Where do you like to see music? For big acts, i head to Sound academy (1-416/461-3625; sound-academy.com). to catch a local band, there’s the fabulous little basement bar, dakota tavern (1-416/850-4579; thedakotatavern.com). and for a drink afterward? if i tell you then i won’t be able to go anymore! if forced, i’d say Communist’s daughter (1-647/435-0103; drinks for two US$12). they serve pickled eggs. Metric’s as-yet-untitled fifth album will be out this spring.

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c h r i s t o p h e r k u c way

 cAmerOn BAIleY Codirector of the toronto international Film Festival

c o u r t e s y o f c r y s ta l b r i d G e s m u s e u m o f a m e r i c a n a r t ( 3 )

8

bentonville, arkansas

Until now, Bentonville, Arkansas, has been famous for one thing: it’s the home of big-box retailer Walmart. But Alice Walton, youngest heir to the empire, is using a large share of her wealth—estimated by Forbes at US$21 billion—to transform the region into a world-class cultural destination. The Crystal bridges Museum of american art (1-479/418-5700; crystalbridges.org), opened in November, is a showcase for Walton’s impressive collection—and an audacious gamble that a large-scale arts institution can thrive in the Ozarks. To hedge her if-you-build-it-they-will-come bet, Walton hired architect Moshe Safdie to design the museum, set on 49 wooded hectares just outside town. He created a series of gently curving pavilions hovering dramatically around and over ponds fed by natural springs. Walton also approached 21c Museum Hotels— which put Louisville, Kentucky, on the art-world map— about opening a property in town. (Designed by Deborah Berke, it’s due next January.) Her biggest investment may be the collection itself, bought at often eyebrow-raising prices and covering the full sweep of American art, from Colonial portraitists Gilbert Stuart and John Singleton Copley to 19th-century masters Winslow Homer and Thomas Eakins, with a splash of contemporary art (Andy Warhol; Roxy Paine; Jenny Holzer) thrown in. The museum is already being touted by some as a countrified Guggenheim Bilbao—and Walton herself as a latter-day Morgan or Frick, digging deep into her pockets and dreaming big. This may be enough to attract culture seekers from around the country, if not the world. But there’s another enticement. In true Walmart spirit, they’re rolling back prices here, too: admission is free.  — s t e ph e n wa l l i s

Clockwise from top: the moshe safdie– designed Crystal Bridges museum of american art; a museum passageway; Karen lamonte’s 2007 glass sculpture Dress Impression with Wrinkled Cowl, from the collection.

tHe Breakdown

wHo it’s For

art lovers willing to go off the beaten path.

wHen to go jan Feb mar apr may jun jul aug sep oct nov dec

How to do it

Fly to little rock; Bentonville is a threehour drive away.

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travelandleisureasia.com | january 2012 37

12 for 2012

this stretch of indian ocean coastline has upped the ante in recent years, with rustic-chic beach retreats giving way to polished lodges and ultra-luxe resorts to rival those of mauritius and the seychelles.  vamizi island Lodge lining a 1.6-kilometer-long beach in the far northern Quirimbas, a ribbon of 32 coral islands near the tanzanian border, vamizi has 15 villas decked out with marble showers and ocean-view dining rooms. there’s no tv, but you can watch the samango monkeys and tropical birds that make vamizi home. 44-1285/762-218; vamizi.com; doubles from US$590.  ibo island Lodge located in the heart of the Quirimbas, ibo’s trio of mansions reflects centuries-old arab, indian and Portuguese heritage. verandas have hand-carved teak daybeds, while the nine rooms come dressed with indian silk throws. the lodge takes guests on islandhopping dhow safaris. 27-21/7020285; iboisland.com; doubles from US$730.

OceAn vIewS Clockwise from above: the bar area

of azura at Quilalea; the view from the nuarro lodge’s restaurant; a chef holds fresh lobster at ibo island lodge; a bed at Coral lodge 15.41; looking onto vamizi island lodge from a fishing dhow.

tHe Breakdown

wHo it’s For

Honeymooners; postsafari sybarites; privateisland connoisseurs.

38 january 2012 | travelandleisureasia.com

wHen to go jan Feb mar apr may jun jul aug sep oct nov dec

How to do it

 azura at quilalea private island the nine coral stone-and-thatch bungalows of azura, set on the southern end of the

your resort or tour operator can help with travel arrangements.

Quirimbas, look onto a protected deepwater bay where Portuguese and arab traders once docked their dhows. 27-76/7050599; azuraretreats.com; doubles from US$1,190.  Coral Lodge 15.41 this 10-villa property combines local woods and colorful african accents with plush amenities such as a seaside spa and an infinity pool. on a peninsula a short boat ride from ilha de moçambique, the 16th-century Portuguese colonial capital, coral lodge arranges tours of the island’s ruins. 258-266/60003; corallodge1541.com; doubles from US$850.  nuarro

tucked into the lush dunes of the Baixo do Pinda peninsula, 162 kilometers north of ilha de moçambique, nuarro’s 12 thatched-roof bungalows have sweeping views out front and a rugged panorama of bush and baobab forest. 258-82/301-4294; nuarro.com; doubles from US$590. —douglas rogers

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c lo c kw i s e f r o m to p r i G h t: co u rt e sy o f v i m i z i ; co u rt e sy o f a z u r a ; co u rt e sy o f n ua r r o lo d G e ; courtesy of ibo island lodGe; courtesy of coral lodGe

9

Mozambique’s northern Coast

10

panama shedding its reputation as a sunny haven for shady characters, Panama is courting high fliers by giving everything an upgrade—hotels, museums and even that famous canal.

THE bEACH bUzz

solace seekers typically head to Panama’s caribbean coast, leaving the Pacific beaches to the surfers. But boldface names—angelina jolie; michael jordan—have been spotted in the remote Pacific village of Pedasí, four hours from the capital. most visitors stay at the rustic-but-stylish el Sitio hotel (1-507/8321010; elsitiohotel.com; doubles from US$99) or in a beachfront loft at villa Camilla hotel & resort (1-507/2320171; villacamilla.com; doubles from US$200).

THE NEXT GREAT NEIGHbORHOOD

Panama city’s atmospheric casco antiguo (old town) is being scrubbed up for travelers lured by its 17thcentury cathedral and crumbling mansions. the six-room Las Clementinas (1-507/228-7613; lasclementinas.com; doubles from US$250; dinner for two US$50)—whose owner is a pioneer in the area’s preservation efforts—captures the colonial-chic vibe. its restaurant serves Panamanian comfort food such as coconut-spiked risotto and ropa vieja.

THE PASSION PROJECT

w h i t n e y l aw s o n

Frank Gehry’s biomuseo (biomuseopanama.org) will finally open this winter on Panama city’s amador causeway after a decade of fits and starts. Gehry—whose wife is Panamanian—was aided by industrial designer Bruce mau and landscape architect edwina von Gal in the us$90 million project, a series of rain-forest-like gardens and biosphere galleries.

tHe Breakdown

wHo it’s For

THE LUXURy bOOM

Five-star hotels are rising in Panama city to house business travelers and south americans on weekend jaunts. the sailshaped trump ocean Club (1-507/215-8800; trumphotelcollection.com; doubles from US$319) opened last year, as did Le Méridien (1-507/297-3200; lemeridien.com; doubles from US$230). also new: the south Beach– style hotel Manrey (1-507/203-0000; manreypanama.com; doubles from US$224).

Graduates of costa rica and Belize.

wHen to go jan Feb mar apr may jun jul aug sep oct nov dec

How to do it

THE bIG DIG

the Panama canal is two years from completion of a us$5.2 billion expansion that will double its capacity—just in time for its 100th birthday—and fit supersize cruise liners, such as cunard’s flagship Queen Mary 2 and nine Princess Grand class vessels. the 2004 Miraflores visitor Center (1-507/276-8325; pancanal.com), located canalside 30 minutes from downtown, sheds light on the project’s history. — d av i d k a u f m a n

Fly in from miami (american), new york or los angeles (copa).

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travelandleisureasia.com | january 2012 39

12 for 2012

A string of 32 islands just south of St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines has long been an under-the-radar getaway for the jet-setting elite. But recent developments—including a US$240 million airport set to open on St. Vincent next year—are making the region accessible to a broader audience. Built on volcanic black sand, the new buccament bay resort (St. Vincent; 1-784/457-4100; buccamentbay. com; doubles from US$1,024, all-inclusive, three-night minimum) has 90 light-filled villas that gaze out on a secluded white-sand beach. Thirty-two kilometers south, tiny Mustique remains a playground for the likes of Mick Jagger and Tommy Hilfiger (and was a runner-up honeymoon pick for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge). A handful of new villas are

now available to rent from the mustique Company (mustique-island.com; villas from US$7,000 per week), including the four-bedroom Mimosa, a contemporary affair with a pebbled infinity pool, private chef and dedicated utility vehicle for exploring the isle. A more affordable option is the four-bedroom Liselund, on a hillside overlooking the sea. Nearby, the 44-year-old private-island resort of petit St. vincent (1-954/9637401; psvresort.com; doubles from US$1,050, all-inclusive) has reopened after a top-to-bottom makeover: 22 stone-walled, thatched-roof cottages are done up in earthy tones and driftwood palapas now line the beach. There’s also a waterside restaurant and a treehouse-style spa, where an open-air hot-stone massage is the perfect end to the day. —david swa nson

a revamped cottage at Petit st. vincent, in the Grenadines.

tHe Breakdown

wHo it’s For

Privacy-seeking island hoppers.

40 january 2012 | travelandleisureasia.com

wHen to go jan Feb mar apr may jun jul aug sep oct nov dec

How to do it

Fly into Barbados and catch a connecting flight to the islands.

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n e i l s e l k i r k / c o u r t e s y o f p e t i t s t. v i n c e n t

11

St. vincent + the Grenadines

12

Southern bahia, brazil

The Pataxó people got it right when they named their Bahian village Corumbau—“far from everything.” It’s only about 48 kilometers from Porto Seguro airport, but the dirt roads make for a bumpy, four-hour drive. Yet the same venturesome Brazilians who turned nearby Trancoso from sleepy to chic are calling Corumbau and neighboring Caraíva the next hot spots. And the helicopter takes just 20 minutes.

f r o m l e f t: co u rt e sy o f t h e b r a z i l i a n b e ac h h o u s e co. ; c o u r t e s y o f fa z e n d a s a o f r a n c i s c o d o c o r u m b a u . m a p, wa s i n e e c h a n ta k o r n .

Fazenda são Francisco do Corumbau. left: a bedroom at Fazenda Caraíva.

CoruMbau once you finally get here from Porto seguro—the most adventurous option requires a beach buggy, wooden raft and dugout canoe— you may want nothing more than to lie on a beach, sipping an açai juice. But there’s plenty to keep you busy: snorkeling the pristine coral reef; mastering local spearfishing techniques; hiking through dense tropical forest. clothing designer renata mellão’s vila naiá (5511/3061-1872; vilanaia.com. br; doubles from US$800, including meals) has eight sexy bungalows and suites, outfitted in bold fabrics and recycled driftwood and connected by boardwalks.

tHe Breakdown

wHo it’s For

Beach obsessives who want Brazil bragging rights.

wHen to go jan Feb mar apr may jun jul aug sep oct nov dec

a more secluded option is Fazenda São Francisco do Corumbau (55-11/3078-4411; corumbau.com.br; doubles from US$800, including meals), where 10 light-filled cabins face 15 kilometers of deserted beach, and fresh seafood is matched with produce from the garden. CaraÍva ten kilometers north of corumbau is a town that’s the epitome of Brazil’s no-fuss beachside life. Wooden houses splashed in shades of mustard, lime and peach line a tangled web of streets too sandy for more typical modes of transport; the chief mode of transport is mule. don’t forget to show up for a 4 p.m. lunch of moqueca (fish stew) at

How to do it

Book with Blue Parallel (blueparallel.com) or matueté (matuete.com).

the boteco do pará (55-73/ 9991-9804; lunch for two US$40), whose tables are shaded by an almond tree. Hotels here are rustic; the best in this smal town is pousada Lagoa (5573/3668-5059; lagoa caraiva.com.br; doubles from US$86), where five brightly painted bungalows are scattered across a lush garden. at the other extreme is Fazenda Caraíva (55-21/2225-9476; brazilianbeachhouse.com; from US$4,810, including breakfast and dinner), a three-bedroom villa designed by local architect ricardo salem. it sits on a forested promontory, drawing publicity-shy execs and celebrities.  — co l i n b a r ra c l o u g h

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travelandleisureasia.com | january 2012 41

insider

destinations trends restaurants + more

CHIANG MAI’S bOUTIQUE INNS. small, stylish and brimminG

to p r i G h t : c o u r t e s y o f b a a n ta z a l a

with character, thailand’s laid-back second city has a host of stays to match. Story and photoGraphS by MariSa MarChiteLLi

an artist-designed room at morooms, in Chiang mai. above from left: ruang tawan Hideaway; Baan tazala’s lobby.

travelandleisureasia.com | january 2012 43

insider inns

nOrthern chArm

Clockwise from above: the monkey room at morooms; rangsit villas’ turquoise room; Bann tazala; at niman’s façade; colorful touches at the inn; inside ruang tawan Hideaway.

44 january 2012 | travelandleisureasia.com

You won’t find a signpost to Rangsit Villas. The key word here is discretion. Nestled in the rolling hills just north of Chiang Mai’s old city, the all-buthidden property’s two spacious Lannastyle villas conceal five bright, contemporary rooms adorned with stylish wooden furniture (reclaimedteak table tops; an Indian rosewood chair) hand-picked by globe-trotting Thai owner Vippy Rangsit. The place fosters an atmosphere of quiet relaxation: strategically placed mirrors and wind chimes are a subtle nod to feng shui, while accommodations overlook a tranquil lily-pad-filled pond and lush vegetation. Don’t miss lunch at the property’s casual open-air dining room, where chef Tiew Wanphen serves up exceptional pad thai, delicately wrapped in a paper-thin omelet. t+L tip Book the aptly named Turquoise suite, a sleek 100-squaremeter space with stained-teak flooring and white-washed walls. 229/10 Suan Kaew, Mae Ram, Mae Rim; 66-53/861515; rangsitvillas.com; doubles from Bt3,000, including breakfast.

to p : c o u r t e s y o f r a n G s i t v i l l a s . b ot to m : c o u r t e s y o f b a a n ta z a l a

■ rAnGSIt vIllAS

■ ruAnG tAwAn hIDeAwAY

■ mOrOOmS

Get ready for a Technicolor experience. At this cheerful, familyrun retreat, you’ll be greeted with bright fuchsia walls, lime-green accents and oversize rainbow-striped cushions. Set on a working two-hectare fruit farm with century-old longan and lychee trees, the five guest lodgings are coded according to hue: the Blue, Pink and Yellow cottages live up to their names, while the two riad-inspired Moroccan rooms feature multicolored tiled floors, hand-carved columns and Moorish lattice-screened windows. Despite the eye-popping palette, the philosophy here is back to nature: rooms are ventilated with ceiling fans, and the spacious Balinese-style bathrooms are outdoors. Stop by the kitchen, where owner and trained pastry chef Raluque Ruangsook’s specialty is the flourless passionfruit cake. t+L tip If climate control is nonnegotiable, stay in the fully enclosed Casablanca room, on the ground floor. 10/2 Moo, 3 San Phee Suea; 66-81/499-9911; doubles from Bt1,750.

Art and astrology make for an inspired—and unexpected—pairing at MoRooms, spearheaded by Chiang Mai contemporary artist Mit Jai Inn. The deconstructed, angular exterior may look like something out of a sci-fi movie, but the interior is warmly inviting, with the mantra art lives welcoming guests at the door. The 12 rooms take their cues from the Chinese zodiac, with an artist born under each sign taking charge of their design. Take Udom Udomsrianan’s Monkey room, playful and dramatic with protruding steel-colored boulders, a giant bulbous wicker bed, and wall pieces made from fragments of petrified wood. The artistry extends to the restaurant: try the soul-warming MoPenne pasta, made with northern sausage, Thai herbs and tomato-cream sauce, all finished with a baked parmesan crisp. t+L tip Love people watching? Stop for a drink at Toru’s Bar and order the MoSunset, a rumbased cocktail with lychee juice and hints of lemongrass. 263/1-2 Thapae Rd., Chang Klan; 66-53/280-789; morooms.com; doubles from Bt2,500, including breakfast.

■ At nImAn

Converted from a former shop house, At Niman’s nine spacious rooms exude atmosphere. Beds sit on Himalayan rugs or smooth cement platforms, Burmese lacquerware fills the shelves, jewel-colored Indian chandeliers and low-hanging Moroccan lamps cast a flattering glow, and impressionistic nudes from the property’s art gallery hang on the walls. All peer into a petite courtyard with teak flooring and a modest five-meter dipping pool. We love the chic double-balconied Kumari suite, named after the owner’s daughter. t+L tip Nimmanhemin Road, home to Chiang Mai’s best boutiques, restaurants and nightlife, is right outside your door—ask the helpful staff for tips on where to go. 37 Nimmanhemin Rd. Soi 9, Suthep, Muang; 66-53/224-949; atnimancm.com; doubles from Bt2,900, including breakfast.

chIAnG mAI flAIr From top: the peaceful grounds at rangsit villas; a room at ruang tawan Hideaway.

■ BAnn tAZAlA

A series of stone courtyards leads into Bann Tazala, where guests enter through a frangipani-canopied lobby. While the exterior has the feel of a centuries-old Chinese village—the Lanna façades are fronted by treetrunk columns that support imperialstyle roofs—the interiors are more Wong Kar-Wai than rustic. The eight guest rooms, some with Jacuzzis, have plush ivory bedding, heavy mosscolored curtains and Chinese woodscreen doors alongside modern amenities (42-inch flat-screen TV’s; Play Station 2 consoles). Artfully designed suite No. 7 is the pièce de résistance, with a playful, life-size ceramic rooster and a Botero-inspired oil painting in the living room. Call for

an in-room aromatherapy massage, relax in leather-studded armchair in the library or take a dip in the turquoise-tiled pool. t+L tip Foodies are well catered to: in-house Thai restaurant serves authentic northern Thai dishes such as chicken khao soi (egg noodles with curry), awardwinning Japanese restaurant Tengoku is next door, and the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Devi’s array of dining options is just across the road. 55/5 Moo 1, Chiangmai-Sankampaeng Rd., Tasala; 66-53/850-111; banntazala.co.th; doubles from Bt3,000. ✚ travelandleisureasia.com | january 2012 45

insider wellness

chIneSe elementS Practicing tai chi at

dawn in shanghai. left: the limestone peaks of yangshuo, in southeastern Guilin.

EASTERN ENLIGHTENMENT. from acupuncture to tai chi, china’s

oldest healinG traditions have been takinG hold around the Globe. JenniFer Chen Goes to the source

vItAl StAtS

china by the numbers 1.3 BIllIOn PeoPle 600 B.c. lao-tzu Writes TAo-TE CHING (THE BooK oF THE WAy) 5.7 percent overall oBesity rate

46 january 2012 | travelandleisureasia.com

Where to Find baLanCe BeIjInG hias Gourmet offers hands-on classes for cooking authentic, healthconscious chinese food. a sample menu: pig’s trotters with daikon and ginger followed by hongdou tang (sweet red-bean soup). you’ll tour

ShAnGhAI the first modern tcm clinic in china’s most cosmopolitan city, body & dragonfly, suzhou. Soul kicked off the now global suzhou, about 100 trend when it kilometers west of opened in 2003 shanghai—has with its certified therapists trained doctors, herbal in tui na (“push pharmacists and grasp”) massages, aimed at unblocking chi pathways to alleviate everything from bad backs to indigestion. dragon fly.net.cn; massages from RMB165.

1 a lightweight wool top from Hangzhoubased fashion collective Jnby is great for travel. jnbynyc.com

2 YAnGShuO With

Hias Gourmet, Beijing. the city’s markets for ingredients before heading into the kitchen of a restored siheyuan (courtyard house) in the dongcheng district. instructor adlyn adam-teoh, also shares recipes for home remedies such as a warm drink made of ginger and dates to ease coughing. hiasgourmet.com; classes from RMB299.

multilingual service. treatments include zhenjiu—that is, acupuncture with moxibustion—which involves placing a lit herbal stick near acupressure points. tcm-shanghai.com; initial consultation RMB935. SuZhOu the 594-square-meter dragonfly therapeutic retreats—in the picturesque city of

its rice fields and limestone peaks, yangshuo, in southern china, looks like something out of a scroll painting—the ideal spot to learn tai chi. in the village of chao long, Long tou Shan Martial arts provides instruction on an outdoor terrace. there are also classes in qigong, which emphasizes breathing. long toutaichi.com; one-hour classes from RMB51.

shanghai label urban tribe designed this necklace with lava and jade— believed to have healing properties. urbantribe.cn

3 wei Beauty’s pomegranate buffing beads exfoliate and purify your skin. weibeauty.com

c l o c k W i s e F r o m t o P l e F t : © d a s H a r k / d r e a m s t i m e . c o m ; © H X d B z X y/ d r e a m s t i m e . c o m ; l a r s k l o v e ( 3 ) ; c o u r t e s y o F r a n d o m H o u s e . c e n t e r , F r o m t o P : c o u r t e s y o F d r a G o n F ly @ j i n j i H u ; c o u r t e s y o F H i a s G o u r m e t

c  

hina might seem in a hurry to modernize, but when it comes to health, ancient rituals still prevail. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), now on spa menus worldwide, is as old as the Middle Kingdom itself. Sharpened bones dating back 6,000 years are believed to have been early acupuncture needles, and the first known medical text was compiled here some 3,000 years ago. Meanwhile, food has long played a role in prevention, per the proverb: “He who takes medicine and neglects his diet wastes the skills of the physician.” And Taoism, founded by philosopher Laotzu in the sixth century B.C., stresses the need to balance yin and yang to allow the flow of energy known as chi. Today, China’s parks fill each morning with people practicing the measured, fluid movements of tai chi. For a nation on fast-forward, it’s a welcome reminder to make time to slow down. ✚

brinG it baCk

insider eXpert cuISIne, DecOnStructeD right: Pierre Gagnaire. Below, from top: two artfully presented dishes at Pierre in Hong Kong.

culinary maestro pierre GaGnaire. by ChriStopher deWoLF

w

hen a group of investors offers you, a renowned chef, the opportunity to extend your reach into cities around the world, what do you answer? “Yes, obviously,” says Pierre Gagnaire, a French master of genre-busting cuisine. The chef has taken his culinary philosophy—which he terms “culinary constructivism,” a concept that strips food down to its compositional essence and blurs the line between the natural and the artful—and expanded it globally over the past decade. In addition to his eponymous Michelin-starred Paris restaurant, he now boasts a constellation of 11 eateries stretching from Las Vegas to Seoul, Hong Kong and Tokyo. Here, Gagnaire chats to T+L at Pierre, his top-floor 48 january 2012 | travelandleisureasia.com

restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, where this month diners can sample such beguiling delicacies as obsiblue, a rare species of South Pacific prawn with an almost fruity taste, that the chef serves with melted lemon and butter infused with French Savagnin wine. On ADAptInG cuISIne tO lOcAl cultureS

“People don’t think the same way [in different places]—the food available is different, eating customs aren’t the same. If you want to work in Hong Kong, you need to make something relatively simple, not expensive and fast to feed business people. In Tokyo, by contrast, it’s women who come to lunch. In Paris, people eat for pleasure so it’s another story.”

f r o m l e f t : c o u r t e s y o f m a n d a r i n o r i e n ta l h o n G k o n G ( 2 ) ; © J a c q u e s G ava r d

THE wORLD ACCORDING TO PIERRE. t+l checks in with french

On culInArY GlOBAlISm

“The world is a garden, but it’s not always open. For example, in Korea the market is very closed, so you can’t get many imported things. In Hong Kong you can get everything but it’s quite expensive, so you have to keep that in mind. You have to find local things that you can use— lemongrass, mango, that sort of thing.” On lIfe-chAnGInG flAvOrS

“My project, which I’ve been working on for 35 years, has been to express through cuisine my savoir faire, my sensibility—both of my culture and myself personally— and inevitably there are things along the way that we experience that change us. In Vietnam, a little sprig of mint with a fresh shrimp, a bit of pork, you taste that and it’s extraordinary. Sometimes it’s just something that somebody makes on their own. The best thing I’ve had in Hong Kong [...] was a fig with a bit of cured ham, a little shrimp soaked in alcohol. Sublime.” On cOOKInG AS eXpreSSIOn

“Cuisine is ultimately an expression of the individual, not just a country. You can have a soup—let’s say a hot and sour soup, very Chinese—made by different people and you’ll have one that is exceptional, three that are not bad, three that are generally good, two that are average and four that are very bad. And it’s all the same soup.”

c o u r t e s y o f m a n d a r i n o r i e n ta l s e o u l ; c o u r t e s y o f m a n d a r i n o r i e n ta l to k yo ( 2 )

On hOw tO mAKe A tOp KItchen tIcK

“I go out very rarely—I spend my time in the kitchen to understand what works, what doesn’t work and to get to know the people. A restaurant isn’t an industrial product. It’s human, it’s about people and feelings. I try to pass along my knowledge but also give people energy by spending time with them. I want each of my restaurants to have a real sense of emotion. Otherwise you’ll have a place that is beautiful, where people spend incredible amounts of money, but which has no soul.” On fInDInG the tIme tO trAvel

“There’s something wonderful about traveling with no goals, no concern for business, no preoccupations. Unfortunately, I’ve been so busy over the past three years I haven’t had any time for that. It’s a bit out of the picture right now.” On the ImpOrtAnce Of DeDIcAtIOn

“Cooking allows me to give myself a feeling of peace. I don’t suffer from anxiety or depression because I don’t need to take any winding paths to please others. I’m only working for myself. What’s hard is framing everything so that it lasts, so that it can last without my constant presence. Hopefully one day I can step back.” ✚

the elementS Of DInInG From top: at Pierre Gagnaire in seoul; duck stuffed with crystallized small onions and shallots, served with smashed turnips and condiments, at Pierre Gagnaire à tokyo; dining with a view at the restaurant, inside the ana interContinental tokyo.

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insider island scene

HONOLULU HAUNTS.

risinG star Jake shimabukuro—who’s takinG ukulele music to the masses—leads Shane MitCheLL on a hometown tour of the hawaiian capital

m  

jAKe ShImABuKurO’S ADDreSS BOOK

the reStaurant chef Hideaki “santa” miyoshi runs tokkuri tei, one of Honolulu’s oldest izakaya bars. shimabukuro always orders the spicy tuna on tempura-fried nori seaweed chips—“and the negi roll with miso sauce is outstanding.” 449 Kapahulu Ave., suite 201; 1-808/732-6480; dinner for two US$85. the MuSiC Shop owned by shimabukuro’s brother Bruce, the ukebox specializes in quality ukuleles whose exquisite wood graining and sweet tone distinguish them from the plastic souvenir models sold on every street corner in downtown Waikiki. Free ukulele lessons daily. 2490 Kalakaua Ave.; 1-808/922-7823. the artiSanS shimabukuro has five ukuleles made by kamaka hawaii, a local family of luthiers who have been crafting world-class instruments since 1916. “they embossed the initial J on my tenor uke.” 550 South St.; 1-808/531-3165. the aFter-hourS hanGout the dragon upstairs, a tiny chinatown jazz lounge, is housed in a former tattoo parlor and has a fiery red-and-gold mural of a dragon snaking up the staircase. 1038 Nuuanu Ave.; 1-808/526-1411; drinks for two US$12.

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the CooL threadS designer kei kinoshita of to kei boutique creates tropical dresses and shimabukuro’s custom shirts—button-downs in eye-catching colors rather than old-school aloha florals. 619 Kapahulu Ave.; 1-808/735-9827. the reSort the 453-room halekulani is a Waikiki Beach classic. shimabukuro knows all the musicians at its open-air lounge, House Without a key; watching him jam with them is a rare treat. 2199 Kalia Rd.; 1-808/9232311; halekulani.com; doubles from US$435; drinks for two US$24. the retreat on a hill behind the kaimuki fire station, puuo kaimuki Mini park is a small green oasis. “it’s a steep trek on the back side of diamond Head, with great views of the city. i’ve written songs up there.” 951 Koko Head Ave. the SWeet StuFF known in japan as kakigori, shave ice was originally introduced to Hawaii by pineapple-plantation workers. shimabukuro loves the house-made syrups and toppings at ailana Shave ice. “my favorite is the uji kintoki, or green tea with adzuki beans.” 1430 Kona St., suite 102; 1-808/955-8881; shave ice for two US$5.

f r o m to p : l i n n y m o r r i s ( 2 ) ; b r i a n c l a r k e /co u rt e sy o f to k e i b o u t i q u e ; l i n n y m o r r i s ; c a r l s h a n e f f ; l i n n y m o r r i s

usician Jake Shimabukuro has surprising crossover appeal. No “Tiny Bubbles” for him: his concert tours in Hong Kong and Japan are sellouts, and his latest recording, Peace Love Ukulele, made its debut at number one on Billboard’s World Albums chart. In his hands, the traditional two-octave Hawaiian instrument comes alive with rapid-fire licks that slide him closer on the scale to guitar heroes Jimi Hendrix and B. B. King. A Japanese American whose family has lived in Hawaii for five generations, Shimabukuro remains a local at heart. “Honolulu is the perfect blend of city and country,” he says. “I’ve been to some pretty cool places in the last few years, but it will always be my home.” ✚

AN EXQUISITE RETREAT OFF THE BEATEN PATH As an oasis within the hustle and bustle of the city, WANGZ Hotel offers you exquisite accommodations amidst the cultural heritage of Singapore’s Tiong Bahru enclave.

Luxuriously spacious, our 41 rooms are elegantly designed to provide the ultimate in relaxation and comfort. With gourmet meals at our all-day dining restaurant, Nectar, and a mesmerising view to accompany your cocktails at our hip rooftop lounge, Halo, your senses are sure to be tantalised.

WANGZ HOTEL. REDEFINING THE BOUTIQUE HOTEL EXPERIENCE. For reservations, please call (65) 6595 1 388 or email reservations@wangzhotel.com.

www.wangzhotel.com

insider niGht out cAmBODIAn chIc

Clockwise from left: art and drinks mix at metro rahu; le moon terrace offers a perfect vantage over Phnom Penh; watching the big screen in style at score sports Bar & Grill.

ON THE TOwN. thirsty in phnom penh?

head to these five new waterinG holes for a memorable drink. by naoMi Lindt

metrO rAhu the pLaCe For years, Metro Hassakan—or

simply, Metro—has been the capital city’s goto spot for classy cocktails, elegant nibbles and a refined yet casual atmosphere. So it makes sense that Metro’s second incarnation, Metro Rahu, has been a hit since opening up the street in July. This is the darker, sexier, more ambient sister, with concrete walls and floors, black leather seating, low lighting and a somewhat sinister-looking painting of a young monk watching over customers. Cocktails are mixed behind the huge wooden bar, which flanks the entire length of the space. the drinkS Try the Ginger Rogers (mint, ginger syrup, gin, lime juice) or a tamarind martini, perfect with treats like truffle-infused mac ’n’ cheese. 159 Sisowath Quay; 855-23/215179; drinks for two US$9. BOuchOn the pLaCe With empty bottles of vino used

as decoration and vintage-stamped wooden tables reminiscent of wine crates, it’s not hard to guess what the theme of this French-run 52 january 2012 | travelandleisureasia.com

Photographed by Cedric Arnold

bar is. Settle into a cozy red-leather booth and sip your choice of pour in this tranquil, conversation-friendly gathering spot, where exposed brick, metal chandeliers, large windows and a dominant wooden bar create an industrial-rustic-chic setting. Look out for specialty theme nights, like the recent oyster and wine event. the drinkS Nearly 20 varieties of mostly French reds, whites and rosés are served by the glass, including Médoc and Château Doisy Daëne. There’s also a range of home-infused vodkas (pepper-vanilla, sweet basil, ginger) for one-of-a-kind martinis. 3 St. 246; 855-77/881-103; drinks for two US$7. le mOOn terrAce the pLaCe Phnom Penh’s Tonle Sap riverside

is at its most captivating at dusk, when the recently completed promenade comes alive with dance crews, exercise classes and vendors selling colorful balloons and fried crickets and grubs. Take in the action from on high at this sleek, minimalist lounge that offers 180-degree views of the river, the Royal Palace and the city’s saffron-hued temple rooftops from its perch above the Amanjaya Pancam Hotel. The city’s young and hip linger here well into the

night, relaxing amid curved, woven gray sofas and chairs, light gray wood decking and huge potted plants. the drinkS Sip a mojito or a cocktail like the Khmer Happiness—local rice wine, fresh lime juice, a dash of melon syrup—while nibbling on a plate of salmon blini or bacon-wrapped prawns. Amanjaya Pancam Hotel, 1 St. 154, Sisowath Quay; 855-23/214-747; drinks for two US$8. l’ABSInthe the pLaCe Though the stretch of Street

51 where you’ll find this small, unassuming boîte is best known for its hostess bars and late-night dance clubs, it’s now also home to one of Phnom Penh’s most original drinking experiences. Don’t be fooled by L’Absinthe’s dive-bar appearance: genial Corsican owner Thibault Sargentini has shipped in nearly 20 varieties of the storied anise-based spirit that gave the spot its name, along with all the necessary accoutrements: petite glass goblets, intricately perforated spoons (for holding that cube of sugar) and a four-spout slowdrip absinthe fountain. the drinkS Bottles originate from France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Spain, spanning the palate from bitter to sweet. Ask Sargentini to recommend one to suit your taste. 216 St. 51; 855-97/285-3217; drinks for two US$6. ScOre SpOrtS BAr & GrIll the pLaCe Concrete walls, cherry-red seating,

phnOm penh nIGhtcAp From

top: French pours dominate the wine list at Bouchon; the bar’s sleek, industrial-rusticchic interior.

soaring ceilings and artfully graffitied walls make this easily the capital’s most stylish spot to catch a game or play some pool at one of the imported slate tables. No wonder—the man behind it is Canadian Pascal Plamondon, whose cluster of Phnom Penh F&B ventures includes design-conscious bar-restos Liquid and Flavour. Mingle with football, cricket, rugby, American football and hockey fans, who flock here to watch their teams on one of the eight flatscreen TV’s or the gargantuan five-by-five meter projector screen. Pair your beverage with the bar’s hearty fare: char-grilled Tasmanian steaks; juicy burgers. the drinkS As you’d expect, beers feature heavily (Angkor draft, Anchor and Tiger on tap, bottles of Kingdom and Beer Lao), but there’s also a full cocktail list—don’t miss the well-made margaritas. 5 St. 282; 85523/221-357; drinks for two US$5. ✚ travelandleisureasia.com | january 2012 53

stylish traveler

[st ]

icon

classic carryall WitH its inimitaBle FrencH Flair, tHe céline caBas BaG is a Great travel tote. by aLexandra MarShaLL

Originally launched in 1945 as a maker of children’s shoes, Céline found its footing a couple of decades later, when it went on to create stylish horse-bit loafers and tasteful blouses for Parisian ladies who lunch. Now, in the hands of designer Phoebe Philo, the French luxury goods house has become a paragon of sophisticated minimalism— and a go-to label on both sides of the Atlantic. Case in point: the Cabas tote. Whether made out of soft lambskin, crocodile, or wool tartan, it’s lightweight and roomy enough for everyday essentials and a change of shoes (cabas is French for “basket,” after all— you could toss just about anything into this bag). What it lacks in bells, whistles, buckles and bling, it more than makes up for both in utility and chic.  ✚

lambskin-andtartan-wool bag, by Céline.

Photographed by Charles Masters

travelandleisureasia.com | january 2012 55

[st] scrapbook

Four GloBe-trottinG desiGners tell t+l’s MiMi LoMbardo aBout tHe Places tHat insPire tHeir Work  DeStInAtIOn bhutan

whO:

derek Lam fAShIOn DeSIGner

A plAce tO reSt “i didn’t exactly rough it the last time i went. i stayed at the amankora (975-8/272-333; amanresorts. com; doubles from US$1,400), near Gangtey—one of five rustic-luxe lodges spread out across the central and western valleys. it was one of the only places in the area with electricity. looking out onto the vast, dark landscape at night was amazing.” trAvel ethOS “spend time in the sacred spots and be open to magical moments.” lOcAl cuStOm “one must always go around a religious site clockwise. it’s a sign of

respect. there are Buddhist shrines everywhere—even along a footpath in the middle of the fields—so stay alert.” InSpIrAtIOn “i stumbled upon a co-op in thimphu, the capital, where women weave these really unique fabrics using ancient looms. i collect textiles as souvenirs. this time i brought home a very old, embroidered cloth. it became the inspiration for my 2012 resort collection.” nAtIve chArm “you become aware of the essence of Bhutan the minute you are ushered through immigration. you are treated with kindness and patience by these quiet, dignified people.”

derek lam, top left. Bottom center: silk-poplin hat, by derek lam.

GeOmetrIc chIc

Blouse, shorts, leather sandals and bag, all by derek lam.

56 january 2012 | travelandleisureasia.com

c l o c k w i s e f r o m t o p l e f t : c o u r t e s y o f d e r e k l a m ( 2 ) ; c o u r t e s y o f a m a n r e s o r t s ; c o u r t e s y o f d e r e k l a m ( 6 ) . h at : d av i d a l e X a n d e r a r n o l d

the jet set

c lo c kw i s e f r o m to p l e f t: c o u r t e sy o f m o n i q u e p é a n ; c o u r t e sy o f tc h e r a s s i h ot e l & s pa ; s t e p h e n G l a s s /c o u r t e sy o f m o n i q u e p é a n ; c o u r t e s y o f m o n i q u e p é a n ; © u l i ta / d r e a m s t i m e . c o m ; c o u r t e s y o f tc h e r a s s i h ot e l & s pa ( 2 ) ; c o u r t e s y o f m o n i q u e p é a n

whO:

Monique péan jewelrY DeSIGner

DeStInAtIOn CartaGena, CoLoMbia lOcAl cOlOr “i was struck by all the vibrantly painted spanish-colonial buildings along cartagena’s winding streets. it is an enchanting city.” trAvel ethOS “my father worked with the united nations, so i’m fortunate enough to have visited more than forty countries as a child. meanwhile, my mother was an artist and would take my sister and me to the local markets. this spurred my interest in indigenous crafts and culture. today, when i visit a new destination, i immerse myself in everything from the arts scene to the nightlife.” fAvOrIte hOtel “in cartagena we stayed at the tcherassi hotel & Spa (at right; 6-21 Calle del Sargento Mayor; tcherassihotels. com; doubles from US$355),

owned by colombian fashion designer silvia tcherassi. each of the seven rooms reflects her uniquely modern sensibility.” the DISh “the tcherassi Hotel’s restaurant, vera (57-5/6644445; dinner for two US$100), does an excellent penne arrabbiata with fresh mozzarella. if you’re in the mood for freshly caught seafood and live cuban music, go to La vitrola (Centro Calle Baloco 2-01; 57-5/6648243; dinner for two US$85).” ISlAnD Gem “We took a trip to isla Barú, off colombia’s caribbean coast, and stayed at the eco-friendly hotel agua (429 Calle de Ayos; hotelagua.com. co; doubles from US$560). on the beach i sketched earrings and necklaces incorporating a naturally shed buffalo horn that i’d discovered through a Bogotá artisans’ cooperative.”

ecO-chIc jewelrY

natural aquamarine and buffalo-horn– link necklace with recycled gold, by monique Péan. top right: monique Péan. top left: Buffalohorn and diamond earrings by monique Péan.

travelandleisureasia.com | january 2012 57

[st] scrapbook

InSpIrAtIOn “japanese street fashion is so experimental. the Harajuku girls aren’t afraid of anything—they wear the wildest outfits with confidence. color is a must. i used a lot of neon accents in my spring collection.”

whO:

amy Smilovic Owner AnD creAtIve DIrectOr, tIBI

tOp hOtel “i am such a die-hard Mandarin oriental (2-1-1 Nihonbashi Muromachi, Chuo-ku; mandarinoriental.com; doubles from ¥37,360) guest— the service is exceptional. the views of the city from the rooms of the tokyo tower are incredible.” BrInG It BAcK “my two boys, Gabe and charlie, insist that i bring them the latest toys not

DeStInAtIOn FLorenCe, aLabaMa trAvel ethOS “i like to unplug completely but i am always seeking inspiration for my clothing. Florence is filled with ordinary people who exude southern hospitality and style.” Sweet hOme AlABAmA “the muscle shoals area, nearby, is a music mecca. Wilson Pickett, etta james, aretha Franklin, the stones and Bob dylan all cut records here. you can tour the renowned FaMe recording Studios (603 E. Avalon Ave.; 1-256/381-0801), where so many greats cranked out albums.” SOuthern StYle

Chambray suit, by Billy reid. Far right: Billy reid.

vIntAGe fInDS “ye ole General Store (219 N. Seminary St.; 1-256/764-0601) is the place

58 january 2012 | travelandleisureasia.com

available in the u.s. last time it was figurines from a japanese video game [below right].” BAcKStOrY “i decided to pursue fashion in 1997 when my husband was promoted and we moved to Hong kong. We lived there for four years, during which i visited tokyo, too. that’s when i created tibi.” ASIAn fuSIOn “the locals love their sushi, but they also love italian food. at pasta house aWkitchen (Shin-Marunouchi Bldg., 5F, 1-5-1 Marunouchi; 81-3/5224-8071; dinner for two ¥10,400) we had a mint-chip gelato—made tableside with liquid nitrogen—for dessert.”

ASIAn flAIr

silk dress, by tibi. Far left: amy smilovic.

to find overalls, hats and other stock that’s no longer available from old american brands like carhartt, Pointer and duck Head—stuff that my father [pictured with the designer] would wear. He’s a huge source of inspiration for my work.” luncheOnette “trowbridge’s ice Cream & Sandwich bar (316 N. Court St.; 1-256/764-1503; lunch for two US$9) has been a local favorite since it opened in 1918. i always order the Babysitter: hot dogs with chili and mustard on whitebread toast.” fAvOrIte hOtel “the Marriott Shoals (10 Hightower Place; marriottshoals.com; doubles from US$157) has a great tennessee river vista and the best pool in town.”

whO:

billy reid fAShIOn DeSIGner

to p : c l o c k w i s e f r o m l e f t : c o u r t e s y o f a m y s m i l o v i c ; c o u r t e s y o f m a n d a r i n o r i e n ta l to k yo ; c o u r t e s y o f a m y s m i l o v i c ( 2 ) ; t e r u o n i s h i b o t t o m : c l o c k w i s e f r o m l e f t : c o u r t e s y o f b i l ly r e i d ; c o u r t e s y o f m u s c l e s h o a l s s o u n d ; c o u r t e s y o f b i l ly r e i d ( 3 )

DeStInAtIOn tokyo

[st] travel uniform

sean kUnjambU on the moVe WHetHer at tHe airPort or Beside a FasHion runWay, tHe GloBetrottinG celeBrity stylist Favors an easy, casual look

“I’ve got an unfussy style,” says Sean Kunjambu, whose latest project, the Wing Shya–Tony Chan movie Love in Space, features his costumes and production design. Born in Mauritius, and raised in London and Singapore, the Hong Kong–based fashion stylist is a fan of “old, torn T-shirts” and has tastes as eclectic as his job is peripatetic. His preferred travel destinations: “Paris, London, Milan, New York, and Los Angeles—I’m a city person.” While his work might veer toward glamorous excess when styling stars from Maggie Q to Maggie Cheung, Kunjambu believes that piecing together any outfit should be effortless. “You can never be convincingly stylish when you spend too many hours thinking about it. Just buy what you like, wear it and own the look,” he says. Here, he wears a vintage t-shirt bought in a Parisian market. “I always put comfort first.” His slacks, by Diesel, are slouchy but stylish, while his Louis Vuitton Stephen Sprouse scarf, made from cashmere and silk, “has both street cred and the softness and texture of tissue.” The comfort factor extends to his footwear. Take this pair of Converse high tops—perfect for “rushing to catch a flight.”—ma r k le a n

Photographed by Carmen Chan

pAcKInG pIcKS headphoneS “my monster Beats by dr. dre headphones cancel out the inflight drone. they’re best for long-haul.” SunGLaSSeS “my eyes are always red when i fly, and wearing this pair from lanvin is the ideal fix.” redoxon “i pop one when i board and another right before landing. it gives me an instant boost.” toner “jurlique’s rosewater balancing mist keeps things fresh and easy” on the go. MoiSturiZer Gentle and kind on the skin, kunjambu’s alma de Palma moisturizer was “an amazing find, uncovered during a delayed flight.” LuGGaGe kunjambu loves takashi murakami’s “hip and classic” camouflage print on his limitededition louis vuitton monogramouflage Pegase suitcase. He pairs it with a sleek, practical celine tote.

travelandleisureasia.com | january 2012 59

LUXURY VILLAS IN THAILAND From THB 65 Million

W: kohsamuiresidences.com E: richard@amburaya.com T: +66 (0) 77 425 080

Amburaya Residences (Koh Samui) Co., Ltd. Registered and paid up capital Baht 1,000,000. Registered address: 4/1 Moo 1, Tambol Maenam, Koh Samui, Suratthani 84320. Site location: on title deed numbers: 12757, 13188, 13529, 13530, 13531, 13614 and 13691. Project area: 26 Rai 3 Ngan 19.7 Sq. Wah. Presently mortgaged with Siam Commercial Bank Plc. Customers will pay the expense of the common areas according to the Sale and Purchase Agreement and/or regulations of the project. Bangkok contact: Tel. (0)2 253 4300 Fax. (0)2 254 2441. Samui contact: Tel. (0)7 724 5133 Fax. (0)7 742 7524. An Amburaya Residences (Koh Samui) Co., Ltd. project. The Residences at W Retreat Koh Samui are not owned, developed or sold by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., W International, Inc. or their affiliates. Amburaya Properties (Koh Samui) Co., Ltd. uses the W 速 trademarks and trade names under a license from W International, Inc.

StrategieS

I l l u s t r at e d b y P e t e r O u m a n s k I

travel smarter

Travel Forecast 2012

cruIse deals galOre. ImPrOved aIrPOrts arOund asIa. a stream Of new hOtels. t+l takes a lOOk at the trends that are transfOrmIng the travel landscaPe. here, Our PredIctIOns fOr the year ahead. RepoRted by jennifeR chen, kaRRie jacobs, stiRling kelso, chRistopheR kucway, maRk oRwoll, kathRyn o’shea-evans, tom samiljan and aaRti viRani

Photo Illustrations by Dan Saelinger

travelandleisureasia.com | january 2012 61

strategies fOrecast Hotels

toURIsM

Stay at a new hotel. There are so many new

More Chinese travelers will be on the road, and you’ll find hotels adjusting to their needs.

hotels and resorts opening around Asia this year, talk about them starts sounding like a high-stakes poker game. Every major hotel chain is opening new addresses in China, and you’re not paying attention if you haven’t heard of Sanya. Hainan Island is booming, with a new St. Regis having opened there at the end of November, an Anantara resort soon to be ERS, HOTELS CATERING THEM in the mixTO and a Shangri-La slated to be up and running by the end of the year. There will be new W hotels in Singapore, Guangzhou and Bangkok before you can find your coolest sunglasses. In Bali, keep an eye peeled for a new Anantara resort, a Sheraton, Mulia and Westin. Most importantly, new openings usually mean discounted rates.

cRUIsIng

You’ll consider a cruise— even if you’re not a “cruiser.” by tHe nUMbeRs

From custom-made beds to bigger cabins, cruise lines are courting a new set of travelers by making their staterooms sexier—and more comfortable—with every new build. “Cruise companies are realizing there’s a generation of people who’ve never taken a cruise,” says Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor-in-chief of Cruise Critic. “They’re hoping that by making their cabins as luxurious as possible, they can lure customers from the chic hotels they normally frequent.” That means spacious, open-air balconies on river-cruise company Uniworld’s Antoinette, daybeds and MORE CHINESE TRAVELERS, HOTELS CATERING TO THEM glass-enclosed solariums on Seabourn’s Odyssey, Sojourn and Quest, and leather headboards and waterfall showers , MORE ONE-STOP-SHOP VACATIONS on Norwegian’s forthcoming Breakaway.

1,200

LATIONS UP

If you’ve never been on a cruise, try wetting your feet with a river cruise, which will generally involve smaller ships and ports. Viking River Cruises is adding 10 more N ships to its fleet by 2014, each with generously SKI Csized TIO cabins A A verandas. that have floor-to-ceiling windows as well asVprivate

t+l tIP

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hotels being built in china over the next two years— more than any other country worldwide

In the 1950’s, americans transformed the travel landscape in europe when they began vacationing there in large numbers. the next wave of globe-trotters? china’s thriving middle class, and this time the impact will be global. with 100 million chinese travelers expected to go abroad by 2015. the payoff is huge: chinese visitors to the u.s. last year spent on average us$6,200 per person versus us$3,000 by u.k. citizens. “the chinese traveler is our economic stimulus,” says robert bobo, spokesman for the u.s. travel association, which has a campaign to streamline visa procedures for chinese visitors. hilton, starwood and millennium have launched programs worldwide to hire more mandarin speakers, train staff in chinese etiquette and provide culturally specific creature comforts: you tiao (fried crullers) and congee for breakfast and chinese tv channels in the rooms.

DELAYS DOWN, CANCELLAT valUe You will pay more for your hotel room and airline ticket, but save on packages and cruises. Thanks to increased demand, limited supply and fluctuating fuel prices, airfares and hotel-room rates are expected to rise by as much as 5 percent in 2012, according to Smith Travel Research. That’s why it’s more worthwhile than ever to lock in better rates for both through sites such as Travelocity and Expedia, which bundle your flight, room and car rental into packages that can shave as much as US$500 off the trip cost. For exceptionally good value this year, consider a cruise. “An explosion of capacity in the luxury cruise market is helping to drive never-before-seen early-bookings deals,” says Bob Levinstein, CEO of deal site CruiseCompete, citing Azamara Club Cruises’ and Seabourn’s growing fleets. Oceania Cruises’ new Caribbean and Panama sailings include free airfare if you book five months ahead, while Windstar Cruises takes 15 percent off reservations made six months before departure.

secURIty

In the U.S., airport security measures will become slightly less rigid—if you’re a lucky frequent flier. By 2015, the Transportation Security Administration plans to let you wear your shoes through security (you’ll step on a shoescanning mat). But the real news for 2012 is PreCheck, a TSA pilot program that speeds travelers through the screening process at four airports (Atlanta, Miami, Detroit and Dallas–Ft. Worth), with more to come. For now, you have to be a member of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Trusted Traveler program or a specially selected Delta or American frequent flier to participate. If you’re one of the few, what privileges await? You can wear your shoes, belt and lightweight outerwear, and carry on your laptop and liquids. It’s a big step forward, but even qualified travelers may be redirected to a regular security line to keep terrorists on their toes. The random nature of the process won’t win any raves from road warriors.

t+l tIP

asIa’s aIRpoRts

Why is it that airports around Asia are constantly rated as the best in the world? so you’ve noticed that the region’s airports have become the new models for seamless travel. you’re not imagining things. In its latest passenger survey, airports council International has the top five airports all based in asia— that’s out of a total of 140 airports worldwide. In the RO M A N T IC coveted top spot is seoul Incheon, followed by singapore, hong HO LIDAY FAMI LY kong, beijing and shanghai Pudong. the council’s public affairs manager vivian fung attributes the continued high rankings—seoul Incheon has been number one for six years now—to the region’s strong service culture; its modern facilities; and a commitment from those who manage the airports to keep ahead of the pack. read between the lines: that means cutting down on waiting times, whether at check-in or the luggage carousel. adapting to passenger whims is another trait common around asia’s gateways. to that end, shanghai hongqiao was named the most improved airport in asia.

LESS DECISION FATIGUE, MO VACATI O NS

SKI

aIR tRavel

Go local with airport food If you find yourself with time on your hands and an empty stomach, the region’s airports are increasingly offering local specialties for grabbing a bite on the run. There’s a host of Malay dining options at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Hint: if nothing strikes your fancy in the terminal you’re in, hop on the airport’s train and head to one of the satellite departure halls. For those on international flights, the Satay Club Grill & Bar is a good choice. Or try something very local at Singapore’s Changi International Airport, head to Ya Kun Kaya Toast in the departures hall of Terminal 1 or the basement in Terminal 3. Either way, you’ll find a variety of grilled toast options with savory or sweet fillings. In the arrivals hall at Hong Kong’s airport, Crystal Jade is the choice for noodles and dumplings.

travelandleisureasia.com | january 2012 63

strategies fOrecast

TI CK ET

tecHnology

you’ll travel with fewer gadgets. Prepare to pack lighter. The latest tablets and notebooks are getting skinnier, and they’re also faster and more full-featured—witness the balanced, crisp photos of Angkor Thom you took on your tablet. Besides cameras, these do-it-all devices can function as everything from e-readers and movie players to videophones and Wi-Fi hot spots. The other reason to leave those extra gadgets home? We’re moving from an era of hardware supremacy to an age of software, apps and anytimeaccessible pictures, music, videos and documents via iCloud, SugarSync and other online storage services. With data being stored “in the cloud,” let’s hope it isn’t also a big year for hackers.

loyalty pRogRaMs

by tHe nUMbeRs

59%

Companies will be courting you to become their brand ambassadors.

the increase in iPad users in the u.s. between february and september 2011 figure courtesy of comscore, Inc.

to stand out among seemingly endless choices, hotels, airlines and even credit cards are rewarding customers who promote their brand on social media. travelers who use foursquare, a locationbased check-in app, can link their account to american express for discounts on purchases. In 2010, virgin america began offering frequent-flier miles for geo check-ins; Jetblue has followed suit and awards 100 points for check-ins via facebook Places at its 49 terminals. expedia lets travelers earn points on more than 140 airlines and 70,000 hotels when they book through the new expedia rewards program and gives its 1.1 million facebook fans early access to sales and promotions.

Your friends will help you plan your next trip. socIal MedIa

If the plethora of “social travel” apps, sites and services is any indication, the days of user reviews from strangers on sites

like TripAdvisor and Expedia are limited. The mini boom is a borderline glut—Gtrot, Gogobot, Afar, Trippy, Tripped Off and Tripl:

64 january 2012 | travelandleisureasia.com

each is aiming to become your go-to resource for sharing travel tips on Facebook. They’re pitching themselves as crowd-sourced alternatives to planted or inaccurate reviews

tRavel agents

Someone else will make the decisions. After years of comparing and contrasting online, travelers now find Webbooking more exhausting than exhilarating. The average person visits 21 sites during nine sessions while preparing for a trip, an information overload that can lead to paralysis—a symptom of decision fatigue, according to Dr. Michael Young, a American university professor. The solution? The one-stop-shop vacation. Travel agents are reporting a boost in business: 80 percent of Virtuoso advisers saw an uptick in bookings over the past year. American Express Travel also launched the new Nextpedition program, which tailors mystery trips based on a personality quiz. Google, meanwhile, is busy “Google-izing” search engines such as Kayak and Orbitz. Eventually you’ll be able to type in just a few key words, and Google will suggest itineraries that suit you—in an attempt to do what a travel agent does.

on other travel portals. Who better to trust than people you know, right? We haven’t seen this many me-too services since the 1990’s dot-com era, and a shakeout is inevitable.

Our favorite integration of social media: the vacation-rental service AirBnB recently added a useful feature highlighting your Facebook friends’ (and their friends’) available apartments.

t+l tIP

smarttraveler

the inS and outS of modern travel

Travel HealTH 101

nOthIng sPOIls a hOlIday mOre than beIng sIck. t+l shares sOme Of Its tOP tIPs On stayIng healthy whIle On the rOad. by jennifeR chen It was a trip of a lifetime, nearly ruined by a chicken salad. My husband and I were staying at a pleasantly rustic lodge in northern Madagascar. We spent one morning exploring the Ankàrana reserve, watching lemurs negotiate limestone pinnacles and finding chameleons no bigger than a fingernail. By the time we returned to the lodge, we were ravenous, and I polished off a big salad with grilled chicken. Bad idea. My mistake was not just eating raw food, but eating raw food in a nearly empty resort in the middle of nowhere. (Did I mention there was only one other couple at the lodge?) I quickly came down with the worst case of food poisoning I’ve ever experienced—strong words from a longtime expatriate in Asia. A stomach bug is just one of the many health hazards that can derail a holiday—especially in Asia. Nasty mosquito-borne illnesses such as malaria are endemic in the region. Last year, Cambodia, Singapore and Vietnam recorded rises in dengue fever cases, while Japanese encephalitis sickens up to 50,000 people a year in Asia according to the World Health Organization. Hepatitis A and B, cholera and typhoid also lurk in this region. And let’s not forget that densely populated Asian cities are perfect incubators for 66 january 2012 | travelandleisureasia.com

new strains of flu as well as deadly viruses such as SARS. The WHO also cites reckless driving as a leading cause of death in the developing world. Before you buy that bio-hazard suit, here are some practical steps you can take to ensure a healthy holiday. 1 Planning is essenTial. Dr. Limin Wijaya, a consultant at the department of infectious diseases at Singapore General Hospital, suggests visiting a doctor before a holiday to update any vaccinations and to ask for any destination-specific advice. Familiarize yourself with the health concerns of your destination. The website of the Centers for Disease Control (cdc.gov) is a treasure trove of information that is regularly updated. One caveat: well-seasoned travelers might find it overly cautious. 2 Pack a medicine kiT, especially if you’re headed somewhere remote. Among the basics that Wijaya recommends are anti-diarrhea medications such as loperamide, oral rehydration sachets, antihistamines, painkillers, insect repellants, sunscreen and first-aid supplies. Vitamin C supplements such as Emergen-C are handy when you feel a cold coming. U.S.-based Adventure Illustrated by Wasinee Chantakorn

Medical (adventuremedicalkits.com) sells ready-to-go kits for thrill-seekers as well as cautious parents. If you’re on regular medication, don’t forget to bring copies of your prescriptions—and check the availability of the medications in the country you’re going to. 3 slaTHer on THe rePellenT To HelP PrevenT mosquiTo-borne diseases. Heavy

recent flooding in Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia means more mosquitoes, so take extra precautions and keep an eye out for any news of outbreaks. If you’re traveling to areas with high malaria risk— rural Cambodia, East Timor, the more far-flung islands of Indonesia—take antimalarials. Double check whether the strain of malaria found in the region is drug-resistant.

You’re probably safe. Chicken salad in an isolated lodge in Madagascar with only four guests? Need I say more? 5 wasH your Hands wiTH soaP. Face masks—especially the disposable kind—are not the best tool in preventing air-borne infections. They’re often worn incorrectly and they become wet from the condensation of your breath, which makes them less effective. Hand-washing works because we are constantly touching our eyes, noses or mouths after placing our hands on potentially contaminated surfaces. 6 don’T PeT sTray animals. Asia is witnessing a resurgence in rabies—according to the WHO, more than 80 percent of the annual world’s cases are found in the region. ✚

4 Play iT saFe wiTH Food and waTer.

Use common sense when it comes to eating and drinking. At a busy Bangkok food stall that’s serving freshly prepared hot food?

get the guide for more ideas and recommendations on staying safe on trips around southeast asia, go to travelandleisureasia.com

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journal The organic garden at the Four Seasons Tented Camp.

travel topicS in depth, vivid viSualS and more

natural grOcerIes

in the far north of thailand, a resort takes a modern look at the wisdom behind local flora and fauna. and guests, writes Robyn eckhaRdt, are the ones who benefit. photogRaphed by david hageRman

travelandleisureasia.com | january 2012 69

journal OrganIc

r

iding an elephant is a workout. There’s the mounting, a lower-backtwisting, upper-arm-ripping maneuver that requires planting one foot firmly on the pachyderm’s foreleg, swinging the other over its great boulder of a back and using its ears to hoist yourself up. Staying astride the animal’s leathery neck—hands spread atop its lobed forehead, legs gripping its shoulders—tests your biceps and your glutes. There’s the kicking, one foot to either ear to direct her left or right. Hit the gym for two hours with a squeeze ball and you’ll approximate the ache in the thighs that repeated attempts at the “stop” command, delivered by pressing both sides of the animal’s head with your knees, will generate. Luckily, my go at playing mahout took place on the southern bank of the Ruak River, a waterway that snakes along the Thai-Burma border and is the setting for Four Seasons’ northern Thailand outpost. Here, tucked up against forest-carpeted hills, is a camp a Boy or Girl Scout could only dream about: 15 canvas “tents” with polished timber floors, copper soaking tubs, decadently stocked mini bars, outdoor rain showers, private decks and sweeping views over Burma, plus a bar, a restaurant and spa. Comfort in spades, really, but I’d come to experience the resort’s more esoteric offerings. After clumsily dismounting my several-ton ride I hobbled off to the spa, where warm poultices filled with fragrant herbs urged my overchallenged muscles to release pent-up lactic acid and an application of hot bamboo tubes to my back and shoulders steamrollered away the kinks. Ninety minutes later I emerged still flying from the high that comes with getting up close and personal with a real live elephant, but sans the accompanying aches and pains. The treatments, which are based on indigenous knowledge of the healing power of

70 january 2012 | travelandleisureasia.com

local plants, are part of a series of health and wellness programs recently introduced at Four Seasons’ Tented Camp. Also in store are foraging walks, tours of the resort’s organic garden and wellness cuisine options.  “Luxury is luxury, but we wanted to offer something different,” explained general manager Yonatan Kachko as darkness descended over the camp one evening. The programs offer a different way for guests to connect with their surroundings—a particularly lush part of Thailand known for its remarkable diversity of flora and fauna—and gain an understanding of an aspect of northern Thai culture that’s not widely known. 

i

f it tastes bad it must be good for you,” I silently reminded myself as I bit into a makham pom, a small fruit with the scientific name Phyllanthus emblica (it’s also known as the Indian gooseberry). The fruit is flavorless at first, then tart and bitter before finishing with a mouth-drying astringency. One of nature’s

wild THailand

Clockwise from opposite page: Spa ingredients include papaya and rice; one of the camp's chefs; miang kham, made with wild pepper leaves ; gathering Asian pennywort; a forest bridge.

great antioxidants, it’s used in Thailand to treat colds, asthma and indigestion. Northerners savor it at the table pickled or as an accompaniment to spicy nam prik (dip). All this I learned while standing on a patch of dirt covered with dozens of the translucent green orbs knocked with a stick from a tree by Tented Camp head gardener Sawat “Rob” Taboonreung. Just twenty minutes into a foraging walk with him and spa supervisor Porntipa “Jaeb” Borkaew, my mind was spinning with information and my notebook was running out of blank pages. Sprawling over 53 hectares of forests, seasonally flooded grasslands and river banks, the camp is home to more than one thousand plants and herbs, many of which are edible or have medicinal uses. A typical foraging walk covers only a fraction of the resort’s natural bounty, but so far I’d harvested fern tips (good for high blood pressure) from plants growing amid grass near the river; learned that the stems, leaves and purple fuzzy flowers of a local variety of mimosa are made into tea for those with kidney problems;

and compared the bitterness of Chromolaena odorata, or Siam weed—whose leaves are eaten to relieve stomach aches—to that of makhom pom (the Siam weed won). My foraged finds would be supplemented with herbs and vegetables from the camp’s small garden, part of a growing organics program that takes place against the backdrop of an increasing awareness among northern Thais of the health risks associated with conventional farming and animal husbandry. Northern Thailand’s first community-supported agriculture marketing program, where consumers buy produce from organic farms, is almost one year old. A natural extension of the resort’s foray into organics, its health and wellness program got off the ground last spring with input from Australian Gerry Bodeker, a specialist in traditional medicine and international development who teaches at Columbia and Oxford universities. Bodeker’s specialization has taken him from Vietnam, where he works with local scientists on medical-plant research, to Malaysia and the co-writing of a book on Malaysian health traditions, to the Thai-Burma border, where he oversaw the establishment of an indigenous health program and associated clinics for Karen refugees. He says experience has shown that the most effective way of eliciting local knowledge of traditional medical practices is to tap the memories of those old enough to have grown up without a dependency on Western medicine. Brought to the Tented Camp to advise on incorporating plants growing on the property into spa treatments, he began with a walk with head gardener Rob. “I asked about his childhood experiences with natural healing. I said, ‘If you cut yourself, what would you use to stop the bleeding?’ and ‘What did you eat or drink if you got a stomach ache?’ At the end of that walk we came away with a huge basket of herbs!” Bodeker recalls. “It was really a light-bulb moment” for Tented Camp management. Though the resort originally envisioned the program focusing on treatments, Bodeker encouraged them to think beyond the spa. “I told them that these herbs could be the basis of a whole new wellness cuisine.”

a

pretty northern Thai lady, Jaeb has bright eyes and glowing skin that are a great advertisement for the local diet. She pointed out the resort’s five bamboo species to me on our foraging walk with Rob. One provides edible shoots during the rainy season, while the others are transformed, by the septuagenarian in-house master carver, into serving utensils for the Burma Bar and the serene Nong Yao restaurant, and rolling pins for use at the spa. » travelandleisureasia.com | january 2012 71

journal OrganIc

HealTHy TasTes

Clockwise from left: Kaffir limes, pandan leaves, lemongrass and fresh turmeric; The Burma Bar glows at sunset in the north of Thailand; the resort’s herb-rich gaeng khua gai, or stirred chicken curry.

Nature’s grocery store was generous. Thanks to Jaeb’s keen eye and Rob’s harvesting expertise, my rattan basket was full by the time we’d looped past the tents, down to the river and back to the resort’s reception area. There were blush pink torch ginger flowers (sour and peppery, a good antidote for hives) and banana buds, jin ju chai, a type of wild celery growing in great clumps at the edges of the elephants’ grazing ground (nerve tonic), pak hom or “Popeye” spinach, so named for its impressive iron content, pandan leaves (Southeast Asia’s vanilla and a natural diuretic) and Asiatic pennywort, a plump, glossy-leafed ground cover prized for its cooling properties which, boasting an appetizing tartness, is as tasty as it is good for you. An opportunity for an impromptu natural healing demonstration presented itself when I removed my sandal 72 january 2012 | travelandleisureasia.com

to find a small leech lodged in the hollow between two toes. After pulverizing a few leaves from the Siam weed plant Rob showed me how to apply the poultice to my wound. Within three minute the bleeding had stopped. Before presenting my foraged finds to chef Pisan “Bom” Torphet, who would transform into lunch, we plundered the small organic garden, which is set just outside the resort’s kitchen. Thailand’s wet-season rains hadn’t done the garden any favors, but its beds displayed an admirable crop of northern Thai kitchen staples—pakkat or flowering mustard, sawtooth herb and mint, galangal and turmeric, wild pepper leaves and the long, light green peppers that are grilled and pounded with shallots and garlic for the dip nam prik num— as well as more obscure herbs and vegetables. We picked wild lime leaves and uprooted lemongrass, and pulled pretty red and yellow-speckled leaves from a plant from the croton family for khua heng gai, a northern Thai dry-cooked dish of chicken with chilies, garlic and wild leaves whose mention brought a delirious, hungry grin to the face of everyone within hearing distance. Opportunities to eat and drink healthily at the camp extend to the breakfast menu at Nong Yao, which includes a selection of juices made with ingredients like fresh turmeric (an anti-inflammatory that studies have linked to low rates of Alzheimer’s in rural India) and papaya (an antioxidant). And this month, the resort will introduce a menu of Thai medicinal teas made with organic products by Chiang Mai’s Phaya Meng Rai Hospital, a renowned center of natural medicine. It’s a fitting secret ingredient in the camp’s mix of nature-centered luxury, one that was here long before anyone thought of the area as a perfect spot for a resort. ✚ four seasons tented camp Chiang Rai; 66-53/910-200;

fourseasons.com; doubles from Bt79,000, all-inclusive.

journal art

generatIOn c PassIOnate and InsPIred, emergIng and energetIc, a new artIstIc cOmmunIty based In PhnOm Penh Offers a whOle new lOOk at mOdern cambOdIa. by naomi lindt. photogRaphed by cedRic aRnold

o

n a balmy September evening in Phnom Penh, a crowd of some 40 expats has gathered in front of the National Museum, whose russet-hued eaves catch light from the ascending moon. But rather than examining the centuries-old stone and bronze sculptures and images of Buddha in and around the French colonial structure, tonight they’ll pile into a double-decker tour bus to experience something entirely new: a collection of works generated by young, local artists on display in galleries across the city. The art, which ranges from architectural charcoal wall drawings to photographs of Phnom Penh’s urban landscape to street art, form a component of the 10-day Our City Festival, an event that examines how Cambodia’s sleepy capital is changing. Phnom Penh is undergoing a transformation unlike anything the city has seen in 50 years, with ambitious high-rises, towering apartment complexes and sparkling shopping malls stocked with Korean and Japanese labels emerging from the capital’s dusty streets. Roads are being repaved, new parks built and swanky restaurants catering to wealthy Cambodians seem to open everyday. With this sea change has also come an explosion of creativity, driven by a need to comment and reflect on the way society is shifting, from social mores to family

74 january 2012 | travelandleisureasia.com

dynamics. What this means for the cultural enthusiast is a calendar filled with events like jammed openings of new galleries, community-based performances in a low-income housing project, or screenings by aspiring filmmakers. The city now hosts nearly half a dozen arts festivals a year, like Our City, and representatives from prestigious institutions such as the Singapore Art Museum and Sotheby’s are scouting Phnom Penh for young talent. Several Cambodian artists are now represented by galleries in London and New York, and rumor has it that at next year’s Documenta, the influential contemporary art exhibit that takes place in Germany every five years, sculptor Sopheap Pich will become the first Cambodian artist to show at the event. There’s a palpable sense, both from artists and gallery owners, of excitement about the cultural landscape in the city today. “There’s an urgency to get work out there that’s talking about the rapid development happening in Cambodia,” says Kate O’Hara, cofounder of ArtXprojects, an art collaborative that organizes pop-up events around the city, and manager of newly opened Romeet Gallery, which shows work by

Cambodian artist Sokuntevy Oeur. Left: An untitled piece by Sin Rithy. Opposite from left: Sopheap Pich posing amid one of his pieces; part of a new breed, Leang Seckon at his home studio.

emerging artists from Phare Ponleu Selpak, the art school in the northwestern town of Battambang. “It’s a hive of activity, with artists and curators feeding off of each other. There’s a strong engagement, passion and energy coming from artists to look at their contemporary environment.” That buzz is apparent later that night at Romeet’s launch, which includes live circus performers, drummers and street painting. Several artists work on canvases—one uses a candle to melt the paint, another uses his hands in place of brushes—while locals look on, wide-eyed at the unusual spectacle. While Romeet’s gallery is filled with paintings and sculptures by recent Phare graduates, another space that opens that night, Top Art, features experimental Khmer calligraphy works by artist Thang Sothea in a gallery set high above Phnom Penh’s Sisowath Quay, where tourists flock to find dollar drafts and plates of fried rice. Work by emerging artists hangs at Teo+Namfah Gallery, owned by American-Cambodian couple Brad and Rattana

for the cultural enthusiast, there is a calendar filled with openings of new galleries, performances or screenings

Gordon. The gallery’s first show in April presented works by three artists: two young Mongolians and a FrenchCambodian; shows by young Phnom Penh artists are in the 2012 roster. And earlier this year, in February, Sa Sa Bassac Gallery opened its doors in a crumbling shop house a block west of the riverfront. The 60-square-meter space traces its roots to 2007, when six young photographers—Rattana Vandy, Lyno Vuth, Vollak Kong, Sokchanlina Lim, Khvay Samnang and Heng Ravuth—formed Stiev Selapak, an arts collective. Within two years, the group established Sa Sa Art Gallery, Phnom Penh’s first artist-run gallery, providing a muchneeded venue for emerging photographers and painters. In 2010, Stiev Selapak created Sa Sa Art Projects, a non-profit space housed in a low-income building in central Phnom Penh where residencies and community-based art education projects are organized. Meanwhile, the Sa Sa Art Gallery merged with Bassac Art Projects, an initiative founded in 2007 by Erin Gleeson, an American curator and scholar of Cambodian contemporary art, who’s spent much of the last decade working with artists in Phnom Penh. One of Sa Sa Bassac’s most memorable shows presented work by Khvay Samnang, a founding member of Stiev Selapak. The filling in of lakes around Phnom Penh—most notably Boeung Kak Lake, once known as a backpacker hangout—to make way for commercial developments has made headlines over the last year, raising issues of land rights abuses, corruption and the displacement of more than 30,000 people. Samnang’s “Untitled” series of selfportraits provided a stark commentary on the situation: the artist poured buckets of sand over his head while standing in various locations, both inside the garbage-strewn lakes and along sections that had already been filled in by » travelandleisureasia.com | january 2012 75

journal art Inside the Java Arts Café. From left: Sa Sa Bassac Gallery; Lyno Vuth of Sa Sa Bassac Gallery in the gallery’s library; a mixed media piece by Long Kosal.

construction crews, often facing intimidation by the police and the contaminated waters themselves. “I see that that there is a lack of identity created by Cambodians for themselves,” Gleeson says, citing a past where French, Chinese and Cambodian voices from abroad have told the story of Cambodia. “When you look at Cambodian art being made today, you learn about Cambodia today, about the artists’ day-to-day lives. It’s as if a book is being written with each show. They’re exploring themes related to family, health, city development and spiritual practices. My goal is to build networks for the artists overseas so their work can be in a dialogue with other works and the story they’re telling can be told.” “Hundreds of young people come to our openings,” she adds. “That’s the important part of what we’re doing. They’ll be interested in art for the rest of their lives, hopefully their kids will be. Maybe, they’ll become collectors.” Building a base among locals is no small feat in a country where contemporary art is still viewed as an oddity. This is a place, after all, where political and economic stability are relatively new phenomena and much of the country still struggles to get by on a daily basis. The Khmer Rouge made it its mission to eliminate all forms of elitism, targeting intellectuals, artists and singers, so it’s no wonder time is needed for creative endeavors to rebound and reintegrate themselves in the public consciousness. This is where organizations like ArtXprojects and Sa Sa Art Projects come into play, which take art out of the intimidating, cerebral gallery space and to the streets and locales of Phnom Penh. 76 january 2012 | travelandleisureasia.com

there is a growing confidence among young people that they can pursue art as a profession Through its work in the White Building, where artists and dancers who survived the Khmer Rouge settled, Sa Sa Art Projects aims “to bring art to the doorstep of the people,” says Lyno Vuth, also a Stiev Selapak founder. Through arts instruction and community forums, the group aims to build the average Cambodians’ understanding of art in an environment that is fun, sociable and meaningful. “We want to create a platform to engage people in issues, whether it’s land rights or housing,” he says. “We are exploring new Cambodia, the way it is changing. We hope to make the audience think about this and whether it’s a good way or a bad way. We aim to raise a critical perspective.” And slowly, it seems to be working: Vuth says that there are more artist-run spaces and initiatives popping up, along with a growing confidence among young people in general that they can pursue art as a profession. “Right now, there is a sense of, ‘Let’s do this, let’s do that.’ Artists aren’t waiting, but rather creating their own opportunities.” The fact that a few Cambodians artists have gained a firm foothold on the international stage has provided muchneeded examples of success and encouragement for young people to follow their creative instincts, despite what their parents might think. Leang Seckon, who explores themes like family, nature and the war in his heartfelt collages and

cambodian aRt addRess book artXprojects artxprojects.org. java café & gallery 56 sihanouk blvd.; 855-23/997-522; javaarts.org. our city festival

ourcityfestival.org. sculptures, has exhibited or had residencies Romeet 34 st. 178; in more than 10 countries, while Sopheap 855/9295-3567; Pich, who lived abroad for nearly 30 years phareps.org. before moving back to Cambodia in 2001, sa sa art projects frequently shows his dramatic, organically sasaart.info. sa sa bassac 18 shaped handmade woven bamboo structures sothearos blvd.; across Asia, Europe and in New York. 855/7737-4110; “When I arrived 10 years ago, there were sasabassac.com. just a few artists,” Pich says. “Cambodians are “Taking the time to get to know the teo+namfah 21 st. 214; 855/1145-7711; thinking about art as a serious occupation, as Khmer art scene is like taking off that teonamfahgallery.com. something you can do for the rest of your life. superficial top layer and looking at real top art 155 sisowath It’s hard to balance the idea that you can be Cambodians. This is what’s happening here. Quay; 855/9215-9786. a hermit, be an individual, to make a living. This is what people are talking about. You’re to find out more about upcoming cultural We don’t lack artists. Cambodians have been not going to be told these things just coming events in phnom penh, making art throughout their history. But the in as a tourist. Artists are at the core of what check asialifeguide.com and ladypenh.com. idea of an individual speaking through their this new generation is about.” She adds, work is new.” there’s more here than “temples and trauma.” A key player in this evolution has been Among the many young artists Langlois Java Café & Gallery, started by Dana Langlois 11 years ago. has nurtured is Sokuntevy Oeur, a 28-year-old from Langlois’s white walls have been a springboard for many Battambang, who ran away from home four years ago to a career, including Pich’s and Seckon’s. The American has make a living as an artist in Phnom Penh, defying her become an ambassador for Cambodia’s artists, setting parents’ will that she marry and become a housewife. them up with residencies, bringing them to art fairs and Oeur’s installations and surrealist paintings, which explore organizing shows of their works overseas. In 2013, she’ll be Cambodia’s rigid tenets of family and gender roles, landed the visual-arts curator of Season of Cambodia, a festival that her a show in Singapore; she also participated in the city’s will see nearly 200 Khmer performing and visual artists on recent Affordable Art Fair and will go to Berlin in February New York City’s stages, screens, galleries and public spaces. to participate in a cross-cultural arts collaboration. “What I like about what’s happening here is that there’s “I’m happy to be a Cambodian artist,” Oeur says. such integrity in the artists themselves,” she says. “They “Cambodia needs it. We need people to create new ideas, aren’t out to make a quick buck. Despite the fact that in just like every country does. Sometimes, people will ask me some cases they can’t feed themselves, they are doing this. about Pol Pot, but I wasn’t here then. We have to move on. There’s incredible force in the work—emotional, Today is what’s happening. Of course we can’t forget about psychological, physical.” our history, but you live for today and you see for today.” ✚

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journal drIvIng On a JOurney thrOugh calIfOrnIa’s eastern sIerra, michael fRank uncOvers a rugged land Of snOw-tInged mOuntaIns, cOwbOy vIllages and quIrky characters. photogRaphed by bRown w. cannon iii

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winTer wonderland Clockwise from top left: Alabama Hills Café, in Lone Pine; on the slopes at Mammoth Mountain; the view from Highway 395; Mammoth village; a local cowboy at Tatum Ranch, in Bishop Village; Convict Lake Resort, in Mammoth Lakes.

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ou know what?” my brother Steve says to me as we speed north along Highway 395. “I am not even sure I ever really looked out the car windows when we were kids.” Steve and I are heading into a part of California that we think we know because we drove through it countless times as boys on our way from Los Angeles to Mammoth Mountain, a ski resort on an extinct volcano in the Sierra that our father discovered in the 1950’s, not so long after its founder, Dave McCoy, hooked a rope up to the wheel of his Model A Ford and towed the first skiers up that mountain. As I gaze out the car windows I see, in rapid succession, a train slicing through the valley floor, Joshua trees poking their bony forms into the crisp morning, a dry creek bed, a tawny desert hare. A billboard flashes by: guns4us. No, we have never really looked. We will now. Over the next three days, Steve and I will poke around in some of the most striking landscape to be found anywhere in California: subtle desert, vast lakes, fairy-tale mountains that gradually wear a thicker and thicker »

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DAY 1 Movies, westerns in particular, have long loved this part of California, as we are reminded in Lone Pine, the first town we visit along the state’s fabled Highway 395, which cuts through the Owens Valley and leads up to Mammoth and beyond. At the museum of lone pine film history we bone up on the Hollywood connection. We get a kick out of Ken Maynard’s chaps (cumbersome), Gene Autry’s boots (snazzy) and the hilariously bejeweled Cadillac Eldorado that belonged to Nudie the Rodeo Tailor, who was born Nuta Kotlyarenko in 1902 in Kiev, went to America in 1913 and proceeded to invent the rhinestone-cowboy look. After lunch at the convivial alabama hills café, where the house-made berry pies are so freshly out of the oven the fruit is still sizzling, we check out the saddles and cowboy boots a few blocks away at Lloyd’s of Lone Pine, whose signage consists of a nearly life-size three-dimensional horse, Frosty, rearing up on its hind legs. A local woman watches me make a sketch. “You missed a memorable New Year’s Eve a few years back when a drunk climbed up and painted Frosty’s balls blue,” she says. “I bet you wish you could draw a picture of that.”

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frosting of snow. Towns with more stories, nooks, and idiosyncratic museums and shops in them than we ever imagined. Hot springs, warm bread…and some of the best skiing west of the Rockies.

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Back in the car, we drive farther into Inyo County. In Paiute, inyo means “dwelling place of the great spirit,” and with the vast desert and mighty Sierra anchoring the landscape to the west, it’s hard not to feel we’re in the presence of something ancient and profound. The area’s history of dislocation certainly contributes to the feeling. I am thinking of the Paiute, who after 1,500 years of residence in Inyo, were driven or killed off by the early settlers; of the settlers themselves, who worked so doggedly to establish bold new lives here; and, in more recent memory, of the 11,070 Japanese Americans who, following the attack on Pearl Harbor, were interned at nearby Manzanar, where Steve and I stop to visit the former relocation center. In the afternoon light I notice that the desert, which at first I take to be uniformly brown, draws on a far subtler range of taupe, gray, pewter, khaki, silver and mauve. I have a lot to learn about looking closely at this complex landscape, as I have discovered from my pre-drive reading of a gem of a book, The Land of Little Rain, written by the self-taught naturalist Mary Austin, who lived in Independence at the turn of the last century. Steve and I swing by Austin’s cozy, gabled house on Market Street before slipping into the eastern california museum, where we fall under the spell of local history. We linger over the lamps and tools from nearby mines (and adjacent ghost towns) like Cerro Gordo; the cases full of cinnabar, malachite, garnets and crystals found in the nearby mountains; and the noteworthy slice from a felled bristlecone pine, whose earliest rings place it and its kind as alive during the reign of Ramses II, which is to say in a remarkable 1246 B.C. I try to call up to Cerro Gordo, thinking a ghost-town detour might be fun. When I finally get a hold of Robert,

Rock formations along Movie Road, in Lone Pine.

the town’s caretaker, he pauses before saying, “Well, you could snowshoe in, I suppose, but rations are pretty lean by now. The wife and I have just enough for ourselves.” He doesn’t have Jack Nicholson’s trademark drawl, but a mere hint of The Shining is the only prompt we need to stick with our plan. And so we land at keough’s hot springs and within minutes are into our trunks and soaking in water that has come from nearby springs at 52 degrees Celsius before being cooled to 40 degrees (in the small pool) and 32 (in the large one). The appealing celery-green pool house dates back to 1919; its bright aqua and green towels, printed with an Old West font, make a great souvenir for the ladies back home. The combination of steaming water, icy air and a winey picnic dinner send us toppling into (heated) tent cabins and groggily, happily to sleep.

DAY2 In nearby Bishop, we read up on local history at

spellbinder books, an excellent independent bookseller, and drink several bracing espressos at black sheep espresso bar in the back. At cobwebs, an antiques shop, we buy our children arrowheads made of chert and obsidian and small fragile Indian beads sifted out of sand beside a creek in the area. Although I am a confirmed (fish-eating) vegetarian, I glance into the Meat House, the town’s butcher shop, drawn in by the examples of taxidermy above cases that are full of venison, oxtails and big thick steaks. Down the street, at Culver Sporting Goods, I take in the bait and flies, the reels and caps: the merchandise speaks to me of sleepy, summery afternoons on the Sierra’s glassine lakes. Less peaceful, to me anyway, are the obummer bumper stickers stacked by the cash register and the T-shirt showing a country fellow pissing into a river: keep on drinking, l.a., its caption reads. there’s more where that came from. And so the intricate story of the Owens Valley water wars is reduced to a cartoon. That evening, Steve and I have a delicious dinner of local trout at the Restaurant at convict lake, which is housed in a former Forest Service garage. Convict Lake’s cabins, it turns out, would have been a far nicer hotel alternative to the

utilitarian room we end up in at the mammoth mountain inn, a place I remember from my childhood as splendidly alpine, a sea of paneled wood and buoyant plaid. Now it is essentially a glorified motel—but a perfectly located one at the foot of that great, gorgeous mountain.

DAY 3 There are few feelings better than waking up to a day on the slopes at Mammoth, even when they hide under a cover of cloud. We luck into snow that is deep, hard-packed. But by midday the clouds close up into a blizzard that whites out the sky and drives us off the mountain. We take one last blurry run from the top of chairlift No. 3 to the bottom of No. 1—our father’s favorite and, we discover, ours, too. ✚

guide to the easteRn sieRRa sTay

convict lake Resort 2000 convict lake rd., mammoth lakes; 1-760/934-3800; convictlake.com; cabins from us$125. gReat value

keough’s hot springs off u.s. hwy. 395, bishop; 1-760/872-4670; keoughshotsprings.com; tent cabins from us$75 (admission to the thermal pools for nonguests us$8). gReat value

gReat value mammoth mountain inn 10001 minaret rd., mammoth lakes; 1-760/934-2581; mammoth mountain.com; doubles from us$199.

eaT alabama hills café 111 w. post st.; 1-760/8764675; lunch for two us$28. black sheep espresso bar 124 s. main st.; 1-760/8724142; coffee from us$2.

Restaurant at convict lake 2000 convict lake rd.; 1-760/934-3803; dinner for two us$100.

eastern california museum 155 n. grand st.; 1-760/878-0364; inyo county.us/ecmuseum.

shea schat’s 3305 main st.; 1-760/934-6055; lunch for two us$22.

manzanar 16 kilometers north of lone pine; 1-760/878-2194; nps.gov/manz.

do the beverly and jim Rogers museum of lone pine film history 701 s. main st.; 1-760/876-9909; lone pine filmhistorymuseum.org.

sHoP cobwebs antiques 307 s. main st.; 1-760/873-5161. spellbinder books 124 s. main st., bishop; 1-760/873-4511.

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sydney’s neXt gReat neighboRhood hiDDen in the heArt of Downtown, the once rouGh-ArounD-the-eDGeS DiStrict of SurrY hillS hAS emerGeD AS A top culinArY, ShoppinG AnD ArtS DeStinAtion, thAnkS to A cADre of trAilblAzerS with A SeriouS creAtive eDGe. maRk ellwood tAkeS uS on A tour photographed by petrina tinslay

Don’t bother bringing the newspaper to brunch in Surry Hills—you’ll likely be seated at one of the communal tables typical of its stylish but unfussy restaurants, and a Sydneysider will undoubtedly strike up a casual conversation (and give you the inside scoop on the best spots in the neighborhood). It’s happened each time I’ve visited, perhaps because Surry Hills, just south of Sydney’s business district, feels more like a quaint village—albeit one with innovative new restaurants and bars, shops and emerging art galleries. The area first came to life as a manufacturing hub in the late 19th century, when its narrow streets were lined with Victorian row houses occupied by immigrant workers who toiled away

in the nearby sweatshops. By the 1980’s, it had been transformed into a grungy student ghetto, unloved and overlooked (in a harbor city like Sydney, the dearth of waterfront was a serious drawback). But soon stylists and designers in search of cheap rents and charming architecture began moving in. Today, Surry Hills is Sydney’s answer to London’s Notting Hill or New York City’s Nolita: a boho-chic enclave that’s crammed with under-the-radar gems. From a rollicking tapas bar owned by Australia’s chefs of the moment to a men’s wear atelier known for its razor-sharp suits, we share our little black book of where to eat, shop and stay, plus what to see and do right now. »

aussie sTyle Clockwise from top left: The Ivy apartment building at the former St. Margaret’s Hospital, in Surry Hills; street art on the corner of Whittel and Violet streets; Bodega restaurant; Dion Horstman’s Nebulas sculpture at the St. Margaret’s complex; mixed grains with biodynamic vegetables at the Cotton Duck; Victorian row houses on Bourke Street. Opposite from top left: A sausage roll from Bourke Street Bakery; St. Margaret’s Plaza; a local in line at Bourke Street Bakery; glass vases by Sydney artist Amanda Louden at Object Gallery; walking on Crown Street; the main entrance to Belvoir Street Theatre.

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shop CLOAKROOM Gatsby meets Tom Ford at this new black-walled boutique, where Brisbane natives Josh McPherson and Andrew Byrnes sell their modern men’s wear line Pistols at Dawn. Slim-cut blazers and linen shirts are available prêt-à-porter, but the duo’s real calling card is their made-to-measure suits (turnaround time is roughly one month). You’ll also find a small selection of shoes by British label Grenson and vintage copies of Playboy on display. 47 Reservoir St.; 61-2/9212-0029; thecloakroom.com.au. ● PUBLISHED ART Carve out time to peruse this iconic bookstore, a neighborhood staple for more than a decade that stocks an encyclopedic selection of the best in the visual arts (film, photography, ceramics and printmaking, to name a few). Owner Sharon Tredinnick is obsessive about refreshing her collection and relentlessly seeks out obscure-yet-interesting titles from around the world. 23–33 Mary St., Shop 2; 61-2/9280-2839; publishedart.com.au. ● SPRING COURT You may recall this unfairly forgotten French sneaker brand from its heyday in the 1970’s—John Lennon was a fan, and a photo of him sporting a pair hangs in the store. Now a coveted label among the fashion-forward set, Spring Court is still family-owned and creating the same old-school lace-ups in washable canvas. 113A Commonwealth St.; 61-2/9281-8806; springcourt.com.au. ● VIA ALLEY Design junkies will love this trove of avant-garde and vintage products, where iPad cases featuring calligraphy-based paintings from artist Jose Parla are stacked alongside Japan’s Tsumori Chisato’s animal-inspired T-shirts. For retro accessories including Colab sunglasses and even Holga cameras, head to the mezzanine, dubbed “the attic” by owners Jane Lo and Ben Hsu. 285A Crown St., Shop 3; 61-2/8354-0077; viaalley.com. ● THE

boDeGA hAS rockStArriSh, bAD-boY chefS, A cult followinG AnD hourSlonG wAitS for A tAble

eat BILLS Chef Bill Granger’s second breakfast joint—named, with Aussie matter-of-factness, Bills—is a morning pit stop for hungry locals, who come for the hearty portions and low-key vibe: the chalkboard menu changes daily and you’ll find piles of well-thumbed newspapers scattered around. Don’t leave Sydney without trying Granger’s spongy ricotta hotcakes topped with slices of fresh banana and sweet honeycomb butter. 359 Crown St.; 61-2/9360-4762; breakfast for two A$40.

Pigeon Coffee, top. Opposite: Design junkies flock to Via Alley boutique.

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BODEGA This Spanish-inspired restaurant is what you might consider the antipodean version of New York’s Momofuku: it’s got rock-starrish, bad-boy chefs—Australians Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahanowicz—a foodie cult following and the same hours-long wait for a table. But the standout fresh tapas, such as piquillo peppers stuffed with bacalao and house-made chorizo, make it worthwhile. Milgate and Abrahanowicz just opened sister restaurant Porteño Restaurant & Gardel’s Bar nearby, serving grilled-to-perfection Argentinean meats. 216 Commonwealth St.; 61-2/92127766; dinner for two A$100. Porteño: 358 Cleveland St.; 61-2/8399-1440; dinner for two A$140. ● BOURKE STREET BAKERY Jostle for counter space at this perennially packed bakery—its sausage rolls and buttery meat pies, filled with pork and fennel or beef brisket and mushroom, are some of the city’s tastiest. Or try the housemade peach galettes or ginger crème brûlée. 633 Bourke St.; 61-2/9569-3225; pastries for two A$8. ● CAFÉ ISH Spicy crocodile sausage. Precision-cut cold hiyashi noodles with shredded ham. Crisp fries dipped in wasabi mayonnaise. There’s no shortage of innovative dishes at this JapaneseAustralian restaurant, a former food truck turned brick-and-mortar venue. While the offbeat menu is what draws devotees, it’s the unexpected touches that make Café Ish a must-try, from the pink-and-green-colored salts to the word “Thankish!” scrawled on each check. 82 Campbell St., Shop 1; 61-2/9281-1688; dinner for two A$40. ● cotton duck At this locavore haven, the food is all organic and the industrial-looking dining room is designed with recycled timber and salvaged materials. Chef Jared Ingersoll is a pro at updating the classics—take his “borscht salad,” composed of roasted beetroot and pickled vegetables drizzled in a beef-tea dressing. 50 Holt St.; 61-2/8399-0250; dinner for two A$80. ● DUKE BISTRO Fashionistas flock to this funky, second-floor gastropub owned by the same team behind Aussie denim label Ksubi. Taxidermy hangs on the green-hued walls and apron-clad waitresses whisk around serving comfort dishes such as fried chicken wings with fiery Sriracha dipping sauce. Duke’s ace in the hole is its extensive cocktail list, heavy on aperitif-style drinks. If you still have energy after dinner, head downstairs to Flinders bar for a nightcap. Warning: there’s a reason why locals refer to a wild night out as “getting Flindered.” 63 Flinders St., second floor; 61-2/9332-3180; dinner for two A$50. ● PIGEON COFFEE No other place gives you a feel for Surry Hills’ transformation like this » ●

Surry hills is sydney’s answer to london’s notting hill or new york city’s nolita—a chic neighborhood crammed with cool restaurants, cafÉs and one-of-a-kind boutiques

Early morning breakfast at Bills, on Crown Street.

quirky café, where Sydney’s creative types gather to while the day away. Green Astroturf covers one wall, a pigeon silhouette hacked out of it, and what looks like an abstract sculpture hangs on another—upon closer inspection, it’s just old milk lids nailed to plywood by the resourceful owner. Off-kilter it may be, but this spot whips up killer takeout coffee using a dozen or so varieties from across the globe. Building 2/431 Bourke St., Shop 3; no phone; coffee and pastries for two A$10.

es, reminiscent of digital-era Rothkos. 61 Flinders St.; 61-2/9380-5663; flindersstreetgallery.com. ● FRIENDS OF LEON GALLERY Wunderkind set and costume designer Leon Krasenstein is not yet 30, but has already logged extensive stints with the Australian ballet and opera, and just opened this gallery on a quiet corner. On view: works by emerging Sydney talent that is both affordable and accessible. 82 Marlborough St.; 61-4/0324-8978; friendsofleon.com.

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● SHADY PINES SALOON Looking for a honkytonk bar in Sydney? Shady Pines fills the bill. A giant longhorn steer head juts out from the wall and Willie Nelson plays the sound track at the spaghetti-western-style lounge. Saddle up to the counter or slide into a booth and order a boilermaker (a pint of beer and shot of whiskey). 256 Crown St., Shop 4; no phone; drinks for two A$15. ● TABLE FOR 20 & STICKY BAR Don’t forget to bring your mobile phone to this attic bar hidden on a side alley: the only way to get in is by texting the friendly bouncer, who keeps his number taped to the door. Bartender Michael Fantuz pays homage to his Venetian roots with Italian-inspired cocktails such as the Lovegun, a mix of amaretto, Campari and orange juice. 182 Campbell St., second floor; 61-416/096-916; drinks for two A$38.

● ADINA ON CROWN Adina may not look like much from the outside, but its modern apartments are spacious and functional, with kitchens and four-top dining tables. There’s also an outdoor pool and barbecue pit shaded by palm trees. 359 Crown St.; 61-2/8302-1000; adinahotels. com.au; doubles from A$235. ● KIRKETON Retro glamour is the theme at this 40-room hotel just north of Surry Hills. Marble terrazzo floors, leather banquettes and glass walls make up the lobby, while guest rooms are outfitted with mohair throws and low-lit, Art Deco–style lamps. The hotel is a bolt-hole for night owls, who gather at the ground-floor Eau de Vie cocktail lounge. 229 Darlinghurst Rd.; 61-2/ 9332-2011; kirketon.com.au; doubles from A$145. ✚

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Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush and Judy Davis are all alums of this prestigious 25-year-old theater, outfitted with a 330-seat main stage and an underground 88-seat experimental space. Catch a show here and you’ll likely spot as many boldface names in the audience as onstage. 25 Belvoir St.; 61-2/9699-3444; belvoir.com.au. ● COLLECT AT OBJECT GALLERY An exhibition space dedicated to shows about forwardthinking design make up the top floor of this spacious gallery. Below, there’s a trendy boutique selling homegrown trinkets, from quirky jewelry to mod housewares in china, glass and acrylic. 417 Bourke St.; 61-2/9361-4511; object.com.au. ● FLINDERS STREET GALLERY Set on the eastern fringe of Surry Hills, owner Jason Martin’s whitewashed gallery is filled with pieces by international artists that range from traditional acrylic paintings to cutting-edge sculptures made with horsehair and Laminex. Don’t miss Tom Langlands’s color-block canvas-

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Desert Highs

The poolside Purple Palm restaurant at the Moroccan-style Colony Palms Hotel, in Palm Springs. Opposite: Joshua Tree National Park, in California.

PALM SPRINGS MAY BE ALL ABOUT GLITz AND GLAMOUR, BUT ITS COUNTERPOINT IS THE BOHEMIAN AND ARTSY TOWNS UP NORTH. DAVID A. KEEPS TAKES IN THE ARCHITECTURE, DESIGN AND ECCENTRICITIES OF THESE WILDLY DIFFERENT LANDSCAPES. PHOTOGRAPHED BY DAVE LAURIDSEN

caliFornia cool Clockwise from above left: One of the 34 minimalist guest rooms at Alcazar Palm Springs hotel; a server readies a table at the Purple Palm restaurant; illustrator-painter Josh Agle (a.k.a. Shag) inside Shag: The Store, in Palm Springs; the Dada-influenced sculpture Surreal Piece by the late Noah Purifoy, a local artist, at the Outdoor Desert Art Museum of Assemblage Sculpture, in Joshua Tree.

this is a tale of two deserts: one as glittering and artificial as a futuristic theme park, the other as spare and elemental as boulders and cactus. It’s roughly a 51-kilometer journey north from Palm Springs, the Midcentury Modern center of Southern California’s low desert, to the rustic, beautifully barren high-desert communities of Joshua Tree and Pioneertown. Yet the cultural and spiritual distance between the two is almost immeasurable. The high desert remains a frontier for artists that looks and feels like the scrubby Wild West. Style-obsessed Palm Springs’ closest cousin might just be West Hollywood. Both are ever-evolving, big-city decompression chambers, weekendgetaway art colonies that celebrate the highbrow and the low, the rustic and the refined—each in its own unique way. Having lived in Los Angeles for 15 years, I’m no stranger to Palm Springs or its surroundings. And yet, each visit feels like a slightly different party with a new host—or perhaps the same old showgirl with a new face-lift. The millennium has been kind to the city: a government rebate on room occupancy taxes has encouraged multimillion-dollar hotel renovations; restaurants and stores are opening; the Coachella music festival brings thousands of young rockers and ravers; the Palm Springs International Film Festival draws Hollywood A-listers; and Modernism Week attracts architecture and design addicts. “The recession weeded out the mediocre,” Palm Springs painter Eric Nash tells me and fellow artist Russell Bennett over pizzas, salads and a cocktail called Hello Nancy (a combination of vodka and St.-Germain mixed with freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and muddled lemon) at Birba, a new Modernist café in the trendy Uptown Design District. Uptown, as it is known by the locals, has long lured drive-by design fans: it’s a place where interior decorators and vintage-furniture hounds like me go to score home accessories in such Palm Springs styles as postwar modern, Fab 50’s, Hollywood Regency, shiny disco-era minimalism and Philippe Starck contemporary. Now, with two hip hotels, the Colony Palms Hotel and the Alcazar Palm Springs, and a number of new restaurants, including Birba and its sister lunch spot, Cheeky’s, the neighborhood has become the city’s latest in-crowd hub. Art galleries are also sprouting up amid the vintage stores. Nash, who does moody charcoals of ravens and night skies, and Bennett, an abstract painter, exhibit their work at Stephen Archdeacon Gallery, an airy space with darkerthemed works. Nearby, Atomic Age–inspired illustrator-painter Josh Agle (better known around these parts as Shag) showcases his creations at the recently opened Shag: The Store. At first glance, a tiki mask hanging on an orange-and-yellow faux-rock wall makes the place seem like any other retro furniture store, but it’s filled with Shag’s paintings and prints that depict, cartoonishly, the Palm Springs lifestyle: neo–Rat Packers sipping cocktails by grandpiano-shaped swimming pools. The four-block-long Uptown strip caters to the Shag fantasy with all the Eames and Saarinen you’d need to furnish a modern home. Wandering into Christopher Anthony boutique and the new mansionstyle Boulevard, however, I come across highticket 20th-century decorative arts by midcentury architect-designers such as Paul Frankl and prints by Shepard Fairey. I can’t help noticing that their »

The lobby at the 1950’s Riviera Palm Springs.

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next-door neighbor, Design Within Reach, purveyor of reissued classics, has closed. And really, who needs it when you can find original designs at Boulevard or easily stroll to the nearby Stewart Galleries, a treasure trove of paintings and furniture that’s like stumbling into your very rich, very tasteful bachelor uncle’s attic.

I

n Palm Springs, everything old is always, eventually new again. That’s certainly true for hotels. After nearly 90 years as a vacation spot, the city endures as a place where visions of the future that were formed in the past now define the present. As a result, Midcentury Modernism is the default design style, but Hollywood Regency, the ornate 1930’s MGM-movie-set trend initiated by Kelly Wearstler at the Viceroy in Palm Springs in 2003, has also taken off, reaching giddy heights. At the 1950’s Riviera Palm Springs, a US$70 million redo, complete with a crystal-studded billiard table and miles of patterned wallpaper, has taken the 400-plus rooms from Hollywood glam to Vegas glitz, proving that even in Palm Springs, “more is more” is almost always over-the-top. In the Uptown Design District, however, the Colony Palms and the Alcazar have both been reimagined: their original Spanish-colonial aesthetic is one of the last native design styles to get a high-drama makeover. A few years ago, Bravo TV’s Million Dollar Decorators’ Martyn Lawrence Bullard redid the 1930’s Colony Palms (once owned by purported Purple Gang crime boss and the owners of the racehorse Seabiscuit) into a glam-Moroccan oasis featuring a new two-story luxury suite named the Palme d’Or Residence. He also created the generally mobbed Purple Palm, the intimate hotel’s olive-green-and-violet bistro, which harks back to Hollywood supper clubs. The restaurant overlooks the pool, where, at lunch, I watch Norwegian model types float, trying not to get their cell phones and cigarettes wet, and happily munch on a tart watermelon-and-mint salad and medjool dates stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped in bacon by chef Brian Kiepler. Recently renovated by Birba owners Tara Lazar and Marco Rossetti, Alcazar is also a Spanish-courtyardstyle hotel—the smaller, less scene-y alternative to the Colony Palms. Room 22, mine for the night, is a white sugar cube with IKEA furniture and quirky original paintings. It’s a refreshing change from all the Jetson-era design that saturates the city. So too, is the Horizon Hotel. Designed by Palm Springs Modernist William F. Cody in 1952, the surprisingly minimalist (it has no restaurant and don’t even think about there being a spa here) Horizon is a haven in the burgeoning East Palm Canyon Drive corridor—once a strip of cheap motels, now the center of cool-hunter hangouts such as the Jonathan Adler–designed Parker Palm Springs and the Ace Hotel, as well as a secret stash of vintage design shops on nearby Perez Road, which has been dubbed Resale Row by the locals. The Horizon has stood the test of time, defining the architectural ideals of its era and the magnificence of Palm Springs’ zoning code, which restricts structures more than two stories high and streetlights in residential areas. Its window-walled rooms frame what might be the best views of the 3,353-meter-high San Jacinto Mountains that the city has to offer, and the 24-room hotel’s A-series rooms have private outdoor showers; Marilyn Monroe, it is said, caused a commotion by actually using one. (Hollywood lore is the watercooler currency of Palm Springs, where you can visit Elvis’s Honeymoon Hideaway, a 1962 Modernist masterpiece, and if curiosity gets the better of you, take architectural historian Michael Stern’s Modern Tour to see Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms villa—yours to rent for US$2,600 a night.) »

the horizon’s window-walled rooms frame what might be the best views of the san jacinto mountains that the city has to offer, and the hotel’s a-series rooms have private outdoor showers; marilyn monroe, it is said, caused a commotion by actually using one

The house’s indoor pool and living room, above. Below: The Robert Stone–­designed Acido Dorado, available to rent in Joshua Tree.

I

Antiques and objets d’art for sale at Stewart Galleries, in Palm Springs.

f Palm Springs is for the movie-star-struck, Eameschair-loving, martini-hoisting social set, the high desert is its antithesis, a bohemia for solitary stoner-like contemplation, where the imaginations of artists, designers and architects can run as untamed as the no-fences, no-lawns landscape. Like Palm Springs, the high desert has one main road—Highway 62, which rises up from the low desert floor—but instead of butterfly-roof buildings, it is dotted with scrappy folk-art installations, Western saloons and shacks. Palm Springs entices the senses; the high desert exalts the natural world and stirs the soul. And yet it too is in the throes of reinvention. In Desert Hot Springs, which lies between Palm Springs and the high desert, an early example of Modernist architect John Lautner has been restored to its former glory. Originally built in 1947, the compound was conceived as a prototype for a planned community, with four apartments featuring private step-up garden patios. Lautner, who created the Chemosphere house in Palm Springs that Bob Hope dubbed a landing pad for martians, was an early practitioner of the soaring Space Age coffee-shop style known as Googie architecture. Today, the landmark work has been transformed into Hotel Lautner, complete with all the modern luxuries, including a newly added spa pool and outdoor showers—it is one of the few Lautner buildings that is open to the public. Travel farther north, and the high desert offers new architecture that rivals the post–World War II buildings of Palm Springs and Lautner’s desert dream homes. Scrubby land once deeded to homesteaders still sells for nearly dirt-cheap prices here. And today, a small group of designers and dreamers are pioneering structures from straw bales, rusted steel, shipping containers and agricultural building materials that could sit beside midcentury Palm Springs homes as contemporary examples of futurist design. None impressed me more than two properties by architect Robert Stone, the all-black and bunker-ish Rosa Muerta and the Acido Dorado, a golden Xanadu that seems to burst out of the desert landscape in Joshua Tree. Stone rents these—his line in the sand as a 21st-century architect—to interested parties. That is to say, people who are interested in architecture, not partying. “To most people Acido Dorado is just some weird house, but to this small number of people who get it, it’s like the only place in the world they want to visit,” Stone says. “Very few places actually engage the current discourse in architecture and add to it in some way.” As well as a home for bold new buildings, the high desert is also a crafty art colony filled with studios and galleries. The charms of the high desert are less obvious than in look-at-me Palm Springs and can take many visits to appreciate. Detours off Highway 62, essential to experiencing the area (though dusty and tough on car suspensions), lead to even more unusual discoveries. At the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum of Assemblage Sculpture, I am amazed by the ingenuity and keen social satire in what first appears to be a junkyard. Purifoy, a cofounder of the Watts Towers Arts Center inspired by Dadaist Marcel Duchamp, created assemblages and entire environments rendered from the detritus of modern life: a train composed of aged upright vacuum cleaners; a shack with bicycles launching off its roof; sculptural towers of toilets and bowling balls that seem to defy gravity. To walk through it is to experience recycling as art. “The desert is a place to be self-sufficient, to use what you have or find instead of buying things,” says artist Dennis Blevins, an admirer of Purifoy who sells rusted-metal peace signs and spheres at Route 62 Vintage Market Place, which is run by his wife, Dawn. I meet them at the home of film producer Paul Goff and stunt performer and coordinator Tony Angelotti, who have also carved out a niche as guides to the area. Goff and Angelotti operate Destination Pipes Canyon, which leads visitors to Modernist vacation rentals, artists’ studios and mountain petroglyphs. Goff and Angelotti have invited me to a cookout at their home. Bluesman Eric Burdon, best known as the lead singer of the Animals, the 1960’s British Invasion group, is there—way cooler

94 january 2012 | travelandleisureasia.com

than Elvis in my book. Palm Springs may have swank, low-lit supper clubs, but in the high desert, casual dinner parties are part of the community spirit—social without the snobbery. Wine flows, and the talk turns to Save Our Desert, a grassroots organization trying to keep turbines—the justoff-the-highway windmills outside Palm Springs—off the buttes of Pipes Canyon. “This can’t happen,” Goff says. “Not in my backyard.” To the high-desert dwellers, Palm Springs is the big city. Dinner is simple yet delicious here, considerably tastier than it is in fussier Palm Springs restaurants, if characteristically odd: the only Indian food in Joshua Tree is at Sam’s Pizza; beefy chili and barbecue that rivals the best in Texas can be found at Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, in Pioneertown; and I quickly become addicted to the fresh, chewy granola bars and Rock Climbers Revenge banana-date-cashew smoothies at the Natural Sisters Café. Go ahead, snicker at that name—I did—but it’s emblematic of the unrepentantly unpretentious high-desert ethos. I was also amused by the New Age–sounding Sacred Sands, the two-suite inn that Steve Pratt and Scott Cutler built from straw bales and rusted corrugated metal. Rough on the outside, the two rooms are cool and sexy, with dark, sparkly walls, beds with ironed linens, and light fixtures made from scrap metal, Moroccan lanterns and a burled wood lamp. “This is a place to disconnect from the static and connect to nature and to ourselves,” Pratt says. Which is exactly what I do after arriving from a day of Palm Springs celebrity-house sightseeing on the Modern Tour. Walking through glass French doors in my room, I find a hot tub, an outdoor bed and a refrigerator stocked with fresh lemonade. After trying them all, I drift off into a sunset siesta as the solid steel fence around the guest suites clangs in the wind. This is the essence of the high desert, the “aah” moment that leads to the “aha” epiphany. Here, there is a frequency—a low internal hum—that is not as easily received as the more high-pitched buzz of Palm Springs. That high-desert vibration fills my head on a trip to Pioneertown as I walk along Mane Street (the pun is intentional). At the end of the road, a witty stop sign perfectly captures the welcoming spirit and cosmic directive of both deserts, high and low. It reads simply: it’s your decision. I stay another night, to watch the stars and enjoy the silence. If I want excitement, after all, there’s always Palm Springs. ✚

guide to palm spRings sTay gReat value ace hotel

& swim club 701 e. palm canyon dr., palm springs; 1-760/325-9900; acehotel.com; doubles from us$120. acido dorado joshua tree; info@prettyvacant properties.com; rates available upon request. gReat value alcazar

palm springs 622 indian canyon dr., palm springs; 1-760/318-9850; alcazarpalmsprings.com; doubles from us$179. gReat value colony

palms hotel 572 n. indian canyon dr., palm springs; 1-760/969-1801; colonypalmshotel.com; doubles from us$179.

thehorizonhotel.com; doubles from us$169.

3600; lunch for

gReat value hotel

pappy & harriet’s

lautner 67710 san antonio st., desert hot springs; 1-760/8325288; hotellautner.com; doubles from us$250.

53688 pioneertown rd.;

Riviera palm springs 1600 n. indian canyon dr., palm springs; 1-760/ 327-8311; psriviera.com; doubles from us$259.

springs; 1-760/969-1801;

sacred sands 63155 Quail springs rd., joshua tree national park; 1-760/424-6407; sacredsands.com; doubles from us$299.

1-760/366-9511;

gReat value horizon

eaT and drink birba 622 n. palm canyon dr., palm springs; 1-760/327-5678; dinner for two us$60.

hotel 1050 e. palm canyon dr., palm springs; 1-760/323-1858;

natural sisters café 61695 29 palms hwy., joshua tree; 1-760/366-

joshua tree

two us$20.

1-760/365-5956; dinner

247

pioneertown

los angeles

for two us$45.

10

palm springs desert hot springs twentynine palms

purple palm 572 n. indian canyon dr., palm dinner for two us$100.

sacramento califoRnia

15

sam’s pizza & indian food 61380 29 palms hwy., joshua tree;

Pacific Ocean 0

dinner for two us$46. do christopher anthony

62

48 km

themoderntour.com;

sHoP

from us$150 per person.

Route 62 vintage

800 n. palm canyon dr.,

noah purifoy outdoor

palm springs; 1-760/322-

desert art museum of

market place 55635 29 palms hwy.

0600; christopher

assemblage sculpture

shag: the store 725 n.

anthonyltd.com.

joshua tree; 1-213/

palm canyon dr., palm

destination pipes

382-7516.

springs; 1-760/322-3400.

canyon destinationpipes

stephen archdeacon

stewart galleries 191

gallery 865 n. palm

s. indian canyon dr.,

the modern tour

canyon dr., palm

palm springs; 1-760/ 325-

1-760/904-0904;

springs; 1-760/673-7520.

0878.

canyon.com.

travelandleisureasia.com | january 2012 95

world's besT HoTels

W

Ith thIs, Our 10th annIversary edItIOn Of the t+l 500, we bring you the ultimate collection of the top hotels around the globe, as selected by readers in our annual world’s best awards survey. ★ we spotlight the properties that ranked no. 1 in their region, highlight the 53 t+l 500 debuts, and, new this year, provide many hotel rates as a range—noting the lowest and highest price of a standard room—which means you’ll know how much the price will vary from season to season. ★ simply turn the page for your 500 favorite places this year. 96 january 2012 | travelandleisureasia.com

Bhutan pa Ro

si e m R e a p

f r O m t O P : c O u r t e s y O f r I t z - c a r lt O n b e I J I n g , f I n a n c I a l s t r e e t ; c O u r t e s y O f r I t z - c a r lt O n h O n g k O n g

de la paix (87.76) this $ hôtel stylishly transformed 1957 siem reap landmark has a sugar palm–flanked entrance and a new lobby-side international art gallery. sivutha blvd.; 85563/966-000; hoteldelapaix angkor.com; doubles from us$220–us$330, including breakfast. Raffles grand hotel d’angkor (89.33) centrally located grande dame set within a 6-hectare french garden just a 15-minute drive from angkor wat. 1 vithei charles de gaulle; 855-63/963888; raffles.com; doubles from us$265–us$445, including breakfast. sofitel angkor phokeethra golf & spa Resort (88.00) a regal retreat (antique ceiling fans; cambodia’s largest swimming pool) on siem reap’s tranquil periphery. vithei charles de gaulle; 855-63/964-600; sofitel.com; doubles from us$170–us$225.

$

China b e ijin g

peninsula beijing (87.57) Opulent hotel with one of the city’s finest spas, located in the luxury-shopping enclave of wangfujing. 8 goldfish lane; 8610/8516-2888; peninsula.com; doubles from us$188–us$329.

$

new Ritz-carlton (89.38) the ritz’s classic chippendale-andchintz aesthetic, in chaoyang bordering the central business district. 83a Jian guo rd., china central Place; 86-10/5908-8888; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from us$752–us$782.

No. 1 cHIna Ritz-carlton beijing, financial street (94.00) stunning spaces in a glass-and-chrome skyscraper follow feng shui principles (glass animal sculptures near doorways; elaborate fountains surrounding the hotel). a location in the financial district is convenient for business travelers. 1 Jin cheng fang st. e. at financial st.; 8610/6601-6666; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from us$295–us$515.

hyatt on the bund (87.16) two-tower skyscraper with views of the nearby huangpu river (check it out from the 31stfloor vue bar) and 4 restaurants, one serving melt-in-your-mouth Peking duck. 199 huangpu rd.; 86-21/6393-1234; hyatt.com; doubles from us$243–us$344.

$

peninsula hong kong (90.70) this 1928 kowloon landmark (with a Philippe starck–designed restaurant) will begin a phased overhaul of all 300 guest rooms this year. salisbury rd.; 852/29202888; peninsula.com; doubles from us$642.

new uma paro (90.93) a 29room himalayan retreat and spa nestled among pines that mixes cozy bhutanese touches (timber furnishings; traditional woodburning stoves) with adventure (trekking; biking; photo tours). 975-8/271-597; como.bz; doubles from us$330, including breakfast.

CamBodia

21/6256-8888; fourseasons.com; doubles from us$311–us$373.

the heart of bustling central hong kong. 5 connaught rd.; 852/2522-0111; mandarinoriental. com; doubles from us$501– us$720.

AsiA

new Ritz-carlton (88.00) the new 312-room property is the world’s highest hotel, rising 118 floors above kowloon. International commerce centre, 1 austin rd. w.; 852/2263-2263; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from us$579–us$771.

s h angh ai

four seasons hotel (87.38) 422room, 37-story luxury tower 1 block from nanjing road shopping, with a grand lobby (featuring nightly live piano music) and excellent business amenities. 500 weihai rd.; 86-

park hyatt (87.73) 174 tony chi– designed minimalist luxury rooms on floors 79–93 of the shanghai world financial center. 100 century ave.; 8621/6888-1234; park.hyatt.com; doubles from us$360–us$860. portman Ritz-carlton (87.68) 610-room 1998 monolith that set an early standard for shanghai luxury, with recently renovated rooms and lobby areas, plus a dedicated technology butler. 1376 nanjing Xi rd.; 86-21/62798888; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from us$627. pudong shangri-la (87.27) topnotch amenities (adam tihany–

BEHIND THE SCENES thanks to

its unique design, readers gave this property one of the top 5 scores for interiors in asia—and the highest in china. the jawdropping lobby has paintings by famous local artists (bo yun; shan fan) and is festooned with 60,000 resin bamboo leaves to represent prosperity.

The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong soars over the city.

hong kong

intercontinental (89.07) 495-room kowloon hotel with 24-hour butlers, restaurants by alain ducasse and nobu matsuhisa, and dazzling victoria harbour views. 18 salisbury rd.; 852/2721-1211; ichotelsgroup. com; doubles from us$359– us$552. island shangri-la (89.57) soaring skyscraper with 565 mahogany- and crystalchandelier-appointed rooms, near the city’s financial district and above the tony Pacific Place mall. Pacific Place, supreme court rd.; 852/2877-3838; shangri-la.com; doubles from us$579–us$829. mandarin oriental (91.02) graciously updated 1960’s-era mid-rise hotel (plus a 3-floor spa and 10 restaurants and bars), at

ROOM RATES when offered as a range, hotel prices in the t+l 500 represent the starting rate during low season and the highest rate for the same room in high

season; certain hotels have only one rack rate. In the case of a more complex pricing structure, t+l has asked each property for the most accurate range; lower rates may be available. International prices reflect exchange rates at press time. METHODOLOGY t+l 500 hotels are the top-scoring properties as voted by readers in the annual world’s best awards survey. certain properties that scored highest in their state, country, or region are highlighted with images and extra content. for more information, go to travelandleisure.com/worldsbest.

$ denotes great value (room rates starting at us$250 or less)

new

indicates a debut on the t+l 500

travelandleisureasia.com | january 2012 97

no.1  asIa

000 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

Oberoi Udaivilas, overlooking Lake Pichola, in Udaipur, India.

ITC Mughal, a Luxury Collection Hotel in Agra.

ne w de l h i

the imperial (91.77) art deco icon—now with a state-of-the-art salon and spa, plus India’s only chanel boutique—steps from connaught Place. Janpath; 91-11/ 2334-1234; theimperialindia.com; doubles from us$209–us$349.

$

the oberoi (90.59) graceful, business-friendly hotel close to humayun’s tomb and khan market, with superb on-site restaurants and bars, and an adjacent golf course. dr. zakir hussain marg; 91-11/2436-3030; oberoihotels.com; doubles from us$306–us$386.

designed restaurant; on-site shopping; a himalayan-themed spa) and riverfront views in Pudong’s lujiazui financial district. 33 fu cheng rd.; 8621/6882-8888; shangri-la.com; doubles from us$321–us$462. westin bund center (87.86) two streamlined towers, a stylish lobby and a banyan tree spa, just a 5-minute walk from the historic bund. 88 henan central rd.; 86-21/6335-1888; westin.com; doubles from us$203–us$360.

$

india agRa

itc mughal, a luxury collection hotel (87.77) Princely 14-hectare icon made up of ornate mini palaces, 4 kilometers outside the city. a new wing added 42 rooms with plunge pools. taj ganj; 91-562/4021700; ichotels.in; doubles from us$320, including breakfast.

f r O m tO P : cO u rt e sy O f I tc m u g h a l , a luXu ry cO l l e c t I O n h Ot e l ; c O u r t e s y O f m a n d a r I n O r I e n ta l tO k yO . O P P O s I t e : d u s t I n a k s l a n d

new

oberoi amarvilas (95.33) moghul-themed 102-room palace mirroring the nearby taj mahal—all moorish archways, intricate pavilions and fountained courtyards. taj e. gate rd.; 91-562/223-1515; oberoihotels.com; doubles from us$700–us$870. ja ip uR

oberoi Rajvilas (96.92) channel your inner maharajah at this majestic 13-hectare countryside resort made up of tents and villas and a traditional Indian spa. goner rd.; 91-141/268-0101; oberoihotels.com; doubles from us$710–us$870. Rambagh palace (92.34) 19thcentury hunting lodge turned opulent palace hotel (carved pillars; mirror-and-stone embellishments) among manicured gardens. bhawani

singh rd.; 91-141/221-1919; tajhotels.com; doubles from us$749. jodhpuR

umaid bhawan palace (92.24) Once the largest private residence in the world, now a 347-room sandstone taj palace hotel with daily champagne art tours to see the antiques and 32-meter cupola. 91-291/2510101; tajhotels.com; doubles from us$869, including breakfast. kochi new vivanta by taj-malabar (87.73) 96-room south Indian escape by taj’s new relaxed resort brand, on an island just 800 meters from cochin harbor. willingdon Island; 91-484/6643000; tajhotels.com; doubles from us$322.

taj mahal hotel (91.50) 11-story landmark close to the city’s diplomatic and political heart; its butlers and astrologers are favored by new delhi’s power players. 1 mansingh rd.; 91-11/2302-6162; tajhotels.com; doubles from us$192–us$444.

$

mumbai

the oberoi (91.27) recently renovated 287-room flagship above the queen’s necklace. unusual extras: a cherry-red grand piano and a 24-hour spa. nariman Point; 91-22/6632-5757; oberoihotels.com; doubles from us$282–us$403. taj mahal palace (92.42) 1903 emblem of raj-era bombay—still the city’s grande dame— overlooking the gateway of India. apollo bunder; 9122/6665-3366; tajhotels.com; doubles from us$460, including breakfast.

Japan kyoto

hyatt Regency (87.67) traditional touches (kimonocovered headboards; washipaper lampshades) plus interiors by super Potato, in the higashiyama shichijo district. 644-2 sanjusangendo-mawari; 81-75/541-1234; hyatt.com; doubles from us$285–us$596. tokyo

grand hyatt (88.67) Polished 387-room hotel—centrally located in roppongi hills—with 7 in-house restaurants. 6-10-3 roppongi; 81-3/4333-1234; hyatt.com; doubles from us$443–us$717.

taj palace hotel (88.91) 402room behemoth, 10 minutes from the city center and airport, with staffer-led excursions to galleries and spice markets. sardar Patel marg, diplomatic enclave; 9111/2611-0202; tajhotels.com; doubles from us$410, including breakfast and airport transfers. u daip u R

No. 1 asIa oberoi udaivilas (97.70) a 12-hectare mewari-style palace on the banks of lake Pichola, complete with private motorboats, a traditional kashmiri gondola and sprawling courtyards rimmed by reflecting pools. haridasji ki magri; 91294/243-3300; oberoihotels.com; doubles from us$700–us$870. ROOM TO BOOK all 19 Premiere

Vivanta by TajMalabar in Kochi.

ubud, with standout cultural programs thanks to long-standing community connections. kedewatan, ubud; 62-361/975333; amanresorts.com; doubles from us$850–us$950.

lake rooms have private pools and terraces, but the 9 that face the nature conservatory offer wildlife spotting (peacocks; deer; wild boar) as well as views of the marble palaces of mainland udaipur. taj lake palace (93.43) centuries-old white-marble palace (intricate silks; frescoed arches) rising from a jagged rock formation in lake Pichola. lake Pichola; 91-294/242-8800; tajhotels.com; doubles from us$749, including breakfast.

No. 1 japan new mandarin oriental (93.33) 178 spacious guest rooms— some of the largest in the city— on select floors of a 38-story skyscraper that towers over the nihonbashi business district. 2-1-1 nihonbashi muromachi, chuo-ku; 81-3/3270-8800; mandarinoriental.com; doubles from us$506–us$915.

T+L TIP for a taste of tokyo, the

hotel will arrange a guided tour of the vibrant tsukiji fish market followed by authentic sushimaking lessons from a local chef ($494 per person). park hyatt (88.78) 178-room urban oasis in shinjuku, featured in sofia coppola’s Lost in Translation. 3-7-1-2 nishishinjuku; 81-3/5322-1234; park. hyatt.com; doubles from us$600–us$876.

indonesia b al i

amandari (89.87) reimagined balinese village on the outskirts of

new peninsula tokyo (92.24) 314-room hotel—the reigning queen of the city’s new guard— facing the Imperial Palace

travelandleisureasia.com | january 2012 99

Raffles hotel (89.06) 103 colonial-style suites in cloisterlike buildings with breezy verandas; the fabled property that once welcomed noël coward and somerset maugham. 1 beach rd.; 65/63371886; raffles.com; doubles from us$1,078.

Laos lua n g p R a b a n g

la Résidence phou vao (95.20) french-colonial, all-suite wellness retreat on a frangipani-dotted hill above luang Prabang; the first laotian property to use only local ingredients for traditional spa treatments. 856-71/212-194; residencephouvao.com; doubles from us$500.

maLaysia kua la lum p uR

oriental (90.95) $ mandarin 30-story building offering panoramic views of the Petronas twin towers. the newly added pan-asian restaurant mosaic overlooks the city center Park. kuala lumpur city center; 603/2380-8888; mandarinoriental. com; doubles from us$207– us$217, including breakfast. (90.80) $ Ritz-carlton modern, 250-room hotel that dominates the golden triangle district, preferred by business travelers. 168 Jalan Imbi; 60-3/2142-8000; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from us$154–us$464.

La Résidence Phou Vao in Luang Prabang. peRak

manil a

pangkor laut Resort $ (90.00) 43 overwater villas on a private isle off the western coast of malaysia—a lush, undiscovered hideaway. 603/2783-1000; pangkorlautresort. com; doubles from us$243– us$371, including breakfast.

makati shangri-la (91.56) the spot for power players: a 699room curvilinear skyscraper overlooking the financial district. ayala and makati aves.; 632/813-8888; shangri-la.com; doubles from us$262–us$405.

new

phiLippines boR acay island

discovery shores (92.93) 88 suites on a tiny island known for powdery white sand; butlers keep beachgoers supplied with ice-cold drinks. 63-36/2884500; discoveryshoresboracay. com; doubles from us$366– us$427, including breakfast.

Pangkor Laut Resort is on a private island.

peninsula manila (90.86) a pair of historic 11-story towers rising above a lavish restored lobby in manila’s financial hub. 1226 makati city; 63-2/887-2888; peninsula.com; doubles from us$299.

singapore fairmont (88.00) a 769room, I. m. Pei–designed tower in the bras basah arts district; the spa is one of asia’s largest. 80 bras basah rd.; 65/6339-7777; fairmont.com; doubles from us$184–us$472.

$

four seasons hotel (89.50) One of the city’s more intimate properties, with 225 rooms (chinoiserie; tufted leather headboards; high ceilings), dim sum and views of Orchard boulevard’s boutiques. 190 Orchard blvd.; 65/6734-1110; fourseasons.com; doubles from us$394–us$450. mandarin oriental (91.48) behind a fan-shaped façade near marina square. at melt restaurant, 30 chefs whip up Japanese, pan-asian and international dishes at cooking stations. raffles ave.; 65/63380066; mandarinoriental.com; doubles from us$299–us$513. new marina bay sands (87.82) moshe safdie’s gargantuan fantasy, with 2,651 guest rooms, restaurants by daniel boulud and guy savoy, and the cantilevered skyPark, complete with the world’s largest outdoor infinity pool. 10 bayfront ave.; 65/6688-8868; marinabaysands. com; doubles from us$307.

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new st. Regis (92.23) 24-hour butler service, a fleet of bentleys, plus unique amenities (defogging mirrors; an enomatic wine-serving system) and one of asia’s best private art collections, in a downtown highrise. 29 tanglin rd.; 65/65066888; stregis.com; doubles from us$754, including breakfast.

Singapore’s St. Regis.

south Korea s e ou l

grand hyatt (89.65) 7 hectares of landscaped gardens—plus 601 rooms—overlooking the han river or mount namsan. 322 sowol-ro, yongsan-gu; 822/797-1234; hyatt.com; doubles from us$308.

thaiLand b angkok

banyan tree (89.00) allsuite skyscraper that’s also home to a signature spa and the popular 61st-floor vertigo grill & moon bar. 21/100 s. sathon rd.; 66-2/679-1200; banyantree.com; doubles from us$150–us$189.

$

four seasons hotel (89.37) timeless asian oasis (gardens; hand-painted silks) with a renovated pearl-gray-andturquoise lobby and 2 spa suites with private plunge pools and steam rooms. 155 rajadamri rd.; 66-2/126-8866; fourseasons. com; doubles from us$287. grand hyatt erawan (88.00) ultramodern retreat that overlooks the erawan shrine. the 7,000-square-meter, tony chi–designed spa offers fitness classes and personal training. 494 rajadamri rd.; 662/254-1234; hyatt.com; doubles from us$221–us$338.

$

jw marriott hotel (88.00) black marble high-rise right on bangkok’s main shopping drag,

f r O m t O P : c O u r t e s y O f l a r É s I d e n c e P h O u va O ; c O u r t e s y O f s t. r e g I s s I n g a P O r e ; c O u r t e sy O f Pa n g kO r l a u t r e s O r t

gardens and hibiya Park; expert concierge service sets it apart. 1-8-1 yuraku-cho, chiyoda-ku; 813/6270-2888; peninsula.com; doubles from us$783.

no.1  thaIland

At the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi, in Chiang Mai.

f r O m tO P : c O u r t e s y O f m a n d a r I n O r I e n ta l d h a r a d h e v I ; c O u r t e s y O f a n a n ta r a g O l d e n t r I a n g l e r e s O r t & s Pa

with a cooking school, an american-style steak house and a bakery. soi 2, 4 sukhumvit rd.; 66-2/656-7700; jwmarriott.com; doubles from us$270. méridien (88.24) the $ le 2007-relaunched flagship has platform beds, lacqueredwood bathrooms and high-tech amenities. a partnership with a nearby design center means impressive in-room art. 40/5 surawong rd.; 66-2/232-8888; lemeridien.com; doubles from us$185–us$249. mandarin oriental (94.49) 135-year-old landmark on the chao Phraya river with a rich literary history, butler service and 9 restaurants. 48 Oriental ave.; 66-2/659-9000; mandarinoriental.com; doubles from us$400–us$488. peninsula bangkok (93.49) 37-story tower with 370 rooms, a 3-story spa and top dining, at the river’s edge in thonburi; complimentary water taxis shuttle guests to the skytrain. 333 charoennakorn rd.; 662/861-2888; peninsula.com; doubles from us$452.

Royal orchid sheraton hotel & towers (89.76) recently renovated 726-room hotel and new open-air restaurant and bar, a short boat ride from the grand Palace. soi 30, 2 charoen krung rd.; 662/266-0123; sheraton.com; doubles from us$143–us$228.

$

shangri-la hotel (90.77) an 802-room riverfront bangrak district tower fresh off a us$60 million renovation; the new solar-panel water-heating system is the largest ever installed in a bangkok hotel. soi 89, wat suan Plu new rd.; 662/236-7777; shangri-la.com; doubles from us$253. sheraton grande sukhumvit, a luxury collection hotel (88.19) central 420-room property close to the skytrain; the weekend barsu music performances draw a crowd. 250 sukhumvit rd.; 662/649-8888; sheratongrande sukhumvit.com; doubles from us$241.

$

the sukhothai (88.25) 210 updated rooms in pavilions set amid lotus ponds completes the

scene at bangkok’s most peaceful retreat. 13/3 s. sathorn rd.; 66-2/344-8888; sukhothai. com; doubles from us$349.

service; opt for tutorials in classic dance and thai cuisine. chiang Rai

anantara golden triangle Resort & spa (89.71) 19 thatched-roof suites amid rolling hills along the mekong river, where thailand, burma and laos meet. the hotel’s conservation center welcomed the birth of a baby elephant last year. chiang saen; 66-53/784-084; anantara. com; doubles from us$1,171– us$1,236, all-inclusive.

c h iang m ai

four seasons Resort (93.14) tranquil refuge on terraced rice paddies outside the northern thai city, with haute-rustic rooms set in teak pavilions and pool houses. cooking classes are well-regarded. mae rimsamoeng Old rd.; 66-53/298181; fourseasons.com; doubles from us$585–us$650.

No. 1 tHaIland mandarin oriental dhara dhevi (97.00) a miniature thai kingdom with 123 lanna-inspired suites and villas on 24 hectares that’s the setting for a buddhist prayer site, a 3,000-squaremeter spa and an arts-and-crafts village. 51/4 chiang maisankampaeng rd.; 66-53/888888; mandarinoriental.com; doubles from us$509–us$729.

Anantara Golden Triangle Resort & Spa.

BEHIND THE SCENES more than

phuket

500 solicitous staffers create this exotic wonderland, which received a perfect score for

new dusit thani laguna Resort (91.47) activity-filled resort in the laguna Phuket

$

travelandleisureasia.com | january 2012 101

neW zeaLand matau Ri b ay

No. 1 aUstRalIa, new zealand and tHe soUtH pacIfIc

Park Hyatt Saigon. complex; the place for muay thai kickboxing lessons and sailing along bang tao beach. talang; 66-76/362-999; dusit.com; doubles from us$200–us$650. jw marriott phuket Resort & spa (89.60) secluded ecoresort and spa beside a pristine stretch of mai khao beach. talang; 66-76/338-000; jwmarriott.com; doubles from us$184–us$280.

$

Vietnam ha n o i

under, located between the royal botanic gardens and the yarra river, now with club terrace rooms that open onto 49-square-meter balconies. 1 southgate ave.; 61-3/86968888; langhamhotels.com; doubles from us$312–us$672. T+L TIP a short walk from the

hotel is top sydney chef neil Perry’s rockpool bar & grill (dinner for two US$160), which serves more than 10 cuts of premium australian steak.

sofitel legend metropole (93.51) the city’s old-world hideaway. a us$20 million redo added a 7-story tower, a spa and angelina restaurant; rooms in the original wing maintain a traditional feel. 15 ngo quyen st.; 84-4/38266919; sofitel.com; doubles from us$225–us$265.

$

AustrAliA, New zeAlANd ANd the south pAcific austraLia kato o mb a

lilianfels blue mountain Resort & spa (89.87) a storybook manor in the blue mountains, just 90 minutes from sydney. 61-2/4780-1200; lilianfels.com.au; doubles from us$264.

team to pack a picnic (soba noodles; smoked-salmon sandwiches) before heading to Pink beach, one of kauri cliffs’ private coves; in summer, barbecue dinners are served on the sand. Queenstown new sofitel Queenstown hotel & spa (87.33) french-style hotel and new lobby, reborn after a us$2 million upgrade last year. 64-3/450-0045; sofitel.com; doubles from us$262–us$599.

huka lodge (92.57) the ne plus ultra of new zealand lodges, thanks to an idyllic waikato river garden setting and an extensive roster of activities. 64-7/378-5791; hukalodge.com; doubles from us$1,193. park hyatt (90.29) Peaceful art deco gem overlooking st. Patrick’s cathedral, a 5-minute stroll from downtown. 1 Parliament square; 61-3/92241234; park.hyatt.com; doubles from us$312–us$744. sydney

intercontinental (88.53) centrally located and set in the 1851 treasury building; the club lounge has some of the best views in town. 117 macquarie st.; 61-2/9253-9000; intercontinental. com; doubles from us$350. park hyatt (88.00) four-story hotel, primed after a us$65 million transformation, that’s now topped by 3 new rooftop suites. 7 hickson rd.; 61-2/92561234; park.hyatt.com; doubles from us$763.

m elb o uR n e

FrenCh poLynesia

No. 1 aUstRalIa

boR a-boRa

langham hotel (90.55) langham’s first hotel down

T+L TIP ask the kauri cliffs

taupo

ho c hi m in h city

park hyatt saigon (91.74) colonial meets contemporary on the main square, with a pair of top-notch restaurants and 2 lam son, the city’s only nonsmoking bar. 2 lam son square, district 1; 84-8/3824-1234; park.hyatt.com; doubles from us$260–us$350.

lodge at kauri cliffs (96.25) north Island cliffside lodge, golf course, and top spa on 2,400 hectares with waterfalls and private beaches. 64-9/407-0010; kauricliffs.com; doubles from us$1,140–us$1,485, including breakfast and dinner.

intercontinental bora bora Resort & thalasso spa (93.56) the ultimate fantasy: 80

102 january 2012 | travelandleisureasia.com

uNited stAtes aLaBama b i Rmingh am

Renaissance birmingham Ross bridge golf Resort & spa (88.00) 259-room resort southwest of the city, with a

$

Sofitel Queenstown Hotel & Spa.

robert trent Jones golf course and the area’s best spa. 4000 grand ave.; 1-205/916-7677; rossbridgeresort.com; doubles from us$169–us$289.

arizona p h oe niX /s cot ts dal e

four seasons Resort scottsdale at troon north (90.03) Pueblo-inspired property (plus a renovated pool and a soon-to-open gastropub) surrounded by the foothills of the mcdowell mountains. 10600 e. crescent moon dr., scottsdale; 1-480/515-5700; fourseasons. com; doubles from us$139.

$

new hermosa inn (88.47) under-the-radar 34-room 1930’s hacienda; highlights include sunday barbecue dinners and an artists-in-residence program. 5532 n. Palo cristi rd., Paradise valley; 1-602/955-8614; hermosainn.com; doubles from us$189–us$319.

$

montelucia Resort & spa (87.90) scottsdale’s newest spa resort is a moorish-inspired spread brimming with spanish and moroccan antiques. 4949 e. lincoln dr., scottsdale; 1-480/627-3200; montelucia. com; doubles from us$159.

$

the phoenician, a luxury collection Resort (88.30) newly upgraded resort on 100 hectares with a us$25 million art collection, 3 golf courses and a Jean-georges vongerichten steak house. 6000 e. camelback rd., scottsdale; 1-480/941-8200; thephoenician.com; doubles from us$199.

$

Royal palms Resort & spa (89.33) 119 rooms, casitas and villas (some individually designed) in a 1929 spanishinspired mansion on 3.6 leafy hectares near camelback mountain. 5200 e. camelback

$

f r O m t O P : c O u r t e s y O f P a r k h ya t t s a I g O n ; c O u r t e s y O f l a n g h a m , m e l b O u r n e ; c O u r t e sy O f s O f I t e l q u e e n s tOw n h Ot e l & s Pa

Polynesian-style villas perched above a coral reef. 689/607600; intercontinental.com; doubles from us$1,079.

no.1  aUstRalIa, new zealand and tHe soUtH pacIfIc

c aRme l

bernardus lodge (87.56) Provençal-inspired winery hotel, a celebrated restaurant and an organic garden. 1-831/658-3550; bernardus.com; doubles from us$305–us$555. l’auberge carmel (89.00) 20-room inn that maintains a decidedly european feel, plus an exclusive restaurant, aubergine (12 tables; 4,500 bottles of wine). 1-831/624-8578; lauberge carmel.com; doubles from us$340–us$425, including breakfast. h al f moon bay

Ritz-carlton (89.42) statuesque resort—261 rooms, 2 golf courses, a spa and a vintner series—set on a cliff that fronts the Pacific. 1-650/712-7000; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from us$435–us$625. los a nge l e s aRe a

beverly hills hotel & bungalows (87.16) 210-room dorchester collection pink palace, now including 2 new Presidential bungalows. 9641 sunset blvd., beverly hills; 1-310/276-2251; beverlyhillshotel.com; doubles from us$640–us$820.

The main living room at the Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, in New Zealand.

rd., Phoenix; 1-602/840-3610; royalpalmshotel.com; doubles from us$219–us$499.

No.1 aRIzona sanctuary on camelback mountain Resort & spa (90.27) chic resort on the mountain; perks include a watsu-poolequipped spa and Iron Chef America winner beau macmillan in the kitchen at elements restaurant. 5700 e. macdonald dr., Paradise valley; 1-480/9482100; sanctuaryon camelback.com; doubles from us$259–us$499. BEHIND THE SCENES culinary

programs—from a saturday mixology class to a recently launched chef’s table—helped boost this hotel’s score above the competition's.

earl carter

se do n a

enchantment Resort (89.73) 218 rooms and suites just off an us$11 million refurbishment, plus the celebrated mii amo spa. 1-928/282-2900; enchantment resort.com; doubles from us$275–us$495.

l’auberge de sedona (87.65) romantic creek-side retreat with a renovated spa that includes a massage cabana set among the trees. 1-928/282-1661; lauberge. com; doubles from us$295. tucson

arizona inn (89.04) $ historic, 95-room pinktinged adobe-style estate, piano bar and pristine gardens. 2200 e. elm st.; 1-520/325-1541; arizonainn.com; doubles from us$169–us$329.

CaLiFornia bi g suR

post Ranch inn (90.99) 41 solarpowered aeries made of wood, glass and slate, cantilevered out from a cliff overlooking the ocean. 1-831/667-2200; postranchinn.com; doubles from us$595, including breakfast. ventana inn & spa (90.40) an adults-only hideaway: 57 rooms and 3 cedar villas, surrounded by 98 hectares along the rugged coast. 1-831/667-2331; ventanainn.com; doubles from us$500–us$750, including breakfast.

beverly wilshire, a four seasons hotel (88.27) glamorous touches at this updated 1928 hotel include a richard meier–designed cut steak house by wolfgang Puck and a rolls-royce and driver for guest transportation. 9500 wilshire blvd., beverly hills; 1-310/275-5200; fourseasons. com; doubles from us$395– us$625. four seasons hotel los angeles at beverly hills (87.79) 285 recently revamped rooms a kilometer from rodeo drive, with a 4th-floor pool scene. 300 s. doheny dr., los angeles; 1-310/273-2222; fourseasons. com; doubles from us$395–us$565. hotel bel-air (91.71) 103-room dorchester collection sanctuary reenvisioned by a hotel dream team that consisted of alexandra champalimaud, david rockwell and wolfgang Puck. 701 stone canyon rd., los angeles; 1-310/472-1211; hotelbel air.com; doubles from us$590– us$730. l’ermitage beverly hills (89.76) averaging 60 square meters, the rooms in this intimate hotel are some of the city’s largest. 9291 burton way, beverly hills; 1-310/278-3344; lermitagebh.

com; doubles from us$425– us$625. montage beverly hills (90.00) Old hollywood glamour in a new (2008) building on a prime l.a. corner. 225 n. canon dr., beverly hills; 1-310/860-7800; montage beverlyhills.com; doubles from us$495–us$775. peninsula beverly hills (89.96) to celebrate its 20th birthday in 2011, this posh oasis is adding updated technology, including smart-phone check-in. 9882 s. santa monica blvd., beverly hills; 1-310/551-2888; peninsula.com; doubles from us$475–us$625. Ritz-carlton, marina del Rey (87.20) eight kilometers from laX, the 304-room hotel faces the harbor for expansive waterfront views and easy access to yachting. 4375 admiralty way, marina del rey; 1-310/823-1700; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from us$299–us$459. shutters on the beach (91.27) 198-room resort that exudes a polished coastal look (wicker furniture; subtle blue-and-whitepatterned fabrics) and opens onto a beachfront bicycle path. 1 Pico blvd., santa monica; 1-310/458-0030; shuttersonthebeach.com; doubles from us$465–us$595. napa/s onoma

auberge du soleil (92.29) a favorite for nearly 30 years: the string of vine-covered maisons house 50 rooms; it also has 2 cottages. rutherford; 1-707/9631211; aubergedusoleil.com; doubles from us$600–us$1,175. calistoga Ranch, an auberge Resort (88.73) 48 cedar-shingle lodges with open-air showers and a farm-to-table restaurant. calistoga; 1-707/254-2800; calistogaranch.com; doubles from us$675–us$850. carneros inn (87.71) secluded country cottages (private patios; heated bathroom floors; soaking tubs) in the bucolic carneros wine region. napa; 1-707/2994900; thecarnerosinn.com; doubles from us$395–us$690. hotel healdsburg (89.30) charlie Palmer’s minimalist haven in healdsburg’s town square, home to the chef’s dry creek kitchen and a 500-bottle wine room. healdsburg; 1-707/431-2800; hotelhealdsburg.com; doubles from us$310–us$410, including breakfast. meadowood napa valley (90.20) 101-hectare estate with a country-club feel, plus a wine-

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no.1 

solage calistoga (89.71) familyfriendly, hip and modern: cleanlined cottages with cruiser bikes and a spa that specializes in mud therapies. calistoga; 1-707/2260800; solagecalistoga.com; doubles from us$325–us$625. villagio inn & spa (90.90) a $ cozy, 112-room escape close to french laundry that offers digital wine guides and unlimited champagne at breakfast. yountville; 1-707/944-8877; villagio.com; doubles from us$250–us$480, including breakfast. o R a n ge co un ty

hyatt Regency huntington beach Resort & spa (87.56) expansive mediterranean-style resort with waterslides, surf instructors and all 517 rooms redone in 2011. huntington beach; 1-714/698-1234; hyatt. com; doubles from us$179– us$499.

$

montage laguna beach (90.20) craftsman-style resort on 12 oceanfront hectares; all 250 rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows. laguna beach; 1-949/715-6000; montagelagunabeach.com; doubles from us$375–us$895. Resort at pelican hill (92.83) built in 2008, this Palladian-style resort has huge rooms (starting at 79 square meters) and one of the largest circular pools in the world. newport beach; 1-949/467-6800; pelicanhill.com; doubles from us$395–us$695. Ritz-carlton, laguna niguel (89.04) relaxed resort with Jean-michel cousteau–approved marine programs, plus a new Pan-latin restaurant, situated on a bluff above a legendary wave break. dana Point; 1-949/2402000; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from us$475–us$525. st. Regis monarch beach (87.80) sleek, 400-room golfand-spa resort; the art collection includes works by Picasso and chihuly. dana Point; 1-949/2343200; stregis.com; doubles from us$375–us$775. surf & sand Resort (89.77) relaxed oceanfront property, glowing from a 2011 renovation. fun activities include beach yoga and stand-up paddleboarding.

calIfornIa

laguna beach; 1-949/497-4477; surfandsandresort.com; doubles from us$445–us$665. pasadena

langham huntington (87.40) spectacular gardens, a spa and the new royce restaurant in a polished 1907 hotel a short drive from the san gabriel mountains. 1401 s. Oak knoll ave.; 1-626/568-3900; langhamhotels.com; doubles from us$189–us$575.

$

pebble beach

inn at spanish bay (92.23) 269 rooms and a bevy of patios and fire pits, set 305 meters from the ocean amid monterey pines and overlooking the links at spanish bay. 1-831/647-7500; pebblebeach.com; doubles from us$615. lodge at pebble beach (91.14) One of the area’s first hotels, dating to 1919; traditional rooms are warmed by fireplaces and have views of the 18th green of the Pebble beach golf links. 1-831/624-3811; pebblebeach. com; doubles from us$715. san fRanci sco

four seasons hotel (87.88) glassy tower in the artsy yerba buena district, where you can take in skyline views from some of the city’s largest guest rooms. 757 market st.; 1-415/633-3000; fourseasons.com; doubles from us$515–us$535. mandarin oriental (87.60) celebrating 25 years in 2012, and set on the top 11 floors of san francisco’s third-tallest building. 222 sansome st.; 1-415/2769888; mandarinoriental.com; doubles from us$395–us$795. st. Regis (88.83) contemporary interior spaces, plus an indoor pool, in a high-rise adjacent to the san francisco museum of modern art. 125 3rd st.; 1-415/284-4000; stregis.com; doubles from us$329–us$649. taj campton place (89.06) streamlined rooms, frette linens and a michelin-starred restaurant, 1 block north of union square. campton Place, 340 stockton st.; 1-415/781-5555; tajhotels.com; doubles from us$275–us$650. santa baRbaRa

four seasons Resort the biltmore (91.79) Oceanfront grande dame frequented by celebrities. tydes restaurant, at the beach club, recently launched an Italian-inspired menu. montecito; 1-805/9692261; fourseasons.com; doubles from us$395–us$895.

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The pool at San Ysidro Ranch, in Santa Barbara, California.

No. 1 calIfoRnIa san ysidro Ranch (93.86) 41 private cottages and suites renovated to the tune of us$100 million in 2009—set on 210 lavender-scented hectares. montecito; 1-805/565-1700; sanysidroranch.com; doubles from us$650. ROOM TO BOOK the kennedy cottage—the suite where John and Jackie honeymooned in 1953—has private, vine-covered decks and panoramic ocean views. v e nt u R a

ojai valley inn & spa (87.79) spanish-inspired spread that epitomizes indoor-outdoor living (alfresco fireplaces; nearby hiking trails), plus a 2,880square-meter luxury spa and golf and tennis clinics for the whole family. Ojai; 1-805/6461111; ojairesort.com; doubles from us$299–us$479.

CoLorado as p e n

little nell (91.85) tony ski-in, ski-out hotel with updated, holly hunt–designed interiors (stone gas fireplaces; sliding closet barn doors). 1-970/920-4600; thelittlenell.com; doubles from us$340–us$1,190.

$

st. Regis (87.20) handsome brick hotel fresh from a

nearly us$40 million renovation; ski butlers guide sporty types to the best powder. 1-970/9203300; stregis.com; doubles from us$199–us$1,339. b e av e R c Re e k

Ritz-carlton bachelor gulch (92.23) familyfriendly gabled-roof lodge on beaver creek mountain, with two resident canines and its own high-speed lift. 1-970/748-6200; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from us$229–us$599.

$

coloRado s p Rings

the broadmoor (91.80) 1,210-hectare mainstay at the gateway to the rocky mountains, beloved for generations. the east golf course hosted last year’s u.s. women’s Open, while offproperty excursions include horseback riding and fly-fishing. 1-719/577-5775; broadmoor.com; doubles from us$300–us$445. de nv e R

hotel monaco (87.24) after a 2011 renovation, the 189 eclectic rooms at this businessoriented hotel—walking distance from the colorado convention center—match the bold colors in the public spaces. 1717 champa st.; 1-303/296-1717; monacodenver.com; doubles from us$149–us$349.

$

hotel teatro (89.50) soaring ceilings and 600-thread-count sheets in a

$

JessIca samPle

education program and restaurant at meadowood, one of only 2 michelin 3-starred restaurants in the western united states. st. helena; 1-707/963-3646; meadowood. com; doubles from us$475– us$700.

renaissance revival–style building across from the denver center for the Performing arts. 1100 14th st.; 1-303/228-1100; hotelteatro.com; doubles from us$229–us$329.

Ritz-carlton georgetown (87.90) business-class digs in a brick-walled national historic landmark. 3100 south st. nw; 1-202/912-4100; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from us$449–us$799.

Ritz-carlton (88.56) a $ glamorous 2008 addition; unexpected amenities include a rock-climbing wall in the 5,110-square-meter fitness facility. 1881 curtis st.; 1-303/3123800; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from us$229–us$339.

sofitel washington d.c. lafayette square (88.00) art deco–style hotel updated by Pierre-yves rochon, but retaining some original details (black marble floors; gold-leaf accents). 806 15th st. nw; 1-202/730-8800; sofitel.com; doubles from us$195– us$340.

va il

sonnenalp Resort (87.74) 115 suites and 12 standard rooms in a bavarian-style lodge, the first hotel in the western u.s. to receive sustainable travel International lecs certification. 1-970/476-5656; sonnenalp.com; doubles from us$165–us$640.

$

ConneCtiCut washin gto n

Pa u l c O s t e l l O . m O d e l : v I r g I n I a b a l c a z a r / e l I t e m I a m I . d r e s s b y t r I n a t u r k , h at b y e u g e n I a k I m

mayflower inn & spa (89.88) 30-room english-country-style inn with a destination spa, surrounded by 23 garden-filled hectares in the idyllic litchfield hills. 1-860/868-9466; mayflowerinn.com; doubles from us$545–us$1,600.

distriCt oF CoLumBia washin gto n , d.c.

four seasons hotel (89.00) brick hotel among 19th-century row houses; the spa features an indoor saltwater pool. 2800 Pennsylvania ave. nw; 1-202/342-0444; fourseasons. com; doubles from us$445– us$795. the hay-adams (88.59) Oldworld elegance in an Italian renaissance–style hotel across from the white house. 800 16th st. nw; 1-202/638-6600; hayadams.com; doubles from us$299–us$1,000.

No. 1 dIstRIct of colUMbIa the jefferson (89.29) beauxarts jewel filled with thomas Jefferson artifacts and gleaming from a recent renovation. a pianist plays tuesday through saturday nights at the woodpaneled bar, quill. 1200 16th st. nw; 1-202/448-2300; jeffersondc.com; doubles from us$325–us$600. ROOM TO BOOK deluxe rooms are the biggest of the standard room category, with skyline views and Italian-marble bathrooms.

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st. Regis (89.27) two blocks from the white house, this 1926 Italianate hotel exudes historic elegance without feeling oldguard (case in point: the rockwell group–designed alain ducasse restaurant). 923 16th and k sts. nw; 1-202/638-2626; stregis.com; doubles from us$325–us$980.

FLorida ameli a i sland

Ritz-carlton (91.15) 444 rooms (all with balconies) and a roster of activities—guided walks along sand dunes, kayak trips and a new locally inspired sunday brunch. 1-904/277-1100; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from us$229–us$389.

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cleaRwateR b each

sandpearl Resort (88.92) leed silver–certified property in the central gulf coast, with an artists-in-residence program and boat slips across the street. 1-727/441-2425; sandpearl. com; doubles from us$199– us$359.

913-8288; mandarinoriental.com; doubles from us$249–us$479.

Poolside cocktail service is a welcome upgrade. key west; 1-305/292-1919; marquesa.com; doubles from us$190–us$520. ocean key Resort & spa (87.23) five-story resort (plus new 1-bedroom oceanfront suites) infused with asian flair in the balinese-inspired spaterre. the waterfront hot tin roof restaurant serves caramelized grouper and crab-stuffed lobster. key west; 1-305/296-7701; oceankey.com; doubles from us$239–us$599.

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jac ks onv il l e new one ocean Resort & spa (87.25) 193-room resort (butler service; northeast florida’s only waterfront spa) on a 77-meter stretch of sand. atlantic beach; 1-904/249-7402; oneocean resort.com; doubles from us$139– us$229.

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miami aRe a

biltmore miami coral gables (88.00) storied 1920’s hotel and 3-year-old cooking academy surrounded by 61 manicured hectares. coral gables; 1-305/445-1926; biltmorehotel.com; doubles from us$199–us$349.

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the setai (91.20) a study in minimalism: 130 rooms and suites spread between a modern tower and landmark 1930’s art deco building. Over-the-top packages include ferrari rentals and helicopter tours. 2001 collins ave., miami beach; 1-305/520-6000; setai.com; doubles from us$575– us$1,400. turnberry isle (89.68) this 407-room beach, golf and tennis resort just north of miami also features a skylight-topped spa and bourbon steak, by chef michael mina. aventura; 1-305/ 932-6200; turnberryislemiami. com; doubles from us$159– us$799.

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nap l e s

hyatt Regency coconut point Resort & spa (92.00) 454-room family-friendly escape on 10.5 palm-shrouded hectares along the quiet estero bay. 1-239/ 444-1234; hyatt.com; doubles from us$139–us$569.

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mandarin oriental (88.49) a 326-room tower (asian spa; sushi restaurant) on brickell key. 500 brickell key dr., miami; 1-305/

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Ritz-carlton key biscayne (88.00) 450 renovated rooms with a seaside theme, plus 4 restaurants and 11 tennis courts, on a barrier island south of miami beach. key biscayne; 1-305/365-4500; ritz carlton.com; doubles from us$259–us$699.

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no.1  florIda

floRi da k eys

No. 1 floRIda little palm island Resort & spa (94.56) florida’s most secluded and romantic retreat: a west Indies–style idyll set along a whitesand beach on a 2.4-hectare island accessible only by boat or seaplane, which will also take you to a smaller island for a picnic. little torch key; 1-305/515-4004; littlepalmisland.com; suites from us$790–us$1,590. T+L TIP arrive when the resort

is hosting one of its sandbar session concerts, which bring well-known musicians to the hotel’s beach. Previous headliners? stephen marley and the Indigo girls. marquesa hotel (89.90) 1884 clapboard houses and one of the island’s best restaurants, set back from busy duval street.

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One of 30 suites at Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, in Little Torch Key, Florida.

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no.1  hawaII

Poolside at the Four Seasons Resort, Hualalai.

Ritz-carlton (92.56) a 450room stalwart (plus 2 pools and a spa) set along the gulf of mexico’s Paradise coast. 1-239/598-3300; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from us$399–us$769. Ritz-carlton golf Resort (90.40) 295 rooms and 2 greg norman–designed courses that double as an audubon sanctuary. a complimentary shuttle brings guests to the sister ritz-carlton hotel for access to white-sand beaches. 1-239/5932000; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from us$229–us$499.

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o R la n do a Re a

disney’s animal kingdom lodge (87.54) a 1,307-room lodge (and newly launched spice route–inspired sanaa restaurant) 1.6 kilometers from the animal kingdom theme park. lake buena vista; 1-407/934-7639;

disneyworld.com; doubles from us$265–us$635. new hilton orlando bonnet creek (87.58) a destination in itself: 1,001 rooms and suites plus a waterslide and lazy river in the middle of a nature reserve, set in walt disney world. Orlando; 1-407/597-3600; hilton.com; doubles from us$120–us$319.

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Ritz-carlton orlando, grande lakes (87.88) 15-story tower modeled after an Italian palazzo, surrounded by 202 hectares of lakes and trees, plus a greg norman–designed golf course. Orlando; 1-407/206-2400; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from us$219–us$399.

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new waldorf astoria (91.03) three-year-old, 498room hotel featuring elements of the brand’s manhattan flagship, including sir harry’s lounge. Orlando; 1-407/597-5500; waldorfastoria.com; doubles from us$159–us$369.

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palm beach

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brazilian court hotel & beach club (88.00) 1926

hotel with updated interiors, a daniel boulud restaurant and a new beach club. 1-561/655-7740; thebraziliancourt.com; doubles from us$219–us$619. the breakers (88.70) a dramatic, palm-lined drive leads to this Italian renaissance– inspired icon (5 pools; 9 restaurants; 11 tennis courts) on a prime spot on Palm beach. 1-561/655-6611; thebreakers.com; doubles from us$279–us$539. Ritz-carlton (87.57) elegant yet relaxed resort along 2.8 hectares of oceanfront property in the posh town of manalapan; a us$130 million makeover was completed 3 years ago. 1-561/533-6000; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from us$279–us$479.

georgia at l anta

Ritz-carlton, buckhead (87.48) 510-room high-rise well suited for fitness buffs (there’s a state-of-the-art fitness center and junior Olympic-size swimming pool), across from

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high-end shopping. 3434 Peachtree rd. n.e.; 1-404/2372700; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from us$229–us$429. gRe e ns b oR o

Ritz-carlton lodge, Reynolds plantation (89.14) lakefront resort just 121 kilometers from atlanta, lauded for 99 holes of championship golf. linger longer steakhouse reopened last year. 1-706/4670600; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from us$199.

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savannah

mansion on forsyth park (88.37) Over-the-top 125room hotel (grand piano; cheetah-print chairs) in a restored 1888 mansion that also houses a cooking school and art gallery. 700 drayton st.; 1-912/238-5158; mansiononforsythpark.com; doubles from us$169–us$299.

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s e a is l and

the cloister (92.32) a 1928 mediterranean-style mansion set on 8 kilometers of secluded beach. the hotel’s new food truck

r ay m O n d P at r I c k

laplaya beach & golf Resort (90.44) 189-room seaside resort 15 minutes north of downtown, with a bob cupp– designed golf course. 1-239/5973123; laplayaresort.com; doubles from us$139–us$439.

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serves Jamaican jerk chicken to go. 1-866/879-6238; seaisland. com; doubles from us$395–us$595.

haWaii b i g isl a n d

fairmont orchid (87.72) a $ recently refreshed 540-room hotel with lanais and hidden dining spots on 13 hectares on the kohala coast. 1-808/885-2000; fairmont. com; doubles from us$239.

No. 1 HawaII four seasons Resort, hualalai (94.04) string of 2-story bungalows built upon ancient lava rock. Its updated hualalai spa now has 10 outdoor treatment rooms. 1-808/325-8000; fourseasons. com; doubles from us$635– us$1,295. BEHIND THE SCENES though it

has taken top honors in hawaii for 2 years running, a jump in the hotel’s value score—thanks to new deals such as 50 percent off your second room—is one reason that it nabbed the top spot in 2012. hapuna beach prince hotel (89.75) secluded kohala coast resort complex on the big Island’s best beach, next to a state park. 1-808/880-1111; princeresortshawaii.com; doubles from us$425. mauna kea beach hotel (89.19) a us$150 million renovation transformed this 1965 golf-andtennis resort, originally built by rockresorts founder laurance rockefeller; on-site activities (hula classes; stand-up paddleboarding) make it a top choice for families. 1-808/8827222; princeresortshawaii.com; doubles from us$525. mauna lani bay hotel & bungalows (88.22) chic, ecofriendly 343-room resort offering updated tropical-style rooms and 2 golf courses on a 16th-century lava flow. 1-808/885-6622; maunalani. com; doubles from us$395.

annIe schlechter

kaua i

grand hyatt kauai Resort & spa (87.96) 602-room resort with 4 pools, a cliff-top robert trent Jones Jr.–designed golf course, and, as of last spring, bathrooms with rain showers. 1-808/7421234; hyatt.com; doubles from us$440–us$580. st. Regis princeville Resort (88.47) gleaming, terraced hotel (soaking tubs; infinity pools; Jean georges restaurant), on the island’s north shore. 1-808/826-

9644; stregis.com; doubles from us$385–us$1,000. lanai

four seasons Resort lanai at manele bay (87.74) 236-room beach resort geared toward urbanites who return for cliff-top golf and “snuba,” a combination of snorkeling and scuba diving. 1-808/565-2000; fourseasons. com; doubles from us$395– us$445. four seasons Resort lanai, the lodge at koele (91.82) hawaii meets wood-sided country estate: manele bay’s 8-hectare sister property has a traditional english tea, nearby stables and cultural programs. 1-808/565-4000; fourseasons. com; doubles from us$310. maui

fairmont kea lani (88.26) 450-suite escape on a calm cove ideal for whale-watching. ko, a renovated farm-to-table restaurant, opens in february 2012. 1-808/875-4100; fairmont. com; doubles from us$499– us$699. four seasons Resort maui at wailea (92.15) a favorite celebrity hideout: 380 rooms and a slew of activities (outrigger canoeing; expert-led surf and cycling programs). 1-808/874-8000; four seasons.com; doubles from us$485–us$515. hyatt Regency maui Resort & spa (88.20) megaresort in lahaina on the kaanapali coast with hawaiian and Polynesian artwork and an outdoor theater for cirque de soleil performances. 1-808/6611234; hyatt.com; doubles from us$224–us$404.

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Ritz-carlton, kapalua (88.63) former pineapple plantation known for its eco programs. an adults-only pool opened in 2010. 1-808/669-6200; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from us$519–us$659. travaasa hana (formerly hotel hána-maui & honua spa) (91.53) a quiet alternative to maui’s mega-resorts, now overseen by denver-based owners. the 47 cottages and 23 suites are set on a seaside bluff. 1-808/248-8211; travaasa.com; doubles from us$360–us$450. oahu

halekulani (92.69) this centuryold, 2-hectare gem on waikiki beach—with 3 open-air restaurants, 3 Premier suites (including one by vera wang) and views of diamond head—will remain open through a renovation

expected to be completed in June 2012. 1-808/923-2311; halekulani. com; doubles from us$435. Royal hawaiian, a luxury collection Resort (87.39) landmark flamingo-pink property where most rooms have views of diamond head. the royal beach tower glitters after a us$10 million renovation last year. 1-808/9237311; royal-hawaiian.com; doubles from us$320–us$660.

iLLinois c h ic ago new conrad chicago (87.69) 311-room business hotel and lowcountry-inspired terrace rooftop (po’boy sliders; skillet cornbread) near rush street’s popular dining spots. 521 n. rush st.; 1-312/645-1500; conradhotels.com; doubles from us$205–us$495.

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with a lavish lobby (marble fountain; art nouveau–style reliefs) and 435 renovated rooms. 160 e. Pearson st.; 1-312/266-1000; fourseasons.com; doubles from us$259–us$499. trump international hotel & tower (92.13) 339 rooms, a 2,100-square-meter spa and michelin-starred restaurant, sixteen—all in a 92-story stainlesssteel monolith next to the chicago river. 401 n. wabash ave.; 1-312/588-8000; trumpchicagohotel. com; doubles from us$575–us$650.

KentuCKy lou isv il l e new brown hotel (88.56) 16-story 1923 hotel with ornate old-world architecture and kentucky derby touches (equestrian art; horse-patterned throws). 335 w. broadway; 1-502/583-1234; brownhotel.com; doubles from us$149–us$299.

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new the elysian (92.25) a luxurious 2009 addition to the heart of chicago’s gold coast with a design aesthetic that recalls 1920’s Paris, a michelin 2-starred restaurant and a no-tipping policy—an unexpected perk. 11 e. walton; 1-312/646-1300; elysianhotels.com; doubles from us$475–us$555.

four seasons hotel (88.33) floors 30 through 46 of a skyscraper overlooking lake michigan, upgraded after a us$37 million renovation in 2010. 120 e. delaware Place; 1-312/280-8800; fourseasons.com; doubles from us$279–us$559. park hyatt (88.70) 198-room hotel on water tower square. new soaking tubs are situated for views of the lake and the museum of contemporary art. 800 n. michigan ave.; 1-312/335-1234; park.hyatt.com; doubles from us$265–us$565.

No. 1 IllInoIs peninsula chicago (93.42) sleek, 20-story state-of-the-art hotel with 3 restaurants, including shanghai terrace and the lobby—and a 1,400-squaremeter espa in the heart of the magnificent mile shopping district. 108 e. superior st.; 1-312/337-2888; peninsula.com; doubles from us$395–us$525. ROOM TO BOOK the grand deluxe suites have the best views in the hotel—they all overlook water tower Park—and were just updated with art deco–inspired accents (lacquer tables; brocadecovered chairs).

Ritz-carlton, a four seasons hotel (90.62) across the street from the hancock Observatory,

No. 1 kentUcky 21c museum hotel (89.43) a trendsetting spot: 90 spare-but-polished rooms and a collection of works by living artists, all set in a complex of 19thcentury warehouses. 700 w. main st.; 1-502/217-6300; 21cmuseumhotel.com; doubles from us$225–us$325.

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T+L TIP Pick up a map at the louisville visitors center and head out on the urban bourbon trail to taste more than 50 bourbons. the trail stops at 21c’s Proof on main.

Louisiana ne w oR l e ans new loews new orleans hotel (88.57) a 21-story, 21st-century glass box, plus a creole bistro, located between the french quarter and the arts district. 300 Poydras st.; 1-504/595-3300; loewshotels.

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gem in historic back bay that’s been family-owned for 70 years. bathrooms are being updated with bardiglio Italian marble. 70 commonwealth ave.; 1-617/267-1607; eliothotel.com; doubles from us$275–us$545. BEHIND THE SCENES Its scores for service surged this year thanks to family-friendly perks: kids stay for free; toddlers get rubber ducks in the bathtub; pets are greeted with food and water.

four seasons hotel (90.35) 273-room brick luxury landmark (now offering cooking classes), across the street from boston’s Public garden. 200 boylston st.; 1-617/338-4400; fourseasons.com; doubles from us$325–us$445. mandarin oriental (87.43) a glamorous 2008 east-meetswest addition to back bay. unique touches include crystal steam rooms. 776 boylston st.; 1-617/535-8888; mandarinoriental. com; doubles from us$395. new

Lobby-side at the Eliot Hotel, in Boston’s Back Bay.

com; doubles from us$139– us$399. Ritz-carlton (88.08) converted department store a block from bourbon street. Post-katrina, the hotel underwent a us$150 million renovation, and the francophile interiors were recently refreshed. 921 canal st.; 1-504/524-1331; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from us$219–us$419.

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Roosevelt hotel new $ orleans, a waldorf astoria hotel (90.96) grand 19th-century hotel adjacent to the french quarter, featuring the iconic sazerac bar. 123 baronne st.; 1-504/648-1200; waldorfastoria. com; doubles from us$159. new

windsor court hotel (91.70) 316 traditional rooms—mainly suites spruced up after a us$22 million 2011 restoration—in the central business district. 300 gravier st.; 1-504/523-6000; windsorcourthotel.com; doubles from us$190–us$460.

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19th-century buildings furnished with sleigh beds and rain showers. the acclaimed namesake restaurant changes its prix fixe menu every week. 1-207/967-2321; whitebarninn.com; doubles from us$320–us$475, including breakfast.

maryLand st. mi chaels

inn at perry cabin (89.04) colonial-style 1816 manor—really a classic eastern shore inn—located on a quiet and private chesapeake bay inlet. 1-410/7452200; perrycabin.com; doubles from us$275–us$445.

massaChusetts boston

maine

boston harbor hotel (91.56) this just-updated 230-room hotel is the center of revitalized rowes wharf. Its bar boasts the city’s largest collection of scotch whisky. rowes wharf; 1-617/4397000; bhh.com; doubles from us$285–us$725.

k e nn e b un k p o Rt

No. 1 MassacHUsetts

white barn inn & spa (90.97)

eliot hotel (93.47) neo-georgian

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Xv beacon (91.82) modern, 62room boutique hotel (often just called “fifteen”) set in a beacon hill beaux-arts building. 15 beacon st.; 1-617/670-1500; xvbeacon.com; doubles from us$325–us$395. c ap e cod

wequassett Resort & golf club (87.64) the cape’s largest resort, on Pleasant bay. harbor views are best from the chaise-dotted lawns, the patio and the 40 signature collection rooms. chatham; 1-508/4325400; wequassett.com; doubles from us$205–us$580.

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m a Rt h a’s v ine yaR d new harbor view hotel & Resort (87.47) 1891 mansion and cottages overlooking chappaquiddick Island, suffused with yankee beach style (gingham prints; teak rockers). 1-508/6277000; harbor-view.com; doubles from us$119–us$365.

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nant u c k e t

the wauwinet (90.67) On a stretch of sand between nantucket sound and the atlantic, catering to adults (no kids under 12) with wine tastings and a spa. 1-508/228-0145; wauwinet.com; doubles from us$225–us$680, including breakfast.

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white elephant (88.44) nantucket town’s largest resort, on a prime spot on the harbor. the expansive patio is a trump card. 1-508/228-2500; whiteelephanthotel.com; doubles from us$195–us$855.

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miChigan b i Rmingh am

townsend hotel (88.57) 150 rooms plus a traditional afternoon tea, in a gilded detroit suburb. 1-248/642-7900; townsendhotel. com; doubles from us$400. mac k inac i s l and

grand hotel (89.85) grand colonnaded retreat built in 1887, with a 180-meter porch facing the straits of mackinac. 1-906/8473331; grandhotel.com; doubles from us$284–us$304, including breakfast and dinner.

missouri kansas c it y

Raphael hotel (89.38) a grand 1920’s Italian renaissance revival–style hotel with an opulent, revamped lobby, overlooking the country club Plaza shopping center. 325 ward Pkwy.; 1-816/756-3800; raphaelkc. com; doubles from us$179.

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montana da Rby

No. 1 UnIted states triple creek Ranch (97.10) adultsonly mountain retreat on thousands of hectares, with plush log cabins (wood-burning fireplaces; hot tubs), a 2,000-plusbottle wine cellar, a chef’s table and a rotating collection of original art. 1-406/821-4600; triplecreek ranch.com; doubles from us$750– us$950, including meals. T+L TIP don’t miss a snowshoe

excursion across the chief Joseph Pass—first explored by lewis and clark in 1805—or the chocolate chip cookies served by cowboy-booted staffers on your return.

neVada l as ve gas

bellagio (88.92) a midstrip extravaganza: 14 restaurants, dancing fountains and hyde, a new lounge by Philippe starck. 3600 las vegas blvd. s.; 1-702/693-7111; bellagio. com; doubles from us$159– us$899.

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encore at wynn (89.97) steve wynn’s second vegas resort is less glam and more desert oasis; the encore beach club has 3 tiered pools and 12-meter palm trees; the casino has windows for natural light. 3121 las vegas blvd. s.; 1-702/770-8000; wynnlasvegas. com; doubles from us$189.

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Peden + munk

massachusetts

four seasons hotel (87.75) One of the more tranquil vegas hotels, thanks to a hushed marble entrance, no casino and a set-off location on the southern end of the strip. 3960 las vegas blvd. s.; 1-702/632-5000; fourseasons.com; doubles from us$229–us$449.

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new mandarin oriental (89.09) asian-inspired interiors by adam d. tihany and the first u.s. restaurant by french chef Pierre gagnaire in a non-gaming hotel in citycenter. 3752 las vegas blvd. s.; 1-702/590-8888; mandarin oriental.com; doubles from us$255.

the palazzo (90.02) allsuite property with a canyon ranch spaclub, barneys new york and 4 lounges including a champagne bar. 3325 las vegas blvd. s.; 1-702/607-7777; palazzo lasvegas.com; doubles from us$149–us$599.

Rosewood inn of the anasazi (89.17) 58-room boutique property with native american style (wood-beamed ceilings; kiva fireplaces). 113 washington ave.; 1-505/9883030; rosewoodhotels.com; doubles from us$249.

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com; doubles from us$675– us$775, including breakfast.

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sagamore Resort (89.75) $ 381-room resort, fresh from a us$20 million renovation that added a pool, on a private, 28-hectare lake george island. bolton landing; 1-518/644-9400; thesagamore.com; doubles from us$169–us$299.

the carlyle, a Rosewood hotel (88.90) a 35-story upper east side icon close to museum mile with jazz performances at bemelmans bar and cabaret at café carlyle. 35 e. 76th st.; 1-212/744-1600; rosewoodhotels.com; doubles from us$550.

whiteface lodge Resort & spa (87.53) rustic, all-suite lodge featuring douglas fir beams and cast-iron fireplaces, plus a bowling alley, kayaks and paddleboats. lake Placid; 1-518/523-0500; thewhite facelodge.com; doubles from us$340, including breakfast.

new crosby street hotel (92.53) quirky, contemporary interiors by kit kemp at a leed gold–certified property on a cobblestoned block in soho. 79 crosby st.; 1-212/226-6400; crosbystreethotel.com; doubles from us$525.

adi Rondacks

lake placid lodge (91.56) 30 waterfront guest rooms, all done up in chic adirondack arts and crafts style, and a new teaching kitchen for 4 different cooking classes. lake Placid; 1-518/523-2700; lakeplacidlodge.

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trump international hotel (88.00) 1,282-suite golden tower next to fashion show mall. family-friendly perks include spacious units with kitchenettes, board games and children’s books. 2000 fashion show dr.; 1-702/982-0000; trump hotelcollection.com; doubles from us$129–us$209.

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new

no.1  unIted states and canada

venetian Resort hotel (87.31) Inspired by its namesake city (canals; gondolas; even a piazza), with some of the largest rooms on the strip and a new sports lounge. 3355 las vegas blvd. s.; 1-702/414-1000; venetian.com; doubles from us$149–us$599.

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No. 1 nevada wynn (90.12) the flagship property from developer steve wynn has 2,716 rooms, gardens and 14 restaurants, including the new wine-focused la cave. 3131 las vegas blvd. s.; 1-702/770-7000; wynnlasvegas. com; doubles from us$169.

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ROOM TO BOOK One of the rooms in the tower suites, where you’ll get vIP check-in, exclusive concierge service and access to a terrace with private pools.

neW mexiCo ly n n d O n a l d s O n

san ta fe new encantado, an auberge Resort (89.33) 23-hectare spa resort and on-site art gallery, set against the sangre de cristo mountains. 198 state rd. 592; 1-505/946-5700; encantado resort.com; doubles from us$250.

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The main lodge at Triple Creek Ranch, in Darby, Montana.

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hôtel plaza athénée (89.17) this 142-room retreat (now with a spa) set on a quiet, tree-lined street offers easy access to madison avenue’s shopping scene. 37 e. 64th st.; 1-212/6064600; plaza-athenee.com; doubles from us$965. new loews Regency hotel (88.23) a legendary business hotel convenient to midtown and central Park. a major renovation is scheduled for mid 2012. 540 Park ave.; 1-212/759-4100; loewshotels. com; doubles from us$389.

mandarin oriental (89.06) On the 35th through 54th floors of the time warner center, with asian-inspired details and a spa tea lounge. 80 columbus circle; 1-212/805-8800; mandarinoriental. com; doubles from us$795. peninsula new york (90.63) classic beaux-arts façade, modern interiors, chauffeur-driven mini coopers and a new sun terrace for yoga classes, all near midtown shopping. 700 5th ave.; 1-212/956-2888; peninsula.com; doubles from us$975. the plaza (89.96) landmark hotel at the corner of 5th avenue and central Park south with a food hall by todd english and iPads in all 282 rooms for summoning your white-gloved butler. 5th ave. at central Park s.; 1-212/759-3000; fairmont. com; doubles from us$825.

doubles from us$745–us$1,195. BEHIND THE SCENES this hotel

took top scores for its location—in bustling midtown. to help navigate the area’s traffic, a chauffeured house bentley is at guests’ beck and call (and if it’s raining, the concierge will even lend out a burberry trench coat). st. Regis (89.61) luxurious details (such as waterford crystal chandeliers), alain ducasse’s adour restaurant and the refreshed king cole bar, in a 1904 beaux-arts icon on 5th avenue. 2 e. 55th st.; 1-212/753-4500; stregis.com; doubles from us$1,095–us$1,345. trump international hotel & tower (89.04) the donald’s glass property on central Park recently underwent a us$30 million renovation and has one of the city’s top restaurants, Jean georges. 1 central Park w.; 1-212/299-1000; trumphotel collection.com; doubles from us$595–us$950.

trump soho (89.33) 46-story tower suited for stylish soho thanks to touches by trump’s daughter Ivanka. 246 spring st.; 1-212/842-5500; trumphotelcollection.com; doubles from us$449–us$895. new

north CaroLina ashev ille

inn on biltmore estate (90.97) a 210-room mansion set on george vanderbilt’s 3,200-hectare estate, surrounded by the blue ridge mountains. 1-828/225-1333; biltmore.com; doubles from us$189.

$

caRy

umstead hotel & spa (91.11) tranquil 150-room food-focused property on 4.9 hectares, minutes from downtown raleigh. 1-919/447-4000; theumstead. com; doubles from us$279. duck

sanderling Resort & spa (90.44) cluster of cedarshingled buildings along 5.3 Outer banks hectares, ideal for ocean views and easy access to hiking trails. 1-252/261-4111; thesanderling. com; doubles from us$110

$

No. 1 new yoRk Ritz-carlton new york, central park (92.83) 22-story limestone tower a block from 5th avenue, with 83 central Park–facing rooms that are furnished with telescopes (and bird-watching guidebooks). 50 central Park s.; 1-212/308-9100; ritzcarlton.com;

oregon cannon b each

stephanie inn (93.14) shingled hotel overlooking the famous haystack rock; the 41 rooms are equipped with fireplaces, private balconies, tempur-Pedic beds and Jacuzzis in the overhauled

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bathrooms. 1-503/436-2221; stephanieinn.com; doubles from us$359, including breakfast.

south CaroLina b lu f f ton

pennsyLVania b e df oR d s p Rings

omni bedford springs Resort (92.71) 890-hectare getaway (brick-and-white-column façade; 216 rooms; 2 pools), in a historic town centered around mineral springs that’s convenient to Philadelphia and d.c. 2138 business rte. 220; 1-814/623-8100; omnihotels.com; doubles from us$249.

$

p h il ade l p h ia

four seasons hotel (88.69) eight-story hotel on logan square—the city’s cultural heart— plus a well-regarded spa. 1 logan square; 1-215/963-1500; four seasons.com; doubles from us$295–us$395. hyatt at the bellevue (88.67) set in a 1904 historic building, this 188-room property (including 16 revamped suites) is located in Philly’s burgeoning downtown. 200 s. broad st.; 1-215/893-1234; hyatt.com; doubles from us$449. Rittenhouse hotel (91.50) Prestigious address on rittenhouse square with the city’s largest guest rooms. Public spaces display paintings by mary cassatt, while rooms have hightech touches, including complimentary wi-fi. 210 w. rittenhouse square; 1-215/5469000; rittenhousehotel.com; doubles from us$259–us$540.

rhode isLand ne wp oR t

castle hill inn (87.36) 19thcentury victorian mansion and recently redone beach house on a peninsula where the atlantic meets narragansett bay. 1-401/849-3800; castlehillinn.com; doubles from us$309–us$459, including breakfast. new chanler at cliff walk (92.67) a 20-room hotel with rooms in plush continental styles ranging from french Provincial to regency, just 1.6 kilometer outside newport, overlooking the atlantic. 1-401/847-1300; thechanler.com; doubles from us$339–us$799.

watc h h il l new ocean house (87.80) 1868 victorian manor, primed from a 7-year, us$140 million renovation, on a private atlantic Ocean beach. 1-401/584-7000; oceanhouseri.com; doubles from us$260–us$700.

No. 1 soUtH caRolIna inn at palmetto bluff, an auberge Resort (92.80) Plantation-style resort on coastal marshland: 50 cottage rooms and suites, a spa and outdoor activities (fly-fishing; holiday festivals). 1-843/706-6500; palmettobluff resort.com; doubles from us$425–us$925. ROOM TO BOOK One of the 12

riverfront guest cottages, which have the best views of the may river. lowcountry design touches include antique pine floors, fireplaces and private porches. c h aRl e ston

charleston place (89.87) One of the city’s largest hotels, with a 1-to-2 staff-to-guest ratio and a pool set under a retractable roof. 205 meeting st.; 1-843/722-4900; orient-express. com; doubles from us$240– us$330.

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planters inn (88.75) 19thcentury building and modern addition with a popular restaurant, Peninsula grill. 112 n. market st.; 1-843/722-2345; plantersinn.com; doubles from us$250–us$450.

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wentworth mansion (87.75) a 21-room 1886 former private residence and a small spa in the historic district. 149 wentworth st.; 1-843/853-1886; wentworthmansion.com; doubles from us$420–us$470, including breakfast. k iawah is l and

sanctuary at kiawah island golf Resort (92.10) stately 255-room hotel on the grounds of one of the country’s top golf resorts. 1-843/768-2121; kiawahresort.com; doubles from us$270–us$460. s u mme Rv il l e

woodlands inn (89.60) a 1906 neo-georgian mansion with 19 recently renovated rooms; a bastion of

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f r O m l e f t : b a l l & a l b a n e s e ; P e t e r f r a n k e d wa r d s

four seasons hotel (90.37) monumental marble and onyx lobby, l’atelier de Joël robuchon restaurant and rooms that average 56 square meters, in an I. m. Pei– designed tower. 57 e. 57th st.; 1212/758-5700; fourseasons.com; doubles from us$995–us$1,150.

no.1  tennessee

st. Regis (88.80) a 232-room hotel with upscale charms (an onsite harpist; orchid arrangements), on a wooded lot near the galleria mall. 1919 briar Oaks lane; 1-713/840-7600; stregis.com; doubles from us$395–us$599. san antonio

jw marriott san antonio hill country Resort & spa (89.21) the largest Jw marriott resort in the world: 1,002 rooms in rolling texas hill country, 20 minutes from downtown. 23808 resort Pkwy.; 1-210/276-2500; jwmarriott.com; doubles from us$169–us$429.

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mokara hotel & spa (91.60) the first property from Omni hotels’ new luxury brand, a minute’s stroll from the alamo. 212 w. crockett st.; 1-210/396-5800; mokarahotels.com; doubles from us$259–us$379. omni la mansion del Rio (87.35) 1854 spanishcolonial school transformed into a 338-room hideaway on the river walk. 112 college st.; 1-210/518-1000; omnihotels.com; doubles from us$199.

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The Gambrel lounge at Blackberry Farm, in Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains. southern hospitality. 1-843/8752600; woodlandsinn.com; doubles from us$229.

tennessee n ashvil le

hermitage hotel (89.70) the city’s choicest digs—with a stained-glass ceiling and marble columns. 231 6th ave. n.; 1-615/244-3121; thehermitage hotel.com; doubles fromus$259. wal la n d

No. 1 tennessee

f r O m tO P : c a r O l I n e a l l I s O n ; b a l l & a l b a n e s e

blackberry farm (94.40) the ultimate in rural luxury set in the great smoky mountains. 1-865/984-8166; blackberry farm.com; doubles from us$795, including meals. BEHIND THE SCENES On-site experts—master gardener John coykendall; visiting chefs thomas keller and david chang—translated to high scores for service; guests leave armed with tips for creating southern dishes at home.

texas austin

four seasons hotel (87.59) 291-room southwestern-style property, newly revamped fitness center, and trio, one of the city’s best restaurants. 98 san Jacinto blvd.; 1-512/478-

4500; fourseasons.com; doubles from us$449–us$599. dallas

utah pa Rk c it y

Rosewood crescent hotel (88.18) limestone landmark and an outpost of chef nobu matsuhisa’s namesake restaurant, in uptown near the new winspear Opera house. 400 crescent court; 1-214/8713200; rosewoodhotels.com; doubles from us$595. Rosewood mansion on turtle creek (92.00) this 143-room former cotton magnate’s mansion was updated in honor of the hotel’s 30th anniversary in 2010. 2821 turtle creek blvd.; 1-214/559-2100; rosewoodhotels. com; doubles from us$275– us$425. houston

hotel ZaZa (88.14) splashy interiors (zebra-striped chairs; huge, low-hanging chandeliers) in a historic property in houston’s central museum district. 5701 main st.; 1-713/5261991; hotelzazahouston.com; doubles from us$279. omni houston hotel (87.48) downtown 387room hotel that houses 2 texassize swimming pools and a 660-square-meter spa. 4 riverway; 1-713/871-8181; omnihotels.com; doubles from us$209.

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new

new st. Regis, deer valley (92.53) two-year-old ski-in, skiout resort with a Jean georges restaurant and the only funicular at a mountain resort in the united states. 1-435/940-5700; stregis.com; doubles from us$600–us$1,099.

salt lak e c it y

grand america hotel (89.33) an opulent 24-story structure with 775 guest rooms and handcrafted richelieu furniture, plus a new patisserie. 555 s. main st.; 1-801/258-6000; grandamerica.com; doubles from us$189–us$259.

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s u ndanc e

sundance Resort (92.00) robert redford’s rustic-luxe retreat on 2,000 hectares 45 minutes from Park city. 1-866/259-7468; sundance resort.com; doubles from us$159–us$499.

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Vermont lowe R wat e Rf oR d

Rabbit hill inn (90.44) romantic getaway (candlelit breakfast; canopy beds) at a restored residence and tavern, both about 200 years old. 1-802/748-5168; rabbithillinn.com; doubles from us$169, including breakfast and afternoon tea.

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stowe new stowe mountain lodge (92.46) the largest luxury lodge in stowe, with mountain access, a mercedes fleet and a new performing arts center. 1-802/2533560; stowemountainlodge.com; doubles from us$229–us$459.

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topnotch Resort & spa (90.12) the first full-service resort at stowe snagged the prime position at the base of vermont’s tallest peak. the megaspa and tennis clinic are area standouts. 1-802/253-8585; topnotchresort.com; doubles from us$195–us$385.

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No. 1 UtaH stein eriksen lodge (94.32) timeless norwegian-style mid-mountain chalet at deer valley ski resort, committed to raising us$100,000 for cancer research through philanthropic programs. 1-435/649-3700; steinlodge. com; doubles from us$250– us$839, including breakfast.

$

T+L TIP make a dinner

reservation at least 3 days in advance for muscovy duck breast and s’mores for dessert at the hotel’s glitretind restaurant. be sure to try the lodge’s exclusive chardonnay cuvée wine, launched in 2011.

trapp family lodge (88.80) austrian-style chalet (now with an on-site brewery) from the family that inspired The Sound of Music. 1-802/253-8511; trappfamily.com; doubles from us$193–us$504.

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Virginia h ot s p Rings

the homestead (87.91) 1766 grand red-brick national historic landmark on 1,200 allegheny mountain hectares. 1-540/839-1766; thehomestead. com; doubles from us$185.

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tides inn (91.73) chesapeake bay resort offering a roster of outdoor activities, from kayaking to croquet. 1-804/438-5000; tides inn.com; doubles from us$210.

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washin gto n

snake River lodge & spa (89.05) a 123-room teton village lodge by rockresorts, plus wyoming’s largest spa. 1-307/732-6000; rockresorts.com; doubles from us$144–us$404.

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teton mountain lodge & spa (87.37) mountainside convenience at the base of Jackson hole, just steps from the aerial tram. 1-307/734-7111; tetonlodge.com; doubles from us$219–us$359.

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inn at little washington (87.39) antiques and floral fabrics in a country-house hotel. chefproprietor Patrick O’connell’s american cooking is a highlight. 1-540/675-3800; theinnatlittle washington.com; doubles from us$425, including breakfast.

cANAdA

Washington

aLBerta

se attle

lake loui se

fairmont olympic hotel $ (89.16) landmark property exuding old-world glamour, especially in the biedermeierinspired furniture. 411 university st.; 1-206/621-1700; fairmont. com; doubles from us$199–us$389.

fairmont chateau lake louise (89.95) grand 1890 resort and just-expanded 280-squaremeter spa flanked by the rocky mountains. 1-403/522-3511; fairmont.com; doubles from us$265–us$427.

four seasons hotel (90.71) downtown hotel on floors 1–10 of a 21-story building, with original art and views of Puget sound, just steps from the waterfront. 99 union st.; 1-206/749-7000; fourseasons. com; doubles from us$265. hotel 1000 (90.67) hightech and eco-friendly property with 120 modern rooms. 1000 1st ave.; 1-206/9571000; hotel1000seattle.com; doubles from us$209–us$479.

British CoLumBia tofi no

willows lodge (92.36) rustic-chic interiors and the state’s first electric-car charging station, on 2 bucolic hectares 40 kilometers north of seattle. 1-425/424-3900; willowslodge. com; doubles from us$199.

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West Virginia w h ite sulp huR s pR i ngs

the greenbrier (90.64) $ recently renovated 1913 resort in the allegheny mountains, renowned for its design by dorothy draper and her protégé, carleton varney. 1-304/536-1110; greenbrier.com; doubles from us$219–us$369.

Wyoming jackso n ho le

four seasons Resort (93.60) ski-in, ski-out lodge with fireplaces in every room and a team of adventure concierges. 1-307/732-5000; fourseasons.com; doubles from us$249–us$970.

$

fairmont chateau (87.18) ski-in, ski-out resort in the upper village, with a robert trent Jones Jr.–designed golf course. 1-604/938-8000; fairmont.com; doubles from us$208–us$427.

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four seasons Resort (91.47) 273-room forest lodge a short stroll from whistler village. 1-604/935-3400; fourseasons. com; doubles from us$290.

QueBeC Qu e b e c c it y

auberge saint-antoine (87.58) 95 rooms in a trio of historic buildings in the Old Port. 8 rue st.-antoine; 1-418/692-2211; saint-antoine.com; doubles from us$180–us$360.

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fairmont le château frontenac (87.78) 1893 castle-style building with views of the st. lawrence river. 1 rue des carrières; 1-418/692-3861; fairmont.com; doubles from us$170–us$379.

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europe austria sal Zb u R g

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wo o d in vil le

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No. 1 canada wickaninnish inn (91.67) nature- and food-focused cedar inn atop a rocky promontory, with eco-initiatives to protect the nearby Pacific rim national Park. 1-250/725-3100; wickinn.com; doubles from us$285–us$475. ROOM TO BOOK thanks to floorto-ceiling windows that overlook the Pacific Ocean, rooms ending in -09 offer the best views of beachgoers in summer and wild storms in winter. vancouveR

fairmont vancouver airport (91.11) sleek and quiet tower above the u.s. departures area of the vancouver International airport, 30 minutes from downtown. 3111 grant mcconachie way; 1-604/684-3131; fairmont.com; doubles from us$322. four seasons hotel (87.20) centrally located 28-story highrise next to the tony Pacific centre mall. 791 w. georgia st.; 1-604/689-9333; fourseasons. com; doubles from us$290.

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hotel goldener hirsch, a luxury collection hotel (88.51) rusticchic, 69-room property filled with 15th-century antiques, near mozart’s former residence in Old town. 37 getreidegasse; 43662/808-40; goldenerhirsch salzburg.com; doubles from us$300–us$770. hotel sacher (87.27) an 1866 hotel on the salzach river, featuring live piano music every evening and windows that look out onto the historic city center. 5-7 schwarzstrasse; 43-662/889770; sacher.com; doubles from us$320–us$550. v ie nna

grand hotel wien (89.71) 1870 food-focused property (3 acclaimed restaurants, including the city’s most authentic sushi bar) near the boutique-filled kohlmarkt; 30 of the 250 rooms have been made over. 9 käntner ring; 43-1/515-80-1700; grandhotelwien.com; doubles from us$270–us$590. hotel bristol, a luxury collection hotel (89.58) grand 19th-century hotel next to the state Opera with lavish fin de siècle interiors and restaurant korso, for austrian venison or wiener schnitzel. 1 kärntner ring; 43-1/515-160; bristolvienna.com; doubles from us$355–us$810.

No. 1 aUstRIa hotel imperial, a luxury collection hotel (91.50) 1863 palace built for the prince of württemberg on the historic ringstrasse; of the 138 traditional rooms, 17 were refurbished in 2011. 16 kärntner ring; 43-1/501100; hotelimperialvienna.com; doubles from us$520–us$1,125. T+L TIP don’t miss an Imperial

coffee melange or the afternoon tea service (US$7) at the hotel’s café Imperial. try the signature blend of darjeeling, sencha, bergamot and rose petals, all steeped in spring water from the mountains outside vienna. hotel sacher wien (90.58) belle Époque property renovated by Pierre-yves rochon opposite the opera house. 4 Philharmonikerstrasse; 43-1/514-560; sacher. com; doubles from us$630.

BeLgium b Ru ss e l s

hotel amigo (88.70) light-filled rocco forte hotel near the grand Place. designer Olga Polizzi decorated the interiors with modern art, including works by belgian-born rené magritte. 1-3 rue de l’amigo; 322/547-4747; hotelamigo.com; doubles from us$275–us$915.

CzeCh repuBLiC p Ragu e

four seasons hotel (90.00) four architecturally distinct buildings on the east bank of the vltava river; the michelin-starred mediterranean allegro will become a new Italian restaurant this year. 2a/1098 veleslavinova; 420-221/427-000; fourseasons. com; doubles from us$535.

denmarK cop e nh age n

hotel d’angleterre (89.87)

f r O m l e f t: cO u rt e sy O f w I c k a n I n n I s h I n n ; J e ss I c a sa m P l e

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the lanesborough (91.62) 93room regency-style building, cognac bar and cigar lounge in prestigious knightsbridge. the new 370-square-meter lanesborough suite by alberto Pinto comes with access to a rolls-royce and chauffeur. hyde Park corner; 44-20/7259-5599; lanesborough.com; doubles from us$825.

no.1  england

the langham (92.32) 1865 landmark restored to its victorian grandeur; big-name additions include the first-in-europe chuan spa and a david collins–designed restaurant. 1c Portland Place, regent st.; 44-20/7636-1000; langhamhotels.co.uk; doubles from us$340–us$845.

A Mews junior suite at the Stafford London by Kempinski, in St. James’s. 250-year-old legend on king’s square, completely overhauled and reopening in spring 2012 with 91 enlarged rooms and 4 new restaurants and bars. 34 kongens nytorv; 45/3312-0095; dangleterre.dk; doubles from us$630–us$730.

engLand b at h

Royal crescent hotel (89.83) cluster of 18th-century buildings overlooking the crescent’s lawns, at the center of bath’s semicircle of georgian-era residences. 441225/823-333; royalcrescent.co.uk; doubles from us$320–us$550, including breakfast.

41 (87.58) black-and-white interiors and the air of a private club (a library filled with leatherbound books; lounge-side canapés), steps from buckingham Palace. 41 buckingham Palace rd.; 4420/7300-0041; 41hotel.com; doubles from us$430–us$495.

brown’s hotel (88.00) 11 georgian town houses in mayfair restored by rocco forte that combine history (churchill and kipling were guests) and interiors with modern art on display. albemarle st.; 44-20/7493-6020; brownshotel.com; doubles from us$490–us$935.

four seasons hotel london at park lane (88.46) 11-story property near hyde Park corner, remodeled in 2011 by Pierre-yves rochon; the glass-walled rooftop spa has panoramic views of london’s iconic sites, including big ben. hamilton Place, Park lane; 44-20/7499-0888; fourseasons.com; doubles from us$440–us$790.

new chesterfield mayfair hotel (88.44) Intimate, family-run hotel near green Park, with subtly themed rooms (think either savile row or african savanna) and a popular chocolate-centered afternoon tea. 35 charles st.; 44-20/7491-2622; chesterfield mayfair.com; doubles from us$290–us$600.

the goring (90.18) family-owned hotel near buckingham Palace where kate middleton slept before her wedding; interiors are by british decorators including russell sage, who also designed 3 of gordon ramsay’s restaurants. beeston Place; 4420/7396-9000; thegoring.com; doubles from us$470–us$670.

lo n do n

e d I n a va n d e r w y c k

dukes (87.52) discreet 90-room property on a quiet cul-de-sac steps from green Park and st. James’s Palace, now with 11 refurbished suites, a nigel mendhem restaurant and a champagne lounge. 36 st. James’s Place; 44-20/7491-4840; dukeshotel.com; doubles from us$375–us$575.

mandarin oriental hyde park (90.71) former victorian gentleman’s club next to hyde Park with a restaurant by daniel boulud and the michelin-starred dinner by heston blumenthal, plus a state-of-the-art spa. 66 knightsbridge; 44-20/7235-2000; mandarinoriental.com; doubles from us$465–us$1,145. milestone hotel (92.35) 62 rooms in a red-brick victorian with charming touches (picnic-basket lunches; english sweets at turndown), opposite kensington Palace. 1 kensington court; 4420/7917-1000; milestonehotel. com; doubles from us$470. the savoy (90.40) venerable edwardian and art deco thamesfront property, Pierre-yves rochon interiors and the gordon ramsay–managed savoy grill, now with new chef andy cook. strand; 44-20/7836-4343; fairmont.com; doubles from us$465–us$1,255. new soho hotel (87.77) 91-room tim and kit kemp property with cheeky touches (retro tivoli radios; bright pink armchairs) and luxurious amenities (a personal trainer; frette linens). 4 richmond mews; 44-20/75593000; firmdale.com; doubles from us$465.

No. 1 england stafford london by kempinski (94.40) refined, recently updated town house behind green Park with an 8,000bottle, 17th-century wine cellar and a new rustic restaurant, the lyttelton. st. James’s Place; 4420/7493-0111; kempinski.com; doubles from us$400–us$800. T+L TIP the stafford’s master sommelier, gino nardella, leads wine tastings (from US$65) of some of the cellar’s best

bottles, including a 1961 château lafite rothschild.

FranCe b u Rgu ndy

hôtel le cep (89.00) cluster of 14th- to 16th-century buildings housing 64 rooms (each named after a grand cru wine) and a traditional burgundian restaurant that earned a michelin star in 2010. beaune; 33-3/80-2235-48; hotel-cep-beaune.com; doubles from us$245.

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côt e d’aZ u R

château de la chèvre d’or (88.33) group of stone buildings featuring 37 individually designed rooms, a michelin 2-starred restaurant and a private garden on a cliff above the mediterranean. Èze village; 33-4/92-10-66-66; chevredor.com; doubles from us$385–us$495. château eza (91.20) 17th-century hotel with 11 rooms (stone balconies; travertine bathrooms) and a michelin-starred restaurant built into the ancient rock walls of the medieval town. Èze village; 334/93-41-12-24; chateaueza.com; doubles from us$275–us$620. hôtel le negresco (87.82) a national monumenton the Promenade des anglais. la rotonde, a carousel-themed restaurant, has an expanded terrace. 37 Promenade des anglais, nice; 33-4/93-16-64-00; hotel-negresco-nice.com; doubles from us$230–us$450.

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la colombe d’or (87.73) this inn where artists gathered in the 1920’s is a charming 25-room hotel filled with works by matisse, Picasso, calder and miró. st.-Paulde-vence; 33-4/93-32-80-02; la-colombe-dor.com; doubles from us$410. loiRe val l e y

domaine des hauts de loire (91.05) 31-room 19th-century former hunting lodge on 72 forested hectares between blois and amboise. Onzain; 33-2/5420-72-57; domainehautsloire.com; doubles from us$201.

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pa Ris

four seasons hotel george v (92.09) crystal chandeliers, cutting-edge floral designs and private verandas—plus a michelin 2-starred restaurant—in an elegant 1928 icon. 31 ave. george v; 33-1/49-52-70-00; fourseasons. com; doubles from us$1,230. hospes lancaster (90.35) chic, 57-room hotel set in a 19th-

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no.1  eURope

Private terrace at Hotel Caruso with spectacular views of the Amalfi Coast.

hôtel de crillon (91.91) louis Xv– commissioned 1758 palace on the Place de la concorde; les ambassadeurs restaurant, set in a restored ballroom, was awarded its first michelin star in 2011. 10 Place de la concorde; 33-1/44-7115-00; crillon.com; doubles from us$765–us$1,320. hôtel le bristol (91.00) grand 1925 property beloved by fashion photographers and film stars in the 1960’s; updates include the haussmannian matignon wing, the casual faubourg 114 brasserie and a la Prairie spa. 112 rue du faubourg st.-honoré; 33-1/53-4343-00; lebristolparis.com; doubles from us$1,105–us$1,175. hôtel le meurice (90.64) regal dorchester collection hotel with louis XvI–style interiors and public spaces by Philippe starck. unexpected amenities include scooters and custom-made toy boats for sailing in the tuileries,

across the street. 228 rue de rivoli; 33-1/44-58-10-10; lemeurice. com; doubles from us$855.

No. 1 fRance hôtel plaza athénée (93.63) a haussmann-era dorchester collection hotel—fresh from a 2011 renovation that added hightech touches—home to a michelin 3-starred alain ducasse restaurant, 35,000-bottle wine cellar and eiffel tower views. 25 ave. montaigne; 33-1/53-67-6665; plaza-athenee-paris.com; doubles from us$1,040– us$1,245. ROOM TO BOOK light sleepers in

search of seclusion will prefer a room facing the ivy-covered interior courtyard. for more streamlined furnishings, request an art deco room on the 7th or 8th floor. park hyatt paris-vendôme (90.00) Palace hotel defined by sleek interiors—a daring departure from its more traditional neighbors—just off Place vendôme. a new hair salon (open 24/7) draws the city’s style set. 5 rue de la Paix; 33-1/58-71-12-34; park.hyatt.com; doubles from us$1,100.

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Ritz paris (91.15) lavish, 159-room manse built by césar ritz in 1898 and filled with gilded touches (greek-style columned pool; swan-shaped faucets). 15 Place vendôme; 33-1/43-16-30-30; ritzparis.com; doubles from us$1,165. Re ims

domaine les crayères (88.73) Impeccable 1904 château on 7.3 hectares in the heart of the champagne-ardenne region; the concierge arranges access to the region’s best cellars (Pommery, taittinger, veuve clicquot). 33-3/ 26-24-90-00; lescrayeres.com; doubles from us$660–us$735.

germany b ade n- b ade n

brenners park-hotel & spa (93.00) 1874 resort, michelin 2-starred restaurant and prestigious 230-square-meter medical spa complex. 497221/9000; brenners.com; doubles from us$405–us$455. b e Rl in

hotel adlon kempinski (89.56) century-old grande dame and modern addition, across from the brandenburg gate; popular with a younger crowd for its summer

moët & chandon champagne bar on Pariser Platz. 77 unter den linden; 49-30/22610; kempinski. com; doubles from us$300. kempinski hotel bristol (87.47) white-gloved service and an endless breakfast buffet in a commanding, 23,000-squaremeter semicircular structure on one of the city’s main streets. 27 kurfürsten- damm; 49-30/884340; kempinski.com; doubles from us$165–us$590.

$

mu nic h

hotel vier jahreszeiten kempinski (87.41) 153-year-old neoclassical-style landmark undergoing a us$20 million-plus makeover with a restored stainedglass dome; edgy accents (translucent chairs; oversize photos); and a light-filled lobby that still channels a bygone era. 17 maximilianstrasse; 49-89/21252799; kempinski.com; doubles from us$320–us$700. mandarin oriental (91.50) 73 asian-inspired rooms and suites in a neo-renaissance former opera house; wellness amenities include a rooftop pool, an updated fitness center and a fleet of mercedesbenz bicycles. 1 neuturmstrasse; 49-89/290-980; mandarinoriental.

g e n I vs lO c I / cO u rt e sy O f h Ot e l c a r u s O

century mansion near the champs-Élysées that has lured luminaries from greta garbo to Jeremy Irons. renovated interiors will premiere early this year. 7 rue de berri; 33-1/40-76-40-76; hotellancaster.fr; doubles from us$565–us$730.

com; doubles from us$515– us$995. RothenbuRg ob deR taubeR

hotel eisenhut (88.62) 78 rooms in a series of 15th- and 16th-century mansions in the bavarian town’s medieval walled center; traditional franconian dishes are served on the terrace and in the beer garden. 49-9861/ 7050; eisenhut.com; doubles from us$135–us$275.

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greeCe athe n s

hotel grande bretagne, a luxury collection hotel (89.92) landmark 1874 property opposite the Parliament building that overlooks the acropolis and mount lycabettus (the best views are from the rooftop bar and pool). vas. georgiou a1; 30-210/ 333-0000; grandebretagne.gr; doubles from us$365–us$865. king george palace (88.13) glitzy neoclassical hotel just off constitution square; the 102 rooms feature raw-silk bedspreads and murano chandeliers, and the elaborate breakfast buffet is the most famous in town. 3 vas. georgiou a; 30-210/322-2210; classicalhotels.com; doubles from us$330–us$680. san to R in i

masterpiece (gold mosaic towers; turn-of-the-century stained-glass portraits) at the base of the chain bridge, complete with a new Omorovicza spa menu and openair terrace at gresham restaurant. 5-6 szechenyi tér; 36-1/2686000; fourseasons.com; doubles from us$320–us$430. kempinski hotel corvinus (90.82) 359-room, c-shaped glass-and-granite structure with 2 restaurants—restaurant giardino, serving a popular sunday brunch, and the first outpost of nobu in central europe—within easy walking distance of st. stephen’s basilica. 7-8 erzsébet tér; 361/429-3777; kempinski.com; doubles from us$135–us$450.

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ireLand county c laRe

dromoland castle (89.79) baronial estate dating from the 16th century in a fairy-tale setting (lily ponds; rose garden; clay shooting range) with a parkland golf course. newmarket-onfergus; 353-61/368-144; dromoland.ie; doubles from us$275–us$605. county ke RRy

park hotel kenmare (92.21) classic 46-room victorian hotel overlooking kenmare bay; the samas spa, one of Ireland’s top wellness centers, now offers sisley of Paris treatments. kenmare; 353-64/664-1200; parkkenmare. com; doubles from us$500– us$670, including breakfast. county l i meRi ck

No. 1 gReece katikies hotel (93.07) white-onwhite property seemingly sculpted into the aegean cliffs; the nightly wine tasting offers views of the twin infinity pools, volcanic caldera and rocky islets. Oia; 30-22860/71401; katikies. com; doubles from us$530– us$750, including breakfast.

y I O r g Os kO r da k I s

T+L TIP cape colombo beach, 4

kilometers from katikies, is a quiet black-sand crescent where santorini natives go to escape the tourist throngs. It’s also an ideal spot for swimming.

hungary b uda p e st

four seasons hotel gresham palace (92.90) art nouveau

adare manor hotel & golf Resort (87.74) 1832 neo-gothic château and 62 antiques-filled rooms amid a robert trent Jones sr.–designed golf course and french formal gardens of boxwood parterres and lavender. adare; 353-61/605200; adaremanor.com; doubles from us$330–us$610. county m ayo

ashford castle (89.95) medieval crenellated castle on 140 hectares along the banks of lough corrib. a newly added 50-room country house (pillowtop mattresses; heated bathroom floors) debuted in July. cong; 35394/954-6003; ashford.ie; doubles from us$240, including breakfast.

$

dubli n

four seasons hotel (89.25) 197room red-brick property in an affluent suburb just south of the city. the 2 bars suit different tastes: the bar serves whiskey; white-onwhite Ice is for wine and tapas.

simmonscourt rd.; 353-1/6654000; fourseasons.com; doubles from us$295–us$410, including breakfast. the merrion (88.57) four georgian houses (and a michelinstarred restaurant) near the national gallery; the hotel’s art collection includes works by 20thcentury Irish painters. upper merrion st.; 353-1/603-0600; merrionhotel.com; doubles from us$695–us$865. the shelbourne (87.47) historic georgian building—Ireland’s first constitution was drafted here in 1922—opposite st. stephen’s green; a new on-site history museum and tethra spa open this spring. 27 st. stephen’s green; 353-1/663-4500; theshelbourne. ie; doubles from us$265–us$355.

itaLy amal f i coast

grand hotel excelsior vittoria (88.28) three adjoining brick buildings above the bay of naples, owned and operated by the same family since 1834, just 2 minutes from the marina Piccola di sorrento. sorrento; 39-81/877-7111; exvitt.it; doubles from us$330– us$535, including breakfast.

No. 1 eURope hotel caruso (94.75) 11th-century palace with an infinity pool, terraced gardens and classiccelebrity cachet (Jackie kennedy; humphrey bogart). ravello; 3989/858-801; hotelcaruso.com; doubles from us$850–us$1,073. BEHIND THE SCENES an excellent

score for location is a given, as the property is perched 305 meters above the mediterranean; to tour the nearby harbors, hop aboard the hotel’s 16-meter boat Ercole (trips from US$615). hotel santa caterina (90.18) 67room seafront villa and cliffside saltwater pool (once the hideaway of liz taylor and richard burton) surrounded by lemon orchards. amalfi; 39-08/987-1012; hotel santacaterina.it; doubles from us$399–us$755, including breakfast. il san pietro di positano (90.58) cliff-hanging architectural wonder located high above the amalfi coast, with 59 rooms and a private sandy beach reached via elevator. Positano; 39-89/875-455; ilsanpietro.it; doubles from us$578–us$798. le sirenuse (92.68) there are dazzling views of Positano and the mediterranean from this

elegant, 59-room gem hotel with a champagne-and-oyster bar and the neapolitan la sponda restaurant, all set in the 1951 former summer residence of the marchesi sersale. guests can explore the coastline from the hotel’s vintage wooden speedboat. Positano; 39-89/875066; sirenuse.it; doubles from us$480–us$688. palazzo sasso (92.96) aristocratic 12th-century palazzo with 43 well-appointed rooms (vietri tile floors; bulgari amenities), a michelin-starred restaurant and a heated pool with an underwater window for views of the sea. ravello; 39-089/818181; palazzosasso.com; doubles from us$385–us$550, including breakfast. as olo

hotel villa cipriani (93.75) 31room country escape—the former residence of robert and elizabeth barrett browning—on a hilltop for the ultimate in privacy. 39423/523-411; villaciprianiasolo. com; doubles from us$268– us$555, including breakfast. c ap R i

grand hotel Quisisana (90.86) Palatial 19th-century hotel and spa—with capri’s only hammam and the see-and-be-seen quisi bar—surrounded by palms and pine trees near Piazza umberto. 39-081/837-6080; quisisana.com; doubles from us$412–us$455. f loRe nc e

four seasons hotel firenze (91.51) a 1472 palace near the duomo with 160 impeccable rooms, frescoed halls and discreet service, next to a centuries-old, 4.5-hectare private park. 99 borgo Pinti; 39-055/26261; fourseasons. com; doubles from us$406– us$818. new hotel bernini (87.33) gilded 15th-century manse with north african details (moroccan lanterns; oversize glass urns) across from the Palazzo vecchio. 29 Piazza san firenze; 39-055/288-621; duetorrihotels. com; doubles from us$222– us$520, including breakfast.

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hotel helvetia & bristol (88.71) 67-room hotel featuring 17thcentury antiques and tuscan cooking classes, close to the 1489 Palazzo strozzi in the centro storico. 2 via dei Pescioni; 39055/26651; royaldemeure.com; doubles from us$399–us$650. hotel lungarno (87.90) handsome 73-room medieval building filled with more than 400 works of art—including a Picasso

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hotel savoy (89.82) ferragamoowned 19th-century palazzo designed by Olga Polizzi (complete with quirky photos of shoes), on café-lined Piazza della repubblica, just steps from the duomo. 7 Piazza della repubblica; 39-055/27351; roccofortehotels. com; doubles from us$450. st. Regis (formerly the grand hotel) (88.69) newly rebranded 100-room renaissance palace— built in 1432 by the architect of the duomo santa maria del fiore— illuminated by the original crystal chandeliers. french doors overlook the arno. 1 Piazza Ognissanti; 39-055/27161; stregis. com; doubles from us$460– us$1,115. westin excelsior (90.48) a 300-label wine cellar and a new mediterranean rooftop restaurant, plus 171 rooms and the sleepinducing heavenly beds, in a 15thcentury palace near the Ponte vecchio. 3 Piazza Ognissanti; 39055/27151; westin.com; doubles from us$395–us$1,238. l ak e co m o

grand hotel villa serbelloni (90.53) 19th-century villa on a promontory that stretches out to the center of lake como; evenings are filled with music from a piano, violin and bass trio. bellagio; 39-031/950-216; villaserbelloni.com; doubles from us$555, including breakfast. villa d’este (92.75) 1568 waterfront estate built for a cardinal, plus a smaller, 27-room queens residence, all on 10 hectares of parkland along lake como; resort-like amenities include a turkish bath, squash court and 3 pools. cernobbio; 39031/3481; villadeste.com; doubles from us$695–us$997, including breakfast. milan

four seasons hotel (89.60) 118-room hotel in a 15th-century former convent, near milan’s best shopping on via gesgrave; a new 800-square-meter spa and fitness center opens this spring. 6/8 via gesù; 3902/77088; fourseasons.com; doubles from us$729–us$840. park hyatt (93.05) modern, 108-room property in a classic building close to the Piazza duomo and teatro alla scala

opera house; explore the city on 2 wheels thanks to a complimentary bike-rental progam. 1 via tommaso grossi; 39-02/8821-1234; park.hyatt.com; doubles from us$633–us$1,032.

no.1  scotland

poR tofi no

hotel splendido (93.33) a flowerfilled hillside villa (a monastery in the 14th and 15th centuries) with views of the bay. 39-0185/267-801; hotelsplendido.com; doubles from us$1,373, including breakfast. Rome

hotel de Russie (91.11) stylish 1814 palazzo on the fashionable via del babuino lined with mapplethorpe photographs and known for its terraced gardens and standout team of concierges. 9 via del babuino; 39-06/328-881; roccofortehotels.com; doubles from us$644–us$990. hotel hassler (89.86) turn-of-thecentury palace hotel at the top of the spanish steps; 6 rooms in the II vicolletto wing now boast 21stcentury amenities, including complimentary wi-fi and iPod docking stations. 6 Piazza trinità dei monti; 39-06/699-340; hotelhasslerroma.com; doubles from us$495–us$850. Rome cavalieri, a waldorf astoria hotel (87.51) 1960 property on the highest hill in rome, with massive rooms and the city’s largest pool, all set in a 6-hectare park. 101 via a. cadlolo; 39-06/35091; rome cavalieri.com; doubles from us$300. taoR mi na

grand hotel timeo (87.68) this 19th-century residence that once belonged to sicilian nobility (the first hotel to be built in taormina) overlooks the bay and is situated next to a greek theater. additions by new owner Orient-express include a wellness area and a turkish bath. 39-0942/627-0200; orient-express.com; doubles from us$540–us$620, including breakfast. veni ce

bauer il palazzo (89.57) Peaceful, 72-room palazzo turned boutique hotel in the heart of venice with plenty of perks, from a rooftop whirlpool to its own grand canal berth. 1459 san marco; 39-041/ 520-7022; ilpalazzovenezia.com; doubles from us$550–us$1,240. hotel cipriani (89.88) giuseppe cipriani’s magical getaway—2 historic palazzi, a 1950’s-era main building, an Olympic-size pool and a lagoon-side restaurant— across the canal from san marco on giudecca island. 10 giudecca;

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Turnberry Resort, on 320 hectares near the Irish Sea in southwest Scotland. 39-041/520-7744; hotelcipriani. com; doubles from us$1,350, including breakfast. hotel danieli, a luxury collection hotel (88.77) a trio of palaces from the 14th, 19th and 20th centuries, with 225 rooms (some refurbished by Jacques garcia) overlooking the venice lagoon. 4196 riva degli schiavoni; 39041/522-6480; danielihotelvenice. com; doubles from us$360. hotel gritti palace, a luxury collection hotel (88.68) 16thcentury renaissance palace on the banks of the grand canal, closed through march 2013 for a us$55 million renovation. 2467 campo santa maria del giglio; 39041/296-1222; hotelgrittipalace venice.com; doubles from us$415. san clemente palace (90.25) venetian history meets resort charms at this converted 18thcentury monastery with an outdoor pool and 2 tennis courts. 1 Isola di san clemente; 39041/244-5001; sanclementepalace venice.com; doubles from us$247, including breakfast.

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monaCo mont e c a Rlo

hôtel de paris (92.29) recently renovated marble-and-gilt belle Époque structure on the Place du casino that is home to alain ducasse’s louis Xv restaurant. Place du casino; 377-98/063-000;

hoteldeparismontecarlo.com; doubles from us$590–us$915.

the netherLands amst e Rda m

intercontinental amstel (90.29) grand 1867 hotel with a tripleheight lobby on the edge of the amstel river, a short walk from the carré theatre and the rijksmuseum. 1 Professor tulpplein; 31-20/622-6060; ichotelsgroup.com; doubles from us$488–us$763.

portugaL l is b on

four seasons hotel Ritz (92.00) midcentury hotel (and new rooftop fitness center) just 5 minutes from Old town. 88 rua rodrigo da fonseca; 351-21/3811400; fourseasons.com; doubles from us$570–us$715, including breakfast. olissippo lapa palace (93.87) hilltop hotel—formerly a 19thcentury private villa—surrounded by gardens in the embassy district. 4 rua do Pau de bandeira; 351-21/394-9494; olissippohotels. com; doubles from us$510– us$590, including breakfast.

sCotLand ay Rs h iR e

No. 1 scotland

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turnberry Resort, a luxury collection hotel (93.88) 150

c O u r t e s y O f t u r n b e r r y r e s O r t, a l u X u r y c O l l e c t I O n h O t e l

sketch—on the arno’s south bank. the new lounge bar Picteau serves house-made ganaches and pralines during afternoon tea. 14 borgo san Jacopo; 39-055/27261; lungarnohotels.com; doubles from us$205, including breakfast.

rooms (40 recently updated) in a massive estate on a rocky coastal bluff; 2 championship golf courses and a 19th-century lighthouse overlook the bucolic scene. turnberry; 44-165/533-1000; turnberryresort.co.uk; doubles from us$220–us$399. ROOM TO BOOK One of the 4

suites named after the legendary golf course’s Open championship winners: watson, norman, Price and cink. each has unique design touches, and all face the craggy alisa craig island. edin b uR g h

the balmoral (88.67) edwardian hotel topped by a 59-meter clock tower next to waverly station; fireplaces burn all winter long. 1 Princes st.; 44131/556-2414; roccofortehotels. com; doubles from us$239– us$663.

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st. a n dRe ws

old course hotel, golf Resort & spa (91.58) the only hotel on the world’s oldest golf course, with touches both classic (striped wallpaper) and contemporary (23 suites by Jacques garcia). 44-133/4474371; oldcoursehotel.co.uk; doubles from us$268–us$550, including breakfast.

spain b aR c e lo n a

hotel arts (87.79) ritz-carlton– managed hotel in a 44-story tower rising above the seafront at Port Olympic. 19-21 carr. de la marina; 34-93/221-1000; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from us$405–us$585. m adR id

No. 1 spaIn

us$22 million renovation) with a new tapas restaurant. 2 calle san fernando; 34-954/917-000; hotel-alfonsoxiii-seville.com; doubles from us$390–us$1,013.

sWeden stockholm

grand hotel (90.46) waterfront icon—the site of the first nobel Prize ceremony—noted for culinary achievement (the mathias dahlgren dining room was awarded 2 michelin stars in 2011 and his bistro earned 1) and its 14,000-bottle wine cellar. 8 s. blasieholmshamnen; 46-8/6793500; grandhotel.se; doubles from us$377–us$740.

sWitzerLand Z uRi ch

park hyatt (88.21) contemporary 2004 building with modern art (sol lewitt; heinz mack), in the financial district. 21 beethovenstrasse; 41-43/883-1234; park. hyatt.com; doubles from us$712.

turKey i stanbul

Çirağan palace kempinski (90.11) former sultan’s palace with a contemporary annex and organic restaurant on the european shore of the bosporus. 32 Çirağan cad.; 90-212/326-4646; kempinski.com; doubles from us$633–us$743. four seasons hotel istanbul at sultanahmet (90.00) Over-thetop restored neoclassical prison in the Old city; the leafy terrace looks onto hagia sophia around the corner. 1 tevkifhane sk.; 90212/402-3000; fourseasons.com; doubles from us$467–us$757.

No. 1 tURkey

Ritz-carlton (88.00) Ottomanstyle skyscraper on a hill near taksim square and the city’s cruise port; all 244 rooms were refurbished last year. 15 asker Ocaği cad.; 90-212/334-4444; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from us$295–us$405.

gardens and the distant Pyramids. 35 giza st.; 20-2/3567-1600; fourseasons.com; doubles from us$340. mena house oberoi (89.48) 19th-century lodge with modern wings, a pool complex and a soon-to-open golf course on 16 hectares abutting the great Pyramid of khufu. 6 Pyramids rd.; 20-2/3377-3222; oberoihotels.com; doubles from us$206–us$329.

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AfricA ANd the middle eAst BotsWana

israeL

c h ob e n at ional pa R k

savute elephant camp (88.63) 12 tents set along the savute channel, a gathering place for kalahari elephants now that weather patterns have changed and water is flowing again after 30 years. 27-21/483-1600; savute elephantcamp.com; doubles from us$2,590. m o Re mi g ame Re s e Rv e

mombo camp and little mombo camp (94.82) two groups of tents with plunge pools and unshaded decks for prime bird-watching and rhinospotting, all linked by raised walkways on an Okavango delta floodplain. 27-11/807-1800; wilderness-safaris.com; doubles from us$3,286–us$4,398, allinclusive. okavango d e lta

eagle island camp (91.40) get up close to elephants and kudu by way of a mokoro canoe at this remote safari lodge surrounded by water lilies. 27-21/483-1600; eagleislandcamp.com; doubles from us$2,590.

egypt al e XandR i a

hotel Ritz (88.95) 1910 grande dame steps from leafy Paseo del Prado with lavish belle Époque style (soaring ceilings; silks; french antiques). 5 Plaza de la lealtad; 34-91/701-6767; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from us$577–us$723.

four seasons hotel istanbul at the bosphorus (90.40) 19thcentury building—a restrained counterpoint to the sultanahmet property—with a 2,100-squaremeter spa (hammam; skylit indoor pool). 28 Çirağan cad.; 90212/381-4000; fourseasons.com; doubles from us$510–us$715.

four seasons hotel alexandria at san stefano (87.73) 118 Pierreyves rochon–designed rooms on the corniche, with mediterranean views from private balconies and the 4th-floor infinity pool. 399 el geish rd.; 20-3/581-8000; four seasons.com; doubles from us$470.

T+L TIP Order a lunch of jamón

BEHIND THE SCENES the cream

c aiR o

ibérico on the hotel’s shaded terrace, then head across the street to visit rafael moneo’s modern expansion of the Prado museum, just a two-minute walk from the hotel. se vil le

hotel alfonso Xiii, a luxury collection hotel (87.91) neomoorish property commissioned by king alfonso XIII of spain in 1928, reopening in march (after a

new

and russet rooms were rated even higher than the hotel’s attentive service or the topnotch food. deluxes on the 4th floor are the quietest—and overlook the bosporus. hilton (87.73) 499-room compound surrounded by lush gardens in the heart of the city. cumhuriyet cad.; 90-212/3156000; hilton.com; doubles from us$144–us$778.

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four seasons hotel cairo at nile plaza (91.77) a 30-story high-rise with 7 restaurants and public spaces that feature contemporary egyptian art. 1089 corniche el nil; 20-2/2791-7000; fourseasons. com; doubles from us$420. four seasons hotel cairo at the first Residence (91.74) a 269room glass tower on the nile—the first four seasons in the middle east—with a view of botanical

j e Ru sal e m

king david hotel (88.45) Iconic limestone 1930’s landmark near the Old city; updated touches include the 5th and 6th floors (redone by adam tihany) and an of-the-moment french restaurant. 23 king david st.; 972-3/520-2552; danhotels.com; doubles from us$490–us$530.

Jordan amman

four seasons hotel (90.00) hilltop 15-story limestoneand-glass tower—the top pick of diplomats—between the sweifiyah shopping area and the financial district. al-kindi st.; 962-6/550-5555; fourseasons. com; doubles from us$260, including breakfast.

$

de ad s e a new kempinski hotel ishtar (91.20) babylonian-style structure with 345 unexpectedly contemporary rooms and one of the largest spas in the middle east; treatments include local sea-salt body scrubs and hammam rituals. swaimeh; 9625/356-8888; kempinski.com; doubles from us$227.

$

Kenya amb os e l i n at ional pa R k

tortilis camp (89.33) the park’s only luxe property, facing mount kilimanjaro; 17 canvas tents, plus a 2-room family suite (1 double and 2 twin beds and a private veranda). 254-20/600-3090; tortilis.com; doubles from us$640–us$1,020, all-inclusive. masai m a R a

&beyond kichwa tembo (92.46) two camps (one rustic, the other colonial) managed by the outfitter &beyond, lauded for its conservation efforts to protect the park’s rare leopards, honey badgers and zebras. 2711/809-4300; andbeyond.com; doubles from us$400–us$950, all-inclusive.

travelandleisureasia.com | january 2012 117

fairmont mara safari club (92.57) 50 luxurious tents on a mara river oxbow (a hippoviewing hot spot); a property known for activities including fishing and birding tours. 25420/226-5555; fairmont.com; doubles from us$619–us$799. governors’ camp (90.75) a riverside tented village close to the masai mara’s wildebeest migration corridors, with farmfresh cuisine thanks to frequent deliveries from nairobi markets. 254-20/273-4000; governorscamp.com; doubles from us$554, including meals. mara serena safari lodge (89.56) 74 modern domed huts modeled after a masai village for unobstructed views of roaming elephants and giraffes. 254-20/ 284-2000; serenahotels.com; doubles from us$420–us$980, including meals. mbiRikani gRoup Ranch

ol donyo lodge (97.71) 10 suites with savanna-side infinity pools, outdoor showers and rooftop sleeping areas for nighttime views of mount kilimanjaro. 254-20/600-0457; greatplainsconservation.com; doubles from us$840, allinclusive. new

n a i Ro b i

fairmont the norfolk (87.46) tudor-style hotel, tropical gardens, and a new teahouse, wine bar, and steak house. a frequent jumping-off point for safaris. harry thuku rd.; 25420/226-5555; fairmont.com; doubles from us$289–us$449. n a n y uk i

fairmont mount kenya safari club (95.64) stylishly updated 1950’s-era hunting lodge on 41 hectares in the mount kenya foothills. 254-20/226-5555; fairmont.com; doubles from us$615–us$735, including meals.

moroCCo m aR R a k e sh

la mamounia (87.27) legendary 1923 hotel, gleaming after a 3-year, us$180 million renovation, with 4 restaurants (Italian, french, moroccan and casual mediterranean) that use produce from the on-site garden. ave. bab Jdid; 212524/388-600; mamounia.com; doubles from us$724.

south aFriCa c ap e town

cape grace (92.35) mansardroofed 120-room hotel, spa and yacht, on a private victoria &

alfred waterfront quay. west quay rd.; 27-21/410-7100; capegrace.com; doubles from us$750, including breakfast. mount nelson hotel (91.12) 1899 property with a new south african restaurant (rooibos-cured ostrich; springbok pie) on 3.6 leafy hectares convenient to beaches and table mountain. 76 Orange st.; 27-21/483-1000; mountnelson. co.za; doubles from us$303– us$380, including breakfast. new one&only (88.91) a glamorous new arrival for the victoria & alfred waterfront— double-height entry, 131 high-tech rooms and an outpost of nobu. dock rd.; 27-21/431-5888; oneandonlyresorts.com; doubles from us$679.

table bay hotel (88.00) maritimethemed hotel with a 75-meter, palm-lined drive on the victoria & alfred waterfront. quay 6; 2721/406-5000; suninternational. com; doubles from us$605, including breakfast. fRanschhoek

le Quartier français (93.82) 21 whimsical suites and a cape village–style cottage; notable south african chef margot Janse oversees both on-site restaurants. 27-21/876-2151; lequartier.co.za; doubles from us$367–us$494. johannesbuRg

saxon boutique hotel, villas & spa (91.54) stately house turned into a 53-suite boutique property on 4 hectares in tony sandhurst, where nelson mandela stayed for 6 months in the 1990’s. 36 saxon rd.; 27-11/292-6000; saxon.co.za; doubles from us$1,032, including breakfast. westcliff hotel (88.00) nine coral-pink stone villas (115 rooms in total) set among terraced gardens. think of it as safari lite, thanks to views of the elephants in the Johannesburg zoo. 67 Jan smuts ave.; 27-11/481-6000; westcliff.co.za; doubles from us$251, including breakfast. kRugeR national paRk aRea

Royal malewane (97.88) eightsuite game lodge on 12,000 hectares with old-fashioned activities (hot-air-balloon rides) and a 3-to-1 staff-to-guest ratio. 27-15/793-3977; royalmalewane. com; doubles from us$2,846, allinclusive.

ngorongoro sopa lodge (87.60) rondavel-like suites with floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto a crater frequented by black rhinos. 25527/2500-6309; sopalodges.com; doubles from us$225–us$480, including meals.

sabi sabi private game Reserve– bush lodge (91.73) 25 thatchedroof suites that spotlight the property’s african art collection, plus a new interactive children’s center. 27-13/735-5656; sabisabi. com; doubles from us$1,325– us$1,625, all-inclusive.

s e Re nge t i nat ional pa R k

singita kruger national park (93.50) two lodges (1 raised) with fashionable interiors by african designers, in the lebombo mountain range. 27-21/683-6424; singita.com; doubles from us$3,115, all-inclusive.

No. 1 soUtH afRIca singita sabi sand (97.95) three lodges—contemporary boulders, secluded castleton and vintagecolonial ebony (renovated in 2011)—and an impressive wine program. 27-21/683-6424; singita.com; doubles from us$2,352, all-inclusive. ROOM TO BOOK ebony lodge's

kirawira tented camp (96.71) grab a front-row seat to watch the annual wildebeest migration from one of the 25 victorianstyle tented camps on a hill in the western serengeti. 25528/2621-5182; serenahotels.com; doubles from us$660–us$970, including meals. serengeti migration camp (96.50) 20 tents with wraparound porches and attentive service along the grumeti river, a popular gathering spot for hippos. 25527/2500-6309; elewana.com; doubles from us$1,460– us$1,560, all-inclusive. serengeti serena safari lodge (88.55) thatched-roof huts with local makonde-style carvings among acacia trees in the serengeti. 255-28/262-2612; serenahotels.com; doubles from us$370–us$625, including meals.

suite 1 has a fireplace, outdoor shower and the best views of elephants bathing in the sand river. for more wildlife spotting, there are twice-daily game drives and mountain-bike rides through the bush.

serengeti sopa lodge (90.10) 79-suite secluded hotel with african interiors (traditional masks; handcrafted wood furnishings), overlooking the plains. 255-27/2500-6309; sopalodges.com; doubles from us$225–us$480, including meals.

kwa Zu lu - nata l

No. 1 afRIca and tHe MIddle east

&beyond phinda private game Reserve (87.20) six stylish lodges in the 23,000-hectare kwazulu-natal preserve, near the sodwana bay for scuba and fishing excursions. Phinda game reserve; 27-11/809-4300; andbeyond.com; doubles from us$900–us$1,636, all-inclusive.

tanzania ngoR ongoR o c Rat e R

londolozi private game Reserve (93.39) five family-run lodges on 17,000 wilderness hectares known for leopard sightings. 2711/280-6655; londolozi.com; doubles from us$1,588, allinclusive.

&beyond ngorongoro crater lodge (95.14) masai-inspired huts with victorian touches (Persian carpets; velvet-tufted settees) in 3 camps along the rim of a crater. 27-11/809-4300; andbeyond.com; doubles from us$1,440– us$3,000, all-inclusive.

malamala game Reserve (90.20) trio of camps plus a wine cellar, library and infinity pool on south africa’s largest private big five preserve. 27-11/442-2267; malamala.com; doubles from us$1,250, all-inclusive.

ngorongoro serena safari lodge (89.76) 75-room lodge covered in vines near the Olduvai gorge—the so-called cradle of civilization. 255-27/2537-0505; serenahotels. com; doubles from us$370– us$625, including all meals.

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$

singita grumeti Reserves (98.44) africa’s most luxurious mobile-safari experience is the latest addition to this 138,000-hectare serengeti concession with 4 separate camps. 27-21/683-6424; singita. com; doubles from us$1,700– us$2,300, all-inclusive. BEHIND THE SCENES what does a

perfect location score look like? a manor house on a wide plateau; a tented camp with views of the serengeti; 8 suites and 1 villa overlooking the rhinofilled grumeti river; and a mobile safari that traverses it all.

united araB emirates ab u d h ab i

emirates palace (92.00) reportedly the most expensive hotel ever built: 1,002 swarovski chandeliers, 114 mosaic glass domes and 394 rooms that feel

no.1  afRIca and tHe MIddle east

Faru Faru Lodge at Singita Grumeti Reserves, in Tanzania.

like mini-palaces. w. corniche rd.; 971-2/690-9000; emiratespalace. ae; doubles from us$1,116. d ub a i

burj al arab (88.97) sail-shaped icon on its own island off Jumeirah beach. the 202 bi-level suites start at a massive 173 square meters. Jumeirah beach rd.; 971-4/301-7777; jumeirah. com; doubles from us$1,760. grand hyatt (87.77) 674-room complex with 14 restaurants and an indoor rain forest where dhow boats are suspended from the ceiling. sheikh rashid rd.; 9714/317-1234; hyatt.com; doubles from us$327.

zamBia

c O u r t e s y O f s I n g I ta g r u m e t I r e s e r v e s

l i vin g sto n e

Royal livingstone (88.29) 173 soon-to-be-updated colonial-style rooms in an estate-like setting close enough to victoria falls to be sprinkled by mist. 260-21/3321122; suninternational.com; doubles from us$960.

mexico ANd ceNtrAl ANd south AmericA argentina b aR ilo c he

llao llao hotel & Resort, golfspa (88.25) 205-room lakeside lodge with alpine perks (private

whirlpools; towel-warming racks) in the snowcapped andes of Patagonia. 54-2944/448-530; llaollao.com.ar; doubles from us$353–us$569. buenos aiR es

alvear palace hotel (92.58) classic french-inspired hotel (hermès amenities; louis Xv design elements) celebrating its 80th year. a new sister property will open 1.6 kilometer away, in Plaza san martín, this summer. 1891 avda. alvear; 54-11/48082100; alvearpalace.com; doubles from us$460–us$800. four seasons hotel (90.50) 1920 mansion and tower connected by immaculately landscaped grounds and an herb garden, in exclusive la recoleta. 1086/88 calle Posadas; 54-11/4321-1200; four seasons.com; doubles from us$420–us$580. palacio duhau - park hyatt (94.97) two hotels in one—a belle Époque mansion and a sleek 17-story addition—plus soaking tubs, an on-site art gallery and a 3,500-label wine cellar. 1661 avda. alvear; 5411/5171-1234; park.hyatt.com; doubles from us$430–us$630. sofitel buenos aires arroyo (87.25) neoclassical french highrise (the city’s first skyscraper) with art deco interiors from Pierre-yves rochon and a refreshed le sud restaurant. 841 calle arroyo; 54-11/4131-0000;

sofitel.com; doubles from us$300–us$475. me ndoZ a

park hyatt (91.43) a 7-story whitewashed structure on Plaza Independencia, in a noted wine region nestled against the andes. 54-261/441-1234; park.hyatt.com; doubles from us$264–us$455.

BeLize amb e R g Ris c ay

grand hyatt (87.27) 310 stylish rooms and suites, a thai restaurant and a tri-level spa in the quiet residential district of las condes. 4601 avda. Presidente kennedy; 56-2/950-1234; hyatt. com; doubles from us$275.

CoLomBia

ChiLe

c a Rtage na

e ast e R is l and

No. 1 MeXIco and centRal and soUtH aMeRIca new posada de mike Rapu / explora Rapa nui (95.47) 2007 local wood, stone and glass leedcertified lodge 3,700kilometers off chile’s coast; excursions include guided visits to the moai stone quarries and treks to nearby volcanoes.56-2/395-2800; explora.com; doubles from us$1,590, all-inclusive, 3-night minimum.

new ancestral sauna, a traditional rapa nui–style

sant iago

Ritz-carlton (88.11) 205-room property primarily for business travelers in the chic el golf neighborhood, with a new tapas restaurant by sergi arola and a hot-spot bar frequented by locals. 15 calle el alcalde; 56-2/4708500; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from us$498.

victoria house (92.17) relaxed island resort of 7 thatched-roof casitas (plus plantation rooms and suites) and 2 pools; the best jumping-off point for exploring the world’s second-largest barrier reef. 5012/262-067; victoria-house.com; doubles from us$185–us$205.

$

T+L TIP unwind in the Posada’s

hothouse warmed by an aromatic open fire of eucalyptus branches (treatments from US$50).

new sofitel cartagena santa clara (88.47) the Old city’s preeminent luxury hotel, in a 17thcentury former convent; the new french restaurant pours more than 250 standout bottles. 39-29 calle del torno; 57-5/650-4700; sofitel.com; doubles from us$310.

Costa riCa guanac ast e

four seasons Resort costa Rica at peninsula papagayo (89.68) hillside resort with all the trimmings (2 beaches, 3 pools, verandas and a spa) surrounded by a tropical dry forest. 506/2696-

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one&only palmilla (93.22) 172room resort with a boutique-hotel sensibility, 2 restaurants by Jeangeorges vongerichten and butler service, on a private beach dotted with shaded daybeds. san José del cabo; 52-624/146-7000; oneandonlyresorts.com; doubles from us$585.

tHe caRIbbean, beRMUda and tHe baHaMas

m e Xico c it y

four seasons hotel mexico, d.f. (92.00) colonial-style urban retreat with 240 extra-large rooms on a promenade near chapultepec Park. 500 Paseo de la reforma; 52-55/5230-1818; fourseasons.com; doubles from us$300–us$605. p u nta mi ta

four seasons Resort (89.94) 173 rooms, 4 restaurants and 2 golf courses on an isthmus near Puerto vallarta. kids and teens stay busy in the game room. 52329/291-6000; fourseasons.com; doubles from us$250–us$535.

$

Riv ie Ra m aya

Cooling off in Nisbet Plantation Beach Club’s pool, on Nevis. 0000; fourseasons.com; doubles from us$395–us$725. new jw marriott guanacaste Resort & spa (88.17) three-yearold 310-room beachfront resort, a quick drive from the jungle. 506/ 2681-2000; jwmarriott.com; doubles from us$299.

guatemaLa a n tig ua

hotel museo casa santo domingo (90.36) 16thcentury convent turned hotel, art museum and archaeological center; the renovated spa will reopen in July. 502/7820-1220; casasanto domingo.com.gt; doubles from us$155.

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so lo lÁ new hotel atitlán (87.24) former coffee plantation in the guatemalan highlands with 140 lakeside rooms and volcano vistas. 502/7762-1441; hotelatitlan. com; doubles from us$135.

$

mexiCo c an c ún

Ritz-carlton (90.80) the $ brand’s only mexican property; a 362-room retreat with a 370-meter strip of beachfront, plus tequila tastings and cooking lessons. 36 retorno del rey, zona

hotelera; 52-998/881-0808; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from us$249–us$399. Royal cancún (90.35) a mediterranean-style, adults-only retreat; hammocks and showers for two lure honeymooners. km 11.5, kukulcan blvd.; 52-998/8817340; realresorts.com; doubles from us$588–us$848, allinclusive. new

los c abos new casa dorada los cabos Resort & spa (88.21) hip new suites-only spread on popular médano beach, a short walk from boutiques and restaurants. cabo san lucas; 52624/163-5757 casadorada.com; doubles from us$219–us$300.

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esperanza, an auberge Resort (92.21) 57 spacious casitas with verandas and infinity-edge hot tubs, overlooking 2 private coves (the place for sunrise yoga). Punta ballena; 52-624/145-6400; esperanzaresort.com; doubles from us$695–us$1,150. las ventanas al paraíso, a Rosewood Resort (91.77) 71-suite beach hideaway and a justreopened spa set beneath a canopy of 45 palms for an oasislike feel. san José del cabo; 52624/144-2800; lasventanas.com; doubles from us$528–us$704.

120 january 2012 | travelandleisureasia.com

new excellence Riviera cancún (90.67) mediterranean-style 440room resort suited for active types (jogging trails; tennis; Pilates) on the riviera maya. km 324, carr. federal 307; 52998/872-8579; excellence-resorts. com; doubles from us$360.

maroma Resort & spa (90.22) 65 rooms and suites, 1 villa, a spa, and a new tequila and mezcal bar line a powder-white stretch of sand between cancún and Playa del carmen. solidaridad; 52998/872-8200; maromahotel. com; doubles from us$395– us$635, including breakfast. Royal hideaway playacar (87.50) traditional accents such as mexican art at an adults-only allinclusive beach resort 10 minutes from downtown Playa del carmen. Playacar; 52-984/8734500; royalhideaway.com; doubles from us$602. san migu e l de a l l e nde

casa de sierra nevada (90.13) a jewel among san miguel’s growing collection of luxury hotels, with 37 colorful rooms (some with stone fireplaces) divided among 6 spanish-colonial mansions. 52-415/152-7040; casadesierranevada.com; doubles from us$222.

$

Z ih uatane jo

la casa Que canta (90.53) 25-suite adobe hideaway and an ocean-fed saltwater pool built into the rocks above zihuatanejo bay. 52-755/555-7026; lacasaquecanta. com; doubles from us$490.

peru c u Zco

hotel monasterio (91.78) 126 individually designed rooms around 3 landscaped courtyards in a converted 16th-century monastery. 136 calle Palacio, Plazoleta nazarenas; 51-84/604000; orient-express.com; doubles from us$700, including breakfast. l ima

jw marriott hotel (87.68) eyecatching glass tower by arquitectonica—with ergonomic desk chairs and a new ceviche lounge—situated on cliffs above the Pacific in picturesque miraflores. 615 avda. malecón de la reserva; 51-1/217-7000; jwmarriott.com; doubles from us$350–us$380. mac h u picc h u

inkaterra machu picchu pueblo hotel (93.47) a 4.9-hectare retreat (85 terra-cotta-roofed casitas; plunge pools; an orchid garden) in the cloud forest below machu Picchu. 51-1/610-0400; inkaterra.com; doubles from us$996, including breakfast, dinner and excursions.

uruguay c a Rme lo

four seasons Resort (95.20) 20 bungalows, 24 suites and an asian-influenced spa on a beach nestled between a eucalyptus forest and the río de la Plata, all just a 3-hour trip north of buenos aires. km 262, ruta 21; 598-4542/9000; fourseasons. com; doubles from us$240.

$

the cAribbeAN, bermudA ANd the bAhAmAs anguiLLa cuisinart golf Resort & spa (88.29) six whitewashed villas with 93 upgraded rooms, a new 650-square-meter sushi restaurant, the island’s largest spa complex, and activities such as tennis, bocce and croquet. rendezvous bay; 1-264/4982000; cuisinartresort.com; doubles from us$440–us$815, including breakfast.

antigua curtain bluff (91.29) colonial-era style in 72 rooms and suites along surf beach; special once-a-week seafood dinners are served on the

anne menke

no.1 

sand. st. John’s; 1-268/462-8400; curtainbluff.com; doubles from us$715–us$795, all-inclusive. jumby bay, a Rosewood Resort (88.17) caribbean luxury on a 120-hectare island; a us$28 million reconstruction in 2009 added the open-air sense spa and estate homes. Jumby bay Island; 1-268/462-6000; rosewoodhotels. com; doubles from us$995– us$1,495, all-inclusive. new sandals grande antigua caribbean village & spa (87.72) a mega beach resort on dickenson bay that’s two properties in one: the caribbean grove is known for its 17 rondavels; the mediterranean village has central piazzas and suites with Italian marble. st. John’s; 1-268/484-0100; sandals.com; doubles from us$1,378–us$1,446, all-inclusive, 2-night minimum.

Bahamas one&only ocean club (88.98) british-colonial hideaway and a Jean-georges restaurant, plus adam tihany interiors in the hotel’s updated crescent wing. Paradise Island; 1-242/363-2501; oneandonlyresorts.com; doubles from us$540–us$995. sandals emerald bay (87.64) two-year-old sprawling tropical resort that sports a greg norman golf course, french restaurant and 60-slip marina for those arriving by boat. great exuma; 1-242/336-6800 sandals.com; doubles from us$1,540, allinclusive, 2-night minimum.

BarBados sandy lane (88.88) a rollsroyce Phantom airport transfer brings guests to this Palladianstyle palace (a 700-squaremeter swimming pool; tennis) surrounded by 3 golf courses on a quiet bay. st. James; 1-246/444-2000; sandylane. com; doubles from us$1,040.

alfresco stone showers; set in a former rum distillery just steps from a 60-meter private beach rimmed by tropical gardens. tortola; 1-284/495-4355; sugarmillhotel.com; doubles from us$255. Rosewood little dix bay (87.71) Old-world touches (including restaurant dress codes) and water activities—sailing, snorkeling—on a pristine 800-meter crescent beach. virgin gorda; 1-284/495-5555; rosewoodhotels.com; doubles from us$295.

Cayman isLands Ritz-carlton, grand cayman (89.76) 365-room oceanfront haven offering nature tours crafted by Jean-michel cousteau, a la Prairie spa and a restaurant by chef eric ripert. seven mile beach; 1-345/943-9000; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from us$999.

JamaiCa couples negril (91.21) colorful, 234-room resort and 5 restaurants on seven hectares fronting bloody bay beach. negril; 1-876/957-5960; couples. com; doubles from us$333– us$680, all-inclusive. couples sans souci (92.41) couples’ most intimate caribbean hideaway: 150 rooms overlooking a cove in Ocho rios. st. mary; 1-876/994-1206; couples.com; doubles from us$320–us$1,037, all-inclusive, 3-night minimum. couples swept away (92.93) 312 suites, waterskiing, pool volleyball and even a nightclub, on 11 hectares along seven mile beach. westmoreland; 1-876/957-4061; couples.com; doubles from us$342–us$630.

neVis No. 1 tHe caRIbbean, beRMUda and tHe baHaMas nisbet plantation beach club (95.24) unpretentious 36-room wicker-and-wood inn and 1778 great house on 12 hectares; the caribbean’s only historic plantation inn on the beach. 1-869/469-9325; nisbetplantation.com; doubles from us$391–us$670, including breakfast, tea and dinner. BEHIND THE SCENES three on-

site restaurants (the great house, coconuts and sea breeze) and attentive service have made this caribbean hotel a winner for 2 years running.

puerto riCo

Piton views. soufrière; 1-758/4594000; jademountainstlucia.com; doubles from us$950–us$1,200. new jalousie plantation, sugar beach (90.25) beachfront bungalows on a former sugar estate, undergoing a us$100 million renovation before relaunching as tides sugar beach this fall. la baie de silence; 1-758/456-8000; jalousieplantation.com; doubles from us$330–us$550.

ladera (92.30) 32 mountainside villas and suites open to the elements on one side; guests spend their days on boat tours, in cooking classes and lounging by the infinity pool. soufrière; 1-758/459-6600; ladera.com; doubles from us$400–us$665.

turKs and CaiCos

hotel el convento (87.59) lovingly preserved 17th-century former convent in Old san Juan with the perfect mix of andalusian antiques and modern amenities. 100 cristo st., san Juan; 1-787/7239020; elconvento.com; doubles from us$255–us$340.

st. Bart’s eden Rock – st. barths (92.00) a 34-room, celebrity-studded hotel complete with an art gallery and studio and 2 openair restaurants where ingredients are sourced from the on-site herb and vegetable garden. baie de st. Jean; 590-590/297-999; edenrockhotel.com; doubles from us$675–us$929.

hotel saint-barth isle de france (92.57) beach club–style boutique hotel, a natura bissé spa and 2 new villas on the island’s widest stretch of sand. baie de flamands; 590-590/275-666; isle-de-france. com; doubles from us$650– us$961, including breakfast and airport transfers.

new amanyara (88.00) west Indian outpost of amanresorts— all polished concrete and terrazzo—on a marine preserve. Providenciales; 1-649/941-8133; amanresorts.com; doubles from us$1,250–us$1,400. new gansevoort hotel (87.75) four-year-old 91-room resort with a south beach vibe. grace bay beach; 1-649/941-7555; gansevoortturksandcaicos.com; doubles from us$350–us$625.

grace bay club (88.08) resort complex with an adults-only wing, family villas and a 480-square-meter gym and spa. Providenciales; 1-649/946-5050; gracebayresorts.com; doubles from us$575–us$995. parrot cay (87.85) a wellnessoriented private-island resort with asian accents and the topnotch como shambhala spa. Providenciales; 1-649/946-7788; como.bz; doubles from us$545. Regent palms (92.00) five lowslung buildings on grace bay beach make up the only regent in the americas. Perks include a new kids’ club. Providenciales; 1-649/ 946-8666; regenthotels.com; doubles from us$625–us$850.

Bermuda

couples tower isle (94.33) the original couples property is a 226-room, all-inclusive, adultsonly resort with an awardwinning spa. Ocho rios; 1-876/975-4271; couples.com; doubles from us$316–us$588.

Reefs hotel & club (87.93) 57 rooms on a pink-sand beach; the sunset views are unparalleled. southampton; 1-441/238-0222; thereefs.com; doubles from us$410–us$670, including breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner.

Rockhouse hotel (88.19) chic-but-casual cliffside retreat: private sundecks, a chilled-out spa, a Jamaican street-food restaurant and great snorkeling. negril; 1-876/9574373; rockhousehotel.com; doubles from us$125–us$160.

British Virgin isLands

EDITED BY Sarah Spagnolo. REPORTED BY Lisa Cheng, Colleen Clark, Carrie Nieman Culpepper, Anthony

sugar mill hotel (87.20) 23-room cottage colony with new

$

st. LuCia anse chastanet Resort (88.25) nature-centric hillside cottages in a 240-hectare forest on the volcanic southwestern coast. soufrière; 1-758/459-7000; ansechastanet.com; doubles from us$330–us$495.

u.s. Virgin isLands

jade mountain (90.49) the 29 open-air suites have either a private infinity pool or whirlpool— and only 3 walls, for dramatic

Ritz-carlton (87.90) mangroveshrouded beach escape (infinity pool; sushi bar; aquatic center) on 12 hectares in great bay. st. thomas; 1-340/775-3333; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from us$399–us$699. ✚

Dennis, Kristina Ensminger, Catesby Holmes, Pearly Huang, Xander Kaplan, David A. Keeps, Stirling Kelso, Tomás Martín, Mario R. Mercado, Alison Miller, Brooke Porter, Ramsey Qubein, Nate Storey, Marguerite A. Suozzi, Rory Tolan, Meeghan Truelove, Aarti Virani and Joe Yogerst.

travelandleisureasia.com | january 2012 121

lastlook

sidHPur, india “Sidhpur is a dusty town in the north of Gujarat. The Dawoodi Bohras, an affluent trading community of Shia Muslims, built palatial homes in the early part of the last century, imitating western Renaissance features and embellishments. In the last 50 years, the town has been abandoned almost totally, the only residents left being women and old men. The feeling you get as you walk around is that of an empty film set. The surreal nature is further enhanced by a warm, dust-filtered light, which gives everything an extra glow. This was shot in the late afternoon as the remaining residents began to appear. I waited in the middle of the street, feeling completely alone but very much observed by hidden eyes that peeked through the grated windows—I was Gary Cooper in my very own personal and quirky High Noon. As I moved around the abandoned homes and streets, I was filled with a sense of discovery and intimacy that is what I long for in my work. Even if India seems to have been photographed far and wide, it can still offer up many surprises.” ✚ ph ot o g r a p he r s e b a st i a n c o rtés • i n tervi ew ed by chr i stop her kucway 122 january 2012 | travelandleisureasia.com


January 2012