It’s the sounds of Carlisle Bay that stay with guests long after they have left: the song of the birds, the whispering of waves, the swoosh of the palm trees. In a spectacular location on the island’s southern coast, Carlisle Bay is part of the CampbellGray Hotels collection. The hotel features spacious Ocean and Garden Suites for couples which are quite separate from the family-friendly Beach and Carlisle Suites. All have ocean views and cool calm interiors. Guests can enjoy tennis, the large gym, a long list of water sports and classes (yoga in the tropical gardens is popular), while those looking to unwind can chill out in the hip library or spa. Carlisle Bay excels at looking after families of all ages with a highly acclaimed kid’s club.
The Carlton Hotel is a seasonal, all-suite St. Moritz property that opened in 1913, and has emerged from a multi-million dollar renovation that redefines the concept of luxury. Skiers are drawn to St. Mortiz for its beauty, and its variety of social, sports and cultural events make it a true holiday choice. Accommodations were created by interior designer Carlo Rampazzi and face St. Mortiz lake and the Swiss Alps. With a 1,200-square-meter spa and many beauty and wellness treatments, the hotel is the perfect choice for international sophisticated travelers. Ski rentals, a ski school on property, personal butler service, a Kids&Teens Club and fine dining at the Romanoff or informal fare at the Tschinè and the Carlton Bar combine to make this a must-stay while traveling to St. Moritz.
Many hotels claim to be in the heart of a city, but in the case of Cologne's Excelsior Hotel Ernst, it's truly the case. The property sits opposite the Cologne Cathedral, a stunning Gothic extravaganza and world heritage landmark that took some 600 years to build. Opened in 1863, the hotel has a long history as the city’s most luxurious hotel. The city’s best shopping is within walking distance and the fairgrounds are just across the Rhine river. Suites, each uniquely decorated with rich fabrics and vibrant colors, overlook the Cathedral. Taku, the Asian-restaurant, recently awarded “best international restaurant in Germany”, makes an ideal dining experience for business or leisure and draws guests and locals alike, while Hanse Stube, the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, offers contemporary French cuisine at its best.
Nestled on five acres of lush gardens fronting Gray’s Beach, the Halekulani (“house befitting heaven”) has long been synonymous with gracious Hawaiian hospitality. From humble beginnings a century ago, the hotel grew into a sophisticated destination for discerning guests like Clark Gable and Doris Duke and has remained the standard for polished service. Guests can lounge by the freshwater pool, which shimmers with a mosaic of 1.2 million pieces of blue South African glass, indulge in a traditional Lomi Lomi massage and dine at La Mer, the hotel’s much-praised French restaurant. The rooms, most with ocean views, are located in five buildings connected by courtyards.
The Hôtel de Paris sits in the heart of Monaco, with the best position on the F1 Grand Prix racetrack and a roster of such famous past guests as Cary Grant, Michael Jackson and Nelson Mandela. Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco celebrated their twentieth wedding anniversary in its private wine cellar, one of the largest and oldest in the world. Today they might have opted instead for Alain Ducasse’s three-Michelin-starred Le Louis XV restaurant, with its soaring painted ceilings, low chandeliers and heavy draperies. At the one-Michelin-starred Le Grill, stunning panoramic views provide a breathtaking backdrop, while Le Bar Américain offers a cozy, low-key setting in which to enjoy a cocktail or a glass of one of the more than 300,000 Champagne vintages. Le Côté Jardin is a lovely garden restaurant in the middle of the city.
Cosmopolitan São Paulo is Brazil’s largest and richest city, as well as a vibrant cultural center, with a film festival, a contemporary-art biennial, fashion week and carnival. One way to escape the bustle is to book a room at the sleek Emiliano. Located in the central Jardins district, on boutique-lined Oscar Freire Street, the property ushers guests into a calm haven, starting with a complimentary fifteen-minute massage at the fullservice spa. Rooms have contemporary Brazilian furnishings mixed with iconic Eames pieces, LCD televisions, Hungarian goose-down pillows and fine Egyptian-cotton linens. For a culinary treat, the Champagne & Caviar Bar offers a selection of rare caviar and European roes.
The Hotel Fasano São Paulo was a decade in the making. To realize his vision of a modern take on 1930’s design, owner Rogério Fasano enlisted the services of leading Brazilian architects Isay Weinfeld and Marcio Kogan. The resulting 1940’s-style brick building is located in the historic Jardim Europa district. The impressive interiors feature travertine fireplaces and floors, hand-woven carpets and French leather club chairs. The Fasanos are fourth-generation restaurateurs, so naturally the hotel’s Restaurante Fasano has long been considered Brazil’s best Italian eatery. Jazz and bossa-nova artists like Caetano Veloso and Bebel Gilberto have performed in the piano bar, Baretto, attracting international visitors and Paulistanos alike.
Since opening on the legendary casino square in 2004, the Hotel Metropole has embodied the oldworld glamour and modern allure of Monte-Carlo. Star chef Joël Robuchon heads three destination restaurants, including the two-Michelin-star Joël Robuchon Monte-Carlo and his first-ever Japanese restaurant, the Michelinstarred Yoshi. The Lobby Bar remains one of the most buzzing destinations in the commune, and royalty and celebrities alike have been dazzled by the luxurious Jacques Garcia–designed interiors and ESPA. At the latter, guests can unwind with customized therapies, including signature facials, hot-stone massages and full-body salt and oil scrubs. There are also two therapy rooms with private hammams and baths and the only saltwater pool in Monte-Carlo.
The Hotel Sacher Wien, which opened in 1876, occupies an enviable spot on Philharmonikerstrasse directly across from Vienna's State Opera. It has a storied past and served as a popular setting for spy movies (this is where Graham Greene was inspired to write the script for the 1949 film noir The Third Man). Equally famous are its classic, jewel-toned interiors. Guest rooms are decorated with antiques, silk curtains and select works from the museum-worthy collection of paintings. Two presidential suites, Madame Butterfly and the Magic Flute, are as grand as the personages who have checked in (Indira Gandhi, Queen Elizabeth II, Rudolph Nureyev and Herbert von Karajan), and both overlook the opera house. The top floor, meanwhile, boasts more contemporary accommodations, including suites with panoramic terraces.
Opened in 1890 on request of the Japanese aristocracy, the Imperial Hotel Tokyo boasts an impressive historic pedigree. Centrally located just south of the Imperial Palace grounds, the property has long drawn a high-profile clientele who rely on the discretion of the gracious staff of devoted hoteliers particularly adept at looking after discerning guests. Rooms are situated in the main building or in the gleaming tower, and many look across 40-acre Hibiya Park, the Palace and Ginza neighborhood. Two pleasures not to be missed here are the daily chanoyu (traditional tea ceremony) and a drink in the Old Imperial bar, an elegant Art Deco space containing pieces of murals and terracotta tile from the original building, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1923.
La Cigale Hotel resembles an unadorned jewel-box: behind a sedate stone façade lies a treasure trove of design, color and textures, making an arrival here truly breathtaking. Interiors feature Murano chandeliers and furnishings courtesy of Edra, Philippe Starck and Carlos Cruz-Díez. The exquisite details continue in the suites, some of which are decorated with handcrafted leather furniture and pieces by Lalique and Baccarat. Views, particularly from the top floors of the nineteen-story building, sweep from the Corniche to the desert of this oil-rich city. The bar from which to take in the vistas is the Sky View. The convention building, which connects to the hotel, accommodates up to 1,000 people.
Le Gray has just opened at the very heart of downtown Beirut. The city’s reborn historical center is buzzing with fashionable restaurants, shops and galleries, and has welcomed the first hotel in the Middle East created by renowned hotelier Gordon Campbell Gray. The modern classic design overseen by architect Kevin Dash, with breezy contemporary interiors by Mary Fox Linton and Campbell Gray himself, offers understated luxury and spacious rooms and suites for both business and leisure travelers. Restaurants and bars are equally dashing with healthy Mediterranean cuisine and fabulous cocktails served on rooftop terraces and a sidewalk café. Besides, you are just around the corner from everything else there is to do and see.
Located in the former Morning Post newspaper building designed by star-architects Charles Mewes and Arthur Davis, One Aldwych is a stunning hotel with a striking contemporary design. Ideally located in the heart of London’s theater district, it is a short walk from the shops and restaurants of the capital’s bustling West End and close to the financial district. In-house restaurant Axis at One Aldwych draws a large number of guests and locals for its Modern British menu, as does Indigo restaurant with its Modern European food. Another highlight is the double height Lobby Bar, named one of the top five hotel bars in the world by The Sunday Telegraph; it is a buzzing hot spot where those in-the-know order the signature Gin & Tonic Martini.
SKYLOFTS is an exclusive, boutique “hotel within a hotel” on top of MGM Grand on the Strip. Often referred to as an experience rather than a hotel, SKYLOFTS draws guests who seek the ultimate exclusive retreat amidst Las Vegas’ entertainment and fine dining. Guests are whisked from the airport in a chauffeured custom Maybach 62 and brought to the 29th floor of MGM Grand hotel tower via private elevators. LOFTS are generous two-storey suites with sweeping city and mountain views with dedicated 24-hour butler and concierge service. Service is customized and guests are contacted prior to arrival to ensure a seamless stay to include everything from tickets to Cirque de Soleil’s KA to a choice table at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon.
If southern Thailand’s idyllic islands provide the beach holiday, the mountain region of northern Chiang Mai provides the cultural break. Nestled on the banks of the River Ping, The Chedi Chiang Mai is the perfect base from which to explore the mountain trails, elephant sanctuaries and gold-dome temples for which the area is famous. The resort offers an alluring mix of modern architecture and British colonial style; the best example of which can be seen at The Restaurant. Housed in a former British consulate building that’s one hundred years old, the resort’s signature restaurant serves northern Thai and Pacific Rim cuisine. Chedi guests have access to a myriad of activities, but those coming from Bangkok appreciate the resort as a tranquil break.
For many travelers, exploring Vietnam involves the north-to-south circuit between Hanoi, Hue and Ho Chi Min City; but those in the know stop at the enchanting Nam Hai resort. Located close to the ancient trading port city of Hoi An, the resort has re-invigorated Vietnam’s luxury hotel scene. French architect Reda Amalou created a contemporary, design-focused aesthetic, while Indonesian designer Jaya Ibrahim infused interiors with an abundance of dark wood furniture, slate floors and sleek amenities. Outside, three symmetrical swimming pools cascade down the manicured lawns to Ha My Beach, a stretch of white sand looking across the South China Sea. The setting, service and cuisine have transformed The Nam Hai, and by extension Hoi An, into a Vietnam-must in its own right.
On the Mediterranean shores of North Africa, close to Carthage, lies The Residence Tunis, a graceful palace of domed ceilings and arched alcoves, drawing its inspiration from the country’s Arab-Andalucian heritage. This oasis welcomes sophisticated travelers with the calming signature scent of Neroli. Guestrooms are decorated in nuanced tones and bathed in filtered light. For those craving relaxation, Les Thermes Marins de Carthage, boasts 30 treatment rooms, a Darphin spa and an oriental hammam. Six restaurants can take guests on a gastronomic tour in this land of flavors and aromas, while the golf course, by Robert Trent Jones II, is a challenging distraction. A heady mix of ancient and modern combined with exceptional service makes The Residence Tunis a popular destination.
Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, a three-hour drive from Sydney in Australia's Blue Mountains, represents a new breed of high-end hotels dedicated to preserving the natural world for generations to come. Low-density is the mantra at this nearly 4,000-acre property, centered around the restored Wallerawang homestead, dating from 1832. Amenities and facilities, from the sumptuous, free-standing villa suites to the acclaimed spa, find the balance between relaxed and refined, while the great outdoors are breathtaking. Guests can go horseback-riding, hiking or biking, though most popular are the wildlife safaris (to see kangaroos, wallaroos, wallabies and more). Through grassy plains and verdant valleys, these nature tours vividly illustrate how important—and admirable—this resort's mission truly is.