It's late summer, when farm stands are bursting with color, piled with fruits and vegetables in the weeks before the season draws to a close. And where better to enjoy a summer harvest — or to try your hand at activities like beekeeping, foraging, even the art of ax-throwing — than at a farm or vineyard hotel?
Whether you want to escape to a working farm just outside of Nashville; a farm and vineyard with an inn and “yurt village” in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia; or a restored distillery and boutique hotel on a river in Cognac, France, these getaways for epicures and country-lovers await with fresh eggs, jams and food for the soul.
Wander this 450-acre farm and vineyard amid the Blue Ridge Mountains (its viognier, chardonnay and merlot have been winners of the Virginia Governor’s Cup competition) and you’ll find cattle, chickens, vegetable gardens — and a new 28 room-and-suite inn. Or you can stay in the “yurt village”: nine yurts made of cedar, making them feel more like cabins, situated between the inn and the winery’s tasting room. Book a yurt and you’ll have your own kitchenette and rainfall shower, as well as a porch and back deck from which to breathe in the mountain air. Each yurt can sleep two to six people; pets are welcome, too (for a fee).
As you might expect, meals at Nicewonder are farm-to-table affairs. Hickory, on the ground floor of the inn, serves seasonal, Appalachian-inspired dishes — like whipped Spam with house pickles, nori, yuzu hot sauce and fried saltines — and overlooks a lake and the vineyard. There’s also a bar and, of course, a wine cellar. And you can shop for flowers, vegetables, jams and jellies at the property’s produce market. In fact, you could spend an entire weekend just eating and imbibing. Yet there are miles of trails to tackle, leading you past trees, over hills and near a creek. You can go for a swim in the infinity pool and, come September, work out in a new “fitness yurt” with spin bikes and exercise equipment, or unwind with a spa treatment in the forthcoming “spa yurt village.” Prices from $335 a night in August and September, including breakfast.
A former stagecoach stop, this property, situated near the vineyards and farms of the Santa Ynez Valley, has been receiving guests since the late 1880s. Shuttered in 2018, it reopened this year after a renovation that included new buildings and a new name. You can choose from 67 rooms, four of which are restored cottages dating to the early 1900s. There are new guest rooms, each with a patio, terrace or sun porch, situated in structures called Guest Houses. Also new is the two-bedroom Courtyard cottage with a living room and private outdoor space where you can end the day beside an outdoor fireplace or in a hot tub. The Homestead cottage has two bedrooms and private outdoor space as well.
Beyond your sleeping quarters is the Tavern restaurant, where many of the ingredients come from an on-site garden and the menu focuses on grilled proteins and vegetables, served indoors or outside beneath a trellis. For dishes inspired by Chinese cuisine — think duck won tons, soy-braised Chinese eggplant, crispy pork belly, spicy peanuts, grilled shiitakes and shrimp toast — pop into Gin’s Tap Bar, named for the property’s former chef, Gin Lung Gin. Need a caffeine fix? Try Felix Feed & Coffee, where you can also order fresh baked goods and breakfast. For a cocktail or a glass of wine, head to the Bar. Or put on a bathing suit and visit the Shed, a poolside bar with casual Mediterranean-inspired fare. After a bite and a dip, hop on a bicycle and go for a ride past vineyards — or stay put and learn how to infuse your own olive oil with herbs from the garden. Prices from $950 a night.
While France is known for major wine regions like Bordeaux and Champagne, this restored distillery and boutique hotel aims to lure you to Cognac country in southwest France, home to leading producers such as Hennessy, Martell and Rémy Martin. The hotel opened in June in a belle epoque mansion by the Charente River and is part of the Almae Collection of hotels as well as a member of the hotel network Relais & Chateaux. Its 12 suites are set amid 12 acres of gardens rife with fruit trees, rose bushes and vegetables. Crack open a favorite novel, ease into the swimming pool, or follow the gardens toward the river. There, private canoes await. Or you can board the hotel’s boat and visit the town of Cognac. E-bikes are also available.
Meals can be had at Notes, a fine-dining restaurant with a four-course or seven-course tasting menu that makes use of herbs and vegetables from the property’s gardens, as well as ingredients from Cognac distilleries and local farms. Alternatively, head over to the old distillery building, which is now Brasserie des Flâneurs, where the French brasserie menu highlights seasonal produce like ceviche with citrus fruit from the property’s greenhouse. There’s also the Bar and Tea Room, connected to a terrace where you can have a pastry (or two) with your tea or coffee. Should you prefer something a bit stronger, you can order a cocktail, wine or — what else?— Cognac. Prices from 450 euros, or about $490, a night, including breakfast.
This storied Hudson Valley country estate about two hours north of Manhattan has attracted a long list of writers and thinkers, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes and W.E.B. Du Bois. In the early 1900s the property was bought from its original owners, the Benton family, by Amy and Joel E. Spingarn, one of the founders of the publisher Harcourt, Brace & Co. and a former president of the N.A.A.C.P. (he was the originator of the Spingarn Medal, awarded annually by the N.A.A.C.P.). Today the 250-acre property is a member of Design Hotels and has 37 rooms and suites. Recently, it opened Benton House along Webutuck Creek, where you’ll find 13 guest rooms, each with private outdoor space amid grasses and wildflowers. All look to nature for inspiration, with grass cloth wallpaper and beds by the Connecticut-based furniture maker Ian Ingersoll.
Head to the barns — which are covered in timber reclaimed from the old Tappan Zee Bridge Hudson River crossing — for a fitness or yoga class, or to use the gym and sauna. Outside you can play tennis, swim in the pool, stroll through a walled garden built in 1916, or take a private falconry session. You can hike and bike on the property, too. Or venture a little farther for a fly-fishing excursion, or a trip to nearby Maitri Farm, where you can browse produce and flowers (private tours are also available). Birders may want to check out the Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy. Other guests, in the tradition of Troutbeck, may simply want to sit back and converse over a meal. Settle into a booth in the Dining Room for seasonal dishes with local ingredients, like spelt ricotta cavatelli with chanterelles and garlic scapes. For bites on the go and late-night snacks, the Pantry offers temptations like salted chocolate chip cookies, coffee cake, brownies and blondies made in-house and available 24 hours. Prices from $400 a night.
Just 25 miles south of Nashville’s buzzing music scene, this nascent farm and inn offers a buzz of a different sort with seven apiaries that house millions of honeybees, along with some 1,300 apple trees, greenhouses (including an orangerie), formal kitchen gardens, crops and plenty of land for foraging fungi and berries. While the property calls to mind a historic farm, it has the comforts of a modern escape. You can choose from 62 rooms and suites, 16 cottages and many places to savor the land’s bounty. For casual meals, try Sojourner, where you can begin each day with pastries and eggs (lunch and dinner are also available). Even the cocktails are made with freshly harvested herbs and juices. Stop by the Farm Stand for produce, picnic baskets and preserves. And later this year, be on the lookout for January, a restaurant with a dining room and outdoor patio that plans to offer multicourse menus with ingredients grown at Southall.
If the pastoral views are not enough to shed your stress, head over to the 15,000-square-foot spa to decompress with treatments that use botanicals and ingredients, some from the farm. You can work out at the fitness center, float in the 104-degree mineral pool (there’s an outdoor pool, too), strike a pose at the property’s hilltop meditation and yoga spot, or challenge yourself on the ropes-and-obstacle course. Runners and hikers can take advantage of more than five miles of trails. And there’s no shortage of additional outdoor activities (some for a fee), including falconry, fishing, bee keeping, archery and ax-throwing. Prices from $559 a night in August, and from $839 beginning in September.
Of all summer’s pleasures, few are as irresistible as a getaway by the water, be it an ocean, lake or city harbor. You can swim, sail, fish and partake of the age-old tradition of lazing around.
But a coastal vacation is also an opportunity for discovery. Maybe you’d like to learn how to tie fishing and boating knots? Or decipher those colorful signal flags you see on ships and in seaside shops? With the right app you can turn a holiday on the water into something deeper: identify the fish you’ve just caught or the ship that’s passing by, find out about the seashell you’ve spotted or the lake you’re diving into, explore nearby shark migrations, and study the rhythms of the moon and tides, all while keeping your toes in the sand.
Watching a ship glide into a harbor one evening I wondered aloud where it might have been. “Let’s find out,” said a friend, who then pulled out his phone and opened MarineTraffic — Ship Tracking, an app that can identify vessels near and far.
The app’s live map lets you zoom in and out of major ports and shipping routes around the world to see ships, their details and voyage routes. Each vessel is represented by a colored icon, including dark blue for passenger vessels, orange for fishing vessels, and purple for yachts and pleasure craft. For example, while looking at a Norwegian cruise ship on the Hudson River in New York, I opened the map (there’s a desktop version at MarineTraffic.com), tapped on the corresponding icon, and was immediately shown a photo of the ship with information such as its name, flag, last known port (it had been at Kings Wharf in Bermuda two days earlier), speed and status (it was moored as opposed to, say, underway, using an engine). Later, when the ship was departing, I opened the app and saw with a glance that it was now on its way to Norfolk, Va. (You can also search for a particular vessel by name.)
Cost: free; $9.99 a year for a “starter” subscription with more vessel and port information, and features like an augmented reality tool to identify ships using your smartphone camera. Note: The app uses a network of coastal Automatic Identification System (AIS) receivers to show vessel positions. It costs extra to unlock details for a vessel that’s out of its AIS range.
Planning on boating, fishing or camping this summer? Knots 3D uses color animations to teach you how to tie more than 150 knots, from those that might help you catch a fish to those that might help save your life. Read about the usage and history of the knots, adjust the speed of the animations or pause them, rotate a knot for a different perspective and use your finger to tie and untie it. There are several ways to search for knots you want to master, including by category (such as boating, fishing and camping) or knot type (like anchor hitch, bowline and fisherman’s eye). Plus, the app doesn’t require internet service, so you can practice even while you’re in the backcountry.
You never know what creatures might be sharing the waters with you on your summer vacation. Or do you?
This app from Ocearch, a nonprofit that facilitates ocean and fish research worldwide, allows users to follow the migrations of sharks (and some other marine animals, like turtles) that have been tagged with satellite tracking technology. For instance, in July I could see on the app’s map that an 883-pound white shark more than 11 feet long was in the Atlantic Ocean off a nearby beach. The app enables you to follow such sharks as they travel thousands of miles (select “all pings” on the app’s map to view both historical and recent tracking activity). Meanwhile, data gathered from tracking helps scientists understand the sharks’ migration patterns and life cycle to better help protect them and, ultimately, the oceans, too.
Open Earth 3D — World Atlas for a virtual globe that spins with the swipe of a finger, allowing you to investigate wherever you are — or long to be. On a Great Lakes vacation in Wisconsin? Tap on Lake Superior to read about the first people who came to the region thousands of years ago. On the coast of South Carolina? Tap the Atlantic Ocean to find out just how big it is. Or touch the Caribbean Current to discover where it flows. Vacationing in a major city? Tap a monument or landmark, like the Key West Lighthouse in Florida, to learn about it.
The information about the places comes from Wikipedia, which is easily accessible on the web. And Earth 3D lacks the granularity of, say, the Google Earth app. Nonetheless, it’s a charming, eye-pleasing way to spark interest in geography and history, especially in young people.
(For a quirkier compendium, try the Atlas Obscura Travel Guide app where you can discover lesser-known points of interest around you or elsewhere in the world on an interactive map. And you can’t beat the price: free.)
Let’s say you’re strolling along the shore when you spot an unfamiliar object. Whether it’s a shell, piece of coral, plant or bug, try consulting Google Lens. Just point your smartphone camera at whatever it is you’d like to know about and Lens will search the internet for visual matches and information. When recently aimed at a shell, for example, it found pages with photos that revealed it was likely a moon snail.
You can also direct your camera toward a building or a statue to discover its history. And you don’t have to do it in real-time either: Lens works on images in photos, too. Some objects turn up more useful results than others, but undoubtedly Lens is a powerful tool. Available as an app for Android; iOS users can download the Google app, which enables you to search with images using Lens.
This digital reference manual for boaters offers information about essential matters like preventing collisions. But even beachgoers who never set foot on board can use Navigation Rules Pro to decode the sights and sounds of a vacation by the sea. For example, you can find out what those colorful flags and pennants mean (and how each one corresponds to a letter) with the app’s guide to the International Code of Signals, a system that vessels use to communicate. Just type “ICS” in the search function to read about the ways signals can be sent, and to see flag images, their meanings, associated letters and phonetic alphabet letters.
Or maybe you want to study International Morse code by using the app’s charts of dots and dashes (just search for “Morse”), or learn more about the earth and its coordinates by selecting the “nautical charts” section. A lot of this information can be found free online, though the app houses it in one place. So you can sit at a harborside bar and peruse things you’re curious about — like how waves form at sea — with one hand while nursing a beer with the other. For iOS only.
Keeping track of time may not be necessary on every type of vacation, but if you’re hoping to catch the sunrise or to cross a sandbar before high tide, a bit of planning is in order. Tides Near Me makes it a breeze to check currents and to get the time of the next tide, sunset or moonrise. Look further ahead by tapping the “week” tab.
For a more refined experience, consider spending a few dollars on Tide Alert (NOAA) - USA, which has an inviting, interactive interface and uses tide forecast data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. A chart with an undulating line represents high and low tides. A yellow dot on the line indicates the current time and tide height. You can use your finger to drag the yellow dot forward or backward, virtually traveling back in time to see what the tides were, or forward to see what they are forecast to be. Moon and sun icons on the chart show you sunrise, sunset, moonrise and moonset times. You can also see that information at a glance by tapping “rise & set.” To see monthly moon phase calendars, touch the calendar icon. iOS only.
Cost: free trial period, then $3.99 for three months; $11.99 a year.
Surfers may also want to take a look at the MSW Surf Forecast app by Magicseaweed for forecasts that include surf and swell height.
Cost: free. An ad-free, pro version with features like live surf cams from around the world is available for $12.99 a month; $99.99 a year (free pro trial available).
And if you’re planning to go fishing, check out the FishAngler app to explore fishing spots and see tide phase and barometric pressure charts, weather and wind conditions, sun and moon states, as well as a “fish forecast” that suggests the best times to fish based on Solunar Tables (how the moon and sun may affect anglers). Even if you don’t manage to catch anything, you can use the app to learn about top species in your region, be it an American anglerfish or a Yellowtail snapper.
Your “first care must be to ignore the very dream of haste, walking everywhere very slowly and very much at random,” Henry James advised visitors to Perugia, the capital of the Umbria region in Italy.
A self-described flâneur, or idle stroller, James applied this philosophy to other cities, too, wandering aimlessly through the streets of Rome the day he arrived, letting “accident” be his guide. “It served me to perfection,” he wrote in “Italian Hours,” published in 1909, “and introduced me to the best things.”
The flâneur is an archetype born, not in Rome, but in 19th-century Paris as it was transforming into a modern city. Baudelaire described this metropolitan character as a “passionate spectator” who “enters into the crowd as though it were an immense reservoir of electrical energy.” The philosopher and essayist Walter Benjamin called the flâneur a pedestrian with “a detective’s nose.” Like a number of artists and writers, the painter Edouard Manet was himself a flâneur — a “fashionable boulevardier” as a 1982 exhibition catalog for “Manet and Modern Paris” at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., put it — who used the city’s streets, gardens and cafes as his muses.
Imagine having time on your hands in Paris, feasting on its sensuous pleasures, strolling alone and unafraid. Little wonder the flâneur has captured imaginations, including mine, across cities and centuries.
I like to vacation in walkable cities and, in the spirit of Henry James, my first hours in them are spent wandering. Where and when I turn is a game of chance. I might follow the sound of church bells, or drift toward a leafy square, or catch the scent of hot bread in the air and wind up at a bakery.
To walk a city led by your senses rather than a destination is to awaken to the city and, possibly, to yourself. It’s an opportunity to expand your capacity for wonder, to discover and delight in things you might have missed had you been aiming to get somewhere. “To correctly play the flâneur, as Franz Hessel explained in “Walking in Berlin: A Flaneur in the Capital,” “you can’t have anything too particular in mind.”
One October afternoon I was trying to find a mausoleum in the Porte Sante cemetery in Florence, said to contain the remains of C. Collodi (born Carlo Lorenzini), the author of “The Adventures of Pinocchio.” Pinpointing the mausoleum became a chore and — to take a page from Pinocchio — truthfully, the mausoleum wasn’t as intriguing as my walk afterward. No longer hunting for a destination, I could finally see.
I wandered the cemetery, weaving among angels and busts of men, past bird’s eye views of the Duomo from the Basilica of San Miniato al Monte, down the steep hill to the Ponte Santa Trinita. Crossing the bridge, I paused to look up at the crack around the neck of Primavera, the statue representing spring, a result of her losing her head when retreating Germans blew up the bridge toward the end of World War II (the head was found, on a sandbank in the Arno River, in 1961).
I followed the river toward the Uffizi Gallery where I stopped, enchanted by the scene below. A handful of people, some barefoot, others in striped socks, were sunning themselves, eating and drinking red wine at cafe tables, and reading newspapers in Adirondack chairs on a grassy bank of the Arno. What looked like a Slim Aarons photograph was the Società Canottieri Firenze, the Florence rowing club, a respite tucked under the Uffizi where, at any moment, a member might slip into a boat and glide away.
This sort of aimless strolling is conducive to savoring, to finding joy in the moment, a practice that some social scientists have found can be cultivated and may help lead to a more fulfilling life. In “Savoring: A New Model of Positive Experience,” the scholars Fred B. Bryant and Joseph Veroff describe savoring not as mere pleasure, but as an active process that requires presence and mindfulness. It’s “a search for the delectable, delicious, almost gustatory delights of the moment,” as they put it.
By walking a city in this engaged yet relaxed fashion, we may also become more open to the unexpected, to the little surprises that sometimes turn out to be the best part of a day, or an entire vacation.
Walking after dinner in New York one early September evening, I cut through Lincoln Center. The night was sultry and as I neared the Metropolitan Opera House, I heard music. A few steps later, I found myself at the edge of a hushed crowd at an outdoor screening of Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly.” Only a moment ago I was on the sidewalk. Suddenly, I was at the opera. I don’t remember what I ate for dinner that night, but I still recall the happy feeling of unexpectedly stepping into that tableaux. I thought of what the sociologist Robert K. Merton and Elinor Barber, a researcher at Columbia University, wrote in “The Travels and Adventures of Serendipity: A Study in Sociological Semantics and the Sociology of Science,” their investigation into the word’s history: “When out of uncertainty and the absence of control there emerge good things, they are doubly welcome — they suggest that the gods are smiling.”
In addition to nurturing the ability to savor, strolling can be a way to begin to understand the cities we visit. In Tokyo, the sidewalks were my introduction to the city’s architecture, food and folklore, sparking what would become an abiding affection for Japan. Wandering neighborhoods amid contemporary and modernist buildings, temples, shrines, markets, Metro stations and department store food halls with bento boxes and Bel Amer chocolates almost too exquisite to eat, helped to slowly reveal the city.
The early flâneurs were typically students of modernity, interested in their own time and place. Yet strolling is an undeniably engaging way to plumb a city’s past. Clues are everywhere. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of going slowly enough to notice signs and historical markers. Other times, an object or architectural detail that piques your interest — a gate, a gargoyle — provides a portal to another time. Stories of vanished ages can be triggered by a single stone, then explored back home through books and websites. When I was traveling in Istanbul everything in the streets — the carts selling simit, sesame-seed-covered bread rings; the tables of books at the Sahaflar Carsisi, the used-book bazaar; the crumbling, vertiginous steps between the Bosporus and the cafes of Cihangir; the wooden waterside homes called yalis; the minarets and calls to prayer — all told stories of a teeming city as it is and was.
Being in a big city among so many strangers can be at turns exhilarating and disturbing. In 19th-century Paris, the anonymity of the crowd and questions of identity fueled dark imaginings and gave rise to stories like Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Man of the Crowd” and “The Mystery of Marie Roget,” as Walter Benjamin writes in “The Flâneur,” a chapter in “Charles Baudelaire: A Lyric Poet in the Era of High Capitalism.”
But being incognito isn’t just a boon for criminals. Rather, it’s an underrated benefit of flânerie, especially in an age of social media. Alone in a crowd, you can take a break from who friends and family expect you to be. You can be yourself, or “off stage,” to borrow the sociologist Erving Goffman’s term. You have room to go at your own pace, to let your eye and mind wander, to stumble upon new ideas, even self realizations.
Of course, as much as one may want to go strolling, there are all sorts of barriers to doing so, including things like time, safety, customs and personal beliefs. Virginia Woolf writes in her essay, “Street Haunting: A London Adventure,” published in the Yale Review in 1927, that “the greatest pleasure of town life in winter” is “rambling the streets of London.” But she laments that “one must, one always must, do something or other; it is not allowed one simply to enjoy oneself.” And so one winter evening she decides she must go and buy a pencil — which she readily admits is a pretext. Her real reason for going out? To wander.
Through the ages, would-be saunterers have devised ways not only to escape to the streets, but to be more open to chance. In Alexandre Dumas’s “The Mohicans of Paris,” a character decides which way to go by tossing a fragment of paper into the wind and following it toward whatever adventure awaits. Nowadays, books and games like “Anywhere Travel Guide: 75 Cards for Discovering the Unexpected, Wherever Your Journey Leads,” offer travel prompts such as “Imagine a song you haven’t heard in a long time. Move your body with the music. Turn right when the song ends.”
When Sabrina Impacciatore, the Italian actress who played Valentina in the second season of “The White Lotus,” was asked during an interview on HBO whether she plans everything or goes with the flow on vacation, she said her idea of vacation is to follow smells and sounds. “I love to arrive in a place,” she said, “and the first smell I like, I follow the smell.”
In Krakow, Poland, one spring, I followed the sun. I had a bad cold but it was the sort of unseasonably warm afternoon that draws everyone, even an ailing tourist, to the banks of the Vistula River. A monk and a nun sat on a low wall, their legs dangling over the side. Three women gathered under a weeping willow. Dogs sniffed each other on the grass. I stopped to rest. After all, pauses are as much a part of flânerie as putting one foot in front of the other.
Sitting on the wall, I watched five old men, one shirtless, playing cards at a picnic table. A couple of bicycles and a set of crutches leaned against a tree. It was an unremarkable scene and yet, as I kept looking, it took on a certain significance. Most of us travel with must-see destinations in mind. But every now and then, on a stroll to nowhere, we’re reminded that life doesn’t get much better than communing with a friend or two by a river in the late afternoon.
These days, most flâneurs are not bons vivants in top hats. Gone is the detached observer looking on as Paris transforms before her eyes. We are of our time. All kinds of people today, including those for whom walking isn’t easy or possible, may consider themselves flâneurs and flâneuses. What remains of the original privileged character is a certain romance, an air of freedom and a desire to pursue a slower, looser way of experiencing a city — if only for an afternoon. Eventually, you return to your hotel. You’ve strolled unfamiliar streets and tried new things. If you’re lucky, you’ve seen something beautiful or tasted something superb. Maybe you’re feeling grateful, or you’ve rekindled some joie de vivre. You did not go out with a destination. But perhaps you arrived somewhere after all.
You may still be wearing a coat, but spring is around the corner, and whether you’re dreaming of blossoms or baseball, it’s time to make reservations. With gardens, trails and enchanting views, these hotels make it a breeze to participate in beloved springtime traditions. From about $100 to more than $1,000 a night, they just might inspire you to celebrate cherry blossom season in Japan, feed chickens in the Hudson Valley or sip a cocktail in Paris on some of the city’s newest hotel rooftops.
What began in the early 1900s as a gift of thousands of Japanese cherry trees to the United States from Japan has become an annual tradition: Each spring, the U.S. capital is awash in pink and white blossoms — and people show up in droves to delight in them. The Tidal Basin has long been the go-to spot for viewing. If you want to be within walking distance of the basin as well as some of the city’s latest alfresco spots to eat, drink and enjoy live music, the Wharf — the nascent neighborhood with a promenade along the Washington Channel — is the place to be. It has views of the blossoming Kwanzan cherry trees in East Potomac Park and you can choose from hotel brands like Hyatt House, Canopy by Hilton and the InterContinental. In late October, Pendry Washington DC — the Wharf opened in a glass building with 131 rooms and suites, adding a bit of splash to the waterfront.
You can take in the view across the channel while sampling Japanese whiskey, sushi and treats like Tokyo fried chicken at the hotel’s rooftop bar and lounge, Moonraker. (For Latin American-inspired small plates, check out the Flora Flora restaurant.) Guests may also find themselves in the middle of the action for the Wharf’s annual Bloomaroo (April 1), a free spring festival with activities and events including koi kite decorating, face painting, music, beer gardens and pink fireworks. To get a closer look at the Kwanzan trees, hop on the free Wharf Jitney ferry to East Potomac Park. To see the trees around the Tidal Basin, simply go for a 20-minute stroll.
The citywide National Cherry Blossom Festival offers events and activities from March 18 through April 16, including the Sakura Matsuri — Japanese Street Festival, which describes itself as “the largest celebration of Japanese culture in the United States.” Back at the Pendry, you can stop at the Bar Pendry in the lobby for a cocktail, or head to Moonraker to watch night settle over the river in the distance. Rooms from $355 a night.
Few cities can rival the romance of Paris in springtime. And in the first arrondissement, amid tulips and sidewalk cafes, the Hôtel Madame Rêve is a buzzy perch from which to take it all in. Situated in the 19th-century Louvre post office building, the hotel, which has 82 rooms and suites, is a short walk from the Jardin des Tuileries. Madame Rêve, however, has plenty of its own greenery. At ROOF, its sprawling 1,000-square-meter (about 10,764 square feet) rooftop bar, there are plants, trees, cocktails, finger food and striking views of the city. For Japanese-influenced cuisine, there’s La Plume Rive Droite, which opens onto a patio with dozens of species of plants. There’s also the elegant Madame Rêve Café for Mediterranean-style food, which, on a sunny spring day, can be enjoyed on the terrace. Rooms from 500 euros, or about $532, a night.
Laurent Taïeb, the restaurateur and hotelier who founded Hôtel Madame Rêve, is also behind TOO Hotel, which opened in October atop one of the Tours Duo skyscrapers designed by Jean Nouvel. At the edge of Paris in the 13th arrondissement, it’s near the Seine, within walking distance of the Jardin des Plantes, and about a 15- to 20-minute drive from the Paris-Orly Airport. That location enables the hotel to provide the sorts of panoramic views more often associated with properties in cities like New York and Shanghai. Its 139 rooms and suites, designed by Philippe Starck, all have city vistas. And like Madame Rêve, it has an intriguing new rooftop destination: TOO TacTac Skybar. There are also postcard views from TOO Restaurant, where you can try dishes from around the world, be it shakshuka or lobster tempura. And the spa has an outdoor hot tub on a terrace with plants, trees and views over the Seine. Happily, the only thing that’s not sky-high is the starting room rate. Rooms from 220 euros a night.
For those who want to experience spring unfolding on a farm but also want a spa, a sommelier and perhaps some custom cedar-scented soaps, there’s Wildflower Farms, Auberge Resorts Collection, a new 140-acre luxury retreat with 65 cabins, cottages and suites in Gardiner, N.Y. The resort, about an hour and a half from New York City, allows guests to embrace spring amid grasses and wildflowers, and on its three miles of trails. (The nearby Mohonk Preserve provides additional opportunities for hiking and rock climbing.) Wildflower Farms also offers activities and classes inspired by nature, such as pressed-flower pottery, flower arranging, foraging and botanical baking. You can feed the chickens and, if you like, collect the day’s eggs. Go for a dip in the outdoor pool (or simply visit the bar alongside it), try the spa (there are outdoor hot tubs and an indoor saltwater pool) and work out at the open-air fitness center.
When you retire to your room, you won’t lose sight of the area’s beauty. The cabins and cottages have wall-to-wall glass sliding doors, providing guests with “in-bed vistas,” as well as large private terraces with daybeds. Ridge suites have two fireplaces, a terrace with a cedar hot tub, indoor and outdoor showers, and of course, views of the Shawangunk Ridge, better known as the Gunks. When you get hungry, there’s New American fare at the restaurant, Clay. Morning coffee, pastries, snacks and cocktails can be had at the main building on the open-air Great Porch, where you can sink into a velvet couch beside a fire and gaze at the mountains. Rooms from $1,000 a night.
Yet another rite of spring, Major League Baseball season, is almost here. And for those who wish to turn a game into a weekend getaway, there are hotels such as the 264-room-and-suite Omni Hotel at the Battery Atlanta, just a few hundred feet from Truist Park, the home of the Atlanta Braves. The Premier, Executive and Luxury rooms (the latter have private terraces with fire pits, sofas and tables) feature various views of the stadium or field, and their red and white touches are a nod to baseball.
Traveling with someone who’s not a fan? Your companion can stroll the surrounding area, known as the Battery Atlanta, where there are places to grab a bite, like Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and Antico Pizza Napoletana, as well as live music at Coca-Cola Roxy and movies at Silverspot Cinema.
Rooms at the Omni Hotel start at $274 a night. You can also add a baseball package that includes valet parking, breakfast, nightly children’s turndown service with milk and cookies, and tickets for a tour of Truist Park.
What better way to celebrate Japan’s reopening after being closed to much of the world at the height of the pandemic than with a cherry blossom road trip — and new hotels to check into along the way?
Seven Fairfield by Marriott hotels are opening this year in the prefectures of Hyogo, Kagoshima, Okayama, Saga, Kumamoto and Fukuoka as part of Marriott’s ongoing Michi-no-Eki project. Located in rural places near roadside rest areas (known in Japan as Michi-no-Eki), the hotels are often close to national parks and cultural sites. They offer affordable rooms, from about 225 to 270 square feet, with free Wi-Fi. Several opened in places such as Hokkaido and Nara, and in January, the 88-room Fairfield by Marriott Hyogo Tajima Yabu opened in Yabu, a city in Hyogo prefecture, which is home to Mount Hyonosen, Tendaki Falls and Tarumi-no-Ozakura, a cherry tree said to be more than 1,000 years old.
This spring, more Michi-no-Eki hotels are on the way. The 78-room Fairfield by Marriott Okayama Tsuyama is scheduled to open on April 11 in Okayama, an easy drive to the ruins of Tsuyama Castle in Kakuzan Park, a prime cherry blossom viewing spot. And the 95-room Fairfield by Marriott Kagoshima Tarumizu is set to open on April 12 in Kagoshima, where you can visit the (recently active) Sakurajima volcano; check out sites from Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution, which are on UNESCO’s World Heritage List; and if you have time, make the ferry trip to Yakushima Island to visit the cedar forests, thought to have inspired the Studio Ghibli film “Princess Mononoke.” All three properties have rooms from 13,000 yen, or about $96, a night.
On April 4, the 98-room-and-suite Bulgari Hotel Tokyo is scheduled to open in the capital, bringing Italian design to the top of the Tokyo Midtown Yaesu skyscraper. Guests will be within walking distance of the Imperial Palace, one of the most popular spots in Tokyo for enjoying cherry blossoms. A longer walk will bring you to yet another beloved blossom destination, the Chidori-ga-fuchi Moat. For sweeping views of the city and, on a clear day, Mount Fuji, head to the Bulgari Bar, which will have terraces on the 45th floor. The hotel will also have a spa (with an indoor pool), a fitness center and restaurants featuring Japanese and Italian culinary traditions: Sushi Hoseki by Kenji Gyoten and Il Ristorante by Niko Romito. Should you wish to go farther afield, you’re a two-minute walk from Tokyo Station, making it easy to board a train and explore other parts of Japan. Prices from 250,000 yen.
Why battle the crowds in Europe this summer when there are so many charming, even unexpected, destinations? Below are a few places to while away the summer, including a revamped motel on a beach in New York; Airstream suites under the stars in Utah; new addresses in Kentucky that pay homage to horse culture; and a ranch in Wyoming that’s introducing activities like cuddling with goats and learning about llamas. And if you’re longing for an international getaway, it’s low season in Argentina, where a boutique hotel has opened amid the vineyards and wineries of Mendoza. Whether you’re interested in raising a glass or in the raising of llamas, a quiet getaway awaits.
For some, there’s no better way to spend a summer than in the Hamptons in New York. Others, seeking a more relaxed escape, look to the wineries and country roads of Long Island’s North Fork. It’s there, on a beach, that this former 1950s motel opened in late June after being sold last year and reimagined. Here you’ll find 20 rooms as well as eight beach shacks (studio and one-bedroom cottages with private screened-in porches and outdoor showers) and four bungalows, each with outdoor space. Beach houses with full kitchens and fireplaces are scheduled to open in the fall.
When you’re in the mood for a bite, you need not hit the road. The food and beverage spots at Silver Sands are being overseen by Ryan Hardy, the chef behind the Italian-inspired Manhattan restaurants Charlie Bird and Pasquale Jones. At Eddie’s Oyster Bar you can order seafood, lobster rolls and salads. There’s a pizza truck, too. Coffee, pastries and grab-and-go bites can be had at the snack bar. And for cocktails, beer and wine, look no further than the Lobby Bar. There are also plans for a diner later this summer. As for outdoor pursuits, you don’t have to go far for those, either: There are free kayaks and bikes for guests. And unlike some beach town properties, this one plans to be open year-round. Prices from $500 a night for bungalows, from $595 a night for motel rooms and from $645 a night for beach shacks during peak season (through Sept. 30).
Kentucky is known for bourbon and horse racing, and in Lexington, this new 125 room-and-suite hotel pays tribute to both. Located on Manchester Street in the distillery district, it’s on the site of the city’s first registered distillery, established in 1865. Its brick facade is meant to evoke the area’s historic bourbon warehouses (rickhouses), while inside, wood and jewel-toned rooms create a warm atmosphere.
When you get hungry, drop into Granddam (the term for the grandmother of a horse), where leather seating is meant to suggest saddles and the food is a modern take on Appalachian-inspired dishes like tomato pie and 12-hour-roasted wild boar. Up on the roof, the Lost Palm bar and lounge aims to transport you to 1960s South Florida, yet another center of horse culture, with its playful Art Deco style. A “tiki cocktail program” and dishes made for sharing, such as taco al pastor with alligator, and baked and stuffed spiny lobster tails, bring a touch of the tropics to Southern comfort cooking. And yes, there’s a gym, so you can work it off later. Prices from $220 a night.
About an hour and a half west of Lexington, in Louisville’s East Market district, known as NuLu or New Louisville, this 122 room-and-suite hotel takes its name from a regional type of limestone as well as St. Genevieve, a patron saint of Paris and a nod to Louisville’s connections to France. (The city is named for King Louis XVI, after all.) Yet another Kentucky newcomer, the hotel, from the Bunkhouse hospitality company, is surrounded by shops, bars and distilleries. You can also walk to Louisville Slugger Field, the Waterfront Botanical Gardens and the Big Four Bridge over the Ohio River, which connects Louisville’s Waterfront Park to Indiana.
About an hour and a half west of Lexington, in Louisville’s East Market district, known as NuLu or New Louisville, this 122 room-and-suite hotel takes its name from a regional type of limestone as well as St. Genevieve, a patron saint of Paris and a nod to Louisville’s connections to France. (The city is named for King Louis XVI, after all.) Yet another Kentucky newcomer, the hotel, from the Bunkhouse hospitality company, is surrounded by shops, bars and distilleries. You can also walk to Louisville Slugger Field, the Waterfront Botanical Gardens and the Big Four Bridge over the Ohio River, which connects Louisville’s Waterfront Park to Indiana.
Inside the hotel, a combination of modern and vintage furniture and artwork celebrates Kentucky’s history and culture. A restaurant called Rosettes, named for horse racing ribbons, offers fare from the culinary director Ashleigh Shanti, a 2020 finalist for the James Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year and a former competitor on the Bravo series “Top Chef.” There’s also a rooftop lounge, Bar Genevieve, for cocktails and light bites, as well as Mini Marché for coffee and grab-and-go breakfast and lunch. The market is also the entrance to the intimate Lucky Penny bar, where you can sip a cocktail long after everyone else has turned in for the night. Prices from $195 a night.
Planning to visit Zion National Park? If camping doesn’t sound like much of a vacation, try the nascent 16-acre AutoCamp Zion where you can book various types of accommodations such as Airstreams and cabins. The 31-foot Classic Airstream Suite, for instance, has a kitchenette, queen bed, private bathroom, heating and cooling, and a private patio with fire pit and dining area. Or consider a Classic Cabin with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living area, along with an outdoor dining area. Accessible accommodations are also available.
Beyond your sleeping quarters, you can savor the desert landscape through the wall of windows in the property’s Clubhouse, where you can also stop at the General Store for beer, wine and grocery items. Or head to the Kitchen for dishes like breakfast quesadillas, sandwiches, pizza and burgers. When not exploring the park, consider a free morning yoga session, a swim in the pool or a ride on a mountain bike (free for guests to use). Or simply linger by the Virgin River. Prices from $269 a night into the fall.
While it’s summer in the United States, it’s winter in Argentina, when there are typically fewer crowds. Yet no matter the season, you’ll most likely find some tranquillity at this boutique wine hotel opened by Susana Balbo, a well-regarded winemaker (and the first woman in Argentina to graduate with a degree in oenology), along with her daughter. Located in a suburb of Mendoza, the hotel is nestled between the Andes and the city of Mendoza, and has just seven suites. The spa suites have private gardens with outdoor fire pits and heated loungers, steam rooms, “sensations showers” that allow for various combinations of water pressures and temperatures, massage tables and locally made bath products. Each suite also has a living room, a terrace and a wine fridge (some also have dry saunas). All of the suites surround a house and an outdoor pool, a setup meant to cultivate the feeling that you’re staying at a friend’s estate — only this friend has a “wellness butler” to prepare a bath of local salts and herbs in your in-suite tub, and a restaurant called La VidA that serves traditional Argentine cuisine.
There are wine tastings, of course, as well as blending classes where you can combine different varietals to create your own wine. And for those who want to taste and tour, there are “wine safaris” by seaplane to destinations like Patagonia and the Andes. Here, wine isn’t just for drinking: You can try a spa treatment like the body hydration wrap with red wine cream and raisins. Around the property, you’ll see works by Argentine and Brazilian artists. And if you want to work up a sweat, there are exercise kits with elastic bands, kettlebells, dumbbells, a yoga mat and a jump rope. Prices from $780 a night (through September) based on double occupancy, including breakfast. Note: The hotel is for ages 15 and older.
For many people, mountain towns are places to ski and snowboard. Yet their warm-weather pleasures shouldn’t be overlooked. And few destinations offer as much to do in the summertime as Brush Creek Ranch, tucked between the Sierra Madre range and Medicine Bow National Forest in Wyoming. There are three guest ranches: the Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch (which has 19 rooms in its Trailhead Lodge and 25 private log cabins), Magee Homestead (nine cabins) and French Creek (four cabins and a glamping yurt). Guests can participate in activities like the Llama Hike and Picnic, a full or half day of hiking ($200 to $400 per person), and Llama Wade Fly Fishing, a full-day excursion with fishing guides and llamas to carry your gear and picnic lunch ($750 for two guests). For something less vigorous, try Llamas 101, where you can feed and groom the animals and have play time with the babies, known as crias ($150 per person). Llamas aren’t the only animals in residence. Among Brush Creek’s new experiences are Goat Pasture Walks, where you’ll eat breakfast at a goat dairy creamery, then stroll through a pasture with a herd of goats as they have their breakfast ($200 per person).
Prices from $1,550 a person a night based on double occupancy (guests receive a free night when staying four or more nights). Packages include accommodations, certain ranch activities (such as archery, rock climbing and guided ranger tours) and dining, including a selection of drinks.
If you wouldn’t dream of going on vacation without your pet, you’re in luck. Hotels and resorts are increasingly catering to them with new packages and amenities (or “pet-menities,” as Virgin Hotels puts it), be it an in-room dining menu for dogs with a “beef woofslider” at Andaz Mexico City Condesa, or a posh pet blanket made of recycled wool from one of the Marine & Lawn Hotels & Resorts in Britain. Perks abound, like “puppuccinos” at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, Calif., and paw-and-nose balm at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Mass.
With more and more guests wanting to travel with their pets, especially since the pandemic, major hotel companies such as Marriott, Hilton and Kimpton are rolling out or expanding their programs across thousands of hotels and vacation rentals. While many inns have long welcomed pets, today all kinds of lodgings are courting them. Whether you and your furry friend are seeking a budget hotel in Ithaca, N.Y., or a villa in Umbria, Italy, these new programs and properties aim to make it easy for the both of you to sit and stay.
If you’re longing for a getaway with the four-legged love of your life, the first Andaz in Mexico City might be the perfect escape. You can hang out at the hotel’s indoor-outdoor Wooftop Beer Garden & Canine Club and enjoy snacks and drinks from a food truck that offers “dog beer” — not to worry, it’s made with water, bone broth, meat and herbs — for your companion, and then check out the pop-up pet accessory boutique from Perro de Mundo. Retreat to one of the 213 rooms and suites and you’ll find a record player (a nod to the neighborhood’s longstanding record store La Roma Records) and a minibar with Mexican snacks and drinks. And for your pet? A dog bed and an in-room dining menu with dishes that could make a human jealous, including chicken Xolo-taco (a corn tortilla and shredded chicken with steamed vegetables) and salmon fillet (salmon steak, broccoli and green peas). For dessert (your dog’s, not yours), there’s birthday cake: apple cookie, banana and peanut butter.
The new hotel, in a restored Art Deco building and designed by the architect José Luis Benlliure Galán, is situated amid cafes and shops on leafy streets that make for charming walks. It’s also close to the Parque México, a popular gathering spot for dog owners. Inside the hotel you’ll find playful touches like magenta escalators and hot pink walls, a nod to the bold use of color in the work of the Mexican architect Luis Barragán. When you get hungry, the Cabuya Rooftop restaurant, designed to conjure a Tulum beach club, has views of the city skyline, weekend D.J. sets and a menu of coastal Baja- and Yucatán-inspired flavors. Cocktails make use of agave, like the Pechuga Tonic, which includes mezcal de pechuga, orange and mandarin flavors, tonic and sparkling wine. For coffee, tea and handmade pastries, pop into the Derba Matcha Café. There’s also a heated rooftop pool, a fitness center and a spa with local Mexican products. Prices from $269 a night; the pet fee (cats are also welcome) per room is $100 per pet.
Never mind the amenities for humans. Virgin’s first hotel in New York City, which had its grand opening party in April, offers “pet-menities,” including a dog bed that the hotel promises pets is “as comfortable as your human’s,” a food and water dish, and a Virgin Hotels dog bandanna. Dogs also receive treats from Shameless Pets, a company that upcycles leftover food into treats.
Occupying the block between 29th and 30th streets on Broadway, Virgin Hotels New York City is in NoMad near Madison Square Park with its popular dog run. Its 460 rooms and suites have red mini-fridges, yoga mats, smart TVs, lights and thermostats that can be controlled with the Virgin Hotels mobile app, and floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the city, including, in some cases, the Empire State Building. You and your pup are but a short walk from that Art Deco skyscraper as well as the Flatiron Building and, should you venture a little farther, the Gramercy Park neighborhood. More city views await at Everdene, a 4,000-square-foot, indoor-outdoor dining and cocktail space, which has daybeds and stadium-style seating. A pool club for hotel guests has opened, just in time for summer. Prices from $595 a night; free for pets.
This new 198-room boutique hotel opened in Charlottesville, Va., in April and has all the benefits pet owners have come to expect from Kimpton, which has been pet-friendly since it was founded in 1981. Its hotels don’t charge extra for pets, and they have essentials on hand, like water bowls and doggy bags, as well as lists of local pet-friendly restaurants, parks, groomers and boutiques. Last year, Kimpton, part of IHG Hotels & Resorts, introduced a partnership with Wag!, an app that connects pet owners with local caregivers for services like dog walking and pet sitting. So if you’re a guest at a Kimpton property in the United States, you can schedule walks and drop-ins (for a fee). You’ll also receive a complimentary month of Wag! Premium, which provides discounts on services and waives booking fees.
Kimpton the Forum Hotel is on the grounds of the University of Virginia, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and was founded by Thomas Jefferson (who designed the Academical Village at its heart). The hotel, located at the Darden School of Business, is about a mile-and-a-half walk to the university’s Central Grounds. It’s also near botanical gardens and an arboretum, offering plenty of picturesque and historical places for you to stroll with your pet. After a day of exploring (Charlottesville is rich in hiking trails, too), you and your dog can return to the hotel and dine on outdoor patios. Fill up at Birch & Bloom, a steakhouse with farm-to-table offerings, or if you’d prefer bar snacks and brews, head to the Good Sport for craft beer from the likes of Devils Backbone Brewing Company and Blue Mountain Brewery. Prices from $269 a night; free for pets.
When checking into some of the latest Aloft hotels — Aloft Austin Southwest, Aloft Playa del Carmen and Aloft Chicago Schaumburg — you and your pet can participate in the brand’s ARF (Animals R Fun) program, which is available at Alofts in the United States, Canada, Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America. Pets receive a free ARF kit with a bowl, a bed and a Frisbee or rope toy. (Some properties may even dole out additional amenities, like dog towels and paw wipes.) More Aloft hotels, which are geared toward travelers who enjoy music and a social scene, are set to open this year, including Aloft New York Chelsea and Aloft Indianapolis Downtown. Nightly pet fees vary by hotel.
As anyone who travels with a pet knows, sometimes questions or concerns about their health or behavior arise while you’re on the road. If you happen to be at a Canopy by Hilton, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton or Tru by Hilton hotel in the United States or Canada, you’re able to get free virtual support from a service called Mars PET On-Demand from Mars Petcare, a pet products and services company. Guests can gain access to the service through a phone help line and a website with a live-chat feature and get advice and answers to questions about pet health, wellness and behavior. Last year, Hilton announced that it had expanded its partnership with Mars Petcare, as well as its pet-friendly offerings, to more than 4,600 hotels in the United States and Canada. One pet-friendly program is Canopy by Hilton Paws in the Neighborhood. If, for example, you and your dog are staying at certain Canopy hotels, you’ll be provided with a dog bed, food, a water bowl and a “bark bag” with a toy, treats and a guide to pet-friendly activities. Today, nearly 85 percent of U.S. Hilton properties are pet‑friendly. Check individual hotels for programs, policies and pricing. Pet fees apply and vary by hotel.
Since the pandemic, one of the most popular search filters on Marriott’s luxury home rental booking site has been “pets allowed.” In response to more travelers taking their pets on vacation, Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy, which has more than 80,000 upscale and luxury rentals around the world, has teamed up with Petco Health + Wellness Company. For the last several months, users of the Homes & Villas booking site have been able to browse “Pet-Friendly Picks by Petco,” where they can check out properties from West Palm Beach, Fla., to Athens. You’ll find homes that have yards or are near walking or hiking trails, or pet-friendly beaches. Some may also offer amenities such as kennels, bedding, toys and treats. Whether you choose a penthouse in Barcelona or a roomy log cabin in Waynesville, N.C., there are plenty of high-end, pet-friendly homes, many for less than the cost of a hotel room. (If a property has pet fees, they’re included in the home listing.) Other home rental sites like Airbnb and Vrbo also enable users to search for properties that allow pets, though Marriott’s platform is particularly attractive to members of its loyalty program because they can earn and redeem points for their stays.
From ryokans overlooking rice fields to resorts on private islands, there’s no shortage of inviting places to stay in Asia. Here are 10 noteworthy newcomers — a modest selection given the hundreds of tantalizing properties that have opened since the beginning of the pandemic. Yet taken together, this handful of hotels spans countries, tastes and budgets, from less than $100 a night to thousands of dollars a night (all the properties below provided their rates in U.S. dollars). Individually, each has some quality that makes it stand out: its architecture, unconventional location, creative social spaces, debut as a new brand, intimate size or sheer opulence. Whether you’re considering a trip to the pine forests of Bhutan or the bustling capital of Vietnam, let these hotels be a departure point for your imagination.
There are just eight suites at Six Senses Bumthang, a graceful hideaway in a Himalayan pine forest. Some trees grow through the stone flooring of the terrace used for al fresco dining. Others rise from the open-air vestibules of the suites. (There’s also a two-bedroom villa to accommodate families or friends traveling together.) Sitting atop a hillside, amid farmland and ancient monasteries, it’s a plum spot for forest bathing, and a bucolic base from which guests can set off for a Buddhist pilgrimage site, bike through fields dotted with prayer flags, or spend an afternoon foraging for mushrooms.
Such activities seem fitting in a kingdom known for its environmental consciousness and pioneering quality of life indicator, Gross National Happiness. Speaking of quality of life, guests can partake of different types of massages as well as rituals like the traditional dotsho, a hot stone bath that uses mineral-rich stones from riverbeds.
Bumthang is the most recent of five lodges from Six Senses to open in Bhutan’s western and central valleys, forming a collection of properties called Six Senses Bhutan — the others are known as Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey and Paro — that enable visitors with the time and money to valley-hop through the kingdom.
Prices from $2,100 a night, including taxes, service charge and daily full-board meals.
Aiming to attract the growing number of digital nomads, the 260-room TRIBE Phnom Penh Post Office Square — the first TRIBE hotel in Cambodia — is designed to be a place to not only rest your head, but to also socialize and work collaboratively. The lobby lounge beckons with candy-colored couches and work pods with desks, enabling visitors to hang out or work remotely while sipping coffee from local roasters. A 24-hour lobby bar, TRIBE Express, means snacks and beverages are always on hand. There’s a gym, or, as the hotel calls it, the Workout Atelier; an outdoor saltwater pool overlooking the Mekong River; a rooftop restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating; and a rooftop bar shaped like a small truck and known as Mezcal Mad Memories 21, where guests and locals can rub shoulders and imbibe mezcal-based drinks. Rooms are modern and affordable, with floor-to-ceiling windows and — for digital nomads who happen to be night owls — blackout blinds. When you’re ready to explore the capital, you’re within walking distance of Wat Phnom temple and the Royal Palace.
Prices from $89 a night.
Though only certain groups of travelers can enter China right now — and those who do may be subject to movement and access restrictions because of the government’s “zero-Covid” policy — Shanghai will likely be a top destination for many foreign tourists when the country fully opens. It’s a city of sumptuous hotels, and the 253-room Moxy Shanghai Xuhui offers young travelers a lively and affordable place from which to explore it. Check-in takes place at the lobby bar and comes with a complimentary cocktail called “Got Moxy.” Foosball and board games await in the hotel’s communal spaces. And there’s a 24-hour “ironing room” (you read that correctly) for those who wish to smooth the wrinkles out of their clothes before hitting the streets.
Prefer to pump iron instead? The fitness center is also open 24 hours. And so is a spot to grab snacks, juice, coffee, wine and beer. Moxy’s gathering areas and its cheerful, industrial design seem tailor-made for travelers who value socializing and sightseeing more than square footage. The 253 rooms are small and streamlined, with peg walls rather than closets, fold-up worktops, and bedside USB ports so there’s no crawling around hunting for an outlet. When it’s time to hit the town, guests needn’t go far. The hotel is close to the Bund, the historic promenade along the Huangpu River, and about a 15-minute car ride from the China Art Palace and the Shanghai Film Museum.
Prices from $72 a night.
Set on a 21-acre private island in Rajasthan, Raffles Udaipur is the first Raffles hotel to open in India. Getting there is part of the fun. After about a 20-minute drive from the airport, guests board a private boat for a trip across Udai Sagar Lake. Bird spotting is encouraged. Along the way travelers might glimpse a greater flamingo, a painted stork or a pied kingfisher. Once on the island, visitors enter a grand hotel with nods to Mughal architecture, comprised of 101 rooms and suites, each with features that make it hard to leave, be it a plunge pool, private garden, balcony, lake view or some combination. For those seeking the sort of serenity you might expect from a hotel on a private island, there are ornamental gardens to stroll and spots from which to admire the surrounding hills of the Aravalli Range. If a quiet cocktail sounds appealing, the Writer’s Bar is where guests can sip and settle in with a favorite book. Didn’t bring your own? Choose one from the bar’s library. Champagne and caviar are also on the menu. There are no shortage of places to drink and dine on the island, including Raffles Patisserie, for treats like French desserts and baked breads, and Sawai Kitchen, which draws on recipes from regional royal households to serve up Indian specialties.
Prices from $650 a night.
The adults-only villas at Buahan, a Banyan Tree Escape in northern Ubud, Bali, are part of a new “no walls, no doors” wilderness concept from Banyan Tree. That may sound a bit like camping to some, but while the 16 spacious villas immerse guests in nature, they’re a far cry from roughing it. Each villa has a private pool, gazebo, open deck and breathtaking views of Balinese mountain peaks and jungle. Wood roofs hover above furnished indoor-outdoor living and sleeping areas (shades on the sides can be rolled down for privacy or to keep out rain) with minibars, safety boxes and that rare jungle amenity — Wi-Fi. In keeping with the hotel’s theme, open dining and lounge spaces were designed to encourage community and to share with guests the property’s zero-waste, farm-to-table philosophy, which it puts into practice: Much of the menu is plant-based and sourced locally. The resort also serves up local adventures, including jungle trekking and crossing the Ayung River, visiting the Buahan waterfall and yoga by moonlight.
Prices from $1,000 a night for a villa.
Lovers of architecture may want to pack their bags for this hot spring ryokan designed by Kengo Kuma, renowned for buildings such as the Suntory Museum of Art and the Japan National Stadium in Tokyo. A long way from the capital, Hoshino Resort KAI Yufuin is in rural southern Japan in Yufuin Onsen, home to abundant spring water and hot spring sources — and to stirring views of Mount Yufu. Guests can dip into baths fed by the hot springs, or relax and gaze out over the rice fields from the rice terrace deck. As the seasons change, so do the rice terraces, transforming from green to gold and then to rice straw after the autumn harvest. The spare, 45-room resort endeavors to bring the outside in. The prefecture’s giant timber bamboo was used for headboards and sofas. Even the scents of the region have found their way indoors thanks to lighting that uses shichitoi grass, filling the air with its faint aroma. (After a long period of being largely closed to most travelers because of Covid, Japan has recently refined its policies for allowing independent tourists to visit the country.)
Prices from about $269 a night per person in a two-person room, including tax and service charges as well as breakfast and dinner.
Named for a time when 19th-century settlers formed clan associations as they began new lives in the city, the 324-room Clan Hotel Singapore is the first property under the Clan hotel brand by Far East Hospitality. Knitting together old and new traditions in a neighborhood of shophouses and skyscrapers, the hotel restaurant and bar, QĪN, offers fresh takes on classic Asian dishes and serves cocktails with names inspired by the Zodiac, including the Ox, the Tiger and the Dragon. An outdoor terrace lounge is an escape from the bustling streets. And the aptly named Sky Gym and Sky Pool (shower and changing facilities are available for those checking in early or checking out late) offer soaring views of the city.
When you are ready to come down, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum and Thian Hock Keng Temple, among the oldest Chinese temples in Singapore, are a short walk away. Popular tourist destinations, such as Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands, the ArtScience Museum and SkyPark Observation Deck, are also nearby.
Prices from about $350 a night (that includes a 10 percent service charge and Singapore’s goods and services tax).
While Josun Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Seoul Gangnam considers itself part of a tradition dating to the early 20th century when one of the first luxury hotels in Korea was built, it’s a sleek getaway in the heart of modern-day Gangnam — the stylish neighborhood known for tony shopping and nightlife (not to mention the earworm K-pop song).
The first Luxury Collection hotel in South Korea, it’s near some of the Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty, part of the UNESCO World Heritage list, and the Bongeunsa, a Buddhist temple dating to the eighth century, enabling guests to spend the morning traveling through history and the afternoon indulging in retail therapy at the vast Starfield COEX Mall or checking out the sharks at the COEX Aquarium. Upon returning to the hotel, travelers can choose from several places to sate their appetites, including modern Cantonese fine-dining at the Great Hong Yuan and Korean contemporary food at Eatanic Garden. A sweet tooth may be satisfied lickety-split with pastries, cakes, coffee and tea from Josun Deli the Boutique. Afterward, you can wind down while soaking up impressive views of the cityscape from one of the 254 cream-colored rooms and suites. Prices from $245 a night.
Inspired by midcentury modernism, the Avani Chaweng Samui Hotel & Beach Club aims to evoke 1950s Miami and Palm Beach, Fla., on a sandy beach in Koh Samui. Among its 80 rooms and suites are Funky Poolside rooms with terraces that open to a courtyard pool, and Groovy Sea View suites with balconies and vinyl record players. You can spin a soundtrack to your vacation or, for a soiree in your suite worthy of Instagram, the hotel will loan you costumes and wigs at no cost.
For revelry on a grander scale, the retro-style SEEN Beach Club Samui has pool parties, live bands, D.J.s and a menu with something for most any craving, be it sushi, tacos, pizza or Thai specialties. Comfort food and cocktails are also available at the hotel 24 hours a day at Social Bar. And for those who work out as hard as they party, there’s a 24-hour fitness facility, too.
Prices from $170 a night, which includes a number of amenities, such as an arrival airport transfer, a welcome drink at Social Bar and daily breakfast.
On a quiet, leafy boulevard in the city’s capital, steps from the Hanoi Opera House and the Old Quarter, Capella Hanoi conjures the glamour and high society of opera in the Roaring Twenties. The hotel’s theatrical, Art Nouveau style is the work of Bill Bensley, the architect and designer known for creating transportive environments for luxury hotels around the world. Almost everywhere the eye lands is an ode to opera. The 47 plush rooms and suites (some with French balconies, others with terraces) are decorated with operatic memorabilia. At the Backstage restaurant, opera costumes set the scene for fresh takes on Northern Vietnamese cuisine, while at Diva’s Lounge, cocktails and Vietnamese-inspired tapas can be savored against a backdrop of mirrors and red velvet curtains. Even the indoor swimming pool was made to look fit for a prima donna. Referred to as La Grotta, it’s a glossy respite illuminated by chandeliers and mirrors.
Prices from $380 a night.
If your idea of a winter vacation means trading snowmen for sand castles, it’s time to make your Caribbean escape. From Anguilla to Turks and Caicos, new hotels have sprung up across the region, including an off-the-grid, eco-chic hideaway, a getaway beside one of the largest reef systems in the world, and a resort steps from what’s being billed as “the first world-class theme park in the Caribbean.” Some properties are even offering opening discounts. So book a flight and grab a swimsuit. Whether you want to pile your plate high at an all-inclusive resort or spring for a suite in St. Barts, these seven destinations aim to ensure that the only thing frozen this winter will be the cocktail in your hand.
Overlooking the white sands of Rendezvous Bay, the Aurora Anguilla Resort & Golf Club has hundreds of acres to explore. On them you’ll find a farm with ebb and flow hydroponics that can grow dozens of varieties of vegetables (indoor tours of the hydroponic space are available); a 27,000-square-foot spa offering massages, body treatments, facials, and manicures and pedicures; and a new nine-hole short golf course by Greg Norman, who also designed the resort’s 18-hole championship course with views of St. Maarten and the Caribbean Sea. When not on the green or swimming in the turquoise water, you can go hiking, try kitesurfing, take a steel pan class, or swing by the fitness studio for a guided meditation. Lest you get bored, the resort is also planning to open a water park and a 500-seat amphitheater for live entertainment. When at last you climb into bed, choose from one of 178 suites, be it a room with a wraparound terrace and private Jacuzzi, a multi-bedroom villa, or an “estate home” with a private pool and butler.
The property (formerly the CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa and its sister hotel, the Reef by CuisinArt on Merrywing Bay) is being managed by Salamander Hotels & Resorts and recently announced that it will stay open year-round, including in the fall when other resorts on the island typically close. Rates in December, from $544 a night. Traveling from New York? On Dec. 22 the resort will begin offering charter flights to Anguilla from Westchester County Airport in White Plains. (Rooms and flights can be booked through the resort’s website.)
A lodestone for scuba divers, including Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Belize is home to the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the second largest reef system in the world. And it’s just a few hundred yards from the Alaia Belize, Autograph Collection on Ambergris Caye. In fact, the property offers scuba diving and snorkeling excursions directly from its dock as well as PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) instruction and certification through the on-site Belize Pro Dive Shop.
Yet the reef is hardly the only draw. Alaia Belize, the first Marriott International resort in the country, has a spa and three pools, including a rooftop pool and lounge with views of the Caribbean. Tour around in a golf cart, a common way to explore the streets of San Pedro, and pop into art galleries and restaurants (guests can rent carts at the hotel). Upon returning to the resort you can pause for a nightcap at one of four bars before retiring to one of the 155 guest rooms and suites. Rates from $349 a night.
Sitting atop a lush green mountain ridge with views of the Caribbean Sea, Coulibri Ridge has all the trappings of a carefree resort — a spa, yoga pavilion, gym, high-speed Wi-Fi — while being fully off the grid. The 285-acre retreat uses solar energy as its primary power source (there are wind turbines, too), grows much of its own produce, and funnels purified rainwater to its two infinity pools and 14 spacious studios and duplex suites. Each has a terrace with views of the sea, as well as a kitchenette, binoculars and a birding book. Certain suites have a second terrace overlooking the Sulphur Spring Valley, some with outdoor rain showers and others with private pools.
Should you feel the urge to roam, tropical gardens, an orchard and ruins from an 18th-century estate await. And it’s easier than ever to get there: American Airlines this year began offering daily flights to Dominica from Miami International Airport. Rates from $500 for a special opening package (stay seven nights, pay for five) until Dec. 14. From Dec. 15 to Jan. 15, 2023, rates start at $800 a night. Breakfast is included; lunch and dinner are à la carte.
If you’ve ever been sunbathing on the pale sands of Punta Cana and thought to yourself, “If only I could battle a fantastical character in a duel right now,” consider the all-inclusive Falcon’s Resort by Meliá — All Suites Punta Cana. Referring to itself as “resortainment,” Falcon’s Resort by Meliá is a new brand from Meliá Hotels International, which was founded in Mallorca in 1956, and Falcon’s Beyond, an entertainment development company with headquarters in Orlando, Fla. Punta Cana is the brand’s first location and the resort is part of a new entertainment hub where you’ll find Katmandu Park, which includes interactive rides and attractions, as well as Falcon’s Central, a shopping, dining and entertainment district still in development.
The resort, which opens Dec. 8, is a combination of two existing Meliá properties that will result in 622 suites when fully completed in 2023. It will have the sorts of amenities you would expect from an all-inclusive Caribbean getaway — swim-up suites beside a pool, a water park, kid’s camp, bars and restaurants — but here nightly rates will also include admission to the theme park. Rates from $420 a night (from Dec. 8 to the end of this year, each resort guest will receive a “VIP Preview Pass” to the park before it opens to the public in early 2023).
Heads up members of Hilton’s guest loyalty program: The company has opened several hotels in Mexico this year, including the 173 room-and-suite Waldorf Astoria Cancun, the 349-room Conrad Tulum Riviera Maya and the 735 room-and-suite Hilton Tulum Riviera Maya All-Inclusive Resort, Hilton’s largest resort in the Caribbean and Latin America. Yet travelers who want to explore beyond the beach (and save money while they’re at it) may be particularly interested in the more modest 115-room Motto by Hilton Tulum about 10 minutes from the city center in the Hunab Lifestyle Center, a shopping and dining zone.
The Motto by Hilton brand aims to attract travelers who want to feel like locals, with easy access to prime locations and the sort of lively communal working and socializing spaces typically associated with hostels. Among the shared spaces at Motto by Hilton Tulum are two rooftop pools, a rooftop bar, a casual bistro and a fitness center. Guest rooms are modern and on average under 200 square feet, though friends and families traveling together can book connecting rooms. A number of guest rooms also have flexible sleeping setups, like a queen bed that stows into the wall, and a bunk bed with a lower queen bed and an upper twin bed. The Wi-Fi and parking are free, and the rates (flexible and based on double occupancy) in December just might leave you with spending money for dinner on the town: From $145 a night; $139 for members of the Hilton Honors loyalty program. Those who book and stay by April 1, 2023 may receive a $30 credit per stay.
Cloistered on a private peninsula, Le Guanahani resort was a destination for laid-back luxury for more than 30 years until it shuttered in 2017 after damage from hurricanes Irma and Maria. Now redesigned and reopened as Rosewood Le Guanahani St. Barth, its two dreamy beaches dotted with palm trees remain — though plenty is new. A children’s club offers young guests cooking and gardening classes, lessons about local wildlife, and arts and crafts. There’s a spa with a fitness center, blow-dry bar, nail salon and tennis facility. And the open-air Beach House St. Barth serves food and drinks inspired by French and Caribbean culture. But be warned: It won’t necessarily be easy to leave your cottage. Each of the 66 sunny rooms and suites has private outdoor space, be it a covered veranda, sun deck or dining alcove. Some even have their own pools. Rates from 1,900 euros a night in high season, or about $1,900 (high season is January through April); and from 1,200 euros a night in low season (June through October).
A departure from the resort scene at Grace Bay beach with its long ribbon of sand, Rock House from Grace Bay Resorts drew its inspiration from cliff-side homes and villas in European getaways like the Amalfi Coast. Its 46 stand-alone homes and studios are built into the limestone of Providenciales’ north shore. The studios have views of the 100-foot infinity pool while the one- and two-bedroom homes have terraces, vaulted ceilings, bathrooms with outdoor shower gardens, and floor-to-ceiling windows from which to gaze at the water.
When you work up an appetite, the Beach Club at Rock House has a restaurant serving Adriatic cuisine, including seafood, pasta and aged steaks, alongside views of the Atlantic. Afterward you can go kayaking or snorkeling, follow a walking or jogging trail, take a yoga class, or stretch out on a jetty that extends into the ocean to soak up the sun before it’s time to fly home. Rates from $655 a night (which reflects an offer of up to 20 percent off the “best available rate,” for arrivals through Dec. 20, 2023, blackout dates apply).
By Stephanie Rosenbloom
Published April 4, 2023
Updated May 6, 2023
Chances are you haven’t received an invitation to the coronation of King Charles III at Westminster Abbey on May 6, but you can nonetheless join the merrymaking in the streets by splurging on a London getaway.
Whether you want a classic English hotel in the heart of Mayfair or a bold newcomer at the reinvented Battersea Power Station, here are five stylish places to put on your short list. Some are new, others are storied properties with striking new restaurants, cafes, bars and spas. A number of them are pulling out all the stops to celebrate the coronation with special afternoon tea menus and coronation canapés, cocktails, dinners, even whiskey-infused “coronation lollipops.” (As you might expect, some of these hotels will have higher rates during that time.)
Can’t make it for the festivities? There’s still a lot to look forward to in the British capital this year, including posh new hotels from the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Maybourne Hotel Group, 1 Hotels, the Peninsula Hotels and Raffles Hotels & Resorts, which is planning to open Raffles London at the OWO in the Old War Office building. In short, if you’re a luxury hotel buff, this is the year London’s calling.
A glamorous and enduring stop for afternoon tea, this 269-room-and-suite Art Deco-style hotel dates to the mid-1800s and has long been a destination for royals and dignitaries. Lately it’s made some handsome additions, including a cafe that opened in February with coffee, kombucha and Champagne to-go; a cocktail bar called the Painter’s Room; and a spa by the Hong Kong-born designer André Fu, who drew inspiration from Japanese temples and Zen gardens in Kyoto. In May, the hotel, part of Maybourne Hotel Group, will put some of its historical archives on display in the lobby’s Coronation Archive Windows, including fans created in 1911 for the coronation of King George V and Queen Mary, Claridge’s menus and cocktail cards made for the coronations of King George VI in 1937 and Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, pages from Queen Victoria’s diary, as well as original coronation photographs, programs and official souvenirs. Guests who stop to see the visages of famous guests at the hotel’s Talking Heads Gallery will also find a new portrait of Charles by David Downton, known for his fashion illustrations.
Should you be in the mood for a celebratory drink, you’ll be in luck: Claridge’s has a tradition of creating coronation specialties, and the upcoming coronation will be no exception. In the Painter’s Room, a special drinks menu will feature the Coronation Cocktail (22 pounds, or about $27), made with fino sherry, dry vermouth, Kina L’Aéro d’Or, agave and orange bitters. Or try the Highgrove Gardens (£22) — named for Charles’s gardens at Highgrove, his Gloucestershire residence — with Tanqueray No. 10, vanilla, herbs, bitters and soda.
Claridge’s is within walking distance of Buckingham Palace, where Charles and Camilla, the queen consort, along with other members of the royal family, are slated to appear on the balcony after the coronation service. When you want a break from the hubbub in the streets, head to the hotel’s spa and heated pool. Or stop into Claridge’s ArtSpace, a gallery with rotating exhibitions and free admission, before grabbing casual fare, like a crepe or a sandwich, at the new Claridge’s ArtSpace Café. Rooms from £1,140 a night.
A graceful retreat overlooking Hyde Park and Knightsbridge, the Mandarin Oriental reopened a few years ago after an extensive restoration. Last year, it introduced the Aubrey, a Japanese izakaya. Next up: coronation revelry.
Whether you check in or simply pass by the Mandarin between May 5 and 8, you’ll find the front facade of the hotel illuminated blue, one of the colors of the official coronation emblem unveiled by Buckingham Palace. Guests of the 194-room-and-suite hotel, as well as passers-by, can try coronation lollipops infused with whiskey, free from May 6 to 8 between 5 and 6 p.m. at the hotel’s ballroom entrance. And from May 5 to 8, between the hours of “19:48 and 20:23” — a nod to the life of Charles, from his birth in 1948 to his coronation in 2023 — guests can enjoy complimentary coronation canapés at the Mandarin Bar and at the Rosebery, a sparkling spot for afternoon tea, sandwiches, scones and Champagne cocktails.
At the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, where the cuisine is inspired by historical British gastronomy, a four-course Royal Cooking menu will feature reinventions of dishes served at British coronation banquets through the ages. The entrees will include coronation chicken tart, veal sweetbread and fillet of beef royale, and will be available from May 1 to 31 (£155 a person). There will also be a coronation afternoon tea at the Rosebery from April 17 until May 14 (£95 a person). When you’re not in the middle of a four-course meal, you can unwind at the spa or swim laps at the 56-foot indoor pool. Rooms from £870 a night.
After being shuttered for about 40 years, the Battersea Power Station — fans of Pink Floyd may recognize the landmark from the cover of the band’s 1977 album, Animals — has been reimagined, restored and opened to the public for the first time. Its redevelopment has spawned a neighborhood on the Thames with shops, restaurants, homes and, now, the 164-room art’otel London Battersea Power Station.
Art’otels have sprung up in cities such as Amsterdam and Berlin, and each is inspired by a particular artist. At art’otel London Battersea Power Station, which officially opened in February on a new pedestrianized street called Electric Boulevard, the colorful art and youthful interiors are by the Spanish designer Jaime Hayon. For outdoor fun, head to the roof, where a heated infinity pool offers bird’s-eye views of the city and the power station. Don’t just look from afar, however. Stroll over to the power station where, inside, exposed beams and old gantry cranes hark back to the station’s industrial past. These days, any energy being generated comes from people milling around shops and places to eat and drink, including Control Room B, a bar in one of the original control rooms where you can sip aptly named cocktails, like High Voltage, amid restored switch gear and synchroscopes. For 360-degree views of the skyline, visit Lift 109, a glass elevator that ascends the power station’s northwest chimney to a viewing platform 358 feet above ground. If you’re there for the coronation, you can see the station decorated in red, white and blue, and have the chance to catch some live performances.
Back at the hotel, managed by Park Plaza Hotels, you can grab a bite at JOIA (“jewel” in Portuguese), a new Iberian restaurant and bar from the Portuguese chef Henrique Sá Pessoa. Or tuck into some pasta or Venetian cicchetti at TOZI Grand Cafe. Rooms from £429 a night.
This elegant Regency-style gem makes it easy to steep yourself in British history — and then snap up the latest fashions at nearby Harrods and Harvey Nichols. The 93-room-and-suite hotel, which began life as a country house, is within walking distance of Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, putting guests at the center of the royal action. Then again, you can enjoy the occasion without ever leaving the hotel. From May 2 through 12, a five-course King’s Coronation Celebration dinner will be available beneath the glass roof of the Lanesborough Grill. A modern British restaurant with the executive chef Shay Cooper, the Grill will have dishes such as a coronation crab salad, roast Orkney scallop with potted Lytham shrimp butter, and a main of hogget (meat from a more mature sheep that’s not yet a mutton), which the hotel notes is a favorite of Charles (£125 a person with an option for a £95 wine pairing per person).
The day after the coronation service, May 7, there will be a King’s Coronation Sunday Lunch with joints of British beef carved at the table from antique trolleys, complete with trimmings (£95 a person). You can also sip a martini-style cocktail called the King’s Coronation at the hotel’s popular Library Bar (where there’s cognac dating to the 1770s) and at the Lanesborough Grill. Rooms in May from £1,000 a night. A coronation celebration package that includes accommodations, car transfers from the airport, daily English breakfast, a bottle of Champagne and a five-course dinner at the Lanesborough Grill is available as well. Stay minimums apply on certain dates, and pricing for the package depends on the room category chosen. On peak dates from May 5 to 8, for example, packages begin at £1,562 a night for two people sharing a deluxe room (based on a minimum three-night stay).
If you’d prefer to steer clear of the crowds near Buckingham Palace, yet still experience some of the city’s best bars, restaurants, street art and fashionable haunts, head to Shoreditch in East London, where One Hundred Shoreditch opened last year.
In keeping with the area’s creative spirit, the 258-room-and-suite hotel has a gallery and art space known as the Workshop, where you might discover an exhibition or a pop-up retail shop. Head to the Rooftop bar and terrace — which aims to evoke Palm Springs, Calif. — for views, Champagne, sparkling wines, cocktails and small plates like tacos, amid succulents and cactuses. There’s also the Lobby Bar for cocktails, beer, wine and pizzas and, in the basement, the Seed Library bar. For a caffeine fix, the Coffee Shop has Ozone Coffee as well as baked goods, sandwiches and smoothies. And should you find yourself enjoying the Shoreditch restaurant scene a little too much, you can work off a pastry or two on a bike at the hotel’s Peloton studio. Rooms from £169 a night.
By Stephanie Rosenbloom
Feb. 1, 2023
While the holidays are long gone, there are still plenty of winter days ahead. Why not spend a few of them at a cozy hotel where you can savor the season’s pleasures — crisp air, snowy fields, the scent of a maple log fire? From a new lodge in Grand Canyon National Park to a Victorian-era hotel in the Scottish Highlands, these properties cultivate toasty, cheerful atmospheres — what the Germans might call gemütlichkeit and the Danish hygge — with fire pits, “fireplace butlers” (more on that shortly), saunas and cocktails made with toasted marshmallow syrup. No need for a ski resort. Be it a cabin in the Catskills or a boutique hotel in Old Quebec, at these five escapes you can sip, stroll, sink into velvet sofas with books and board games, and embrace the new year.
Winter in New England calls to mind frozen ponds and snowy mountains. Yet at the Newbury Boston you’ll find a countryside pleasure in the midst of the city: 42 suites with wood-burning fireplaces, complete with a fireplace butler to fan the flames. Guests select their choice of wood from — what else? — the fireplace menu, which includes birch, cherry, maple and oak. “In the early evening,” the menu’s oak option begins, “retire to your room and enjoy this lightly scented, long-burning wood.”
Also on the menu: wine, cocktails and a nosh section with treats such as s’mores, molten chocolate cake and, for those longing for something savory, grilled cheese and tomato bisque. For a wintry cocktail, the Campfire is fittingly smoky, made with tequila, mezcal, toasted marshmallow syrup and mole chocolate bitters with a toasted marshmallow on top. Hot chocolate lover? Consider the Spiked Drinking Chocolate made with chocolate, rum and crème de cacao. (There’s nonalcoholic hot cocoa, too.)
The suites aren’t the only places in the hotel to warm up by a fire. At the Street Bar, New England-inspired fare is served near a fireplace in a moody hideaway designed to conjure a 1920s speakeasy. Yet another fireplace awaits in the Library, where hotel guests can curl up on velvet and leather chairs and sofas with books from the Newbury’s collection.
The Newbury opened in 2021 in a building that almost a century ago was home to one of the first Ritz-Carlton hotels in the country. Today there are 286 rooms, along with Contessa, a rooftop Italian restaurant operated by Major Food Group (the hospitality company behind the Carbone restaurants). There is also a fitness center, as well as fireplaces to gather around after a stroll through the Public Garden, the first public botanical garden in the United States, across the street. From $600 a night.
Influenced by the idea of hygge, the new Eastwind Oliverea Valley opened in January in the Catskills with 27 cozy rooms and cabins that feature clean lines inspired by Scandinavian design. Some are free-standing wood A-frame cabins with private outdoor decks and private bathrooms nearby. Others are luxury cabins with decks, mini-fridges and en suite bathrooms. In the main guesthouse, some of the king rooms have lofts and skylights with netting beneath them so you can lie down and gaze up.
Bundle up to take in the season’s stark beauty on a hike right off the property, or go for a short drive to some of the most popular trailheads in the Catskill Forest Preserve’s Slide Mountain Wilderness, including Giant Ledge and Slide Mountain, the tallest peak in the Catskills. You may simply wish to stay put and stay warm in one of the dry saunas, or by joining fellow guests at a communal fire pit, by working up a sweat with a sunrise yoga class or by playing one of the board games available in the lobby (where you can purchase s’mores kits).
And don’t fret if making s’mores is the extent of your culinary abilities. A breakfast basket can be delivered to your door. There’s also Dandelion — a restaurant and bar from Daniel Cipriani, the restaurateur and a founder of Eastwind Hotels — which has an inviting fireplace and a “forage-to-table” menu. (You can drive 20 minutes or so to the longstanding Catskills staple, the Phoenicia Diner, as well.) From $279 a night.
Also worth noting: About four hours north of Eastwind Oliverea Valley is a sister property, Eastwind Lake Placid, which opened a few months ago in what was once a 1950s motor inn. Nowadays it’s a getaway with 25 rooms and cabins (some with fireplaces), a fire pit and a library with vintage books. You can try yoga and Pilates, rent bikes and skates, or pull on your boots and walk into town to window shop, food hop and amble around Mirror Lake. From $200 a night.
Nestled in Cairngorms National Park in the Scottish Highlands, the Fife Arms looks like a film set for a winter romance with its dark wood, taxidermy, tartan and tweed. A former Victorian coaching inn, it’s now owned by Iwan and Manuela Wirth of the art gallery Hauser & Wirth. So it’s no surprise the property is filled with historical objects and thousands of works of art, including some by Picasso and Man Ray, as well as a pencil-and-watercolor stag’s head by Queen Victoria.
Speaking of royals, after the Wirths’ restoration of the property, King Charles III and Camilla, the queen consort (known in Scotland at the time as the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay), visited the Fife Arms to celebrate its reopening. The hotel is in the village of Braemar, where Queen Elizabeth II was a fixture at the Highland Games, and has 46 bedrooms that take the area’s stories, characters and history as their inspiration. Among them are suites that pay homage to the Victorian era, and rooms dedicated to nature and poets such as the Scottish writer Nan Shepherd. For an intimate winter nook, consider a croft room, where you can sleep in a cabin bed enclosed with panels and curtains.
When temperatures plunge, take refuge among the locals with “a pint and pie” at the Flying Stag, a pub adorned with antlers and a fantastical stag with the wings of a ptarmigan soaring above the bar. For Scottish specialties, there’s the Clunie Dining Room. Nightcaps may be had at Elsa’s Bar, named for the Italian-born fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli, whose avant-garde creations were worn by Frances Farquharson, a fashion editor who married a Scottish laird and lived nearby. Or spend a winter’s night inside the sultry Bertie’s Whisky Bar, which takes its name from King Edward VII (known as Bertie to family and friends), where crimson velvet seats set the mood and tables with uplighting ensure the whisky glows as it’s poured into your glass. From 434 pounds a night, or about $535 (includes breakfast and VAT).
Who needs a fireplace when you have a starry sky over the Grand Canyon?
Billing itself as the first new hotel inside the national park in more than 50 years, Maswik South Lodge opened last year in a ponderosa pine forest, within walking distance of the South Rim, making it easy to experience the canyon’s wintry majesty at any hour.
Part of the Maswik Lodge complex, Maswik South is meant to hark back to the site’s original 1920s motor lodge, when traveling by car to the national parks was first in vogue. After a multimillion-dollar reconstruction by Xanterra Travel Collection, the South Lodge now has four two-story buildings with 90 standard guest rooms and 30 kitchenettes. The standard rooms have mini-refrigerators, coffee makers, safes, satellite televisions and telephones. The kitchenette rooms also have larger refrigerators, microwaves and two-burner cooktops, as well as some cookware and utensils.
All of the guest rooms have outdoor spaces from which to breathe in the forest air, along with textiles that the hotel says were inspired by Native American artwork and color schemes that call to mind the canyon with shades of red, green and ocher. Electric-vehicle charging stations can be found around the south buildings. Over at the main lodge, there’s a food court and a pizza pub. (Note: The complex also has a North Lodge, which has not been renovated.) From $139 a night for Maswik South (North Lodge rates are from $99 a night).
When it comes to relishing winter, few places compare to the historic district of Old Quebec, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is home to one of the world’s grandest winter carnivals (this year’s festivities are Feb. 3 to 12). Even if you don’t sign up for “snow Zumba” or slide on an inner tube from atop the city’s fortified walls, the snowy romance of Old Quebec’s cobblestone streets and French-influenced architecture is reason enough to visit. There, in the Old Port, you’ll find Auberge Saint-Antoine, a Relais & Châteaux boutique hotel in three buildings, including what was once an 18th-century residence, a stone warehouse that dates to the 19th century, and a contemporary addition.
History buffs may enjoy seeing artifacts that were unearthed on the site displayed around the hotel. Yet while the property celebrates its past — guests can take complimentary tours to learn about those found objects as well as the hotel’s maritime warehouse, built in 1822 — its 95 rooms and suites have a contemporary feel. Some have gas fireplaces, yet all have that most luxurious of winter amenities: heated bathroom floors.
Pop into Bar Artefact for a cocktail in the fireplace nook with its floor-to-ceiling windows. Or for Canadian fare with an emphasis on local ingredients, head to Chez Muffy, where tables are arranged around a glass-enclosed fireplace in the maritime warehouse amid old stone walls, wooden beams, and views of the vast St. Lawrence River. From 285 Canadian dollars (about $213) a night based on double occupancy.
A correction was made on Feb. 2, 2023: Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article included an incorrect rate, in dollars, for the Fife Arms hotel in the Scottish Highlands. It is about $535, not $438.