Tag hotels

THE PERFECT LITTLE HOTEL, IN THE PERFECT LITTLE BEACH TOWN

[JOSE IGNACIO, URUGUAY] — The first time I tried to book a room, I got an email back from Jose, the owner, saying “There is no luxury in Jose Ignacio, the roads are unpaved, there is no ATM.  We are just a small place and also not a luxury hotel. There is no restaurant, no room service and no gym.”  That’s when I knew I had to go there. And I’ve been coming back ever since. Posada del Faro is one of my go-to places. I’ve been five times now and each time it is like coming back home. It’s a small place and one of the few hotels in Jose Ignacio. Just a handful of rooms, it books up early and often, and nearly impossible to get into

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A great boutique hotel in a very quiet part of Santiago

[SANTIAGO, CHILE] — Santiago is a bustling city with lots of cool neighborhoods and great places to stay, but the Hotel Carmenere is a relatively new small little boutique hotel tucked away on a quiet street, within walking distance to everything, but serves as your own private oasis to get over the plane ride and chill before starting out into the city or come back for a little nap. It’s less a hotel and more like staying in a private mansion, with just a handful of rooms and an almost perfect backyard, with an extremely friendly staff that just all act so extremely pleased to have you staying in their little secret place. Here’s what TripAdvisor has to say about — a rarity with TripAdvisor

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Movie Star Treatment Above Sunset Boulevard

  (West Hollywood) — On a quick business trip to Los Angeles, booked a cool hotel I’d always read about and featured often in Vanity Fair: the Sunset Tower hotel. Always loved this building for years, but have never stayed here. Luckily, I booked it on my favorite go-to hotel booking site, TabletHotels.com which isn’t your typical booking site, each hotel is vetted by the company and its users. Always dependable for the coolest hotels. When I checked in, the delightful front desk attendant casually mentioned a free glass of champagne, free breakfast and a very subtle “and we upgraded you to a penthouse room.” “Thank you very much” I said, not realizing what that really meant. I wheeled my stuff out of the elevator, opened

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A HOTEL LIKE YOU’VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE

(Sao Paulo) — Catching all the buzz in design circles, my excellent SP guide John took me by to see the boat/watermelon-shaped Hotel Unique.  It really is a stunning place, designed by Ruy Ohtake, the lobby bar being my favorite, with a towering, cantilevered bottle display that rises several stories. There’s a rooftop bar and restaurant where you can look out over Sao Paulo’s 20 million residents. Stop by for drink. I didn’t stay here, but Trip Advisor reviews are near perfect at 4 ½ stars. Here’s a great article in Conde Nast Traveler. Here’s a great video on Design Hotels

Like the perfect little black dress, but a hotel

(Sao Paulo) — There’s nothing over-the-top at the Fasano. Just classic, full-on attention to every simple detail — like a classic little black dress. It’s all the intense focus on details that rank it on nearly everyone’s Best Of hotels, not just in Brasil, but all of South America. It’s not opulent, it’s just right. The sleek rooms are roomy and fitted-out like the inside of a BMW. Taught. Necessary. Functional. Good to the touch.  At first, not fancy, but once you’re in there a bit, you realize every thing you see or touch has been well thought-out — from the incredible linens, to the floors, to the incredibly practical and spacious desks, to the feel to your toes of the Carrera marble showers. The

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Living like a rockstar, right on Passeig de Gracia

(Barcelona) — It’s rare when you arrive at your hotel and it is actually as good as the pictures, if not better.  El Palauet Living Barcelona is one of those places. Good lord, I literally dropped my bags and ran around my two bedroom flat like a little kid.  More like Richie Rich.  This place is off-the-charts good and is definitely in the Top Five of my favorite hotels, ever. It’s set up in a classic old town house, with about 5-6 apartments, but it is run as a hotel. You feel like you’re having a hedge fund vacation, with amazing details, with perfect restoration of the original details, mixed with a high tech amenities like a multi-million dollar apartment.  Whole-house audio, check. Chromatic therapy,

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OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF URUGUAY’S ESTANCIAS, A JEWEL BOX

(Garzon, Uruguay) — About 40 or so miles inland from the surf of Jose Ignacio is a sleepy little town called Garzon.  There, in the middle of gaucho country and home to Uruguay’s famous grass-fed beef, Francis Mallmann (my favorite restauranteur in the world) has created a true destination place, El Garzon. I first ate at his famous restaurant Los Negros in Jose Ignacio several years ago and was immediately hit over the head with his incomprable design style, intense focus on every detail and his complete dedication to cooking with fire. Los Negros was built around a horno, a large clay oven, where nearly everything was cooked around the high temperature wood fire. He has since closed Los Negros, but I’ve sought out his other

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TALK ABOUT A ROOM WITH A VIEW

       

400 Thread Count, steps from the beach

(Trancoso, Brazil) — This really is a great hotel, but also one of the most expensive. You can get a bungalow by the beach (but not really on the beach) or they have nice rooms set farther back in the property. (check out the aerial view below).  For about half the money, I’d recommend the regular rooms, each part of a four suite out buildings. Rooms are spotless, well designed and comfortable. All are open shuttered, so a mosquito net is a must, lest you get eaten alive. I had an unusual swarm of junebugs hit a couple of nights, sounds like pounding hail on the bathroom windows, with thousands trying crawl through the cracks. Turn the light off, the faucet roar stops, turn it

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A NORDIC HOTEL THEMED ALL AROUND LIGHT

(Stockholm) — In a land that either doesn’t have much, or has too much of it, the concept of the Nordic Light hotel is to bring light inside, everywhere. From the LED light adjusted hotel rooms, to the cool bar trick of a heat-sensitive bar top, to the changing exterior colors. At the time they opened, LED lighting was just coming into its own.  It’s not a bad place. Great location.  You can book it on TabletHotels.com.  I had a crappy camera at the time, so you can see better shots on those to websites.     

A CLASSIC HOTEL, WITH A REBOOT

(Stockholm) — The Berns was a grand lady hotel, but several years ago it undertook a modern day reboot, boldly revamped into a hipster hangout. I’ve never stayed here, but highly recommend at least stopping in for a drink in the soaring two-story lobby, complete with boom-she-boom soundtrack and great people watching.  Make sure you check out the concerts in the immense, totally gorgeous music hall, presenting some of the hottest bands going. We saw the then just-breaking punk-gypsy band Gogol Bordello, a raucous good time of spinning, laughing and dancing. Last visited: November 2009  

WHEN A PLACE HAS “HOTEL+UNIVERSE” IN ITS NAME, YOU KNOW YOU NEED TO GO THERE

(Buenos Aires) — When I first went to Buenos Aires in 2005, the Puerto Madero waterfront redevelopment has only been completed for a short time. When I first saw pictures of the soaring lobby of the Faena Hotel & Universe in a travel magazine, I just knew I had to go there. Universe?  C’mon.  But when I read about how it was built inside a restored Victorian era warehouse/factory and saw pictures of all the details, I just had to check it out.  At the time, boutique hotels were still something new, but I knew something cool was going on when I walked in and there was no reception desk and you checked in with an Experience Manager. I thought it was a gimmick, but

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WAKE UP TO THE PANTHEON STARING RIGHT AT YOU

[ROMA] — There are fancier places to stay in Rome, but one of my favorites is the Albergo del Senato, directly across from my favorite building in the world, The Pantheon. It is small, Old School, but delightful. You can’t beat the location, smack in the heart of everything good. And right around the corner from the best gelato in Rome, Giolitti.  If you can’t get a guarantee from the hotel for a Pantheon view, then there are other places I’d choose. (I once had a broom closet of a room once that wasn’t and it looked out onto a blind alley.)  But if you can secure a room that overlooks the Pantheon, there is no place better to stay. You want to stay in one

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Blue water, fine beach, incredible restaurant

(Porto Vecchio, Corsica) — Just above the lower tip of Corsica is an excellent, romantic hotel — the Grand Hotel Cala Rossa.  Quiet beaches, swanky atmosphere, nice staff.  And because it’s a Relais & Chateaux, you know they have an incredible restaurant.  Last visited: June 2000

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