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Our Favourite Hotels Stays of 2017

From a wine estate in Provence to a Palm Springs pool party, here's our ultimate guide to getting a room.

1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

Photo: Courtesy of 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

NEW YORK

1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

Freshest City Stay

There’s something in the air: It starts in the lobby, which is infused with the sweet, subtle smell of eucalyptus, cedar and moss and dominated by an eight-metre-high living wall by local landscaping firm Harrison Green. From there, nature takes her course through the Brooklyn Heights hotel with small gardens in each room, filtered water on tap – it’s like drinking from a stream! – and bog-wood shelves in the showers. And with a turndown service that includes a pair of cozy socks (to keep), the mood is very high-design cabin-in-the-woods.

1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

Photo: Courtesy of 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

Room with a View

Practically tucked under the eponymous bridge, the property has unparalleled views extending from Midtown to the Statue of Liberty. Take advantage of the yoga mat provided in-room: After a sun salutation or two – just to say you did – lie back and watch the morning rays turn lower Manhattan pink.

877-303-1111, 1hotels.com/brooklyn-bridge

Cuixmala

Photo: Michael Gilbreath

LA HUERTA, MEXICO

Cuixmala

Cushiest Nature Getaway

There’s a 25,000-acre eco-luxury resort, beloved by supermodels and heads of state, hidden in the Costalegre jungle along Mexico’s Pacific Coast, and it might make you wonder if you’ve stepped into a live-action episode of Planet Earth. A horseback ride from the stables to the on-site animal sanctuary will have you spotting raccoon-like tejóns against a turquoise lagoon backdrop. Get a lift in one of the hotel’s trucks to the mane attraction: a 37-strong herd of zebra, roaming the property’s Serengeti-esque fields. Join biologists in returning turtle hatchlings to sea through a program that puts the hotel’s raw stretch of Playa Cuixmala to good use (guests swim in the photogenic check-patterned private pool framed by a symmetrical peach-hued staircase).

Cuixmala

Photo: Michael Gilbreath

Local Crops

On-site restaurants Casa Gomez and La Loma get 90 percent of their ingredients (including grass-fed beef) from the property's organic farm and ranch. same goes for the peppermint in their bath products.

52-315-351-6050, cuixmala.com

The June Motel

Photo: Lauren Miller

PICTON, ONTARIO

The June Motel

Most Instagrammable Motel

Grab a complimentary glass of Huff Estates blush in the palm-dappled lobby bar, curl up in a Muskoka chair around the fire pit overlooking Picton Bay and get ready to #roséallday. Last year, Torontonians April Brown and Sarah Sklash turned a mid-century motor lodge into a laid-back wine-country getaway designed with Instagram lovers in mind. Punches of pink, bright floral wallpaper and neon signs calling out the current wine-soaked self-care ethos (“Namaste & Rosé,” “Peace Love Wine”) offer stagettes and thirtysomething couples a bit of Palm Springs by way of Picton. It’s all pastel-tinged party vibes and breezy communal spaces, for under $150 a night. (Closed mid-December through mid-March.)

The June Motel

Photo: Lauren Miller

Ask the Expert Sarah Sklash, co-owner

Q: What's the next big instagram thing?

A: Bohemian decor, house jungles, the rough-luxe look of Valle de Guadalupe’s wine country – west coast esthetics will continue to be huge.

613-476-2424, thejunemotel.com

Chao Sanlitun

BEIJING

Chao Sanlitun

Best for Remote Working

Just over a year old, Chao is already renowned for its round-the-clock facilities, for both overnight guests and creative Beijingers seeking a change of scenery from their home office. Freelancers of all stripes type on laptops at a king-size wooden table in the Drawing Room. Designers with blueprints under their arms head to the Tea House to work over an afternoon brew, while others prefer the quietude of the Library, where armchairs face towering stacks of art books. For next-level networking, social-minded guests can join the Clubhouse free of charge to access master forums on everything from architecture to food waste, take in art performances and enjoy snacks like roast-duck spring rolls in the living room. If jet lag is slowing your schedule, head downstairs for an on-site movie (to relax) or astronomy lecture (to sync up with the cosmos).

Chao Sanlitun

Room to Book

Get focused in the peaceful 540-square-foot Studio 50, equipped with walnut furniture and floor-to-ceiling windows on the neon-splashed neighbourhood of Sanlitun.

86-10-5871-5588, ilovechao.com

Domaine de Fontenille

Photo: Serge Chapuis

LAURIS, FRANCE

Domaine de Fontenille

Most Refined Wine Holiday

The red berry notes of the Cuvée Fontenille Rosé, one of the six wines produced on the estate’s 86 acres of organic vines (active since 1638), are as thrilling as the views of honey-coloured stone of the majestic bastide turned hotel. Although the 19 rooms and suites have been renovated, they show their age gracefully, as with the original oak floors. Warm up by the fireplace in one of the three bright ground-floor sitting rooms, then grab a seat at Champ des Lunes, where Michelin-starred chef Jérôme Faure pairs wines from the estate (and others from the Rhône Valley) with ingredients from the Luberon region, including vegetables harvested from his 54,000-square-foot garden.

Domaine de Fontenille

Photo: Serge Chapuis

Sunday Stroll

In the 19th century, Fontenille Park was big with the bourgeoisie, who headed there on Sundays. Reviving the tradition, the estate opens its doors to local families who (between wine-tasting courses) enjoy a gardening area for kids and the four resident donkeys.

33-4-13-98-00-00, domainedefontenille.com

Four Seasons Oahu

Photo: Christian Horan

KO OLINA, HAWAII

Four Seasons Oahu

The Splashiest Beach Stay

This hotel’s beds are super cozy, but don’t dawdle too much: Every Sunday, brunchers flock to an open-air feast that brings together visitors and families from the island. Guests gather around seafood towers and bowls of loco moco (rice, beef patty, egg and brown sauce), while enjoying bottomless Bloody Marys. Digest at the rectangular 37.5-metre-long infinity pool for adults, where a cart of free mai tais spreads cheer every day at around 2 p.m., and catch Pacific Ocean views framed by the green peaks of the Waianae Range. Top it all off with a Nō Ka ‘Oi (“the best”) treatment that uses local cane sugar for exfoliation, and a lomi lomi massage.

Four Seasons Oahu

Photo: Christian Horan

Sunset Trail

Ask the concierge to organize an excursion to Ka‘ena Point, a peninsula about a half-hour drive from the hotel. The 5.6-kilometre ocean trail is one of the best places on the island to watch the sun set.

808-679-0079, fourseasons.com/oahu

Hotel B

Photo: Jacques Ferrand

LIMA

Hotel B

Artiest Redesign

A century-old summer residence, blocks from the ocean in the bohemian neighbourhood of Barranco, was acquired by a group of art collectors in 2014. Transforming the belle époque mansion into a 17-room boutique property was a master class in itself: Members of the local Fine Arts Academy restored tiles, plasterwork and shuttered French windows overlooking a stately boulevard. Inside, Old Lima eccentricities and contemporary touches come together seamlessly. Take the bathroom in Atelier 222, where a naughty surrealist painting peeks back at you through the marble shower’s glass. Rotating artwork in rooms and common spaces is from the Lucía de la Puente Gallery next door and the owners’ private collection.

Hotel B

Photo: Hans Stoll

Breakfast Club

Settle onto a leather sofa in the library for quinoa and chia juice, Amazonian fresh fruits and Huachana sausage, as you sink your teeth into a Mario Vargas Llosa book.

51-1-206-0800, hotelb.pe

Arrive Hotel

Photo: Chris Miller

PALM SPRINGS, CALIFORNIA

Arrive Hotel

Hippest Pool Party

This 32-room hotel located in the Uptown Design District is ideal for socializing. Here, visitors rub elbows with neighbours, who are given free access to the 20-metre-long pool (a miracle in a town where hotels often charge a small fortune for this kind of perk). Every day is a different scene: You can attend a monthly open mic night for local poets and stand-up comics or stretch out in a free hatha yoga class. Our favourite activity, though, is looking out at the San Jacinto mountains from the pool while sipping on local beers, like a bitter Kölschella from Coachella Valley Brewing Co.

Arrive Hotel

Photo: Arielle Vey

Cell Service

The Arrive doesn't have a reception desk; instead, guests are welcomed at the bar with a complementary drink. And don’t look for a phone in your room – services are ordered by text.

760-507-1650, arrivehotels.com

Fairmont Queen Elizabeth

Photo: Stéphane Brugger

MONTRÉAL

Fairmont Queen Elizabeth

Most Far-out Business Digs

When they refreshed the 950-room hotel earlier this year, Sid Lee Architecture also got down to business with conference facilities paying homage to the property’s swinging-’60s origin story. Most boardrooms are filled with natural light and whimsical touches (Ping-Pong-ball artwork and canary-yellow beaded curtains), but the Eureka room would be appropriate for world domination. Black leather chairs, a round table lit by a stark halo and 16 curved screens for 180-degree video calls fuel creativity and Dr. Strangelove aspirations. Toast the day’s work with a Dubonnet cocktail (the Queen’s drink of choice) with gin and orange bitters, served on an actual silver platter and chilled with an E-stamped ice cube, at the street-level Nacarat Bar.

Fairmont Queen Elizabeth

Photo: Stéphane Brugger

Ask the Expert Martin Leblanc, architect, senior partner, Sid Lee Architecture

Q: How do these meeting rooms spark creativity?

A: We created spaces whose different functions become apparent over the course of long meetings. And our break spaces scream "business is over," with foosball tables and a gaming area.

514-861-3511, fairmont.com/queen-elizabeth-montreal

Tags

BEIJING     CALIFORNIA     HAWAII     HOTEL REVIEW     HOTELS     LIMA     MEXICO     MONTREAL     NEW YORK     PARIS    

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