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October 01, 2014
By Jessica Flint | Hotels
Coming Soon: New Miami Hotels
Photo courtesy of 1 Hotel South Beach

Miami's hotel landscape is undergoing a sea change—and all for the better. While we've already made our picks for the top 25 that matter most, there are still a few more we just can't wait to open. 

1 Hotel & Homes South Beach
The new eco­conscious resort chain from Starwood Capital Group CEO Barry Sternlicht will debut early 2015. At 2377 Collins Ave.; 305-604-1000; 1hotels.com.

East Miami
Swire Hotels’ Brickell City Centre will open downtown in late 2015 and include the group’s third East hotel (the other locations are in Hong Kong and Beijing). At 788 Brickell Plaza; east-miami.com.

Faena Hotel Miami Beach
Argentinian Alan Faena is the brains behind a massive complex—a hotel, a residential tower, restaurants, an arts center, a park and a marina—opening in stages, starting in 2015. At 3201 Collins Ave.; faena.com.

Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club
In 2016 a new property from architect Richard Meier will join the social­club site founded in 1930 by Harvey Firestone. At 9011 Collins Ave.; 305-330- 4000; thesurfclub.com.

Miami Beach Edition
Ian Schrager returns to town in November with the opening of his third Edition, following those in London and Istanbul. At 2901 Collins Ave.; edition-hotels.marriott.com.

Thompson Miami Beach
Opening in October, the hotel brand aims to bring 1950s glamour back to the beach. At 4041 Collins Ave.; 305-397- 8309; thompsonhotels.com.

August 25, 2014
By Tom Parker Bowles | Restaurants, Hotels

British Chef Simon ROgan's New London Restaurant
Photo courtesy of Maybourne Hotel Group

Fera at Claridge’s, chef Simon Rogan’s new restaurant in London, is named after the Latin word for “wild.” But there’s nothing untamed about the food. The cooking is complex but never fussy, refined but without pretension. Rogan excels in drawing the quintessence of flavor from each and every dish. Rabbit is slow-cooked until it’s soft and silken, then encased in a crisp, burnished onion batter; it arrives perched atop a slick of intense lovage purée. The result is a riot of textures and a taste that lingers long after the dish has disappeared.

Potatoes are whipped with soft cheese, a very British version of aligot, and topped with duck hearts. The contrast of seductively lactic and quietly meaty is sublime—and technically assured, too. Ingredients, as you would expect, are top notch, British and distinctively seasonal (most are harvested from Rogan’s own 12-acre farm in Cartmel Valley, about 278 miles outside London). In the dying days of spring, I found strawberries, young rhubarb, exquisite shellfish and an entire meadow’s worth of edible flowers. In other, less talented chefs’ hands, this sort of food could quickly become trite and showy, a triumph of appearance over substance.

Service is predictably deft, and the room is quietly impressive, with a sand-blasted manzanita tree at its center. It has the feeling of restrained opulence and the gentle well-fed and -heeled chatter of people actually enjoying their meal. There’s little doubt Rogan will soon be adding to his haul of Michelin stars. (He has two already at L’Enclume in Cumbria.) But unlike so many other temples to haute cuisine, Fera has real heart. At Brook St.; 44-20/7107-8888; feraatclaridges.co.uk.

August 25, 2014
By Rebecca Sacks | Hotels

A New Hotel in Tel Aviv
Photo courtesy of The Norman, Tel Aviv

On the heels of two big hotel openings in Israel in the last year—the Ritz-Carlton Herzliya (which Departures covered this spring) and the Waldorf-Astoria, in Jerusalem—comes Tel Aviv’s The Norman, an elegant boutique option centrally located near the city’s grand Rothschild Boulevard. The hotel comprises two immaculately restored 1920s residential buildings connected by a fragrant citrus tree garden; furnishings handpicked from French flea markets and ornate tile designs create the sense of a bygone baron’s Mediterranean estate. All the hotel’s services—including a French-Mediterranean brasserie and Japanese tapas spot—are in the main building, 25 Nachmani Street, which also houses 30 rooms. In the second building, 23 Nachmani Street, there are 20 suites. The bones of the latter building have led to unexpected treasures, such as the jewel-box bathrooms in the King Albert Suites and the walk-in closets in some of the Garden Suites. Rooms start at $375; 23–25 Nachmani St.; 972-3/543-5555; thenorman.com.

August 11, 2014
By Sasha Levine | sports, Hotels

A Polo Event in Wine Country
Photo courtesy of Billy Farrell Agency

Get your opera glasses ready: On September 20, the St. Regis San Francisco (125 Third St.; 415-284-4000; stregissanfrancisco.com) will host its first-ever Polo Cup in Sonoma Valley’s Wild Oak Saddle Club (550 White Oak Dr.; 707-539-8629; wildoaksaddleclub.com), adding yet another destination to the property’s sporting tradition around the world.

Like previous events held abroad—the brand has hosted championships in Brazil, the UK, China, Thailand and other locales—the event will kick off with an afternoon match, starring acclaimed Argentine polo player (and St. Regis–brand ambassador) “Nacho” Figueras. While watching, guests can dig into a catered gourmet picnic of Argentine asado (barbecue) from the hotel’s executive chef, Oliver Belliard, and—for a little local flair—sip California wines from Hamel Family Wines. A silent auction will also take place, with travel packages from St. Regis Hotels & Resorts from across the globe. Proceeds will go to Giant Steps Therapeutic Equestrian Center, the only year-round premier accredited therapeutic riding program in the Northern Bay Area.

Die-hard fans should reserve the St. Regis Polo Cup Aficionado Package now, which includes two nights at the hotel’s San Francisco location, spa treatments at Remede Spa and Bentley transportation to the match (starts at $6,750). General admission tickets start at $350 per person; purchase at stregissanfrancisco.com.

 

August 11, 2014
By Shivani Vora | Hotels

fourseasonsparis.jpg
Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

The Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris may be one of the most luxurious—and priciest—in the world, but at least those who shell out the minimum $1,240 for a night’s stay are treated to a few exclusive perks, including flower-arranging classes, a market tour with a cooking lesson and a cultural jog.

“We want our guests to have a visit to Paris that’s not your standard ‘see the big sights and leave,’?” says Caroline Mennetrier, the head of public relations. “And these amenities especially highlight what makes us unique as a hotel.”

That includes the legendary arrangements adorning the lobby and other public spaces, which employ 9,000 flowers a week. In new hour-long workshops held throughout the year, head decorator Jeff Leatham shares his secrets on how to replicate his understated, chic designs at home.

Another freebie is a three-hour market tour and cooking lesson with Eric Briffard, the chef of the property’s Michelin two-star boîte Le Cinq. The session begins with a morning walk to the nearby market, where Briffard introduces students to his favorite food purveyors. Once back in the kitchen, the small group helps prepare an entrée and dessert, like grilled salmon with verbena-infused olive oil and strawberry layer cake. The grand finale, naturally, is getting to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Fitness-focused guests, meanwhile, can enjoy the Tuesday-morning hour-long runs, which are far from standard. Two coaches lead exercisers through a journey around the city—from the Eiffel Tower, along the Seine River, through the scenic Tuileries Gardens and past the Louvre before ending with a sprint up the Champs-Élysées. Rooms start at $1,240; 31 Av. George V; 33-1/49-52-70-00; fourseasons.com/paris.

July 30, 2014
By Sasha Levine | Hotels

A Modern Loft Opens in Nantucket
Courtesy of Nantucket Island Resorts

With its beachy vibe and preppy New England style, Nantucket rarely conjures images of sleek, modern design.

But that’s exactly what the beloved White Elephant hotel—an island icon since the 1920s—has done with the newest addition to its ever-expanding roster of accommodations: the Loft.

Located on the second floor of a historic brick building in the heart of downtown, the three-bedroom, 2,500-square-foot pied-à-terre eschews the traditional for an ample, open-format living space complete with a sizable kitchen-and-dining-room area, outfitted with a counter-style island and a rustic wood table, and a plush living area with a fireplace. The apartment’s neutral colors, white oak hardwood floors and 50-foot-long picture windows all maximize the airy, sun-soaked atmosphere.

Just a short walk or bike ride from Brant Point Beach, the Loft affords its guests access to the heated pool, cabanas and fitness center at White Elephant Village (White Elephant’s sister hotel). It’s the perfect balance between enjoying a true beach community and having a chic abode to call your own. Rates start at $1,800; 32 Main St.; 800-445-6574; whiteelephanthotel.com.

July 15, 2014
By Sasha Levine | Hotels

A New Way to Stay at The Inn at Little Washington
Gordon Beall

The Inn at Little Washington, which opened in 1978 in Washington, Virginia, a 90-minute drive outside of D.C., was never conceived of as solely a cozy place to stay. Under the direction of chef and proprietor Patrick O’Connell, the 23-acre campus of gardens, greenhouses and well-appointed rooms was assembled with pieces of history restored—made all the more charming, of course, by a modern approach to luxury.

In his latest contribution to the area’s decades-long beautification process, O’Connell has opened the Parsonage—a six-bedroom, 6,000-square-foot Victorian home refurbished inside and out to its 1850s-era origins, with help from London designer Joyce Conwy Evans.

“With each restoration and renovation, our goal is to make it look like nothing happened,” O’Connell explains. “We let the house and the architecture dictate the feel.”

The result? A whimsical interpretation of the past in the form of one charming abode, complete with individually decorated guest rooms with working fireplaces and Bulgari amenities; a tiled Victorian conservatory inspired by French country homes and Moorish influences; a wide, luxurious porch; and a garden dotted with centuries-old trees. Access to the inn’s famous tea service and culinary creations is just a request away.

“More than anything we’ve done, I think this casts a spell of incredible tranquility because it’s a self-contained little universe,” says O’Connell. And with plenty more land (ten acres)—and clever ideas—left to explore, no doubt the Parsonage won’t be his latest way to step back in time for long. Rooms start at $575; 309 Middle St.; 540-675-3800; theinnatlittlewashington.com.

July 08, 2014
By Sasha Levine | Hotels

Mandarin Oriental Opens in Bodrum
Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental Bodrum

Earlier this month, Mandarin Oriental opened the doors to its newest property, set on a 148-acre expanse in the up-and-coming waterfront village of Göltürkbükü in Bodrum, Turkey. The location marks the group’s first European resort (its city hotels reside in Paris, London, Geneva, Barcelona, Prague and Munich) and comes complete with all the trappings one might expect—and then some.

The hotel’s 109 guest rooms are the largest in the area, each with its own sun deck, balcony or terrace; others include private gardens and infinity plunge pools. Designed by award-winning Italian designer Antonio Citterio to embrace the lush surroundings and take full advantage of panoramic views of the Aegean Sea, the rooms are outfitted with large skylights or inner courtyards, custom furnishings in natural stones, teak and dark woods, and floor-to-ceiling windows.

The rest of the property, which is flanked by ancient olive groves and pine trees, is dedicated to two private beaches, an aquatic center, outdoor pools, ten dining options and a roughly 9,000-square-foot spa with five treatment rooms, three beauty rooms, a VIP suite, a couple’s suite, two outdoor cabanas and a marbled hammam. Other on-site highlights include water sports and tours by air (helicopter) and by sea (Turkish gullet).

And while the charming village of Göltürkbükü (stone properties with bougainvillea, narrow streets, waterside restaurants) is only a five-minute drive away—where gets can enjoy olive pressing, glassblowing and pottery making—we imagine it’ll be hard to muster the desire to go anywhere else. Cennet Koyu, Çomça Mevkii, 314, Sokak No. 10, Göltürkbükü Mahallesi; 90-252/311-1888; mandarinoriental.com.

July 02, 2014
By Christina Valhouli | Hotels

A New England Inn Turns on the Charm
Michael J. Lee

Lexington, Massachusetts, is known as the birthplace of the American Revolution. Following a tip from Paul Revere that the British were coming, the first battle shots were fired on Lexington’s Green in 1775.

Today the Boston suburb features historical sites, biotech companies and Nobel Prize–winning residents. And now, for the first time, there is a stylish place to stay. The Inn at Hastings Park, which opened in February, is owned by local resident Trisha Pérez Kennealy, a former investment banker who purchased the inn (a onetime assisted-living home) and two adjacent buildings that are located steps from the Battle Green.

Just 22 bedrooms inhabit the three 19th-century buildings, which include the Isaac Mulliken house and the Barn, a former casket factory. Kennealy hired Lexington interior designer Robin Gannon, of Robin Gannon Interiors, to create a contemporary but streamlined look. “We wanted to stay true to the history of Lexington but give it a modern twist,” says Gannon. “The goal was for the inn to be traditional but not feel like your grandmother’s house.”

The result? A cozy and eclectic spot that looks nothing like grandmother’s house unless grandma happens to be passionate about Sister Parish design. Guest rooms (each decorated differently) are united with bold wallpaper and a palette of tangerine, turquoise and lavender mixed with crisp whites and blues. Gannon showcases New England artisans often, including Peter Fasano wallpaper, Dunes and Duchess candelabras and O & G Studio wood furniture. Some rooms display Americana like flags.

Although the inn is small, it is operated as a full-service hotel. Enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner at Artistry on the Green restaurant, run by chef Matthew Molloy, formerly of Boston’s Beacon Hill Bistro. The menu highlights fresh, seasonal cuisine, such as native oysters and braised lamb shank with creamy polenta. During our stay, which coincided with Patriots’ Day, the restaurant was packed but service was seamless. A steady stream of locals who had kept an eye on the renovations popped in for a look; Kennealy is aiming for Relais & Châteaux status—a goal that seems within reach. Rooms start at $260 (including breakfast); 2027 Massachusetts Ave.; 781-301-6660; innathastingspark.com.

June 11, 2014
By Amy Tara Koch | Hotels

The Ideal London Apartment
Jumeirah Living

Home rentals are an attractive option for a traveling family—that is, when the property matches the images shown on the Internet. After experiencing a recent bait and switch in Provence, where the “villa” I was supposed to inhabit turned out to be a dilapidated farmhouse, I began defaulting to the predictability of a hotel. But while making plans for a spring break in London, I heard about the two-year-old Grosvenor House Apartments by Jumeirah Living, which has packaged the idea of a prime apartment rental with the benefits of a five-star hotel. The rewards of a rental without the risk—in Mayfair, no less? I booked on the spot.

Both the location (perched at the corner of Mount Street and Park Lane) and the lineage (the house is the former 19th-century residence of Robert Grosvenor and the Dukes of Westminster) lend instant prestige to the property. But once inside, the vibe is decidedly low-key and modern. Interior-design powerhouse Anouska Hempel revamped the edifice from top to bottom with schemes that play to the building’s heritage and contemporary personality.

To wit: The lobby’s atrium is sleek and open, with strategically placed original artwork inviting guests to venture further inside. In the middle, where a grand staircase once stood, the hotel restaurant basks in the glow of a seven-story ceiling studded with a dramatic high-tech chandelier.

But the rooms are what really wow. (Grosvenor’s 130 apartments range from studios to the five-bedroom, nearly 5,000-square-foot penthouse.) Our spacious, state-of-the-art two-bedroom, two-bath unit—complete with a phenomenal view of Hyde Park—featured amenities like flatscreen televisions, electronic shades, multiple temperature controls, multi-setting lighting (excellent for makeup application), a washer and a dryer and a full kitchen. Triple-paned windows blocked the din of London traffic. The bathrooms, often a musty affair in London, were bright and had excellent water pressure. Complete living and dining areas allowed my family to eat in and relax comfortably after a busy day.

Service is stellar but understated (i.e., no hovering). The hotel scored us challenging dinner reservations, an emergency hair appointment and various tickets, but when the concierge personally trotted out to procure decongestants for my hideous cold, I knew I was someplace special. The illness is already forgotten, but the experience will be treasured. Rooms start at $830; corner of Mount St. and Park Ln.; 44-20/7518-4444; jumeirah.com.

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