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August 27, 2012

The Agenda

By Melissa Biggs Bradley | Hotel

Palais Namaskar
Photo courtesy of Palais Namaskar

• Many savvy Europeans snatched up riads or casbahs in Marrakech a decade ago and transformed them into fabulous warm-weather retreats. Those who did not now console themselves by taking pleasure in the wonderful new hotels that keep popping up around the city. Palais Namaskar (rooms, from $490; Route de Bab Atlas No. 88/69; 212-5/2429-9814; palaisnamaskar.com), a 12-acre retreat in the palm groves, features rooms with private gardens and terraces, as well as villas with pools.

Photo by Mr. Grégoire Gardette

• Just 14 miles away, designer Jacques Garcia, who masterminded the recent renovation of the city’s La Mamounia hotel, has brought his mega-glam look to the Selman (rooms, from $530; Km 5, Route d'Amizmiz; 212-5/2445-9600; selman-marrakech.com), another new property. Owned by a wealthy Moroccan family, the 56-room hotel (plus five riads) was designed to look and feel like a private palace. Among the special touches: an elite Henri Chenot spa and Arabian stallions in the stables.

Les Docks, Cite de la Mode et du Design
Photo ©Jakob+MacFarlane/N.Borel

• This fall Paris has a chic new riverfront design and fashion center: Les Docks, Cité de la Mode et du Design (paris-docks-en-seine.fr). Architects Jakob + MacFarlane encased a 100-year-old warehouse on the Seine in a sinewy glass shell with a dramatic rooftop terrace and landscaped walkways. The space will host fashion shows, costume exhibits and design fairs, while its hip bars and nightclubs have already made Les Docks a magnet for the young and the stylish.

La Loma suite
Photo by Mr. Michael Gilbreath

• For many years the most spectacular beachfront house in Mexico, La Loma (rooms, from $800; Km 46.2 Carretera Melaque; 866-590-2611; cuixmala.com), part of the Cuixmala estate built by Sir James Goldsmith, has been available for rent but only in its entirety. Now Goldsmith’s children are opening it as a hotel, with four palatial suites and six bungalows. Guests have access to private beaches, tennis, horseback riding, fishing and more. Local fishermen and an on-site organic farm provide fresh ingredients for meals served on the palapa-shaded terrace or at beach picnics.

• Fasano, South America’s sexiest hotel brand, has branched out from its origins in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and opened a sleek retreat in the Uruguayan beach area of La Barra. Set on 1,200 acres, Hotel Fasano Punta del Este (bungalows, from $900; Camino Cerro Egusquiza y Paso del Barranco; 598-42/670-000; laspiedrasfasano.com) is located on Las Piedras ranch and houses guests in 32 modern bungalows. Given the Fasano family’s gourmet background, its culinary classes include visits to local vineyards and wineries, and guides can be arranged for hunting, windsurfing, riding or touring the area’s art studios and antiques shops. But lazy days and long nights are the real draw.

Bradley is the founder and CEO of the luxury travel outfitter Indagare. For more information, go to indagare.com.