Palatial Grandeur in London and a Coastal California Hideaway

From New York to London, these are the hotels our editors loved in April.



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Technicolor Wanderlust

Returning to the road in New Mexico in pursuit of making art.

THERE ARE FEW things I love more than a nice hotel room. I am one of those people who fully unpacks his suitcase upon arrival, as if I were moving in for good. I love the ritual of hanging my clothes, perusing the bathroom amenities, ordering room service (a burger wheeled in under a silver cloche is, in my opinion, among life’s greatest pleasures), and acclimating myself to bed firmness, linen softness, and pillow options. Over the past few months, I’ve taken to indulging in these delights closer to home, with regular “staycations” here in New York City. Dipping into hotels I’ve never visited and sampling spa treatments has broadened my perspective on the city I’ve called home for nearly three decades. Here are a few other hotels that have given our editors much more than just a good night’s sleep this month. — T. Cole Rachel

Palatial Grandeur

The Lanesborough Hotel, London

Entering the lobby of The Lanesborough Hotel in London, the first thing we saw was a grown man chasing a cat, trying to take her picture. It was our first encounter with Lilibet, the property’s resident feline, who spends most of her time sleeping above the fireplace in the Withdrawing Room (as one does), and, evidently, being photographed by her many admirers. The cat is charming; the hotel is gorgeous. Built in a former hospital, the hotel’s massive windows overlook Hyde Park in one direction and Buckingham Palace Garden in the other. Frankly, the hotel fits right in with its neighbors. My five-year-old gasped when she saw our “room,” a word that doesn’t begin to describe our temporary living quarters. Suffice it to say, I have lived in many smaller apartments. While evidently we didn't even experience the top of the line for The Lanesborough — their largest suites boast seven bedrooms and a private chauffeur — I can assure you, we didn’t suffer. My husband is still talking about the gym, and the impeccable service had the personal touch that somehow made the palatial property feel homey — quite a trick, no doubt aided by the cat. — Skye Parrott



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A Literary Labyrinth

Brown's Hotel, London

For a different (though no less luxurious) experience, one might consider a visit to Brown’s Hotel, also in London. The historic Mayfair property, in operation for nearly 200 years, is made up of several buildings with numerous interior connections, creating a maze of uniquely decorated rooms and winding corridors that are both delightfully whimsical and deeply British. And indeed, the property has hosted some of the nation’s most famous literary figures over the years, from Agatha Christie to Oscar Wilde to Rudyard Kipling, for whom a suite is named. The property’s newest offering is the Paul Smith Suite, decorated by the man himself. The designer, whose shop sits just behind the hotel, has handpicked everything for this room, including the striped fabrics on the furniture, books on the tables, and art gracing the massive gallery wall. The result is a space that feels personal, with just enough wackiness to be fun. And if you really like anything you see, you can even take it home: It’s all shoppable. — Skye

Oyster Paradise

Nick's Cove, Marshall, California

I recently traveled up the coast from San Francisco to Marshall, a Bay Area weekend destination with serene views and tranquil vibes, to visit Nick’s Cove. Overlooking Tomales Bay, the quaint lodge is the ideal retreat after a day of oyster-farm hopping. Its famous seaside cottages are stocked with luxurious amenities, such as heated tile floors, burning stoves, and soaking tubs — and a breakfast spread with French-pressed coffee is delivered to your room each morning so that you can start the day slowly from your private deck. Additionally, the 15-room property’s restaurant serves barbecued oysters, which you can enjoy while taking in the bay views on the dock patio. — Elissa Polls

Crystal Clear

Baccarat Hotel, New York City

Much like its namesake, New York City’s Baccarat Hotel is a sleek, shimmering jewel tucked away in the middle of Manhattan. Even though it’s just steps from some of the city’s most visited tourist attractions (MoMA is on the same block), this five-star wonder feels remarkably transportive. Not only does the property boast a La Mer spa, it also houses a Parisian-inspired pool and a grand salon (filled to the rafters with Baccarat crystal, naturally), where you can have dinner, relax with a cocktail, or enjoy the hotel’s afternoon tea service. After a too-short 24-hour getaway, during which I mostly swam, slept, and sipped cocktails at the stunning hotel bar, I stopped by the hotel’s 53rd Street boutique to pick up a bottle of the brand’s signature fragrance, Baccarat Rouge 540, created by Maison Francis Kurkdjian, to remind me of my stay. — Cole


Family-Friendly Luxury

Wylder Windham, Catskills, New York

Often, when you’re traveling with small children, you have to compromise luxury in favor of family-friendly amenities. But when I visited the Wylder Windham (previously The Thompson House) in the Catskills with my son, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could have both. The property has a freshly renovated, sophisticated farmhouse feel. We discovered the “secret” path with sweeping mountain views, attended a private magic show in downtown Windham, and indulged in hearty herb-roasted chicken, twice-fried french fries, and “Not Just Lemon Meringue” pie from the hotel’s Babblers Restaurant. For skiers, the resort’s proximity to Windham Mountain Ski Resort is unbeatable — and, if you’re traveling to the Catskills in warmer months, the pool provides an ideal vantage point for soaking in the surroundings. — Hailey Andresen

New Vibes in NoMad

Virgin Hotel, New York City

I recently spent a night at the new New York City Virgin Hotel, which took up residence in Manhattan’s NoMad neighborhood. The shiny new property has all the sparkle one would expect from anything Virgin-related but ups the cool factor with a sprawling 4,000-square-foot indoor-outdoor dining space called Everdene. On my visit, a DJ held court in the lobby spinning tunes for a crew of cool downtowners who had ventured above 14th Street to take in the view and the vibe. This summer will see the opening of a rooftop pool and the unveiling of a new set of super suites, which offer panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline. Additionally, a spa and another restaurant will premiere soon. Less staid and stuffy than some of the other upscale hotel properties in the neighborhood, the Virgin provides a dose of whimsy without skimping on comfort. — Cole

Our Contributors

T. Cole Rachel Editor-at-Large

T. Cole Rachel is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and teacher with over 20 years of experience working in print and digital media. He is currently an editor-at-large at Departures.

Skye Parrott

Skye Parrott is the editor-in-chief of Departures. A magazine editor, photographer, writer, and creative consultant, she was previously a founder of the arts and culture journal Dossier, and editor-in-chief for the relaunch of Playgirl as a modern, feminist publication.

Elissa Polls Writer

Elissa Polls is the head of production for Departures. A producer who typically stays behind the scenes, she has worked with creatives from around the world, helping bring their ideas to life. Polls has over 15 years of production experience and lives in Berkeley, California.

Hailey Andresen Writer

Hailey Andresen is the guides editor at Departures. A New York–based writer and editor, she founded the digital lifestyle publication Household Mag and has spent more than a decade in the hospitality industry.

Jess Rotter Illustrator

Jess Rotter is a Los Angeles–based illustrator and artist. Rotter’s work has frequently featured in the Washington Post. Her clients range from Natalie Portman to Questlove.


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