Departures is published by Meredith Corp. and owned by American Express. While American Express Card Member benefits are highlighted in this publication, including through the links indicated below, the content of this article was independently written by the editorial staff at Meredith. Other Departures content paid for by American Express is explicitly marked as such.
It's no secret that everyone on the team behind Departures is a big fan of globetrotting. Some of us have been in the industry for just a few years; some for decades. When we're not busy writing, editing, and producing content to share with all of you, we like to chat about our own travel dreams—of which there are many.
Each month, we will be publishing a series called How We Travel—think of these articles as a peek into the minds' of our editors. We'll cover topics like bucket list destinations, things we seek out when traveling, our favorite staycation activities, and much more.
Of course, things haven't been easy on anyone in 2020. The travel industry needs our support more than ever, and rest assured that the Departures team simply cannot wait to get back out into the world to visit both hotly-anticipated new hotels and timeless properties that are top-of-mind for all of us.
Below, some of our editors weigh in on the luxury hotel experience that tops all the rest.
Mandarin Oriental, Paris
"I have food allergies which can make traveling a bit more complicated. I'm not sure how the hotel knew I had allergies, but when I arrived, in my room there was a pot of my favorite tea waiting (still piping hot) alongside some cookies and a note that said that should I order room service, I can be relieved to know that they will ensure that it will be safe for me to eat. The cookies were nut-free and made just for me. That feeling of safety was very comforting."
— Deanne Kaczerski, Digital Director
Las Alcobas Napa Valley
"When I first saw the view at Las Alcobas Napa Valley, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property was in complete awe. Coming from a family of homemade winemakers when I stepped onto the balcony of my vineyard-view room I was instantly sent to heaven. The balcony patio is adorned with comfy couches and chairs set up around a fire pit for cozy California nights. I love to load up my vacations with exploring and tasting local cuisine but nothing was better than curling up on the couches under the Napa skies, enjoying delicious bottle of wine and soaking in the view."
— Alessandra Amodio, Digital Photo Editor
The Rainforest Spa at Sugar Beach, St. Lucia
"As if the crystal clear Caribbean waters, dramatic peaks, and incredible local food wasn’t enough, one of my most memorable St. Lucia experiences was at Sugar Beach, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resort property. The hotel’s Rainforest Spa, in particular. It’s a multi-level tree house spa situated at the edge of the rainforest where all you can hear is the sound of birdsong and the breeze. You instantly feel relaxed as soon as you step foot into the wooden walkway."
— Tal Dekel-Daks, Audience Engagement Editor
Hacienda de San Antonio
"It’s hard not to get nostalgic for fabulous far-flung hotels when spending so much time sticking close to home. I’ll never forget the week we spent a few years ago traversing across Mexico from one Goldsmith family-owned hotel to the other. The view of a live volcano jutting greenly above the pale pink Hacienda de San Antonio’s exquisite grounds and gardens, followed a few days later by the mind-blowing feat of Cuixmala’s Pacific-facing 30,000 acre nature reserve (complete with roaming zebras and lush lagoon) are never far from my mind—at either, an incredibly kind and thorough staff, delicious, locally-grown food, and perfectly decorated interiors are par for the course. I can’t wait to go back."
— Alessandra Codinha, Style Director
The Stafford, London
"The importance is in the details when it comes to a memorable stay at a luxury hotel and while there are plenty of beautiful spaces around the world, there are a select few that go the extra mile to make for a unique experience. The Stafford in London is one of my favorite hotels because of their focus on unique offerings and customer experience. On the first floor of the hotel you’ll find The Game Bird, an informal, yet polished space that focused on modern British cuisine. It’s here that you’ll find one of the coolest offerings in London—a smoked and cured fish trolley. For someone like me who loves a good meal, this is a delicious extravagance. Diners can choose between a selection of smoked salmons and smoked eel, or opt for a mixed offering—all topped with a free-range egg, dressings, and dill pickle. It’s a fun way to start your meal and a memorable addition to a wonderful hotel."
— Sean Flynn, Deputy Digital Editor
Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve and HOSHINOYA Bali
"It’s been two years since I visited Bali and I’m still reeling from their luxury hotel game. Between the lush surroundings, the over-the-top accommodations, and the hospitality that goes above and beyond, calling these hotels five star just feels like an understatement. I stayed at the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, where we had a villa with a private pool roughly the size of my living room, and HOSHINOYA Bali, where I had a multi-course Japanese-Balinese fusion dinner, and then my morning coffee in a rainforest-suspended steel treehouse."
—Maya Kachroo-Levine, Contributing Editor
The Point at Saranac Lake, New York
"The Point at Saranac Lake in New York is unlike any other property in the world. It used to be the Rockefeller's private retreat and you're treated the exact same way—you can get anything you want at any time of the day. Oh, and dinner is black tie!"
— Jordi Lippe-McGraw, Contributing Writer
The St. Regis, Bora Bora
Waking up in one of the over water bungalows of the St Regis Bora Bora, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property, and seeing the breathtaking view of lush Mount Otemanu towering above the turquoise waters of the Bora Bora lagoon first thing in the morning had a cathartic effect on me. I can still close my eyes and see that view! Experiencing the otherworldly beauty of Bora Bora, its cultural richness, and the friendliness of its people was absolutely incredible but doing it while staying at one of the most stunning resorts in French Polynesia really took the experience to a whole new level.
— Dobrina Zhekova, Contributing Writer