Andaz West Hollywood, Los Angeles
Opened in January 2009, this hip hotel has been lauded by design experts for its “seductive, sophisticated atmosphere.” This is the first North American Andaz hotel, part of a new global brand created by Hyatt. What we love: Rooms have views of the Hollywood Hills, the Sunset Strip or downtown Los Angeles and the huge rooftop Sundeck (overlooking the Los Angeles skyline) has a heated pool and private cabanas.
The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, Marana, AZ
This resort opened December 18 in an amazing canyon that allows for neat hiking and biking. Great opening rates drew happy visitors over Christmas, who lauded the resort for its snazzy golf and spa facilities, as well as its CORE Kitchen restaurant. We hear many suites have double balconies and that the lobby lounge serves single-malt scotches and whiskeys from around the world.
The Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas
Signature’s Ignacio Maza calls this “the jewel in the crown of Las Vegas’ CityCenter.” Opened December 4, the hotel, designed by the celebrated Adam Tihany, has become an instant icon in the city. “The property features an amazing Sky Lobby on the 23rd floor, with breathtaking views of the city,” says Maza. “During your stay, do not miss a treatment at the hotel’s 27,000-square-foot spa and dinner at Twist by Pierre Gagnaire, the celebrated Michelin-starred chef. If you are in a hurry, stop at Amore Patisserie to pick up some of the best fresh-baked desserts in Las Vegas.”
Vdara, Las Vegas
Vdara at CityCenter is a non-gaming condo hotel physically connected to Bellagio and adjacent to ARIA Resort & Casino. We say it’s ideal for low-key travelers seeking convenient access to all of the entertainment, gaming, shopping, dining and nightlife at CityCenter and in Las Vegas. Rooms here are homey, not only for their size (500 to 1,650 square feet), but for their full kitchens. Spa Vdara is a serious enterprise and well worth the indulgence; Bar Vdara is spacious and hip, with an outdoor area that’s a real treat.
ARIA Resort & Casino, Las Vegas
Where does one begin with ARIA’s 4,004 high-tech guest rooms and panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Vegas skyline? Every room at this mega resort delivers a level of personalized automation currently found only in high-end custom homes. Downstairs, ARIA’s amenities include fine dining courtesy of Masayoshi Takayama of Masa in New York City and Shawn McClain, executive chef at three of Chicago’s top restaurants, while the 80,000-square-foot spa and salon has a living-room area and smoothie bar. Watch out for the pool area of all pool areas to open this spring. At 300,000 square feet, it will host 32 cabanas.
St. Regis Deer Crest, Park City, UT
This luxurious ski-in/ski-out resort opened last fall in Park City. “The resort has several unique features, including a funicular to whisk guests up to the lobby, Remède Spa, private ski beach, ski valets and split-level infinity pool,” says Maza. The hotel has 181 rooms and suites and is only 38 miles from Salt Lake City airport, making this one of the easiest luxury ski resorts to reach, year-round. It employs the famed St. Regis butlers, who attend to every need of their guests, Maza adds.
Dakota Mountain Lodge, Park City, UT
Dakota Mountain Lodge is the first ski-in/ski-out property in The Waldorf Astoria Collection. The plush mountain resort sits at the base of The Canyons Ski Resort in Park City. Amazing amenity: The 201 luxury accommodations include six-bedroom suite options. Hint: Be sure to save time for the Golden Door Spa.
Amangiri, Southern Utah
Set close to the Four Corners (where four state border lines cross), the luxurious Amangiri is tucked into a valley surrounded by stratified rocks and high bluffs. Albert Herrera of Virtuoso gives a shout out to this resort, which is a luxe base for day trips to the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and Bryce and Zion national parks. Each of the hotel’s 34 suites has desert and mesa views; Pool Suites and the Girijaala and Amangiri Suites have private pools and secluded outdoor sky terraces. At night, Amangiri’s exteriors are subtly lit, making for great stargazing.
The interiors of the Elysian positively ooze Coco Chanel (think stark use of black and gray with 1930s glamour). During our walk-through, we checked out one of the 1,264-square-foot Premier Gold Coast Suites and were won over by the working fireplace and view of the Gold Coast neighborhood. Hint: Hands down, #702 has the best outdoor setup, with a circular terrace hanging over Rush Street. Top View: The 3,160-square-foot Presidential Suite has two furnished balconies and an expansive media room.
Roosevelt New Orleans is the former Fairmont Hotel off the Big Easy’s Canal Street. A $145 million restoration created 504 fresh and lovely rooms, 135 of which are luxury suites (the seven Astoria Suites have butler service). We loved Dominica, which has a unique Italian cuisine scene. The Sazerac Bar is a sophisticated local hangout. The Blue Room has brought back its classic Sunday Jazz Brunch with live entertainment.
Herrera of Virtuoso recommends this luxe property in the toney enclave of Buckhead. The “in-town” resort with a gracious, residential feel is made all the more posh with the 40,000-square-foot Pool Piazza and a Remède Spa. At Christmas it debuted Astor Holiday ice-skating rink, which drew more than 400 skaters over its first weekend.
St. Regis Princeville, Kauai, HI
Following a multimillion-dollar renovation, the hotel opened on October 1 with 252 guest rooms, including 51 Premium Ocean View Suites, the Halele’a Spa and the Kauai Grill by famed Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. The hotel also has a unique infinity pool overlooking Hanalei Bay. We say the Bali Hai Suite, which has views of the mountain used in the movie South Pacific, and the Royal Suite, with a coffered and beamed ceiling, sound especially luxurious.
Ko’a Kea Hotel & Resort, Kauai, HI
Ko’a Kea sits on the best stretch of Poipu beach in Kauai, reports Signature’s Maza. This boutique property has only 121 rooms, each with private lanai. The beachfront accommodations have amazing views of the Pacific. The hotel’s Red Salt restaurant has become one of the top tables in Kauai, and features the freshest produce and seafood from the Hawaiian islands.
This property opened last October next to Disney World with championship golf course, spacious rooms, a Guerlain spa and a kids’ program run by a team of children’s concierges. And while the two-bedroom Deluxe Suites are great for families, we hear the Deluxe King Suites with balconies have great vantage points for the park’s nightly fireworks display.
W South Beach, Miami Beach, FL
“This property opened last summer, and has taken South Beach by storm,” says Maza. The hotel offers 14 types of rooms, all with ocean views. The smallest room is almost 600 square feet, making W South Beach’s accommodations among Miami’s most spacious. The hotel’s signature rooms are the bungalows with plunge pools, with over 1,300 square feet of space. The property’s two restaurants, Mr Chow and Solea, have already become “must have” reservations in Miami.
Crosby Street Hotel, New York
As if we needed one more reason to make the trip south to SoHo, now we have one. The Crosby Street Hotel has 86 rooms and suites, many with views of downtown Manhattan. We hear that room #203, called The Meadow Suite, has more than 50 flowering plants on its terrace. Crosby Street Hotel also plans to attain Gold LEED certification. Its restaurant, The Crosby Bar, uses seasonal produce, much of which is from the rooftop garden. The hotel also boasts its own private cinema.
The Surrey, New York
The Surrey, which reopened in October, has had a $60 million investment and, oh, does it show. We found it to be quite chic, with lots of black-and-white motifs and beautifully tiled floors. It’s also extremely private, on East 76th Street between Madison and Fifth. You’ll find that Ellen Gerchik is the new director of luxury sales; you’ll know her from Park Hyatt and Rosewood. Room service spotlights seasonal menus of Chef Daniel Boulud’s French-American restaurant, Cafe Boulud, just next door.
The Mark, New York
This iconic Upper East Side boutique hotel has been transformed by French designer Jacques Grange. The property has a chic, sophisticated and understated atmosphere, says Signature’s Maza. The hotel’s new restaurant features dining by Jean Georges.
Cooper Square Hotel, New York
This East Village hotel is the latest sign of gentrification in the formerly edgy neighborhood. Locals hate it, but it has certainly caught the eye of visitors who want to avoid the crowds of midtown. The top spot in the hotel is the 3,000-square-foot Penthouse with a wraparound deck and 180-degree view of the city. The other rooms are smaller, but floor-to-ceiling windows help keep claustrophobia at bay.