I find it hard to stay in shape when I travel for business. Are there any hotels where fitness is a priority?
—H.T., AUSTIN, TEX.
Maintaining an exercise regime while traveling can be tricky. But several chains have begun offering in-room workout amenities and even personal trainers. Hilton Hotels & Resorts (800/445-8667; www.hilton.com) recently teamed up with Bally Total Fitness to stock front desks with free Travel Fit Kits that contain a yoga mat, hand weights, and an exercise guide. At more than 80 of its U.S. properties, Hilton also provides guests with a trainer (from $55 per hour). By the end of June, Westin (800/937-8461; www.westin.com) will have at least two Westin Workout rooms (around $20 more a night) at each hotel worldwide, complete with a treadmill or a stationary bike, mats, weights, Pilates and yoga DVD's, and energy bars. Loews (800/235-6397; www.loewshotels.com) now has a special workout equipment menu from which guests can order (at no extra charge) weights, mats, Pilates balls, or a Denise Austin video.
Do you have any recommendations for an inn on the Mendocino coast?
—J.M., SUN VALLEY, IDAHO
California's unspoiled Mendocino coast is just a three-hour drive north of San Francisco. The 10-room Brewery Gulch Inn (9401 N. Hwy. 1, Mendocino; 800/578-4454; www.brewerygulchinn.com; doubles from $160) has all the trappings of a fine hotel— rooms come with fireplaces, fresh flowers, and private decks with breathtaking vistas of Smuggler's Cove. Chef Barbara Burkey prepares breakfast with organic ingredients—free- range eggs, herbs, edible flowers, heritage apples—from the inn's own garden and orchard. None of the 10 newly refurbished accommodations at the Harbor House Inn (5600 S. Hwy. 1, Elk; 800/720-7474; www.theharborhouseinn.com; doubles from $295) has a telephone or TV. All rooms in the Arts & Crafts Lodge have antique furniture and feather beds. Those seeking more privacy will want to stay in one of the four cottages, three of which have claw-foot tubs with ocean views.
I've heard that the southern part of Cyprus is a hot destination. Can you suggest a few beachfront hotels?
—Q.O., CHICAGO, ILL
Cyprus, a 4 1/2-hour flight from London, has long been a favorite vacation spot of sun-seeking Europeans. And since the Greek part of the island joined the EU last summer, a flurry of stylish new hotels have opened. The chic 190-room Almyra (357/2693-3091; www.thanoshotels.com; doubles from $250) debuted in the western port town of Paphos last year. The latest property from the family that owns Anassa, one of the country's leading resorts, Almyra has minimalist décor, one slate-lined freshwater swimming pool, and a Mediterranean-Japanese fusion restaurant run by chef Rob Shipman, who was nabbed from London's Nobu. Fifteen minutes north, at Coral Bay, is the even more luxurious 58-room Thalassa (800/525-4800, 357/2688-1500; www.thalassa.com.cy; doubles from $706), overlooking the island's first Mycenaean settlement. In addition to sumptuously appointed quarters (marble bathrooms, iroko parquet floors, whirlpool tubs), the resort has a holistic spa and—for $110 extra per day—personal butler service.
With its clean lines and unpretentious look, Juli Capella’s Hotel Omm projects an incandescent warmth. The interiors, created by Sandra Tarruella and Isabel López, set pale woods in bright, airy rooms against moody, barely lit hallways and stylish lobby areas. The tour de force is the façade, a series of undulating limestone waves that peel back from the guest room windows— a daring echo of the nearby Casa Milà, designed by Antoni Gaudí almost a century ago. The exterior-wall curtain works as more than an artistic statement; it also effectively blocks traffic noise and adds an aura of intimacy to the rooms.
Thalassa Boutique Hotel & Spa
The 58 mod-rustic suites - most with butlers and all named after a Greek god or goddess - are perched on a peninsula just above Coral Bay, overlooking 3,400-year-old Mycenaean ruins. In addition to sumptuously appointed quarters (marble bathrooms, iroko parquet floors, whirlpool tubs), the resort has a holistic spa. Ask your multilingual butler to book one of the spa's Greco-Roman treatments, such as the yogurt, olive oil, and herb-infused Trahana body wrap.
Brewery Gulch Inn
Standing on the balcony of the Osprey Room at the Brewery Gulch Inn might satisfy a lingering childhood fantasy of living in a tree fort. A mile south of the historic California town of Mendocino, the inn is bordered by pine, fir, and hemlock and overlooks verdant meadows and the Pacific Ocean. The redwood-shingled, three-story structure was built from timber eco-salvaged from Mendocino’s Big River. All but one of the 10 bedrooms (each named for one of the region’s birds or trees) have ocean views, Craftsman-style furniture, down comforters, and fireplaces; most have private decks or balconies . The Great Room, with its oversized steel-and-glass fireplace, is an ideal spot for playing backgammon, critiquing local wines, or indulging in a breakfast of slow-braised hash or deconstructed huevos rancheros . For outdoor adventures, have the concierge book a kayak tour of sea caves or a guided horseback ride on the beach—or simply go hug a redwood.
Cyprus, a four-hour flight from London, has long been a favorite vacation spot of sun-seeking Europeans. And since the Greek part of the island joined the European Union, a flurry of stylish new hotels have opened. Among them is the recently revamped Almyra. Located in the western port town of Paphos and within walking distance of two of the most revered archaeological sites in the Mediterranean (the 13th-century Castle of Paphos and the intricately tiled House of Dionysus), the 158-room property has a minimalist décor, a slate-lined freshwater swimming pool, and a Mediterranean-Japanese fusion restaurant run by chef Rob Shipman, who was nabbed from London’s Nobu. It’s also a great place for families, proffering bedtime milk and cookies, children’s books in four languages, a dedicated children’s club and swimming pool, and even a selection of organic baby food.