It may be as simple as a comfortable mattress and great pillows, a good showerhead or a generous soaking tub, the lighting, room service, or even the bath products, but some hotel rooms just feel right. I was not surprised to see that respondents to a recent Harrison Group survey about affluence and wealth in America, commissioned by T+L’s parent company, American Express Publishing Corporation, valued quality, craftsmanship, and design over luxury, privilege, and prestige. It’s back to basics—where having enough light to read by really counts.
This month in Travel + Leisure, we present our annual Hotels Issue, with its centerpiece, "The It List", showcasing our favorite new properties around the world. You’ll find 25 places to add to your itinerary wish lists, in New York, Venice, Chile’s Atacama Desert, Ko Samui in Thailand, and more. We also take you to Phu Quoc, off the coast of Vietnam, which T+L special correspondent Peter Lindberg believes is slated to become the next great Asian resort destination ("Waking Beauty"). And something is most certainly afoot in that quintessentially American genre, motels, as Charles Gandee discovered while visiting five exuberantly modern roadside properties that are attracting an enthusiastic following ("Motel Chic"). Christopher Petkanas checks in on classics of a very different sort: the recently renovated Ritz Paris ("Puttin’ on the Ritz") and six enduring hotels in Bermuda whose dependable appeal has, thankfully, not been altered ("In the Pink").
Then there’s the all-important human element, which can make or break a hotel experience, not to mention a property’s success in T+L’s 2007 World’s Best Service Awards. At a good hotel, it’s not just the sensory comfort you experience—it’s knowing that someone has taken the time to understand what you like and cares enough to see that you feel good. It’s the hospitality-industry equivalent of a warm embrace.
Tip Trips: Cairo
Abercrombie & Kent’s star Egyptologist, Akram Allam
He reveals secrets of the pharoahs and the ancient world. 800/554-7016; www.abercrombiekent.com.
For stylish fashion, jewelry, and handicrafts by women in need. Mohamed Anis St., Zamalek, Cairo; 20-2/736-4827.
The address in Cairo for Coptic- and Islamic-inspired jewelry in gold and semiprecious stones. 10 Nile St., Giza; 20-2/571-3457.
Seasons Restaurant at Four Seasons Cairo at the First Residence
Only because Sicilian chef Giancarlo Gottardo is one of the best Italian chefs around. 35 Giza St., Giza; 20-2/573-1212; www.fourseasons.com.