I approach hotel rooms gingerly—a behavior that has become more pronounced, rather than reduced, by the frequency with which I travel. I don’t bring along scented candles, family photos, or any other domestic talismans to sprinkle around the surfaces. I don’t expend any effort trying to make my hotel room feel like home. What’s the use? First, the point of being in a hotel is the pleasure of a kind of otherness, of not being at home—being catered to; being able to eat breakfast delivered by room service or a waiter in the restaurant; having fresh towels, turndown service, and someone to worry about your comfort level or to complain to when it’s not met. Then, too, making a hotel into home, given the whirlwind way I travel, would never work—spreading around remnants of home would only make me miss it more. I have discovered through years of trial and error that giving in to a kind of permanent otherness in hotels is the best strategy for me.
Once again we offer an entire issue devoted to hotels, which today are displaying an increasing degree of regional authenticity. Hotels are, more and more, embodiments of culture and place. This is certainly true about the profusion of borgo hotels in Tuscany and beyond that Peter Jon Lindberg describes in “Reviving the Italian Village”—a happy collision of property development and preservation. Authentic in a different but no less powerful way, the Swedish design hotels in Heather Smith MacIsaac’s “Sweden’s New Eco-Friendly Hotels” are stunning reminders of the Scandinavian taste for modernity and nature.
Here, a confession: I don’t think I’ve been up after hours in any hotel for more years than I can count, but the same cannot be said of all T+L writers and photographers. In this issue we present a portfolio by Robert Whitman, photographed over five days in April in six Los Angeles hotels between midnight and 4 a.m. There’s also, as in every June Hotels issue for the past five years, T+L editors’ selection of the 50 best new hotels throughout the world (“It List”)—a compendium that we hope you’ll turn to for advice again and again.
There’s much more, of course, from the local favorites of top hotel chefs in Mexico City, New York City, Paris, and Melbourne and the World’s Best Service survey results to a story about the transformation being wrought in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood by—you guessed it—a smart new hotel. Speaking of new hotels, I’m off to another one tomorrow morning: the Montage Deer Valley, where the American Express Publishing Luxury Summit 2011 is being held. One good thing about me and hotels: I never lose my enthusiasm for seeing the next one, whether or not I fully move in.
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