Travel + Leisure
June 12, 2009

More and more hotels are offering the ultimate in alfresco room service: a made-to-order picnic. Guests at chef Alain Ducasse's Bastide de Moustiers (Moustiers-Ste.-Marie; 33-4/92-70-47-47; www.bastide-moustiers.com; doubles from $228) can explore the Provençal countryside armed with a wicker basket full of fruit tarts and fresh baguettes. • New York's Lake Placid Lodge (Lake Placid; 518/523-2700; www.lakeplacidlodge.com; doubles from $475) prepares hearty sandwiches and freshly baked cookies, parceled up in a backpack for a lakeside meal. • For a thoroughly white-glove experience, order a picnic from the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in London (44-207/235-2000; www.mandarinoriental.com; doubles from $690). A liveried footman will orchestrate a classic English feast in Hyde Park: Cumbrian ham and poached asparagus on fine china—plaid blanket optional.
—AOIFE O'RIORDAIN

Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park

Zen is the mantra at this luxurious, Asian-inflected haven that’s consistently regarded as one of the world’s best hotels. Its location, opposite Harvey Nichols and adjacent to Hyde Park, doesn’t hurt, nor do onsite restaurants Bar Boulud and the Michelin-starred Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. The hotel is also home to London’s best state-of-the-art spa, a deeply cosseting and stylish basement space offering -influenced Aromatherapy Associates treatments, a small vitality pool, steam room, dry sauna, and a gym. Bedrooms are large, decadent, and comfortable, with gold-hued drapes, marble-topped tables, and sumptuous bathrooms with Ormonde Jayne products—plus slick service.

La Bastide de Moustiers

Lake Placid Lodge

After a devastating fire in 2005 damaged the original 1882 main house, the hotel reopened a new five-suite 30,000-square-foot main building in August of 2008. The new lodge's style is updated Arts and Crafts with antique local furniture. But the property's best feature is still down by the private shore: 17 luxe log cabins built in the 1920's and 1930's. The service is impeccable and out of sight. Return from dinner and a fire has miraculously been lit in the stone fireplace, and wood replenished in a neatly stacked pile beside the hearth. Breakfast (a plate of raspberry pancakes, tiny jars of house-made preserves) arrives magically in a wicker basket and is whisked away when you're not looking. Blanket-strewn Adirondack chairs from a circle around the fire pit at dusk, with the makings of s'mores (fresh marshmallows, artisanal chocolate) on a tiday table nearby. The hotel's romantic Artisans restaurant offers a fresh spin on the area's warm-your-bones cuisine thanks to chef Mark Hannon, who pairs lamb loin with fava beans, English peas, and mint. What to drink? Perhaps a 2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the property’s 6,000-bottle wine cellar.

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