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Shhh...50 Secret Hotels

Hotel De Witte Lelie 16-18 Keizerstraat, Antwerp, Belgium; 32-3/226-1966, fax 32-3/234-0019; doubles from $225. Molded out of an aristocratic 15th-century mansion, this 10-room hotel is now a cool confluence of white-slipcovered chairs and sofas, thick Iranian carpets, and ever-changing arrangements of fresh flowers. The teak terrace of room No. 10 is fabulous in warm weather. A sensational breakfast of charcuterie, cheese, eggs to order, and pastries is included in the rate.

Grand Hôtel Nord-Pinus Place du Forum, Arles, France; 33-4/90-93-44-44, fax 33-4/90-93-34-00; doubles from $135. Giddy beds fashioned of swirling wrought iron, leather club chairs, and vintage corrida posters contribute to the deliciously louche character of an institution adored by Henry James, Picasso, and Simone Signoret. During the bullfight season in Arles's Roman arena, grab a stool in the memorabilia-stuffed bar for a pastis with native son Christian Lacroix.

Green House 17 Österlånggatan, Stockholm; 46-8/237-392, fax 46-8/203-098; doubles from $286. Sweden's greatest jewel is known only to a few faithful regulars who book its six rooms months in advance. In Stockholm's Gamla Stan (Old Town), near the Royal Palace, the Neoclassical Green House is like a 15th-century mansion filled with lovely art and antiques from across Europe. Room service is limited, but the restaurant downstairs (of the same name) is well known among local epicures.

Hanseatic Hotel 150 Sierechstrasse, Hamburg; 49-40/485-772, fax 49-40/485-773; doubles from $162. It would be easy to walk right past the Hanseatic; a discreet brass plaque is the only indication that within this former merchant's house lie 12 of Hamburg's most sought-after rooms. Although there's no restaurant, breakfast, snacks, and early-evening drinks are served in the lounge. Don't leave without sampling the homemade apricot jam.

Hunter's Hotel Newrath Bridge, Rathnew, Ireland; 353-404/40106, fax 353-404/40338; doubles from $71. An ancient coaching inn amid the greenery of County Wicklow, Hunter's—run by five generations of the Gelletlie family—is squeaky-floored, Georgian-windowed, and scented by old woodsmoke. Tea in the back parlor overlooking a large garden full of flowers is alone worth the journey.

Hôtel Le Grimaldi 15 Rue Grimaldi, Nice, France; 33-4/93-16-00-24, fax 33-4/93-87-00-24; doubles from $79. Living the high life in Nice without high prices used to be difficult until Le Grimaldi opened this spring. Just a five-minute walk from the Promenade des Anglais, the hotel has 23 rooms in a Belle Époque building, all plaster swags and balconies and snappy blue awnings. Inside, past the gleaming, glamorous lobby, guest rooms are smartly dressed in Provençal fabrics, with luxurious baths.

Buckhorn Inn 2140 Tudor Mountain Rd., Gatlinburg, Tenn.; 423/436-4668, fax 423/436-5009; doubles from $115. Blackberry Farm may be the Smoky Mountain inn that gets all the attention, but if you like gracious Southern living without flash, the genteel Buckhorn is happy to oblige. Whether you're hiking the inn's nature trail or just taking in the view of misty Mount LeConte from one of the rocking chairs on the flagstone terrace, you'll find it hard to believe that the cacophony of Gatlinburg is only six miles away. Be sure to book a table in advance for the inn's excellent dinners.

Elimo Hotel 75 Via Vittorio Emanuele, Erice, Italy; 39-0923/869-377, fax 39-0923/869-252; doubles from $137. Set back from Trapani on the west coast of Sicily and pitched at a cloud-scraping 2,300 feet, Erice is so ravishing that lovers of the medieval town would sleep on a cot for the privilege of visiting it. Luckily, that's not necessary. The Elimo is a modest, friendly, efficiently run establishment that doesn't intrude on Erice's thick, brooding atmosphere.

Roemerhof at the Romantik Hotel Tennerhof 26 Griesenauweg, Kitzbühel, Austria; 43-5356/631-810, fax 43-5356/631-8170; doubles from $156. Although the Tennerhof is the luxury-seeking skier's favorite, the secret here is to come in summer and stay in the less-expensive but just-as-Tyrolean annex, the Roemerhof. Enjoy long walks in the countryside, then head to the Roemerhof's café for a glass of Grüner Veltliner (a dry white Austrian wine) and some Kaiserschmarren (sugar-dusted pancakes) before you tuck yourself under the eiderdown.

Sleeping Lady 7375 Icicle Rd., Leavenworth, Wash.; 800/574-2123 or 509/782-1040, fax 509/548-6312; doubles from $220, including all meals. Owner Harriet Bullitt is an avid environmentalist who caters to both the artistic set and the Audubon crowd at her converted youth camp in the Cascade Range. Stay in private cedar cabins which are clustered around courtyards and set among ponderosa pines. Lying in your log bed, you can hear the river running right through the camp and the sounds of the hundreds of migratory birds that congregate here.


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