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Shhh...50 Secret Hotels

LODGES
Cape Lodge Caves Rd., Yallingup, Australia; 61-8/9755-6311, fax 61-8/9755-6322; doubles from $107. In the heart of the Margaret River region, the new Cape Lodge is the perfect base for winery-hopping. Surrounded by 10 acres of forest scattered with ponds, the lodge consists of a 1920's homestead and an old gatehouse. The dining room is a divine open space with soaring ceilings and exposed beams. Furnishings in the 18 suites are sleek and modern—lots of beige and gray—and the owner drives around in an antique silver Porsche Roadster.

Chico Hot Springs Lodge 1 Chico Rd., Pray, Mont.; 800/468-9232 or 406/333-4933, fax 406/333-4694; doubles from $85. In Montana's celestial Paradise Valley, this century-old lodge has 95 rustic guest rooms and two outdoor hot-springs pools (one is at 104 degrees, the other at 98) that will prove addictive. Don't be surprised if you never make it to Yellowstone, just 30 miles away. Chico's amiably raucous saloon is a watering hole for local landowning celebrities, such as Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid.

WORKING FARMS
Freshwater Point 56 Nobelius Dr., Legana, Tasmania, Australia; phone and fax 61-3/6330-2200, fax 61-3/6330-2030; doubles from $81. Stylish Jan-Creed Thomas runs this sheep farm on the Tamar River in northern Tasmania. The 1820's homestead is a charmer, but families will want to take over one of the three cottages, each with a kitchen. When strolling through allées of century-old weepingelm trees on the massive lawn that rolls right down to the riverbank, keep an eye out for the sheep that wander the grounds. Freshwater Point is gorgeous year-round, but particularly stunning during the warm-weather months, November to February.

Le Mas de Peint Le Sambuc, Arles, France; 33-4/90-97-20-62, fax 33-4/90-97-22-20; doubles from $194. An immaculately restored bull farm on a wind-raked plain in the heart of the Camargue provides the powerful location for this one-of-a-kind guesthouse. Accommodations achieve a rare, knowing blend of simplicity and sophistication. And you couldn't possibly ask for warmer or more knowledgeable hosts: Lucille and Jacques Bon provide the keys to one of France's most difficult-to-unlock regions.

LAKEFRONT GETAWAYS
Hostería Las Balsas Bahia Las Balsas, Villa la Angostura, Neuquen, Argentina; phone and fax 54-2944/494-308; doubles from $250. Rugged Patagonia meets the savoir faire of Paul Smith at this stylish inn overlooking the blue-green waters of Lake Nahuel Huapí, in Argentina's Lake Region. The 15 rooms are individually decorated with antique beds and dried flowers. An array of outdoor activities—hiking, horseback riding, fishing, skiing—makes Las Balsas a dream for sports lovers.

Sunset Resort Old W. Harbor Rd., Washington Island, Wis.; 920/847-2531; doubles from $72. Regulars at this fourth-generation family-owned and -operated resort claim to get weak in the knees as they drive down the ferry ramp onto Washington Island, just thinking about the coffee cake. Not to mention the specialties brought from the old country, such as Icelandic pancakes (thin crêpes, rolled in powdered sugar) and Norwegian grilled toast, a French toast cousin that's dipped in crumbs and fried on the griddle. But the real attraction is evenings on the shore, where guests of this 11-room lodge can sit in the breeze (scented by Door County's wooded headlands) and watch the sun set over Green Bay and the grand arc of the Wisconsin coast.

Locanda San Vigilio Near Verona, Italy; 39-045/725-6688, fax 39-045/725-6551; doubles from $285. With Lake Garda lapping the 16th-century foundation and an ancient olive grove out back, the 14-room Locanda San Vigilio is molto romantico. Dine alfresco on the pebbled terrace, dabble in watercolors on the lakefront loggia (Winston Churchill did), sip grappa in the adjacent marina tavern, or climb the cobbled pathway to explore the placid Bay of Sirens. Then again, you could just fling open the shuttered windows in your room to watch the sailboats race by on the lake below.

URBAN OASES
Albergo Internazionale 79 Via Sistina, Rome; 39-06/6994-1823, fax 39-06/678-4764; doubles from $184. In a smart location—literally steps from the Spanish Steps and the legendary Hotel Hassler—this 42-room Roman hideaway offers old-world charm, modern comfort, and great rates for rooms with wisteria-veiled terraces. A massive breakfast is served in two formal salons lit by Murano chandeliers.

And Hotel 40 Yerebatan Cad, Istanbul; 90-212/512-0207, fax 90-212/512-3025; doubles $60. In the Old City, a block or two from Sultanahmet and Hagia Sophia, the And Hotel is so obscure even its name is obtuse. Ask for the fourth-floor room: clean, a bit small, but with modern fixtures and a glass sliding door that frames the domes and spires of Hagia Sophia. As dawn breaks and the mosque's loudspeakers call the faithful to prayer, you'll be as close to a hotel epiphany as you've ever been. The And also has a rooftop restaurant with a 360-degree view of the Old City and the Bosporus. The breakfast buffet, with such treats as rose jam, is served there. In the off-season, get ready to negotiate—the price of a room will go as low as $30 a night for two people, including breakfast.

Auberge Saint-Antoine 10 Rue St.-Antoine, Quebec City, Canada; 888/692-2211 or 418/692-2211, fax 418/692-1177; doubles from $202. The reception area, with its worn hardwood floors, exposed-beam ceilings, and fat-with-down sofas, is your first clue that you've found bliss in chilly Quebec. The warm chocolate-chip cookies waiting in your room are the next. But the 31 rooms themselves, each decorated differently with dignified desks and whimsical beds, offer incontrovertible proof.

Devereux Boutique Hotel 267 Remuera Rd., Auckland, New Zealand; 64-9/524-5044, fax 64-9/524-5080; doubles from $82. In the posh suburb of Remuera, the Devereux offers a touch of the exotic. Each of the 11 rooms in this refurbished brothel represents a different part of the world: the Orient Room has antique kimonos and an opium-den headboard; the Cairo Room features a lion-head chair and papyrus art; the Taj Room is filled with vivid silks and carved wood.

Hôtel au Relais du Louvre 19 Rue des Prêtres-St-Germain-l'Auxerrois, Paris; 33-1/40-41-96-42, fax 33-1/40-41-96-44; doubles from $140. You can attain one of life's goals—uncovering the perfect romantic Parisian getaway—at the Relais, a trim little First Arrondissement town house bright with flowered fabrics and polished antiques. Check into a room under the eaves, lean out the window, and be dazzled by the endless view of tumbling rooftops, tall church steeples, and, just beyond, the Louvre.

Hotel Bohème 444 Columbus Ave., San Francisco; 415/433-9111, fax 415/362-6292; doubles from $129. The Bohème is a set piece, done up to take you back to the fifties. The 15 rooms are small but delicious, painted in colors you can taste (mint, persimmon), upholstered with vintage fabrics, and stage-managed to the tiniest detail, including a razor-sharp unpainted pencil next to the phone. Hallways are lined with black-and-white photos of jazz musicians, beat writers, and artists.

Jing Jiang Hotel 59 Mao Ming Rd., Shanghai, China; 86-21/6258-2582, fax 86-21/6215-5588; doubles from $200. While service is mediocre at best (though for China it's considered excellent), this all-suite hotel is a real Shanghai surprise. Dark browns and inlaid woods permeate the 24 suites; the Art Deco-style lobby is filled with etched mirrors, marble floors, and frosted-glass sconces. No tacky fountains, ornate chandeliers, or gold taps here—we're talking slick and sophisticated.

Searcy's Roof Garden Bedrooms 30 Pavilion Rd., London; 44-171/584-4921, fax 44-171/823-8694; doubles from $209. A longtime insider's secret, these 11 rooms without a lobby are tucked into the top of a building near Sloane Square-and yes, there is a roof garden. You'll be happy to linger in the room, done up in classic chintzes, with a cast-iron tub. A continental breakfast of hot croissants and orange juice is brought to your door; then it's time for a quick trip to Harvey Nicks, just down the road.

U.S. INNS
East Wind Inn Mechanic St., Tenants Harbor, Maine; 800/241-8439 or 207/372-6366, fax 207/372-6320; doubles from $138. Rooms with a view and the angelic fragrance of the sea are the essential ingredients for a perfect inn. Days at 26-room East Wind, in a quiet seaside village on the St. George Peninsula, begin with coffee on the harborfront porch and end with fresh seafood served in the candlelit dining room. With each passing moment you'll feel farther and farther away.

Old Inn on the Green Rte. 57, Village Green, New Marlborough, Mass.; 800/286-3139 or 413/229-3131, fax 413/229-8236; doubles from $175. A discreet route to Tanglewood passes through the tiny town of New Marlborough, where the Inn on the Green is a charming alternative to the Berkshires' ritzier hotels. And it's just what a New England inn should be—white wraparound porch, rickety wooden staircase leading up to five bedrooms. (If you prefer a modern take on rustic chic, check out Gedney Farm, the inn's 12-room sister up the street, in two converted turn-of-the-century barns.)

Simpson House Inn 121 E. Arrellaga St., Santa Barbara, Calif.; 800/676-1280 or 805/963-7067, fax 805/564-4811; doubles $175. Santa Barbara's Simpson House Inn is a gem, surrounded by an acre of English gardens. Its 14 rooms (spread through the Victorian main house, cottages, and renovated barn) are decorated with hand-painted wallpaper and European antiques, including Louis XIV beds. But what most distinguishes this B&B is the hands-on attention of owners Glyn and Linda Sue Davies.

Tuscany Inn 22 N. Water St., Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard, Mass.; 508/627-5999, fax 508/627-6605; doubles from $200. Innkeeper Laura Brana goes out of her way to make you feel at home in her 1893 ship captain's house, known to savvy Vineyard vacationers as the cost-saving substitute for the Charlotte Inn. Take cappuccino, sherry, and homemade biscotti in a library filled with overstuffed sofas and chairs. While you might be tempted to sleep late, don't miss Brana's incredible buttermilk-blueberry pancakes. The best room is No. 1, at the top of the staircase.

COLONIAL INN
Casa Luna 11 Pila Seca, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; phone and fax 52-415/21117; doubles $85. If you can live without room service and a newspaper outside your door, you'll adore Casa Luna, a 300-year-old Spanish house in San Miguel's town center. Eight enormous rooms with stone fireplaces surround a flower-bedecked courtyard. It's all the creation of Dianne Kushner, a former psychotherapist who gave up her practice to move to Mexico and and start this remarkable bed-and-breakfast.

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