May 08, 2009

Dying to take home the dessert cart?Hotels will now deliver their signature treats to your front door (shipping is extra). Chef Robert Carter of the Planters Inn ships his classic seven-layer cake ($55; www.coconutcakes.com), drenched in coconut simple syrup, direct from Charleston. Serve it with a scoop of Choc-Olympic-Cherry ice cream—studded with chocolate-covered Rainier cherries—from the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle's secret supplier ($28; 425/771-0944). The Kahala Mandarin Oriental in Honolulu sends a one-pound box of its macadamia nut clusters ($19; 808/739-8890) smothered in white, milk, or dark chocolate. And for an haute treat, order exquisite marshmallows infused with rose, lavender, orange, and lemon from the concierge at the Hôtel Meurice in Paris ($42; 33-1/44-58-10-10).
—Shane Mitchell

The Fairmont Olympic Hotel

If your preferred aesthetic is grande dame rather than high design, this historic property—which has hosted black-tie galas since 1924—is your only choice in Seattle. Afternoon tea in the Terrace Lounge, outrageously expensive shopping in the adjacent arcade, and elbows-off-the-table dining at the vaunted Georgian all create a sense of old-world glamour that’s rare in this city. Extensive renovations in 2010 refreshed all 450 of the rooms, and replaced the dated pastel color scheme with a richer palette of cranberry, gold, and robin’s egg blue accents in others. Designer Jinnie Kim updated the hotel’s elegant interiors without turning them into a postmodern hodgepodge; a dark wood chair with classic Biedermeier lines may be upholstered in lime green, while the modern marble sheen of the bathrooms might be tempered by delightful trompe l’oeil wallpaper.

Kahala Hotel & Resort

Oahu classic—fresh from a three-year, $52 million renovation—with thoughtful in-room details (Egyptian-cotton linens; chenille robes; oversize rainfall showerheads). This 1964 colossus benefits from having about it a whiff of retro glamour. It was here, at what was then a Hilton and known as the Kahollywood, that Richard Burton and Liz Taylor hid out from the paparazzi in a private cabana.

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