T+L Editor's Picks of Hotels, Shops, Restaurants, and More
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T+L Editor's Picks of Hotels, Shops, Restaurants, and More

Our itinerant staffers logged more than 1 million miles traversing the globe last year. Here, some of our favorite hotel finds, from unforgettable rooms and one-of-a-kind meals to intrepid concierges and style-setting boutiques.

Favorite Spaces

The lobby of the Dorchester, in London, is everything an important hotel lobby should be: at once grand and intimate, classic and modern. You can have a cozy chat in an alcove, and you'll feel as if you're on a catwalk when you approach reception. www.dorchesterhotel.com

Room 405 at the Gora Kadan, in Hakone, Japan, has a watercolor-worthy view of a valley dotted with cherry and pine trees, and an onsen tub big enough for a sumo wrestler. On the desk is a lacquer writing box with paper, dry ink, and a traditional bamboo brush, just in case you feel inspired to pen a haiku. www.gorakadan.com

With its 230-degree views of the Indian Ocean—plus a private lap pool, terrace, and bale (bamboo pavilion) for meals and napping in the shade—the Indrakila suite at Bali's Amankila is close to perfection. www.amanresorts.com

The spa bungalows at the Four Seasons Resort, Carmelo, Uruguay, are the ultimate place for alfresco bathing: each has a shower tucked away in its own garden. The sleek, color-saturated Asian interiors are an unexpected pleasure in the middle of a South American eucalyptus forest. www.fourseasons.com

Quintessentially Dutch (i.e., supremely tasteful, in a laid-back way), the Picasso Suite at Seven One Seven, in Amsterdam, occupies the entire front half of the hotel's second floor; it has an antique refectory table with two huge Belgian-linen slip-covered sofas on either side, and five enormous picture windows facing the Prinsengracht. Squint, and you're back in the 18th century. www.717hotel.nl

The Vera Wang boutique at Honolulu's Halekulani is the source for her lines of crystal and silver-plate serving pieces, her collection of correspondence cards, and more. www.halekulani.com

Italian architect-designer Maria Hedley stocks the boutique at Carlisle-Bay, Antigua with a surp rising selection of treats: handmade coral jewelry and children's clothes from small Italian and Belgian designers such as Livio de Simone and Archimede. www.carlisle-bay.com

For a stylish mix of Muriel Brandolini caftans, Missoni bikinis, and jewelry designed by Alexis Bittar, Julie Sandlau, and Colette Malouf—in short, everything you need to fit in poolside in South Beach—we love the shop at the Raleigh. www.raleighhotel.com

In the pool villas at Trisara, in Phuket, the beds are positioned to overlook each villa's gorgeous private swimming pool and, beyond, the Andaman Sea. www.trisara.com

Venice's Oltre il Giardino, an inn set in a house once owned by Gustav Mahler's widow, Alma, has a beautiful walled garden filled with olive trees and magnolias, perfect for breakfast in warmer weather. www.oltreilgiardino-venezia.com

It may not be the most lavish of the breed, but the infinity pool at the Horned Dorset Primavera, in Puerto Rico, is one of the most serene. It's rarely crowded, because the resort is so secluded and most guests spend the day by the larger, more central pool. Plus, you can lean right over its edge to watch the waves steadily lapping the shore below. www.horneddorset.com

Wine and Dine

After running restaurants in SoHo and Cape Town, Geoffrey Murray left the urban grind to create a fresh-from-the-earth concept at North Island, Seychelles. New chef David Godin continues the tradition with breadfruit-and-citronella soup, Creole octopus curry, and bananas St. Jacques. www.north-island.com

The minuscule 10-seat dining counter of Kyoto's Yoshikawa Inn focuses on tempura specialties: whitefish, tiny shrimps, bamboo, shiitake, fiddlehead fern, and sweet potato, all dipped in roiling oil in a perfectly polished copper wok. Truly superb. www.kyoto-yoshikawa.co.jp

Luca Mazzola at Villa Amistà restaurant, in Verona's Byblos Art Hotel, makes his own bread and grows his own vegetables; it shows in the exceptional flavors and textures of his cuisine. www.worldhotels.com

Fasano at the Hotel Fasano, in São Paulo, has it going on, looks-wise (soaring ceiling, incredible wine rack, plenty of models and celebrities) and substance-wise (faultless authentic Italian cuisine from chef Salvatore Loi). www.fasano.com.br

The enchiladas at Cielo, at Ventana Inn & Spa in Big Sur, with perfectly smoky mole sauce and just-made guacamole, have been on the menu for years for good reason. Pair them with a Negra Modelo and the view down the coast toward San Simeon, and you know you're in California. www.ventanainn.com

Caprice, at the new Four Seasons Hong Kong, is dazzling—with inlaid glass panels and flooring, East-meets-West detailing, panoramic views of Victoria Harbour, and modern cuisine from the former sous-chef at the Four Seasons Georges V in Paris. www.fourseasons.com

Is there anything more indulgent than opening your door, padding across a lush lawn in your pajamas and bare feet, and picking your own grapefruit at the Mojave Resort in Palm Desert, California? No. This is exactly why you schlepped here all the way from Duluth. www.hotelmojave.com

Gae Aulenti designed the romantic, whimsical champagne and raw bar on the terrace at Le Sirenuse to highlight one of Positano's most spectacular views of the Mediterranean. www.sirenuse.it

The crowd is always an eclectic mix, but during the South by Southwest music festival in March, the bar at Austin's Driskill Hotel cannot be beat for off-the-charts rock-star spotting. www.driskillhotel.com

Establishment Hotel, in Sydney, is the heart of the city's late-night action, with top-notch bars, lounges, and clubs—not to mention one of Sydney's best restaurants, Est., only steps from your room or suite. www.establishmenthotel.com

A flute of Lanson rosé at the Bar Fontainebleau at Paris's Le Meurice—the perfect place to admire the parading beau monde during Fashion Week. www.meuricehotel.com

The Lobby Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental in New York has a heart-stopping 35th-floor view over all of midtown Manhattan and serves Harushika Tokimeki sparkling sake. www.mandarinoriental.com/newyork

Services We Love

The Pilates facilities in the spa at the Landmark Mandarin Hong Kong, with its contemporary Asian style, are extraordinary. Meela is a brilliant instructor. www.mandarinoriental.com

The new 42,000-square-foot spa at the Peninsula, in Beverly Hills, has waterfalls, dark brown cork floors, and periwinkle-blue carpeted walls. Try a gemstone oil massage, with products imported from Dubai. www.beverlyhills.peninsula.com

At the Datai in Langkawi, Malaysia, open-air couples' treatments are given on a teakwood terrace right at the edge of the forest. A pack of tiny black monkeys might be frolicking in the trees above, watching you both. www.thedatai.com

The best 360-degree views of Lisbon can be had from the running track on the roof of the Four Seasons Ritz, Lisbon. www.fourseasons.com

Casa Howard in Florence has custom-packaged pomegranate and mint soaps from the Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy—which happens to be right next door. www.casahoward.com

The telescopes in the suites at the Peninsula Hong Kong exploit the hotel's Kowloon views to the fullest—and are a beautiful, antique brass and teakwood retro touch in an otherwise totally automated environment. www.hongkong.peninsula.com

The Villa Feltrinelli, in Gargnano, Italy, takes laundry service to new heights of luxury: each article of clothing is folded perfectly, wrapped in tissue, and tied up with a silk ribbon and a sprig of lavender. www.villafeltrinelli.com

Banyan Tree in the Seychelles has the most stylish welcome pack—tropical-print slippers that come in a chic little drawstring bag and a coordinating cosmetics case. www.banyantree.com/seychelles

The Hotel Monasterio, in Cuzco, Peru, has the most beautiful, and appropriate, background music: Gregorian chants, playing softly at all hours. www.monasterio.orient-express.com

Securing everything from hot restaurant reservations to the hardest-to-get theater tickets is a breeze for the concierges at the Lanesborough, in London, and they always have the inside scoop on where to shop. www.starwoodhotels.com

Alejandro Peralta, the butler at Las Ventanas al Pararíso, in Los Cabos, is almost psychic—and incredibly gracious. He sets up laptops, coordinates appointments, recommends menus, arranges car rentals, and keeps an eye out for overzealous beach vendors. www.lasventanas.com

Alessandra Roberti Cozzo, the concierge at Rome's Hotel de Russie, trained at the Hyde Park Hotel in London but is a born-and-bred Trasteverina, so she knows the ins and outs of every neighborhood in Rome. www.hotelderussie.it

Guy Palme, the leopard-safari guide at South Africa's Phinda Game Reserve, has been tracking the cats for research purposes for years, so sightings are virtually guaranteed—along with a wealth of information. www.phinda.com

The artistic flower-petal designs on the beds at La Casa Que Canta, in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, were a lovely surprise—and added even more romance to the room. www.lacasaquecanta.com

The babysitters on the Crystal Serenity require almost no advance notice—and seem to genuinely love kids. www.crystalcruises.com

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