Looking for that perfect travel memento? Here, our favorite signature treats from hotels around the world.
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A trendy, artist-filled neighborhood in Mexico City now has a hip hotel to match. Surrounded by restaurants, bars, art galleries, and leafy tree-lined streets, Condesa DF is one of the most happening places in town. Paris-based interior designer India Mahdavi enlivened a triangular 1920’s French Neoclassical building with floral patterns and vibrant turquoise walls in the public spaces. The 40 rooms, arrayed around a central courtyard, marry indigenous materials (stone floors, Oaxacan blankets, alpaca-wool carpets) with sculptural furniture, walnut paneling, and sleek couches with contrast piping. The place heats up at night, when the rooftop sushi bar and basement dance club pulse with house music and bright young things dancing till four in the morning.
Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong
A stem-to-stern renovation completed in 2006 (to the tune of $150 million) renewed the luster of this legendary property—a decades-long favorite of visiting dignitaries like Margaret Thatcher and Henry Kissinger. Many of the 501 rooms have been enlarged (by enclosing the balconies in glass); high-tech amenities like Wi-Fi, and touch-screen lighting and temperature control have also been added. The décor’s been updated, too, with plush velvety fabrics, wood wall panels, and colorfully glazed Asian ceramics. Though there’s a spa on three floors with Chinese herbal steam rooms, bathing beauties may be perfectly content to languish in their own airy marble bathrooms, kitted out with Hermès toiletries. The real choice comes in the form of 10 different restaurants and bars. Our favorites: Man Wah, with its classic Cantonese cuisine, and the sophisticated French-influenced Pierre, helmed by chef Pierre Gagnaire.
Ojai Valley Inn & Spa
The 220-acre Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, situated in a mountain valley that aptly portrayed Shangri-la in the 1937 film Lost Horizon, has long been known for its classic 18-hole golf course and for its Native American–culture- inspired spa. Now it has upped the ante with a $70 million renovation, creating a new lobby, adding an additional 100 guest rooms, and refurbishing the existing 205 rooms with four-poster beds and decorative Mexican terra-cotta tiles.
The Peninsula Hong Kong
St. Regis New York
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi
The city's grande dame. All 364 rooms include modern amenities, but those in the original wing have a traditional feel.
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.
Montage Beverly Hills
On a prime swath of Los Angeles real estate, this Spanish-style 201-room hotel mixes old-Hollywood touches with modern glam. Mediterranean elements skip from star lanterns and hand-painted tiles to lacy grillwork and brawny furniture with dark wood frames and nailhead trim. Plush and persuasive as they are, Montage’s visuals are not considered to be its sharpest weapon. Neither is the 20,000-square-foot spa, with its sensual whiff of a Moroccan hammam; three restaurants; or 44-foot rooftop pool, which is attended by eight cabanas and faced with approximately 1.32 million individually hand-set mother-of-pearl mosaic tiles. The hotel’s success is based on its impeccable service and amenities. All guests have access to the hotel’s fleet of GPS-equipped Mercedes-Benz cars. The hotel also offers flexible round-the-clock check-in and checkout.
Antica Corte Pallavicina Relais
If culatello, an über-prosciutto produced in the misty lowlands near Parma, is a porcine cult favorite, then its high priest is Massimo Spigaroli—one of Italy’s top salumi producers, president of the Culatello di Zibello Consorzio, chef of the legendary Al Cavallino Bianco restaurant, and a great-grandson of a farmer who cured hams for Giuseppe Verdi. And now he’s a hotelier, too, with a new inn in a medieval castle on his historic farm estate, Antica Corte. After a feast of salumi and divine eggy pastas, guests can collapse into a four-poster bed in one of the six rooms, with antique furniture, Oriental carpets on tiled floors, and rustic-chic designer bathrooms. Following a breakfast of flaky crostata tarts and farm-fresh yogurt in a vaulted chamber decorated with 15th-century frescoes, guests can amble by the farm’s heirloom geese and black Culatello pigs. The affordable room prices include a gift basket stuffed with a fine hunk of Parmesan, fruit, the estate’s own wine, and dusky, soft strolghino salami.