Credit: David Alexander Arnold

Even in New York City, where I live, hotels are a happily unavoidable part of my life. This morning I started out at 8:30 a.m. at the Lambs Club, Geoffrey Zakarian’s restaurant in the Chatwal Hotel, which along with Sirio’s at the Pierre is one of my frequent haunts for breakfast meetings. My haircuts take place at the Carlyle, where I visit Yves Durif’s salon each month; and weekdays you would find me in the Loews Regency gym by 7 a.m., until the hotel closed for renovation in December; it will reopen in the fall with a gym for guests only.

Putting together Travel + Leisure’s annual Hotels Issue is a campaign played out on many fronts, with scores of meetings among our editors to review story lineups and contenders for our annual It List of the best new properties. This month’s cover article, by writer Alexandra Wolfe, presents the 21st-century haute-luxury incarnation of Puerto Rico’s legendary Dorado Beach Hotel, from the original private landing strip to the beige-toned bungalows with plunge pools and the winding cupey-tree-lined paths and beaches. Editor-at-large Peter Jon Lindberg reports on his trip to Zambia, a still-under-the-radar African safari destination with camps that are no less stylish for being simple. Our wine and spirits editor Bruce Schoenfeld traveled from Maine to Texas and Wisconsin to Montana to uncover a handful of American lakefront resorts that offer up the quintessential pleasures of the family vacations of his childhood. Daphne Merkin returns to St. Mawes, a former fishing village on the coast of Cornwall, England, where palm trees long ago imported from China mingle with pastel-painted cottages and ivy-covered buildings with thatched roofs. Just for fun, we drop in on a group of well-traveled canines on a sleepover date at a dog-friendly hotel in L.A. And to help you get the most out of your hotel experience, we devote our Strategies section to “Your A to Z Guide to a Better Hotel Stay,” and present a roll call of winners for T+L’s World’s Best Service Awards 2013, along with some hotel service secrets.

Last weekend I joined my daughter, Caroline, and a friend for a cooking class with Chris Eddy, the chef at Winvian, a Relais & Châteaux hideaway in Morris, Connecticut. The subject this time was roast chicken and sides, from mushrooms and cauliflower to rutabaga, and one of the best parts of it all was lunch in the dining room, feeling like a guest, within easy distance of where I spend weekends—when I’m not on the road.

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Twitter: @TLNancy