In the Spotlight

View from the Pool Terrace at the Grand Hotel Minerva, FlorenceIf asked to picture a postcard version of Florence, the views from the Grand Hotel Minerva are most likely what would come to mind. The lovely rooftop pool and terrace offer up some of the most picturesque views in the city, and many rooms have balconies offering similarly excellent outlooks (most balconies have great views of the Santa Maria Novella Plaza, and those on higher floors have spectacular views of Florence’s skyline). All rooms and suites are spacious, with high ceilings and elegant furniture, and bathrooms are modern (if a little tight). The hotel’s central location, high-end restaurant, and regal historic ambiance make it easy to justify the splurge. Read More »

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Lounge at The Parker Palm Springs
Peak season in Palm Springs is January to May, and we can’t think of many better ways to shake up your winter routine than a long weekend escape to this uber-stylish hotel. The Parker manages to be dressed-up glamorous and laid-back cool all at the same time. The rooms are impressive, with white brick walls, white decor, and private balconies, and the hotel entrance looks like it belongs on a movie set. Get ready to feast your eyes! Read More »

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Aulani, a Disney Resort & SpaThis gorgeous property in the Ko Olina resort complex delivers on all of the Disney staples — but in a much more subtle way than the brand’s mainland destinations. Service is excellent, the food is delicious, and the kids always come first. The pool area is gorgeous, boasting a lazy river, two waterslides, and a manmade reef, and the coved-in lagoon offers calm waters. Room decor is cheerful and bright, with nods to both the Mouse that made Disney famous and Hawaii’s rich culture. It’s one of the best resorts in Oahu for families. Read More »

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The Red InnThe Red Inn in Cape Cod may not be where the Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving, but the Mayflower’s first landfall was at the beach directly in front of the hotel. Today, the luxurious inn, built in 1805, is a local hot spot, thanks to its extremely popular restaurant. The Thanksgiving meal it is serving is probably quite a bit more decadent than what the Pilgrims enjoyed; the menu features items such as lobster corn chowder, savory vegetable bread pudding, and braised pork shank. If we could pick a hotel to stay at this Thanksgiving, this would be at the top of our list. Read More »

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Pool at the Auberge Du SoleilThis 50-room luxury inn is one of the most exclusive (and expensive) destinations in California wine country. Despite its intimate size, it has all the amenities of a larger resort: a 7,000-square-foot luxury spa, a lovely pool, and a Michelin-star restaurant. Views of the surrounding countryside are phenomenal, the grounds are lush and peaceful, and the homey rooms all come with huge terraces (and, in most, fireplaces and soaking tubs). It’s a truly special, romantic retreat, and it’s location in Rutherford is convenient for exploring Napa Valley — but note that there’s nothing within walking distance. Read More »

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The Family Suite at the Eden Roc at Cap Cana, Dominican RepublicThe Eden Roc, opened in 2012, is one of the most high-tech properties in the Dominican Republic, and is located in the gated Cap Cana community — which has a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, marina, and beach club. Unlike the party-centric Punta Cana, Cap Cana attracts a more reserved crowd of couples and families. The sprawling property is best explored via golf cart, and all guests receive one with their suite. Read More »

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Turtle Inn, Belize

Turtle Inn is a recognizable name in Belize — it’s one of the country’s top resorts. Oowned by the Coppola family and sister property to Blancaneaux Lodge, this intimate luxury resort is set alongside a beautiful stretch of the Caribbean Sea near Placencia. Celebs, honeymooners and families co-exist here, but since there are only 25 villas and cottages, guests are assured of plenty of privacy. Decor is authentic Balinese-style, and the grounds feature Indonesian statues, hidden hammocks, and an organic garden that supplies the restaurants. Each room has a fabulous indoor/outdoor bathroom with a Japanese bath, a private garden with an outdoor shower. Three restaurants, two bars, two outdoor pools and a number of guided tours and excursions make the resort feel much bigger than it actually is. Wi-Fi is spotty, but most guests are focused on unplugging outdoors: Excellent snorkeling and scuba diving at the Belize Barrier Reef is a short boat ride away. Read More »

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Library at The NoMad Hotel, New York City

After its opening in 2011, the NoMad quickly emerged as one of New York City’s trendiest hotels — which is no small accomplishment considering the stiff competition. Centrally located near Madison Square Park, The Nomad (which shares its name with the surrounding neighborhood north of Madison Square Garden) is a luxurious, impeccably designed hotel with attentive service but limited features (there’s no spa or business center). The hotel’s focal point is its eponymous bar and restaurant, a celeb haunt featuring five separate-but-connected spaces that sprawl along the ground floor. Guests can order cocktails in the cozy, book-lined Library or order brunch in the sun-filled Atrium room, though they should be prepared for price tags that match the high level of style. The 168 guest rooms are luxurious (there are Sferra linens, Frette towels, and robes), and successfully evoke a bygone era with Persian rugs, old maps, and antique-looking fixtures. Read More »

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The relaxed, tranquil environment of this adults-only boutique resort is a major part of its appeal. This isn’t Antigua’s fanciest property, but it doesn’t need to be: Simple Caribbean style (think: thatched roofs, stone, and rattan), a truly gorgeous beach, and all-inclusive food that’s better than average for the island make for a winning combo. Water sports are also included in the rate, but the ocean here can get a bit rough so guests shouldn’t count on being able to swim in it every day. The 40-acre property is set on a stunning three-quarter-mile long beach on Antigua’s northeastern shore, about a 10-minute drive from St. John’s.

Beach at the Galley Bay Resort & Spa, Antigua Beach at the Galley Bay Resort & Spa, Antigua

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Stairs at Ciragan Palace Kempinski, Istanbul Stairs at Ciragan Palace Kempinski, Istanbul

Formerly the palace of an Ottoman Sultan, the Ciragan Palace Kempinski is the grand dame of Istanbul. It wows guests at every turn, from the sprawling, manicured grounds, to the heated infinity pool right on the Bosphorus, to the refined suites. The dining options are extensive and exceptional; the spa is lovely; and the meeting space housed in the original palace building makes an ornate setting for a business function or wedding. It’s arguably the city’s top luxury option, but it’s far from the popular tourist sights in Sultanahmet. Read More »

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