Looking for the ideal place to stay on your next vacation? Sometimes it all comes down to the three L's of real estate - location, location, location. Some are on the beach, some are in cities, but all of these hotels from Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards Top 100 Hotels earned perfect scores in the location category.
1. Hôtel Plaza Athénée, Paris
This Haussmann-era palace, which celebrated its centennial this year, has "a perfect location" on the Avenue Montaigne, close to the fashion houses, is "superbe" and has welcomed the Vanderbilts, the Rockefellers, Maurice Chevalier, and Rudolph Valentino as guests. The "over-the-top amazing experience" includes eighteenth-century-style rooms with gilded mirrors and Louis XV moldings on six of the eight stories--the top two floors are done in Art Deco style. The hotel celebrated its centennial this year.
2. Blantyre, Lenox, Massachusetts
"It's our hideaway close to home." This ivy-cloaked Tudor-style country house on 117 acres in the Berkshires is furnished with nineteenth-century antiques from France and England. Guest rooms have fireplaces, extensive book collections, and fabric-lined dresser drawers. Taking their lead from the "caring owner," "staff are always exceptionally warm." The main dining room offers a country-house dinner menu with French influences, accompanied by live piano music. "I wish the food were better, although the wine list is stupendous." In winter, snow barbecues are held next to the ice rink--a.k.a. the flooded tennis courts.
3. La Residence, Franschhoek, South Africa
This is La Residence "take two"--a flashier version of the original Franschhoek property, built from scratch on a different site but with the same personal vibe--and appeals to those who wish to be close to the action but out of the limelight. Franschhoek Village, with its award-winning restaurants and wine culture, is ten minutes away, and Cape Town is less than an hour's drive.
In keeping with its name, the hotel was constructed on a grand scale: triple-height ceilings, black-and-white marble floors, enormous chandeliers, and vast paintings. Opening onto wide verandas and mountain views, the 11 extravagant suites are layered with French and Asian antiques, fantastic local art, and Persian carpets, and each has its own personality--from a girly boudoir in pink and lime green to a palatial honeymoon suite in white marble. The large pool backed by palm trees wouldn't look out of place at a beach resort but does here amid vineyards.
4. Grand Hotel Timeo, Sicily
A triptych of perfect scores for rooms, location, and design make this "the place to fall in love again." The landmark, nineteenth-century hotel was updated in 2011 with obvious "pride and care" for its authentic, post-Sicilian Baroque décor. The most private accommodations are a handful of 70 rooms and suites in the Villa Flora annex. Menus of locally sourced food and wine, elegantly served poolside or on a terraced restaurant, "capture the essence of the place."
5. Four Seasons Resort, Bora Bora
Sunrise views over the Pacific and sunsets over the lagoon and Mount Otemanu make this Polynesian village resort with a perfect-scoring location "the most beautiful place on earth." Surrounded by coconut palms, buildings have leaf-thatched roofs and walls made of volcanic stone with mother-of-pearl accents. Rooms include overwater bungalows that are "beyond words," allowing guests to spot schools of fish below or gaze at the sky. Enjoy an outing on the resort's catamaran and a passion fruit mojito at the pool bar
6. Camp Okavango, Botswana
The thatched main lodge shaded by mangosteen trees sits amid floodplains and savannahs. “Very comfortable safari-style tents” on teak platforms have sliding doors leading to decks. “Outstanding staff make many different activities possible,” including a boat trip to “an island visited by elephants.” Meals depend on seasonal ingredients and include dishes like kudu steak.
7. El Dorado Maroma, Yucatan
Fronting "one of the prettiest beaches in the world," with a perfect 100 for location just ten minutes north of Playa del Carmen, this adults-only all-inclusive is the best of nearly a dozen Karisma properties, and "is second to none" for its "impeccable sand and incredible staff." All of the 72 accommodations are "spacious and romantic," flaunting a creamy orange and deep purple paint job.
8. Le Sirenuse, Positano, Italy
This former summer home of a noble family is "in a beautiful fishing village" on the Amalfi Coast. The style is Moorish Baroque, with whitewashed walls and vaulted ceilings. Rooms have glazed floor tiles and shuttered French doors, and most have private terraces. The champagne and oyster bar, open from mid-May through mid-October, occupies its own terrace, and its barmen pour drinks in handblown Murano glasses. "The service could not be better."
9. 21C Museum Hotel, Cincinnati, Ohio
The 1924 landmark Metropole Hotel survives in the restored terrazzo floor, curving staircase, arched windows, and ornate plasterwork of 21c, its every corner, from the 156 guest rooms to the nine-story solarium, a showcase for contemporary art. Much of it is playful and witty, such as the trademark four-foot yellow penguins that pop up in elevators and hallways.
10. Amankila, Bali, Asia
With a perfect-scoring location in eastern Bali right on the Lombok Strait, "this beautiful resort is very much in touch with its community." Freestanding suites, all with thatched roofs, cathedral ceilings, canopied beds, double terrazzo vanities, and patios with coconut-shell tables, are terraced on a hillside above "lovely, tiered infinity pools--what an amazing view." Expect service that's "amazing--the general manager is great."
For more hotels with the best locations, check out the full list.
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