In the Spotlight

Top Ten Plus Hotels of the Week

When you become a Tablet Plus member, you gain exclusive access to a selection of the world’s finest hotels, each one committed to providing you with seamless, VIP-level hospitality. Tablet Plus hotels are truly exceptional, and In the Spotlight is a regular series dedicated to celebrating them.

Enjoy our Top Ten Tablet Plus hotels for the week of October 21.

Nobildonne Relais

Rome, Italy

Nobildonne Relais - boutique hotel in Rome

Quite a few Roman hotels treat the city’s ancient history as a contrasting background note, and feel free to pursue their own vision in an unapologetically modern direction. But Nobildonne Relais dives deep into its past. The Palazzo Mereghi was built in the late 19th century, but in a neo-Renaissance style that vividly recalls the 16th. In its modern incarnation it seeks to recreate the environments of four Roman noblewomen from the 16th and 17th centuries, to each of whom it dedicates one of its four lavish suites.

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O:live Boutique Hotel

San Juan, Puerto Rico

O:live Boutique Hotel - boutique hotel in San Juan

A boutique hotel just outside of old town San Juan, Puerto Rico, that takes its inspiration from the Amalfi Coast? As a concept, it’s impossible to fault. And if we’re writing to you about it, then you can expect that the execution lives up to the promise. Condado, a rather new-looking corner of San Juan, may not be Sorrento, exactly, but once inside the Olive Boutique Hotel you’d be hard pressed to remain a cynic — it’s a new build, meaning the finishes are sparkling fresh and modern, as is the in-room gadgetry, but it’s steeped in antique atmosphere, thanks in large part to a generous smattering of antiques from Italy, Spain and all around the Mediterranean.

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Park Hotel Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan

Park Hotel Tokyo - boutique hotel in Tokyo

Like many Tokyo hotels, the Park Hotel occupies part of a mixed-use skyscraper; in this case, ten uppermost floors of the Shiodome Media Tower, right in the heart of downtown. Architecturally, the Park Hotel is rather unique — the core of the building has been hollowed out, so that its 273 rooms all face outward.

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Sina Centurion Palace

Venice, Italy

Sina Centurion Palace - boutique hotel in Venice

When it comes to living modern life while surrounded by reminders of the past, nobody’s as comfortable as the Italians. For behind the postcard-perfect Venetian-Gothic exterior of this former convent is something else entirely: a thoroughly modern luxury boutique hotel. Not that you’ll think for so much as a moment that you’re anywhere other than Venice. Set at the mouth of the Grand Canal, with the lagoon on one side and narrow alleyways on the other, the scene surrounding the Centurion Palace is about as typically Venetian as it could possibly be.

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Strawberry Hill

Irish Town, Jamaica

Strawberry Hill - boutique hotel in Jamaica

Though the original Georgian house on Strawberry Hill was destroyed in the hurricane of 1988, the new building maintains a traditional feel. The bungalows are built to meticulous nineteenth-century specifications. You sleep in mahogany four-poster beds shrouded in muslin, and gaze out at the stunning mountain landscape while swinging in your hammock. It epitomizes bygone colonial living at its finest, the perfect place to have a rum punch and wear white linen.

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Sublime Samana

Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic

Sublime Samana - boutique hotel in Las Terrenas

Sublime Samana’s concept is a simple one, and it’s hard to fault: a smallish resort with the amenities of a big one, set on an estate that feels far from the D.R.’s more developed stretches of coastline. The hotel’s small private beach is one of the prettiest on the island. It’s just a strip of soft sand with the warm crystalline Atlantic water lapping at it from one side, and rows of swaying coconut palms on the other — with the verdant hills of the Samana Peninsula rising in the background. It’s a bit isolated, but if you’ve come in search of rest and relaxation — or to get a little closer to nature — that’s hardly a knock against the place. This isn’t a hotel from which you take jaunts into town, but rather one from which you make excursions into the natural world — or perhaps nowhere farther than the spa, or a beach chair, or a day bed by the pool.

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The Capitol Hotel Tokyu

Tokyo, Japan

The Capitol Hotel Tokyo - boutique hotel in Tokyo

It’s a rare Tokyo hotel where you’re in touch with nature, aside from a distant view of Mount Fuji — but the Capitol Hotel Tokyu is anything but typical. Here, surrounded by greenery on the edge of the Imperial Palace, guests can use the local flora as their calendar: camellias mean winter, cherry blossoms spring, and the red-orange-yellow leaves of the maple tree are a sure sign of fall.

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The Caves

Negril, Jamaica

The Caves - boutique hotel in Jamaica

The Caves is a collection of twelve private cottages atop a cliff, overlooking the ocean, with plenty of jumping-off points to impress one’s companion and other guests. For those with a beach fetish, consider this: the sea looks better from higher up, and at The Caves it becomes your own private pool. Below, in the cliffside, are natural volcanic caves and grottos which can be explored whilst swimming, or set up for private candlelight dinners. The cottages themselves, designed by Greer-Ann and Bertram Saulter, are after the style of a tropical hut, with thatched roofs, natural ventilation, and construction of wood and stone, and each has a view of the Caribbean Sea.

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Velona’s Jungle Luxury Suites

Florence, Italy

Velona's Jungle Luxury Suites - boutique hotel in Florence

If we had a nickel for every pocket-sized jungle-themed luxury boutique hotel we’ve seen over the years, we’d have a grand total of five cents. Velona’s Jungle Luxury Suites is the only one of its kind, and much of that has to do with Velona himself. That’s Pasquale Velona, antique dealer and dear departed grandfather of the proprietor, Veronica Grechi — this hotel, just to the west of Florence’s busy city center, clearly contains generations’ worth of details.

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Ratua Private Island

Luganville, Vanuatu

Ratua Private Island - boutique hotel in Luganville

Ratua’s fifteen villas aren’t merely traditionally styled, they’re authentic 200-year-old Indonesian homes, transported to Vanuatu and rebuilt for the benefit of Ratua’s guests, with electricity added, bathrooms modernized and everything else left mercifully as-is. None is more than a few yards from the beach, and for parties up to ten there’s a “village” of five villas clustered together. Space is plentiful, and however rustic they may look, they’re well appointed.

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