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 January 6.

El Mangroove

Guanacaste, Costa Rica

El Mangroove - boutique hotel in Guanacaste

Gorgeous, eco-friendly resorts with breezily luxurious suites, high-end chefs, and furnishings built of native wood? Not hard to come by in Costa Rica. So if you’re opening one, you better have something special to set you apart from the pack. El Mangroove, the latest addition to Papagayo Bay’s beachfront, has a few specific selling points: it’s not just a resort, but a small resort with a stylish boutique hotel spin. It’s the closest property to any international airport in Costa Rica, meaning easy access in and out when you’re making a short escape to Central America. And the resort offers one of the longest (that’s longest, not largest — we’ll explain) swimming pools in the region.

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The Montenotte Hotel

Cork, Ireland

The Montenotte Hotel - boutique hotel in Cork

It wasn’t so long ago that hotels like this were mainly a phenomenon of a select few major world capitals. (You know, places like Dublin.) But now news of the boutique-hotel revolution has reached southwestern Ireland, and in fine style, too. On a hill high above Cork’s city center is the Montenotte Hotel, an 18th-century estate transformed into a very 21st-century luxury boutique hotel.

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Palazzina Grassi

Venice, Italy

Palazzina Grassi - boutique hotel in Venice

If ever there were a city that needed a bit of the old Philippe Starck treatment it was Venice. Here a little design goes a long way — not that you could accuse the Palazzina Grassi of being just a little bit designed. Here Starck is at full strength: masks on the bedside lamps, comically exaggerated chandeliers, mirrors on every surface. It’s a classic Venetian palazzo filtered through the mind of a dedicated anti-classicist, and the result was always going to be memorable — and now, after an extensive refurbishment, it once again looks as new as it did on the day it opened.

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Villa Principe Leopoldo

Lugano, Switzerland

Villa Principe Leopoldo- boutique hotel in Switzerland

A sparkling glacier-fed lake, candy-colored palaces, breathtaking mountain scenery, a relentlessly highbrow culinary scene — life in Lugano is a pretty easy ride. Maybe even easier? Staying just outside of the city, in a lavish villa that was once the private residence of a prince. Welcome to Villa Principe Leopoldo. You didn’t come to this bucolic corner of Switzerland, after all, to explore bohemian neighborhoods and eat street food — you came to taste the classic pleasures and luxuries of the region. And who knows how to live the good life better than a prince? His one-time home, a stately villa perched high over the lake, has been restored and enhanced to include a first-rate spa suite and a conchiform pool in a lemon grove.

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Mondrian South Beach

Miami, Florida

Mondrian South Beach - boutique hotel in Miami

With the Collins Avenue strip on the Atlantic side of South Beach pushing maximum luxury-hotel density, it makes a certain kind of sense that the next move for a hip hotel would be to set up shop on the Biscayne Bay side. For one thing, it affords a bit of space to spread out: with over three hundred units, many of them privately owned, the Mondrian South Beach isn’t exactly modest.

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Mykonos Grand Hotel & Resort

Mykonos, Greece

Mykonos Grand Hotel & Resort - boutique hotel in Mykonos

You know what you’re getting into when you book a stay at a luxury hotel on a Greek island, and much of it comes in shades of white or blue. There’s the clear sky and the azure sea, the sparkling pool, the whitewashed stucco and diaphanous drapery billowing in the breeze. So what distinguishes Mykonos Grand Hotel & Resort from all the other gorgeous resorts on the so-called island of the winds? In short, it’s a little extra anticipation of the guest’s needs.

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The Yard Milan

Milan, Italy

The Yard Milan - boutique hotel in Milan

A hotel called The Yard immediately sets itself in Milan — the idea of somewhere verdant, somewhere pastoral, is at odds with the ultra-urban industrial aspect that this northern Italian city is known for. Happily, it delivers on that promise, situated as it is on a leafy courtyard next to the Naviglio Grande Canal. But what’s most impressive about The Yard is what goes on indoors, not outdoors.

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Palacio Ramalhete Lisboa

Lisbon, Portugal

Palacio Ramalhete Lisboa - boutique hotel in Lisbon

Palácio Ramalhete, located amongst the walkable, narrow streets in the old Lisbon neighborhood of Janelas Verdes, is a tranquil place decorated with little more than courtyards, views and sunlight, that and the occasional touch of geometrically patterned tile-work. The hotel’s name translates roughly to “palace of flowers,” but it’s anything but flowery — it’s a reference to a single depiction of sunflowers in a panel of tiles at the base of a stairway. The sunflowers have been nearly rubbed away by a couple centuries of footsteps, which is fitting enough anyway, as they were intended as the placeholder for a coat of arms that the original residents of the 18th-century palace never finished.

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Hotel Zetta San Francisco

San Francisco Bay Area, California

Hotel Zetta San Francisco - boutique hotel in San Francisco

Elsewhere, the Viceroy group’s boutique hotels and resorts tend toward a pretty unabashed sort of luxury. But in San Francisco, things are different. The locals have a finely-tuned sense for anything that could possibly come off as pretentious — which might be another way of saying that luxury, in San Francisco, means reclaimed wood, salvaged antiques, and a healthy dose of funkiness where an L.A. hotel might opt for glossy glamour. Either way, funkiness is what you get from Hotel Zetta, along with a playful edge that’s inspired by the tech industry, likely Zetta’s main source of patronage.

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Hotel Zeppelin San Francisco

San Francisco Bay Area, California

Hotel Zeppelin San Francisco - boutique hotel in San Francisco

Despite San Francisco’s long heritage as a counterculture capital, its hotels tend to err a bit on the squeaky-clean side, stylistically speaking. Suffice it to say it’s not a problem the Hotel Zeppelin has. This Viceroy-branded boutique hotel is going all in on the rock-and-roll vibe — the name, presumably, isn’t a reference to an inflatable airship — and the result is one of the city’s edgier, more bohemian offerings.

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