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 March 9.
Try as it might, this town just can’t shake its reputation for aesthetic conservatism — but XV Beacon, Boston’s original luxury boutique hotel, is proof that well-worn tradition and contemporary boutique style can go comfortably hand in hand. The name is the address: 15 Beacon Street, a block from Boston Common, at one end of the city’s posh Beacon Hill neighborhood. What’s behind the cast-iron façade of this turn-of-the-century Beaux Arts building could easily have been a perfectly uptight, perfectly conventional New England luxury hotel — instead it’s possessed of a certain dark elegance, and an atmosphere that’s both romantic and a little bit Romantic.
11 Cadogan Gardens
The London hotel scene is something of a proving ground for new trends in the hotel business — but you’d have to look long and hard at 11 Cadogan Gardens to find any evidence of progress. This is a hotel that delights in keeping to the trailing edge rather than the cutting one, a small monument to old-fashioned hospitality and a reminder of a time long past.
In a city as storied and picturesque as Vienna, a boutique hotel made from an aristocrat’s renovated townhouse already has plenty to recommend it. Add to that an update by the Milan-based architect Matteo Thun (see also the Vigilius resort in the Italian alps) and you’ve the makings of a modern classic, in the form of the Altstadt Vienna.
Behind that classic facade, there’s a bit of black lacquer and red velvet in the fashionably minimalist guest rooms, and some deluxe rooms are divided with shoji-style wooden screens. Style aside, it’s essentially just a smaller and more intimate 41-room alternative to Geneva’s bigger luxury hotels — business travelers are well cared for, without any of the sterility that can alienate younger and more adventurous leisure customers.
A beautiful, distinctive, and luxurious hotel in the fantastically atmospheric Parisian district of Saint-Germain-des-Près — the Hotel Bel Ami opened its doors not long before we here at Tablet opened ours, and it’s no surprise that it’s been a favorite all these years. This 19th-century building was once a printing press, but architect and designers Géraldine Prieur and Pascal Allaman took it easy with the industrial-chic references, opting instead for a look that’s equal parts classic mid-century modernism and hyper-colorful retro-futurism. The resulting atmosphere is perfectly elegant but in no way uptight — perfect for this famously free-thinking artistic neighborhood.
Port Antonio, Jamaica
If Jamaica went mass-market, then the secluded North Coast seems to have missed the memo. It’s as glamorous as ever, no caveats required, and the subtly retro, thirteen-villa Trident Hotel makes a strong case that the style of Jamaica’s ’50s and ’60s heyday belongs firmly in the here and now.
Take everything that annoys you about mass tourism on the Mexican coasts and put it out of your mind. Whatever your mental image, Playa Viva is more or less the opposite of that. A mere 12 casitas, for starters, is about as far as it gets from mass tourism in the first place. And this location, on protected land a half hour outside of Zihuatanejo, has a long, long way to go before it could be considered developed, much less overdeveloped.
Ascott Marunouchi Tokyo
Tokyo doesn’t really have a single central downtown district, but if you’re in the business of banking and finance, you’ll find you’re spending an awful lot of time in Marunouchi. (And with easy access to the Imperial Palace and to Ginza, it’s not a bad spot for sightseers or shoppers, either.) Some of the world’s most impressive high-end hotels are located here — and they’re joined by Ascott Marunouchi Tokyo, whose serviced apartments give the luxury chains a run for their money.
Kulm Hotel St. Moritz
St. Moritz, Switzerland
There are other luxury hotels in St. Moritz, but the Kulm can credibly claim to be the original. It was the first, at any rate, dating back to 1856, and if certain others are perhaps more recognizable, it’s nothing to do with the merits of the place. This is as fine an Alpine five-star gets: have a look at the view from the balcony over the lake and tell us if you don’t agree.
If you were to translate the Japanese ryokan concept into Balinese, it would look a lot like One Eleven. Each of the villas is like a fantasy of a simpler life, one with plenty of space for contemplation and nothing to clutter the eye or the mind — where all you’ve got to do is soak in the big tub next to a wall of glass, sunbathe by the pool, maybe relax in the big sunny living room with a book before walking across your lawn to your private, glassed-in gazebo for a spa treatment. (Why share a hotel spa when you have your own?)