IN THE SPOTLIGHT
TOP TEN PLUS HOTELS OF THE WEEK
APRIL 13, 2020
APRIL 13, 2020
Number Sixteen is either the coziest boutique hotel in London, or the most luxurious bed and breakfast — we’re still not sure. The location, down a sleepy side street in South Kensington, is fairly well hidden; just a row of nineteenth-century Victorian townhouses without so much as a sign to show the way. As a member of Firmdale’s Townhouse Collection, it’s a more low-key experience than the bigger, more lively Ham Yard or Soho Hotel — Number Sixteen is notable for its intimate scale and its quiet charm.
What does it even mean to be an ecolodge in this day and age? On the Pacific side of Nicaragua, just to the north of the Costa Rican border, you’ll find your answer. Morgan’s Rock Hacienda & Ecolodge occupies 4,000 acres of jungle alongside a beautiful crescent-shaped beach, and fully half the land is a private reserve — which means not only do sea turtles nest and hatch here, but the woods are full of howler monkeys, white-tipped deer, and sloths. With neighbors like these you’d settle for an ordinary hotel, if not a tumbledown shack — which makes Morgan’s Rock’s bungalows and villas all the more impressive by comparison.
When we first started writing about Nashville, we had to do some persuading — so thoroughly did cities like New York and Los Angeles dominate the travel discussion. Today, however, the secret is out, and Nashville is recognized as a top-notch travel destination. Impressive boutique hotels are sprouting like wildflowers, and in this famously gregarious town, they don’t mind being on a first-name basis: a place called Bobby Hotel is clearly presenting a casual, approachable face to the world, even as it aims to provide an impeccably stylish and luxurious experience.
In Hollywood the line between history and kitsch is so fine as to be practically non-existent. But one way or another the Sunset Tower manages to land on the right side of the line. In the latter years of the golden age this Art Deco apartment tower was home to the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra; and while today the mid-century atmosphere is still in place, it’s no museum — there’s nothing faded about the newly renovated Sunset Tower’s sober, earth-toned interiors, and it’s not collectors or autograph hounds but bona fide Hollywood players who frequent its halls today.
Though we hesitate to wade into any regional rivalries, we’re comfortable declaring that Toronto is Canada’s biggest, busiest, most cosmopolitan city. It’s only fitting, then, that its top-end luxury hotels should be absolutely first-rate. Among the usual suspects when it comes to this sort of thing is Ritz-Carlton, but the Ritz-Carlton Toronto is an unusual one — the design is rather more modern than you’ll find in more typical examples of this venerable luxury brand, while the top-flight service and faultless comforts you expect are all exactly as they ought to be.
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.
Lately Los Angeles has been in the travel news for its edgy, urban offerings in Downtown and points east. But the more traditional luxury that’s particular to Hollywood’s high-end hotels has by no means gone out of style. If you’ve been to the Sunset Tower, then you’ll agree that hotelier Jeff Klein has a track record with this sort of thing, and it’s no surprise that news of his new Hotel 850 SVB West Hollywood at Beverly Hills, a residential-style luxury boutique hotel in West Hollywood, has met with much enthusiasm.
From Salzburg you might expect wedding-cake opulence and a relentless focus on opera. So when a hotel like Hotel Goldgasse challenges your expectations with a healthy dose of modern design, it’s a welcome surprise. A central Old Town location on the south bank of the Salzach has much to do with the hotel’s appeal, barely a stone’s throw from the university and the Baroque cathedral. Goldgasse’s public spaces and guestrooms retain some period ambience, clad in classic stucco and antique stone flooring. On the ground floor, the hyper-regional Gasthof Goldgasse preserves the essence of a traditional Austrian inn, down to the knots in the ceiling beams and the wine list bursting with national pride.
Hotel Stein, like much else in this corner of Austria, has deep historical roots — there’s been an inn on this site since the year 1399. And while its present-day exterior blends seamlessly with the rest of Salzburg’s picturesque architecture, what’s inside is a luxury boutique hotel that’s as modern as they come.
Nobu is better known in London for its standalone restaurants than for its hotels, but with the advent of the Nobu Hotel Shoreditch, that might be about to change. On the back of successful hotel openings in Asia and the Americas, the famous sushi concern has chosen London’s hottest neighborhood for its first European hotel, and the result is more or less exactly what you’d predict — which, in Nobu’s case, is a good thing indeed.