Certain hotels that we visit over the course of the year deserve special recognition. The properties below all excelled in particular aspects, making them worthy of note, even if they didn’t necessarily have the highest overall scores of the hotels we reviewed. We would be very pleased to return to any of them.
Since it reopened in July 2018 following a four-year makeover, the 184-room Lutetia, located at the corner of Rue de Sèvres and Boulevard Raspail, has seduced one of the most demanding clienteles in the world: its neighbors. As one resident of Saint-Germain-des-Prés said, “The new version of the Hotel Lutetia is a place we’ve been waiting for. It’s a real grand hotel, but it also captures the bohemian spirit of the neighborhood, which is why so many locals frequent its restaurants and Bar Josephine.” If Parisians love the Lutetia’s atmospheric public spaces, travelers love the sleek art deco-inspired rooms conceived by interior designer Jean-Michel Wilmotte. The hotel has a relaxing library, an excellent spa with an indoor pool and a bespoke shoeshine service by Berluti. It also boasts one of the best room service menus in Paris, perfect for that rainy night when you want to stay in and watch a movie over a sole meunière with a great bottle of wine.
Dunmore Town, Harbour Island, Bahamas
Hidden behind high walls and accessible only with a private door code, the 11-room Bahama House has a sequestered atmosphere that seems more like that of a private residence than a hotel. The property comprises the “1800 Building,” a classically proportioned colonial structure with wraparound verandas, an adjoining Annex constructed in a similar style and two cottages, all grouped around a serene courtyard swimming pool. The veranda outside our room opened onto a rotunda, appointed with a wicker sofa and armchairs, which provided glimpses of turquoise sea through rustling palm fronds. Having read there for a while, soothed by the breeze, we headed down to the courtyard for a cocktail. Robert, the affable barman, mixed a Goombay Smash and a Dark ’n’ Stormy, both made with local rum. Bahama House is a tiny private world that provides little incentive to venture out. Other hotels on Harbour Island offer restaurants, more lavish accommodations and access to the high-season social whirl. But they lack its magical combination of privacy and intimacy.
Teton Village, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Even the mudroom of the two-bedroom Kari Kari suite made a favorable first impression, with its concealed top-of-the line washer and dryer and broad full-length mirror. One of the eight apartment-like suites at the Caldera House in the ski resort of Teton Village, Kari Kari is actually one of the smaller accommodations; the larger apartments have four bedrooms. The kitchen, appointed with high-end appliances and Le Creuset cookware, would surely please the fussiest of chefs. It flowed into a wood-floored living-dining room, decorated with striking Native American-inspired rugs, an attractive mix of vintage and contemporary furnishings, and a convincing gas fireplace. I loved relaxing there with a glass of wine each evening, and then breakfasting on the adjacent mountain-view terrace in the morning. Not least important, the suite’s two baths impressed with their dramatic blood-red tiles and wood-paneled walls. It’s hard to imagine a more ideal base camp for a family intent on hitting the nearby slopes or visiting Grand Teton National Park.
Sometimes the real luxury of a hotel room is its view, especially when it is of the Place des Vosges, perhaps the most elegant urban square in France. Mansion No. 19 was acquired by the Marquis de Montbrun in 1654 and is still known as the Hôtel de Montbrun. After a major renovation, it recently reopened as the intimate Cour des Vosges hotel. Each of the 12 accommodations was individually decorated by interior designers Yann Le Coadic and Alessandro Scotto, who combined historic features like painted wooden beams and original terra-cotta tile floors with contemporary furniture to create chic but cozy quarters that are ideal for a romantic escape. Art is omnipresent, with statues and paintings selected by gallerist Amélie du Chalard. The baths come with Guerlain amenities and many feature large old-fashioned soaking tubs. A stylish tearoom serves breakfast and dinner as well as afternoon tea, and also provides room service. And a small spa offers massages and beauty rituals using French-made vegan Orveda products.
Malfa, Salina, Aeolian Islands, Italy
In 2019, young chef Marina Caruso, a native of the island of Salina, won Michelin’s Italian Female Chef of the Year Award for her food at the Hotel Signum in the pretty seaside town of Malfa. Caruso’s résumé includes a stint in the kitchen of Gennaro Esposito at his two-star Torre del Saracino restaurant near Naples. “Simplicity is my guiding principle in the kitchen,” she says. “But that doesn’t mean my food is simple.” Deeply versed in the culinary traditions of her island, Caruso has invented a modern Aeolian kitchen that includes dishes like mackerel with green olive soup, mozzarella and candied capers; paccheri tubular pasta with squid, tuma persa cheese and crispy chard; and chargrilled rock lobster with celeriac, escarole and a Marsala wine sauce. The casual dishes she serves for lunch at the hotel’s bistro are spectacular, too, including a superb Aeolian club sandwich with tuna, anchovies, caper mayonnaise, hardboiled egg, lettuce and grilled eggplant.