United States Grand Awards 2016


2016 Grand Award Winners

Casa Palmero, Pebble Beach, CA

Estate Room at Casa Palmero
Estate Room at Casa Palmero - © Scott Campbell

The Pebble Beach Company was founded in 1919 and today owns three sumptuous resorts. The Lodge at Pebble Beach offers glorious views of Carmel Bay and the 18th green of the famed Pebble Beach Golf Links. Four miles to the north, The Inn at Spanish Bay is set among the Monterey pine groves of the Del Monte Forest and is fronted by Scottish-inspired golf links and the Pacific Ocean.

On my recent trip, however, I opted to stay at the third property, Casa Palmero at Pebble Beach, a 24-room hideaway within a former mansion. Situated next to The Spa at Pebble Beach and overlooking the first and second fairways of the Golf Links, its cinnabar tile roofs and ochre-colored walls give the impression of a grand Mediterranean villa, as do the trellised walkways, shaded courtyards and gurgling fountains. Inside, we discovered an atmospheric living room, a billiard room and a library with rustic beams, hardwood floors and well-chosen artwork. Most of the property’s rooms boast fireplaces and private patios with Jacuzzis, while the lavish baths feature radiant-heat floors. Cocktails are offered in a cozy bar each evening as part of the regular room rate, and there is a secluded swimming pool. Breakfast is served in the guest rooms, but other meals must be taken elsewhere, though given the variety of options, this is scarcely an inconvenience. Overall, Casa Palmero will appeal to those who prefer smaller hotels and who are in search of calm and seclusion.

>>Related: Pebble Beach: Revisiting a Classic Golf Retreat

Baccarat Hotel, New York City, NY

Grand Salon at the Baccarat Hotel
Grand Salon at the Baccarat Hotel - © Eric Laignel

The Baccarat Hotel opened in March, mid-block on West 53rd Street directly opposite the Museum of Modern Art. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill designed the 50-story tower, the first 12 floors of which contain the hotel’s 114 rooms and suites. Leaving the elevator on the second floor and entering the Grand Salon, we were suddenly immersed in light. Massive chandeliers that might be out of scale elsewhere here seem in perfect proportion. Adding to the impressive room’s appeal is the subtle blend of materials: parquet floors; dark wood paneling; touches of silver leaf; mica-flecked ceilings; and marble and mirror wall treatments. Large glass doors lead into the bar, a contrasting aesthetic realm where wood dominates. The bar counter is a grand 60 feet, and an outdoor terrace overlooking MoMA greatly adds to the allure.

In our suite, floor-to-ceiling windows again admitted a luxurious flood of light. Both the living room and the bedroom were spacious — especially by New York standards — and filled with graceful custom-made furniture. An armoire opened to reveal a red-lacquer cabinet with an array of Baccarat barware and nibbles from Fauchon. The bath is indulgent, right down to the crystal glasses by the double vanities. The restaurant attached to the hotel, Chevalier, is named in tribute to the longtime creative director of Baccarat, Georges Chevalier. Other amenities at the hotel include Spa de La Mer, with a 50-foot pool. Overall, the Baccarat makes a notable addition to New York’s roster of hotels.

>>Related: A Hit and a Miss in Midtown Manhattan

Topping Rose House, Long Island, NY

Cottage bedroom and private yard at Topping Rose House
Cottage bedroom and private yard at Topping Rose House - © Michael Weber

At their best, the Hamptons still exemplify the classic American seaside summer. Upscale properties tend to be concentrated in East Hampton. However, the new Topping Rose House is located in nearby Bridgehampton, a pretty village that is less frenetic than its sister towns. The inn’s most prominent feature is the white Greek Revival house built in 1842. During the renovation a small wing in a similar style was added. And beyond a restored barn stand four contemporary “cottages.” We opted for one of the cottages, which have the advantages of larger baths and outdoor spaces.

Dinner and breakfast were just a short stroll away in the main house. The dining room is a lovely, soothing space with sedate décor; the menu emphasizes farm-to-table cooking. Active outdoor pursuits are readily available. Bicycles are on hand, and complimentary shuttles can whisk you to one of the local beaches. The able front desk staff, as accommodating and pleasant as everyone else we encountered during our stay, can arrange for fishing, golf, tennis, horseback riding and water sports. After a day in the sun, you might want a facial or a massage, which feature in the treatment programs at the small but alluring spa. Topping Rose House proved a delightful getaway from the hubbub of Manhattan. How nice it was to stroll a sunny beach and dip into the refreshingly brisk Atlantic, knowing that a hot shower and a fine meal awaited us back at the inn.

Sun Valley Lodge, Sun Valley, ID

New spa extension at Sun Valley Lodge
New spa extension at Sun Valley Lodge - Courtesy of Sun Valley Resorts © Kevin Syms

The Sun Valley Lodge opened in 1936 as America’s first destination ski resort. Until recently, however, the accommodations, especially the baths, were small and outdated, and the service could be unpredictable. The property reopened in June after a 10-month renovation. The lobby is now much lighter than before, with doors that lead to terraces overlooking the ice skating rink. The Duchin Lounge, formerly a dark albeit cozy bar, is open to the lobby and has an outdoor seating area. And Gretchen’s restaurant is more formal and has expanded onto a terrace.

Our Lodge King Suite proved to be extremely spacious, with a refined contemporary aesthetic. A wood wall with a see-through gas fireplace partially separated a sitting area and a spacious bedroom. A custom maple writing desk caught our eye, as did a kitchenette with mini-refrigerator and Keurig machine. The most desirable rooms are the five Lodge Terrace Suites and the five Lodge Celebrity Suites. These are more spacious and have more clearly defined separations between sitting and sleeping areas. The new-look lodge now has 94 rooms, down from the original 148, allowing for vastly superior accommodations.

The famous circular heated pool has been augmented by a hot tub, a fire pit, an expanded heated deck and a poolside café. Nearby, there is now a magnificent 20,000-square-foot spa with a large fitness area. The reinvented Sun Valley Lodge conforms to 21st-century standards of luxury, but still retains a historic atmosphere and a feeling of glamour.

By Hideaway Report Editor Hideaway Report editors travel the world anonymously to give you the unvarnished truth about luxury hotels. Hotels have no idea who the editors are, so they are treated exactly as you might be.