Travel is all about discovery — about getting out there and finding the most exciting experiences in an exciting new corner of the world. At the following hotels, you get a head start. Just a small sample of our hotels around the globe, they are the total hospitality package: one of the world’s great hotels and one of the world’s great restaurants, all in one place. Selected by Tablet Hotels, the hotel experts at the MICHELIN Guide.
Schloss Elmau Luxury Spa Retreat Cultural Hideaway - Elmau, Germany
They’ve got Alps in Bavaria too, you know. Come winter, Schloss Elmau finds itself immersed in the kind of snowy wonderland that the Swiss might like to believe they’ve got exclusive rights to. But from the name of the place you can tell it’s a slightly different sort of ski hotel — it’s not every alpine resort that can credibly claim to be a “cultural hideaway.”
Read more about the restaurant: Luce d’Oro
St James’s Hotel & Club Mayfair — London, EnglandIf you’re looking for a window into an earlier era of British hospitality you could do a lot worse than the St. James’s Hotel and Club. This gorgeous bright red Victorian house stands at the end of a cul-de-sac off St. James’s Street, and it aims to recreate some of the atmosphere of the gentlemen’s clubs of the last century.
Read about the restaurant: Seven Park Place
The Chedi Andermatt — Andermatt, SwitzerlandYou wouldn’t know it by looking at the storybook-style mountain scenery, the adorably tiny ski cottages, or the steam trains chugging through the valley, but Andermatt was one Swiss ski resort in need of a facelift. The problem wasn’t aesthetic as much as historical: Andermatt is as pretty as any Alpine village, but it was also occupied by the military for a hundred years, complete with firing range and barracks to house 1,000 soldiers. Change isn’t easy. But sometimes an outsider — in this case, the Egyptian-born developer Samih Sawiris — is the right person to take on the challenge. The result is the sophisticated and ecologically friendly Chedi Andermatt resort, the first European hotel from the Chedi group, a luxury brand that’s well-established in Asia.
Read about the restaurant: The Japanese Restaurant
Hotel des Grands Boulevards — Paris, FranceThe world of hospitality was a less vibrant place before the Experimental Group got involved — the creative team behind London’s Experimental Cocktail Club opened the Grand Pigalle in Paris and the Henrietta Hotel in London, to much fanfare from nightlife connoisseurs (and to rave reviews from Tablet guests). Their second Parisian hotel is the Hotel des Grands Boulevards, and it’s cut from the same cloth: historical inspiration, contemporary style, and a social life that few hotels, in Paris or anywhere else, can hope to match.
Read about the restaurant: Restaurant des Grands Boulevards
Villa Crespi — Lake Orta, ItalyYou could be forgiven for thinking there’s nothing really all that out of the ordinary about Villa Crespi, but only if you had a good reason for thinking it was in Istanbul. As it stands, Villa Crespi is in the north of Italy, less than an hour from Milan, on the shores of Lake Orta — which makes this hyper-opulent Moorish-style palace (minaret and all) one of Italy’s strangest and most extraordinary small hotels.
Read about the restaurant: Villa Crespi
Villa Retiro — Tarragona, SpainThe word “modernist” means something different in the context of Catalonian architecture. This late-19th-century palace owes nothing to Bauhaus or other visually austere traditions; its fanciful spires and parapets feel almost postmodern to today’s eye. In its present incarnation as a luxury boutique hotel, Villa Retiro has preserved all of the original structure’s ornate detail, and has added a contemporary building containing a further ten suites in a style that reads as modernist in the international sense — crisp, clean lines, an absence of ornament, and unadorned local timber.
Read about the restaurant: Villa Retiro
Baltazar Budapest — Budapest, HungaryWe can confidently say that every city in the world needs a boutique hotel along the same general lines as Budapest’s Hotel Baltazár. Which is to say, a boutique hotel whose creators’ imagination is allowed to run riot, where no opportunity for expression has gone unseized.
Read about the restaurant: Baltazár
Peninsula Shanghai — Shanghai, ChinaIf, as we contend, Shanghai is going to be the future’s unofficial capital, it’s going to need more extraordinary hotels of every description — not just modern-design boutique hotels but classic grand hotels as well. The Peninsula Shanghai, on that score, certainly qualifies as a rather large step in the right direction; with its soaring, marble-clad Art Deco lobby (and its location on the Bund, a location where classic architecture is the rule) it already feels like it’s been here more or less forever.
Read about the restaurant: Sir Elly’s
The PuXuan Hotel & Spa — Beijing, ChinaWhen it comes to brand-new high-end luxury hotels, there’s no place in the world that comes even close to being on China’s level. Not only are extravagant new towers going up in the booming secondary cities, but Beijing’s hotel scene continues to scale new heights as well. A member of the same Urban Resort Concepts group that brought us the extraordinary PuLi in Shanghai, the PuXuan Hotel and Spa is a monumental addition to the capital city’s hospitality scene.
Read about the restaurant: Rive Gauche
The Sukhothai Bangkok — Bangkok, ThailandMost of Asia’s grand hotels are ostentatious skyscrapers, but the Sukhothai breaks the mold—this low-slung and labyrinthine complex, designed by Ed Tuttle (of Aman fame) sprawls over six acres, and functions as an island of calm amidst the bustle of that other City of Angels. Gardens, courtyards and lotus pools await around every corner, and the restaurant floats on a man-made lake; if not for the odd glimpse of concrete high-rises in the distance, you’d never believe this was urban Bangkok.
Read about the restaurant: La Scala
The Okura Prestige — Bangkok, ThailandThe Okura Prestige is located on Embassy Row, in Bangkok’s central business district, but to orient the hotel in relation to its ground-level street address is almost to misplace it. That’s because the Okura is essentially a refuge in the sky, as close to a floating hotel as you’re likely to get without stepping onto a pier.
Read about the restaurant: Yamazato
The Greenwich Hotel — New York CityThe Greenwich has a celebrity owner (Robert DeNiro), impeccable design credentials, and some truly obsessive construction, having something to do with thousands of very expensive handmade bricks. The prime Tribeca location places you roughly where hip and upscale intersect, minutes from more shopping and nightlife than any one neighborhood could reasonably need. As for the comforts, they’re far more than adequate. Even the humble courtyard rooms are luxurious, and smart-looking as well, eschewing minimalism for a detailed and lived-in look.
Read about the restaurant: Locanda Verde
11 Howard — New York City, USAAt 11 Howard, contemporary Scandinavian design meets a more inclusive, less ostentatious version of luxury hospitality. It’s the first independent hotel project for architect Anda Andrei. Produced in collaboration with Danish designers Space Copenhagen, 11 Howard avoids the sort of wall-to-wall bling that’s sometimes synonymous with New York hotels. And this one puts a bit of money where its egalitarian ideals are, as well — they call it “conscious hospitality,” which in concrete terms means passing on a share of revenue to charities like the Global Poverty Project.
Read about the restaurant: Le Coucou
The Dupont Circle Hotel — Washington D.C., DC, USAIn a town as traditional as Washington, a little bit of modern design goes a long way. The newly redesigned Dupont Hotel is, in its subtly stylish way, one of the hippest hotels in the nation’s capital. It’s the only hotel on Dupont Circle, in a neighborhood better known for dining, nightlife and entertainment than for monuments or institutions — which, provided you’re not here with your high school history class, is definitely a good thing.
Read about the restaurant: The Pembrok
The LINE Hotel — Los Angeles, USAWhen the Line Hotel first opened, in its iconic modernist tower on Wilshire Boulevard, it instantly put the downtown-adjacent Koreatown neighborhood on the map for travelers who might ordinarily have looked elsewhere. It also put the brand-new Line brand on the map, and raised the profile of the Sydell Group, who are also behind Tablet favorites like the NoMad and Freehand hotels, and the Ned in London. Now, a few years on, it’s a fixture on the Los Angeles boutique-hotel landscape, as its stylish minimalist rooms and its buzzing public spaces have quickly become iconic.
Read about the restaurant: Openaire
San Francisco Proper Hotel — San Francisco, USASan Francisco’s hotel scene has always been a bit of a puzzle. This is one of America’s most popular destinations, and it’s a city with a visual identity all its own. Too often, though, its hotels miss the mark — there’s a conservatism to the local design sensibility that’s entirely at odds with the city’s forward-thinking reputation. San Francisco Proper Hotel, however, suffers from no such deficit.
Read about the restaurant: Villon
Hero image : The Okura Prestige Bangkok