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Hotels and Resorts

Cigar Aficionado's panel of travel experts picks the most luxurious, most outstanding, most exciting range of destinations in the world
Larry Olmsted
From the Print Edition:
Jim Belushi, November/December 2010

(continued from page 2)

The Windy City choice might be more eye raising were the hotel not a Peninsula, a brand that has consistently excelled in Cigar Aficionado rankings and whose Hong Kong flagship is often our number one hotel on earth. Peninsula was the second-most highly rated hotel brand in this poll, and unlike competitors, focuses almost exclusively on big-city properties, like Chicago. “This hotel has it all…Midwestern hospitality and European elegance, luxurious guestrooms, extraordinary spa, and some of the finest dining in the U.S.,” said another superstar travel agent, Anne Scully, President of McCabe World Travel.

Best Small City Hotel, U.S.

The Surrey, New York City

No other city does small in as big a way as New York, which won this category handily in our original poll (The Lowell), in our Best New Hotels Poll (Gansevoort) and now sweeps the top places again. There have been a rash of hot Big Apple hotel openings, some trendy, some understated, but all more neighborhood-oriented than in the past. The Surrey is the best of the bunch, thanks in part to its exclusive rooftop bar, “open to hotel guests and ‘friends of the Surrey’ only, making it the most civilized place in the city for summer cocktails,” according to New Yorker and ForbesLife editor Ann Abel. “I absolutely love this art-filled, sleek boutique hotel,” added top Los Angeles travel agent Stacy Small of Elite Travel International. The Surrey occupies an oversized Upper East Side townhouse whose first life as a residence hotel was the choice of JFK and Bette Davis.

Runner-up: The Greenwich, New York City. The Greenwich also boasts a guest-only bar, in an interior courtyard, along with a standout spa. “It’s not easy to find many ‘cool’ hotels that offer five-star service.  I found this at The Greenwich,” said The Accomplished Traveler’s Jason Miller.

Honorable Mention: 21c Museum Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, which houses not only an incredible art collection and actual museum, but also the world’s largest selection of bourbon and domestic whiskies. This is now the choice for Kentucky Derby bound A-listers.

Best City Hotel, International

Four Seasons George V, Paris

The George V is no newcomer to our list, having dominated Paris, one of the world’s great hotel cities, in our previous polls. What stands out is that in this much more competitive era and crowded luxury hotel market, while other top vote getters are falling back to the pack, this one keeps widening its lead, and was the top vote getter in this entire survey, displacing our previous runaway favorite, the Peninsula Hong Kong.

The George V was the choice of everyone from Nota Bene’s persnickety Anthony Lassman to romantic-honeymoon specialist Carrie Wallace. Several panelists noted that in addition to impeccable service and deluxe accommodations, the hotel was unique in the City of Lights for its open embrace of American travelers. “The surroundings are sumptuous and worthy of Louis XV,” proclaimed longtime luxury travel journalist Debbie Karpowicz Kickham.

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