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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 4)

Best Boutique Resort, U.S.

Twin Farms, Vermont

This bucolic Vermont farm, once home of author Sinclair Lewis and his wife, journalist Dorothy Parker, has been turned into a compound of architecturally unique, individually decorated and artwork-laden luxury homes that has been compared to both an adult summer camp and a stay at the home of an eccentric billionaire. Either way it works, as Twin Farms has consistently been one of the most decorated hotels on the planet, despite having less than two dozen units. It has earned the top U.S. ranking for Small Hotel from the Zagat Survey and has consistently received the five-Star rating from Forbes/Mobil.

I recently revisited it and was immediately and forcefully reminded why it is so amazing. This is the nation’s most luxurious all-inclusive lodging, and though the setting leads to all sorts of oddball guest requests, nothing is too much for the attentive staff. The very elaborate and delicious seasonal farm-to-table philosophy existed here long before it became trendy elsewhere, and still excels.

Runners-Up: TIE: Amangiri, Utah; Post Ranch Inn, California. While Aman’s first foray into the U.S. market underwhelmed with a Jackson, Wyoming resort far removed from the fabled ski slopes, the follow-up, this back-to-nature escape on 600 desert acres in the Four Corners region wowed our experts. “It is the only resort I have ever seen that I felt God was the head architect,” says Anne Scully, who has been to a lot of beautiful resorts. The Post Ranch Inn is no surprise to travelers seeking these kinds of intimate experiences, having long been one of the nation’s top such choices, combining great service with excellent food and an incomparable Big Sur setting.

Honorable Mention: Not many of our panelists have had a chance to get to the brand new Grand del Mar resort in San Diego, but those who have are wowed by this opulent up-and-comer built in the style of a European grand hotel. The buzz is already that this may be the last no-expense-spared monument to opulence built in this country for a very long time.

Best Golf Resort, U.S.

The Sanctuary Hotel, Kiawah Island Golf Resort, South Carolina

Showing just how dramatically the luxury landscape has changed in the past five years, The Sanctuary not only won a category previously dominated by Pebble Beach and Sea Island, but it won by a convincing margin. With the PGA Championship, its first Major, coming to the resort’s famed Ocean Course, the Sanctuary’s stock should only continue to rise. “True Southern Hospitality from the moment you arrive. Not one detail left out.  World class golf!” declares Miller.

As a longtime golf writer who has been to virtually every top resort on the globe, I’ve long thought Kiawah’s 90-holes were the best golf on the east coast, but now with The Sanctuary there is finally world class lodging to match. “I was thoroughly impressed by this South Carolina gem. The architecture seemed to capture the unique character of the region. Staff were very accommodating and helpful and the spa and golf offerings were fabulous,” says Brian Richardson, vice president of rival Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, which itself operates some of the world’s highest-profile golf properties. “Quite simply, Kiawah has everything for the golfer—and golf widows and widowers,” says golf and travel journalist Lynn Seldon.

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