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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 6)

Notable Mention: California’s Cal-a-vie, is unique in combining a more traditional luxury resort experience and fine dining with the full destination spa experience and “ass-kicking fitness,” according to Ann Abel, a longtime spa expert and former executive editor of Spa Finder magazine, who proclaimed, “Finally, a break from New Age Zen!”

Best Spa Resort Destination, International

Thailand

Like our International Beach Resort category, won by Bali, this was more a matter of where to go than where to stay for our panel, who found so many great options that no clear winner emerged—especially in Thailand, where most of the votes were cast.

Favorites: Banyan Tree Phuket; Six Senses Phuket; Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle. Banyan Tree properties showed up with noticeable frequency in this poll, making it one of several successfully expanding luxury brands out of the Pacific Rim. Six Senses, a spa-specific brand, was a runner-up in our previous resort poll and has been a panelist spa favorite for years. The smallest of all Four Seasons, Tented Camp Golden Triangle, was extremely popular with panelists and also won another category outright, Best Adventure/Wilderness Resort.

ADVENTURE & ACTIVE-TRAVEL HOTELS

Best Ski Hotel, U.S.

Four Seasons Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Our winner combines white-glove service with a prime location at the base of what many consider the best ski mountain in the country, if not the world. I’ve been several times and everything from “Base Camp,” as the ski concierge is known, to the après-ski sushi is first in class. “S’mores and cocktails at the hot tub, a spa that my wife loves, a great concierge, all right next to the lifts and tram, plus Jackson is a great town, it just doesn’t get any better,” says Patrick Gallagher, our road warrior business expert who also happens to be an avid skier with high standards. Thanks to a recent onslaught of luxury slopeside properties, this turned out to be our most competitive category, and one of the most changed since our original poll. Our previous winner, the Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch, hung on for a second place tie, but it is clear that newer properties have raised the stakes. Expect this trend to continue, with another Four Seasons opening this winter in Vail, while the new Montage at Deer Valley, Utah may well be the most heralded luxury hotel opening of 2010.

Runners-Up: TIE: Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch, Colorado; Little Nell, Aspen, Colorado. Previous winner the Ritz continues to wow with its upscale log cabin aesthetic, the new outpost of Wolfgang Puck’s Spago, and sumptuous spa complete with a “grotto,” but some bemoan its out-of -the way location. The Little Nell, on the other hand, has the best location in Aspen’s gold-plated real estate market, and after a thorough renovation this tried-and-true gem, one of the nation’s original slope-side luxury hotels, is better than ever. Its exquisite Montagna restaurant is also arguably Aspen’s best.


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