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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 7)

Honorable Mention: Deer Valley Ski Resort, Utah suffers from too much of a great thing. Its array of luxury hotels split the vote, and with two third-place finishers, Stein Eriksen Lodge and St. Regis Deercrest, Deer Valley was our top overall luxury ski destination. This dynamic duo will soon become a terrific trio with the addition of the new Montage this winter, and Deer Valley cements its ritzy reputation.

Best Ski Destination, International


Most of the world’s top-hotel general managers learned their craft in Ithaca, New York or Switzerland, the homes of the finest hotel schools. Like its watches, Switzerland’s hotels have become famous for enduring quality, precision and painstaking attention to detail, and when you throw in the Alps, this combination makes Switzerland to skiing what Thailand is to spas and Bali to beach resorts: No. 1. Our experts’ consensus was simple: if you leave the U.S., the best ski accommodations are here.

Favorites: Riffelalp Resort, Zermatt; Badrutt’s Palace, St. Moritz; Omnia, Zermatt. The Riffelalp’s signature feature is stunning views of the Matterhorn from virtually everywhere on the property, but especially from the highest altitude outdoor pool in Europe, complete with jetted tubs and massage showers. The spa and gastronomy are first class as well. The Omnia won as Best New Ski Hotel in our previous poll, and also showcases the local icon, the Matterhorn, with floor to ceiling glass and modern architecture that led one panelist to describe it as “luxe lodgings more like something out of Singapore or South Beach than Switzerland.” Badrutt’s is one of Europe’s classic grand hotels, but the one that happens to be in Switzerland’s most sophisticated ski town, the Aspen of the Alps.

Best Safari Lodge/Property (Worldwide)

Singita Lodges, South Africa and Tanzania

Upscale safaris are among the “authentic” travel experiences that have benefitted from the changing landscape of the last five years, with more vacationers forgoing the epic scale of the traditional hotel-to-hotel East African package tour experience for the intimate seclusion and luxury that until recently only South Africa offered. Thanks in large part to Singita, a leading operator of these deluxe boutique lodges, the possibilities have expanded as they opened three similar lodges in Tanzania.

Singita tied for first in our original poll, but its collection of nine game preserve lodges broke out for a runaway win in a category where it faced daunting competition. High-powered travel agent Anne Scully’s Singita favorite was Boulder Lodge, “a Zen experience in the South African Bush. This lodge lends itself to the best safari experience while enjoying fine dining, fantastic wines and world-class service. Private suites with plunge pools overlook the river.” Honeymoon specialist Carrie Wallace of MoonRings does a lot of safari business and knows the product well, and she singles out Singita’s Grumeti Reserve in Tanzania. “The three lodges each take advantage of their setting to deliver a quintessential Serengeti safari experience. How they deliver such a luxurious experience in the middle of the Serengeti is remarkable.”

Best adventure/wilderness resort (Worldwide)

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