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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 8)

Four Seasons Tented Camp
Golden Triangle, Thailand

This Toronto-based luxury brand has consistently been our panelists’ favorite since our polls began, but Golden Triangle is unlike any other Four Seasons on earth—in a good way. Comprised of just 15 tents—albeit deluxe tents with hand-hammered copper tubs and teak furnishings—this is a satellite escapist property to the larger mothership resort 175-miles away at Chiang Mai. Run like a deluxe African safari lodge, it is all-inclusive and features daily guided excursions, including elephant rides, hikes and river cruising in traditional long tail canoes. Activities, food and drink are bundled as three- or four-night packages, simply called “The Camp Experience,” and this is a place to experience things, not lounge around. As Wallace puts it, “Guests have more to look forward to here than just elegant tents and fabulous service. How many of their friends can say they’ve been a mahout (elephant trainer)?  Such a unique experience in such a beautiful setting!”

Runner-Up: Explora Posada de Mike Rapu, Easter Island, Chile. For a tiny hotel chain (four properties) based entirely in one country (Chile), Explora has lit up our polls. Its Patagonia resort, Hotel Salto Chico, won our inaugural poll in this category, then won again for Best Adventure/Eco Resort in our all-resort poll, and then this property on Easter Island won for Best New Adventure/Eco Resort. The facility is excellent, but it is the combination of location and by far the best guides that make Posada de Mike Rapu a true once-in-a-lifetime experience. As a ruins junkie myself, I have been and can safely say that other top sites such as Machu Picchu and Tulum pale in comparison with the Moai of Easter Island.

BEST BY REGION

Best Hotel New York City

The Surrey

Apparently size does not matter. The Surrey won earlier for Top U.S. Small Hotel, and was also our favorite at any size in the Big Apple, the nation’s most competitive hotel market. While most new hotels go through growing pains, this was not the case here, according to Abel, “I stayed here last December, just a month after opening, and not a hair was out of place.” It beat our defending champion, the Four Seasons, which fell into a tie with up-and-coming Mandarin Oriental, which had previously scored in our Best New Hotels Poll.

Runners-Up: TIE: Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental.

Best Hotel London

The Lanesborough


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