Our globetrotting lifestyle journalist Dennis Malcolm Byron–aka beer expert Ale Sharpton–highly recommends these properties when treating yourself becomes imperative.
As a Cornell University “Hotelie” and photojournalist specializing in travel, I have a solid understanding of what a standout destination is when it comes to unpacking your bags. From “glamping” outdoors in luxurious tents, to swimming in one of the most jaw-dropping pools set in the middle of a canyon, these hotels, resorts and campsite will make you second guess checking out. I won’t blame you.
Canyon Point, Utah
There is no wonder celebrities and other privacy seekers want to escape to an exotic destination free from paparazzi, blaring horns, and everyday life.
Enter Aman’s Amangiri Resort.
This mesmerizing, 600-acre property centered in Utah’s remote Canyon Point is a top destination for the affluent (and money savers) who simply yearn for blissful serenity. Taking pride in its natural environs, Amangiri’s suites boast everything from stunning views of the desert landscapes, to their own plunge pools and sky terraces ideal for stargazing. To add, the spa features treatments inspired by the Navajo, and the main swimming pool’s heated waters surround a massive butte made of sandstone so that guests can become one with Utah’s outdoors. There are also Utah Adventure Experience packages highlighting nearby attractions including the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, and Bryce Canyon. Ultimately, the Amangiri is world class.
Ithaca, New York
To really enjoy a retreat from everyday routines, sometimes even a hotel or resort cannot completely scratch that itch for adventure. Firelight Camps literally and figuratively produce a breath of fresh air in Upstate New York, boasting screened tents laden with accommodations rivaling posh guest rooms travelers are often accustomed to. From hardwood floors, to safari-themed furniture, high-end bedding, a private balcony, and a full-function bath house including hot showers, Firelight is the epitome of “glamping.” And no worries, the outdoor feel will not be compromised; hammocks are available, and campfires are ignited by the staff every morning and evening. Besides the August Moon Spa and John Thomas Steakhouse just steps away on site, guests have the option of exploring local gems such as The Commons based downtown, numerous vineyards, apple orchards, and the majestic Buttermilk Falls that collectively validate the city’s slogan, “Ithaca Is Gorges.”
Four Seasons Westlake
Westlake Village, California
Undoubtedly, the Four Seasons collective worldwide is consistently opulent, but the Westlake a few hops from Malibu in Southern California successfully boasts its own identity especially regarding relaxation and dining. The award-winning, 41,000-square-foot spa; adult serenity pool; and a Zen garden are just a few of a plethora of options encouraging escapism. Serving up an amazing culinary experience, Westlake’s standouts include a registered dietitian curating special “Sustained Living” menus coupled with an on-premises Wellness Kitchen; an indoor farmer’s market hosted by local venders complemented with a mouthwatering breakfast; and the upscale, Japanese-inspired ONYX restaurant serving arguably the best grilled salmon I have ever had. Views of the picturesque Santa Monica Mountains, swanky lounges, and lavish suites certainly do not compromise a guest’s experience either.
The Graduate Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor, Michigan
We finally don’t have to refinance our homes to stay at a hotel that provides a memorable experience based on an inventive concept, a central location, and a personable staff. Located in the heart of Ann Arbor where eclectic shopping, restaurants, bars and a bustling city scene are at its doorstep, the reasonably priced Graduate Ann Arbor keeps things contemporary with their singles, doubles, and suites possessing modern fixtures, Malin + Goetz body products in the bathrooms, and free Wi-Fi. However, the University of Michigan nostalgia such as pillow covers made from college sweaters, and replica student IDs of celebrity alumni including Gilda Radner, Desmond Howard, and Iggy Pop serving as door keys make this hotel one of the most unique in the hospitality industry. There is also an Allen Ramsey Supper Club featuring traditional Ann Arbor culinary favorites and a coffee shop serving up eye-opening java alongside the city’s famous Zingerman’s bagels. Regardless of Graduate’s unabashed allegiance to the Wolverines, even Ohio State diehards couldn’t help but appreciate this hotel’s originality. This one is our editor’s favorite.
A member of the Ascend Hotel Collection renowned for their chic boutique properties worldwide, Hotel Napoleon is a standout due to its efficacious fusion of vintage Memphis with today’s hospitality trends. The 58-room Napoleon is based inside the original building designed in 1902 by “the Merchant Prince of Memphis”—Napoleon Hill—which has been officially registered in National Register of Historic Places. While maintaining a significant amount of original architectural notes including classy Tennessee marble, this Memphis staple still boasts industrial chic décor, living quarters with 12-foot-ceilings, 50-inch flat screen televisions providing 130 channels, 24-hour limited room service, and a hip Luna’s tapas restaurant with an assortment of local craft beers. Of course, with a trolley along its street to transport visitors to the always bustling Beale Street and other attractions just blocks away, Napoleon’s extensive playground will also keep guests busy.
Are your bags packed yet?