As a new year begins, so do new travel plans. I crisscrossed the globe in 2010 – from Shanghai to Sydney and Manhattan to Miami – and visited many hotels that left a lasting impression. Now that 2010 is over and 2011 has begun, I’ve put together my list of the must-see luxury hotels to visit in 2011. As you start planning your travels for this year, consider one of these locations and don’t miss these places to stay:
1. Canyon Ranch Miami:
For those who like staying stateside, a trip to the Canyon Ranch Miami is a must. The a la carte version of its Lenox and Tucson all-inclusive resorts, Canyon Ranch Miami Beach offers guests the tranquility and rejuvenation aspects you expect with a Canyon Ranch, without all the seclusion that comes with the bigger properties. You can dine where you want, drink what you want and partake in all the mind/body activities that you want, or you can just lay by the beach and indulge in some of the freshest food from the Canyon Ranch kitchen.
2. Costa d’Este Resort, Vero Beach:
Gloria Estefan’s luxury Florida resort is located oceanside on the private Vero Beach. The 94-room luxury hotel resort offers its own restaurant, bar, spa and fitness center and is only a short distance away from shopping and activities in Vero Beach. The best part? Thanks to its private-by-nature owners, you can truly escape in this luxury hideaway and forget you’re in Florida.
3. Four Seasons Los Angeles, Beverly Hills:
This Four Seasons continues to be my favorite of the Four Seasons family. The Four Seasons Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, is an opulent property tucked away in the lush gardens of Beverly Hills. It’s hidden location means everyone maintains their privacy, from business guests to Academy Award winners. The hotel’s newly opened restaurant, Culina, offers some of the best crudo you’ll find in California.
4. Blantyre, Lenox, Mass.:
This Relais & Chateaux property quickly became my new favorite New England getaway after I spent one night in hotel’s Corner Room. The resort itself is reminiscent of an old Scottish castle and the intimacy the resort exudes is unlike anything you’ll find in Massachusetts. What makes Blantyre so special is its owner, Anne, who welcomes everyone through the doors as if they’re family. For wine lovers, you won’t find a better wine cellar anywhere. Blantyre houses everything from Oregon Pinot Noirs to a $48,000 bottle of Château Petrus.
5. Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong:
If you’ve been following my travels you’re well aware of the time I’ve spent in Hong Kong working my way up to the 118th floor of the Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong. I encourage everyone else to get to the top of the tallest hotel in the world, which will open in March 2011. The views from the top are mesmerizing and whether you choose to swim in the infinity pool or sip cocktails on floor 118, you won’t be disappointed in your stay. Business travelers will love the hotel thanks to its proximity to Kowloon’s financial district and ease of access via the Hong Kong public transportation. Leisure travelers will love staying on top of one of Hong Kong’s luxury malls and taking the ferry to Hong Kong island for sightseeing.
6. Culloden House, Scottland:
There’s nothing as special as driving down a windy road and coming to an end at a private castle. The Culloden House was founded more than two centuries and today, this Inverness luxury hotel welcomes guests to stroll its nearly 40 acres lawns, dine in its divine restaurant or indulge in the onsite spa.
7. Upper House, Hong Kong:
At the risk of throwing competition to the wind, The Upper House might be one of Hong Kong’s best kept secrets (until now). It’s elegant decor infuses sophistication with sex appeal. Whether or not you stay in the hotel is irrelevant, actually. Simply spending an evening at the hotel’s bar will provide you with all the best the hotel has to offer, including panoramic views of Hong Kong.
8. The Savoy, London:
The iconic hotel reopened its doors in Covent Garden earlier this year and reclaims its title as a British icon, which its held since 1889. After a £100 million restoration, the hotel’s 268 guestrooms and suites are stylish, luxurious and offer the best in technology with great views of London. The Savoy welcomes Gordon Ramsay to the Savoy Grill and legendary bartender Harry Craddock still mixes up the city’s best cocktails.
9. The Carlyle Hotel, New York:
There’s no shortage of hotels in Manhattan, which is why it was so hard to pick just one. But after multiple visits to New York City this year I found myself retreating back to an old favorite, not to sleep but for nostalgia. I have to give shout-outs to great hotels including Trump Towers & Exclusive Resorts, The Roosevelt, The Waldorf, The Benjamin, and The Plaza – all with whom I’ve stayed and would recommend to any traveler. But in 2011, I suggest returning to a classic and enjoying an evening at my favorite hotel in the city, The Carlyle. Located on Madison Avenue in Manhattan’s Upper East Side overlooking Central Park, the New York City landmark is a sanctuary of luxury and elegance. Don’t miss a trip to Bemelmans Bar, where they still serve the best Manhattan’s in the city.
10. Sonora Resort, Vancouver:
There’s luxury travel, and then there’s extreme luxury travel. My choice for those looking for a getaway where absolutely no one can reach you? Head to Sonora Resort in British Columbia and hide out among some of Mother Nature’s best landscapes. The only way to get here is via private helicopter and the resort is only open during the spring and summer. While you’re here, go on a bear trek, fish, raft, hike the beautiful trails or just lounge in bed with the beauty of British Columbia in your view. Sonora Resort truly feels like a private island devoted only to you.