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Where to stay in 2010

Has your New Year’s resolution to travel more left you wondering where to go? Our offerings of great places to stay may be just the ticket

January 3, 2010

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On the square, with a meal
The Washington Square Hotel in the heart of Greenwich Village is a throwback to a different era, yet with all the modern niceties: luxurious duvets, flat-screen TVs, sleek bathrooms. Built in 1903, the brick building surrounded by stately brownstones on a quiet, leafy street has just been renovated. Since 1973, it’s been owned and run by the Paul family and is the anti-chain hotel, from its charming marble lobby to the intimate bar that serves afternoon tea and drinks in the evening. Rita Paul, the matriarch, is an artist and she has painted several funky tile murals that adorn the lobby and hallways. The decor is Art Deco, with framed black and white photos of old Hollywood stars in each room. (I knew three of the four in my room, but was that really a young Laurence Olivier?) Best of all is the killer view, if you snag the right room: Washington Square Park with its parade of characters, both human and canine. Room rates include continental breakfast in the hotel’s Zagat-rated restaurant, North Square. If it was good enough for Ernest Hemingway, it’s good enough for me. www.washingtonsquarehotel.com, reservations 800-222-0418, $203-$333 (or $180-$296 advance purchase, nonrefundable)

BELLA ENGLISH

A boutique cave, really
In a lush valley in central Turkey shaped by a volcanic eruption 10 million years ago, the place to stay is in a cave. Many of them - dank, musty, and dark - are more appealing to bats than tourists. The Museum Hotel, built into the side of a hill, is considerably more welcoming. It overlooks the broad valley’s mahogany-colored canyons, goopy rock formations, and a massive volcano at the edge of the horizon. The air on the hill is cool and the views from the hotel’s infinity-edge pool are awe-inspiring. The rooms, hollowed out of the hill, lack right angles and regularly shaped windows, but they come with king-size beds, marble, Jacuzzi baths, and elegant artwork, giving the hotel its name. Breakfast includes a buffet of fresh juices, recently harvested olives, a variety of feta cheeses, fruits, and pastries. Dinner includes fresh salads; crusty, feta-filled hors d’oeuvres; large, meticulously prepared entrees; and desserts that defy adjectives. Tekili mah No. 1, Uchisar, Cappadocia; 011-90-384-219-2220, www.museum-hotel.com; $180 to nearly $3,000

DAVID ABEL

Eight (rooms) is enough
If painter Georgia O’Keeffe were still alive, she’d be right at home in the traditional adobe-walled compound at El Farolito Bed & Breakfast Inn in Santa Fe. One suite is in the main inn, while seven other rooms and suites are located in adobe casitas ( “little houses’’) with separate outdoor entrances from the desert-garden patios. The tranquil setting is only a 10-minute stroll from the city’s main plaza. When you’ve had your fill of moon-howling coyotes and flute-playing Kokopelis, head back to the inn to enjoy the hand-carved furniture and classic Santa Fe decor of Native American, Spanish Colonial, and Southwest Modern art. Although small, the inn has extensive concierge services, so you can arrange to have your bed strewn with rose petals or score tickets to the Santa Fe Opera. 514 Galisteo St.; 888-634-8782, 505-988-1631; www.farolito.com; doubles and suites $160-$275 with breakfast

PATRICIA HARRIS AND DAVID LYON

Nearly submersible
Think camping with a full bath and air conditioning. The soft-sided cabanas at 9 Beaches in Sandys, Bermuda, ramble up and down hills, along the shore, and even over the azure ocean itself. These upscale tents create a sense of being not by the sea but in it, with the sound of waves lapping against coral, and the out-of-doors so present the structures actually sway slightly in a stiff wind. In the high-end units glass panels in the floor afford a view of colorful fish in this reef habitat. The nine beaches for which the resort is named are isolated crescents of sand, accessed by wooden staircases, where fiddler crabs wend their way in and out of coral caves. The Hi Tide restaurant offers fresh-caught fish at reasonable prices, onsite concessions rent snorkel gear, and you can take a minibus to island hot spots - or not. 866-841-9009; www.9beaches.com; doubles $205-$490, with breakfast

ELLEN ALBANESE

Old World ambience
The perfect convergence of old money comfort with quietly contemporary style, the Hotel Nelligan is the quintessential Montreal hotel - classy French food, clubby English furniture, and genuine Canadian warmth. Nestled in three seamlessly connected 19th-century Old Montreal buildings, the hotel’s 105 guest quarters preserve the time-honored formula of brick, stone, and dark wood. For a cozy fire, you’ll have to step up to one of the 59 suites. The hotel is named for Quebecois poet Émile Nelligan, and its elegant French restaurant is called Verses. More casual fare, largely focused on Canadian beef, is available in the bar-brasserie Méchant Boeuf. The location is convenient to the Old Port, yet a short walk from the shopping district. 106 rue St-Paul Ouest; 877-788-2040, 514-788-2040; www.hotelnelligan.com; doubles $222-$245, suites $345-$614

PATRICIA HARRIS AND DAVID LYON

Venetian hideaway
Our small room at the Hotel Bernardi Semenzato in Venice came with a shared bath and we had to haul our suitcases up narrow stairs. But for a clean, two-star hotel on a Saturday night in high season for $100 - who’s complaining? A stay comes with a so-so breakfast, but great espresso by request. If you have more to spend, spring for a room with bath in the hotel’s annex, on a small side canal. Owners Leonardo and Teresa Pepoli have run the hotel nearly 30 years. There’s a mutual respect and affection between them and longtime employees like Santina Zambon, who happily supplies recommendations and information. The hotel is just a few blocks from the Ca’ d’Oro waterbus stop, the bustling shop-lined Strada Nuova, and Rialto Bridge, but it sits on a small side lane, which means minimal street noise. Wander the curving streets of its quiet Cannareggio neighborhood and discover a less-trafficked Venice. 4366 Calle dell’oca, just off Campo Santi Apostoli; 011-41-52-27-257; www.hotelbernardi.com; double with private bath from $96, including breakfast

KATHY SHORR

Altitude adjustment
At more than 10,000 feet above sea level, in the millennium-old capital of the Incas, the Hotel Monasterio in Cusco, Peru, a 400-year-old former seminary, offers five-star relief from the inevitable altitude sickness. The luxurious rooms are anointed by medieval iconography. Colonnades surround a Spanish-designed courtyard with a gurgling fountain. The breakfast buffet fuses dainty pastries with coca tea - a staple of the region and an antidote to the dizziness of being in the mountains - and the dinners are heavy with French influence. The staff arranges trips to the nearby Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, which is about three hours away by train. They will even draw you a bubble bath, complete with salts, oils, and multicolored rose petals scattered about. Calle Palacios 136, Plazoleta Nazarenas; 011-511-610-8300; www.monasterio.orient-express.com; up to $700 a night, but there are often specials for less

DAVID ABEL

Grape expectations
The wines of Spain are some of the most talked-about in Europe, yet Spanish wine tourism is just beginning. Already opening enotourism in the Penedès region 28 miles west of Barcelona, Cal Ruget Biohotel could set a national standard for wine-country inns. Wake up to vineyards, go to sleep to vineyards, sop your bread with olive oil from the trees outside. This design-conscious makeover of a 19th-century wine-grower’s estate is the ultimate wine stay in Catalonia. Owners Verónica Grimal and Florian Porsche worked in the luxury hotel industry. They run the nine-room hotel, cook the organic meals with ingredients from their own gardens and orchards (lunch and dinner are optional), and know every winemaker and cheesemaker within a day’s ride on the bicycles they loan to guests. Vilobi del Penedès; 011-34-93-897-9342; www.calrugetbiohotel.com; doubles $174 with breakfast

PATRICIA HARRIS AND DAVID LYON

Call your bluff
Chattanooga, Tenn., may not be high on most travelers’ itineraries, but the Bluff View Inn, and the clever complex that is the Bluff View Art District, make the city worth a look. Perched high on an 80-foot bluff overlooking a bend in the Tennessee River, the inn is part of a little warren of galleries, three restaurants, a sculpture garden, courtyards, a riverwalk, and even a bocce court. Nearby, a glass footbridge connects the Hunter Museum of American Art with the Walnut Street Bridge, which majestically spans the river. The inn is spread among three restored, turn of the century houses, and it’s all a short stroll to downtown. 411 East Second St.; 423-265-5033, 800-725-8338; www.bluffviewartdistrict.com; from $105, with breakfast

ETHAN GILSDORF

Trendy place to crash
The austere exterior of Toronto’s Drake Hotel belies its raucously stylish, retro-hip interior. Located on Queen Street West, the center of the art gallery scene, this boutique hotel with 19 rooms will appeal to those who appreciate quirky high-design with a dash of humor. All rooms have custom-built and vintage furniture, and wallpaper handcrafted by local artists. The smallest, most affordable rooms, dubbed “crash pads,’’ manage to fit a queen size bed, LCD TV, iPod docking station, and washroom with glass shower stall all within 150 square feet. (It helps that the ceilings are 10 feet high.) Public spaces mix elegance and decadence, as in the Lounge where martinis are served amid red velvet banquettes, leather booths, mica chandeliers, marble tables, and murals reminiscent of the Dutch baroque. There’s also a sushi bar, dining room, live indie music venue, and the Sky Yard, a rooftop patio open year round. 1150 Queen Street W.; 011-416-531-5042; www.thedrakehotel.ca; doubles $175-$300

NECEE REGIS

Greenest sleep in town
When it comes to hotels, Philadelphia and funky didn’t go hand in hand. That was until Hotel Palomar, the sleek new 230-room Kimpton hotel that opened in the former Art Deco American Institute of Architects building in October. Designed with an “arts in motion’’ theme, Palomar entices with original art throughout, including Technicolor busts of Ben Franklin in the lobby that bring Andy Warhol to mind. The Palomar is sustainable in design and furnishings. The sparkly lobby floor is made with recycled glass tiles; rugs are 100 percent wool; and comfy rooms are adorned with certified wood furnishings. In the New American Square 1682 restaurant, chef Guillermo Tellez delivers the organic and locally sourced goods in a contemporary setting that is the epitome of eco-taste. Drive up in a hybrid, and you park for free. 117 S. 17th St.; 215-563-5006, 888-725-1778; www.hotelpalomar-philadelphia.com; from $189

BETH D’ADDONO

Breakfast in Wales
The features of the Llansantffraed Court Country House Hotel and Restaurant, near Abergavenny, Wales, are easy to reel off: the four-star rating; the centuries-old brick mansion, rebuilt substantially just before World War I; the 20-acre private grounds, with ornamental lake and fountain; the southeast Wales location in the rolling hills of the Wye Valley, near Brecon Beacons National Park; the wood-burning fireplaces and multi-jet showers; the charming restaurant that prides itself on using 80 percent local ingredients, among them free-grazing lamb, unpasteurized cheeses, and wild fish. But what sets this place apart for me is this: During my stay, a major storm knocked out the area’s power for almost two days. Other hotels shut down. At Llansantffraed Court, they cooked by candlelight, led their guests through the hallways bearing giant candelabras, and made us feel that we were part of an unforgettable adventure. Clytha Llanvihangel Gobion, Nr. Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales; 011-44-1873-840678, www.llch.co.uk, from $187, including a full Welsh breakfast

KATHY SHORR

Island grandeur
The Martinique hotels Ilet Oscar and Ilet Thierry in the French West Indies have a vivid place in my vacation memory because they’re like staying in the gently falling-down home of an eccentic, rich aunt. Both are set on tiny islands in a reef-fringed bay 15 minutes by boat from Le Francois. Oscar, which once hosted Catherine Deneuve for a film scene of “Le Sauvage,’’ offers four rustic, ceiling fan-cooled rooms paneled in tropical woods (no phones or TV). The four rooms of the two-storied Creole-styled Thierry house offer en-suite baths and a hint of plantation grandeur. They are ideal for anyone madly in love or reeling from a tempestuous affair, attended by a sensual country of warm, spontaneous people. Ilet Oscar: 011-596-696-45-33-30; www.ilet-oscar.com; doubles $217 with breakfast. Ilet Thierry: 011-596-596-65-88-54; www.ilet-thierry.com; doubles $290 with breakfast PATRICIA BORNS

High tech, high style
Situated in the up-and-coming South Lake Union neighborhood, the Pan Pacific Hotel Seattle blends high-tech features, an uber-modern feel, and an eco-conscious mindset. Each room has a 32-inch, high-definition, plasma TV, Internet radio, free wireless Internet, and motion sensors that regulate the room temperature and lights as you come and go. The East-meets-West decor features zebrawood furnishings, shoji-style bathroom doors, and ridiculously comfortable Hypnos beds. From your room, enjoy a stunning view of the Space Needle or of seaplanes landing on nearby Lake Union. In the courtyard, you’ll find Starbucks, Whole Foods, Vida Spa, and the new Seastar Restaurant, where celebrity chef John Howie serves local favorites like Pacific Northwest red king salmon. The hotel sits within walking distance - or a quick trolley or cab ride - to some of the city’s top sites, including Pike Place Market and the Pacific Place shopping area with Nordstrom’s flagship store. 2125 Terry Ave.; 206-264-8111, www.panpacific.com, $179-$359

KARI BODNARCHUK

Home sweet dome
With a blend of backcountry luxury and a green environmental theme, the geodesic domes at Ecocamp in southern Chile’s rugged Torres del Paine National Park are a comfortable base camp to explore the land of condors, jagged mountains, and the llama-like guanacos of Patagonia. The tents, which are linked together by boardwalks, feature wooden floors, beds, round windows for star-gazing, and enough space for most people to stand tall. Walk to the bathrooms and common-area tents for meals, relaxation, and company. The tents, available only through tours, are miles inside the often windy park along dirt roads and at the foot of massive peaks. www.ecocamp.travel; 800-901-6987

MARTY BASCH

Taste of old Ireland
An old-fashioned ambience combined with contemporary features make the 153-room Galway Bay Hotel in Salthill, Ireland, a great place to relax after exploring the Aran Islands, Connemara, or other nearby destinations on the country’s rugged west coast. Try to snag a room with a view of the bay where locals often swim in the chilly water and power walk along its wide promenade. A beach community with a casual vibe, Salthill is just outside the medieval center of Galway City, an easy half-hour stroll or 10-minute bike ride away. The hotel’s enormous dining room, complete with baby grand piano and polished stone columns, serves a sumptuous full Irish breakfast buffet including blood sausages, porridge, and eggs. There are free DSL lines in each room, a business center, and a gym with a decent pool, though perhaps the best amenity of all is the fresh sea air. The Promenade; 011-353-91-520520; www.galwaybayhotel.net; doubles $190-$340

NECEE REGIS

Down on the farm
By the time you roll out of bed at the Inn at Celebrity Dairy in Siler City, N.C., 50 miles west of Raleigh, farmer and innkeeper Brit Pfann will have been up for hours, feeding and milking dozens of goats and tending to hens. You have the option of joining him or waiting for the evening rounds. After farm chores, Brit makes guests’ breakfast, which includes fresh eggs and goat cheese made by his wife, Fleming. The bed-and-breakfast opened in 1997, a decade after the Pfanns started the 330-acre Celebrity Dairy, whose cheese is sold across the state. Rooms are in a Greek Revival farmhouse, the sitting area is the original settler’s 1800 log cabin, and a two-story atrium joining the buildings serves as the dining room. After you’ve explored the grounds, sit a spell on the front porch and watch the goats at play. 144 Celebrity Dairy Way; 919-742-5176, www.celebritydairy.com; doubles $90-$150; Sunday dinner monthly

DIANE DANIEL

A place out of time
Situated between the rugged foothills of the Rockies and the trendy Pearl Street Mall, the 100-year-old Hotel Boulderado in Boulder, Colo., personifies the split personality of the place the Denver Post once called “the little town nestled between the mountains and reality.’’ A late-Wild West atmosphere permeates the lobby, with its dark, polished wood, wraparound balcony, 1908 Otis elevator, and stained glass ceiling. But rooms are modern and comfortable, with Internet access and views of the Flatirons. Off the lobby, the stylish Q’s Restaurant offers local, organic, and sustainably produced ingredients in dishes such as Colorado lamb with wild mushroom barley and king salmon with green apple salad. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the hotel opened on New Year’s Day 1909. 2115 13th St.; 303-442-4344, 800-433-4344; www.boulderado.com; doubles $209-$400

ELLEN ALBANESE

Fashionably civilized
Country flair blends with city sophistication and 17th-century charm with 21st-century chic in the Auberge Saint-Antoine, a Relais & Chateaux-member boutique hotel in Quebec City’s Lower Village. Built upon an archeologically rich site adjacent to the Museum of Civilization, the hotel’s architecture integrates buildings and structures dating from the 1600s. Inside, treasures unearthed during digs are artfully arranged in glass cases inset into thick walls. In the hotel’s lobby and at Café Artefact, minimalist furnishings are accented with intriguing lighting fixtures and grouped into cozy seating areas. Stylish luxury rooms include a heated bathroom floor, whirlpool tub, fireplace, and terrace. At Panache, a 19th-century timber-and-stone warehouse turned elegant restaurant, Chef Francois Blais updates traditional French Canadian comfort food. 8 Rue Saint-Antoine; 888-692-2211; www.saint-antoine.com; rooms from $159

HILARY NANGLE

Mind your manor
Since opening its lake-hugging Nick Faldo-designed championship course last summer, Lough Erne Golf Resort in Enniskillin has earned renown as Northern Ireland’s premier golf resort, but its appeal extends to spa lovers and gourmands. The five-star resort commands a 600-acre private peninsula separating Lower Lough Erne from Castle Hume Lough in the Fermanagh Lakelands, a ruggedly handsome region prized by anglers, hunters, hikers, and history buffs. Defying its young age, the hotel immerses guests in the ambience of a long-standing country manor. Antiques, elegant furnishings, lush drapes, and Irish linens accent guest rooms. Fires burn in the hearths, and afternoon tea is served. Escape the formality in the Thai Spa, and don’t miss dining at Catalina, where Irish celebrity chef Noel McMeel hangs his toque. Fermanagh; 011-44-28-6632-3230; www.loughernegolfresort.com; rooms with breakfast from $187

HILARY NANGLE

Mayan magic
The Ceiba del Mar resort in tiny Puerto Morelos, Mexico, is near Cancun, but mercifully much quieter than that throbbing, shoulder-to-shoulder-tourist mecca. Ceiba is quaint - 88 rooms of increasing size and elegance on lush grounds with a private beach and all the isolation and relaxation you could want. Rooms are bright and airy; my two-level, two-bath junior suite shone with white-tiled floors, built-in white stone couches, two balconies, and rolled-twig louvered cabinetry. Snorkelers love the massive Mesomerican reef just offshore, and the spa is world class; a 90-minute cocoon massage leaves you limply refreshed. For the truly adventurous, try the temescal, a Mayan sweat lodge that is downright spiritual even for nonreligious sorts. The reward later is an herbal drink, fresh fruit, and a cool ocean dip, where you reflect on the inner peace your sweat has just brought out. 877-545-6221, www.ceibadelmar.com, rooms $299-$1,500

PAUL E. KANDARIAN

If You Go

1. Hotel Bernardi Semenzato, Venice
2. Ecocamp, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
3. Pan Pacific Hotel, Seattle
4. Museum Hotel, Cappadocia, Turkey
5. 9 Beaches, Sandys, Bermuda
6. Auberge Saint-Antoine, Quebec City
7. Hotel Palomar, Philadelphia
8. Hotel Monesterio, Cusco, Peru