The sky’s the limit
Lotte New York Palace
There are two ways of staying here, in one of Manhattan’s most legendary hotels, which was entirely renovated in 2013: either in the 19th-century elegance of the original manor house, or in the bronze, aluminum and glass of the soaring Towers. This hotel-within-a-hotel’s flawless service reaches new heights, with private elevators, round-the-clock maître d’étage, attentive assistance with luggage and private car optionas well as a dedicated concierge team for Broadway ticket bookings.
lotte new york palace455, Madison Avenue et 50th Street. Tél. +1 212 888 7000. www.lottenypalace.com
InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam
When thinking of Amsterdam, space and light don’t immediately spring to mind. Yet for 150 years the Amstel and its vast, white lobby have placed this waterside capital on the list of cities with a “grand hotel.” The concierge concocts custom-tailored stays, granting (nearly) every last-minute request while offering expert advice and tips for exploring the city. Go for a sail on one of three private boats; cycle along the canals in the museum district; or spend meditative moments terrace-side by the Amstel on the same level as the A Bar (photos) and the swimming pool with its trompe-l’oeil ceiling. In the Rembrandt Suite, artist types will find easel, canvases and paints, as well as museum tickets and bouquets arranged in 17th-century style.
intercontinental Amstel AmsterdamProfessor Tulpplein, 1. Tél. +31 (0)20 622 6060. www.amsterdam.intercontinental.com
There’s the gilding and stuccowork, the elaborate drapes and floral tapestries, the thick carpets and gleaming marble that you can glide across as if it were a mirror. The restaurant, headed up by the energetic chef Éric Frechon, boasts a dramatic glass roof above powder blue frescoesand the eggs Benedict are out of this world. But more than anything, there is that little extra something that suddenly makes everything feel so simple. It’s located just a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace. Surprised?
The LanesboroughHyde Park Corner. Tél. +44 (0)20 7259 5599. www.lanesborough.com
With their white berets and baggy pants, they may be wearing the uniform of the mountain infantry, but they are actually angels of the slopes. These “ski valets” are emblematic figures at Les Airelles: they’ll help you put on your ski boots and take them off, accompany beginners to their instructors, warm your gloves on cold days. For in this snow-bound château, everything connected with skiing has to be as painless as possible. New for this season: a cryotherapy cabin to soothe aching muscles and the La Mer spa. Quite irresistible.
Les airellesRue du Jardin-Alpin, Saint-Bon-Tarentaise. Tél. +33 (0)4 79 00 38 38. www.airelles.fr
Badrutt’s Palace Hotel
This luxury establishment is still wowing us after 120 years. Built in 1896 at an altitude of more than 1,800 meters, in the Engadine, the heart of ski country, Badrutt’s has a nightclub, eight restaurants and three bars, as well as a concierge and butler, of course, plus luxury boutiques, a private ski school and the Kid’s Club Palazzino. Harp music is played at breakfast and piano during high tea (caviar and champagne). At the King’s Club: live music and DJs from around the world. And there’s an open-air lakefront concert venue. The Music Summit St. Moritz runs from March 24 to 26.
Badrutt’s palace hotelVia Serlas, 27. Tél. +41 (0)81 837 1000. Fermé du 27.03 au 30.06. www.badruttspalace.com
Gran Meliá Palacio de los Duques
Royal digs? Perhaps within the confines of a painting. Velázquez is a constant presence at this 19th-century palace, with its simple white facade. His Las Meninas is to be found in the 180 rooms and suites, and other reproductions of his major works can be seen throughout the hotel, which opened in September 2016. Attractions include a 1,000-m2 garden, a rooftop swimming pool and the prestigious surroundings (royal palace and theaters, Puerta del Sol). At the Dos Cielos restaurant in the former stables, twins Javier and Sergio Torres serve up dishes showcasing local and seasonal produce.
Gran meliá palacio de los duquesCuesta de Santo Domingo, 5. Tél. +34 915 41 67 00. www.melia.com
What would you expect from a maharaja’s palace? A journey back in time; elaborately harnessed elephants to greet you; a ritual welcome. The carved marble wings trimmed with crimson bricks (1835) make you itch to explore, escorted by a butler with endless stories up his sleeve. After guests have settled into one of the princely, renovated suites, a steward draws a bath for them before their private dinner in a location of their choosing on the estate. Gaining possession of palaces and strongholds in Rajasthan required a manly touch: a “warrior’s massage” awaits guests at the spa (which also offers options for children). Just 5 km from Jaipur, everything is possible, time seems obliterated.
rambagh palace Bhawanirambagh palace Bhawani Singh Rd. Tél. +91 141 2211 919. www.tajhotels.com
Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris
The greatest ones often have a knack of reinventing themselves. This 1928 luxury hotel, with its private cinema, gallery and art bookshop, had already been given a fresh twist by Philippe Starck. Then, a year ago, Nobu Matsuhisa took over the new restaurant. Trained in Japan, inspired by Peru, the chef features accents from his homeland and Latin America. An alchemy of continents, near the Champs-Élysées.
le royal monceauraffles paris 37, avenue Hoche. Tél. +33 (0)1 42 99 88 00. www.leroyalmonceau.com
Luxury car enthusiasts know the Villa d’Este for the Concorso d’Eleganza held annually on the grounds, as the boats on Lake Como sail past the eternal facades and white and ocher balconies. The cardinal who built this summer residence in the 16th century could not have opted for a better location, flanked as it is by the shoreline and gardens. In the 152 rooms, the splendors of marble, silk and brocade intermingle, as if to prepare the eye for the shimmering light on the lake. And for those who’d like to contemplate its reflections, take the captain up on his offer of an hour or a whole day of sailing.