The Inn at Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina
This "inn" in Carolina Lowcountry, really more akin to a sprawling estate, provides a one-of-a-kind experience that uniquely blends southern history and almost otherworldly natural beauty: rivers, misty marshes, old oaks draped with wispy Spanish moss, and salty breezes. The main hotel building looks like a classic southern mansion, and the 50 Cottages and Cottage Suites are simultaneously homey and utterly luxurious, with working fireplaces, screen porches, and gorgeous bathrooms. The multi-bedroom Village Homes are also luxurious, but lack some of the nuances of the cottages. Guests can enjoy a range of recreational facilities, including golf, bicycling, tennis, croquet, and kayaking, and the luxury spa is highly acclaimed.
Four Seasons Resort Vail
The Four Seasons Vail opened in 2011, and continues to be one of the area’s top hotels. All the rooms have warm colors, stone fireplaces, balconies, and huge marble bathrooms with standalone soaking tubs, and almost every amenity impresses, particularly the upscale spa (one of the best in Vail Valley).
North Cliff Hill, California
The 39-room North Cliff Hotel may be a budget-friendly property, but it includes some pretty spectacular perks -- including panoramic harbor views from each guest room and common areas. The hotel feels like a waterside condominium complex, with the lobby located at a slight distance from the rooms. Each guest room has a private balcony, sitting area, and gas fireplace, and, in some suites, the fireplace can be found next to the whirlpool tub which overlooks the harbor, making for a particularly romantic nook.
The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe
The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe is a five-pearl full-service resort in the mountains above Northstar-at-Tahoe ski resort. Along with a huge spa and fine dining, the Ritz-Carlton offers ski-in/ski-out access to the slopes and many other recreational activities -- including multiple outdoor pools and whirlpools that are open year-round. The 170 lovely rooms come with identical amenities including iPod dock radios, gas fireplaces, and balconies. Bathrooms are large and feature deep soaking tubs, marble counters, and double vanities.
Hidden Pond, Maine
Spread over 60 acres, Hidden Pond resort features 36 suite-like bungalows and two-bedroom cottages. While each have their own personality, they are all bright, homey, and sophisticated, characterized by pops of color and lodge-like touches (such as stone fireplaces adorned with antlers, and lamps made from tree branches). The spa is set up to resemble a tree house, and free yoga classes are held at the organic farm (where guests may also pick fresh flowers and veggies). Another outstanding feature is the outdoor bar and grill that sits on a "sand bar," with chairs circled around fire pits. N.B. Hidden Pond closes for the winter season, and will reopen in May.
Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur
The 39-room Post Ranch Inn is one of the most beautiful hotels in the United States -- if not the entire world -- and offers a romantic, intimate stay amid gorgeous natural surroundings. The hotel is built into the cliffs of Big Sur, and the organic architecture is breathtaking, seeming to grow out of the ground beside the hotel's surrounding redwoods. The spacious, eco-sensitive rooms have ocean or mountain views, and many feature floor-to-ceiling windows to better show them off. Rooms also have wood-burning fireplaces, radiant floor heating, outdoor showers or hot tubs, private decks, and organic bath products and linens -- but no televisions or alarm clocks as the hotel strives for a peaceful environment. The award-winning spa focuses on rejuvenating services and even has a shaman on-site, and the restaurant, Sierra Mar, is one of the best in the area.
One Ski Hill Place, a RockResort; Breckenridge
One Ski Hill Place is one of the most luxurious lodges in Breckenridge, with attractive condo-style units featuring gourmet kitchens, beautiful bathrooms (almost all with soaking tubs), and moss rock gas fireplaces. It also offers the most features of any resort in the area, including a two-lane bowling alley, two screening rooms, a billiards room, and an indoor pool area. It has a ski-in/ski-out location right on Peak 8, but getting to Main Street requires a trip on the Breck-Connect Gondola.
Waters Edge Hotel, California
As the only waterfront hotel in the charming town of Tiburon, the Waters Edge Hotel is the sole option for travelers in search of easy water access here. Luckily, it's a good one. With just 23 rooms, the property offers an intimate hotel experience, complete with extra touches that include a free nightly wine and cheese hour and free breakfast delivered to guest rooms each morning. The tiny town of Tiburon is easy to explore from the hotel, which is surrounded by shops and restaurants. The hotel's deck -- a popular gathering spot for guests -- overlooks the bay, a yacht club, upscale stores, a coffee shop, and a movie theater. Some rooms have balconies with similar views; all have flat-screen TVs, fireplaces, and pillow-top beds. Decor is comfortable and contemporary, with high beamed ceilings and crisp white linens.
The Gastonian, Savannah
Comprised of two historic mansions surrounded by lush foliage, the historic Gastonian has the B&B feel down to a tee. Each of the 17 rooms features antique furniture and a working fireplace, and free breakfast is served every morning, either downstairs or directly in your room. This upscale B&B lacks the amenities of larger hotels -- there is no fitness center and no elevator -- but modern perks like free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs make this 19th-century property feel up to date.
Tahoe Mountain Resorts Lodging
The four-pearl Tahoe Mountain Resorts Lodging offers direct access to Northstar-at-Tahoe ski resort, with plenty of nearby upscale shopping and dining found via cobblestone streets. Housed in separate lodges in the quaint Village at Northstar, the spacious, luxe rooms include kitchens, surround-sound TV systems, and fireplaces. A heated pool, underground parking, and the beautiful mountain setting are added bonuses. However, it can be difficult to find a room here in winter, and rates may increase depending on availability.
The Carneros Inn, Napa Valley
The luxury Carneros Inn is geared toward high-budget travelers -- it's pricey -- but guests who can afford it will find a sort of homey elegance here. Hillside Adirondack chairs overlook the vineyard. Crackling fireplaces warm every room. Private gardens and tree-lined infinity pools invite guests to relax. The entire resort feels like it's set on a farm, with cottages strewn about that house some of the guest rooms. The rooms are very comfy, with private decks and stone patios surrounded by overgrown greens and a fire pit. They also have outdoor tubs and showers, which is a cool feature. The open bathrooms inside are huge, with walk-in showers and a soaking tub. The property has three restaurants, one of which overlooks the vineyard, a bright and airy yoga studio, a fitness center, a hair salon, and a grocery store called The Market at Town Square.
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