This month Travel + Leisure magazine published the It List: The Best of New Hotels 2011. I have gone through the list of 50 hotels and chosen my top 3. I'll feature runners-up and big time losers in later posts.
1. GoldenEye Hotel & Resort, Jamaica
This place is the winner for so many reasons. It is the perfect size with 11 cottages and 6 suites. It has clear connection to the surrounding environment (kayaks from every room!) with just the right amount of design style. I love the use of natural wood and local textiles. Most importantly it has a sense of humor. The website is playful, that silly cocktail glass is endearing, and it doesn't refer to itself with stupid marketing blabber like "treat yourself to a breath of fresh air..." That goes really far in my book.
There's a lot of good stuff going on in this room.
2. Babylonstoren, Cape Winelands, South Africa This is an old farm transformed into a resort with acres and acres of land to explore. My favorite detail is this, "For traveling gourmands, some cottages offer kitchens—glassed-in cubes facing an eight-acre garden from which you can pick your own herbs, fruits and vegetables, the same produce used by the chefs at the restaurant, Babel."
I spent wayyy too long eating up every detail on the website. Beware of major time suckage before clicking here.
3. Hotel Havana, San Antonio, TX
If I'm going to San Antonio I do not want to stay in a W Hotel with velvet curtains and claw-foot golden settees. It's the heart of Texas, for fuck's sake.
I like this hotel because it knows what it is and where it is. The traditional furniture suits the historic space but the splashes of bright color and 1950's vintage elements make it modern.