Archive | September 2012

The Best with12 Rooms or Less

I’ve covered many lavish, lush and romantic resorts on my world travels, particularity for honeymoon suggestions, but I’ve decided to let you in on some of my favorite places with a dozen rooms or less. Sometimes you just want privacy and to feel like you own the place.
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Imanta – Punta De Mita, Mexico
12 villas

Just under an hours drive North of Puerto Vallarta, this Mexican jungle sanctuary is one of the most romantic spots on theRiviera Nayarit. Try to book an ocean front villa or casona with a private plunge pool and you’ll also have direct access to the deserted beach. The spacious, airy rooms are decorated with natural elements such as wooden tree trunks for a table and stone walls. The property never feels crowded and features two Presidential suites amid the 250-acre natural reserve. Whether you enjoy bird-watching, horseback riding, sailing or snorkeling, everything is available with our leaving the property or private beach.  With one ‘formal’ restaurant and one palapa located down by the shore, the emphasis is on utilizing fresh, local ingredients – the ceviche and guacamole should not be missed.  Enjoy the sunset with cocktails, or a private meal at the resort’s chic rooftop terrace, offering a 360-degree view of jungle and Pacific. 

Poetry Inn – Napa Valley
Five rooms

Poetry Inn on the grounds of the Cliff Lede winery and art gallery in the charming town of Yountville which should be your focus of a visit to this region. You can easily walk the town’s main street and taste your way through some of best food and wines available within this one mile radius (including The French Laundry and all of Thomas Keller’s eateries).  Back at the Inn you can also opt to rent the farm house with roaring fireplaces, four poster beds, a pool and large porches overlooking the Silverado Trail.
This vineyard-view sanctuary perched on the hillside is so perfectly romantic and ideal for the chic-country-cozy town (it isn’t called Poetry for nothing.) At the Cliff Lede winery you just might see Canadian born Cliff walking amid the outdoor sculptures with his black beret slightly tilted on his head. Sip his sublime Poetry Cabernet while perusing modern art at the on-site gallery. Sign up for their new three day wine making package and try your hand at producing your own vintage. To Cliff ‘the poetry of life’ includes fine wine, food, art and the natural beauty of the valley. Who can argue?

Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur
38 rooms but rent one of two private homes on the grounds.

This Big Sur favorite immediately puts you in a relaxing state of mind as you drive up or down the coast on Highway 1 from LA or SanFran.  Newer suites with names like ‘Peace’ now complement the existing tree houses, while keeping the new age meets upscale vibe. Wooden curved walls, gun metal fireplaces and stone floors appear to have been carved right into the side of the mountain. Whimsical granite and metal sculptures mingle the creative edge of the local community with epic craggy edge views up one of the most beautiful forest trimmed shore lines in the world.  Admire the waves from one of the heated infinity pools not far from the spa. In the kitchen, try a different four course tasting menu nightly. Not to worry, you can hike up Bill’s trail on the grounds to burn it all off in the morning. 

Tom Beach Hotel, St. Barts, Caribbean
10 Rooms

St. Barts is a perfect French Island in the Caribbean consisting of 8 scenic miles of beach, beauty and bistros.  As you fly into the narrow landing strip, the scenery is dotted with yachts scattered in the harbors, pink colored buildings and lush green landscapes that blended into the expanse of azure blue water. What sets the island apart is that you won’t find any poverty, crime or beach hustler, but you will find Prada, Gucci and some of the best French food outside of Paris. Now all you need is an under the radar 10-room hideaway in a tropical garden setting. Tom’s Beach Hotel may not be as well-known as Le Toiny, Eden Rock orGuanahani, but for a small, chic and private venue with a pool, this is a little known island secret. The rooms are swathed in white and feature four poster beds with netting. The property also include an Art Studio with fine art, photography, video, and sculptures that lead out to La Plage where you can experience their French restaurant on the sand.

Lautner Hotel, Palm Desert
Four rooms

Located at the northern end of the Coachella Valley, a former run down motel, has morphed into the retro-glam Hotel Lautner. The famed architect’s mid-century modernist building was originally constructed in 1947, as a prototype for a master planned community. The enter-locking four-suite boutique property has been resurrected to an oasis by Tracy Beckmann Design (The Tar Pit, Mas Malo). Staying at this architectural gem will be like having your own flat with a contemporary kitchen, private rare succulent garden, spa pool, outdoor shower and vintage decor. The furniture was designed by Ryan Trowbridge using steel and redwood for custom made bed frames that mirror the original building structure materials including concrete floors and expansive glass windows encased with wood. New amenities include induction cook tops, Frette linens, a library of design books and unique hand-crafted Heath tiles.