A retreat to a luxurious hotel room in sumptuous surroundings, is a wonderful escape from the every day. It fills our fantasies with designer toiletries, 24-hour room service, mini-bars and free cocktail hours—things we may not necessarily get at home (24-hour room service at home? I don’t think so).
For many, frequent travelers in particular, hotels are more than a place to lay your head down for the night. With stays that can stretch into weeks, travelers often seek a hotel that instills feelings of comfort and familiarity—that feels like home.
Some ways to achieve this “home-away-from-home” feeling, is to unpack. Even if you are staying for just a few days, unpack, put things in drawers, hang items in the closet. Doing so will not only provide some organization, but it will also make getting dressed easier, as you will have a visual of all your options.
Take your iPod or other music device. Unwind at the end of the day by listening to your favorite tunes, as you sip a chardonnay, room service delivered, while soaking in a tub filled with sweet scented bubbles courtesy of the complimentary designer toiletries.
Fortunately, when it comes to hotels that feel like home, there are options. According to Fodor’s 100 Hotel Awards 2013, thirteen such properties fit the requirement. All have fewer than 40 rooms each, great hotel services, hip lounges and come with a ready-made social scene. All prices are on a per room, per night basis.
13. Casa Lecanda, Merida, Mexico–$200
Casa Lecanda is a small luxury boutique hotel located within the historical center of Mérida, Yucatán. Built in a completely restored traditional Yucatecan home, the hotel has been designed to retain the original Meridian style. Painstaking attention to detail, architecture, and landscaping provides guests with a uniquely local experience and a sanctuary within the city; a refuge of serenity, privacy and relaxation. A place where guests do feel like they’re right at home. Patio rooms are $200.
12. Gladstone Hotel, Toronto, Canada–$219
A Toronto landmark with a colorful history, this hotel is hip, trendy and filled with local flavor. To design each of its 34 rooms, local artists were commissioned, meaning there is no cookie-cutter décor here. Each room is unique and one-of-a-kind. The hand-operated 1904 elevator is one of only three still working in Toronto. Ask for assistance to take a ride in it. The Surreal Gourmet room, designed by local artist and Food Network Canada host, Bob Blumer, has a summer rate starting at $219.
11. Hotel Maison de Ville, New Orleans, Louisiana—$239
Set in the historic French Quarter, this hotel is actually a collection of historic townhouses and “bachelor quarters.” The main building, which dates back to the 1780s, was once home to the apothecary Antoine Amedee Peychaud, who created the now-famous New Orleans cocktail, Sazerac. This is an elegant and romantic hotel, set in one of the liveliest cities in America. Rates start at $239.
10. Lisboa Carmo Hotel, Lisbon, Portugal—$240
Located in the upscale, hilltop Chiado neighborhood, Lisboa Carmo features a historic setting and Lisbon city views. A team that endeavors to be “hotel tailors” who “fit” each guest with a unique experience awaits you. Rooms have square, Old Town, or Tagus River views. The attached Maria do Carmo restaurant highlights Portuguese wines, and serves a tapas menu heavy on regional products like olive oil, stuffed sausage, smoked ham, and artisanal cheeses. A city view room goes for $240.
9. The Commons Hotel, Minneapolis, Minnesota–$249
This industrial schoolhouse property embodies a sense of inner geek in a chic setting. Explorers satisfy the whims of their inner geek with a Book Butler, in-room art galleries, alchemist mixology lessons and Sudoku sleep-ins, plus destination diversions curated to enlighten mind, body and soul, such as “Geek to Chic” makeover at the Aveda Institute headquarters, and “Personal Story and Book Creation” at Loft Literary Center. Bed and breakfast packages start at $249.
8. Margutta 54, Rome, Italy—$340
Picasso, Puccini and Stravinsky all made Via Margutta their home at one time. This four-suite property is a unique boutique hotel on Rome’s most beautiful, atmospheric street, located a stone’s throw from the Spanish Steps. It’s like your very own hip, New York style loft in the center of old-world Rome. $340 is the current rate at this distinctive home away from home.
7. Fazenda Nova, Tavira, Portugal–$350
Fazenda Nova is a luxury ten suite boutique hideaway in the countryside of Tavira, one of the prettiest towns in Eastern Algarve. Set on 25-acres of land featuring carob, almond, olive and pomegranate trees, this 19th century house has been beautifully renovated to provide modern conveniences, yet retain its original charm. It’s the perfect place to chill, unwind and take in the stunning countryside vistas. Rates are $350, including breakfast.
6. Canal House, Amsterdam–$380
Located in the heart of the Jordaan, the cultural centre of Amsterdam, Canal House is a 23 bedroom boutique hotel located on the Keizergracht and comprised of 17th century merchants’ houses. Centered in 21st century Amsterdam, the design is glamorous, contemporary and comfortable but recalls the rich history of the building and the surrounding area. Summer rates start at $380 per night. Full amenities are on offer with an LCD screen, Bose iPod docking station, Blu-ray player, complimentary WIFI, Green & Spring bath and body products and a generous mini bar full of locally sourced treats.
5. Zero George, Charleston, South Carolina–$499
Set in the upscale Ansonborough neighborhood, five 19th century homes have been joined together to make up this property. Zero George is comprised of 18 studios and suites that are connected to three former homes and two brick carriage houses, with private piazzas throughout. Rooms have a varied decor inspired by different elements of Charleston’s past—tailored British trade, airy French Romantic, and nautical Yachting Design—and feature natural linens and fabrics, marble bathrooms, and custom furniture. A Garden Suite is $499. Breakfast is included.
4. Ett Hem, Stockholm, Sweden—$570
Built in 1910, Ett Hem was once a private residence. The people who built it had a propensity for beauty, and they left their mark on this townhouse. Situated in a peaceful, residential area of Stockholm, Ett Hem has only twelve rooms, offering discerning guests comfortable interiors and bedrooms. Outdoors, the courtyard garden is a secret city wilderness that is the perfect place for summer breakfasts or winding down in the evening over a chilled bottle of wine. A double room starts at $570.
3. Hotel Jerome, Aspen, Colorado–$662
At the foot of majestic Aspen Mountain and steps from the heart of town, this boutique hotel offers guests an incomparable setting for an ideal getaway whatever the season. First opened in 1889, Hotel Jerome elegantly blends the comfort, convenience and understated luxury of today’s finest boutique hotels, with an authentic mountain aesthetic and spirit. Standard nightly rates are $662.
2. Cap Estate, St Lucia–$675
Set atop a private ocean-front bluff, with magical sunset views over the clear blue water of the Caribbean Sea, this family owned property sits on a truly breathtaking location. It combines elegance, charm, character and uncompromising 5-star personal service. It’s an intimate retreat with spacious suites, many offering private roof terraces and pools. A private yacht is available to guests, who can book it individually for a private charter or for a group trip. Rates start at $675 for a villa suite and includes breakfast.
1. JK Place, Florence, Italy—$1225
This luxe hotel is difficult to spot from the street, which makes it all the more ‘homey’. It offers free minibars, crisp linens, and a room service menu with organic dishes. A buffet breakfast is laid out each morning on a gleaming chestnut table in an interior atrium; a secluded rooftop terrace makes a perfect setting for an aperitivo, as do the ground-floor sitting rooms with their large, pillow-piled couches. Prices, which include breakfast, start at $1225.
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