Hotel Crushes

 

Have you ever discovered a hotel - somewhere you stayed, a place you walked by, a photo you saw - and been instantly smitten? My list of hotel crushes keeps growing as I travel. When the accommodations are as charming and unique as the destination itself, I almost want to plan a trip just for the stay. Below are 10 of my current favorites from around the world - many of them found during our travels last summer.

Villa Cimbrone Hotel
Ravello, Italy

Villa Cimbrone is easily the most romantic place I've ever been. Perched high above the Amalfi coastline, it's not surprising to learn that it was home to several famous 20th century affairs, and even the elopement of Greta Garbo and Leopold Stokowski. Today, you might see a proposal on the Terrace of Infinity when you visit the gardens - it's a perfect spot - but I'm hoping to return and spend a few days at the hotel itself. 

My Current Hotel Crushes, from Ravello to Nairobi
photo by Paul Marshman

photo by Paul Marshman

Hôtel Caron de Beaumarchais
Paris, France

This boutique hotel in the Marais is fashioned as a posh 18th-century Parisian home. Behind the pretty blue façade is a wonderfully curated collection of antique artwork, furniture, and wallpaper patterns that match the window treatments. It is named for Pierre Beaumarchais, a polymath, revolutionary, and author of the Figaro plays. It's high on the list for my next visit to Paris!

 

photo by Tanveer Badal

photo by Tanveer Badal

The Giraffe Manor
Nairobi, Kenya

If you follow any travel boards on Pinterest, this hotel has probably made an appearance in your feed. An ivy-covered house in the heart of a protected forest, with windows that swing open to let wild Rothschild giraffes look in. I certainly don't mind the popularity of the place - I still want to share my breakfast one morning with a giraffe leaning in through a window.

 

Château de la Chèvre d'Or
Èze, France

If you've read my post about Èze, you might remember this hotel built into a tiny hilltop village on the French Riviera. The restaurant - with two Michelin stars - books up months in advance, but the whimsical hillside gardens are always open to hotel guests. I would love to spend an evening having an hours-long dinner, stay the night, and wake up to the sea views and quiet stone streets.

 

photo by Tom Parker

photo by Tom Parker

Ashford Castle
County Mayo,  Ireland

Before I was writing about my travels, I spent two weeks in Ireland and covered nearly every square mile of the island from Dublin to Belfast to County Clare, all while driving a tiny car on the left side of the road. A few nights at Ashford were far and away the best stay of the trip - and in 2016, they unveiled some elaborate restoration work. The 13th-century castle itself is incredible, with hundreds of acres of grounds to explore, and a neighboring village that's home to the most amazing chocolate muffin I've ever had. I would plan a return trip for their annual New Year's Eve fête, or in the fall to see the changing leaves.

The Henry Howard Hotel
New Orleans, Louisiana

In my favorite NOLA neighborhood - the Garden District - is one of the most stylish boutique hotels I've found. The design is chic inside and out, with plenty of outdoor spaces and, in the rooms, printed wallpaper paired with brass jazz instruments. In the lobby, there's a mimosa bar on weekends, and an orange dress framed on the wall that I'm tempted to steal next time I'm in town. 

 

The Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel
Interlaken, Switzerland

Surrounded by the lakes and mountains of the Bernese Highlands, this hotel has been a luxury destination since it opened in the mid-1800s. Its roots in the Belle Époque era carry through the design and detailing, and the spa is supposed to be marvellous. It's hard to leave the mountain views of Interlaken for anything, but the Victoria-Jungfrau would be worth it. 

 

photo via Decoist

photo via Decoist

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
Banff, Canada

There are so many similarities between Banff and Interlaken - both are home to snow-capped mountains, bright turquoise water, and palatial hotels. Years ago on a family vacation, I had high tea at the Fairmont and loved every minute of it. As a snow lover, I would go back during the winter to ski, dogsled, visit the hot springs, and hope for a sight of the Northern Lights. 

 

photo by Sandra Bauknecht

photo by Sandra Bauknecht

Hotel Cesar Augustus
Anacapri, Italy

On a day trip to Capri last summer, I spotted this yellow building with striped awnings perched along the coast of Anacapri. Higher on the western side of the island you're away from the crowds of Capri, but with a perfect view of Marina Grande. My top goals for a return trip would be to stay a night or two here, and wear a dress by Dolce & Gabbana in its natural habitat. 

 

photo via L'Escale du Ciel

L'Escale du Ciel
Le Bar-sur-Loup, France

After exploring Provence and the French Riviera last June, I would love to go back and stay closer to the mountains. This small bed-and-breakfast just outside of Le Bar-sur-Loup looks like the perfect spot. It offers simple, beautifully appointed rooms, a few friendly dogs that live on the property, and a pool - which would be a perfect escape from the hot summer afternoons.