MARYANN HAMMERS

FrontRunners: The High Life

The glistening Maybach 62 waiting at the airport is the first of many modern conveniences that will mark your stay at Skylofts (877.646.5638, www .skyloftsmgmgrand.com), a new hotel occupying the top floors of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Unlike MGM’s other upscale Vegas property—the stately, Old World–style Mansion—Skylofts is a sleek, contemporary hotel perched […]

FrontRunners: Agua Everywhere

The Marquis Los Cabos (877.238.9399, http://www.marquisloscabos.com) takes advantage of its beachfront setting on the tip of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. The resort’s open architectural style allows you to see and hear the Sea of Cortés from almost all public spaces on the property, while floor-to-ceiling windows ensure that the water remains within view from the 209 […]

FrontRunners: On the Mark

The Watermark Hotel and Spa (866.605.1212, http://www.watermarkhotel.com), the newest and most elegant hotel on the San Antonio River Walk, does not offer the overt Tex-Mex ambience of its sister property, the legendary La Mansión del Rio. But the Watermark, set directly across the water from its venerable sibling, is pure Lone Star State. Occupying the […]

Best of the Best: Fractional Ownership Clubs

Ritz-Carlton Club, Aspen Highlands The peak experience in fractional ownership.   Visions of the ideal secondary residence often prove elusive: The reality of vacation-home ownership frequently entails more paperwork and maintenance costs than fresh-powder runs and hot toddies by the fire. One alternative to this quagmire is fractional ownership, and no program in this category […]

Travel: Part of the Hole

For those who crave wide-open space, Jackson Hole has it all—expansive vistas framed by the majestic Grand Tetons; rugged backcountry ideal for hiking, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing; lush summer meadows and wildflowers; deep, soft winter snow; and some of the world’s best and most challenging downhill terrain. But the resort area’s seemingly endless expanse […]

FrontRunners: Luxury Layover

Stay at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport (604.207.5200, http://www.fairmont .com), and you will hope that your flight is delayed, or better yet, canceled. The Fairmont offers all of the amenities you expect in a luxury hotel: soundproof, spacious rooms, a fine restaurant, and a romantic bar; a deluxe fitness center, pool, and spa; and high-speed Internet […]

Desert Oasis: Desert Star

From the street, Estrella looks like one of those nondescript apartment buildings that dotted the Los Angeles landscape during the 1960s. That is, except for the plaster whippet statues peeking out from each balcony of the Palm Springs resort. Dubious, I approach the unremarkable structure. But all doubts evaporate as I step into a gleaming […]

Desert Oasis: Slim City

Health, fitness, and sophistication are concepts not commonly associated with Las Vegas. But at the Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas, just 17 miles from the Strip, the Sin City stereotype succumbs to a wholesome, salutary, and refined state of mind.    Set in the heart of MonteLago Village, on the sandy shores of the country’s largest […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Hotels – Hotel Bel-Air

Hotel Bel-Air is not for those seeking the hip Hollywood or California beach scenes. On the contrary, since the 1940s it has been a favorite sanctuary of heads of state, corporate executives, and celebrities who prefer complete seclusion, guaranteed privacy, and attentive service in a gorgeous setting. The grounds burst with ferns, flowers, and fountains. […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Hotels – Hermitage Hotel

Nashville, Tenn., long renowned for country music and the Grand Ole Opry, has never enjoyed a comparable reputation for world-class lodging. This perception could change with the recently reopened Hermitage Hotel. Located opposite the State Capitol, the hotel was the city’s grandest when it originally opened in 1910. It hosted the National American Woman Suffrage […]

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