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StandART 2011, The Standard Hotels

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, June 29 07:00 AM

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Feeling guilty for spending your trip shopping and boozing instead of getting your culture on? Well, the fine folks at The Standard Hotels have partnered up with arty nonprofit Creative Time to absolve you of your vacation sins with StandART 2011.

Contemporary artists including Terence Koh and Slater Bradley have created a video art installation to run on all televisions in The Standard's hotels in New York City, Miami Beach, Downtown L.A., and Hollywood until the end of the year. From social commentary to bunny narratives, they're a real trip.

Photo: Allison Schulnik's Forest, courtesy of The Standard Hotels

Hotel Pulitzer Buenos Aires, Argentina

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, June 27 10:03 AM

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If you're all about checking into a property that embodies the spirit of a destination, Buenos Aires--that sexy city of retro '50s gilt and modern porteno glamour--has finally met its match in the new Hotel Pulitzer.

The 104-room property in the Microcentro combines Art Deco and midcentury-modern style with touchy-feely textures (buttery Argentine leather on the headboards, cowhide rugs, tufted velvet chesterfields). Rooms have a sophisticated bachelor-pad vibe courtesy of bold graphic artwork, color schemes that pack a punch (such as midnight blue and bright orange), and steamy onyx-tile bathrooms. Blackout curtains stand at the ready should you require a midafternoon siesta after a night at the hotel's 13th-floor bar. See? The devil is in the details--that's why we think Pulitzer takes the prize.

Photo: Courtesy of Epoque Hotels

Château Les Carrasses, Languedoc, France

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, June 10 07:00 AM

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Provence, we love you, but after a New York Times best seller and a Russell Crowe movie extolling your beauty, it's time to bid you adieu. We've been seduced by the lesser-known Languedoc and its charming new hotel, Château Les Carrasses.

There are 28 new suites and villas (10 with heated private pools) within this 19th-century château complex. The modernized interiors have a country-chic charm, with traditional French furniture and a sand and cream palette, while the private gardens and terraces (complete with barbecues) give the whole place an air of self-contained luxury.

The original winery is up and running once again, with the first bottles ready to uncork this fall. In the meantime, you can sip other local vintages in the Orangerie, rumored to have been designed by Gustave Eiffel himself. Book now before the writers and movie stars get wind of it!

Photo: Courtesy of Chic Retreats

L'And Vineyards Resort, Montemor-o-Novo, Portugal

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, June 03 04:49 PM

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Like wearing white after Labor Day or boat shoes with socks, spending the warm months indoors is its own kind of gauche. Thankfully, the 22-suite L'and Vineyards, nestled in the rolling hills of Portugal's Alentejo wine region, has opened just in time to help you avoid summer sacrilege.

A slick wood and slate palette and bold architecture make a modern play against the pastoral landscape, and the Sky suites raise the roof (literally): Above your king-size bed is a retractable ceiling that lets in fresh air and reveals the constellations above, adding thousands of stars to the resort's already commendable five. Think of it as a boozy camping trip for people who don't like camping.

Photo: Courtesy of L'and Vineyards

The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, June 03 07:00 AM

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Putting on the Ritz is generally a pricey proposition. But on June 10, ten lucky travelers will be able to reserve a room at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne for a mere tenner. That's right, for less than the cover charge at your average Miami club, you could be curled up beneath Frette linens, soaking in a marble bath, or lounging by one of two oceanfront pools.

Interested? The offer--to celebrate the resort's tenth anniversary--is available for stays on July 5-7, 10-13, 18, and 25-26. If you want to keep the $10 theme going while you're there, try a $10 spa treatment, enjoy a $10 three-course dinner in the resort's Italian restaurant, or toast your good luck with a $10 bottle of Champagne.

Have your phone at the ready at 10 am ET on June 10, because the bargain rates are first-come, first-served. The all-important number to have on speed dial is 305-365-4582. Competition will be fierce, but who knows, sometimes life's a beach.

Photo: Courtesy of Kikor Photography / The Ritz-Carlton

Avalon Hotel, Göteborg, Sweden

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, June 01 07:00 AM

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Design exhibitions can be a bit frustrating, especially when the works on show--say, an Eames lounge chair just pleading to be sat on--are behind glass. But now that the fashion-, design-, and decorative arts-focused Röhsska Museum has paired up with Sweden's Avalon Hotel, you can look, touch, and swivel with verve.

In conjunction with the museum's Past-Present-Future exhibition (through September 30), design covetables from the collection have been replicated in the hotel's public areas and key guest rooms. Our faves include a tangerine Verner Panton Cone chair, a classic of late 1950s Scandinavian modernism; the full-size Horse lamp and Pig tray tables, quirks of design stars Moooi; and a DVD of Swedish FRONT design group's Blow Away Vase, showing in the elevators. Free workshops and design tours are offered for the truly obsessed. How novel: design that's actually within reach--at least for a night.

Photo: Courtesy of the Avalon Hotel

Sagamore Hotel CEO Package, Miami Beach

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, May 27 07:00 AM

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From interactive wine lists to loaners in the lobby lounge, iPads are becoming de rigueur in top hotels. Only problem is, those shiny toys aren't yours to keep. Not so at the Sagamore in Miami Beach. Through September 30, the hotel's Chief Entertainment Officer package rewards penthouse stays with more than marble floors, sweeping ocean views, and bragging rights. South Beach CEOs also score a free iPad2 on checkout.

In the stylish suite, accessible by private elevator, crisp white-on-white decor is offset by framed curiosities from the hotel's lauded Cricket Taplin Collection of contemporary art. Three bedrooms and two baths offer enough space for you and five friends, while the whirlpool tub, 42-inch plasma TV, gaming systems, and fully stocked kitchen bar invite partying like it's your job. Being top brass comes with other perks, too: There's executive dining on an 1,800-square-foot terrace, corporate limo (complimentary from the airport), and an expense account (bottle of Moët on arrival, free breakfast buffet, daily beach chairs). Leggy interns? That's on you.

Sagamore CEO package starts at $1,300, two-night minimum. Book via e-mail or phone by May 31.

Photo: Courtesy of Sagamore, The Art Hotel

The Tides Beach Club, Kennebunkport, Maine

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, May 23 10:39 AM

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The tides they are a-changing in Kennebunkport this summer. No longer must you pop your collar at some stuffy seaside manse decorated with doilies and dinghies. Instead, bed down in boutique style at the newly reopened Tides Beach Club.

This century-old grande dame went under the knife and came out looking svelte and tchotchke-free. Muted tones give the 21 rooms a contemporary, coastal cool look; the folks at Jonathan Adler stepped in to add a touch of whimsy to the suites, with Peruvian textiles, turquoise accents, and zebra rugs.

The Tides is also loosening up the social scene with artisanal New England beers on the veranda and locavore fare in the restaurant. And if you're in need of a makeover yourself, you'll be transported to sister property Hidden Pond for spa treatments in its luxe tree house. Finally, a hotel that's putting the "new" back into New England.

Photo: Courtesy of The Tides Beach Club

ArtPad SF, San Francisco

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, May 19 07:00 AM

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When you go on vacation to relax, running around a city trying to catch all the latest art exhibitions can be counterproductive. But what if all those events were brought to your hotel? Well, lazy traveler, you're in luck. Starting tomorrow, the new ArtPad SF art festival is checking in to San Francisco's Phoenix Hotel until May 22.

You can watch performance pieces as you sit by the pool, and see the work of emerging and established artists from some of the Bay Area's top galleries, including the White Walls Gallery, which is showing Shepard Fairey's work. And those suckers who decided to pursue a culture fix all over town will end up at your hotel for video art screenings, live bands, and DJs. 'Cause after the art party, there's the after-party.

Photo: Clockwise from left, Alexis Laurent, Les Chardons, Courtesy of LTMH Gallery; Aaron Parazette, Color Key 16, Courtesy of Gregory Lind Gallery; Shepard Fairey, Rise Above Fist, Courtesy of White Walls Gallery; EINE, The Bigger, Brighter, Louder, Faster, Courtesy of White Walls Gallery.

De L'Europe Hotel, Amsterdam

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, May 16 07:00 AM

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Amsterdam has always been an ideal destination for immersing yourself in art. Case in point, the $87-million gut-to-garret renovation of the 19th-century De L'Europe hotel. The grande dame reopens on June 1 with furnishings that juxtapose Art Deco chic with Renaissance frills, by modern master Cees Dam.

Bold colors (blues, greens, golds) lead the musty-to-modern charge across 88 expanded rooms and 23 loftlike suites. But the coup de grâce? Artwork--six-by-nine-foot detail shots of Rijksmuseum masterpieces, to be exact. And while some may call sleeping under the massive, steady gaze of Jan Cornelisz Verspronck's Girl in Blue creepy, you can paint us impressed.

Photo: Courtesy of De L'Europe 

The Most Puzzling Hotel in Greece

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, May 13 07:00 AM

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Transforming a 53-year-old into a hip young thing isn't the easiest of projects. But art collector Dakis Joannou has proved it can be done: He took Athens's aging Olympic Palace hotel apart, reassembled it piece by piece without discarding anything, then cheekily dubbed his chic salvage project the New Hotel.

The property's edgy aesthetic is the handiwork of Brazilian interior-design legends Humberto and Fernando Campana, who have created glass room dividers and mirrors that appear fractured, and wooden furniture that looks like it's been carved out of rock. Chairs and doors salvaged from the original hotel have been repurposed as art installations. Seems there's no better place than Athens to celebrate life in ruins.

Photo: Courtesy of Design Hotels

Harbor Hotel, Provincetown, Massachusetts

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, May 03 04:29 PM

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Quaint
is king in Provincetown, the salty artists' colony and beach resort on the tip of Cape Cod. You can't fling a flip-flop without hitting a lovingly restored B&B or weathered fisherman's cottage. But now there's a fresher catch in town: the newly renovated Harbor Hotel.

The 119 rooms and 10 suites, unveiled this past weekend, pop with lime walls, honey-colored wood, stained concrete floors, and mod amenities (flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, all-day coffee bar). Outside, there's a cozy fire pit and the poolside Cabana Bar, complete with a grill menu; inside, the arty Whaler Lounge serves up pub grub.

But Harbor also plays to Provincetown's classic strengths, with spectacular seaside sunsets visible from every room and easy access to briny tidelands across the street. Free shuttles and bikes help you make short hops to the area's famous dunes and into town for the galleries, restaurants, and quirky nightlife. Because in Provincetown, quaint also means queer, in every sense of the word.

Photo: Courtesy of Harbor Hotel Provincetown

St. Regis Washington Ballet Package, Washington, D.C.

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, April 29 04:21 PM

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When Natalie Portman pirouetted onto the ballet scene in Black Swan, the dance world was spun into the spotlight. Now you can go behind the scenes (minus the feather freak-outs) courtesy of a partnership between the St. Regis and the Washington Ballet, in D.C.

Hotel guests will attend a private dress rehearsal and the opening night performance of Carmen on May 19, plus a backstage tour by the Washington Ballet's artistic director, Septime Webre. You'll party afterward at a gala reception with company dancers and ballet VIPs. Then you'll debrief with Webre the next day over lunch at the hotel's Alain Ducasse restaurant, Adour.

The $5,000 price tag includes four nights in a swanky St. Regis suite with private butler service, so you know your stay will be en pointe.

Washington Ballet Aficionado Experience, $5,000 for four nights, May 17 to 21, 2011.

Photo: Sona Kharatian by Steve Vaccariello

Hogmead, Nairobi, Kenya

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, April 25 04:36 PM

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Most East African safaris require you to spend your first night in some generic city hotel before heading into the bush--the only beasts in sight being the ones served grilled in the dining room. The new Hogmead hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, is changing all that.

The six-room hotel has an Out of Africa vibe (the author, Karen Blixen, lived just down the road); overstuffed sofas and deep soaking tubs up the ante on comfort. Hogmead is also perfectly placed, with easy access to both the airport and Nairobi National Park, which means you could be face-to-face with an elephant just an hour after touchdown. Prefer to start with something smaller to prepare you for the wild times ahead? The resident warthogs on the hotel grounds should do the trick.

Photo: Courtesy of Hogmead

Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel, Shanghai

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, April 18 02:18 PM

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It's a mere seven minutes from Shanghai's international airport--at 268 mph on the Maglev, the world's fastest train--to the newly opened Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel. So in no time at all, you can be sipping a cup of green tea and decompressing in the hotel's 50,000-square-foot rooftop Infinity Garden.

The Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel, by the masterminds behind Dubai's Burj Al Arab, blends feng shui with Blade Runner in the heart of the Pudong financial district. The 401 art-filled rooms rise above standard five-star fare with custom Ming dynasty-meets-mod furnishings. And then there's that sky oasis. Perched atop the adjacent Himalayas Centre, a theater/museum/designer mall, the garden is magical at night, bathed in a wave of color from the tower's lacy grid of light. This is how the future rolls.

Photo: Courtesy of Jumeirah

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Prices and other information were accurate at press time, but are subject to change. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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