Add a fine-dining restaurant and 5,000sqft spa, and yeah, you can see why we didn’t go for the spot in the city.Named for the grandmother of the founder of Du Pont Gunpowder Company, Montchanin is the place that you go if you want to pretend you are 19th century gas tycoon J.TMH marries all of that together with beautiful modern rooms featuring all the bells and whistles (custom teak errything), a restaurant from Iron Chef Morimoto, three bars, a poolside lounge, and private beach club.Idaho was a hard choice, mainly because there are so many amazing, small resorts set in the woods, near the state’s amazing outdoors, which is probably why you’re going to visit the state to begin with. Set in Boise’s six-block-long Linen District -- we're trying hard not to call this the Bushwick of Boise -- the hotel is a transformed Travelodge and the design mixes ‘60s mod pop that surely looks far better on the building than when the style first arose.All that puts any hotel in competition for best in the country, and we haven’t even gotten to the physical stuff: the landmark building has played the role of everything from cotton warehouse to Coca-Cola bottling plant over its 150-year history, and its newest incarnation is an impressive melding of modern style and Southern charm.Hawaii lacks not in beautiful hotels and beaches and all of that, but what it did lack for so long was an actual boutique hotel with modern styling in the city (that also makes you still feel kind of okay wearing your dad’s Hawaiian shirt down to Waikiki Beach).How we did it: like with our food/drink stories, we based everything first on experience. Did it feel like a boutique hotel, in terms of making you feel special and unique?
There’s Beaver Lodge with its stick canopy and heated river-rock floors, or the Connecticut Yankee with its exposed beams and herringbone fireplace and a screened porch.
Oh, and if you need to eat: its chef is a Food Network celebrity, and the Jade Bar serves up craft cocktails like a Barrel Aged Negroni, and something that involves pisco, muddled pineapple, serrano peppers, and infinite happiness.
What could’ve swayed into the B&B territory, blissfully, doesn’t.
I stayed here, having never been to Arizona before, and assumed I was going to be out in the desert far, far away from humanity. As most people much smarter than I know, Camelback is actually in Phoenix, but that doesn’t make it any less spectacular, and the 53 acres the hotel sits on kind of do make it feel like I was right.
Anyway, each of the rooms is actually a casita, which is kind of amazing, and a lot of them have those giant tubs you sit in with fruit-forward glasses of zin while you peruse Ian Mc Ewan novels.