With the rush of travel bookings this summer, some would be travelers are finding that their desired resorts are sold out for the next several weeks while others are still surveying the landscape and deciding when to go. But they need a break especially if they live in a city. Fortunately there are urban retreats that convey the sense of being in a more serene, pastoral place.
The Beverly Hills Hotel Sure, there’s a see and be seen element to the Polo Lounge and Polo Patio where A list deals are being made at the surrounding tables. But the famous secluded bungalows scattered in 12 acres of tropical gardens comprise the other major element of this hotel, the reason that their former occupants read like an international Who’s Who of show business, industry and politics.
Adding to the away-from-normal-life aspect is a new promotion just launched with luxury car specialist Beverly Hills Car Rental that runs through the end of the year. “Ride & Seek” hides a car key in the suite or bungalow (guests who can’t find it can pay $250 for clues, funds that are then donated to Covenant House California to help in need youth;) once located, it unlocks a three day rental at reduced price ($1500 a day instead of $2500) for a Rolls Royce Cullinan, Rolls Royce Ghost or Lamborghini Huracan. Guests who stay in one of the hotel’s recently renovated Legendary Bungalows, the former homes of luminaries such as Marilyn Monroe and Howard Hughes, also have access to a special group of exotic cars: Bentley GTC Mulliner Edition convertible (Bungalow 1), 1953 Buick Roadmaster (Bungalow 3), Ferrari Roma (Bungalow 5) and 2021 Rolls-Royce Dawn (Bungalow 9).
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Equinox Hotel New York As an adjunct of the well known fitness clubs, this New York City hotel could double as a wellness retreat given the hotel’s extensive facilities including a 75 foot indoor saltwater lap pool and outdoor pool, fitness training personnel and techno therapies for body treatments. But part of the appeal is also the location: tucked away in the purpose built, formerly middle of nowhere Hudson Yards neighborhood overlooking the Hudson River. It’s that river view particularly from the 8000 square foot rooftop Electric Lemon Terrace, the setting for meals, or the pool on a separate terrace that really sets the tone of feeling away from the city.
Sable at Navy Pier Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton This new hotel, opened in March atop a Chicago landmark, also derives its serene feel from extensive water views, in this case of Lake Michigan. The name is a throwback to the naval association: during World War II, Navy Pier was a training center for Navy recruits and the homeport of the USS Sable. Today, the naval theme continues in the rooms designed with weathered brass, ship building materials, smooth curves usually seen in a ship’s interior cabin and a color palette of blue greens and blues mixed with neutrals. Each room has floor to ceiling windows to take in the lake views which until Labor Day also includes fireworks displays on Wednesday and Saturday nights. Other activities taking place on the pier include sunset yoga and live musical performances.
Cavallo Point -the Lodge at the Golden Gate Just over the landmark bridge from downtown San Francisco, this former Amy post turned luxury lodge is situated within the 75,000 acre Golden Gate National Recreation Area giving guests a range of options for activities. There are 350 acres of hiking, biking or running trails, fields for picnicking or kite flying, surfing lessons at Marin County beaches or paddle boarding and kayaking on San Francisco Bay. The majority of the rooms, either in the historic section with turn of the 20th century details or the contemporary hilltop suites face the bay, bridge and the city just beyond.
Commodore Perry Estate, Auberge Resorts Collection This 10 acre estate in Austin, Texas’ Hancock Park neighborhood was previously the home of Edgar Howard “Commodore” Perry, an Austin real estate developer; it opened as a 54 room/suite hotel in June, 2020. Designed by iconoclastic designer Ken Fulk, period details verging on theatrical mix with bright, modern touches in the original 1927 Italianate mansion and separate inn. Outdoors, the extensive formal gardens and round pool conjure up images of the flamboyant parties that Perry held here; other activities include wellness journeys, wine tastings and gastronomic explorations at Lutie’s, the recently opened restaurant spotlighting local farmers and ranchers. And for golfers, there is a nine hole course across the street.
The Mandarin Oriental Washington D.C. When this hotel from the international group first opened in the United States capital, some observers decried the location deeming it too far away from the main downtown/political nucleus of the city. Even though some development, the Wharf District in particular, has come up near it in the interim and the Smithsonian has always been nearby, that somewhat more remote location is a bonus as a retreat, particularly since Mandarin Oriental is known for creating atmospheric spas that remove any sense that you’re in a city. It does that here with a mix of holistic and Asian treatments presented in a soothing environment containing Zen lounges and an amethyst crystal steam room. The Asian décor, notably in the 1206 square foot Oriental Suite, also has a transcending element. So do the views over The Tidal Basin and the Jefferson Memorial.