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History repeats itself at these opulent lodgings that come complete with fine dining options and impeccable service.
1. The Goring
Running The Goring has been a family affair since it was opened by Otto Goring in 1910. Last spring, following a three-month refurbishment, it was officially reopened by the Duchess of Cambridge, who had stayed there on the eve of her wedding.
Even though it’s set deep in the heart of central London, The Goring offers the tranquillity of a country hotel. Taking afternoon tea al fresco on the veranda is said to be the ultimate summertime experience. The Dining Room, meanwhile, won its first Michelin star last year for its superbly cooked British fare.
The hotel’s five scarlet tailcoat-clad footmen – one for each of The Goring’s suites – will put any butler service you’ve encountered into the shade with their dedication and quiet attention to detail. The exquisite two-bedroom Royal Suite (from £8,400, S$14,600 per night) has a spacious sitting room and a dining room large enough to fit up to six guests and a grand piano. Add that to the daily treats from the pastry chef, bespoke notepaper and the splendid full English breakfasts, and you’ll discover why it’s the only hotel to have been granted a Royal Warrant by HM The Queen.
2. The Beekman
Although The Beekman launched just this summer, the property has been a part of Lower Manhattan’s iconic skyline since 1881. Perched between the East and Hudson Rivers, it’s surrounded by all the attractions that the borough has to offer.
The highlight of its stunning architecture (there’s a reason its facade was declared an official New York City landmark in 1998), is its expertly restored nine-storey atrium and pyramidal skylight. If you like the two ‘turrets’ that adorn the roof of the Queen Anne-style building, they happen to house two signature penthouses, each with private rooftop terraces that overlook One World Trade, Woolworth Building and City Hall Park.
With sophisticated interiors designed by Martin Brudnizki, the hotel’s 287 rooms (the Thompson Suite starts from US$3,000, S$4,000 per night) feature an eclectic mix of bespoke and vintage furnishings, custom-designed oak beds, luxurious sateen Sferra linens, craft cocktail tables and Carrara marble-tiled bathrooms with oversized rain showers. Even in the city’s most densely populated borough, you’ll never find yourself short of space – The Beekman’s expansive suites, high ceilings and aged oak floors will see to that.
Globetrotting gourmands will appreciate Fowler & Wells, The Bar Room and Augustine – on-property restaurants by James Beard award winners Tom Colicchio and Keith McNally. Colicchio’s Fowler & Wells goes big and bold with its turn-of-the-century New York City-style cuisine, while The Bar Room’s signature cocktails are best enjoyed with the stunning view of the skylight directly above it.
McNally’s brasserie-inspired restaurant, Augustine – his first in Lower Manhattan – serves French classics, with a special rotisserie and grillades section for unrepentant carnivores.
3. The Temple House
Chengdu might be famous for its fiery Sichuan cuisine, but The Temple House is as cool, calm and collected as can be. The hotel forms part of the city’s conservation efforts to preserve the heritage buildings that surround the 1,000-year-old Daci Temple. Its entrance stands in an expertly restored courtyard that dates back to the Qing Dynasty.
The Temple House evokes the modest houses that were provided for scholars who journeyed from different parts of the world to study at the temple. Then again, its 100 rooms and 42 serviced apartments are anything but spartan. The Penthouse (from S$14,000 per night) stretches over two floors, proffering the hotel’s best views of bustling Chengdu through its vast windows and from a private terrace. Once you’re done frolicking in the open bathroom with a double walk-in shower and freestanding bathtub, you can take a little scholarly inspiration from its private library, made even cosier by the double-sided fireplace.
Mi Xun, an urban day spa built within a century-old former monastery, takes therapeutic relaxation to the next level. Guests can choose between four express treatment rooms, five deluxe spa suites and two VIP experience suites as they try holistic wellness programmes, rejuvenating facials and soothing massages. In accordance with Chinese traditions, treatments are complemented by a visit to The Tea House at Mi Xun, where elixir teas are specially selected to enhance and support each client’s requirements.
The Temple House’s stylish eateries and watering holes include The Temple Cafe, the hotel’s signature bar Jing, and Tivano, which specialises in classic Italian cuisine. Channelling retro glamour and a sultry speakeasy feel, Jing and its handcrafted cocktails will cocoon you in opulence – which is entirely appropriate, considering the city’s long association with silk production, ancient splendour and the riches of the Silk Road.
4. Ritz Paris
At long last, after embarking upon a complex and thorough renovation process in 2012, the Ritz Paris has once again opened its doors to guests. Its soul, however – its symbolic elegance and unique approach towards French art de vivre – remains untouched.
In that sense, it is the same haven of privacy, glamour and understated luxury to which notable individuals, royalty, artists and writers have been drawn to since the Ritz Paris opened in 1898 – just with a few clever, contemporary touches.
Tiny telltale traces of the hotel’s illustrious history – such as swans on the bathroom fixtures, cords to call for the valet and maid, and an old-fashioned key for regulating lighting – now coexist with a more modern sort of luxury. All 142 rooms have been effectively soundproofed, televisions are discreetly concealed behind mirrors and a priceless Louis XVI desk comes wired with all the necessary cables (tucked neatly under a leather desktop, of course).
Each of the Ritz Paris’ 15 Prestige Suites has been meticulously restored, down to the original light fixtures and marble floors. It’s worth booking the Imperial Suite (prices start from €18,000, S$27,000 per night), with its vast salons and 18th-century period furniture, just to marvel at the sumptuous replica of Marie-Antoinette’s bedroom at Versailles. The sheer size of the suite’s enormous chandelier meant that it had to be removed through a window by a crane during the renovations – an ambitious undertaking, if ever there was one.
Perhaps the grandest addition is the Ritz Club Paris, which boasts an astounding 1,579sqm of space spread out over two floors, all dedicated to beauty and wellness. For a start, it’s equipped with an area dedicated to Chanel skincare treatments – a nod to one of the hotel’s most famous former residents – along with a generously proportioned, azure-blue heated indoor swimming pool. Then there’s the new Bar Vendome – a glass-roofed brasserie that transforms into a cosy winter garden – and three gleaming laboratories for Ecole Ritz Escoffier to tutor those wishing to traverse the French culinary master’s footsteps.