Monday, January 2, 2012



A look back at all the amazing places and spaces we can go to worldwide.
It’s time to look back at some of the fabulous, luxe, glamped out and gorgeous havens, hotels and resorts we’ve covered in Places & Spaces this year. Be it for for their standard-bearing eco-consciousness and innovative energy-saving, or inimitable style and originality (or, indeed all four), these hotels all merited mentioning. And now they bear ranking as our favorites.
Top LEED Certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)

CityFlatsHotel, Holland, Michigan
This LEED Gold-certified hotel has eco-friendly features such as extra-thick insulating curtains, large windows for natural lighting, recycled materials and intelligent occupancy systems to save on heating, cooling and illumination when you’re not there.

Bardessono, Yountville, California
Made from recycled materials and using only renewable energy sources, this is one of only two LEED Platinum certified hotels in the world. Temperature control includes simple but effective blinds, while the rooms are large and the food renowned. Free wine tastings – as you’d expect from a hotel in Napa Valley.

Crosby Street, New York
A converted warehouse in SoHo, this was one of New York’s first LEED Gold certified hotels, with sustainable power, recycled materials, a vegetable garden and chicken coop on the roof.

Orchard Garden, San Francisco
Non-toxic paint and recycled building materials and carpets are some of the features which led to this Union Square hotel being the third LEED-certified hotel in the US.
Top Roughing It

Canvas Hotel, Norway
On an island in a lake, this yurt hotel is aimed at cyclists. After a day on two wheels, ease your aching muscles in a sauna, or portable bathtubs – pick your preferred soaking spot; wild swimming inevitable.

Treehotel, Sweden
Glamping at its most original, this hotel in a Swedish forest has a UFO, a bird’s nest and a mirrored cube where you sleep. To get to the washing facilities, you have to go down steps, or across a bridge or walkway, which just adds to the sense of adventure. Don’t look down.

Tubohotel, Tepoztlan, Mexico
Cast-off concrete tubes offer a truly one-off experience, in this Mexican camp of cozy circular units. Mind your head.

Top Luxe

The Scarlet, Cornwall, UK
In a super-eco building (solar power – yes, in England; water recycling; and green-roof insulation), this beachfront hotel combines a spa using local, natural ingredients; outdoor hot tub with sea view; and funky-chic interiors. The best of contemporary English style – and hopefully some fine English weather.

Alila Villas Uluwatu, Bali
Overlooking the sea, this resort has huge villas made of local materials, naturally ventilated with private pools and cabañas – as well as water recycling, filtration and conservation. The ultimate in genuine eco-luxury.

Hidden Hotel, Paris
Get a dose of French chic at this discreet boutique hotel near the Arc de Triomphe, furnished in wood, linen, cotton and stone. Feel the textural heaven.
For Foodies Only

Rosalie Bay, Dominica, Caribbean
Colonial-style beachfront resort where the chef tends his own organic garden and produces contemporary-Caribbean finger-licking-good dishes, with an accent on seafood (conch ravioli). Eco features include wind power and water filtration; the spa uses local natural products and the garden’s bursting with Frangipani and Hibiscus.

Banjaran Hot Springs Retreat, Malaysia
Tropical fruit and vegetables grown in this lakeside resort’s own organic garden are used in the spa restaurant’s concoctions, while the wine bar is in a limestone cave. With naturally-heated water, the villas feature private geothermal pools; spa treatments use home-grown organic fruit; and you can zen out in meditation, crystal and sauna caves (don’t worry, no bats).
Top Beachy Locales

Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, Vietnam
Accessible only by boat, this resort in the South China Sea has a spa offering “Slow Life” treatments, and organic meals cooked in traditional clay pots. Villas (some thatched) – either on the beach, over the water, on the mountain or in the jungle - have their own plunge pool and terrace or sundeck. Rainwater collection, responsible fish sourcing, local community projects and a herb and vegetable garden show the resort’s green credentials. Tempted to sabotage that boat and get stuck here?

Eco Beach, Australia
This resort in northwestern Australia tells you to forget your shoes – stay in wood-framed tents with decks, or plusher villas, all steps away from the beach. With solar panels, an organic vegetable garden, and chickens. Beach bunnies will be in heaven.

Terranea Resort, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
This family-friendly resort just outside Los Angeles, in sprawling ranch style, overlooks the Pacific Ocean – unusually, pets are also welcome. The eco-golf course has special wetland plants used for filtering water. Just close enough to the madness of Hollywood – but not too close.

Bay of Fires, Tasmania
This intimate beach-side lodge, with just 10 simple guest rooms where all meals are  included, was built using local materials, and boasts solar power and water recycling. You can only get there by boat, helicopter or 4WD. What it lacks in plushness, it more than makes up for with unrestricted 360-degree views over the coastal wilderness. A 21st-century escape (bet there’s no mobile coverage).
Top All Around
For their environmental high score, their originality and their style.

Gaia Hotel & Reserve, Costa Rica
In a nature reserve on the Pacific coast, this luxury adult-only resort with spa gets you close to nature like nowhere else – monkeys play in the rainforest just outside your window; suites have balconies, terraces or private pools. Water-saving measures and biological waste treatment, with natural ventilation and cooling. For nature-loving, luxe spa babies.


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