Condé Nast Traveler - Hot List Hotels 2009
May, 2009

Las Casitas del Colca, Yanque, Arequipa, Peru
No longer the sole preserve of backpackers and climbers, the Peruvian Andes have recently been crowned with luxurious retreats like this remote Orient-Express outpost in Colca Canyon, which is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. It's tough to access (a three-hour drive from the nearest airport, in Arequipa) but worth the detour. While other area hotels are lavishly refurbished colonial villas, this one goes native. Twenty discrete chalets sit halfway up the canyon, sharing the altitude with soaring condors. Rooms, furnished in earthy colors with a pastoral polish, are supremely yet simply comfortable: a terra-cotta bowl of corn cobs, a vase of wild grasses, a panier of logs. Nights can be chilly at 9,800 feet above sea level, so you'll find wood-burning fireplaces, heated laja-stone floors, and piping-hot plunge pools on the private terraces. Staff slip a woolen hot water bottle between the bedsheets in the evening. Adventure here is the alpaca-soft sort, with eager-to-please local guides, support vehicles (carrying oxygen), and gourmet picnic meals. Or just look up and wish upon a shooting star in the gin-clear southern sky. The remote setting ensures glimpses of traditional Quechuan life, with the men embroidering and the women working the land, and the organic garden means fresh ingredients for local dishes like quinoa soup, stuffed peppers, and grilled guinea pig.
When to go: Avoid the December through March rains but come soon after, when the canyon is at its greenest.
Which room to book: The presidential casita has the most space, but the standard Casita 28 is perfectly oriented for sunsets.

Fjällnäs, Tänndalen, Sweden
After a mighty makeover that spruced up the original 1882 building and added two new guest wings, a wood-and-glass chapel, and a serene spa, this mountain hotel is a welcome sign of change to the Scandinavian hinterlands, where ski lodges tend to be more basic than beautiful. The 20 rooms are perfectly pared down in scrubbed pine and rough slate, with the vibrant color of Missoni towels, embroidered cushions, and green ceramic teapots. Solid craftsmanship in the wooden buildings ensures nary an Arctic draft. Each morning in winter (which is most of the year), one of Fjällnäs's super-cool guides takes guests cross-country skiing, charting a route to avoid head-on winds and, come lunchtime, building a snow sofa for a wintry picnic. This is not luxury per se (guests pack their own lunches, for example), but it is authentic Swedish stuff. In the spa, guests can leap from the hot tub into a sawed through the frozen lake, and then thaw out in the spacious saunas. The hotel even has a pack of friendly huskies to power traditional wooden sleigh rides. Food is locally sourced—the salmon couldn't be fresher, and mushrooms and berries abound.
When to go: Avoid only mid-May through mid-June, when the snow melts into a muddy slush.
Which room to book: The doubles are all similar, but Svansjökläppen has views straight out to Lake Malmagen.