Condé Nast Traveler - Hot List Hotels 2012
May 2012

Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc
Antibes, France

The specs: A much-celebrated nineteenth-century villa, snatched from the brink of fustiness, at the rocky tip of Cap d’Antibes. The 118-room resort includes a seafront pavilion and two private villas. A heated saltwater pool is blasted deep into the natural rock, and there’s a private landing pier for guests who arrive by boat. No sandy beach here: An overwater trapeze launches bathers straight into the Mediterranean.
The look: It might seem that there is nothing new about the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc, but that’s why the four-year, $58 million restoration succeeds. Lead architect Luc Svetchine didn’t stray far from the Tender Is the Night original (Fitzgerald’s book begins here) while updating all that is unseen: wiring, plumbing, soundproofing. Rooms retain their Louis XV and XVI decor with antique furniture, gilded mirrors, and chandeliers. Modern additions include the Eden-Roc Grill, which serves tapas and sushi at the seafront pavilion, its cantilevered terrace mimicking an ocean liner deck.
The experience: The price is hefty, but the hotel delivers on every front, and the (formerly snobbish) service is its greatest strength. Consigned to oblivion are the televisions that were once wheeled into rooms on request, and—wonder of wonders—you can even pay your final bill with a credit card. The movie stars are back (De Niro slept here), and families are welcome—nannies keep the youngsters amused.
If only... the hotel remained open from mid-October to mid-April.
Best Room: The Eden-Roc Suite for its 820-square-foot terrace with Jacuzzi.

Val Thorens, France

The specs: A distinctively modern 88-room, Nordic-style chalet with ski-in/ski-out access to the Trois Vallées. At 7,545 feet, this is the highest resort in the Alps (translation: great snow).
The look: Slick and Scandinavian-inspired, with lots of light-colored natural wood and stone, faux fur, and playful touches (such as the giant snowflake cutouts and stylized reindeer heads mounted on lounge walls). The laid-back bar/library and cozy lounge areas have large sofas and log fires.
The experience: This stylish hotel is something new in Val Thorens, which has a tradition of appealing to the young and budget-minded. Aimed at trendy weekenders and well-heeled families, it offers Trois Vallées access at lower rates than the competition. Serious skiers will appreciate the absence of poseurs, the well-versed ski-shop staff, and the menu of steam options (wet, dry, hammam) in the 10,000-square-foot spa. For refueling, there’s a choice of three restaurants: brasserie-style Les Enfants Terribles, 2.Mille.3’s heated terrace for lunch or excellent buffet dinners, and traditional Savoyard fare at white-tiled La Laiterie.
If only… the hotel weren’t quite so family-friendly. Watch out for school holidays.
Best Room: Club rooms take up to four guests and are very good value.

The Oberoi, Gurgaon
New Delhi, India

The specs: A 202-room stainless steel–and-glass low-rise tower close to the international airport (but far from downtown New Delhi). Rooms overlook a central reflecting pool or an acre of landscaped gardens; a separate tower houses the lobby, restaurants, a piano bar, and a cigar lounge.
The look: Unobtrusively neutral with accents in cardinal red and occasional nods to tradition (silk embroidery, mother-of-pearl inlay). The diverse artwork is commissioned through a program supporting contemporary Indian artists. At night, the reflecting pool is lit by torches that seem to float upon the water.
The experience: Located in the wealthy commercial district of Gurgaon and close to both the international and domestic airports, the hotel is an excellent choice for business travelers. Butler service and spa treatments are round the clock, and the 24-hour fitness center has a 55-meter outdoor heated pool. Amaranta serves fresh crab and lobster from Indian waters.
If only… the service were more consistent.
Best Room: A fourth-floor Premier room for maximum privacy and an expansive view, or a Premier suite with a cantilevered private pool.

Nira Alpina
Surlej, Switzerland

The specs: A 70-room timber-and-glass low-rise set on the highest point of the tiny village of Surlej, three miles from St. Moritz. A glass-enclosed bridge connects the hotel to the Corvatsch cable car, which ascends to 10,800 feet.
The look: Modern and pared-down with traditional Swiss touches—antlers, a woodpile under the staircase, cowhide couches, sheepskin throws. Rooms have a balcony or a garden patio—and there might be a bedside copy of Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra (in German) for long, dark, thoughtful nights.
The experience: In an area better known for high-end shopping and Michelin-star dining, this is a genuine skiers’ hotel. Après-ski offerings include sports massages at the expansive Nira Spa and at Stalla Veglia, one of four excellent restaurants, authentic Alpine fare such as gnocchi with chestnuts and rich portions of raclette. Rooms overlook Lake Silvaplana and the Engadine Valley—among the most beautiful places in Switzerland for warm-weather trekking. The in-house bakery will put together delicious picnics of gourmet sandwiches and homemade cupcakes.
If only... the hotel had more vehicles shuttling guests to and from St. Moritz, and the service were more cosseting (it can be rough around the edges).
Best Room: Any of the ten junior suites, with ample space for gear.

Zermatt, Switzerland

The specs: A 19-room glass-fronted high-design hotel in the shadow of the Matterhorn, steps from the terminus of the Glacier Express train.
The look: SoHo loft meets Swiss chalet. Vaulted interiors are decked out in brushed stainless steel, distressed leather, and recycled doodads, such as the chandeliers constructed from trumpets, violins, strands of silver beads, and disco balls in recognition of the hotel’s cultural-center underpinnings.
The experience: Swiss architect Heinz Julen’s new multi-storied addition to the Vernissage, the boho-style entertainment complex with which he made his mark 20 years ago, allows guests to flit between a buzzing bar, a lounge-restaurant, an art gallery, a dinner cinema, and a performance space where young Swiss bands play gigs. The pioneering spa encompasses a flotation chamber, a hammam with mood-varying pulse lighting, and infrared-heated chambers playing video installation art. The excellent restaurant’s international cuisine is lighter than traditional Alpine fare, with an emphasis on local, organic ingredients.
If only... there were more hours in the day. With so much to do after dark, you may need a double shot of wake-up espresso before hitting the slopes.
Best Room: The six split-level lofts have large balconies and a full-blown sense of style.