By Patricia Canole
Hotels and resorts offer all kinds of luxury amenities, from bath butlers to sophisticated bedside lighting systems. But the most valuable amenity travelers crave—discreet accommodations, whether they’re cottages, cabins, villas, or bungalows. Welcome to our list of top hideaways in the U.S. and Canada which spell luxury.
One mistake that a lot of visitors to Maui make is to drive the long, winding, gorgeous road to Hana, wonder what all the fuss is about, and drive back. That’s because there’s no town to speak of (but be sure to stop for roadside coconut bread).Exploring the waterfalls,natural pools, and beaches takes time and expert local guidance. All the more reason to stay a few days, for the setting is truly magnificent and entirely different from the manicured luxury of Wailea. (A good plan is to divide the trip.) Travaasa Hana (travaasa.com)
offers exceptional end-of-the-world beauty, tranquility, and coveted Sea Ranch Cottages which feature an outdoor Jacuzzi and are intended to foster seclusion. Be sure to take advantage of activities such as throw-net fishing, lomilomi massage, a fruit-tasting tour, and horseback riding across the wilds of Hana. You can stay at the resort a la carte, or opt for the meal plan.
Set in Napa Valley, Solage (solage.aubergeresorts.com)
is one of the esteemed Auberge chains that includes the other Napa Valley resorts Auberge du Soleil and Calistoga Ranch. Like those properties, Solage offers a luxury experience where the entrance to your room is discreet, and the design feels more residential than hotel-like. In keeping with the healing waters reputation of Calistoga, the spa offers a range of mud and mineral water therapies. And you’ll want to test the waters of what is surely the resort’s focal point, a stunning lap pool bordered by Canary Island palms.
There are two Sedona’s: the earthy, dry red rock country and lush, shady Oak Creek. Enjoy them both at this gorgeous, unpretentious resort, where summer is high season, and you can even take a dip in the creek. Though no one could fault the rustic-luxurious lodge rooms at L’Auberge de Sedona (lauberge.com)
, it’s the private cottages that distinguish this property. The Creekside Cottages are closest to the water, and they boast unique touches like wood burning fireplaces, ample terraces, and outdoor cedar showers. Vista Cottages, which feature gas fireplaces and Jacuzzi tubs for two, are positioned to maximize views of favorite red rock formations such as Snoopy Rock, Giants Thumb, and Elephant Rock. Dining on the stone terrace beside the picturesque creek is one of the most pleasurable things you can do in Sedona. Savor a specialty dish like Arizona Pine Smoked Venison.
A former fishing lodge, once favored by Harry S Truman, has grown far beyond its humble beginnings. A launch speeds you from Lower Torch Key to Little Palm Island Resort & Spa (littlepalmisland.com)
, a five-acre isle, lush with greenery. Settle into one of the luxurious suites, housed in thatched-roof bungalows connected by winding paths. Décor is simple but plush: a separate living room filled with wicker and rattan, a slate tile bathroom with outdoor shower—and no noisy intrusions like TV or alarm clocks. The magic is in the details: your last name spelled out in blocks on a board outside your cottage, a pair of binocs and a bird-watching guide (it won’t take you long to identify that big bird fishing in the shallows). Not too far away are plenty of hammocks, kayaks at the ready, and a captain waiting to take you on a sail. After an exhaustive day of exploring every nook and cranny, soothe the body and soul at Little Palm’s award-winning spa.
The all-season 120-acre Topnotch Resort (topnotchresort.com)
set on the edge of one of Vermont’s most charming towns welcomes guests with a woodsy, open, modernist style. The great thing about the accommodations is that, in addition to the comfortable rooms, there are resort homes of different sizes and configurations to afford you optimal privacy (love the sunken living rooms with fireplaces). Active couples will get the most out of the resort, as summer offers swims in the beautiful pool (there’s also an indoor pool), horseback riding, and bike rides on a paved, bucolic recreational trail that leads right into Stowe, with its cute boutiques and cafes. Topnotch boasts one of the country’s best tennis programs, with personalized lessons on four indoor and six outdoor courts. And all the physical activity begs for the pampering available in the 35,000-square-foot spa. Of the 100 treatments, signature experiences include the Sugar Maple Body Scrub—this is Vermont, after all, and the maple isn’t just for your pancakes!
Set within the majestic scenery of Lake Louise and the Canadian Rockies, The Post Hotel & Spa (posthouse.com)
has an impeccable pedigree. It dates from 1942, and for the last 25-plus years, Swiss hoteliers—brothers André and George Schwarz—have provided arguably the highest quality hospitality in the area. In this type of setting, be sure to opt for a freestanding cottage set thrillingly by the rushing river. As befitting a property with the Relais & Chateaux designation, the Post Hotel offers memorable dining, with its 25,000-bottle wine cellar and kitchen under the command of European-trained chefs. The Temple Mountain Spa offers a Roman-style saltwater pool and excellent treatments.