Kiwi Experts: Michelle Lando’s 5 Favorite Hotels

- Michelle Lando, Guest Blogger

Where in the world do our well-traveled Kiwi Experts most like to overnight? Every Thursday, a different expert dishes on their fave hotels. It’s Michelle Lando’s turn. Our Director of Hotel Programs for the Americas is a citizen of the world (the Mexican-Italian has lived in five countries and speaks Mandarin).

1. Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, Tofino, Canada
“Glamping” to the max, the resort is cozy, simple elegance. A gas fireplace in your very own tent keeps you warm and a built-in en suite bathroom with an outdoor shower overlooking the rainforest keeps you clean. This is the way you become one with nature while maintaining a plush comfort zone. And culinary experience to boot, with an in-house sommelier who’ll pair wines with all of the made-fresh daily menus.

2. Banyan Tree, Lijiang, China
The hotel is a perfect fusion of traditional Naxi architecture and a sophisticated Far East contemporary design. It’s like stepping back in time over 800 years. UNESCO has preserved the town and people still dress in traditional costume. Individual villas with private terraces and plunge pools look out over the breathtaking Jade Dragon Snow Mountain making for a surreal escape up in the clouds.

3. Capella Pedregal, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
There’s a reason both Brian Mumby and I have this property on our favorites list. Situated on its own private beach, you arrive at the resort through a mountain tunnel. It has a perfect sense of place, with authentic Mexican designs, elegantly appointed rooms and stunning beach views. Contained within is the best spa I’ve ever visited with an amazing design and a breadth of services. The infinity pool is especially spectacular as it seems to blend in with the ocean.

4. The St. Regis, Singapore
You can’t ask for a better city hotel perfectly catered to both the leisure and business traveler. I’m obsessed with the color patterns selected for the rooms and the oversized lamps and chandeliers (but I’m biased: my previous company designed it and I did all the PR for it and I am so impressed!). With the owners art collection displayed throughout, it’s a museum within a hotel. I’d say it’s the top place in the city to have brunch; the venue is spectacular and the food is amazing. It’s a twist on the traditional brunch with lots of bite-size samplers. The Decanter bar is the place to host a party with its wine collection showcased in glass walls and a state-of-the-art Enomatic system for serving tops wines by the glass.

5. Hôtel Hermitage Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco
Pierre Yves Rochon did a spectacular job at adding oomph to the hotel with his room design. His contrast of patterns and textures somehow work so well together. The suites with private terraces and jacuzzis are a must! It all adds up to a traditional palace with hints of modern and a fresh coat of refined elegance. Also, expect breathtaking views of the port and top service in the restaurants.

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