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What’s Hot, What’s Not

By Andrew Harper

The Hideaway Report | November 23, 2011

This regular column summarizes the observations of readers and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of your editor. Based on the hundreds of letters, emails, critique cards and forum posts we review each month, the following hotels and resorts received the most revealing positive and/or negative comments.

The Inn Above Tide  San Francisco, CA— Located at the water’s edge in Sausalito, this “beautiful and romantic” 29-room hideaway is widely praised for its “exemplary staff.” Readers scatter adjectives such as “superlative,” “marvelous” and “magical” in descriptions of a place that is “like one of those mythical small inns in southern France.”

Cayo Espanto  Belize— This tiny private island off the west coast of Ambergris Caye attracts those in search of complete seclusion. “Top-class rooms, great service and great food” add up to “a really cool place.” Some are unimpressed by the shallow lagoon that is “fine for the bonefish,” but many find the place “amazing,” and one member simply “can’t wait to go back.”

Villa Feltrinelli Italy— A spectacularly restored villa fronting the picturesque western shores of Lake Garda, this perennial Harper favorite garners plaudits for its “superb staff” and “absolute luxury.” One correspondent had special words of praise for the chef, who “is perhaps the best in Italy,” and a welcome that made her feel that she had “just come home.”

Azur Lodge New Zealand—For many Harper members, the only problem with New Zealand is that it is “so far away.” One writer would otherwise “go there twice a year,” not leaving his room at Azur Lodge for “at least a week.” Others are equally impressed by this “lovely and comfortable” property close to Queenstown, with “spectacular views” and “friendly and helpful staff.” All in all, it is just “a wonderful place.”

Banjaar Tola India— “Great service, great tents and awesome food” help to make this upscale wildlife lodge well worth the “marathon five-hour drive.” “Rose petal baths” and “private dinners” are part of the allure, but ultimately, the tigers are the stars.  One enthusiastic visitor recommends a visit when “India is playing Pakistan” at cricket, ensuring that the “park is almost empty of tourists.”

Il Salviatino Italy— Despite its being Hideaway of the Year 2011, not all Harper members are entirely satisfied. For one writer, it was “the finest hotel experience I have had anywhere.” And lavish praise is given to “attentive service” at this “beautiful place.” But others were “disappointed” by “minor irritations.” Seeking “perfection,” they “didn’t find it.”

Capella Pedregal Mexico— Some members are impressed by the “very unique” location of this new Cabo resort, plus the “fine” rooms and “gorgeous views.” But for others, phones that “didn’t work,” plunge pools that were “too cold to use” and “indifferent staff” add up to a property that is “ridiculously overpriced.”

La Gazelle D’Or Morocco— This classic resort outside the crenellated walls of Taroudant is described as “dated” and “un-Moroccan.” Problems with air-conditioning that “did not work” were compounded by a “plague of mosquitoes” and a dreadful pianist “playing tunes such as ‘Old Man River.’ ”

 

 Sneak Peek

This article appeared in The Hideaway Report, a monthly newsletters exclusively for members.

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Andrew Harper Photo Andrew Harper is the editor of The Hideaway Report, a luxury travel newsletter that first appeared in 1979. He travels anonymously and pays his own expenses in pursuit of unique properties that offer unusually high levels of personal service. Hotels have no idea who he is, so he is treated exactly as you might be.

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