My favorite hotels of 2017

The year 2017 just ended and, like most people, I made a report.  Last year, I did the same thing and realized that, in 2016, I traveled the equivalent of 60,000 KM. This year, I am certain it's even more than that. No need to count. I traveled to Europe twice, Hawaii, Central America, Mexico, and many States: Florida, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine, California, Washington ... 
I visited some of the most interesting corners of the country, met amazing people, saw things I will remember for the rest of my life, but mostly, I spent countless nights at the hotel. I love to «check in» at a hotel (that's one of the reason I named my blog Checking In), hang out in the lobby, chat with the staff to find the best neighbourhood coffee, relax at the hotel spa, unwind in my hotel room and have a drink at the lobby bar (I love lobby bars!). I could literally live (happily) in an hotel ! Between all the wonderful hotels I had the chance to discover this year, it was hard to pick my favorite ones. But, here is it: the list of my favorite hotels of 2017.

Kaua'i, Hawaii - Ko'a Kea Hotel & Resort

This upscale 121-room boutique oceanfront hotel, that was voted Best Resort Hotel in Hawaii by Travel + Leisure readers in the 2017 World’s Best Awards, is absolutely spectacular. Located directly on Po'ipu Beach (it is also the island’s closest hotel accommodations to the water) which is a secluded, wild and gorgeous beach on the South Shore of the "Garden Island" of Hawaii (Kaua'i), Koa Kea Hotel & Resort offers peace of mind, a picture-perfect setting, luxury amenities, large and nicely-decorated rooms and dramatic backgrounds. The on-site restaurant, Red Salt, is very good, the spa is high end and the hotel, close to perfection.

Las Vegas, Nevada - The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is one of my favorite hotel in Sin City. I even wrote a blog post about it almost right after my check out last April. There's something sassy and sexy about this place. Sleek, uncommon, offering unbeatable views of the Strip and an outstanding restaurant collection, let me tell you why I like the "Cosmo" so much. First off, it is tailor-made for the young crowd who is seeking the perfect hotel for a luxury but out-of-the-ordinary Vegas experience like me. With its 3 pools, gorgeous spa, over-the-top lobby and incredible restaurant offer (Momofoku, Milk Bar, Eggslut, Mylos, Jaleo... ) it is perfect. The rooms are spacious, comfortable,  luxurious and offers unbeatable views of the Strip. Mine had a Japanese-soaking tub from where I could see the Bellagio-fountains show. What's not to like about that? 

Charlevoix, Québec - Hotel & Spa Le Germain Charlevoix

Honoured with Top Design in the World at the 2013 Retail & Leisure Interior Awards, l'Hotel & Spa Le Germain Charlevoix, formerly Hotel La Ferme, is the perfect hideaway for a weekend with your better half or with friends in the heart of nature. The hotel, nestled under the mountains, offers gorgeous landscapes, but also quality local cuisine, cozy comfort without ever neglecting luxury and design. In summer, enjoy the outdoor pool and the yoga classes on the sundeck, and during winter, relax in the spa located in the middle of the farm. A true gem that is worth the distance ! 

Québec, Québec - L'Auberge Saint-Antoine

l'Auberge Saint-Antoine is a hotel like no other. Member of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux association, this unique boutique hotel, built in an historic building in Old Quebec, is an open-air art gallery where every little detail is reflected. Luxury is everywhere at l'Auberge: through the heated floors in the bathroom to the unique decor of each of the 95 rooms and suites, everything is though through. The restaurants were recently refurbished to make room for more accessible concepts without neglecting the local-inspired gastronomy quality: Chez Muffy and L'Artefact, respectively the restaurant and the "lobby bar where you can eat light" of the hotel, have been welcoming customers since last fall in the same opulent and comfortable decor that we know and like. 

Les Baux-en-Provence, France - Le Mas de l'Oulivié

During a press trip in Provence, I had a huge crush on the small charming hotel Le Mas de l'Oulivié located between Arles and Avignon, only 2 km from the village of Les Baux de Provence. In the shadow of the castle, this boutique hotel who is run by charming homeowners, is absolutely divine. With its design pool in the middle of the lavender fields and its 25 intimate rooms filled with Provencal charm, this hotel offers all the charm of Provence in one place. You can enjoy the complimentary breakfast, prepared and served by the owners on the large outside patio, covered with plants and flowers. It's beautiful, authentic but luxurious and modern at the same time. It is absolutely perfect. 

Montréal, Québec - Le Ritz-Carlton Montréal

The Ritz-Carlton Montreal occupies a special place in my heart since it is at this exceptional hotel that I got married last June. We chose this location because, for us, it is the most elegant establishment in the city. In addition, recent renovations of $ 200 million have made this Grande Dame on Sherbrooke Street a true state of the art. Everything in this hotel is superb: the St. James Spa is perfect for a first class treatment and a relaxing break, the indoor pool located on the top floor offers breathtaking views of the city and the Palm Court is the perfect place to enjoy afternoon tea or a glass of bubbly. The rooms are absolutely spectacular, luxurious, highly functional and modern. Not without forgetting the inner courtyard from which we can admire the ducks wading in the pond in season and the exquisite restaurant Maison Boulud, which is, in my opinion, one of the best tables in the city. Ahh ... the Ritz-Carlton Montreal makes me so proud of my city. A first-class establishment, without a doubt.

Guanacaste, Costa Rica - El Mangroove, an Autograph Collection Hotel

Located on the prestigious Gulf of Papagayo in beautiful Costa Rica, El Mangroove is the closest beach resort in Central America. This small boutique hotel, part of the prestigious Autograph Collection, is an absolute gem : it is sexy, urban, design, art-oriented and I absolutely loved it. So much that I went back twice in 2017. The food offer is great, the settings are hard to beat, the rooms are funky and colourful, yet very luxurious. The infinity pool offers unbeatable views of the ocean, located just in front and the open-air common areas are inviting. For design lovers and boutique hotel afficionados, El Mangroove is the perfect choice for a memorable Costa Rican vacation. 

Papagayo, Costa Rica - The Andaz

First off, I love the Andaz brand. Part of Hyatt, these hotels capture the spirits of the cities where they are located. The impressive Andaz Papagayo is no exception.  This luxury hotel located on a cliff at Papagayo Peninsula definitely captures the native spirit of Costa Rica with its distinctive "Pura Vida" philosophy. With its "jungle" rooms that are literally "in the jungle" (I saw monkeys from my patio), this gorgeous hotel offers an authentic experience in a luxurious and uncluttered setting. I particularly loved the coffee bar - how nice it is to be able to enjoy good coffee in a secluded hotel - the restaurants on site are very good and the staff, super friendly. Embrace your inner hippie and get lost in the jungle of the Gulf of Papagayo at the Andaz hotel. 

Ogunquit, Maine - Cliff House

Set on the edge of the Atlantic ocean on the rocky coast of Southern Maine, Cliff House is in my top 3 favorite hotels of the year, without a doubt. Recently and entirely renovated, it is now ultra modern, very luxurious, while offering panoramic ocean and coastal views from almost every point of view. The 226 stylish beach-inspired guest rooms and suites are cozy, spacious, and designed with style . The costal premium hotel also features a luxury spa and wellness center, oceanfront dining, and more. I enjoyed every minute of my stay last summer and I will, for sure, be back at Cliff House. You can also read my hotel review here ! 

 Seattle - The Thompson

To start: I also like the Thompson brand very much. On a recent press trip to the Seattle area, I had the pleasure to visit the Thompson Seattle, where I literally fell in love. The sleek, modern and urban hotel reflects the intrinsic beauty of Seattle and elevates the refined edge of downtown. Condé Nast Traveler thinks so too—naming them to its 2017 Hot List as one of the 75 most exciting hotels in the world. I particularly enjoyed the cool rooftop bar, Nest, the unbeatable location (Pike Market is just around the corner) and the sleek glass façade. The rooms are not your typical "Thompson" design, yet you will find there the same refined style as all the other hotels of the brand, but with a unique "Seattle" twist. The on-site restaurant, Scout, is also very good, and the lobby area is much fun. Yet, Nest is where you'll spend most of your time. 

San Francisco, California - Hotel Zephyr

Hotel Zephyr was a pleasant surprise and for sure a great discovery last Fall when I returned, after many years, to cool & edgy San Francisco. This brand-new boutique hotel is ideally located in Fisherman's Wharf district, but, in this highly touristic area, Zephyr manages to offer a laid-back luxury vibe and setting. The rooms are decorated with a "nautical" design and offers views of the bay. The inner courtyard area is perfect to unwind after a long day of exploring the city ; with its food trucks, fire pit, board games and cushy chairs, it is cool, different, and highly original. 

Paris, France - Hotel Bourgogne & Montana

It's during a press in beautiful Paris that I discovered Bourgogne & Montana, probably one of the best kept secret located in the heart of the chic 7th arrondissement. This art-focused boutique hotel is far from the crowd, but only a stone's throw from the Musée d’Orsay, Saint-Germain-des-Prés and Concorde. Settled in a beautifully elite Parisian residence, this stunning building marries French art de vivre with discretion, exclusivity and refinement. With only 31 rooms, all designed with great refinement and style, you will also fall in love with this very discrete 4-star hotel.

Buffalo, New York - Hotel Henry

Hotel Henry is a brand-new "original-concept full-service hotel" that features 88 guest rooms and suites, destination amenities and seamlessly integrated technology. The hotel opened in April 2016 in an old hospital, which is, without a doubt, a unique feature. The heritage building has been totally transformed. Now, the rooms and common areas are modern, urban, luxurious, spacious and design-oriented. Rooms embody a variety of unique layouts, with efficient uses of the Richardson Olmsted Campus’ original design. The hotel is an open-air art gallery, as all the art pieces on the walls are available for purchase. Read my full review here!

Montréal, Québec - Le Reine Elizabeth

Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth, one of Montreal’s most iconic landmarks, has closed for more than a year to complete a multi-million dollar transformation. The "Queen" reopened last fall and is now doing better than ever. The objective of the hotel's transformation was precisely to make the establishment even more welcoming and to make it an important contributor to the social life of the Montreal community. Its new design reflects its commitment to continually renew itself and offer the highest standards of luxury hotels. The rooms are gorgeous, modern and design, while all the hotel facilities are real showstoppers : from the very good coffee counter Krema Café to the amazingly cool and convenient Artisans Market, without forgetting the new coolest cocktail bar downtown Montreal, Nacarat and also one of the best and newest spa in the city : Moment Spa, the Queen Elizabeth is definitely in top shape.

Miami, Florida - The Besty-South Beach

It was one of Miami Beach most anticipated luxury projectThe Betsy-South Beach Hotel, which opened in March 2009 on Ocean Avenue in busy Art Deco District, just finished a massive and impressive two-year transformation by merging with the historic Carlton Hotel located directly behind them. The Betsy-South Beach is the only Forbes Four Star and AAA Four Diamond rated boutique hotel in the Greater Miami area and now features 130 guest rooms, two restaurants by award-winning Chef Laurent Tourondel, a Panthers Coffee bar, a brand-new rooftop pool, a gelato counter located in "The Alley", among many other new (and exciting) features. See my full review here! 

Paradisus Los Cabos

It was my last press trip of 2017 but not the least. I had the pleasure of discovering beautiful Los Cabos for the first time, and, as if I wasn't lucky enough, I stayed at the brand-new and gorgeous Paradisus Los Cabos. The luxurious all-inclusive resort offers 350 rooms, including 98 in the Royal Service section, 30 family concierge suites and 28 suites with swim-up pools. With its four pools, seven bars and restaurants, a signature spa and fitness centre open 24 hours, Paradisus Los Cabos is the true definition of paradise – whether you are traveling with your family or with your spouse. With its “Adults-only” Royal Service section and its Family-Concierge reserved rooms, there’s a piece of paradise for everyone at Paradisus Los Cabos. To be honest: it is so pretty that it hurts. Read my full review here! 

Starting 2018 in style and inspired, for sure.

 

Catherine Maisonneuve