2022 was the year that travel triumphantly returned after a couple long years of Covid lockdowns. It felt so good to finally dust off my passport, hop on a plane, and feel the anticipation of exploring someplace I’d never been before.
Best of all, it was fantastic to trade the same four walls of my house for hotels with majestic views of cities or seas, sumptuous beds dressed in crisp sheets, oversized bathrooms with luxe soaking tubs, and the simple pleasures of room service. From Cairo to Connecticut, Vancouver to Vieques, these are the best hotels I stayed at in 2022.
Paradero: Todos Santos, Mexico
This stunning oasis is just a little over an hour’s drive from uber-popular Cabo in Baja California Sur, but it feels worlds away.
From the moment you turn onto the dirt road leading to Paradero, you realize that it isn’t your standard hotel. The organic gardens surrounding the property (some of which you’ll taste in Paradero’s top-notch modern Mexican fare and creative cocktails) and the Brutalist architecture that rises seamlessly from the dramatic desert landscape give it a singular sense of place. “We’re less of a hotel than we are a high-design landscaping project with luxurious suites,” Paradero jokes.
Those luxe suites promote deep relaxation and revitalization with features like supersized hammocks, soaking tubs, and rooftops with panoramic views perfect for watching the sun set behind the mountains and stars emerging from the night skies.
Stretch out in a morning yoga class. Soak in the sleek main pool, or one of several smaller soaking pools on the property surrounded by sculptural cacti. Then, peruse Paradero’s curated menu of activities and experiences, like the centuries-old ritual of temazcal, soothing sound healing, farm tours, or expert-led hikes. Guests can also gild the lily with a sailing expedition in the Sea Of Cortez on the resort’s sleek 46-foot luxury sail-powered catamaran.
Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza: Cairo, Egypt
This elegant Garden City luxury hotel sits on the banks of the River Nile in the heart of Cairo, making it an ideal launchpad for exploring the city and the pyramids in neighboring Giza.
Each and every one of the guest rooms and suites is spacious, well-appointed, and elegantly designed. But the serene Diplomatic Suites feel extra luxe: the residential-style layout boasts 1,000 square feet of living space, including two bathrooms, a living room, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a large terrace with breathtaking views of the Nile. Listening to the call for prayer floating over the city at sunset is something you’ll never forget.
The hotel also offers several stellar dining options: Zitouni for an elegant breakfast with authentic Egyptian dishes, Riviera for coastal Italian fare, and 8 for traditional Cantonese dishes like Peking duck and dim sum brunch.
Of course, no trip to Egypt is complete without a visit to the majestic Giza Complex. To see the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx in Four Season’s signature style, book the hotel’s once-in-a-lifetime Dine at One of the Seven Wonders excursion, which includes live music, dinner prepared by a Four Seasons private chef, and unparalleled views of the pyramids from a private tent perched high on Giza Plateau.
Yonder Escalante: Escalante, Utah
This stylish modern glamping destination is set amid the towering sandstone cliffs, mesmerizing slot canyons, and jaw-dropping panoramic vistas of Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. It’s also about an hour from Bryce Canyon National Park, and roughly two hours from Zion. (And if you want to see all of Utah’s “Mighty Five” National Parks in one super scenic trip, you can head northeast from Yonder to visit Capitol Reef, Arches, and Canyonlands National Parks too.)
Yonder is both rustic and refined, with minimalist cabins, upgraded Airstreams, oversized pool and hot tub, outdoor showers, communal lounge area, and a nostalgic drive-in movie theater where classic cars serve as seats where guests can snack on Reese’s Pieces and sip Champagne as they watch movies like E.T. and Cool Hand Luke.
Note: Yonder is currently closed for the season, but will reopen on March 15th, 2023.
Mayflower Inn & Spa: Washington, CT
Mayflower Inn & Spa, part of the prestigious Auberge Resorts Collection, has been through several iterations since it was built in 1894. The first was a boy’s boarding school. Then, it was converted into a private home. But the best is undoubtedly its current chapter as a serene country retreat with chic and calming guest rooms thoughtfully curated by celebrated interior designer Celerie Kemble.
The Inn is set amid 58 lush acres of vibrant gardens and bucolic woodlands, which can be explored on foot or by bike.
The year-round beauty of the Inn is complemented by a chef-in-residence program that’s made it a dining destination in recent years, as well as an award-winning spa.
Finca Victoria: Vieques, Puerto Rico
Finca Victoria is perched high on a hillside on the wildly beautiful Caribbean island of Vieques, eight miles off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico. The position lets guests enjoy cooling breezes, lush vegetation, a calming soundtrack of Coqui frogs, and very little light pollution — which makes for stellar stargazing.
Each room at the eco-conscious, Boho-chic B&B is unique, with varied constructions, vintage furnishing, and original artwork from local artists that give each space its own character.
Finca (which translates to “farmhouse”) is set amid two and a half acres of lush vegetation, including medicinal and edible gardens used to create meals, teas, essential oils, and other ayurvedic wellness products.
Daily morning yoga classes on the sundeck are included in your stay, as are delicious vegan breakfasts made with ingredients just plucked from the farm’s own gardens and fruit trees.
Shangri-La: Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Occupying 15 floors of Vancouver’s tallest building, this luxe “urban sanctuary nestled between the mountains and the sea” looks out over the city skyline through floor-to-ceiling windows that let the light flood in.
The prime downtown location positions guests right in the middle of the city’s best luxury shopping destinations. Retailers including Prada, Burberry, Saint Laurent, Tory Burch, and Moncler are just steps away, and there’s more high-end shopping on Robson Street. The hotel also offers an exclusive shopping experience at Holt Renfrew, a top destination for women’s and men’s luxury fashion.
While the streets outside may be bustling with urban activity, inside the Shangri-La you’ll find a calming retreat. The plush beds ensure a luxurious night’s sleep, and roomy seating areas, walk-in closets, mini bars, and sleek desks make the generously-sized rooms feel more like well-appointed urban apartments than hotel rooms. The oversized marble-clad bathrooms with city views have luxe modern touches like automated privacy shades and televisions seamlessly integrated into the mirrors of the vanity. And don’t miss the chance to get a massage or facial at the beautiful and serene treatment rooms at Chi, The Spa.