6. Amangani (Jackson, WY)
At Amangani in Jackson, Wyo., you might have a hard time discerning what's more exquisite: the resort or the landscape on which it sits. Amangani rests 7,000 feet above sea level, yet it's still shadowed by the stunning Teton Mountains. And lucky for guests, all of the suites afford spectacular views from their floor-to-ceiling windows; even the deep-soaking tubs in the bathrooms sit before pristine natural scenery. The modern design of Amangani's rooms and facilities are certainly worth noting. But Stuart Campbell, the general manager at Amangani, says that more than anything else, the staff makes the resort experience most memorable. He says, "Amangani is our home and we treat everyone who walks through our doors as a guest in it."
5. Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka’upulehu (Big Island, HI)
Standing majestically on the Kona-Kohala Coast of Hawaii's Big Island, this resort preserves a laid-back Hawaiian ambiance while not sacrificing a bit of the Four Seasons' impeccable elegance and service. Guests enjoy the expected down comforters and plasma TVs, but also private lanais and the nearby Pacific waves. A lush golf course, a number of pools—including a special ocean pool that is chiseled out of lava rock—and a handful of dining establishments like the oceanfront Pahu I'a round out the resort. "But what drives this experience home is the fact that the people here at Hualalai are absolute ambassadors of the Aloha spirit and deliver a guest experience like nowhere else in the world," says Brad Packer, director of public relations.
4. Four Seasons Hotel Seattle (Seattle, WA)
The Four Seasons Hotel Seattle—located in the heart of the Emerald City near top things to do like Pike Place Market and the Seattle Art Museum—is 10 floors of decadent luxury. Accommodations are plush and comfortable, featuring down duvets, iPod docking stations, and marble bathrooms. When it comes to relaxing, guests will find that the spa offers everything from a hot lava massage to an anti-aging Brazilian body scrub. And environmentalists will surely appreciate the fact that the ART Restaurant plates in-season Pacific cuisine and pours Washington wines. The general manager at the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle, Ilse Harley, says that it's not just one thing that differentiates this hotel from other properties, but rather the sum of its parts. She cites the hotel's personalized service, its location, its amenities, and its awe-inspiring views of Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains.
3. Wentworth Mansion (Charleston, SC)
The Wentworth Mansion is one of Charleston's grand old properties. Designed at the height of the Gilded Age, the mansion is filled with details like hand-carved marble fireplaces and Tiffany stained-glass windows. Common areas like the Rodgers Library and the Harleston Parlor recall a slower time in which genteel folk could peruse the evening paper or sip wine at their leisure. But that's not to say the amenities are stuckin the late 19th century. For instance, the Circa 1886 restaurant menu takes its cues from classic Southern dishes, but Chef Marc Collins is sure to use local ingredients and to prepare them in a way that is less detrimental to the waistline. And the spa, though decorated with historic artifacts, offers modern treatments like hot-stone massage and detoxifying body wraps.
2. Four Seasons Resort Lana'i, The Lodge at Koele (Lanai, HI)
Take an exclusive tropical island and add a luxurious resort, and you've got a winning duo. But when you consider that this resort is a Four Seasons and offers its guests rooms with private lanais and original artwork, a spa with Hawaiian treatments like "lomi lomi," a Greg Norman-design golf course, and a handful of delicious dining experiences, you've got a match made in heaven. Tom Roelens, the general manager of the resort, also gives the near-divine scenery and the friendly service staff credit. "The stunning landscape of Cook Island pines and vibrant gardens, combined with the genuine warmth of our staff and meticulous Four Seasons service, offers guests an authentic experience."
1. Inn at Palmetto Bluff, An Auberge Resort (Bluffton, SC)
Off of a road called Old Palmetto Bluff, about 30 minutes west of Hilton Head, you'll find the Inn at Palmetto Bluff, in other words, what many have found to be the ultimate Lowcountry escape. Marty Wall, general manager at the Inn at Palmetto Bluff says, "The property truly speaks for itself, the four-mile drive with the oaks over arching the road, our village square and the river front, captures all that is unique to the Lowcountry and our resort." Just 50 cottages and cottage suites dapple the landscape of forests and meadows, making the luxurious resort feel intimate and cozy. But amenities like an award-winning spa with treatments like the Palmetto Pluff Mud Wrap or the Organic Fruit & Pumpkin Peel facial are as sophisticated as they come. And as you might imagine, the dining choices are also sublime, from the upscale Lowcountry cuisine at the River House Restaurant to the tasty casual fare at the Buffalos. A scenic 18-hole golf course is also at guests' disposal.
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