What happens when a pair of veteran bakers move to sporty Asheville and decide to open a B&B? A little bit of heaven. You'll know it when you first detect the aroma of fresh-baked sticky buns wafting up to your perfectly appointed, antique adorned room. You'll realize it when you wrestle off the down comforter and leave the feather bed as fast as you can, just so you can get downstairs to see what today's breakfast entails. You'll hear it as you moan aloud over warm apple raisin muffins, the perfect complement to quiche or poached eggs. A good breakfast is the fuel needed for navigating Asheville, where this more than century-old mansion occupies a manicured lot in the heart of town. To shop the boutiques and galleries or set off on on the trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway requires sustenance. You'll get that not just in the morning, but later in the day at tea time, when hearty snacks obliterate hunger pains. A posh stay with historical gravitas, Black Walnut Bed & Breakfast has six rooms in the main house and two dog-friendly suites in the renovated carriage house. With a sitting porch for ruminating, 600-thread count sheets on the beds, and 13 fireplaces to warm your toes, this inn deserves its myriad awards and accolades.
Top 10 Luxury Inns
Nothing evens life's rough and tumble score like being coddled. Check into a swanky inn and let somebody else do the pampering. There, amid sumptuous fabrics, stunning views, stellar eatables, and the sort of doting amenities that take life up a notch, you'll recharge, rejuvenate and prepare to re-enter the fray. Enjoy. You deserve it.
Seize the Day! That's what the German-born proprietors of Provincetown's Carpe Diem had in mind when they named their hushed, classy retreat a call to living life to it's fullest. An adult only retreat aimed at renewal, this 19-room urban manse, complete with Mansard roof, features rooms named after poets and writers—each with a unique decor theme. The Raj Rao room, for example, dazzles with Indian antiques and crafts, while the Henry David Thoreau room is actually its own cottage, sporting double jacuzzi, fireplace for pondering the cool Cape Cod nights and a large bay window that looks over the hotel's meditative Asian Garden. Taking advantage of its setting in a literary town, the inn promotes the concept of evening salon with an afternoon wine and cheese gathering meant to inspire conversations and new acquaintances. Bringing European charm to the mix, the solicitous owners serve a superlative breakfast that manifests their German heartiness: whole grain breads, meats, cheeses, organic eggs, and waffles. In the Namaste Spa, guests can revel in treatments that relax via everything from Reflexology to Reiki.
Hollywood's heyday divas knew about being spoiled. That's why they picked the posh haven of Laguna Beach back in the day. Keeping the tradition alive, Casa Laguna, built as a private residence in the red-roofed, adobe Mission Style, exudes old school elan. Set amongst terraced gardens, overlooking the sea, the hotel's 20 rooms have gas-burning fireplaces, jetted two-person spa tubs, and specially made seven-layer beds worthy of the "Princess and the Pea". A garden-sited, gazebo soaking tub can be had by reservation and the spa's treatment menu includes everything from couples massage to hot stone therapies. To enjoy the spectacle of the famous Catalina sunset from your bed, choose one of the four ocean view rooms located at the top of the property. Or, spread out in the expansive Laguna Suite, which has a Juliet style, sea-facing balcony and a double-sided fireplace. Award-winning chefs present unforgettable breakfast entrees, such as Lemon Pesto Benedict or Granola Crusted French Toast, and the afternoon wine and cheese hour celebrates the end of another romantic day. A heated pool and myriad secluded sitting areas add to the allure.
We can't all summer like the Astors and Vanderbilts. Back in the day, they descended on Newport at vacation time and imbued the seaside village with Jazz Age stints of sublimity. Stopping for tea at painter Beatrice Turner's cliff-nestled mansion was a tradition. Nowadays, ordinary folks can follow in their footsteps—or at least tea party as they did when they check into Turner's former home, now the Cliffside Inn. The hotel specializes in recreating the glamor of yore. With 13-rooms in the circa 1876 Victorian mansion, and three suites in the adjacent Sea View Cottage, Cliffside Inn is chockablock with antiques, Oriental rugs, and artwork by Turner herself. Sumptuous rooms feature ocean views, marble tubs, and imported linens. For a regal treat, try the Tower Room located in the turret. Multi-coursed breakfasts star homemade granola, fresh baked bread and an array of warm entrees. In addition, the the hotel stashes a stellar wine collection. But, the afternoon tea, featuring the hotel's custom blended leaves, antique cups, scones, clotted cream, and finger sandwiches may well be the piece de resistance.
Live the wine country lifestyle at The Farmhouse, located amid vineyards and wooded glen in the Russian River Valley. Here, a sibling team of fifth-generation farmers have engineered a lavish and celebrated redo of the family farm, turning it into a cozy, homey spot with an upscale, hedonistic edge. Choose between recently built Barn rooms and design lauded Barn rooms or historic Heritage rooms and suites. All include downy beds, bathtubs that bubble, warm saunas, and fireplaces. Some have porches with vineyard views. Extra luxe touches include throws loomed from a friend's prized sheep, in-room s'mores supplies with imported chocolate and six concierges well versed in the wine country's myriad attractions. Drawing foodies for its farm-to-table Michelin starred restaurant and spa enthusiasts for its garden-to-massage treatments (think a Gifts From the Vine massage and wrap with Rose Geranium and Grape Seed oil), the hotel has a coterie of guests who return just for the scones and some bodywork. Wine sippers will be pleased to know The Farmhouse offers a chauffeur to nearby vineyards and athletes will enjoy the sibling organized custom bike tours of the region.
A nature aficionado's nirvana just two hours from New York City, this Buck County B&B offers respite from the hectic pace of urbanity. Pass through the storybook iron gates into a rural compound, abundant with flora, fauna and wildlife that range from racoon to white tailed deer. Opulent accouterments envelop guests in soothing renewal indoors, while the grounds, a certified wildlife habitat, ensure rumination and relaxation thanks to the magical powers of nature. Six unique rooms spoil with such amenities as fluffy feather beds, fireplaces and jacuzzi tubs. But, consider the Hidden Pines room, found down a cobble-stoned pathway with a private courtyard entrance. Nibble breakfast on its secluded deck, beneath a vine-covered pergola. Bath in its two-person jacuzzi tub. Or, take the commodious Tower Room, awash with African artifacts and outfitted with both a two-person tub and an a deux shower. A flock of free range hens provide the eggs for omelets and Benedict in the rustic, breakfast common room. En suite massages can be arranged and the heated swimming pool stays open all summer.
No doubt when cosmetic maven Merle Norman wanted to get away, she yearned for something more au natural. When you stay at her former “desert” homestead, with riveting views of the Santa Catalina Mountains and a plethora of untethered wildlife to seize your attention, you'll relax in an authentic way, with all five senses satisfied. Two adjacent inns, one Norman's getaway home and the other a grand guesthouse, comprise this intimate boutique B&B that boasts eight guestrooms. Built in rustic Western mode of the 1950's, the inn has all the hallmarks of an upscale cowboy estate: carved wooden beams, rope trim, fireplaces made from local stone, leather chairs and Western art. Meant to be the sort of place where you remove your boots and snuggle into the premises, Merlita ensures that happens with an immense saltwater swimming pool, a whirlpool, stargazing patio and various gaming areas—including a bocce ball court. Known for regionally-inspired, sustaining breakfasts, such as Blue Corn Pancakes with prickly pear syrup, the inn satisfies coffee enthusiasts with its signature special blend, roasted in Tucson. Afternoon tea and homemade cookies sets the mood for a peaceful night's sleep.
Forget the beach (though it lies just five minutes away). This chic, boutique-style B&B nestles a river bank and overlooks the mountains in this popular Mexican resort town. More like the chichi home of a wealthy friend with exceptional aesthetics, this eight-room guesthouse is for cool kids who prefer luxury without the crowds. Embellished with countless works of art, locally made furnishings, and bright colors, the inn has a rooftop pool, a salt water hot tub large enough for ten, an indoor lap pool and various terraces. Beds flaunt top-of-the line linens, en suite bathrooms have plenty of room for bidets and soaking tubs, commons areas encourage lingering, and breakfasts are made to order. You'll love the Alejandro Penthouse Suite, complete with terrace and direct access to the pool. Be seduced by the Scarlet room, with its range of red hues and curtained bed. Near the Romantic Quarter, the inn has a public kitchen that allows you to experiment with local produce, make picnic lunches and nosh a homemade snack from your balcony.
Even when wearing clothes sewn from curtains, Scarlett O'Hara demanded the best in luxury. Channel her at Twelve Oaks, an Antebellum mansion that inspired the film Gone With The Wind. Lovingly redone, now reopened as an intimate hotel, the eight-guestroom, National Register-awarded, structure continues to enliven guests who stop and stay awhile. Located just 30 miles from Atlanta in a town rich with historic structures and oft used to film movies and television series, Twelve Oaks stands alone. With a bevy of porches, exuding Old Southern elegance, it sits on sweeping lawns lined with scented Magnolia trees. Within, the inn is an eclectic melange of antiques and modernity, with indulgent beds and stately armoires that anchor well appointed guestrooms. En suite, exquisitely refurbished bathrooms, awash in Carrara marble, have classic claw-foot tubs, powerful shower heads, and Waterworks features. The “Katherine's Mirror Image Suite” even boasts a rare rib cage shower--circa 1880. But what guests love most here is true Southern comforts: snuggable Turkish cotton robes, wine and cheese happy hours and languorous breakfasts with regional treats like sausage, biscuits and gravy.
You'll discover a little slice of paradise. Though just five minutes from Ubud, this inn immerses you in Balinese living. Hovering above a rice field in a sanctuary-like setting, it delivers distinctive, Asian-style, five-star, service. You'll arrive by golf cart down a bumpy road, only to be ensconced in voluptuous surroundings. Enter through a carved, antique door that propels you to another dimension. Each of the inn's seven rooms enjoys a private infinity pool. Beds carved by Indonesian craftsmen overlook the water and panoramic windows have vistas of verdant rice paddies. Local art sets a mood, while Balinese-style bathrooms open to the sky, coddling with garden showers. The tiny property serves breakfast and dinner—not to mention afternoon tea and plates of Balinese sweets. Epicureans will want to join the chef in a cooking class. Expect to be on a first name basis with the entire staff when it's time to check out. Ideal for nature lovers, Ubud Padi Villas roots deeply into local culture, sits next to a farmer's temple, and can help arrange quintessential yoga experiences—as well as other adventures.