Meticulously restored to its original grandeur, this historic Chicago hotel displays French Beaux-Arts architecture, highlighted by over 1,400 contemporary works of arts by local artists. A convenient location to Grant Park, Soldier Field, Art Institute of Chicago, Field Museum, and Shedd Aquarium positions this renowned Chicago Loop hotel near famous area attractions. Built by prominent hoteliers Tracy and John Drake, the Blackstone became known as the "Hotel of Presidents," serving as host to a dozen U.S. Presidents, including Woodrow Wilson, Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy. The Blackstone was the location of the famous "smoke-filled rooms" where Warren G. Harding was chosen as the compromise Republican nominee for President in June 1920. (The term, which has since become a political cliché, was coined by a reporter covering the convention.) The hotel was named for Timothy B. Blackstone, a prominent railroad executive and the founding president of the Union Stock Yards, whose mansion had stood on the site. (312) 447-0955
Dana Hotel and Spa, 660 N. State St. , Chicago ($245?$395) www.danahotelandspa.com
2 Hyper-stylish and bathed in natural light and textures, most rooms in the 26-story high-rise have floor-to-ceiling windows lasciviously exposed (should you opt not to use the blackout curtains) to neighboring offices and condos. The vibe is simultaneously spare and plush, with industrial-cement ceilings, ribbed wallpaper, indecently comfortable beds, and metallic velour textiles. All rooms have spa-inspired bathrooms and the latest gadgetry, including fully stocked wine chillers. The spa, booked solid on weekends, offers a greatest hits menu of moderately priced massages, facials, and wraps. The Dana has a choice location between North Michigan Avenue and the River North dining and gallery district, but reserve a table if you want to go to its duplex steak and sushi restaurant, Ajasteak, a new neighborhood hot spot. The rooftop Vertigo Sky Lounge has a glassed-in bar and an outdoor fire pit where the city's remaining smokers can light up with impunity. (312) 202-6000
Vertigo Sky Lounge, 2 W. Erie, Chicago; http://www.danahotelandspa.com/rooftop-lounge/index.cfm
What: Glass box atop Chicago's new Dana Hotel forming a penthouse cocktail party. The look: Indoor-outdoor swank?fire-lit patio, long leather couches, coveted tables by the twenty-sixth-floor windows overlooking the Michigan Avenue neighborhood. Who goes: Moneyed thirtysomethings throwing intimate parties. Sound track: Electronically remixed retro hits. What to wear: Sleek from hair to heels for her; tailored jackets with designer denim for him. What to drink: Bermuda rum swizzles shaken tableside by servers in black cat suits and vertiginous boots. . (312) 202-6000
Publican, 837 W Fulton Market, Chicago. www.thepublicanrestaurant.com
The parlor game at Publican, a gastro pub in the Fulton Market district, is to match cuisine and quaff?in this case, beer. Chef Paul Kahan, of the city's perpetually booked Avec and Blackbird, has created a Belgium-channeling spot with over 100 beers and a stable of glassware tailored to specific styles of brew. Off-duty chefs and Chicago food obsessives come to feast immoderately on upscale peasant food such as spicy homemade pork rinds, Boudin blanc, and farmhouse stew made with pork and wild boar. This side of Brussels, there's no better place to wash down frites with a spicy Lambic beer. Tip: Round up the troops on Sunday evenings for the $45 prix-fixe supper served family style. (312) 733-9555
L2O, 2300 Lincoln Park West, Chicago www.l20restaurant.com
Much like a swank dinner party that's just a tad out of your league, an evening at L2O will have you feeling exhilarated?and restrained. The tables of wine barons and trust funders and the formal, over-attentive wait staff temper the whimsy of Chef Laurent Gras's intricate cuisine. Dishes range from a trifle composed of layers of salted cod, potato, and caviar to an entrée of lobster, carrot, and pineapple segments arranged geometrically around a coconut-powder garnish. Meals are punctuated with quirky amuse-bouches such as frozen strawberry marshmallows, and end with sweet flourishes like a fluffy praline soufflé. Tip: Seafood shines brighter than other, meatier main dishes. 773.868.0002
CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER UNVEILS ITS 13th ANNUAL HOT LIST
May "Hot List" issue is the magazine's annual guide to the hottest new hotels, restaurants, spas, and clubs around the globe
Condé Nast Traveler's 13th annual May "Hot List" issue is the ultimate insider's guide to the newest and hottest hotels, restaurants, spas, and nightclubs opened all over the world in the past year. The editors scoured the globe to check out hundreds of new properties, rigorously evaluating each one on a standard set of criteria. The result is a definitive guide to the world's most exciting new establishments destined to become instant classics.
The 2009 Hot List features 140 new hotels and resorts, 50 new restaurants, 35 new nightclubs, and 50 new spas, whose design, service, and amenities transcend industry standards.
The hotel findings range in size from a three-pavilion hideaway outside of Sydney to a 2,034-room high-rise on the Vegas Strip, and in price from $89 at a Palm Springs hot spot to $2,050 for a sprawling safari tent in northern Botswana. Hot and trendy doesn't have to mean pricey - check into 43 of the hottest hotels for under $250-per-night. The 140 hotels and resorts on this year's Hot List span 53 countries and include new-to-the-list destinations Israel, Mongolia, Peru, Slovenia, and Zimbabwe.
U.S. properties named to the list include:
InterContinental Montelucia Resort & Spa, Paradise Valley, Ariz.
Montage Beverly Hills, Beverly Hills, Calif.
London West Hollywood, Los Angeles, Calif.
SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, Calif.
Resort at Pelican Hill, Newport Beach, Calif.
Ace Hotel & Swim Club, Palm Springs, Calif.
Sè San Diego, San Diego, Calif.
Cavallo Point, Sausalito, Calif.
Bardessono, Yountville, Calif.
Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, Avon, Colo.
Capella Telluride, Telluride, Colo.
The Regent, Bal Harbour, Fla.
Viceroy, Miami, Fla.
Fontainebleau, Miami Beach, Fla.
Mondrian South Beach, Miami Beach, Fla.
Mansion on Peachtree, Atlanta, Ga.
Avia, Savannah, Ga.
Royal Hawaiian Hotel, Honolulu, Hawaii
The Blackstone, Chicago, Ill.
Dana Hotel and Spa, Chicago, Ill.
Hidden Pond, Kennebunkport, Me.
Mandarin Oriental, Boston, Mass.
Hotel Ivy, Minneapolis, Minn.
Encore Wynn, Las Vegas, Nev.
Encantado, Santa Fe, N.M.
Greenwich Hotel, New York, N.Y.
Thompson LES, New York, N.Y.
The Nines, Portland, Ore.
Hotel Saint Cecilia, Austin, Tex.
Stoneleigh Hotel & Spa, Dallas, Tex.
Arctic Club Hotel, Seattle, Wash.
Four Seasons Hotel, Seattle, Wash.
Donovan House, Washington, D.C.
Iron Horse Hotel, Milwaukee, Wis.
When we travel we still need-- and love--to eat out. The most sought-after reservations are for gussied up gastro pubs with stellar cocktails or pocket-sized restaurants with just a handful of tables.
From a $25 prix fixe lunch at Maison Boulud in Beijing to a $59 four-course dinner at Convivio in New York, our list of 50 restaurants has amazing values abound.
U.S. restaurants on the Hot Tables List include:
California: Palate Food & Wine, Glendale; Kogi BBQ, Los Angeles; Zinnia, San Francisco
Florida: Sra. Martinez, Miami
Georgia: Holeman & Finch, Atlanta
Illinois: L2O, Chicago
Louisiana: Cochon Butcher, New Orleans
Massachusetts: Hungry Mother, Cambridge
Nevada: Wazuzu, Las Vegas
New York: Convivio, Corton, John Dory, L'Artusi, New York
Oregon: Lincoln, Portland
Pennsylvania: Zahav, Philadelphia
Washington: Poppy, Seattle
*Hungry for more? Go online to cntraveler.com/hotlist for 65 additional tables
A little R&R is just what the doctor ordered, and as luck would have it, this past year delivered a bumper crop of superlative spas from Macau to Mexico. Our reviewers left no hot stone unturned in their effort to identify the 50 transcendent spots for head-to-toe pampering.
U.S. spas on the Hot Spas List include:
California: Spa Montage, Beverly Hills; Spa at Pelican Hill, Newport Beach
Colorado: RockResorts Spa at the Arrabelle, Vail
Florida: Icon Brickell at Viceroy Miami; Lapis at the Fontainebleau, Miami Beach
Georiga: 29 Spa at the Mansion on Peachtree, Atlanta
Nevada: Spa at Trump, Las Vegas
New Mexico: Spa at Encantado, Santa Fe
New York: Caudalíe Spa
at the Plaza Hotel; ESPA
at the Peninsula; Sense, a Rosewood Spa, The Carlyle; Shibui Spa, Greenwich Hotel, New York City
Texas: Stoneleigh Spa, Dallas
*For 30 more new spas, go to cntraveler.com/hotlist
Just when we all needed a drink, nightlife got serious. This year, absinthe made a comeback and hotel bars got their glam on. From Beijing to Bogotá-- we have 35 of the hippest hangouts in which to get your groove on.
U.S. nightclubs on the Hot Nights List include:
California: Bardot Hollywood, Los Angeles; Infusion Lounge, The Press Club, San Francisco
Colorado: Liquid Sky, Snowmass
Florida Louis, Sunset Lounge, Miami Beach
Illinois: Vertigo Sky Lounge, Chicago
Nevada: Frankie's Tiki Room, XS, Las Vegas
New York: Apothéke, Rose Club, New York City
Texas: PM at the Joule, Dallas
*For the runners-up, 10 more bars worth swinging by to see, check out cntraveler.com/hotlist
Full reviews of each hotel, restaurant, nightclub and spa can be found in the May issue of Condé Nast Traveler or at www.cntraveler.com/hotlist