WITH TRAVEL ACROSS THE ATLANTIC STILL A DISTANT DREAM, THESE EUROPEAN INSPIRED HOTELS OFFER A TASTE OF AUSTRIA, SCOTLAND, SPAIN, ITALY, AND FRANCE WITHOUT LEAVING THE COUNTRY
BY AMBER GIBSON
THE RITZ CARLTON St. Louis, Missouri
You’re transported to Italy’s vibrant Sorrento Coast when you dine at Casa Don Alfonso, the glamorous new restaurant by Michelin starred Italian restauranteur Mario Iaccarino inside the Ritz Carlton, St. Louis. This is Iaccarino’s first restaurant project in the United States his family is best known for Don Alfonso 1890, a boutique hotel and restaurant in southern Italy’s Sant’Agata. Family recipes like Sorrento style gnocchi and fish cartoccio, along with Nonna Titina’s ziti and Neapolitan pizzas appear on the menu, and chef de cuisine Sergio Chierego is also an Italian native.
Enjoy an aperitivo and admire the mixed media artwork and hand painted tiles in the open kitchen. You’ll notice a light purple motif throughout the restaurant, inspired by lavender fields in Sant’Agata, appearing in the cascading wisteria chandelier and even the servers’ uniforms.
The hotel is also home to the world’s last remaining Ritz Carlton Cigar Club, where you can enjoy Italian style dry cured Parodi cigars after dinner before donning the plush bathrobe hanging in your closet and drifting to sleep enveloped by a cloud of pillows.
Start your morning with a refreshing shower in the newly renovated Carrara marble shower, then perk up with a marocchino, shakerato, or cappuccino at the walk up espresso bar, imported from Italy and made exclusively for Casa Don Alfonso. The espresso blend is slowly smoked using oak, olive, and orange woods from the Sorrentine Peninsula for a flavor that is uniquely Italian.
Rates start at $309 for a standard king room. 100 Carondelet Plaza, St. Louis, ritzcarlton.com/stlouis
Hocking Hills, Ohio
This authentic Scottish hamlet of seven crofts and six cottages is a quaint retreat in Hocking Hills, just an hour from Columbus, Ohio. This hilly region of southeast Ohio was originally settled by Scottish immigrants, who found the local topography with its deep, rocky ravines and steep precipices reminiscent of their homeland. Founder Michael Daniels wanted to honor his Scottish heritage by recreating a Scottish estate tucked away in the woods. Each of the cottages, crofts, and suites at Glenlaurel is named for a prominent Scottish clan or personality, and the stone, stucco, dark timbered walls, and wrought iron posts are right out of a storybook.
The Scottish Links at Glenlaurel is an eight hole replica of the links style courses built centuries ago in the British Isles, where golf was invented. Golfers play on sand greens and use original antique hickory shaft clubs and true sand tees. These sand greens and tees need no water, fertilizer, or pesticides for maintenance, so they are an ideal fit with Glenlaurel’s commitment to environ mental stewardship. There are also two Tesla charging stations on property for guests arriving in electric vehicles.
Camusfearna Gorge is another highlight, a leisurely half mile walk over creeks and through the woods to enjoy rock cliffs and waterfalls that are strikingly beautiful in every season. Enjoy six or seven course dinners each evening in the Glasgow dining room that include delicacies like quail, rack of lamb, and Scottish salmon.
Rates start at $399 for croft cottages, including a full three course gourmet breakfast. 1494 0 Mt Olive Road, Rockbridge, Ohio, glenlaurel.com
FAIRMONT GRAND DEL MAR
San Diego, California
Pulling up at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar in San Diego is like arriving at a sprawling Mediterranean estate. The resort’s architecture features an exotic mix of Spanish, Portuguese, Moroccan, and Venetian design elements, including polished Italian marble, Jerusalem limestone, Roman pan tile roofing, Venetian plastered walls, and vibrant Portuguese style glazed tile lining the pool. Corridors leading to the 249 guestrooms and suites are designed to portray four different parts of the world Portugal, Spain, France, and Italy, with fabrics, furnishings, and artwork to match, including more than 2,000 pieces of custom designed furniture and art. Most of the artwork was commissioned, including the tapestry hanging over the grand staircase, and much of it is framed by exact replicas of frames found at the Musée du Louvre or the Musée de Cluny, crafted by a frame maker on the eastern coast of Italy. There are 5,648 French rosettes across the resort, and Italian stonecutters from Verona carved all of the resort’s arches, stone fireplaces, and inlays.
The Center for Wellbeing at Fairmont Grand Del Mar is a modern day monument to the invigorating spirit of the Renaissance. Indulgence in the Renaissance signature body ritual, a rejuvenating experience that begins with a warm mineral rich Moor mud body wrap blended with aromatic oils while you rest in a relaxing, free floating bed. An invigorating rosemary infused Swiss shower follows, along with tension relieving touch therapy applied with rhythmic, rocking motions, bringing gentle movement into the joints and encouraging flexibility.
Rates start at $799 for a Fairmont king room and $1,299 for the Prado Suite. 5300 Grand Del Mar Court, San Diego, granddelmar.com
GOLDENER HIRSCH INN
Park City, Utah
One of the best boutique ski hotels in the country, family owned Goldener Hirsch Inn in Deer Valley was named after Hotel Goldener Hirsch in Salzburg, Austria, with furniture imported from many of the same Austrian furniture makers. Countess Walderdorff opened the hotel in 1991 and incorporated vintage Austrian art and antiques throughout the design. A new modern wing debuted last year with Deer Valley’s most exclusive new residences, connected to the original inn via a chic skybridge. The 40 new condominiums offer lock off configuration floor plans ranging from hotel rooms to three bedroom suites.
Begin your morning with a sunrise soak in the rooftop infinity hot tub, then end your day with après ski fondue and a glass of gruner veltliner at the Goldener Hirsch Restaurant. The luxurious fondue is a mix of appenzeller, emmentaler, gruyère, and vacherin cheese simmered with white wine. Signature entrées include wiener schnitzel with braised fennel choucroute and schupfnudeln Austrian potato noodles with wild mushrooms and celery cream. If you’ve neglected to make a reservation, try finding a seat in the Alpen Stube lounge where the full dinner menu is also served.
Goldener Hirsch is a three minute walk to the three chairlifts at Deer Valley’s Silver Lake Lodge, and naturally the ski valet will have your skis ready to go when you arrive. Snowboarders are forbidden at Deer Valley, but the hotel’s complimentary house car can whisk you to the lifts at Park City Base and Canyons Village. Rates start at $425 for a king room. 7570 Royal Street, Park City, Utah, goldenerhirschinn.com
THE ALLISON INN & SPA
Willamette Valley, Oregon
A trip to the Allison Inn & Spa, set in the picturesque Willamette Valley in Oregon’s wine country, will remind guests of the rolling hills of Burgundy, France. The Willamette Valley is situated at the same latitude as the Burgundy wine region, and although it only started producing wine in the 1970s, the region is already considered one of the world’s best. The pinot noirs and chardonnays made here can give the most awarded Burgundian wines a run for their money. All 77 guest rooms and eight suites at the Allison include fireplaces, a terrace or balcony, and cozy window seats to look out over the property’s 35 hillside acres while sipping a glass of wine.
JORY, the Allison’s signature restaurant, serves dishes like wild caught local salmon with foraged mushrooms that accentuate the Willamette Valley’s bountiful local agriculture, including tomatoes, squash, peppers, and chard from the resort’s own chef ’s garden. The food is naturally accompanied by a 500+ label award winning wine list, including more than 85 labels of Burgundian wine, including Chablis, Côte de Beaune, Gevrey Chambertin, ChambolleMusigny, and Pommard.
The Allison’s amiable concierge can coordinate hot air balloon rides, helicopter wine tours, vineyard equestrian experiences, and private wine tastings at local wineries like Domaine Serene, Argyle, and Domaine Drouhin, who also have an estate in Beaune. The Willamette’s informal charm and hospitable culture are similar to the down to earth wine tasting culture in France, making learning and wine tasting an accessible journey for everyone.
Rates start at $435 for a deluxe king. 2525 Allison Lane, Newberg, Oregon, theallison.com