FROM THE VIBRANT, CITRUS-LINED STREETS OF MOROCCO TO THE SERRATED SHORES OF SAN DIEGO: THIS YEAR’S HOTTEST NEW HOTEL DEBUTS ARE SURE TO FEED YOUR WANDERLUST
BY AMBER GIBSON
In a gleaming new 35-story skyscraper designed by GBD Architects, the Ritz-Carlton, Portland is in a class of its own as the city’s first true luxury hotel and the first Ritz-Carlton in the Pacific Northwest. The interiors, designed by HKS Hospitality Interiors, marry the magic of the wilderness with modern luxury. The hotel lobby mimics the lush landscape of the Pacific Northwest, featuring rustic logs bound with copper and maps depicting Lewis and Clark’s epic journey. A glowing replace in the library lounge is surrounded by backlit Verre églomisé glass, and the intimate lobby bar Meadowrue serves creative cocktails, mocktails, and gourmet light bites incorporating local purveyors like Josephson’s Smokehouse, Olympia Provisions, and Rouge Creamery.
All 207 guest rooms and 44 suites are more spacious than you’d expect, featuring luxurious leather goods and contemporary interpretations of historic travel trunks. The Ritz-Carlton Club, located on the 20th floor, offers five daily culinary presentations and is decorated with local artwork and handicrafts, too. One floor below, there’s a zero-edge infinity pool with exquisite panoramic views of the Cascade Mountains, plus a yoga studio, fitness center, and a tranquil spa with five treatment rooms.
The hotel’s signature restaurant, Bellepine, also on the 20th floor, is helmed by executive chef Pedro Almeida, who previously oversaw ten restaurants at Ritz-Carlton’s Penha Longa Resort in Portugal. Here, he leans into Oregon’s indigenous ingredients; think hazelnut-crusted sockeye salmon served on a cedar plank, geoduck buñuelo fritters, and local rabbit with foraged mushroom stuffing. Rates start at $525 for deluxe guest rooms and $1,025 for suites.
812 SW Washington Street, Portland, Oregon, ritzcarlton.com/portland
Sonoma County, California
This sprawling 22-acre retreat nestled among ancient redwoods in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County features 81 renovated cabins and cottages for a peaceful, laid-back brand of luxury. Hand-stitched quilts, heirloom custom wood furniture, and gas replaces create a cozy, rustic ambiance, while resort programming like guided meditation (led by the general manager), forest bathing, and flower pressing workshops are designed to celebrate Northern California’s natural beauty. There’s even a naturalist in residence, so guests can engage with experts in guided excursions and reside chats. Complimentary bicycles and kayaks are available, along with acoustic Fender guitars and Swarovski binoculars for wildlife watching.
Start the day with yoga on your terrace, followed by a hearty breakfast of avocado toast with furikake scrambled eggs on house made brioche at the lodge. The Spa at Dawn Ranch is simple but serene, inspired by European solariums and ancient public baths, and features a steam room and infrared sauna. Tucked within the grove, a heated saltwater pool is open daily until 9 p.m. and is an ideal place to stargaze with a nightcap before bed. Digital detox is certainly encouraged, so gather around the repit for nightly s’mores or borrow a book to snuggle up with from the lending library curated by Bedside Reading. Rates start at $450.
16467 CA-116, Guerneville, California, dawnranch.com
PALAIS DE FÈS SUITES & SPA
Located in the heart of the world’s oldest medina, this 14th century palace has been transformed into an incredibly elegant boutique hotel with just 12 suites by siblings Ghita and Nacer Tazi, who honor their late father’s vision with their passion for hospitality. The riad-style accommodations are discreet, yet located right in the middle of the action, within walking distance to all of the medina’s marvelous attractions, including the oldest university in the world, University Of Al Quaraouiyine. Local artists restored the palace to its former glory, from zellij tile mosaic masters to plaster artisans carving elaborate patterns directly into the walls.
Palais de Fès’ restaurant Dar Tazi has been serving authentic Moroccan feasts since 1980 across several terraces, each offering beautiful sunset panoramas of the city. Dinner begins with a festival of colorful vegetable salads, followed by a Moroccan seafood or chicken bastilla pie encased in crispy filo pastry, and succulent lamb tagine. The entire staff feels like family, especially kind-hearted restaurant manager Hayat and head chef Aicha, both of whom have been working with the Tazis for more than 20 years. If you’re interested in Moroccan cuisine, Aicha will teach you how to cook any of your favorite dishes after a visit to the souk to fetch fresh seasonal ingredients.
The Tazis proudly support local businesses, from the neroli-scented Moroccan bath amenities to the almond briouat and baklava welcome treats. Another ten suites will be available later this year, along with a spa offering traditional Moroccan hammam treatments and massages. The entire riad is available for private buyouts as well. Rates start at $300.
15 Makhfia R’cif, Fez Medina, Morocco, palais-de-fes.com
LAFAYETTE HOTEL & CLUB
San Diego, California
San Diego’s hottest hospitality group CH Project (Morning Glory, Iron Fish & Oyster, Born & Raised) just opened its first hotel, completely transforming the historic Lafayette Hotel in the trendy but rather residential North Park neighborhood with a $31 million facelift. The pool is still the highlight, with 139 guest rooms and suites, plus eight new food and beverage outlets. The maximalist design in guest rooms includes brightly colored animal print and tropical patterned fabrics and wallpaper, hand-painted toilets, and the most incredible minibar you’ve ever seen (including an insane bar cart with more than three dozen spirits and all the accoutrements: shaker, muddler, juicer, and recipes) to whip up craft cocktails in your room.
Many of the guestrooms have a patio or balcony overlooking the pool, which is as popular among locals as it is with guests, especially on weekends. There’s a 1940s diner just off the lobby bar with boozy milkshakes, Wagyu French dip sandwiches, and banana bread French toast that’s open 24 hours a day. Oaxacan-inspired Quixote was created from a decommissioned Catholic church shipped from Mexico, with stained-glass windows, Baroque pews, and dark wood paneling paired with mezcal cocktails, ceviche, and whole grilled fish tacos. End the night playing arcade games and bowling at the Gutter, with a drink in one hand and Skee-Ball in the other.
“A hotel is the pinnacle of hospitality, and the most complex canvas on which people can socialize and connect deeply,” says CH Project founder Arsalun Tafazoli. “We hope this new incarnation reflects our mission to honor tradition while making something new and surreal to discover.”
Rates start at $299.
2223 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego, lafayettehotelsd.com