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Hot List: Atlanta, Austin, Puno, Cusco

In this week’s Hot List, Tom Colicchio gets crafty in Atlanta, a soulful, stylish hotel opens its doors in Austin, and two new Peruvian hotels open their doors.

Titilaka, Puno.


Situated at 12,500 ft., on the border of Peru and Bolivia, Lake Titicaca is the cradle of Incan civilization, and home to the new Titilaka hotel. Fly into Juliaca or take the train to Puno, before transferring to this secluded 18-room boutique property on the Chucuito Peninsula. Modern, airy, and bright décor is punctuated with fuchsia hues, the color of the sacred Incan cantu flower. Sweet dream inducing king-sized beds kitted in crisp white linens face floor-to-ceiling windows with spectacular dusk or dawn lake views. Service is polished, yet suitably casual for the tranquil environs. More than a dozen complimentary excursions include a guided visit to Uros floating isles, mountain biking to Inca Anatawi or rowing through the reeds.
Pros: rates are all-inclusive of excursions and meals; complimentary Wi-Fi and transfers to hotel; very civilized daily happy hour in the lobby. Cons: located a good 45-minute drive away from the town center of Puno; no TVs in the rooms. Titilaka Community, at Plateria District, Puno, Peru. 51 1 700-5111. 18 rooms. In-room: safe, refrigerator, no TV, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: 1 restaurant, room service, bar, no elevator, laundry service, concierge, public Wi-Fi, airport shuttle, no-smoking rooms. AE, MC, V. Rooms start at $627 USD.

Hotel Saint Cecilia, Austin.

The Live Music Capital recently welcomed a new boutique hotel that equals its “rock star” status. The Hotel Saint Cecilia exemplifies everything you’d expect in an eclectic, decidedly Austin accommodation, from its Art Deco-style bar right down to the bright neon lights hung prominently above the heated pool that read S-O-U-L. This swank hotel has soul indeed. After all, it is named after the patron saint of music. And though guests may visit Austin to enjoy the sights, every inviting detail of this locale makes it difficult to leave. No two rooms are alike on this expansive downtown property, from the newly built contemporary bungalows to the jazzed-up suites in the historic Victorian building, though each room reflects vintage style blended with vivid color in a whole rock’n’roll-meets turn-of-the-century France package. All have luxurious, all-natural Haastens beds from Sweden, a mini-bar stocked with local cheeses, flatbreads, patés, and fine wines, uniquely refinished antiques, and artwork ranging from rock photography of Keith Richards and Neil Young to old Cuban movie posters. Bathrooms are clean, spacious, and display vibrantly colored tile. Pros: excellent location for those who want to enjoy the downtown scene; exquisite design; the grounds are not open to the general public, creating a very exclusive, quiet environment. Cons: though children are welcome, the environment is for a more mature clientele; exquisite, yet expensive breakfasts. 112 Academy Dr., Travis Heights, 78704. 512/852-2400. 14 rooms. In-room: refrigerator, DVD, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: bar, Wi-Fi, some pets allowed, non-smoking rooms. AE, D, MC, V. Rooms start at $300.

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Inkaterra La Casona, Cusco.

No other property in Cusco offers the prestige and privacy of Inkaterra La Casona. A discreet guard and imposing unmarked door indicate the entrance to the meticulously restored 16th century colonial manor house, quite possibly the first Spanish construction in Cusco. Eleven sumptuous suites surround an elegant open-air courtyard. Seamless service, historic ambiance, and luxurious amenities—including housemade bath products, complimentary mini-bar and Wi-Fi, and individually controlled heated floors—make for an unparalleled boutique hotel experience. Its privileged Plaza de Nazarenas location, tucked between the San Blas neighborhood and the Plaza de Armas, is caddy corner to the Museo de Arte Precolombino (known as MAP). Check into Casona #3, a corner patio suite with period-piece-worthy views of the courtyard. Pros: facilities exclusive to guests; ideal for honeymooners and romantic retreats. Cons: English-speaking skills vary with staff members. Plaza la Nazarenas 167, Second Floor, Cusco, Peru. 51 84 24-5314. 11 suites. In-room: safe, kitchen, refrigerator, DVD, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: 1 restaurant, room service, laundry service, concierge, public Wi-Fi, airport shuttle (fee), no-smoking rooms. AE, MC, V. Rooms start at $720 USD.

Craft Atlanta, Atlanta.

It’s safe to say that the arrival of this sleek, sophisticated spot—owned by “Top Chef” judge Tom Colicchio—signals a real resurgence of the once-white-hot Buckhead. The buzz is almost deafening and the wait for reservations is significant at this comfortable, low-lit, wood-paneled restaurant. Diners clamor for Craft’s specialties: roasted sweetbreads, duck fettuccini in a copper pot, and perfectly tender squares of raw yellowfin tuna. Every dish features a singular, divine flavor. For a slightly more casual meal, try Craftbar downstairs. 3376 Peachtree Rd., Buckhead. 404/995-7580. No lunch. Reservations required AE, D, DC, MC, V. Median entrée price: $37.

Contributors: Emma Fox, Jessica Dupuy, Christine Van Dusen

Photo courtesy of Titilaka Hotel

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