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Hot List: California Wine Country, San Francisco, Atlanta, Cape Town, Colorado, Cusco

In this week’s Hot List, a celebrated New York City restaurant sets up shop in Atlanta, and a sustainably lavish hotel opens its doors in California Wine Country. Also, new reviews arrive from San Francisco, Peru, Cape Town, and Colorado.

Bardessono, California Wine Country.


Luxury and sustainability coexist at this LEED-certified resort in the heart of the Napa Valley. Eco-pioneer Phil Shelburne created the property to blend into the surrounding six-acre landscape, incorporating recycled stone and salvaged orchard walnut wood all sourced from within 100 miles. Rooms are sleek and modern, with concrete floor tiles and Coyuchi organic linens. What’s more, the spa is green too—the standalone facility is heated and cooled by an underground geothermal system, and therapists use products from In Fiore, a nascent homeopathic skincare company. Service is second-to-none, with personalized adventures for every guest and custom-designed dining room menus by executive chef Sean O’Toole. There’s even an on-site bicycle shop that offers guests complimentary bicycles for the duration of their stay. Pros: eco-friendly programs; neck-twisting vistas; proximity to downtown Yountville. Cons: better food elsewhere in town. 6526 Yount St., Yountville, 94599. 707/204-6000 or 877/932-5333. 62 rooms. In-room: safe, DVD, Internet, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurant, room service, bar, pool, gym, spa, bicycles, laundry service, concierge, parking (fee), no-smoking rooms. AE, MC, V. Rooms start at $550.

Zinnia, San Francisco.

When chef Sean O’Brien left his last post, at the now-closed Myth, his fan club went into mourning. And when Zinnia opened its doors in late 2008 with O’Brien at the stove, his fans filled the tables immediately. They were there for some of his signature dishes—seared sweetbreads, potato gnocchi, his legendary grilled burger on focaccia with crisp Kennebec fries—and for whatever new tricks he had in his modern American cuisine bag. The space, with its brick exterior and hardwood and marble floors, tables and banquettes, and four large multicolored light fixtures, suits O’Brien’s trendy but not studied fare. The bar is a good place to perch and sample an appetizer or two chased with one of the talented bartender’s snazzy cocktails. 500 Jackson St., Financial District, 94115. 415/956-7300. AE, D, MC, V. Closed Sun. and Mon. No lunch. Median entrée price: $23.

Il Mulino, Atlanta.

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Though this New York City transplant—with its perfectly dim lighting, white tablecloths and friendly tuxedo-clad servers—describes its sumptuous Southern Italian cuisine as “simple,” the experience at Il Mulino is anything but. Business types frequent this stylish spot for the delicious, sophisticated fare. Those in the know send away the complimentary bread—accompanied by parmesan cheese, salami, and roasted zucchini—after just one serving, instead leaving room for the fantastic pastas such as porcini mushroom ravioli, and cannelloni bursting at the seams with veal, lamb, beef, and spinach. Other standout dishes include the chicken smothered in mushrooms and a peppery tomato sauce. 191 Peachtree St., Downtown. 404/524-5777. No lunch Sat. & Sun. AE, D, DC, MC, V. Median entrée price: $29.75.

Cape Royale Luxury Hotel and Residence, Cape Town.

A stone’s throw from Cape Town’s 2010 World Cup stadium, the elegant Cape Royale occupies a special niche in more ways than one. The hotel’s old-world façade fronts spacious modern one- to four-bedroom suites with fully equipped kitchens, five-star amenities, and attentive service. Surrounded by great bars and restaurants—including the hotel’s own fabulous 1800° Grill (go no further for the perfect steak)—private facilities may go unused. A private rooftop bar and pool with stupendous 360 degree city-mountain-harbor views, and deliciously luxurious treatments at Equinox spa, will further confirm that (sadly) you are not at home. Pros: fantastic central location; free city shuttle; washing machine in suite; refrigerator stocked on request before arrival. Cons: views from some rooms uninteresting. 47 Main Road, Green Point, Cape Town, 8051. 21/430-0500. 92 suites. In-room: safe, kitchen, refrigerator, DVD, Ethernet, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: 2 restaurants, room service, 1 bar, 1 pool, gym, spa, laundry facilities, laundry service, concierge, public Wi-Fi, airport shuttle (fee), parking (no fee), no-smoking rooms. AE, DC, MC, V. Rooms start at ZAR 3,850 (1-bedroom suite).

The Osprey at Beaver Creek, A RockResort, Colorado.

The former Inn at Beaver Creek, re-named The Osprey, has undergone a much-needed $7.5 million renovation. The boutique hotel features sleek “mountain chic” décor, with warm earth tones and loads of texture (think leather, granite, an onyx bar, and real birch-tree accents). Guests can mingle in the living room-like lounge for the hot breakfast buffet, or congregate around a communal high-top table for cocktails and tapas-style meals in the adjacent bar. Service is top-notch: ski valet, personal concierge and on-demand shuttle service are at your disposal. Pros: steps from ski slopes and Beaver Creek Village; breakfast included in room rate. Cons: small bar and restaurant area; $30 daily per room resort fee for all the perks, such as Wi-Fi, ski valet, and fitness center. 10 Elk Track Lane, Beaver Creek, Colorado, 81620. 970/754-7400. 45 rooms. In-room: safe, refrigerator, DVD, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: 1 restaurant, room service, bar, pool, gym, laundry service, concierge, public Internet, public Wi-Fi, airport shuttle, parking, no-smoking rooms. AE, D, DC, MC, V. Rooms start at $500.

Chi Cha, Cusco.

Peruvian celebrity chef, author, television personality, and godfather of ceviche, Gastón Acurio helped put Cocina Novoandina (or “new Andean cuisine”) on the map. Chi Cha, named for the ancient Andean drink made from fermented corn, is the latest addition to Acurio’s ever-expanding global restaurant empire. Acurio takes typical Peruvian dishes (such as chairo and chicharrones) and incorporates local Cusqueño ingredients (such as pork from the Huarocondo village, Chicón cheese, and bread from Oropesa) to create modern interpretations. A sculptural wire and stone wall with an inset fireplace greets guests before they enter the lively white-walled dining room. The space is unofficially split into two areas: at one end, diners are entertained by an exhibition style kitchen (a new concept in Cusco). At the other, deft bartenders hold court mixing Coca Sours and Ima Sumac cocktails behind a sleek, perfectly backlit bar. Sit near the wood burning oven to watch the culinary action unfold. Calle Plaza Regocijo 261, 2do nivel, Cusco. 994/209404. MC, V. Median entrée price: 34 Peru Nuevos Soles.

Contributors: Emma Fox, Lee Middleton, Sharon Silva, Christine Van Dusen, Matt Villano, Kara Williams

Photo credit: Image courtesy of Bardessono

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