Hot List: Washington, D.C., Istanbul, Mexico, Arizona, Atlanta, Cape Town

In this week’s Hot List, find out which new Atlanta hotel provides guests with their own personal butler service, and where you can dine on British pub grub in D.C. Also, Cape Town’s Ellerman House is elegantly updated, and the U.S. gets its first InterContinental Resort.

InterContinental Montelucia Resort & Spa, Arizona.


InterContinental’s first U.S. resort—just a few minutes from the Phoenix airport and Scottsdale nightlife—mimics rustic Spain, right down to a replica Alhambra walkway from Granada. Ornate, colorful décor at the 31,000-square-foot Joya Spa embraces Moroccan style, with a signature scent derived from blooming on-site cactus used in many of the treatments. There are plenty of areas to lounge around the Kasbah and Oasis pools or to play bocce ball on the lawn. Spacious rooms feature sunken tubs, large balconies, feather beds, and hand-made Moroccan light fixtures. Prado’s cuisine is partly influenced by Spanish gastronomy and many items are grilled over a wood fire, while Mbar offers about a hundred tequilas. Pros: resort-arranged hikes up Camelback Mountain and excellent star-gazing at night. Cons: fee to rent cabanas. 4949 E. Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley, 85253. 480/627-3200. 252 rooms. In-room: Wi-Fi, mini bar, DVD (fee), safe. In-hotel: airport shuttle (fee), 5 restaurants, room service, bar, pool, gym, spa, laundry service, concierge, room service, some pets allowed. AE, D, MC, DC, V. Rooms start at: $395

Park Hyatt Istanbul – Macka Palas, Istanbul.

This stylish new hotel is housed in a restored Italian-style Art Deco 1922 apartment building, located in the city’s high-end shopping district. The sophisticated yet inviting lobby has a chic bar with a wine cellar showcasing hundreds of select French and Turkish wines. Spacious rooms are decked out in sleek walnut with modern amenities, alongside old-fashioned touches like period chandeliers, tarnished mirrors, and black-and-white photographs of Istanbul. Bathrooms feature brown woods, green tiles, rain showers, free-standing tubs, and heated stone floors. The 25 “spa rooms” also have steam rooms and Turkish baths. Pros: luxury hotel with ambiance of a boutique hotel; large rooms; located in trendy shopping and nightlife area. Cons: spa rooms are somewhat overwhelmed by their bathrooms; complicated lighting system in rooms. Bronz Sok. 4, Tesvikiye, 34367, Istanbul. 212/3151234 (ph). 80 rooms, 10 suites. In-room: safe, minibar, DVD, Wi-Fi (fee). In-hotel: restaurant, room service, 2 bars, pool, gym, spa, laundry service, concierge, public Wi-Fi (fee), airport shuttle (fee), parking (fee), no-smoking rooms. AE, DC, MC, V. Rooms start at €350.

Hacienda Tres Rios, Mexico.

Recognized by the Mexican government as a “regional and national model for sustainable tourism development,” Hacienda Tres Rios sits on 326 lush acres of land featuring ten cenotes (fresh water springs), mangroves, three rivers, and more than 90 animal and 120 plant species. Décor, cuisine, and activities meld Mexican and Mayan cultures—from Mexican marble, mahogany and amber in the spacious oceanfront suites, to Mayan cooking classes, to a Temazcal experience (an ancient sweathouse ritual). Typical of Mayan culture, service is friendly and thorough. Neighboring destinations include Cancún, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum. Pros: Tres Rios Nature Park use exclusive to hotel guests; private jet and yacht rentals; day-camp programs for children; wide variety of complimentary activities. Cons: Ya’ax Ché Spa won’t be completed until April 2009; food and beverage prices are very expensive for non-inclusive plan guests. Carretera Cancun-Tulum KM 54, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico 77760. 984/877-2400. 273 suites. In-room: safe, refrigerator, Wi-Fi, DVD. In-hotel: 7 restaurants, room service, bars, pools, spa, gym, beachfront, children’s programs (ages 5-12), laundry service (fee), concierge, public Wi-Fi, airport shuttle (fee), no-smoking, water sports, bicycles. AE, D, DC, MC, V. Rooms start at: $504 USD.

The Mansion on Peachtree, Atlanta.

It’s almost possible to forget you’re in the middle of bustling Buckhead when you sit down with a book or a cocktail in the English garden at this new hotel and residences. The floral oasis, with benches and a shallow reflecting pool, is just one of the many luxuries available here. Set back from the busy street, the 42-story tower features a sophisticated spa, a full-sized fitness center, and cozy seating areas decked out in soothing cream and brown tones. The expansive rooms feature several flat-screen televisions (including one that hides behind a painting and another in the bathroom), a large soaking tub and personal butler service. In-house eatery NEO is quiet and boasts impeccable service, but foodies are more excited about Craft Atlanta, the latest venture from Top Chef judge and famed restaurateur Tom Colicchio. Pros: apartment-style living; delicious, fresh juices for breakfast at NEO; personalized service; relaxing spa. Cons: Fee for parking. 3376 Peachtree Rd., Buckhead, 30326.  404/995-7500. 96 rooms, 31 suites, 45 residences.  In-room: Internet, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurant, bar, gym, parking (fee). AE, D, DC, MC, V. Rooms start at: $325.

Ellerman House, Cape Town.

Undoubtedly Cape Town’s finest, centrally-located hotel, stately Ellerman House was recently redecorated to magnificent effect. Highlighting the hotel’s stupendous sea views over Bantry Bay, the new décor employs fresh colors of aqua, mint, and taupe. Varied textures (jute, leather, and satin) are combined with Edwardian architecture and rare artwork to create an atmosphere of luxurious contemporary elegance. The mansion’s pampered hominess comes together in elements like the complimentary stocked pantry for midnight (or daytime) snacks, a fine library, a world-class art collection, and an award-winning chef who will prepare whatever you fancy, on the menu or not. Pros: made-to-order breakfasts on patio overlooking the sea; complimentary shuttles; 12,000-bottle wine cellar and complimentary house wines; exclusivity; gorgeous spa and gardens. Cons: Wi-Fi does not reach all rooms. 180 Kloof Rd., Bantry Bay, Cape Town, 8005. 021/430-3200. 11 rooms. In-room: safe, refrigerator, DVD, Wi-Fi (some). In-hotel: 1 restaurant, room service, bar, pool, gym, spa, no elevator, laundry service, concierge, public Wi-Fi, airport shuttle, parking, no kids under 14, no-smoking rooms. AE, DC, MC, V. Rooms start at: 8,900 ZAR.

CommonWealth, Washington, D.C.

Many were skeptical when local super-chef Jamie Leeds, the creator of Hank’s Oyster Bar, said her next project would be to master the art of British pub food. But she was true to her word, and turned her skeptics into believers with the opening of CommonWealth. A gastropub featuring cuisine that was never known for its taste, Leeds does a fine job in reworking head-scratching dishes such as “frog in a puff” (lamb sausage wrapped in puff pastry) and “Scotch eggs” (hard-boiled eggs coated with ground beef and then deep-fried) into savory delights. The beer menu includes a rotating cast of cask-conditioned brews, which tend to be less carbonated than kegged drinks. 1400 Irving St., N.W., U Street Corridor, 20010. 202/265-1400. Closed Mon. AE, MC, V. Median entrée price: $17.

Contributors: Emma Fox, Kristine Hansen, Vanessa Larson, Lee Middleton, Elana Schor, Christine Van Dusen