The Westin Riverfront, Resort & Spa, Colorado.
The Rockies’ newest luxury resort aims to be as green as the pine-and-aspen-studded slopes of Vail Valley. Nestled at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain, the 19-acre property makes use of recycled building materials and native plants while offering everything from luxurious all-suite studios to 3-bedroom residences. The express gondola gives guests instant access to the slopes, while an activity concierge arranges other adventures like snowmobiling, kayaking and horseback tours. Award-winning chef Thomas Salumunovich’s Avondale Restaurant features an ingredient-driven organic menu in a stunning setting that pays homage to classic mid-century design. Pros: ski valet with boot-up lobby where you can store your skiing equipment; three oversized hot tubs overlooking the Eagle Creek River; 23,000 square-foot spa and fitness facility. Cons: limited shopping and dining scene within walking distance. 126 Riverfront Ln., Avon, 81620. 970/790–6000. www.westin.com/riverfrontavon. 210 rooms. In-room: kitchen, fireplace, flat-screen TV, Internet,Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurant, room service, laundry service, public Internet, public Wi-Fi, parking, some pets allowed, no-smoking room, 24-hour business center. AE, D, DC, MC, V. Rooms start at $249.
Grims Grenka, Norway.
This stylish hotel, which opened in March 2008, was the only one in Scandinavia to make the top 50 list in Wallpaper* magazine this year. Expect stylish design throughout, with smart lighting, striking colors, clever use of mirrors, and glassed-in bathrooms. The roof-top terrace with a bar and lounge chairs are for guests to enjoy in summer. The onsite Madu restaurant specializes in dim sum and Asian dishes. Pros: modern, Asian-inspired rooms; huge bath tubs and rain showers; superb location. Cons: the emphasis on design sometimes overlooks functionality. Kongensgt. 5, Oslo, 0153. 23–10–72–00. www.grimsgrenka.no. 66 rooms, 42 suites. In room: Internet. In hotel: restaurant. AE, DC, MC, V. Rooms start at: NKr 1,850.
1905, Washington, DC
This spot’s logo features an antique key, which is the perfect symbol for a dining experience so intimate you’ll want to keep it a closely guarded secret. Young chef Jose Sanchez unites the flavors of France, Spain, and Italy for his small but satisfying menu of intelligently-created comfort food. Seared scallops with parsnip purée and haricot verts go down like a buttery kiss, while the ubiquitous bistro burger gets an exotic makeover thanks to red onion marmalade. The dining room’s refurbished Victorian-era fixtures and wallpaper create a romantic buzz that recalls the Moulin Rouge—in fact, canoodling couples like to sip absinthe in the more private window booths. 1905 9th St. N.W., U Street corridor, 20001. 202/332–1905. www.1905dc.com. Reservations essential. AE, MC, V. No lunch. Median entrée price: $18.
Ludacris, a former hometown radio personality turned acclaimed rapper and actor, adds restaurateur to his résumé with his co-ownership of this sleek Singaporean restaurant, in the spot formerly occupied by trendy Spice. The interior hasn’t changed much—it’s still dark, sexy, and chic—but the menu is more inspired. Think lobster pad thai, crisp flatbread with curry dipping sauce, and house specialty Kung Pao chicken lollipops. The space also features the intimate Opium Lounge. 793 Juniper St., NE, Midtown. 404/877–1283. Reservations essential. AE, DC, MC, V. Median entrée price: $25.
Signal Restaurant, Cape Town.
Housed in Cape Town’s gorgeous Cape Grace Hotel, newly opened Signal Restaurant caters to all guests with its accommodating hours and a menu featuring both international and “Cape” cuisine. Reflecting the area’s multiculturalism, Signal’s kitchen blends Malay and Indian influenced Cape cuisine with numerous French, Asian, and English options. Classics like the mouth-watering slow cooked Karoo lamb shoulder and divine passion-fruit gratin flout conventional wisdom regarding cuisine at large hotels. Aged yellowwood furniture, crisp white linens, and handcrafted chandeliers create a warm and understated elegance. Breakfast in the light-filled conservatory is worthwhile, even if you’re not sleeping over. In keeping with Cape Grace standards, service is impeccable. West Quay Road, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town 8001. 021/410–7080. www.capegrace.com. AE, DC, MC, V. Median entrée price: 160 ZAR .
Contributors: Cynthia Barnes, Vanessa Larson, Lee Middleton, Marie Peyre, Elana Schor, Christine Van Dusen