Resorts edge out city hotels in Canada, where the fairmont Lake Louise, Whistler, and Banff Springs remain perennial favorites for winter skiing and summer golf. But the acclaimed Four Seasons Hotel Toronto ups its urban appeal with a new hotel opening this summer featuring a two-story spa, a restaurant and bar from chef Daniel Boulud, and a new location in trendy Yorkville.
Top 5 Canada
1. The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
(866) 540-4413, fairmont.com/lakelouise
2. The Fairmont Chateau Whistler
(800) 606-8244, fairmont.com/whistler
3. Four Seasons Hotel Toronto
(800) 819-5053, fourseasons.com/toronto
4. Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver
(800) 819-5053, fourseasons.com/vancouver
5. The Fairmont Banff Springs
(800) 257-7544, fairmont.com/banffsprings
Top 10 Mexico/ Central America/ South America
1. JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa
(888) 813-2776, jwmarriottcancunresort.com
2. Alvear Palace Hotel, Buenos Aires
3. The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun
(800) 241-3333, ritzcarlton.com/cancun
4. Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires
(800) 819-5053, www.fourseasons.com/buenosaires
5. One&Only Palmilla, Los Cabos
(877) 472-5645, oneandonlypalmilla.com
6. Copacabana Palace, Rio de Janeiro
(800) 237-1236, copacabanapalace.com.br
7. CasaMagna Marriott Cancun Resort (tie)
(800) 228-9290, casamagnacancun.com
7. Las Ventanas al Paraíso, A Rosewood Resort, Los Cabos (tie)
(888) 767-3966, lasventanas.com
9. Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, Peru
(866) 242-2889, inkaterra.com
10. Las Brisas Acapulco (tie)
(800) 223-6800, brisas.com.mx
10. The Ritz-Carlton, Santiago, Chile (tie)
(800) 542-8680, ritzcarlton.com/santiago
For the Latin American favorite, the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa, sense of place is equal parts climate and culture, the focuses, respectively, of two new initiatives: the palapa-covered Beach Bar, which serves ceviche and fish sandwiches, along with margaritas, and Mayan-inspired spa treatments including a healing massage and ground-corn exfoliation. Down the beach, The Ritz-Carlton Cancun newly offers chef-led market tours, followed by a Yucatan cooking lesson in the culinary center.
Culinary changes at several Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, including the Four Seasons Punta Mita, which just opened a Latin coastal grill from chef Richard Sandoval, feature restaurants that are more casual than in the past, with a flair for local flavors.
“We need to make sure it’s not just hotel guests, but that we attract local audiences,” explained the Four Seasons’marketing chief Susan Helstab.
Linking guests with the best in the business, be it in the culinary area or on the fairways, is another trend driving high-end hotels. In Los Cabos, One&Only Palmilla recently unveiled its PGA Tour Academy, featuring private, group, or family lessons.
Learning programs, boosted by the cachet of marquee partners, again pushed Atlantis in the Bahamas to the top tropical spot. Its upcoming fantasy summer camps include cartooning with Cartoon Network animators, building with Lego experts, and caring for marine mammals with staff scientists.
Runner-up the ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman maximizes guest time on Seven Mile Beach with paddleboards, kayaks, and the “coconut phone,” an iPod touch that guests can use to reserve spa appointments, tee times, and dining reservations or order lunch. The hotel aims to please high-touch and high-tech travelers, said the Ritz’s Mark Ferland. “Some want a person. Some guests are more tech-savvy and want to play with gadgets.”