The Joule

Where better to escape the cold than in a luxury penthouse? Warm up to one of these spacious suites this winter.

Presidential suite. Penthouse. Villa. Pick your preferred term -- all are synonymous with superb service and luxury. And the latest crop of high-end hotel suites is swiftly outmoding earlier incarnations. The desire for privacy has resulted in dedicated elevators, in-suite gyms, and, of course, private swimming pools. And space expansions not only accommodate family and support staff but allow you to spread out -- or move in -- as never before.

STATS: 2,500-square-foot, 2-bedroom, 2.5-bath penthouse with living room, dining room, kitchen, and library (books included)
LOOK: Luxe fabulous. A playful sensibility reflected in purple sofas, zebra-print ottomans, and decorative oversized chess pieces meets serious luxury by way of private elevator, Italian mosaic-tiled floors, and 300-thread-count linens.
PROFILE: Not many hotels would install a pool on the rooftop and cantilever it over the edge of the building. Especially a revitalized Neo-Gothic landmark. But The Joule has layered the good, old bones of the former Dallas National Bank Building with a contemporary sensibility, from its modern art collection to its swanky penthouse. The latter is designed for entertaining, with a kitchen including Sub-Zero appliances and a fully stocked bar, a dining table for eight, and a pool table, as well as the requisite entertainment options including iPod docks and large-screen TVs. In private, the window-wrapped master bedroom offers 180-degree panoramic skyline views (and a telescope with which to spy) interrupted only by a free-standing fireplace. Glass walls frame the bathroom as well, but automated screens provide privacy in the double-headed shower and deep soaking tub.
DETAILS: From $5,000,
Banyan Tree Mayakoba

BANYAN TREE MAYAKOBA, Riviera Maya, Mexico
STATS: 5,511-square-foot villa with 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, kitchenette, and living room with daybed and dining area
LOOK: East-meets-West. Lavish use of wood and stone reflects an Asian affection for organic materials. Mexican references in palette, furnishings, and woven fabrics.
PROFILE: For its first North American property, Asian hotelier Banyan Tree chose the tony Mayakoba development just 40 miles south of the Cancun airport. Much of the resort lies behind the beach, sheltered among the lush mangroves. But its best-of-the-bunch suite, the three-bedroom beachfront villa, encompasses generous indoor and outdoor living areas as well as a private pool, a Jacuzzi, and out-your-door beach access. An open-air shower and bathtub, along with the indoor varieties, adjoins the master bedroom. The small kitchen is equipped with essentials rather than what’s needed for full-scale cooking. A porch hammock, palapas on the beach, and steady sea breezes never let you forget the Mexican Caribbean locale.
DETAILS: From $5,855,
The Dolder Grand
The Dolder Grand/AG-Peter Hebeisen

THE DOLDER GRAND, Zurich, Switzerland
STATS: 4,300-square-foot suite with 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, dining room, living room, and kitchen
LOOK: Manly Alpine club courtesy of rich leathers, woods, and original beams, along with snowcapped views beyond.
PROFILE: Closed for four years for a $400 million renovation by British architect Sir Norman Foster, the 1899-vintage Dolder Grand significantly modernized (think geothermal heating) while padding its reputation for pampering (spa guru Sylvia Sepielli designed the lavish new spa). Of its four individually designed Top Suites, the Maestro, inspired by influential Austrian conductor Herbert von Karajan, reigns, featuring a circular living room and dining room tucked into a century-plus-old tower, an antique grand piano, a kitchen clad in marble, and a fully stocked library. Each of the two bedroom-adjoining bathrooms features a whirlpool, a steam shower, and a sauna. A balcony off the living room and a spacious terrace off one of the bedrooms both take in Lake Zurich, the city, and the surrounding mountains.
DETAILS: $13,521,