From Mountain to Shore Resorts

Season, by the Shore

With spectacular vistas of the Pacific, Hotel Casa del Mar—a jewel of the Southern California coast—blends a glamorous past as a 1920s beach club with the luxurious look and mood of a Mediterranean resort. Though a sense of classic timelessness pervades the place, the Santa Monica staple is a grand-dame gone modern, with a big dose of contemporary design from Obama White House mastermind Michael Smith, who redesigned the hotel’s lobby with a decidedly elegant brush. The space has a sense of melodrama, with a soaring ceiling and dramatic windows that open up the extraordinary scene beyond for a beautiful embrace of indoor and out. So if looking for a refuge from the stress of the holidays—breaking time to time to partake of indulgences ranging from sumptuous indoor cabanas and an exclusive spa to that oh-so-stunning setting—Hotel Casa del Mar plays up its past and its present as star of the shore.

High Desert Holidays

Opened in 1929, the Arizona Biltmore, a Waldorf Astoria Resort is a desert oasis steeped in pedigree, with the property one of only two existing hotels designed in conjunction with Frank Lloyd Wright (the other half of this collab was Chase McArthur, a draftsman from Wright’s Oak Park studio). One sees Wright’s consultation on the project in several architectural signatures, most notably the building’s iconic “Biltmore Block” façade—a variant on Wright’s textile block motif that he applied to a number of high-profile residential projects in Los Angeles: the John Storer House, Samuel Freeman House, and Ennis House. To experience living in a Wright design, the property’s Cottage offers a mix of historic accommodation, refreshed for a contemporary aesthetic, and is just one result from a $35-million resort-wide renovation. The Aztec Room is another space heavily influenced by Wright. And there’s this gift: Irving Berlin wrote his holiday anthem “White Christmas” right here.

Après Escape

Winter is peak season in Aspen, where snow falls in storybook flurries on the broad, bricked shoulders of Hotel Jerome, an Auberge Resort built in 1889 but reinvented many times since (most dramatically in 2012) to give the Aspen landmark a modern feel while preserving its historic character. This summer Hotel Jerome introduced a host of enhancements helmed by Aspen-based architecture firm Rowland + Broughton, landscape architects Design Workshop, and interior designer TAL Studio. Among these is the conversion of the structure next door: the 1,423-square-foot Aspen Times building, transformed to keep the building’s façade marquee and bulk of its original volume, but fit to operate as another social space. And just behind this building are new three-bedroom residential-style suites with views of Ajax Mountain. All this and just one cocktail at Bad Harriet—the hotel’s new sexy subterranean bar named after one of many strong women in the West—and you’ll be in the holiday spirit.



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