Forget the Big Apple and leave the City of Angels behind; we’re in search of open plains, craggy peaks and desert stars. Here are seven of the best hideaways for an American sojourn with a difference.
Post Ranch Inn, California
For big coastline views, nothing beats Big Sur in California. High above the roiling seas, Post Ranch Inn is renowned for its perfect blend of elegance and serenity amid the redwoods and oaks. Thirty-nine guestrooms offer the region’s finest views of either the mountains or the Pacific Ocean, each one rejuvenating and inspiring. Yoga, stargazing and guided hikes into the surrounding wilderness for active types are rewarded with pampering in the spa and the sumptuous dishes of Sierra Mar and Executive Chef, John Cox.
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There’s something timeless about Amangiri, a grand desert haven dwarfed by ancient rock formations and the vastness of the valley floor. The sleek and austere architecture blends in with the surrounding landscape, with two accommodation wings spreading out from a central pavilion housing 34 suites, each with views to the sunburnt bluffs above. As the age-old home of Navajo and Hopi tribes, there is plenty for guests to discover with the help of archaeologists, geologists and naturalists, whether hiking or on horseback.
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Dunton Hot Springs & River Camp, Colorado
If luxury was defined in plains and forests and brilliant blue skies, then Dunton Hot Springs would undoubtedly top the luxe lists. As it is, this perfectly revived ghost town of 12 cabins in the Colorado Rockies certainly delivers in the indulgence stakes, offsetting the rustic surrounds with heliskiing (Telluride is just a mountain away), dishes made with ingredients sourced from the surrounding fields and relaxing soaks in hot springs.
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Twin Farms, Vermont
For a pastoral idyll in the autumnal hues of New England, look no further than Twin Farms and its 20 unique suites, spanning everything from a mahogany and teak setting in the lodge to a modern glass-faced marvel with bursts of orange, all with a carefully curated art collection. As a Relais & Châteaux property, however, the real highlight is the food, lovingly created with local produce and presented each day without a menu as a tantalising surprise.
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San Ysidro Ranch, California
Our second Californian hideaway is something of an Old Hollywood legend, the place where Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh married at midnight and JFK and Jackie lingered during their honeymoon. San Ysidro Ranch‘s six-hectare garden add riotous colour to this refined hacienda, a setting of romance and whimsy with 41 private cottages and suites that follow the winding creek. Active types will love venturing out along the hiking trails or taking a bike down to the beach, but all can take advantage of the Privileged Pet programme or in-room spa treatments.
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Hidden Pond, Maine
Amid the birch groves and firs of southern Maine, life moves at a leisurely pace while the fire crackles. Hidden Pond’s 20 one-bedroom bungalows and 16 two-bedroom cottages are charming havens with vaulted ceilings and luscious bathrooms, perfect for families or a couple’s escape. If you prefer to do more than relaxing by the pool, feasting on farm-to-table goodness in an open-air setting and succumbing to spa treatments, Hidden Pond’s stand-up paddleboarding, mixology classes and meet-the-gardener sessions are sure to delight.
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Auberge du Soleil, California
You’d be forgiven for mistaking this American wine-country retreat for a Provençal escape; its founder was French-born restaurateur Claude Rouas after all. With vineyard views over the valley and gourmet dinners served on the patio, Auberge du Soleil has been entrancing Napa Valley visitors for over 30 years. The Auberge du Soleil Restaurant offers Michelin-starred cuisine, the spa pampers in-house guests with views as well as treatments, and 52 rooms and suites welcome the valley scenery with light-filled interiors.
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