Whether you want to explore a new city or even have a getaway in your own, there are some seriously thrilling addresses to choose from. Check out these hot and happening urban escapes right in the thick of the action in my five favorite North American cities next time you really want to go to town.
Duane Hotel, New York 130 Duane St., New York; 212-964-4600; www.duanestreethotel.com; $300+
Installed amid Tribeca's cobblestone streets, historic warehouse buildings, art galleries, and award-winning restaurants, this upscale, 45-room, six-story hotel opened at the end of 2007. Boasting loft chic, complete with high ceilings, tall windows, hardwood floors, and clean modern d?cor, the sophisticated Duane Street Hotel is an intimate and relaxed address from which to explore Manhattan. Hot high-tech amenities feature in guest rooms, including high-speed and WiFi Internet access, 32-inch plasma TV with premium cable, and a CD player/clock-radio with MP3 hook-up.
Four Seasons, Toronto 21 Avenue Road, Toronto; 416-964-0411; www.fourseasons.com; C$280+
Very much the A-list place to stay, particularly during the huge Toronto International Film Festival, the Four Seasons provides impeccable service to guests of its 357 rooms and 19 suites. Elegant eateries Studio Caf? and Avenue are perfect spots to catch up on a bit of star spotting or to simply indulge in exquisite brunch. It?s the ideal address for shopping Bay and Bloor Streets or for sauntering out to the Royal Ontario Museum or The Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, although it?ll be hard to tear yourself away from the indoor/outdoor heated pool -- open year round and a spectacular place to swim in the snow.
Alexis Hotel, Seattle 1007 First Ave., Seattle; 206-624-4844; www.alexishotel.com; $249+
My top Seattle choice, the distinctive 121-room Alexis is situated in a restored, historic 1901 apartment building. The stylish downtown address finished a $10 million renovation in October 2007. Check into a suite with a wood-burning fireplace or one of the cool arts-themed suites at the eco-conscious hotel. The Alexis is well ahead of the competition when it comes to eco-friendly practices. Rooms feature recycling bins, rooms are cleaned with non-toxic cleaning products, and if you?re driving a hybrid vehicle, you get free parking! The pet-friendly property offers a "Doggie In-Room Dining Service Menu" and pet massages, while the hotel?s Etherea Spa spoils human guests. The art-filled hotel features an art walk with works curated by staff from the Seattle Art Museum (SAM). Pike Place Market is five blocks away, island ferries and the waterfront are both two minutes? walk, and SAM is within ambling distance.
FireSky, Scottsdale 4925 N. Scottsdale Road; 480-945-7666; www.fireskyresort.com; $199+
The desert is the perfect place to escape Fall chills and Scottsdale is one of the hottest spots amid the cactus. With 325 days of sunshine annually, and a thrilling array of sizzling hot restaurants nearby, the funky, yet luxurious and intimate FireSky is the perfect location for an escape from the cold. Formerly the Caleo, this Kimpton Hotels? resort offers all the whimsical decorative touches and top-notch service that we have grown to expect and love from this incredibly LGBT-friendly chain, as well as an enticing indoor-outdoor bar, the tasty Taggia restaurant, and the tempting Jurlique Spa. Generous rooms have luxe L?Occitaine amenities and double doors that open onto spacious balconies overlooking the pools and lush courtyards. The pet-friendly Firesky plays with the elements and surrounds the pools and hot tubs with blazing fire columns and cozy fire pits, perfect for toasting S?Mores with one of the handy kits available from the front desk.
The Huntington Hotel & Nob Hill Spa, San Francisco 1075 California St., San Francisco; 415-345-2888; www.huntingtonhotel.com; $365+
The elegant, understated Huntington offers rooms with fabulous Fogtown views. Perched high on Nob Hill, the luxurious, family-owned property wins accolades for its impeccable service, its award-winning Big 4 restaurant, and the decadent Nob Hill Spa. The distinguished address, which is conveniently situated for discovering the city by cable car, regularly adorns both Conde Nast Traveler and Travel and Leisure?s annual hotel awards lists.