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Fall 2006 | Hotels We Love

Fall 2006 | Hotels We Love

Where We Go For Science-Class Libations
James Hotel

Now that the use of foam, gas, and other chemistry-inspired garnishes has, uh, exploded at upscale restaurants, bartenders too are getting out their beakers. At the new James Hotel in Chicago beverage director (and darling of the molecular mixology movement) Eben Klemm has created a sexy cocktail menu starring the 3-D martini, which combines Ketel One, vermouth, and an olive "lollipop" (a malt sugar and reduced-olive confection that dissolves in the glass); the mojito Diego, which arrives with a mint foam head; and the signature James, a mix of Stolichnaya Razberi, elderflower, and lime that not only arrives with an electric-blue hard-candy-shell swirl in the glass but tastes like the blue-raspberry part of a Bomb Pop. It all adds up to great chemistry, especially between the patrons. 877-526-3755. --Gina Bazer

Where We Go Just Because

Its not because of its Britney Spears suite (a replica of the star's childhood bedroom, designed by her mother). It's not because of the Atomic Fireball, in lieu of a mint, on the pillow. It's not even because of the hangover-busting Big Fat Cheeseburger at the Ruby Room restaurant and lounge. No, while we certainly appreciate the delightful idiosyncrasies and bonus services offered at Onyx, we really love it because its corporate parent, San Francisco–based Kimpton Hotels, is so ambitiously (and unabashedly) pro-gay. Kimpton's InTouch loyalty program provides special attention to gay members. Queer guests can identify themselves and receive special offers, a quarterly newsletter, and access to gay-themed events. The company's annual Red Ribbon Campaign generates funds for local HIV service agencies. This community outreach, combined with a strong commitment to its gay employees, earned Kimpton a 100% score on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index in 2005. Hit me, baby, one more time! (OK, we do love the fact that it has a Britney suite.) 617-557-9955

Where We Go For a Rub
Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort and Spa
The Big Island, Hawaii

Situated on an ancient lava flow at the southern shore of Keauhou Bay on the Kona coast, the Keauhou boasts the newest spa on the island, the Ho'ola Spa. Ho'ola means "healing," and if you don't feel at least somewhat rejuvenated after escaping with your partner to enjoy a couple's massage with your own private show-stopping ocean view, be concerned (and stay another week). Practiced by the ancient kupuna (elders), the traditional Lomi Lomi massage can be a spiritual experience if you get the right masseuse. This Hawaiian method of steady, vigorous kneading to the rhythm of the waves eases your muscle tension while stimulating your circulation. A Lomi Lomi once a week would change the course of life for all people on this planet, and a Lomi Lomi once a week looking at Keauhou Bay would ensure there'd be no going back. 808-930-4900. --Judy Wieder

Where We Go to Stare at the Ceilings
The Hotel
Lucerne, Switzerland

Passion suffuses designer Jean Nouvel's The Hotel in Lucerne. The surfaces--cool steel, smooth leather, polished dark woods-invite touch. Guest rooms are dominated by ceiling murals created from film stills and tinted in warm tones of ocher, flame, and chocolate. Enter room 5100 and gaze above the bed at a moment from Fassbinder's Querelle. The word "negotiation" hangs between a sexy man and waterfront hustler Brad Davis. Dim the spotlights highlighting the image and do some negotiating of your own. 011-41-41-226-8686. --Gerald Bartell

Where We Go to Rough It
Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle
Chiang Rai, Thailand

Guests arrive at the Four Seasons Tented Camp in an exquisitely crafted long-tail boat, floating down the Ruak River in the remote Golden Triangle, where the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Burma meet. The camp's 15 cream-colored canvas tents, inconspicuously perched on stilts amid a lush bamboo jungle, have all the amenities of a five-star hotel: fully stocked minibars, wi-fi, air-conditioning, and hand-beaten copper bathtubs for two. The all-inclusive rate, though certainly not cheap, covers everything from wine and spirits to excursions down the Mekong River and a day of elephant riding taught by a fraternity of extremely friendly and helpful mahouts (elephant handlers). Dressed in cute blue uniforms, the mahouts tend to the camp's six enormous pachyderms. After a jostling elephant safari, followed by afternoon tea, make your way across the suspension bridge that leads to the spa and luxuriate in a traditional Thai healing treatment while you overlook the magnificent San Valley. You'll probably think to yourself, This is hardly camping. 011-66-53-652-189

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