Recapping some of our best hotel stays each year is always an enjoyable experience reliving the memories, adventures, and meals of the past year. Here are some of our hotel favorites from 2014 that we hope will help you in planning your upcoming getaways.
Michael: From the moment we stepped onto the property at Charleston’s Zero George, I felt right at home with it’s classic Southern charm, style, and understated elegance. I’d be hard pressed to stay anywhere else in a town I can’t wait to return to.
Meredith: The Marlton’s rooms, restaurant, and branding are all packed with a quirky personality that perfectly balances style and expression. I loved every moment of my stay there this year.
Michael: The nod to Scotland’s own Sean Connery at The Balmoral in Edinburgh was a nice touch to an already classically cool bathroom.
Meredith: These days it seems as though my dreams are made of the marble sinks and brass Waterworks fixtures from The Marlton.
Michael & Meredith: We loved everything about our time with Orvis at Topnotch – the dog-friendly green spaces, the access to trails, and the welcome package for Orvis – but getting to eat outside with him at each meal at the resort was easily the highlight of our entire stay.
Michael: North Haven, home to the Nebo Lodge, is a picturesque and quintessential as a Maine island can get. Miles off the coast, exploring the island’s trails, village, and farms was an excellent way to spend a weekend getaway.
Meredith: Drinks atop the The Surrey in the hotel’s private garden is one of the very best views of Manhattan I’ve experienced thus far.
Michael: Eating pancakes and eggs on the patio by the pool with Orvis by our side at Topnotch Resort is just about the only way to unseat Hotel Fauchere from its breakfast throne.
Meredith: No other hotel breakfast has earned its own post on Map & Menu, or been the reason for a road trip detour. The breakfast at Hotel Fauchere is once again my favorite.
Michael & Meredith: The restaurant at Nebo Lodge is what brought us out to the island of North Haven in the first place, and after enjoying two fantastic dinners and two breakfasts there, it’s safe to say that the food was well worth the trip.
Michael: A slightly unusual, but amazing amenity of Atlanta’s Stonehurst Place is its museum-quality art selection with works by names like Warhol, Picasso, and many others.
Meredith: The spa at the Woodstock Inn is right at the top of my list of reasons I want to return to this charming Vermont inn. I didn’t have time for a treatment, but a mere $25 gave me access to the beautiful facilities – an amazing value!
Interaction with Hotel Staff:
Michael: Maybe it was due to the fact that Orvis was their very first canine guest, but every member of the staff at the Woodstock Inn seemed to know us by name and be excited about Orvis. Everyone who knows us knows that the fastest way to our hearts is through our buddy.
Meredith: Inez, a co-owner of Table on Ten, made my trip to New York an absolute delight. She seemed to be involved in each and every part of the inn and restaurant’s operations – welcoming, cooking, etc – and her hard work and creative attention to detail was evident throughout my stay.
Overall Hotel Experience
Michael: I couldn’t have imagined a better way to kick off our Scotland getaway than by staying at Greystones in Oban. A modernly-renovated baronial home overlooking the bay, the boutique bed & breakfast was wonderfully comfortable, a short stroll into town, and served an outstanding breakfast on each of our mornings.
Meredith: Between the amazing meals, the lovely chats with Liz the manager, and the Angela Adams-clad modern cottage aesthetic of Nebo Lodge, it was easily one of the most enjoyable trips of my year. And the fact that the pups were able to join us on our adventures around North Haven made it even more memorable.
All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.Leave a comment
We hit a Map & Menu milestone last week when we checked into the Woodstock Inn & Resort… our very own Orvis was the first – the very first – four-legged guest to ever stay at the inn! This of course, made us the happiest people in all of Vermont. He was treated with such fanfare every time we walked through the doors. The entire staff must have been briefed about this VIP guest, because everyone we met greeted him by name and called to him from afar. He was asked to pose by the fireplace for a photo, given treats, and received lots of love from other guests who somehow also knew that he was the first dog to stay at the inn. It was as though we were with a celebrity, and naturally, we loved every minute of it.
Beyond all of the red carpet treatment for Orvis, Michael and I absolutely adored everything about our stay at the Woodstock Inn. Located right in the heart of one of the more charming towns we’ve ever visited, the inn is a focal point of Woodstock, and just steps away from the beautiful trails and carriage paths of a national park, and the shops, galleries, and restaurants of Woodstock’s two main streets. Waking up with a deliciously hearty breakfast from the inn and falling asleep on the wonderfully comfy bed became book-end highlights to a fantastic Vermont getaway.
The inn’s stunning LEED-designed spa should not be missed. Knowing I wouldn’t have enough time for an entire treatment before we had to checkout on our final day, I opted to purchase a day pass that gave me access to all of the luxurious spa facilities, including the steam room, sauna, and whirlpool. Checking out of a hotel has never been so depressing! Waiting until the final day of our trip to visit the spa was certainly a mistake on my part, but you can bet that the spa will be one of the first activities I enjoy the next time we’re back in Woodstock.
Staying at an inn as well-appointed as the Woodstock Inn & Resort is always a treat, but the fact that Orvis can join along in the fun makes the entire experience even more memorable. We’re already looking forward to our next family trip there!
All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.8 Comments - Leave a comment
There are no shortage of coastal Maine islands from which to choose for your next getaway. Close, remote, big, or small, there’s probably one to fit your needs, but until our most recent trip to Nebo Lodge on North Haven, we weren’t quite sure that we’d found that one to fit our own “quiet island, comfortable and stylish accommodations, delicious food, and dog-friendly” requirements.
The island of North Haven is 13 miles off the mainland, and an hour’s ferry ride from Rockland, making it one of the more remote islands we’ve visited in Maine. We’ve been wanting to visit Nebo Lodge ever since reading about it in Bon Appétit when it was listed as one of “The Best Food Lover’s Hotels in America,” and this month, we finally had the opportunity to plan a mid-week visit with Meredith’s mother and her dog, Mason.
Although the inn is plenty old (the building was the original inn on the island – a print in our room showed it in the later part of the 19th century), it’s styled in a clean, modern cottage aesthetic, with Angela Adams accents (a North Haven native, herself) and carefully selected art throughout to balance with its age. It sits just up the hill from ‘downtown’ North Haven (more about that in a future post!), and from the moment we walked through the door, we felt right at home. There are bicycles to borrow to explore the island, plenty of options for walking, and large front and back porches (and a second floor deck) to enjoy a morning coffee, a midday book, or an afternoon drink. Each room presents an opportunity to notice new details, and art like the full-wall mural in the dining room (painted by David Wilson) are impressive touches that make for a beautiful stay.
The food is something at the inn that just can’t be overlooked. We ate at the inn’s restaurant both nights it was open during our stay, and enjoyed wonderfully prepared meals across the board. With locally-sourced ingredients and a variety of different choices, we ate to our hearts’ content on the first evening, and then scaled way back the second – but both nights couldn’t be happier with the quality, flavor, and atmosphere of our meals. The food alone is a reason to visit the inn, but I don’t know how you could make the trip and not want to stay a while.
All in all, we’d highly recommend the Nebo Lodge for anyone looking for a Maine island vacation. For us, it was the perfect mix of comfort and style, peace and relaxation, and some very very tasty eats.
All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.6 Comments - Leave a comment
A guaranteed route to the top of Map & Menu’s favorite hotel list is one that includes the following: a well-executed sense of design and comfort, a friendly and helpful staff, delicious food, and the willingness to embrace our furry buddy, Orvis. Stowe’s Topnotch Resort checked off every one of those items, with extra emphasis on the dog-friendly point, and after three wonderfully relaxing days spent there, I find myself anxiously anticipating a return trip in the future.
If you’ve heard us mention it once, you’ve heard us mention it one thousand times – traveling with Orvis can present its fair share of difficulties. Finding hotels that we’re drawn to aesthetically, that simply accommodate dogs of any size is difficult enough, but finding one that goes out of their way to be overly dog-friendly to our large-ish travel companion, and does so without ushering us around to the back door of a forgotten side of the hotel, is almost an impossibility. It’s the reason that places like Hotel Fauchere, the Porches Inn, the Inn at Perry Cabin, and Palmetto Bluff hold such special places in our traveling hearts. Topnotch easily deserves its own spot on that list. When we arrived, Orvis was greeted with open arms and more than his fair share of treats. Each of the resort’s restaurants had outdoor seating where dogs were welcome, and with the exception of the pool area, the entire property seemed to be open to its guests and their pets. Not that Orvis needs any more of an ego boost, but at one point, a young guest walked by with her mother and proclaimed “That dog is horrendously cute!”
I don’t know that in all of our travels, Meredith and I have ever been quite as comfortable with Orvis as we were at Topnotch. That, combined with the comfort and style of the resort made for a pretty unforgettable stay that could easily become a recurring part of our annual Vermont getaway.
All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.1 Comment - Leave a comment
Photographing a wedding in the Upper East Side turned out to be the perfect excuse to finally stay at the only Relais & Chateaux hotel in Manhattan, The Surrey. The hotel’s stunning rooftop garden is reason enough to put The Surrey high on your list of places to stay during your next trip to New York, but as it turns out, the rooms themselves warrant a visit. Expecting a typical (almost uncomfortable) tiny New York hotel room, I was shocked with how spacious and luxurious my 330+ square foot “salon” felt. Retreating back to my room at The Surrey each night after shooting was such a treat – even though I was in the city for work, whenever I happened to be in my room, I felt 100% on vacation.
While I didn’t have as much time to lounge around and enjoy the 17th story rooftop garden as much as I would have liked to, enjoying a glass of rosé and a plate of bruschetta from the hotel’s restaurant, Cafe Boulud, was the perfect way to spend a summer evening in the city. (Really, I’m not sure I’d ever want to visit Manhattan in the summer months without staying at The Surrey and taking advantage of that gorgeous rooftop.)
In the most leisurely of ways, I took full advantage of my final morning at The Surrey by feasting on a stack of delicious pancakes delivered to my door, while reading the Sunday paper. I really don’t think I could have imagined a more relaxing way to decompress on a work weekend in New York.
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As luck would have it, the very first place we stayed for our week in Scotland together turned out to be the favorite of our Scottish accommodations. It also just so happened to be the bed & breakfast we knew the least about before our trip – what a delightful surprise!
Greystones, a boutique b&b on the Argyll coast in Oban was our first stop after Michael picked me up at the Edinburgh airport. We happened upon the Greystones website online when we were searching (and searching!) for a place to stay in between Edinburgh and Skye, and since it seemed like a decent fit, we booked their last room quickly as they were filling up left and right.
Consisting of five contemporary rooms inside a beautiful historic Scottish Baronial house overlooking the pristine Oban Bay and just a short walk to the water, Greystones perfectly blends the old and new. We simply adored our bright, spacious room (with its massively tall ceilings!), and couldn’t get over the views from the breakfast nook, where we enjoyed an exceptional meal each morning of our stay. Owners, Mark & Suzanne, were wonderful innkeepers and we so appreciated their calming, minimal aesthetic.
When the time came for us to head up the coast to Skye, we were terribly sad to leave Greystones. We found solace, however, in the fact that we could at least share this gem of a bed & breakfast with you all here, as we truly believe everyone traveling to the western coast of Scotland should make it a point to stay here.
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I remember bookmarking the chic Greenwich Village hotel, The Marlton, the minute I finished reading about it on The Pursuit of Style this winter, and when spring rolled around and my mother asked me to accompany her on a work trip to New York, I told her that we needn’t look any further than The Marlton. Since then the hotel has been featured on Condé Nast Traveler’s Hot List (along with a few other Map & Menu favorites – most notably, the Salt House Inn) and seems to be the place to stay in the Village. For that matter, it might just be the place to be for locals as well, thanks to Margaux, the hotel’s chic restaurant.
Michael appreciates a thoughtfully designed hotel room as much as I do (and goodness knows he loves a luxurious bathroom), but it was fitting that I had the chance to experience this chic hotel with my mother, the woman (mostly) responsible for the love and appreciation I have for beautiful hotels & inns. We couldn’t get enough of the marble bathroom (and its giant soaking tub!), the brass fixtures, the herringbone floors, or the crown moldings – you can imagine how pleased I was to be able to photograph such a lovely space.
On our way out the door after checking out the morning of our departure, my mother proclaimed that she’ll never stay in another New York hotel again – The Marlton is the only place for her. I have to say, I think she just might be onto something. After all, mothers really do know best, don’t they?
All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.4 Comments - Leave a comment
After reading about Table on Ten, a three room inn & restaurant in Bloomville, New York, on Designtripper last year, I mentally bookmarked it and hoped I’d have an excuse to stay and/or eat at what appeared to be a charming Catskills getaway at some point in the near future. A wedding in Cooperstown this past weekend, just an hour north of Bloomville, seemed like the perfect excuse and a pretty great way to break up at least one leg of my trip to New York.
Five hours after departing Maine, I arrived to a bustling scene – every table in the downstairs cafe was filled for Table on Ten’s Pizza Night. I quickly checked into my room and made my way back downstairs to join the crowd for some delicious pizza. The evening’s special, a fennel and spring vegetable pizza with eggs on top and a glass of wine was precisely what I needed after my drive. The food more than lived up to what I’d been looking forward to for about a year now, and from what I heard from the other patrons in the lively cafe (the line was nearly out the door when I retired to my room for the evening), they were just as pleased with their pizzas.
I loved the simple, rustic aesthetic of the entire property, especially the room where I stayed. The dark walls and contrasting accents were a dream to photograph, simply because they’re so different from many of the places we visit. Each of the three rooms at Table on Ten feature a handmade bed that deservedly end up being the room’s focal point. I was a little hesitant about the idea of sharing a bathroom with the other suite on the second floor, but as luck would have it, I was the only guest on that floor, so there was no need to share. Even if the other suite had been occupied, I think it only would have further reinforced the feeling I had throughout my entire stay – that I was a guest in the well designed home of a friend who just so happened to be a talented chef! (In case you’re wondering, the third floor attic has its own bathroom, complete with an en-suite clawfoot tub.) The following morning I enjoyed a delicious breakfast that put me in the perfect mindset for a day of shooting – a final touch to a great stay.
If you find yourself in the Northwestern Catskills or if you just have a hankering to explore the bucolic region of Delaware County, do look into planning a stay or a meal at Table on Ten – it’s a uniquely lovely experience that shouldn’t be missed!
All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.2 Comments - Leave a comment
Meredith and I often get emails and comments from Map & Menu readers asking for help in planning their own Portland adventures. While we love that people are finding and using the site for the exact reason we created it – to be a tried and true travel resource – we’ve only had a few first-hand accommodation experiences in our hometown of Portland – all from before we moved to Maine, and long before Map & Menu. Thus, when we saw one of our favorite branding agencies in town share some of the recent work they’d done for a new Portland inn, we quickly searched for more information and reached out to its owners to setup a visit.
The Mercury Inn has many of the things that typically draw us to the places we stay on our travels – creative taste, a clean aesthetic, cozy accommodations, and great branding. During our tour of the property, we had the chance to speak to the co-owners, Tim and Jake, about their experience in running, then renovating the previous inn at the State Street location, and their passion for the food and service industries that led them toward owning a bed and breakfast. After managing what was formerly the Wild Iris Inn for part of the season prior to re-opening as the Mercury Inn, Tim and Jake began to renovate according to the experiences they had gleaned from patrons, the property, and the sustainable vision they had brought with them. The design of the interior came from Tim’s sister’s firm, Landing Design & Development and has a clean, contemporary feel that meshes perfectly with the branding done by Might & Main. Details like the custom Sea Bags pillows, roman numeral door lettering, and large-printed shower curtains add fun accents and give the space plenty of its own personality. On top of being within walking distance to some of our favorite restaurants in Portland’s West End and on Congress Street, Tim and Jake use their culinary experience to provide homemade breakfasts to visitors, which we’re looking forward to trying at some future date.
We’re thrilled to add the aptly-named Mercury Inn (Mercury was the Roman patron god of travelers) to our list of places to stay in Portland. We’re sure that given it’s design and comfort it’ll be the perfect fit for many Map & Menu readers in the future.
Photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.Leave a comment
Every now and again on our travels, Michael and I feel like we’ve truly stumbled upon a place to stay that simply seems to be doing everything just right. Every detail and design element seems to be carefully thought of, and our trip always ends with mixed feelings of happiness from the comfort of our stay and sadness that it must come to an end. Last week, Michael and I had the opportunity to visit one of these ‘finds’ – Stonehurst Place in Atlanta’s Midtown neighborhood – and though our stay was short, we left feeling as though we’d discovered a true southern gem of a bed & breakfast, one that we just couldn’t wait to share with y’all!
There’s a surprising amount to cover when describing this six-room 19th century craftsman. Owner Barb Shadomy has done an unbelievable job restoring the home to its original charm, while still providing any and all of the modern comforts one could want. Everywhere one looks, they’ll find a balanced blend of that historical framework, finished with modern accents. The main floor plan is essentially as it was more than 100 years ago, while the furnishings and art enhance the aesthetic in a more contemporary fashion. We took our time browsing the inn’s impressive art collection, an extensive, non-exaggerative “museum-quality” body of work curated by the owner that includes pieces by Andy Warhol & Pablo Picasso, among many others. Our room, the Gables Suite, was open, spacious, and filled with natural light. Details like the lettered room name on the door, the fresh cut wildflowers, large classic wooden desk, and the comfortable leather lounge chair only added to our delight, and it honestly seemed as though the art in our room was made for the two of us.
Innkeepers, Lori & Paul Worrell, were just another wonderful part of our stay at Stonehurst Place. Their warmth & southern hospitality is evident in many aspects of the inn, from the delicious breakfast the couple prepares each morning to the conversations they shared with us and the other guests during our visit. We particularly enjoyed hearing Paul speak of the green initiatives at Stonehurst Place, including the modern rainwater harvesting system which now produces purified drinkable and usable water – the first of its kind for hotel properties in Atlanta.
I honestly cannot imagine us planning a return trip to Atlanta that doesn’t include a stay at the Stonehurst Place. With its close proximity to Piedmont Park and some of Midtown’s best restaurants, the location is surely hard to beat. Although a trip in the height of spring would allow us to enjoy the beautifully landscaped property and spend more time exploring the darling neighborhoods nearby, it’s hard to imagine a time of year that a stay at Stonehurst Place would be anything short of idyllic.
Photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.6 Comments - Leave a comment