2012 was an incredible year for Michael and I. Through work and our new adventure, Map & Menu, we had the opportunity to visit some amazing places. This week we’ll be recounting our absolute favorites of the past year, beginning with hotels!
Michael: You can tell how much thought and planning went into the feel and layout of Palmetto Bluff from the moment you enter the gates, but the way that Hotel Crillon le Brave seamlessly integrates into a centuries-old village is absolutely amazing.
Meredith: The provencal Hotel Crillon le Brave will forever have my heart, but I also fell in love with the whitewashed guest room interior at the Chebeague Island Inn.
Michael: I’ve lived in apartments smaller than the bathrooms at the Inn at Palmetto Bluff, but the massive, marble steam shower at Castle Hill Inn was unbelievable. Did I mention that there was a secondary bathing area just for the bathtub?
Meredith: The bathroom at the Inn at Palmetto Bluff is so luxurious with its steam shower & oversized bathtub, but I also adore everything about the design of the bathrooms at Porches.
Michael: On only the second occasion that we booked a room at Hotel Fauchère, the person helping us with our reservation asked us if we’d be bringing Orvis – by name! In a world full of size-discriminating dog-friendly hotels, the staff at Hotel Fauchère genuinely seems to love and welcome are giant crazy fur ball.
Meredith: I’ll never forget how so many members of the staff at Stowe Mountain Lodge made a point to stop and pet Orvis while we were there, although the Inn at Perry Cabin is the perfect place for Orvis to run & swim – two of his favorite activities.
Michael: The panoramic view of Mount Ventoux, from the base of a Provencal valley gives Hotel Crillon le Brave the foot-up in this category.
Meredith: Waking up to a view of Mount Ventoux is certainly unbeatable, but mornings along the Eastern Shore at the Inn at Perry Cabin aren’t half bad either.
Michael: The grapefruit brûlée and assorted baked items from Patisserie Fauchère at Hotel Fauchère are enough to place this breakfast on my list, but the homemade vanilla bean yogurt that accompanies them has literally had us buying every different variety we can find in hopes that we find something close, and now we’re considering making our own.
Meredith: The breakfast at The Fearrington House Inn will always hold a special place in my heart.
Michael: Every time we make the drive south and north, to and from North Carolina, I get excited about returning to Hotel Fauchère. There’s something so comfortable about this hotel and its restaurants – truly a home away from home.
Meredith: We’ve stayed at Hotel Fauchère four times now and each time is just as lovely as the last.
Michael: The cozy atmosphere and delicious food at Purser’s Pub at the Inn at Perry Cabin is pretty hard to beat. Numerous times, we’ve returned on back to back nights, instead of venturing out to find anything else in town.
Meredith: Canoe Club, one of the Inn at Palmetto Bluff’s restaurants, set the bar incredibly high early on this year.
Michael: Give me a cruising bicycle and plenty of area to explore, and I’m set. For that reason, Palmetto Bluff (where every cottage has a pair of bicycles) and the Inn at Perry Cabin top my list.
Meredith: The gyms & the pools (and the fact that there are multiple of each!) at the Inn at Palmetto Bluff are absolutely divine.
Interaction with Hotel Staff
Michael: Hotel Fauchère – see dog-friendly.
Meredith: The concierge at Saint James stopped us on our way out the door to dinner and ended up giving us the best recommendation for one of our most memorable meals in Paris at Le Petit Pergolèse. Also, we loved exchanging emails with Elidh, a staff member at Hotel Crillon le Brave, after we returned home from Provence, and I’ll certainly never forget when the concierge at Stowe Mountain Lodge told me that Orvis was ‘enchanting.’
Michael: Thanks to the impeccable research skills of Meredith, I can honestly say that there wasn’t a single place we stayed in 2012 that was anything short of amazing. Places like Palmetto Bluff and Crillon le Brave were amazing experiences that in and of themselves could be considered entire trips; but the hotel that, by itself, stands out to me the most, would probably have to be Castle Hill Inn, in Newport RI. Our stay here was tragically short, but in the brief time we were there, we were completely transported to a vacation state of mind.
Meredith: Well, this is certainly the most difficult of the categories to determine, as we’ve enjoyed many incredible hotel experiences in 2012, but I’d have to say that our time at Hotel Crillon le Brave stands out to me. From the moment we arrived in the village, to the moment we sadly drove away, every part of our stay at Crillon le Brave was a true ‘experience.’