Living Large

Sure, there’s something to be said for style and affordability. But there are those times when only the best will do. As in luxury. As in service. As in remote, but worth hocking your Cartier Tank watch for. Here’s the DailyCandy guide to the hottest, most over-the-top resorts for the cost-unconscious.

Up at the Villa
Okay, “Italian villa” sounds like a cliche, but trust us: Grand Hotel a Villa Feltrinelli is everything but. Two hours east of Milan, the twenty-suite restored neo-Gothic manse on Lake Garda is all about seclusion and views. Rooms to request: La Torre, Magnolia, Il Poeta, Al Lago, or Bob’s Boathouse (the owner’s suite, available when he’s not there). Notable features: an in-house screening theater and the bathrooms, which have heated marble floors, Acqua di Parma products, and ridiculously oversize tubs. Oh, and nobody’s complaining about the food.

Hotel a Villa Feltrinelli

Marrakech Me If You Can
News flash: La Mamounia is no longer Marrakech’s reigning resort. Located just outside the city, the Amanjena Resort has usurped that position with its rose-hued buildings, Islamic-style arches, to-die-for blooms and gorgeous waterways. As long as you’re going for broke, pick a two-story maison with private courtyard and pool, fountain, and gazebo with daybed and table for dining under the stars.

Amanjena Resort

Cala di Velvet Rope?
Like your venues riffraff free? Of course you do. Which is why you’ll dig Hotel Cala di Volpe on Costa Smeralda, in Sardinia. But first you have to prove you’re worthy by sweet-talking owner Michele Canatore. Once you’ve been accepted as a guest, things get easier. With beauty all around (a magnificent bay, mountains and the sea, gardens and an exquisite Olympic-size saltwater pool), you won’t mind taking a boat to the jaw-dropping guests-only beach. A few pointers: 1. Don’t miss the lunch buffet (two words: baby clams). 2. Dress to impress. 3. Tip big.

Hotel Cala di Volpe

A Sur Thing
Stunning ocean views and majestic treescapes are what Big Sur is all about. The no-brainer destination? Post Ranch Inn, perched above the Pacific. Splurge on one of the luxurious grass-roofed ocean houses. (Best rooms: Molera, Onesimo, and Overstrom.) Each has a king-size bed, a fireplace, a well-stocked kitchenette, and an enormous hot tub in the bathroom. Spa? Check. Fitness room? Check. The award-winning restaurant, Sierra Mar, has a kick-ass menu and one of the most extensive wine cellars in North America. Sweetest touch? At night the beds are raised for stargazing.

Post Ranch Inn

Baja, Baby
Esperanza Resort is quickly eclipsing Las Ventanas as the place to go in Mexico. (Though we are still suckers for the latter.) Architecture is authentic regional meets high-end indulgence (thatched roofs, Mexican furnishings, Frette-dressed feather beds, and showers for two). The spa is impressive. The oceanside Palapa Bar serves more than 100 tequilas, and the main restaurant affords vistas of stone terraces descending to the boulder-laden shoreline.

Esperanza Resort

Voulez-Vous Couchez Ici Ce Soir?
For years Cannes-goers have flocked to the Grand Hotel du Cap-Ferrat for its cliff-hanging pool and “no paparazzi, please” vibe. But if you prefer the newest in chic, try L’Orangerie, a 16-room Mediterranean villa whose glass lobby gives endless views of the exterior garden. L’Orangerie is the only hotel on the Cote d’Azur with fireplaces — for those few nights a year when there’s a chill in the air. Word is that suite 18 and chambre deluxe number 10 are the ones to reserve.


And Stay Tuned …
For the latest from Gordon Campbell Gray (the man behind London’s swank One Aldwych): a new hotel opening in Antigua in mid-November. Early reports reveal that Carlisle Bay will have all the requisite posh details: 88 spacious suites, spa, state-of-the art gymnasium with yoga and Pilates, juice bar, and screening room.

Carlisle Bay

So go ahead. Indulge your inner big-spender. You can pinch pennies the rest of the year.