Boutique hotels and unique experiences are the drivers for contemporary luxury travelers. It is no longer enough to provide travelers with the utmost luxury. Travelers today are looking for more. They are looking to forge wonderful memories. And that is why Marriott International’s Autograph Collection of independent hotels is such a great idea. To put it briefly, Autograph Collection is the luxury boutique hotel line of the Marriott hotels group. The luxury hotels that feature in this luxury collection are not hotels under the Marriott brand name however. They are independently-run properties that have been hand-picked and brought under the umbrella of the Autograph Collection. Currently, there are 26 boutique hotels in the Autograph Collection.
The experiences offered here are different from those provided at regular Marriott hotels. So it is significant that Marriott has finally removed all mentions of its own brand name from the new website of the Autograph Collection. Amanda Altree, senior director of marketing for Autograph Collection admitted that this was a “different platform” from Marriott. She said, “Different things resonate with different customers. When we’re speaking to the independent customer, we are serving up truly independent hotels.”
So what is the independent customer looking for? And what are the independent hotels to feature in the Autograph Collection? Elitechoice compiled a list of the 26 luxury hotels featured in the luxury hotel collection. Have a look.
1. AC Baqueira Ski Resort
Where: Baqueira, Spain
If skiing is uppermost on your mind, head to this luxury resort located amidst the Pyrenees. A cable car junction close to the resort carries guests to the nearby Baqueira Beret ski station. The 102-room AC Baqueira Ski Resort offers splendid views of the rugged mountains, as well as houses luxury spas and an indoor pool. You could even enroll at the ski school here or try out the heli-ski trips to the mountaintops.
2. AC Palacio de Santa Paula
Where: Granada, Spain
For a taste of Spanish history head to the AC Palacio de Santa Paula. This Autograph Collection luxury hotel is located within a 12th century convent. Set in the heart of Granada, guests at this property have easy access to the Cathedral, the Royal Chapel and the Gardens of the Triumph. Modern amenities like flat-screen TVs and WiFi are available in the 75 rooms of this historic hotel.
3. AC Palacio del Retiro
Where: Madrid, Spain
The arts are in full bloom at this historic hotel that holds a National Heritage status. Located in the Art Triangle near Retiro Park, AC Palacio del Retiro is just a short walk away from the Prado Museum, Tyssen-Bornemisza Collection and Reina Sofía National Art Museum. The early 20th century hotel houses 50 rooms, a spa, a business center and more. What makes this luxury hotel even more special are the original frescoes and the Parisian stained glass that adorn the interiors. And do not forget to take a ride on the wrought iron elevator.
4. AC Santo Mauro
Where: Madrid, Spain
Get away from it all by booking a room at the AC Santo Mauro in Madrid. This beautiful hotel was originally built as a residence for the Duke de Santo Mauro in the 19th century. The 51-room hotel is located close to the city center. However, because it is part of a luxury residential area, the location itself is peaceful. While here, check out La Biblioteca – a restaurant within the hotel library.
5. Algonquin Hotel Times Square
Where: New York City, New York, USA
Few New York City hotels boast of literary traditions to rival the Algonquin Hotel Times Square. Ideas for The New Yorker magazine was born on these premises. Broadway’s theatre district is nearby, as is the Museum of Modern Art and Radio City Music Hall. In the gamut of New York luxury hotels, this Edwardian-style 174-room property is one of the best. While here, do not miss the cabaret performances at The Oak Room.
6. Bohemian Hotel Celebration
Where: Celebration, Florida, USA
Two big attractions bring guests to this Autograph Collection hotel – Walt Disney World (which is only a short walk away) and championship golf courses. Moreover, since Bohemian Hotel Celebration stands within a planned community, local nature trails, shops and restaurants are all nearby. If you are looking for old Florida elegance, this lakeside 115-room hotel is the perfect fit. The property is also frequently used for romantic weddings. But if you are here to simply relax, do order one of their in-room massage services.
7. Bohemian Hotel Savannah Riverfront
Where: Savannah, Georgia, USA
The biggest attraction here is the rooftop restaurant and bar, which offers sweeping views of the Savannah River. Nautical elements show up in the interiors of the Bohemian Hotel’s 75 guest rooms and public areas. British maritime history colors the hotel, with campaign furniture and carvings, as well as brass finishes adorning the premises. Tourists can explore the area on foot, by trolley or by taking a river cruise.
8. Boscolo Budapest
Where: Budapest, Hungary
Architecture enthusiasts will be held spellbound by the Boscolo Budapest. The façade of this luxury hotel showcases Greek, Latin, Renaissance and Baroque architectural styles. Set near the Danube river, this luxury hotel offers easy access to the tourist attractions of Budapest. The 185 guest rooms, however, are as modern as the façade is historic. Easy comfort seems to be the catchphrase for the rooms, which are done up in relaxed earthy shades.
9. Boscolo Palace Roma
Where: Rome, Italy
This stunning building was once known as the Ambassador’s Palace. The Belle Epoque architecture sets the Boscolo Palace Roma a class apart. The luxury hotel houses 87 guest rooms. Guests can use this as a starting point for their Italian adventure and even take cooking lessons with a Venetian master chef. For a truly unique experience, head to the Oriental-themed Kami Spa – try out Asian treatments and check out the single Roman bath.
10. Boscolo Prague
Where: Prague, Czech Republic
Formerly a commercial building, this 19th century neoclassical palace recently underwent major renovations. Neoclassical styles blend with modern amenities to provide the ultimate luxury experience in this 152-room hotel in the heart of Prague. The Inn Ox Lounge Bar is a wonderful place to catch up with friends over a few drinks.
11. Boscolo Venezia
Where: Venice, Italy
This is Venetian luxury at its best. The hotel building is a 17th century palace located in the Sestierre Cannaregio. It is close to the heart of Venice, but still separated from the hustle and bustle. Inside this 72-room hotel you will find ornate furniture, grand Murano chandeliers and stunning frescoes. The property also houses a secret garden. The Boscolo Venezia stands beside the lagoon. So if you are hoping for a romantic gondola ride, it is right there waiting for you.
12. Casa Monica Hotel
Where: St. Augustine, Florida, USA
This historic 19th century luxury hotel was once frequented by America’s wealthiest. St. Augustine has the unique distinction of being America’s oldest city, which adds to the appeal of the 138-room Spanish-style hotel with its old world look and modern amenities.
13. El Monte Sagrado
Where: Taos, New Mexico, USA
Increasing numbers of luxury hotels are going green these days. But few can compete with El Monte Sagrado, which features solar panels, geothermal temperature controls alongside the self-sustaining eco-system called the Biolarium and The Living Machine. Native American arts and crafts adorn the 84 guest rooms.
14. Glenn Hotel
Where: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
If you are planning your honeymoon, you cannot go wrong with the Glenn Hotel. Trip Advisor rated it amongst the “Top Ten Sexiest Hotels”. The 110 rooms offer spectacular views of the city. Guests avail of the services of a personal host. And the Rooftop Skylounge is a must-visit spot.
15. Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville
Where: Asheville, North Carolina, USA
Gaming and hunting is not for everyone, until you see this stunning hunting lodge in Asheville, North Carolina. The Turdor-style architecture works well with the hunting-inspired décor. The historic Biltmore Estate and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are nearby. Guests will love the rustic designs and carved wooden furniture in the 104 guest rooms.
16. Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando
Where: Orlando, Florida, USA
Several features make the 247-room Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando an incredible travel treat. An enviable art collection in the Grand Bohemian Gallery, live jazz every night at the Bosendorfer Lounge and the world-class Poseidon Spa make this Grand Bohemian hotel a wonderful travel destination for culture lovers.
17. Hotel Duval
Where: Tallahassee, Florida, USA
The Hotel Duval is everything you would want in a contemporary hotel. It is chic and stylish. Everything from the amenities to the furniture is modern. In operation over the last five decades, Hotel Duval recently underwent million-dollar renovations. A favorite of the political classes, personalized service makes this a great luxury destination.
18. Hotel ICON
Where: Houston, Texas, USA
The Hotel ICON building used to house the Union National Bank since being built in 1912. Today, it retains the neo-classical touches and the 30-foot Doric columns but has transformed into a luxury destination worthy of the Autograph Collection. One of the truly landmark hotels downtown Houston can boast of, Hotel ICON is truly an iconic property.
19. Kessler Canyon
DeBeque, Colorado, USA
Are you looking for a natural retreat? The Kessler Canyon could prove the ideal destination. It offers 27,000 acres of private mountain property. Guests can set out on all-terrain jeep tours, go fishing, attend cooking classes and browse through the resort’s art collection. The guesthouse offers six private rooms and the homestead offers nine private rooms.
20. Mansion on Forsyth Park
Where: Savannah, Georgia, USA
This recently restored Victorian mansion stands in the historic quarter of Savannah. This classically beautiful luxury hotel houses 125 majestic guest rooms and is home to a highly-acclaimed restaurant, a 700-kitchen cooking school and the Poseidon Spa.
21. Scrub Island Resort, Spa and Marina
Where: Tortola, British Virgin Islands
This luxurious island resort is well off the beaten path, connected only by boat or helicopter. One of the biggest treats is the illuminated marina. Additionally, guests can relax on the private beaches or in the Ixora spa. All 59 guest rooms and suites offer stunning views of the Caribbean Sea outside. For sweeping views of the surroundings, book yourself at the resort’s Ixora Spa, which stands on a hillside.
22. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
This is the only Las Vegas luxury resort to make it to the 2011 “It List” of Conde Nast Traveler. This resort offers a home away from home experience, with rooms styled in a home-like manner with attached private terraces. The hotel also houses a 100,000-square-foot casino that recently earned USA Today’s “Best Casino 2011” tag.
23. The Henry
Where: Dearborn, Michigan USA
Essentially a business hotel, The Henry offers 26,000 square feet of meeting space, including 13 meeting rooms of different sizes. If you love cars, The Henry’s proximity to Ford Motor World Headquarter and The Henry Ford museum makes this 293-room luxury hotel the ultimate urban destination. And of course, you cannot miss the comfort of the bespoke “Henry Bed”, crafted exclusively for the hotel by Lady Americana.
24. The Hotel Minneapolis
Where: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Yet another hotel building that was formerly a bank, The Hotel Minneapolis is among the region’s best hotels. Downtown Minneapolis is all the richer because of this luxury hotel with its marble columns from 1906, a multimillion-dollar Concierge Lounge and 222 guest rooms with all the modern amenities.
25. The Lodge and Spa at Callaway Gardens
Where: Pine Mountain, Georgia, USA
Nature lovers have much to gain from a holiday at this luxury resort. The 150 guest rooms at this resort offer calming views of the surrounding woodlands. Spa Prunifolia offers a range of nature-oriented treatments. And if you are here for the activities, there is much to do, from nature trails to birding to ziplining or even playing golf.
26. The Raphael Hotel
Where: Kansas City, Missouri, USA
Located in Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, this historic luxury hotel features on the National Register of Historic Places. Recent renovations have spruced up this beautiful 1927-built luxury hotel and fitted it with all the modern amenities. Yet, this classic Autograph Collection hotel maintains its classic charm, and offers seven varieties of guest rooms.