Last year, Hyatt announced an alliance with Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) which included an initial 54 properties where you could earn and redeem World of Hyatt points as well as take advantage of elite member benefits.
Today, World of Hyatt has announced that they are adding 56 more SLH properties around the world, bringing their total count to 110. Hyatt says that the newest hotels include six countries where Hyatt has limited distribution – Portugal, Finland, Denmark, Latvia, Dominican Republic and Turks and Caicos. However, none of these make our list of favorite new spots to redeem your Hyatt points. Point Me contributors David and Sarah outline their top choices below:
Les Sources De Caudalie, Bordeaux, France
Bordeaux, located in the southwest of France, is the country’s sixth largest city and is known as the wine capital of the world, raking in over $15 billion annually into the local economy from its most famous export.
It comes as no surprise then, that one of the two SLH properties in the region (48 total in France) is located on the grounds of a wine estate, the Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, 20 minutes south of the Bordeaux city center. Les Sources De Caudalie, a 61 room hotel named after the Caudalie skincare company deriving products from grape-seeds originating from the on-site vineyard, is a tastefully appointed retreat situated between a lake on one side and grape vines on the other.
The hotel’s tranquil grounds feature a greenhouse covered indoor pool, a barrel bath outdoor jacuzzi, an outdoor lap pool and a vinotherapy spa offering unique treatments combining water pumped from a hot spring 500 meters underground with vine and grape extracts.
Activity seekers can choose amongst cooking classes, wine tastings, tennis and nature hikes/bikes. For travelers still unconvinced, the property’s flagship restaurant, La Grand’Vine, is located in a former greenhouse and has garnered two stars from the fine folks at Michelin. Base nightly room rates vary between $300 and $400.
Muse Saint Tropez, France
Relative to its French Riviera counterparts Nice and Cannes further up the coast, Saint Tropez is a smaller, more exclusive, former fishing village hideaway turned yacht harbor and beach town. Other than a few Accor hotels, accommodation in the area is limited to a smattering of boutiques, and the local Design Hotel property does not participate in Marriott Rewards.
Muse Saint Tropez is tucked away in a country house in the hills above town. The 15 room property emphasizes its elegant accommodations, which feature clean lines and neutral colors, its three-acre garden, designed by an acclaimed landscape architect behind the Bulgari hotel garden in Milan and its pool, which is located within the ecological garden to promote a relaxing ambience for guests.
For visitors wanting to spend time in town or on the beach, the Muse Saint Tropez offers sunglasses and towels in a complimentary beach bag as well as complimentary shuttle transportation down to the coast. Bicycles are also available for guests to ride through the Riviera countryside. Saint Tropez is not cheap, and this hotel is no exception. Base nightly room rates start just under $600 and exceed $900 during the busy summer season.
Eight Hotel Portofino, Portofino, Italy
Eight Hotel, in Portofino, is the closest we could get within the SLH portfolio to the popular Cinque Terre region on Italy’s Ligurian coast. While there’s definitely a dearth of loyalty brand hotels in this area, Cinque Terre has plenty of pensiones, bed & breakfasts and small, three to four-star properties. Luxury, though, is lacking in the famous hill towns, and Florence is too far for a day trip.
Portofino is located north of the Cinque Terre region by about a 90-minute drive. There are regional trains from nearby Rapallo to Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. These take anywhere from an hour and a half to three hours and in the summer will be chaotically busy and very hot. A better, more unique option, however, is to go by ferry, although in high season these too can be overwhelmingly crowded.
Luckily, Eight Hotel Portofino has a private cruise boat with which guests can explore the Italian Riviera (at an additional cost). Hire it – and the crew – for a day to visit some of the inaccessible-by-land beaches and witness the colorful villages from a different perspective. Afterward, soak in Eight Hotel’s garden Jacuzzi, sway gently in a hammock or partake in a passeggiata (stroll) through Portofino’s Piazzetta. (Say that three times fast!)
With just 18 rooms and suites, Eight Hotel is a welcoming retreat from the bustle of the Ligurian coastal towns. In high season, expect rates into the $1,200 range per night, while in the low season, rates drop to about $600 to $700 per night.
Viceroy Bali, Ubud
Travelers choose to visit Ubud while in Bali for its art, culture, yoga and natural highlands beauty. Discerning travelers to Ubud choose to stay at the Viceroy Bali. Each room at the Viceroy Bali is perched at the edge of a steep ravine and boasts its own plunge pool overlooking the Petanu River gorge.
Guests preferring a more efficient commute may opt for direct helicopter transfers to and from the property’s helipad situated adjacent to hotel reception. Some helicopter transfers are chartered solely for the purpose of visiting the Viceroy Bali’s restaurant, CasCade, which overlooks the lush jungle and is rated amongst the top fine dining spots in Bali for its food, wine and ambience.
Although some luxury properties in the Ubud area can be booked with points, none of them reach the level of the Viceroy Bali, which bears no relation to the Viceroy Hotels & Resorts Group. The Mandapa Ritz Carlton Reserve might otherwise compare, but the select few Ritz Carlton Reserve properties which have cropped up around the world do not participate in Marriott Rewards.
Nightly base rates begin at $400 and extend beyond $1,000.
137 Pillars House Chiang Mai
Another historical revival project within the SLH portfolio, 137 Pillars House Chiang Mai was the original East Borneo Company headquarters built in the 1880s as the center of life for the few foreign employees and their families who were in northern Thailand to ship teakwood to Europe.
After changing hands to the Japanese military during World War II, the Company sold the “Borneo House” post war to an employee, Scotsman William Bain, who kept the property in his family until 2005 when Bangkok born, Harvard educated architect Panida Wongphanlert bought the dilapidating house as a weekend retreat from her residence in the Thai capital.
After a multi-year restoration, which included moving the house via hydraulic lift to the center of the property, Wongphanlert decided to share the former East Borneo Company headquarters with the public as a luxury boutique hotel in 2011.
With 30 suites, four on-site restaurants, a spa and a swimming pool nestled against a dramatic five-story living wall, the 137 Pillars House is an illustration of how exquisitely designed nostalgic decor united with modern comforts can create an intangible tranquility worth something greater than the sum of a resort’s parts.