American beauties: the best hotels in the Americas

Looking for the best hotels in the US and Americas to visit for Christmas 2020? Whether you want to cruise the East Coast or sip mezcal in Mexico, these luxury hotels in the USA, North America and South America are worth stepping ashore for this winter. If you're heading to Florida, make sure to read our roundup of Miami's best hotels.

Four Seasons at The Surf Club


American tyre mogul Harvey Firestone was on his yacht off Miami Beach when he spotted the perfectly private strip of sand to build a prohibition-era hideaway. Tucked beneath the palms, the Surf Club opened to a roaring crowd on New Year’s Eve 1930 and soon became synonymous with glamour, attracting guests from Frank Sinatra to Winston Churchill.

The Four Seasons moved in in 2018, opening a luxurious new hotel with 72 rooms, five cabana suites and a residence tower with one-to four-bedroom suites. By day, bask in the sun on the wide beach or swim in one of three sparkling pools. As the sun sets sip a speciality champagne cocktail at Le Sirenuse Champagne Bar – formerly the ballroom where some of the most famous parties of the 1930s were held. Don’t leave without trying the spa – sample the tropical hammam experience with hydrating coconut and orange, giving your body a reviving taste of Florida before heading home.


Ocean House

Rhode Island

Located in the affluent coastal village of Watch Hill, the buttercup-yellow Ocean House has been the centre of social life for this exclusive New England community since 1868. Entering the hotel you feel a sense of the life that was captured when the hotel featured in the Douglas Fairbanks silent movie American Aristocracy (1916), albeit with a modern twist. Croquet players in white still do battle on the pancake flat lawn but sunbathers now recline in beachside cabanas decked out with the latest Bose speakers. Afternoon tea is still served on the balcony but guests can also sip chilled Veuve Clicquot at the Secret Garden champagne lounge.

With the harbour of Watch Hill a five-minute stroll down the hill, Ocean House also acts as a perfect jumping off point to explore the surrounding coastline. If you aren’t visiting on your own yacht, you can take advantage of the hotel’s partnership with Barton & Gray, which allows guests to use its fleet. Alternatively, you can hope to be invited on board the private yacht of the owner of Ocean House, 22.5 metre Aphrodite. Launched in 1937, she was commissioned as a Coast Guard auxiliary vessel in 1942 and has carried dignitaries including President Franklin D Roosevelt and Hollywood celebrities such as Spencer Tracy, Sir Laurence Olivier and Katharine Hepburn.


Nobu Hotel

Miami Beach, Florida

The powder-white sands of Miami Beach are already packed with ultra-luxurious hotels, but there is always room for another – especially when the latest addition is chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Robert De Niro’s Nobu. Decked out in cream tones with understated Japanese-inspired oral touches, the stylish pied-à-terre is just a short hop along the oceanfront from Miami’s superyacht marinas, among them One Island Park.

It goes without saying that foodies are well catered for here. The hotel’s David Rockwell-designed signature restaurant serves up Matsuhisa’s greatest hits – including black cod miso and Miami-exclusive Glacier 51 sea bass with yuzu kosho aïoli and truffle honey – to diners in softly lit, high-backed booths. Alternatively, American classics with a healthy twist are on the menu at the hotel’s whitewashed, seafront Malibu Farm, where chef Helene Henderson’s dishes include cauliflower-crust pizza and blue corn nachos.

To ensure that, after eating so well, you can still keep up with the city’s svelte artistic crowd, the gym, with views out to palm-tree-lined terraces and the ocean beyond, offers complimentary exercise classes, including radical kick-boxing and cardio dance. Alternatively, bike down to the beach and harness your inner Floridian with one of its al fresco yoga sessions in the sand. Later, take a dip in one of the hotel’s four pools or enjoy a sip from a whole fresh coconut, its water infused with pineapple rum, amid the tropical garden’s fountains and cherub statues.


Rosewood Mayakoba

Riviera Maya, Mexico

Built along winding lagoons and a mile-long arc of pristine beach, the Rosewood Mayakoba takes its eco responsibilities seriously. The hotel was recently awarded the Rainforest Alliance Certification, but that’s not to say there’s any shortage of indulgence on offer. Moor out or drop your yacht at nearby Puerto Aventuras Marina, which can take boats up to 45 metres, and jump in a chopper to the hotel.

When you’re not chilling in one of the two-person hammocks in the new family-friendly Beachside Lagoonview Suites, you can kick back in the Sense Spa, built on a sacred water well of the ancient Mayans, or join the kids on a boat Eco Tour with a biologist who will explain the awe-inspiring flora and fauna.


The White Elephant

Nantucket, Massachusetts

The White Elephant has been a feature of the Nantucket waterfront since the 1920s. The hotel was the passion project of Nantucket socialite Elizabeth T Ludwig, who decided to buy a collection of ramshackle houses and buildings clustered on the shoreline. Her intention was to create a fine harbour-side hotel but her fellow islanders were doubtful and, predicting its failure, nicknamed the project “Ludwig’s White Elephant”. The name stuck but Ludwig had the last laugh. The now celebrated White Elephant consists of the main hotel, the White Elephant Village (a 20 room inn and 25 one, two and three bedroom residences) and two spacious lofts in the centre of town.

The cosy rooms, with harbour views, fireplaces and a sheet thread count to die for, are booked months in advance during peak periods. Highlights include a luxurious spa, the dedicated sunbathing lawn, and an elegant library which serves complementary cheese and port to guests. the hotel looks out to the Nantucket Boat Basin marina, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. Nantucket summer regulars include popular charter yacht 49 metre Zoom Zoom Zoom, and 50 metre Westport Annastar.


Faena Hotel

Miami Beach, Florida

Perched on Miami’s beachfront, Faena is a fantastical vision in ruby and turquoise with glittering chandeliers and even a golden unicorn. It’s a wonderland for the art-inclined: a gilded Damien Hirst sculpture of a woolly mammoth dominates the garden; director Baz Luhrmann consulted on the jaw-dropping interior and the Faena Theatre puts on spectacular shows.

Dedicated butlers service every floor and doting pool attendants wash the sand off your feet while you lounge. Indulge in the Tree of Life Vibrations therapy at the Tierra Santa Spa – a blend of sound healing and massage – then take in ocean views and award winning Asian fusion fare at chef Paul Qui’s Pao restaurant, where fresh fish and meats are seared at your table over Japanese binchotan charcoal. Beyond the hotel an art gallery and a high-end shopping bazaar await.


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