To me one of the best hotel associations going is the SHL, that sign near an entrance to a hotel gets the blood pumping, practically a guarantee that you are going to be one happy soul. It stands for Small Luxury Hotels of the World. I’d pretty much take a chance on all 520 privately owned properties. To be a member high standards must be met and they are vigorously checked and maintained. The other attraction for me is the Small, designation, no crowds, better service.
Right now several pop into mind as I write this for example El Convento located in old San Juan. The 350-year-old Carmelite convent is wonderfully located in the historic center of San Juan. Inside the mahogany beams and handcrafted tiles are just a small part of décor, antiques are standard. The picturesque courtyard filled with vines and foliage makes it a perfect place to sit and escape the heat. The view from the rooftop small pool one of the best city views anywhere.
Another favorite is Hotel Le Cap in Beaune, Bordeaux, once again right in the historic area of this top wine city. To sit in the downstairs area with a glass of local St Emillion is to live the wine lovers dream. One almost gets the feeling as if they are the very wealthy dealer of fine wines as well as vineyard owner.
It turns out that the newest member of SHL has opened right near my home in Saugerties NY, a town that has risen form wreckage back to a Hudson River side city in the days when that meant prosperity and wealth. I would walk the ten miles to the new Diamond Mills to check it out, an SHL so close could prove dangerous.