Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski
With its softly uplit, wedding-cake white facade, this hotel is a welcome debut in a city unused to luxury hospitality since the heady days of the 1950s, when Ginger Rogers and Nat King Cole sang in pleasure palaces for Americans on vacation. Guests will admire the purple, green and grey splashes of colour in the 246 rooms featuring high ceilings, huge beds and louvered windows—many with views of Havana’s central park. It’s the rooftop terrace, showcasing a jaw-dropping downtown view, that truly shines in the Caribbean sun. The Bella Habana infinity pool is flood-lit at night and spills over the Havana skyline—all columns, chubby cherubs, scrolls, perky palms and neon signs. The luxurious grey-white-and-teal-hued Spa Albear by Resense, and the tropical green splendour of the first-floor Constante Bar also serve as a refreshing retreat from Havana’s humid streets. Rates from US$440.
Nearby: Take a short walk behind the National Capitol Building to the lively Sia Kara Café and settle in for a night filled with cocktails, tapas and live music. —Claire Boobbyer
Halcyon, a hotel in Cherry Creek
Situated in Denver’s upscale Cherry Creek North neighbourhood, this 154-room hotel is evocative of a stay at an industrial-style, modern house. Comforts include individual doormats with the reminder, “You Belong Here,” in-room record players, a lobby that doubles as the Kitchen Counter (think a coffee bar to start your day and complimentary afternoon wine and Colorado brews), and a stocked “gear garage” full of adventure kit for hire—from KOTA longboards to scooters and cruiser bikes.
For panoramic views of downtown, the Rocky Mountains and, on a clear day, Pikes Peak, head to the hotel’s rooftop pool deck. Relax by the pool in a private cabana (complete with HD television, flowy drapes, comfy sofa, and a robe and slippers) and indulge in Asian fare and cocktails from the deck’s Departure Elevated bar. Take in the weekly rooftop yoga class or get your groove on at the Sunday pool party featuring guest DJs starting in mid-July. Rates from US$311.
Nearby: The Denver Botanic Gardens hosts a series of rotating exhibits. Cyberscapes by Serenity Forge, which explores landscapes from the virtual world of video games, is on display until August 5. —Jennie Nunn
SLS Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada
The SLS Las Vegas is a refreshing burst of colour on the Las Vegas Strip. The property includes 1,327 rooms spread across two towers—boutique by Vegas standards—all the vision of designer Philippe Starck, though Lenny Kravitz’s interior design studio did lend its creative touches to some suites. But it’s the hotel’s outdoor pools that will sweeten your stay. Foxtail Pool, a more than 40,000-square-foot dayclub with pool bar, cabanas and daybeds, feels like the set of a Katy Perry music video, while the Retro Pool Lounge, an adults-only rooftop scene, offers a more laid-back atmosphere. Rates from US$69.
Don’t miss: The Downtown Container Park is an outdoor space with boutiques, dining and free entertainment. —Lisa Felepchuk
[This story appears in the June 2018 issue of WestJet Magazine]
The Best of Rum: Tours, Tastings and Tips
From sipping rums and rum-based cocktails to touring distilleries like Mount Gay in Barbados, there are plenty of rum-filled things to do on your next Caribbean vacation. Here, we share everything you need to know about this storied spirit, including its history and tasting tips from rum master blender Joy Spence.