Three Storied Stays

From classic luxury in Houston to Old Hollywood glamour in Palm Springs, here are three properties worth the stay


Photo courtesy of Hotel ICON

Hotel ICON, Houston

Business or pleasure travellers can bank on the location of this lovely hotel. Opened in 1912 as one of America’s first steel-and-concrete skyscrapers, the 12-storey building was originally created to be the home of the Union National Bank. Jump ahead more than a century and you’ll discover the same stunning landmark, but now reinvented as Hotel ICON—a luxury, 135-room boutique hotel within walking distance of Fortune 500 companies, pro soccer and baseball arenas and the city’s theatre district. 

Where tellers once lined the Doric columns on the main floor, the Line & Lariat Restaurant now serves up healthy breakfasts and modern Texas cuisine. Guest rooms are crisply tailored with lush linens, but the showstoppers are the bathrooms, where deep soaker tubs and huge walk-in rain showers wash all your cares away. From US$199.  —Joanne Elves

Fairmont Mayakoba, Riviera Maya

Spanning the forest, mangroves and beachfront of the Riviera Maya along the Mexican Caribbean is the Fairmont Mayakoba. This magnificent resort is located in the community of Mayakoba, which has been feted for its environmental awareness and its unique network of canals. The Fairmont offers guided boat tours via a quiet electric boat, with sightings of local wildlife (crocodiles aplenty) and waterfowl (including Canada’s own vacationing blue heron). 

In addition to the boat tours, it’s quite a kick to grab one of the BMW bicycles stashed throughout the property and pedal through the mangroves out to the beach or to Brisas Restaurant, Lounge Bar & Terrace. Guests also have access to (and special rates for) the well-designed El Cameleon golf course. Accommodations range from standard rooms and casitas to beachfront villas. From US$280. —Jeff MacKinnon

Triada Palm Springs, Palm Springs

You don’t have to channel ghosts to revel in Palm Springs’ Old Hollywood movie star vibe: Triada, a new hotel from Marriott’s boutique Autograph Collection, is steeped in showbiz history. Built in the 1920s and originally opened as The Ambassador Hotel in 1948 (it was later named Alan Ladd’s Spanish Inn by the late actor’s widow), the landmark property once hosted the likes of Lana Turner, Jimmy Durante and Howard Hughes. 

A three-year, US$10-million reno later, this 56-room modern Spanish hacienda, which sat empty over the last few decades, is back to its former glory, complete with two new pools and custom tile work. Reasonably priced suites are sprawling and offer full gourmet kitchens, but for a history-steeped stay, opt for the more compact Room 125—it’s where Elizabeth Taylor used to get her beauty sleep. From US$199. —Alyssa Schwartz