My 2020 travels got off to a quick start having visited Osaka, Kyoto, Niseko, Chicago, Los Angeles and Honolulu during the first 3 months of the year. Then the pandemic hit and put a halt to all travel. I was still able to stay in 24 different hotels located in 14 cities and 3 countries during 2020 and 2021. During that time, my favorite hotel was Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort.
Best hotel of 2020 and 2021
Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort. There are a few places I consider truly special but Sensei and the island of Lanai is one of them. I can’t wait to return. To get to Sensei from Honolulu, you have to take a semi-private plane which is an experience in itself.
It’s a small island but there were enough activities to keep us busy during our 3 nights and 4 days there. The spa hales at Sensei are a must visit. Manele Golf Course is the most beautiful golf course I have played at and I have been to several beautiful ones, including Pebble Beach. We went snorkeling at Hulopoe Bay and relaxed on the beach one morning.
The grounds of Sensei are immaculate. Being situated in the mountains of Lanai, it’s a solid 10 degrees (Fahrenheit) cooler than the beach resort and this is a feature as the temperature at the resort is perfect. Strolls through the gardens, breakfast outdoors, the hidden onsens and simply relaxing poolside made for a number of great experiences.
Lanai was never one of the top islands to come to mind when thinking of Hawaii but now it’s the island I want to return to most.
Best hardware of 2020 and 2021
Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. The lobby is beautiful, the rooms are beautiful and cocktails on the rooftop are wonderful. The house car is a Rolls Royce. My most recent stay was in a junior suite and I loved the expansive balcony and the bathroom. Although there are a number of solid options in Los Angeles, the Waldorf is my top hotel for the city.
Alila Ventana Big Sur. My stay was in a Big Sur Spa Suite and the room itself matched the surroundings perfectly. What makes Ventana special is the overall property and the beautify of its surroundings. Being in the midst of redwoods, having a view of the ocean, the tranquility, the pools, hot tubs, the walk to the restaurant and the hiking trails right off the property. I definitely want to visit here again.
Best service of 2020 and 2021
Ritz Carlton Kyoto. This is a beautiful hotel in one of my favorite cities in the world but what makes me want to return to the Ritz is the staff. They truly helped make my stay warm and welcoming. This was my second visit and one of the staff members I interacted with in my past visit recognized me as I was walked by. Truly amazing. I would highly recommend taking part in activities (some are free, some are paid) arranged by the hotel.
Four Seasons Hotel Seoul. I have visited the Four Seasons numerous times and make it a point to book a room or suite with club lounge access. I think of it as an even better hotel within an already great hotel. The staff at the club lounge are wonderful and I always look forward to seeing familiar faces again during my stay here.
Other stays we had in 2020 and 2021
These are all of the other hotels we stayed in 2020 and 2021.
- Conrad Osaka
- Park Hyatt Kyoto
- The Langham, Chicago
- Hotel Bel Air
- Andaz West Hollywood
- Vespera Pismo Beach
- Carmel Valley Ranch
- Alila Napa Valley
- Hyatt Centric Mountain View
- Grand Hyatt at SFO
- The Royal Hawaiian Hotel
- Andaz Seoul Gangnam
- Fairmount Ambassador Seoul
- Grand Hyatt Seoul
- Josun Palace Seoul
- Park Hyatt Seoul
- Signiel Seoul
- Park Hyatt Busan
- Signiel Busan