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Best Hotel, Fewer Than 100 Rooms
Designed by Mary Lou Design
Taking its cue from the 17th-century monastery a quick walk from its front door, Gangtey Goenpa slips discreetly and respectfully into its remote hillside location. Composed of two traditional farmhouse-style buildings connected by a single-story hall, the lodge incorporates Bhutanese textures and patterns. Floor-to-ceiling windows in the main lounge frame a spectacular vista; soft leathers bring warmth to the 9,000-foot elevation, as do individual fireplaces in the 12 guest rooms.
Honorable Mention: Best Resort
Designed by Federico Rivera Río
The newest resort from Grupo Habita elevates the cool factor of Puerto Escondido, a once-sleepy fishing village on Mexico’s Pacific Coast. Sixteen secluded palapas come with contemporary built-in bedframes, sliding reclaimed-wood doors, and private saltwater dipping pools. Teal geometric floor patterns and red surfboards propped ever so casually provide pops of color. Outside, round basket-weave chairs and curvilinear chaise lounges bring added dimension to the breezy sitting areas.
Designed by Luís Rebelo de Andrade for Arquitraço
The 13 cottages and tree houses of this resort step lightly on the land, the latter stretching their long forms out into the forest like elegant praying mantises, the better to bask in and honor a pristine environment of centuries-old trees and hot springs. The wood-and-slate modular structures, assembled on site to adjust their footprints to the individual terrain, are otherwise generous in design. Large plate-glass windows pitch guests into the treetops, while skylights above beds perfectly capture the stars.
Best Hotel, 100 or More Rooms
Designed by Yabu Pushelberg/ISC Design Studio
The newest collaboration between Ian Schrager and Marriott International epitomizes modern luxury. Behind the handsome Georgian façade of the former Berners Hotel lie public spaces whose architectural grandeur is accentuated by magnificent fixtures and strategic lighting, yet tempered by modern, low-slung, monochromatic furnishings. Ornately framed photographs and paintings hang, gallery-style, along paneled walls in Berners Tavern. Guest rooms are walnut- or oak-lined cabins of calm—peaceful retreats from the hubbub of the city.
Designed by Herzog & de Meuron
In the land of riches that is the East End of Long Island, the Parrish is a building brave enough to be humble. Harking back to the agricultural structures that once dominated the landscape, the museum’s shape evokes that of a barn, if an extraordinarily long, twin-gabled, and finely detailed one. The line it draws in an open meadow is striking in its simplicity; inside, the central corridor is flanked by galleries, while a wide, covered terrace at one end extends a friendly invitation to step into a world of American art.
Designed by Rintala Eggertsson Architects
At the request of the citizens of Sand, Norway, who wished to connect their town to a vast woodland, architects Sami Rintala, Dagur Eggertsson, and Vibeke Jenssen devised a deceptively simple link. The rigorous steel structure is as tough as the bedrock to which it is anchored, but stretches of wall are, by turns, panels of solid Cor-Ten and sheets of porous stainless-steel mesh. The effect of closed and open space over rushing water delivers, in a span of 70 feet, a uniquely varied audio and visual passage—and an elegant interplay of the man-made and natural.
Honorable Mention: Best Restaurant
Designed by Mathieu Mercier
Casual, nautical, and unpretentious—tableside light fixtures from a 1950s ocean liner, custom-made brass tables, a hand-drawn fresco by Swedish illustrators Bjorn Altdax and Karl Grandin of Vår—this new Paris restaurant is perfectly suited to its lobster-roll menu.
Designed by Norm Architects
Local, organic, sustainable—the prime ingredients of New Nordic cuisine are also the hallmarks of Höst, designed by Norm and the design brand Menu. Rough plank ceilings and tables, gypsum brick walls, recycled windows, cutting boards as wall art, and furry hides bring farm to table—literally. Spindle chairs in three variations and dinnerware, all in a palette of white, gray, and black, introduce a purity of form as clean-lined as the food on the plate. In a thoroughly urban setting, rustic and modern find kinship.
Best Cultural Space
Designed by Fernanda Canales + Arquitectura 911sc
In more ways than one, the Elena Garro Cultural Center has turned on a bright light in one of Mexico City’s oldest neighborhoods. The architects chose to preserve an early-20th-century house by encasing it in concrete and glass, thereby creating a new forecourt that frames the restored masonry façade of the older building, and glows like a lantern at night. New reading rooms and a lush exterior garden, designed by landscape architecture firm Entorno Taller de Diseño, honor the Mexican poet and author for whom the center is named—as do floor-to-ceiling walls of books, visible from the street.
Brainchild of a Le Cordon Bleu–trained hip-hop DJ and Tokyo-born, Austin-bred entrepreneur, the city’s first brick-and-mortar temple to Japan’s soupy soul food serves a never-ending line of supplicants classic tonkotsu and tonkotsu shoyu bowls, plus miso and tsukemen (dipping ramen) versions and a chicken-based shoyu at lunch. There’s even a gluten-free option with rice. But it’s the inventive specials that really stand out: Veggie Ramen (with fried brussels sprouts) on Sunday nights, a Valentine’s Day tomato-based red ramen, a Buffalo chicken wing–inspired novelty for Super Bowl Sunday, and a chili cheese ramen that may soon be making a reappearance for Texas Tuesdays.
Unlike traditional ramen shops that closely follow a well-guarded recipe, Ramen Shop chefs are on an ever-changing quest to develop (and tweak) the perfect broth, with local ingredients as inspiration. That could mean drying Bay Area anchovies and sardines for house-made dashi or balancing the complexity of bright, fresh, and savory flavors in its Vegetarian Shoyu Meyer Lemon Ramen (that one gets topped by pungent chanterelle mushrooms, tomato confit, Di Cicco broccoli, roasted eggplant, mustard greens, and a salt-cured egg). No surprise, it’s a favorite of San Francisco’s off-duty chefs.
Though Masu may already be one of the best sushi restaurants in the U.S., its noodles demand equal billing. Consider the Tonkotsu Curry Ramen: for the broth alone, kombu, shiitake, chicken wings, roasted pork necks, roasted pig feet, slab bacon, vegetables, mirin, and soy sauce simmer it up for at least nine hours. Inveterate slurpers can also choose pork belly and miso bowls, rotating specials such as Littleneck Clam or Chicken Kimchi Ramen, as well as ample udons and yakisoba.
Chef Frank Bonanno ladles up nontraditional—and superbly rich—bowls of ramen at Denver’s Bones. Depending on the time of year, diners can slurp up Duck Ramen (pastrami-cured duck confit, watercress, pickled veg) or Lobster Ramen, where thick chunks of poached claw meat swim with edamame and beurre blanc in a miso broth. By popular demand, a Green Chili Tsukemen (roasted chiles, sweet Olathe corn, crispy potatoes, queso fresco, and pork albondigas) will be returning this spring.
Handmade noodles and southern-style pies go together like…well, they usually don’t, at least not until this popular NOLA pop-up proved the dueling comfort-food concept and set down permanent roots in Uptown last August. Expect sunny, down-home hospitality, with a communal table in the middle and the smells of cooked apples, sugars, and rich pork broths simmering. You’ll always find a banana cream pie and two ramen bowls (traditional tonkotsu and vegetarian), but beyond that it’s up to the seasons to prescribe, be that blueberries, Pontchartrain crab, or eight-hour brisket.
The décor may be minimalist but this Hawaiian ramen joint’s signature offering—the aptly named Beast Bowl—is anything but. After 48 hours of simmering, tonkotsu, miso, and goma (sesame) broths combine with al dente noodles, wakame seaweed, bean sprouts, ginger, and green onion. Then comes the soft-steamed egg, slow-cooked brisket, short ribs, and plump oxtail dumplings. A sprinkle of porcini dust finishes it off, a bomb of deep earthy aromas beckoning as it steams.
When opening his eclectic 25-seat ramen and dumpling den above D.C.’s H Street corridor, chef/owner Erik Bruner-Yang reveled in the music and art and family recipes of a youth spent in both Japan and Taiwan—including a stint at a Hakata ramen joint in Taipei. Tonkotsu broth bowls are served up classic (chashu pulled pork, soft egg, seasonal vegetables, pickled ginger), livened with red miso and kimchi, and pushed into something entirely new: the Taipei Curry Chicken melds Japanese curry, Chinese-style ramen noodles, and Taiwanese five-spiced fried chicken into a uniquely hearty hybrid.