Without top accommodations, even the most cosmopolitan capital can fall off your travel itinerary. Ted Loos discovers three exceptional hotels, plus cultural happenings, in popular summer destinations.


The Hamptons, New York

For what is easily America’s fanciest and best-known summer getaway region, the East End of Long Island is short on serious hotels. That’s why the two-year-old Topping Rose House stands out. The boutique hotel, located in Bridgehampton, has 22 rooms spread among a stunningly restored, white clapboard 19th-century home; an ultra-modern new building clad in chic wooden louvers; and a series of cozy cottages. The excellent restaurant, led by chef Kyle Koenig, focuses on locally sourced fish and produce. Art is everywhere on the property, with rooms and public spaces hung with pieces by the likes of Vik Muniz, Clifford Ross and Eric Fischl. Summertime brings many local options for connoisseurship, too. This July and August the Parrish Art Museum has shows of Chuck Close, Tara Donovan and Andreas Gursky.

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A modern guest room in the Topping Rose House. Courtesy Topping Rose House.

London

Most hotels in London are located in historic and low-slung buildings, but the 185-room Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard – Western Europe’s tallest building – reaches for the sky. Opened in May 2014, the city’s only high-rise hotel is one of the European flagships for the Asian luxury chain, offering guests touches like a welcoming tea service upon check-in and super-high thread count Frette linens. This summer the hotel debuts three new signature suites, clad variously in marble and rich woods, that were created by a design firm known for its work on luxury yachts, since the Shard’s shape creates unusual room dimensions. During your stay, be sure to catch the summer's must-see museum show: a major exhibition of British sculptor Barbara Hepworth at Tate Britain (24 June–25 October).

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Barbara Hepworth’s Squares with Two Circles, 1963, part of her exhibition at Tate Britain. © Tate.

Tokyo

Known for super-deluxe island retreats in places like Thailand, Aman Resorts opened its first-ever city hotel in Tokyo this past December. The 84 rooms, located on the top six floors of the Otemachi Tower, are designed with traditional Japanese materials of stone, camphor wood and paper, and many of them look out on to the Imperial Palace Gardens. Given the brand’s reputation for amenities, one of the big attractions is the Aman Spa, Tokyo’s largest hotel-based spa; the relaxation factor will be strong enough that you will not realise the hotel is close to the bustling Ginza shopping district. When you’re not seeking out world-class sushi – Tokyo has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city, including a newly anointed three-star, Makimura the capital offers abundant cultural offerings as well, including the Mori Art Museum, which is showing the videos and photo-based work of Vietnamese-American artist Dinh Q. Lê (25 July–12 October). 

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The swimming pool at Aman Tokyo. Courtesy Aman Resorts.

Ted Loos writes on art, architecture and wine for a variety of publications, including Vanity Fair, Departures, The New York Times and Vogue.