Design luminaries’ unforgettable American escapes

Magical moments in out-of-the-way settings

The Post Ranch Inn at Big Sur, California, offers expansive views of the ocean
The Post Ranch Inn at Big Sur, California, offers expansive views of the ocean | Image: Kodiak Greenwood

Rodman Primack, chief creative officer of Design Miami

The Post Ranch Inn at Big Sur, on California’s central coast, is an amazing, luxurious place to stay: secluded, sleek rooms are perched on the side of a cliff and offer expansive views of the ocean, and the fresh Californian cuisine is stunning. The American West is everything to me: I love how the mountains meet the Pacific Ocean, the dryness of the hills, the towering oak trees and the magical light found in this part of the world. 47900 Highway One, Big Sur, CA 93920 (+1831-667 2200; postranchinn.com). 

The Dewberry hotel’s elegant roof garden in Charleston, South Carolina
The Dewberry hotel’s elegant roof garden in Charleston, South Carolina

Margaret de Heinrich de Omoroviczaco-founder of Omorovicza

Mount Desert Island in Maine made for an unforgettable trip. We rented a house called Connor Cove Cottage, swam in the lake, sailed and hiked. We rode bicycles over to Jordan Pond House, a restaurant in Acadia National Park, and ate delicious popovers – similar to Yorkshire pudding – served with strawberry jam and butter and blueberry lemonade. Connor Cove Cottage, Connor Point Lane, Southwest Harbor, Fernald Point, ME 04679 (knowlesco.com). Jordan Pond House, 2928 Park Loop Road, Seal Harbor, ME 04675 (+1207-276 3316; jordanpondhouse.com).

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James Taffin de Givenchy, jeweller

Charleston, South Carolina, is an antidote to big cities: I find the Southern charm and hospitality so inviting. From the historic Nathaniel Russell House to the contemporary Dewberry hotel, which serves great Old Fashioneds, this small city has so much to recommend it. The food scene is excellent: the restaurants Fig and Butcher & Bee are world class, while the Second State Coffee shop has a very warm local feel. Butcher & Bee, 1085 Morrison Drive, Charleston, SC 29403 (+1843-619 0202; butcherandbee.com). The Dewberry, 334 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC 29403 (+1843-558 8000; thedewberrycharleston.com). Fig, 232 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC 29401 (+1843-805 5900; eatatfig.com). Nathaniel Russell House, 51 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC 29401 (+1843-724 8481; historiccharleston.org). Second State Coffee, 70.5 Beaufain Street, Charleston, SC 29401 (secondstatecoffee.com).

One of the stylish bedrooms at the Hotel Saint George in Marfa, Texas
One of the stylish bedrooms at the Hotel Saint George in Marfa, Texas | Image: Casey Dunn

Pierre Yovanovitch, interior architect

I was really struck by Marfa, Texas, a city with a 1950s ambience. It’s literally in the middle of nowhere and the landscape and light are stunning. I was particularly taken with Donald Judd’s Chinati Foundation, where you see art in the context of such a massive campus; it’s easy to see why the artist left New York for this beautiful part of the world. The Hotel Saint George, where I stayed, is almost a museum itself, with its collection of art that includes Christopher Wool and Mark Flood. Chinati Foundation, 1 Cavalry Row, Marfa, TX 79843 (+1432-729 4362; chinati.org). Hotel Saint George, 105 South Highland Avenue, Marfa, TX 79843 (+1432-729 3700; marfasaintgeorge.com).

Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams has a superb collection of works
Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams has a superb collection of works | Image: Douglas Mason

Jean Nouvel, architect

I loved Williamstown, Massachusetts. The landscape in autumn in the Berkshire Mountains, with the brilliant red and orange foliage, was the most beautiful I’ve seen in my life. The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in nearby North Adams is an exceptional museum with incredible works by Sol LeWitt, and the Clark Art Institute is another world-class institution. Clark Art Institute, 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA 01267 (+1413-458 2303; clarkart.edu). MASS MoCA, 1040 Mass Moca Way, North Adams, MA 01247 (+1413-662 2111; massmoca.org).

Dinner in The Barn at Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee
Dinner in The Barn at Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee | Image: Beall & Thomas Photography

Olivia Chantecaille, creative director of Chantecaille

I adored our visit to Sun Valley, Idaho. We took our daughter skiing there for the first time and the setting, with its vast valleys and mountains, was magical. We went ice skating at the historic Sun Valley Lodge, and I discovered the best toy store ever. Sun Valley Lodge, 1 Sun Valley Road, ID 83353 (+1800-786 8259; sunvalley.com/sun-valley-lodge). The Toy Store, Sun Valley Mall, Boardwalk Mall, ID 83353 (+1208-622 5966; toystoresunvalley.com).

The Amangiri hotel, near Lake Powell, Utah, sits against a backdrop of stunning scenery
The Amangiri hotel, near Lake Powell, Utah, sits against a backdrop of stunning scenery

Lauren Santo Domingo, co-founder of Moda Operandi

There’s a little hotel called Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee, where I had an unforgettable visit. Our meal that evening was prepared by visiting chef David Chang of New York’s cult restaurant Momofuku, who brought his own Asian-inflected style to this outstanding multicourse event. All the food was locally sourced and everything about the night, from the spectacular rural-chic setting to the wholesome yet modern cuisine, was magical. 1471 West Millers Cove Road, Walland, TN 37886 (+1865-984 8166; blackberryfarm.com).

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Christopher Jenner, product designer

Montauk in East Hampton was a really special place to visit. It’s essentially an unpretentious fishing village with an anti-establishment charm. The bracing waters there gave me my first taste of surfing in the North Atlantic.

Joseph Dirand, architect and interior designer

I’ll never forget the American Southwest. My wife Anne-Sophie and I did a 6,000km road trip through 10 national parks, including Zion, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. The landscapes, colours and sunsets were magnificent, as was our stay at Amangiri on Lake Powell in Utah – it was the perfect, relaxing end to our trek. 1 Kayenta Road, Canyon Point, UT 84741 (+1435-675 3999; aman.com).

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