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Hall of Fame

Surface Travel Awards | 2018 Winners

Grand Central Oyster Bar


What is it about Grand Central Oyster Bar that keeps us coming back? Maybe it’s those wondrous ceilings, their arching elegance and the hypnotic perfection of their interlocking herringbone tiles. Maybe it’s that long marble bar, unveiled at the grand opening in 1913, and how it survived a massive fire in 1997, then anchored a James Beard Icon Award win in 2017. Maybe it’s the juxtaposition of it all, this stately landmark built into the West’s great epicenter of transience, the inexplicable brightness of its windowless dining area, the mystique of being impervious to the passing of time in a city that can barely keep up with itself. Or maybe it’s the oysters. They’re pretty good, too.

La Mamounia


During the summertime, temperatures in Marrakesh often top 95 degrees; La Mamounia, the oldest grand hotel in Morocco’s grandest old imperial city, offers respite. While the grounds were recently renovated by French superstar architect Jacques Garcia, the indoor swimming area remains a bastion of traditional opulence, all soaring ceilings and Moorish tiled pillars and art deco stained glass. Spend an hour lounging on the main poolside platform (replete with kingly daybed and golden columns) and you’ll understand the kaleidoscopic optimism of La Mamounia’s most influential guest: Yves Saint Laurent.


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