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  • Alvear Palace Hotel, Buenos Aires (tel. 011/4808-2100): Decorated in Empire- and Louis XV-style furnishings, this is the most exclusive hotel in Buenos Aires. Luxurious guest rooms and suites have chandelier lighting, feather beds, silk drapes, and beautiful marble bathrooms; service is sharp and professional.
  • El Hostal de su Merced, Sucre (tel. 0104/6442-706): Sucre is one of the most historic cities in Bolivia, so it makes sense to stay in a historic hotel. El Hostal de su Merced is housed in an elegant 300-year-old mansion. All the rooms have charming antiques, crystal chandeliers, and lace curtains.
  • Hotel Sofitel, Rio de Janeiro (tel. 0800/241-232 or 021/2525-1232): Considered Rio's best hotel, the Sofitel combines old-world elegance and style with one of the city's best locations, across from the Copacabana Fort and steps from Ipanema.
  • Tropical Manaus (tel. 0800/701-2670 or 092/3659-5000): The Tropical Manaus is without a doubt the hotel in town. Set in its own piece of rainforest on the banks of the Rio Negro, the hotel is built in an elegant colonial style. Rooms are spacious and the amenities are top notch; archery lessons, a zoo, wakeboard lessons, a wave pool, a salon, and more await you in the middle of the Amazon.
  • Casa Higueras, Valparaíso (tel. 32/249-7900): Housed in an eggshell-white, elegant 1940s mansion that descends four floors on a slope of Cerro Alegre in Valparaíso, this hotel boasts one of the most culturally and architecturally interesting views in Chile. It is one of the country's leading boutique hotels, and the combination of luxury lodging, an infinity pool and spa, umbrella-dotted terrace with a restaurant serving fine food, and a handsome, masculine design really earn kudos among travelers seeking something unique.
  • Awasi, San Pedro (tel. 888/880-3219 in the U.S., or 55/851460): The intimate and stylish Awasi offers chic accommodations, out-of-the-ordinary excursions around San Pedro de Atacama, a spa, and fabulous cuisine. With just eight suites, the hotel encourages guests to get to know each other, and so it is not ideal for travelers seeking absolute anonymity, but suites -- which come with indoor and outdoor showers -- are large enough to escape to your own private paradise. The hotel, built of adobe and decorated with local art, is centered around an oasis-style pool and outdoor dining area and bar.
  • Hotel de la Opera, Bogotá (tel. 1/336-2066): A rarity among Bogotá's mostly modern, though uninspiring, lodging options, this is a truly charming hotel. In the heart of La Candelaria, Bogotá's historic center, the de la Opera is a stunning restoration of two formerly dilapidated mansions once belonging to influential families. Old-world elegance blends effortlessly with modern-day amenities to make this Italian-style hotel the place to stay in Bogotá. Be sure to book in advance.
  • The Sofitel Santa Clara, Cartagena (tel.) 5/664-6070): Conveniently located within the walled-city neighborhood of San Diego, the Sofitel Santa Clara is housed in a 400-year-old building and boasts one of the city's best spas. The interior courtyards and tastefully decorated rooms give the hotel a decidedly romantic, exclusive feel.
  • La Mirage Garden Hotel & Spa, Otavalo (tel. 800/327-3573 in the U.S. and Canada, or 06/2915-237; www.mirage.com.ec): This luxurious hotel is one of Ecuador's finest. The manicured gardens make this place feel like a mini-Versailles, while the rooms are all palatial-style suites. Ancient Ecuadorian treatments are the specialty at the spa.
  • Royal Palm Hotel, Santa Cruz, Galápagos (tel. 05/2527-409; www.royalpalmgalapagos.com): This luxurious resort almost seems out of place in the remote and rustic Galápagos. The villas are truly sumptuous, each with a private Jacuzzi and an enormous bathroom with hardwood floors. Large windows open up to the lush tropical landscape and the awesome stretch of the Pacific in the distance.
  • Hotel Monasterio, Cusco (tel. 084/241-777): Carved out of a 16th-century monastery, itself built over the foundations of an Inca palace, this Orient Express hotel is the most dignified and historic place to stay in Peru. With its own gilded chapel and 18th-century Cusco School art collection, it's an attraction in its own right. Rooms are gracefully decorated with colonial touches, particularly the rooms off the serene first courtyard.
  • Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, Aguas Calientes (tel. 800/442-5042 or 084/211-122 for reservations): It's not next to the ruins, but this rustic hotel is a compound of bungalows ensconced in lush tropical gardens and cloud forest, and it's the nicest place in Aguas Calientes. With lots of nature trails and guided activities, it's also great for naturalists. And after a day at Machu Picchu, the spring-fed pool is a great alternative to the thermal baths in town. Junior suites, with fireplaces and small terraces, are the most coveted rooms.
  • Belmont House, Montevideo (tel. 2/600-0430): A hotel in Montevideo's peaceful Carrasco neighborhood, Belmont House offers its privileged guests intimacy and luxury close to the city and the beach. Small elegant spaces with carefully chosen antiques and wood furnishings give this the feeling of a private estate.
  • The Conrad Resort and Casino, Punta del Este (tel. 042/491111): This resort dominates social life in Punta del Este. Luxurious rooms have terraces overlooking the two main beaches, and there's a wealth of outdoor activities, from tennis and golf to horseback riding and watersports.
  • Jungle Rudy Campamento, Canaima (tel./fax 0286/962-2359 in Canaima, or 0212/754-0244 in Caracas; www.junglerudy.com): The accommodations here are decidedly simple -- no television, air-conditioning, or telephones. However, the setting, on the banks of the Río Carrao above Ucaima Falls, is spectacular.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.