Perhaps you had “travel more” on your New Year’s resolutions list, but where exactly “more” is remains unclear. If you need inspiration, some truly unique hotels around the country, perfect for sun-soaked beach trips, winter wonderland escapes, great outdoors adventures and cultural immersions. From a retro hotel in the mountains of Tennessee to some Art Deco shipping containers in the middle of the Everglades, here are the coolest new hotels that opened in the United States in the past three months.
Bridge Creek Inn
Deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Bridge Creek Inn is a boutique option for those looking to adventure in the nearby national forests and state parks of Rabun County. This North Georgia hotel’s soft tones, exposed, original cement columns and wood detailing provide a homey feel, while photographs throughout showcase artists local to the small, southern town of Clayton and its surrounding areas. The 45 rooms have tall windows and navy walls where polished wooden headboards are mounted, cubic side tables floating on either side of the comfortable pillow top mattresses. Later this spring, you’ll be able to return from a day of outdoor exploration to a hearty meal at The Vandiver, which will offer traditional American tavern fare. For now, guests can get their pre-hike coffee fix at Bridge Creek’s gourmet BCI Coffee & Co coffee shop.
Flamingo Lodge at Everglades National Park
Nearly 20 years after Everglades National Park lost its only lodge during Hurricane Katrina, it once again welcomes visitors to a full-service hotel set on the shores of Florida Bay. This lodge, built from climate-resistant modified shipping containers, maintains Art Deco elements reminiscent of Miami Beach for a distinctly Floridian feel. Guest rooms range from studios to 1-and-2 bedroom suites, each with colorful accent walls, a fully stocked kitchenette, a living room and a balcony perfect for watching the sun rise and set. Everglades National Park is famous for its wildlife, so make sure to rent a bike, go camping or hop on a backwater boat tour, all available through the hotel. For the less adventurous, savor fresh seafood, sip some cocktails and enjoy the tropical trees gathered around the patio of the onsite Flamingo Restaurant and bar.
The last remaining roadside motel along Galveston’s beachfront has gotten a total makeover, morphing the 1960s relic into the sparkling new Hotel Lucine. The hotel has the most expansive beachfront rooftop bar in Galveston, offering 180-degree views and an ideal locale for a post-surf cocktail. The rooms surround a central courtyard, where a pool decked out in imported tiles acts as the social center of the property. If it’s raining, you’ll find guests and locals mingling at The Fancy, an “American fine-ish dining” concept that serves lunch and dinner. The hotel’s other dining option is The Den, a coffee shop that also serves the same craft cocktails as the rooftop bar and a selection of lighter options like salads, meatballs, and, obviously, kampachi crudo.
The Lincoln Hotel
What was once a textile mill in a booming industrial city is now the first boutique hotel in Biddeford, Maine. The Lincoln Hotel houses 33 skillfully designed rooms that mix style and history with elements like exposed brick, large windows and high ceilings adorned with original wooden details. Each room also promises luxurious finishes: you can step out of your peekaboo shower and be warmed by your gas fireplace. The Lincoln is also home to a cutting-edge fitness facility with a spin studio and a wide selection of classes. For visitors looking for a more relaxing vacation, enjoy panoramic views at the sole rooftop pool in Southern Maine, or indulge in lavish cocktails and dining at the Batson River Brewing and Distilling.
Moxy brings its “stay-out-of-your-room” brand of lifestyle fun to downtown H-town, opening up shop in an old bank building in the heart of the city’s commercial core. This latest edition wraps its energy around a two-story lobby, where the lower-level bar serves up welcome cocktails to guests checking in alongside a big jar of Skittles to sweeten the experience. You’ll find guests and locals working at the Texas driftwood tables around both levels of the lobby, or exercising in the state-of-the-art gym. Rooms are spartan-but-chic, incorporating exposed concrete and city views to give guests a sense of place. It’s a great stay for those who want to avoid Houston’s notorious sprawl, allowing you to actually walk to bars, restaurants and independent coffee shops.
The Neighborhood Hotel Little Italy
The National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame wasn’t just a punch line in memes about Tommy DeVito’s agent. It’s a real place, and once upon a time, it resided in this historic structure in the heart of Chicago’s Little Italy. Today, it’s the second Windy City outpost of the cool Neighborhood Hotel brand, who’s decked out this 35-suite gem in mid-century Italian design. Think lively color schemes, soaring ceilings, terrazzo floors and outdoor terraces with city views that bring to mind cool nights in the heart of Rome — which, here, seem considerably cooler if you’re visiting before April.
Baton Rouge, La.
Even if you’re just traveling to Baton Rouge to tailgate an Louisiana State University game, you would be remiss not to soak up as much Cajun culture as you can. Enter the Origin, Baton Rouge’s newest boutique hotel. Head to toe, it’s done up in alligator and tiger décor, including life-sized gators used as lighting fixtures. From the sun-soaked rooftop bar, you can gaze down onto the canopy of live oaks that fills the city streets, with the LSU campus and old state capitol in the distance. When in Cajun country, you need to feast of Cajun-Creole food, and the hotel’s all-day café, Passe, delivers. Feast on beignets in the morning, then dine on Cajun chicken fricassee and nicoise salad at night before nursing your hangover in the morning with some City Roots coffee.
Palihouse Hyde Park Village
Situated on a tree-lined street in Tampa’s tony Hyde Park, the Palihouse welcomes guests through a foyer with eye-catching checkerboard flooring and an elegant wood staircase. On the second floor, The Lobby Bar acts as a concierge, lounge, café and bar, where Palisociety’s usual collection of cleverly mixed cocktails pour freely. From there, head down either hallway past colorful framed Hermes scarves into 36 generously-sized guest rooms. With vintage wood furnishings to curtain-adorned cupboards, each inviting accommodation is intricately decorated in a European-influenced fashion. Those who miss mini-bars will delight in the rooms’ collection of local snacks, beers and spirits — many of which reside inside a cool, retro Smeg refrigerator.
Renaissance New York Harlem Hotel
New York, N.Y.
The stylish Renaissance Hotels brand takes over the renowned Victoria Theater, transforming it into Harlem’s first full-service hotel in 100 years. The neighborhood’s past, present and future are embedded into the hotel’s inspired architecture that preserves the theater’s marquee, ticket booth and elegant staircase. Each of the 211 guest rooms has its own Harlem flair, from Langston Hughes quotes decorating the walls to views of the neighborhood and Central Park. After exploring all the neighborhood offers, grab a hot chicken sandwich and a signature cocktail at The Victoria, the hotel’s restaurant named after the historic theater. Then, feel free to attend a nightly jazz performance at the bar’s grand piano.
Rhode’s Motor Lodge
All roads lead to Rhode’s Motor Lodge, a charming and modernized drive-up motor inn amidst the Blue Ridge Mountains. An inviting porch outfitted with a fire pit welcomes guests before ushering them inside, where a cozy lobby and den await. All guest rooms face the southern sky and the mountain range, offering that full natural immersion people come to Boone to experience. The lodge serves as a trailhead, too, providing access to Grandfather Mountain, Blowing Rock, Appalachian Ski Mountain and the Blue Ridge Parkway. If the high country isn’t your thing, you’re welcome to enjoy the house bar and restaurant The Canteen, serving homestyle brunch and dinner with a long list of local craft beer, ciders, wines and cocktails.
The Wayback Hotel
Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Pigeon Forge has never been a stranger to over-the-top hotels, but the new Wayback brings a cool theme to the Smoky Mountains without the usual side of hokeyness. This vintage boutique is bringing the ‘70s back, whether through its mismatched, mid-mod lobby or its rooms that look ripped from the set of “The Brady Bunch.” Each guest room has a unique touch of luxury, from Beautyrest Black Napa mattresses to Malin + Goetz bath products and in-room coffee bars. The rooms sit mere feet from the pool, a vintage Airstream bar and the hotel’s restaurant, Paloma Cantina. Part Mexican eatery and part pool cafe, it combines classic southern comfort dishes like grilled peaches with tacos and crafted cocktails, creating a Palm Springs pool experience in the heart of the Tennessee mountains.