America's finest hotels: Nights to remember
The pick of the country's hotels are far more than just places to sleep, discovers Chris Coplans
America does hotels well, be they stylish Art Deco gems in Miami, over-the-top palaces in Las Vegas or urban boltholes in the latest up-and-coming New York neighbourhood. Recently, developers have rediscovered their inner city and re-birthed it with panache.
Where better to start than Hell's Kitchen? The area of Manhattan between 34th Street and 59th Street, from 8th Avenue to the Hudson River was once a rogue's gallery of wrong 'uns, but is now seriously smart. Hotels no longer feel the need to describe themselves as "gay-friendly" but the recently opened hotel The Out (001 212 947 2999; theoutnyc.com) has cheekily declared itself "New York's first straight-friendly gay hotel". Located a few blocks from Broadway and Chelsea, The Out, which boasts a roof space and seriously hip nightclub, is perfect for the leading pack. Doubles start at $250 (£112).
Elsewhere in the city that never sleeps, The Jade (001 212 375 1300; thejadenyc.com) on West 13th Street in Greenwich Village is due to open this month, featuring sumptuous Art Deco interiors. However, if you want post-Manhattan cool, then you have to leave the Village, hit the bridge and join the hipsters in Brooklyn. Williamsburg is home to HBO's Girls, and The King & Grove Williamsburg (001 718 218 7500; kingandgrove.com) is the place to soak up the scene. It has a great outdoor pool, a rarity in New York, a roof deck with panoramic views of Manhattan and is right off über-cool Bedford Avenue. Doubles are from $229 (£143), including breakfast.
Now let's head south to Philadelphia. In the historic district, across the street from the Liberty Bell and Independence Park, the 15-storey Hotel Monaco Philadelphia (001 215 925 2111; monaco-philadelphia.com) has just opened. The 268-room boutique hotel offers street-side dining and the city's only rooftop lounge, overlooking the "birthplace of America". Doubles start from $183 (£114), room only.
Still on the East Coast, in Boston, the Revere Hotel (001 617 482 1800; reverehotel.com) is a new cutting-edge hotel unleashed by the people who designed the W in New York. Located in the heart of the theatre district and close to Boston Common, the Revere's oversized balconies offer commanding views over the city skyline and the hotel boasts a rooftop pool and bar. Doubles are from $167 (£105).
Meanwhile in the capital, The Madison (001 202 862 1600; madisonhoteldc.com) has recently completed a $20m (£12.5m) facelift. Washington DC's 356-room historic hotel has long served as a temporary home to incoming presidents, as they awaited their transition to the White House. Doubles are from $359 (£225), room only.
You'll have to wait a while for Sir Richard Branson's first foray into the hotel scene. Due to open in Chicago in early 2014, the 250-room Virgin Hotel will be located in the historic 27-storey Dearborn Bank Building in the Loop. Instead, head to the The Ivy (001 312 335 5444; exploreivy.com), a new 15-storey, 63-room hotel, which opened in June to much acclaim and boasts the Sky Terrace: an al fresco dining space on the rooftop. Doubles start at $197 (£123), room only.
Due east in Detroit, Honor and Folly ( honorandfolly.com) is a recently opened guesthouse that has breathed new life into three buildings of a run-down block. Conceived by a former design writer, the décor is quirky and cool: exposed brick walls and furniture made in the city and its surrounds, much of which is for sale. Doubles are from $165 (£103), room only.
When the groundbreaking 21c Museum Hotel, an art hotel complete with a museum showcasing living artists, opened in historic downtown Louisville, Kentucky, it caused a splash of excitement. Now the owners are hoping to repeat that success in nearby Cincinnati. Located downtown, the hotel will not only showcase cutting-edge contemporary art, but also the best of the region's cuisine, a rooftop bar and spa when it opens in December (001 502 217 6300; 21cmuseumhotels.com). Doubles from $263 (£165), room only.
Time to head south. On Miami's Collins Avenue SLS (001 305 674 1701; slshotels.com) has opened in the tallest Art Deco building on South Beach. Within a building originally designed by legendary Miami architect L Murray Dixon, Philippe Starck has created a set of signature interiors; the hotel also boasts a Hyde Beach day club and nightclub, which extends directly on to the sand. Doubles are from $639 (£399), room only.
As tourists flock back to New Orleans, new hotels pop up all the time. The Hotel Modern (001 504 962 0900; thehotelmodern.com) is located on New Orleans's Lee Circle, where you can hop on one of the city's few remaining streetcars on the historic St Charles line. You will be greeted in the lobby by a parrot, which gives you a taste of the playful nature of the hotel. There's doubles from $153 (£95), room only.
Way out west, California is blessed with both coastal and desert cities and a love of new hotels. A new luxury beachside retreat in Santa Monica – overlooking the Pacific Ocean and a short drive from downtown LA – has recently opened. The U-shaped Shore Hotel (001 310 458 1515; shorehotel.com) features a glass-walled lobby looking out at the ocean and 164 guestrooms, all of which have balconies. Doubles from $330 (£206), room only.
If shopping is high on your agenda, then head to LA. Here the Palihotel (001 323 272 4588; pali-hotel.com) is Melrose Avenue's first boutique hotel. Described as "more European inn than West Hollywood" and with just 32 rooms, the former youth hostel is ideally located for those in search a serious dose of retail therapy. Doubles from $284 (£177), room only. A couple of hours east from LA is Palm Springs: the desert playground of Hollywood celebrities. If you like your colours bright and primary, then The Saguaro Palm Springs (001 760 323 1711; thesaguaro.com) is for you. Framed by mountains, the bold South-Western colour palette is the work of renowned architects Peter Stamberg and Paul Aferiat. Doubles start from $143 (£89), room only.
San Francisco has a range of character-filled hotels to choose from, but the recently opened Inn at the Presidio (001 415 800 7356; innatthepresidio.com) is a gem. Housed in one of the oldest military posts in the country, it's a hidden getaway in a national park with the rich urban life of San Francisco outside its gates. The area is filled with historic buildings, a stunning bay and bridge vistas. Doubles from $222 (£139), room only.
In Vegas, of course, they have to do things differently. The new big thing is a hotel within a hotel. Nobu will open its first hotel in the old Centurion Tower in Caesar's Palace in February 2013; and the Miami-born citadel of cool, The Delano, will open inside the Mandalay Bay late next year. Pleasant dreams…
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